All Hales to the Crosslé

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Classic Six Hours I Spa I Sept 17-19

September proved a good month for Mark Hales. Fresh from his second RAC TT Celebration victory in a row at Goodwood, he co-drove Jon Shipman to a superb success in the Classic Six Hours at Spa.

In a race run in very slippery conditions, this duo emerged from the enduro with a winning margin of two laps after a mighty performance in Shipman’s Crosslé 9S.

While GT40s have usually been the cars to beat in the race which runs into the dark of Saturday night, this time the Ford challenge soon wilted, the car of Chris Chiles out early after a gravelly  off.

Instead it was Hales and Shipman battling with the Merlyn Mk4/6 of Gareth Burnett and John Ruston during the opening stages. Having flung the Merlyn to fourth a year earlier, the versatile Burnett was denied a finish this time by transmission dramas.

It was a good weekend, too, for Leo Voyazides, who took his Ford Falcon and a GT40 to race wins. In the two-part FIA Pre-1965 Touring Car counter, the shipping boss won the first part and then handed the Falcon to Andy Bacon for another win in part two.

More FIA glory went to Jamie Boot in his excellent TVR Griffith. The Sheffield racer won both parts as the thundering Chevy Corvette of Hans-Jurgen Malsbenden gave valiant chase.

The BRDC Historic Sports Car Championship went right down to the wire as Julian Bronson gamely tried to defend his slender points lead in the final race of a busy season. However, the Bristolian, racing for the fourth weekend in succession, couldn’t quite keep his Costin-bodied Lister-Chevy on terms with Philip Walker (Lotus 15) and the Cooper Monaco of Ted Williams. A cracking win for Walker just tipped the championship in his favour.

Another entertaining contest was the final Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car race. Over an hour’s duration, the Alfa Romeo 8Cs of Hubert Fabri/Adrian Stoop and James Baxter battled mightily before victory went to the Fabri car by 7sec. Baxter, who was making his Spa debut, had learnt the track on his bicycle! Burnett made up for his Six Hours retirement by partnering father Des to third in a Talbot 105.

The awesome Porsche 908/3 of Phillip Brunn proved far too strong for the rest of the Group 4 pack in another hour-long battle; Carlos Barbot was again sharing his Lola T70 with series promoter Jonathan Baker and clinched second place, while Simon Hadfield and Irvine Laidlaw headed the Chevron phalanx in their B16.

Father-and-son team Graham and Oliver Bryant took the Gentlemen Drivers spoils from fellow Cobra crew Bill Wykeham/John Bendall, while Michael Hibberd guided his Lotus 22 to a pair of Lurani Trophy Formula Junior wins.