sportscarpros Gallery

Harry Flatters and Eau Rouge

A Retro Future?
  The appetite for historic motorsport knows no bounds, of that there is no doubt, as evinced by two recent
events. The eighth annual Goodwood Revival Meeting attracted some 110,000 visitors to Lord March’s
time warp set piece – and that on a weekend when the British Touring Car Championship, Britain’s self
styled “premier motor racing series” was nearing its climax at Silverstone and the World Rally
Championship was visiting Wales, both presumably packing in the punters. Just one week later over 600
racing cars, many fresh from Goodwood, squeezed into the legendary Spa-Francorchamps for the Six
Hours meeting.

  Despite catering for many of the same competitors the two meetings are very different in character. Lord
March set about re-creating a race meeting straight out of the fifties and sixties and whilst there is no
doubting the racing is evocative of the era (even if it wouldn’t do to pry too closely into the provenance of
some of the machinery…) much of the event is pure theatre. That’s great, but there is now a danger that
the theatre could spoil it. From the outset Goodwood encouraged people to wear period clothing and that
worked well in the early years with attics and charity shops being raided. More noticeable this year though
was the arrival of the social set – “young men with slicked-back hair in BMW soft-tops”, as one colleague
put it – and they manage to look more fancy dress than period. Probably knocked back a couple of bottles
of champers before they had even seen an E-Type sliding through the chicane too. Hopefully something
else will grab their attention next year…

18 Course Meal
  Spa-Francorchamps meanwhile, was all about racing – lots of it. The Roadbook Organisation managed
to pack 18 races into the weekend; aside from the Six Hours on Saturday evening there were several
events of one-hour duration and there was not so much as a lunch break on either day. Little wonder
therefore that the marshals were busy tucking into a meal behind the barriers when Andrew Spence
suffered his horrific Formula Junior accident at Raidillon. That’s not meant as a criticism of the marshals
and rescue crews as they were really worked very hard at Spa. The Six Hours ended after midnight on
Saturday with the first race on Sunday starting at 8.30am. Not much of a rest there. They were kept busy
too; the Six Hours itself suffering a 75-minute stoppage thanks to a needless accident during a Safety Car

  Very different then, but one thing both meetings had in common was variety. For those fans who
ventured to Silverstone the respite from the panel-bashing touring cars would have been a selection of
one-make races, mostly with sparse grids. Meanwhile Spa coincided with the opening round of the
much-hyped A1 Grand Prix series, catering for identical single-seaters. Those of us who went to Spa or
Goodwood saw everything from Brooklands pre-war racers through to 1970’s Grand Prix cars and the
grids were full too. Ninety-two (yes, 92) cars lined up for the start of the Spa Six Hours!

  Interestingly, although single-seaters feature on both Goodwood and Spa programmes – and the DFV-
powered F1 cars do take the breath away round Spa – it is sportscars that take the limelight. At
Goodwood the recreation RAC TT is always the focal point, whilst Spa’s Six Hours caters for a mix of
sports and touring cars. A bit too much of a mix for some, but we’ll come back to that.

We never had it so good....................
  Of course when one thinks of Goodwood it is invariably images of ‘fifties Aston Martin’s or Stirling Moss
at the wheel of Rob Walker’s Ferrari 250 SWB that come to mind so it is perhaps it is inevitable that the
RAC TT race, a two-driver, one-hour affair catering for GT cars from the period 1960-64 is the one
everyone wants to see – or indeed be seen in. Many of the cars are raced regularly by their owners but for
this race they often find a star name sharing the driving duties. It’s a race that regular Goodwood
supporter Emanuele Pirro has rather made his own; he’s popular with the crowd too. He’s driven Bernie
Carl’s lightweight Jaguar E-Type to victory here before but this year he was teamed-up with Goodwood
virgin Dario Franchitti. Nevertheless the Scot quickly adapted to the new scenario and was sliding through
the circuit’s high-speed sweeps with the best of them. They were delighted winners after getting the
better of Ludovic Lindsay’s lowdrag E-Type, that one co-driven by Gerhard Berger. The Austrian is another
who has fallen in love with Goodwood’s charms – or maybe it’s just the opportunity to kiss “Marilyn
Monroe” afterwards…. However, the fact that he claimed pole position, lapping even faster than the cars’
equally rapid owner was proof of just how seriously he was taking matters.  Third place fell to an AC
Cobra driven by the debuting Nicholas Minassian and race regular Patrick Tambay.

  That there were ex Grand Prix drivers in all three of the podium cars leads us to an interesting point.
Historic racings’ detractors claim they have no interest in the sport because they do not want their
memories from the past being spoilt by seeing cars being driven at less than the pace they would have
been in their glory days. However, whilst around a dozen former Formula 1 drivers graced the TT grid (as
would have been the case originally) they by no means upstaged the regular historic racers. The likes of
Lindsay, Peter Hardman, Mark Hales and Tony Dron are quite capable of giving them a run for their
money. Conversely, such is the competitiveness of present-day historic racing that it is actually producing
some very competent young drivers who are going on to make names for themselves in modern racing.
Nathan Kinch is an example in point whilst Edwin Jowsey (he won Goodwood’s Formula Junior race) and
Oliver Bryant are stars of the future. Bryant and his father Grahame collected a fair few trophies in Spa,
leading one old stager to mutter darkly about people with too much money and too many cars!

Tin Top Heaven
  Saloon car racing has always been popular and again the St Mary’s Trophy race has star billing on the
Goodwood programme. Usually run as a one-hour, two-driver event it this year became two separate
racers with a combined result and featured Group 2 cars from the 1960-66 era. That meant lots of big
Fords! As one who grew up in the sixties I have lots of memories of Galaxies, Falcons and Mustangs (my
favourite). I was not to be disappointed at Goodwood, or at Spa for that matter. Jackie Oliver proved he
had lost none of his skills by piloting Shaun Lynn’s mighty Galaxie to first place in Saturday’s race but
third place by the cars’ owner on Sunday was not sufficient to claim overall victory. With the overall result
based on combined race times, Sunday winner Leo Voyazides claimed the prize with Alan Jones, despite
the fact that the Aussie had only managed to finish sixth on Saturday. Oliver/Lynn kept second place,
whilst Sir John Whitmore helped his old boss Alan Mann to third place in their Mustang.

  There was again a liberal sprinkling of star names including former touring car champions such as
Pirro, Dron, Whitmore, John Rhodes, John Fitzpatrick and of course Sir Stirling Moss. He was celebrating
his 76th birthday at Goodwood and rather relieved that the St Mary’s Trophy has become two separate
races as he says he is not as nimble at driver changes as he used to be! Again, despite the presence of
big names it was a couple of Formula 1’s youngsters who caught the eye and thoroughly enjoyed
themselves to boot – are they allowed to do that? Narain Karthikeyan put in a terrific drive to fourth place in
Ivor Miller’s Lotus Cortina whilst Vitantonio Liuzi was spectacular to say the least in Grahame Bryant’s
highly unlikely ’65 Plymouth Barracuda.

Motorsport is Dangerous
  As ever there was much more to see at Goodwood than you can possibly recall but aside from Pirro’s
joy, and crowd reception, after winning the TT race such rare moments as seeing Babs, Parry Thomas’s
land speed record car, taking part in the Brooklands Trophy race will be treasured for a long time. There
was a mixture of emotions too at witnessing the accident that befell that most experienced of historic
racers, Willie Green. He simply got a wheel on the grass exiting Woodcote in his Maserati 4CL. That was
enough to send him careering into the tyrewall, the impact sending him flying out of the car and rolling
into the road and potentially into the path of other cars. Worse, the Maserati came rolling after him
although Green managed to roll out of its path, then lay motionless for what seemed like forever. He was
eventually removed by the rescue services and the subsequent news was that he had suffered nothing
worse than a fractured leg. A timely reminder that motor racing can be dangerous, even on such a
fabulous occasion.

Cornucopia and Stupidity
  Moving on from the flat, wide open spaces of Goodwood to the undulating rollercoaster of Spa-
Francorchamps, it was again sports and touring cars that took the limelight. The Six Hours is a slightly
curious event attracting a massive entry of tremendously varying cars. In the last year or two victory has
gone to a sports-racer, namely Jon Shipman’s Crosslé 9S that he shares with Mark Hales. Now, it
seems that the organizers would prefer the race to be won by a more traditional GT car, so the likes of the
Crosslé  and one or two other rapid machines such as the Banks’ family’s rapid Alfa Romeo 1750 GT
Giulia Sprint GT were shunted off into something called the eau Rouge Trophy,  whilst others –
something to do with tyres apparently – were running in something called FHR. Whatever, it made life
slightly confusing trying to follow the race on the timing monitors as they were being shown as three
separate races! However, at the end of the day the organizers got what they wanted for victory went to an
Aston Martin DB4, but even that was not what it seems; Wolfgang Friedrichs is the owner of Project 214
but he deems it to be a little too valuable to risk in races like the Six Hours (probably right on this
occasion!) so has had a replica built based on a DB4GT. This was the car that he, David Clark and Simon
Hadfield won with at Spa. For what it’s worth the Crosslé broke and Max and Andrew Banks were the only
survivors in Eau Rouge, finishing a remarkable eighth overall. It was Max who came up with one of the
more memorable comments of the weekend, commenting that qualifying was “like supermarket
shopping – too many people wandering around not knowing what they are looking for.”
With 92 cars out there it was always going to be busy and inevitably there were incidents, but the one that
caused the race to be halted for 75 minutes some way past the halfway mark was totally unnecessary. In
darkness, the race had been running behind a Safety Car for sometime following an accident. A Mustang
apparently pitted for a driver change, rejoined at racing speed, and piled into the back of the TVR at the
back of the queue, causing a huge accident. Inevitably rumours of fatalities quickly went round the
paddock and although fortunately that turned out not to be the case, there was no excuse for the incident –
one hesitates to say accident.

Heavy Weather
  Unusually for a weekend at Spa, there was little rain to spoil proceedings and we were again treated to
the full spectrum of machinery from the pre-war contestants in the Motor Racing legends series through
to the Grand Prix Masters catering for seventies F1 cars. James Hanson’s Surtees TS9B defeated a field
of Lotus (Sid Hoole’s 80 included), Hesketh, Williams, Wolf etc in both races.

  Star names were not quite so prevalent as at Goodwood, but the racing was no less exciting. Simon
Hadfield saw to that in the World Sportscar Masters round. Co-driver John Clark was late onto the grid in
their Lola T70Mk3B, having taken part in the preceding race, so earned a drive-through penalty which
inevitably dropped them down the order. However, Hadfield set an astounding pace once he took the car
over, and when initial runaway leader Helen Bashford had to retire her Chevron he soon found himself in
the lead. Didn’t stop him indulging in a bit of fun though! He found himself running in close company with
Jonathan Baker’s similar car, and despite not being on the same lap even they had a merry old dice for a
few laps. Pre-arranged apparently….

  Historic racing’s like that. Deadly serious but also a lot of fun. The doubters should go and have a look,
they might just like what they see.

John Elwin
October 2005

The Guvnors
 Galaxy of Stars
Fast Forward
60's Classics
Fly Me to The Moon
Thames Ditton Flyer
A La Recherche
Hancock's Half Hour
 Previous page
 Next page