As Formula 1 fans discussed the merits of their sport’s new sound and quality, the FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship blasted into life with a 31-car grid in Barcelona – and it produced some tremendous racing.
Steve Hartley (Arrows A4) won both parts of the Spanish double-header, his first success coming after leader Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E) and pole qualifier Simon Fish (Ensign N180) both retired. That allowed Hartley to triumph from Joaquin Folch (Brabham BT49C) and Belgian touring car legend Jean-Michel Martin (Fittipaldi F8).
Martin emerged as Hartley’s closest challenger in race two, but Lyons was the star as he tigered his way from the back to finish fourth overall and win the pre-78 division.
Simon Hadfield and Leo Voyazides dominated much of the weekend as they took the Greek driver’s cars to several victories.
They won the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car event in Leo’s Lola T70 Mk3B, ahead of the similar car of Jason Wright/Andy Wolfe, while American Charles Nearburg humbled many of the big bangers in his Lola T212.
The Anglo-Greek duo’s victory in the Gentlemen Drivers pre-66 GT opener came after the similar AC Cobra of Wright/Wolfe suffered mechanical problems, allowing the Jaguar E-type of Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson into second ahead of Jamie Boot’s TVR Griffith, which was shared by former British F3 racer Martin O’Connell.
Pre-66 Touring Car honours also went the way of Voyazides and Hadfield, as their Ford Falcon emerged ahead of the similar car of Mike Gardiner/Phil Keen. Former Superkart ace Gardiner led early on, but there was no stopping Voyazides once he had moved to the front. Gardiner/Keen took second while Graham Wilson/Andy Wolfe secured third in the former’s Lotus Cortina.
The Masters 70s Celebration runners joined a local and eclectic mix of cars in the Trofeo del Arco, but established Masters racer Mark Bates (Porsche 911 RSR) was the man to beat, He won both parts, while local ace Manuel Hermida (BMW M3) was best of the rest, with Paul Pochciol hustling his Ford Capri to third in both legs. David Addison