Jyllandsring (August 25th)
The incredibly twisty and slow 2.48-kilometre circuit at Jyllandsring in the Jutland area of Denmark held its first race of major International importance on August 25th. The organisers boldly offered some good starting money which attracted a good field comprising many of Britain’s regular Group 4 and 6 competitors and were rewarded by a large crowd. The John Woolfe team brought their Lola T70-Chevrolet and the Repco Formula One engined Chevron for Woolfe and Martland but sadly both failed in practice leaving the race much more open.
The event followed a rather strange idea peculiar to Denmark, for it was run in five separate races, two on Saturday and three on Sunday, each of eight laps. For the final result, the combined times of all five races were added together. This made the whole thing rather hard to follow but nevertheless the races were completely dominated by Chevrons, some homologated to Group 4 with B.M.W. engines and the others with Ford or Climax engine’s.
The first race on Sunday started in considerable confusion for not only was it an Indianapolis-type rolling start but a girl in the pace car was wearing a topless costume. Chevron-Ford driver Barrie Smith kept his mind on the job and won the race having also been victorious in one of Saturday’s races, having spun whilst in the lead of the other. The Swede Brostrom in his Porsche Carrera 6 won races two and three but a spin in race four put him out for good. Hunter in De ‘Udy’s stile Carrera 6 won the filth race but by then Smith, driving in his first ever International, was well in the lead on aggregate.—A. R. M.
Nurburgring 500 Km. (September 2nd)
The Nurburgring 500 km. has been an Abarth versus Alpine battle as this race had an upper capacity limit of 1,300 c.c. on it for several years. It included classes not only for Group 4 and 6 cars but also for Group 3 Grand Touring cars and even saloon cars. Last year the capacity limit was successfully raised to 1,600 c.c. and gave added British interest and the trend was continued this year.
In the 1967 race, Alpine managed to carry off the race with their 1,500 c.c. Le Mans cars as Abarth were only fielding 1,300 c.c. cars. This year however the situation was reversed, for Alpine are concentrating on their programme of 3-litre cars for Le Mans and only fielded one 1,500 c.c. car for Grandsire while Abarth came up with three of their latest and attractive 1600SPs driven by Schetty, Ortner and Merzario. They also had cars entered in several other classes and it is sad to relate that one of their works drivers, the Dutchman Ab Goedemans was killed in practice when his Abarth 1000SP left the road. Goedemans had scored many victories this season with on Abarth saloon in European Touring Car Championship races-and was one of Holland’s few drivers featuring in International race results.
Right from the start the two faster Abarth drivers, Ortner and Schetty went into the lead but Lepp in the Chevron was with them. The Chevron kept pressing the leading two Abarths hard until way over half-distance but sadly it then stuck in fourth gear and lost considerable time in the pits allowing the works Abarths to finish the race with the first three places and no one else on the same lap. Ortner was in fact slowed to allow team leader Schetty to take first place. The one Alpine lasted the distance to take fourth place but was lapped with only a kilometre or so to go. Konig’s Nomad-B.R.M. took fifth place ahead of the delayed Chevron while Germans Sommer/Schultze in their Alfa Romeo GTA were the first saloon home in seventh place. Eighth, after a very good run, was Nathan in his Nathan-Imp GT, and he took the 1-litre prototype class from the similar car of Mylius and the Elan-suspended Sprite of Franey. Other British class victories came in the up-to-1,000 c.c. Group 4 class won by Walton’s Abarth 1000SP, in the 1,000-1,300 Group 6 class won by the Sprite of Pigneguy and Tuckett and the 1,300-1,600 c.c. Group 4 class won by the Lotus 47 of Walker/Alexander after the similar car of Baker/Jackson broke a connecting rod in the closing stages. One day this interesting race will provide the overdue overall win for a British car arid driver. It is a great shame on this showing that these latest Abarths only campaign out of Italy very rarely for they would provide welcome added interest in many a Group prototype race.—A. R. M.