Masters News

Sunday 31st October 2021

Macedo Silva takes home win in Masters Historic Sports Car race at Portimão

Pedro Macedo Silva (Lola T70 Mk3) survived two time penalties to beat Andy Willis’ Lola T212 to victory in the one-hour race at the Algarve Classic Festival. The pair inherited a fight for the lead when long-time leader Steve Brooks’ Lola T70 Mk3B suddenly broke down right towards the end. Having already incurred a ten-second time penalty for a starting procedure infringement, Macedo Silva then needed a late burst of pace to also negate a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits. The local hero still got the job done by 1.3 seconds.

“It was total mayhem!” said Macedo Silva while he found that the cigarettes he brought in his overall pocket were completely soaked. “I tried to maintain the car on the track all of the time, it was all over the place. And I didn’t have any wipers, I lost them very early on in the race. But it’s great that a non-B Mk3 has won a Masters Historic Sports Car race again instead of a Mk3B!”

“I didn’t actually know my position”, said a confused Willis. “So I just did my own thing every lap, keep things neat and tidy.”

After his Jérez win with Martin O’Connell, Steve Brooks looked poised for a clean run of Masters Historic Sports Car wins on the Iberian peninsula by storming off to a solo victory on the Autodromo do Algarve but was thwarted when his Lola was seen trundling into the pits with just five more minutes to go.

John Emberson took a lonely third in his Chevron B19 while John Spiers and Nigel Greensall grabbed the pre-66 Hulme-class win with a strong fourth overall. In fifth, Chris Lillingston-Price cornered the Bonnier class win from Andrew & Mark Owen’s similar Chevron B8 while John Sheldon took sixth on his way to another Siffert class win.

“It was wet!” said Emberson. “I had a bit of a lonely race but it’s good to finish it in third, because I went off twice! In fact, I was glad to be on my own because the visibility was so poor. I was all wet in the car, with water coming in from all angles. But it was a great race, and I love this track.”

“We’re very pleased with that”, said Greensall. “We survived! John did a great stint, I think he had the worst of the weather.”

“I’m completely soaked, the water just comes in from the bottom”, said Spiers. “After the start it was so wet and there was so much standing water…”

With daylight saving time having ended the night before, the field got going well after dawn – but behind the safety car, as a fresh shower had put an end to any wish for dry conditions. After three laps under caution, Brooks’ Lola T70 Mk3B immediately broke away from Macedo Silva’s non-B T70 Mk3, with the Hulme-class-leading McLaren M1B of John Spiers up next. Soon though, Andy Willis had come through to take third in the Lola T212. The Chevron B19s of John Emberson and Mathias Devis followed, with Charles Allison and Andrew Owen debating the Bonnier class lead in their B8s. Michael Gans in the Lola T290 had already disappeared into the pits with battery issues.

After his initial breakaway, however, Brooks was unable to shake off Macedo Silva any further, the gap stabilising at 1.8 seconds, with Willis closing in on the both of them. Further back, Devis had slipped away behind Rolf Sigrist’s B19 and the two B8s, while Spiers was dropping back towards John Sheldon’s B16, Chris Lillingston-Price in the third B8, Spiers’ class rival Chris Jolly in the Cooper Monaco T61M and Gaby von Oppenheim in the unique Alpine A210.

20 minutes into the race, Macedo Silva had inched closer but was consequently slammed with a ten-second time penalty for a breach of the race-starting procedures. This instantly promoted Willis into second, now nine seconds adrift of Brooks, whose lead had now suddenly become much more serene. Emberson was a lonely fourth ahead of Allison and Owen, with Sigrist and Devis quarrelling over seventh place.

Brooks having got into his stride, a new fastest lap of the race took his lead up to nearly ten seconds, but Willis’ second place on the official timing screens (and third on the road) was under threat because of Macedo Silva besting Brooks’ effort, to again close in on the leader.

The pit window now in sight, Brooks produced another fastest lap of the race to lead Willis by ten seconds and Macedo Silva by 12. Emberson was 41 seconds down on the leader, while Allison abandoned his fight with Owen (A.) to be the first to pit and hand over to Peter Thompson. Too soon, though, which meant that Thompson had to perform another drivethrough on the next lap, at the same time when Brooks came in for his stop. This elevated Willis into the lead, albeit temporarily. Sigrist in the Italian-run B19 was in next, and so were Lillingston-Price, Sheldon and Spiers, the latter handing over to Nigel Greensall. On the following tour, it was Macedo Silva’s turn, an example followed by Emberson, Owen (handing over to son Mark) and Von Oppenheim. On lap 14, Willis and Mathias Devis (changing hands with brother Régis) were the last ones in – apart from Chris Jolly, who appeared to have missed the pit window.

“Our own timing didn’t take the safety-car start in account”, Jolly explained about missing the pit window. “So we missed it by 30 seconds. But our car is pretty undriveable in this weather anyway, so…”

The pitstops having panned out, Brooks now led Willis by 13 seconds and Macedo Silva by 20 – even though the Portuguese driver was still second on the road, ten seconds down on the leader. Emberson was fourth, now 1 minute and 26 seconds behind, while Mark Owen had taken charge in the Bonnier class, well ahead of Chris Lillingston-Price, as Jolly came in after all to hand sixth to Sigrist. The Swiss driver was under imminent threat of Greensall, however, the McLaren having just cleared Lillingston-Price for seventh. Behind Steve Farthing returning in Jolly’s car but facing a stop-and-go penalty for missing that pit window, Sheldon, Devis (R.), Thompson and Von Oppenheim were next, with Gans dead-last but thoroughly enjoying himself by setting fastest laps of the race, the team having changed the Lola’s battery.

At the front, with 15 minutes to go, Brooks’ advantage had increased to some 20 seconds, as Willis and Macedo Silva still debated second place. Emberson looked fairly safe in fourth, but Greensall had moved into fifth ahead of Mark Owen. Lillingston-Price’s efforts to win the Bonnier were given a blow when he was handed a ten-second time penalty for a short mandatory stop, but he was still closing in on Owen, and on lap 20 he got the job done. Sigrist, meanwhile, was in for a second unscheduled stop, handing eighth overall to Sheldon, with Régis Devis completing the top-ten. Further back, Gans’ rapid pace had made him catch up with Von Oppenheim’s Alpine.

And then, shock, as on lap 21, Brooks trundled into the pits, his Chevy engine coughing… So now the fight was between Willis and Macedo Silva, 2.6 seconds separating the pair, as the latter led on the road. Emberson moved up into third, with Greensall in fourth but trailing Emberson’s B19 by 53 seconds. Lillingston-Price led the Bonnier class in fifth, ahead of Owen.

It wasn’t over yet, as towards the end, Macedo Silva found some more pace to negate his disadvantage to Willis and reverse their positions – on lap 24, and less than two minutes from the end, the Portuguese driver was into the lead – both on the road and officially. But then even more drama, as Macedo Silva was handed a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits – as that had been the way that had helped him pick up the pace. So now Willis was back in the lead but by a mere three tenths!

At the drop of the chequered flag, Macedo Silva still got the job done, winning by 1.3 seconds from Willis, with Emberson a distant third. In fourth, John Spiers and Nigel Greensall took a dominant Hulme-class win in their McLaren M1B while Chris Lillington-Price took fifth and the Bonnier class win. Sheldon was sixth and the winner of the Siffert class, with the Owen/Owen Chevron B8 seventh, followed home by the B19s of Rolf Sigrist and Mathias & Régis Devis.


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