Woodcote Trophy – Day of the D-types
As ever, the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy race, organised by Motor Racing Legends, saw a fantastic turnout of pre-1956 sportscars, with 40 starters ranging from Jaguar D-type and C-type, through Ferrari 750 Monza to the little red Osca of Sir Stirling Moss.
What looked like a win from pole for Ben Eastick’s D-type was scuppered by an overlong pit-stop, which plunged Eastick from a comfortable lead to more than 20 seconds behind the Maserati 250SI of Marc Devis – a gap he couldn’t quite close, despite a display of fast and furious driving.
Third place, meanwhile, was magnificently and unexpectedly taken by the famous, white, ex-Jim Clark Jaguar D-type of Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson. This car – recently purchased by Monteverde and, prior to the race, unreadied and virtually untested – was a last-minute replacement for Monteverde’s Ferrari Testa Rossa. Damaged at Donington, the Ferrari couldn’t be repaired in time for Spa so the D-type took its place… and pulled off an outstanding result. In fourth place was the Lotus X of Adrian Hall and Nick Adams.
Meanwhile, Sir Stirling Moss and his co-driver Roger Earl were once again plagued with the gearbox problems which have been afflicting the Osca FS372 all season. So, on Friday night after Qualifying saw them a lowly 36th on the grid, Moss and Earl sat in a Belgian bar and devised a strategy of how to drive round the gearbox problem… and it worked. The pairing moved rapidly up the field during the race, to finish 29th overall and second in class.
BRDC Historic Sportscars – Near-Disaster on Penultimate Lap
Spa saw brothers Jamie and Ewan McIntyre once again fighting it out on track, following Ewan’s victory at Donington three weeks previously – the first time he’d ever got the better of his brother in a race. Jamie started his Lister Knobbly from pole, this time sharing the drive with Laurie Kilby, while Ewan’s Lotus 15 was second on the grid – a mere 1.2 seconds behind.
Ewan did not get a good start, dropping to fifth place by the end of the first lap, and it seemed he stood no chance of beating his brother for a second time. But he did not give up and, despite facing a particularly strong challenge from Philip Walker’s Lotus 15 – who repeatedly swapped places with him – by the eleventh lap, Ewan had taken the lead.
Increasing his lead over Walker to a very comfortable 23 seconds, it looked as though Ewan had the race all sewn up. But, on the penultimate lap, disaster almost struck – when Ewan spun at La Source. Recovering swiftly and pulling out all the stops, Ewan hung frantically onto the tiny lead he had left and made it stick – but only just. He finally crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of Philip Walker, with brother Jamie’s Lister Knobbly in third.
Also facing unexpected challenges was the little 1.1-liter Lotus 17 of Jim Woodley and James Wood, which suffered a slow puncture during the race, requiring an unscheduled pitstop to change the wheel. Back on track, the pairing clawed themselves back into the race – and finished an admirable fifteenth.
Pre-War Race – from Bugattis to Three-Wheeler Morgan
Such was the variety of pre-War machinery competing in the one-hour Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Cars race at Spa on 27 September, that the first-, second- and third-placed cars all won their respective classes.
First past the flag was no stranger to the winning slot – Gareth Burnett in John Ruston’s 2-liter Alta Sports, this time teamed with co-driver Alex Ames. Some 26 seconds behind the Alta came the 1.5-liter Frazer Nash Supersports of Charles Gillett and Justin Maeers, while sweeping to a very impressive third place was the 2.3-liter, supercharged Bugatti Type 35B of Martin Overington – impressive not just for finishing on the same lap as the Alta after a full hour’s racing, but because of the drama Overington faced to claim his prize…
Heading for a comfortable podium place, the Bugatti blew the lid off its gearbox on the last lap of the race, spraying Overington with oil and obliging him to stop on track, refit the gearbox lid, and continue to cross the line – still ahead of the fourth-placed Frazer Nash of Patrick Blakeney-Edwards and Andrew Hall.
Also drawing much attention was the splendid Type 59 Bugatti of Hubert Fabri, the ex-King Leopold car which the Belgian racer recently acquired. Sharing with Tim Dutton, Fabri finished seventh overall and third in class.
And finally, a word for the last-placed but hugely popular car – the charming Morgan ‘Flat Sides’ Aero. This little three-wheeler never missed a beat, chugging determinedly around the demanding track for the full hour in the hands of Robert Towell and Charles Reynolds, to finally finish seven laps behind the winner – and in fine fettle.