Jerez, Spain

JEREZ HISTORIC FESTIVAL
22 – 24 October 2021

Sunny days for historic racing at Jerez

Masters Historic Racing has ticked off the first event of a two-part historic racing fiesta under the sun, as the Masters grids present on the Iberian peninsula treated the Spanish crowd to six outstanding races. At the Jerez Historic Festival, Christophe d’Ansembourg took the double in Masters Endurance Legends while Mike Cantillon and Marco Werner shared the spoils in Masters Historic Formula One. Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell proved emphatic winners in Masters Historic Sports Cars, with John Spiers and Nigel Greensall prevailing in a Masters Gentlemen Drivers race that remained tense until the end.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
D’Ansembourg wins first Masters Endurance Legends race at Jerez.

Christophe d’Ansembourg held off a spirited Keith Frieser to win the first Masters Endurance Legends race at Jerez, the Canadian’s Zytek 09S trailing the Belgian’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 across the line by just over a second.

“I managed the whole race”, said d’Ansembourg. “The pros were really fast but I kept Marco behind for quite a long time, and after the pitstop I simply controlled it. This is a tricky track, you can so easily make a mistake here.”

“First I was watching Marco fight Christophe”, said Frieser. “And then I briefly got ahead of Christophe but he was faster than me. I pedalled as hard as I could!”

In the first half of the race, Marco Werner took the fight to d’Ansembourg but a longer stop to hand over to Nick Padmore meant that the Lola-Lotus B12/80 was 11 seconds down at the finish. It still consummately won the P2 class from Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75 who finished sixth overall.

“All happy faces!” said Werner. “It was a very nice race, and a good fight at the beginning.”

“I really enjoyed it”, said Padmore. “I just need more laps in it – I love it!”

In fourth and fifth respectively, James Hagan’s ORECA-GM FLM09 won the P3-class battle with Ron Maydon’s Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15. Jason Wright took GT class honours in his Ferrari 458 GT3.

“I don’t know what happened to the car”, said a despondent Wright. “Yesterday on fresh tyres it just clicked, but today it was horrible. I was hoping to fight with Ron and Mike, but I guess the tyres went off.”

From the start, d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 stormed off into the lead, but Marco Werner in the Lola-Lotus B12/80 kept the Belgian honest lap after lap, following by less than a second as the first 15 minutes ticked away. Keith Frieser in the Zytek 09S wasn’t far behind either, as the Canadian stuck to Werner’s gearbox right until the pit window opened.

James Hagan in the ORECA-GM FLM09 was soon a lonely fourth, while Ron Maydon in the Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 saw Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75 come by after eight laps. The leading GT car of Jason Wright was fourth initially but the Ferrari 458 GT3 dropped behind the prototypes of Hagan, Maydon and Furness as the first part of the race progressed. Two laps in, Aaron Scott’s Aston Martin DBR9 was the race’s first casualty, the GT1 succumbing to brake failure.

D’Ansembourg and Frieser were the first to stop once the pit window had opened, leaving Werner out in front before the German came in to hand over to Nick Padmore. Hagan and Wright had stopped too, but Furness and Maydon decided to leave it late. This would have allowed Furness to actually lead the race momentarily but he was pipped to it by d’Ansembourg charging back into first position moments before the pair crossed the timing beam. Frieser, still only 1.2 seconds behind the Belgian, followed through almost immediately.

Maydon was third now, the Werner/Padmore having dropped down to fourth due to a longer mandatory stop for elite drivers but on lap 15, Padmore was back into third, trailing the leader by 13 seconds but lapping slightly faster than both d’Ansembourg and Frieser.

18 laps in, and Frieser wasn’t giving up, as the Canadian kept harrying the shrieking Lola-Aston in front, the two drivers likely relishing the fight immensely. Padmore was still catching but probably not at the rate that he would have liked, while Hagan now trailed the lead trio by a minute and a half. Maydon and Furness were fifth and sixth, with Wright still leading the GT category.

As the clock wound down, d’Ansembourg maintained his slender lead over Frieser to win by just over a second, with Padmore a further ten seconds down. Hagan finished a lapped fourth, ahead of Maydon and Furness, while Wright took GT class honours.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
D’Ansembourg doubles up in Masters Endurance Legends fiesta at Jerez.

Christophe d’Ansembourg completed the double in his Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 by also winning the second Masters Endurance Legends race of the Jerez Historic Festival weekend.

“Yes, the double! I’m happy, especially after my F1 race where I was leading and spun”, said d’Ansembourg. “Here, I was really cautious all the time, so I let Marco go.”

During his opening stint, the Belgian saw Marco Werner break away in the German’s Lola-Lotus B12/80 to open up the 23-second gap necessary to negate his and teammate Nick Padmore longer pitstop time for an elite driver pairing. Padmore looked like rejoining in the lead but d’Ansembourg flew past when he exited the pits, to see the Lola-Aston win by 2.2 seconds. In the Zytek 09S, Keith Frieser ran Padmore a close third.

“I pushed like hell!” said Werner about his attempt to open up a big enough gap. “I was still in the rhythm of my F1 race, so I gave it all I could.”

“He went past just as I was leaving”, said Padmore, “but he was flying, I couldn’t get near him.”

Ron Maydon finished a distant fourth in his Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15, well ahead of P3 class rival Chris Atkinson’s ORECA-GM FLM09. Among the GTs, Aaron Scott bounced from his Aston Martin DBR9’s early retirement in race 1 to beat Jason Wright’s Ferrari 458 GT3 to the class win.

“This time the car was good”, said Scott who enjoyed his tussle with the prototypes. “I was trying to be respectful and bring it home safely. It’s a pretty valuable car!”

“Much better than this morning”, said Wright despite not winning. “I put on a fresh set of tyres and actually enjoyed this one. In fact, I’m happy to be here. I got a bad ‘flu last week and it didn’t look like I was going to make it.”

Around four o’clock in the afternoon, rounding off a successful Jerez weekend, the Masters Endurance Legends cars headed out for their second race of the day. From the start, d’Ansembourg led away yet again but Werner soon got past Frieser for second place. Maydon snatched fourth from Atkinson who had now taken over Hagan’s ORECA-GM FLM09. Furness in the Courage LC75 was sixth, holding the GT cars of Aaron Scott and Jason Wright at bay.

While earlier in the day, d’Ansembourg managed to hold off Werner for lap after lap, the German this time knew no mercy, taking the lead on lap 2 and leaving d’Ansembourg and Frieser to fight between themselves. The Lola-Lotus B12/80 was flying, and at the end of lap 3, Werner had opened up a seven-second gap to the Lola-Aston Martin DBR1, with Frieser’s Zytek 09S a second further back.

22 seconds down on the leader, Maydon held a steady fourth, his Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 keeping Atkinson at a safe two-second disadvantage for the ORECA, that was now actively chased by Furness. And Scott too, since the Aston Martin DBR9 was joining the prototype fight, having dropped Wright by six seconds. Indeed, next time around, the Aston relegated the Courage to seventh in order to set after the ex-LMPC car just up ahead.

Werner having to negate the longer pitstop forced upon himself and fellow pro co-driver Padmore, the German set out to increase the gap to d’Ansembourg. On lap 6, Werner led by 16 seconds while Frieser began to gradually lose ground, the Canadian now trailing the Lola-Aston by three seconds. While Maydon contiuned to run fourth, Scott was now his closest pursuer, also having dealt with Atkinson who still had Furness to fight.

15 minutes gone, and the pit window was open for driver changes and a mandatory stop. In fact, there would be just two driver changes, as Werner would come in with a 23-second lead that he wouldn’t be able to hand over fully to Padmore. In fact, d’Ansembourg was quicker to come in than Werner, for the moment handing second place to Frieser, his Zytek now 26 seconds down on the Lola-Lotus. Meanwhile, further back, Furness had passed Atkinson for sixth.

On lap 11, Scott was the next to come in to hand over to Bob Blain, followed by Atkinson, Wright and Frieser, as Werner, Maydon and Furness continued for another tour before they also made their stops. When Padmore exited the pits, it looked like mission accomplished for Werner, as his teammate still had a few seconds in hand over d’Ansembourg – but the Belgian was flying and darted past the Lola-Lotus as it returned to the track. Frieser too, meanwhile, was just three seconds away from Padmore. Maydon was a safe fourth, leading a lapped Furness, with Atkinson sixth, and Blain seventh, now chased by Wright.

Now it would be a straight fight to the finish. As d’Ansembourg upped his tempo in comparison to Padmore his advantage grew to five seconds on lap 16, with Frieser still just two seconds down on the Lola-Lotus. As the clock ticked down, the Belgian in the lead kept adding the tenths to a maximum lead of around seven seconds and only eased down towards the end to win by 2.2 seconds, with Frieser nine more ticks behind. Maydon took a distant fourth ahead of Atkinson, while Scott won the GT category from Wright. Furness’ Courage was a late retirement on lap 19.

Masters Gentlemens Drivers & Pre66 Touring Cars
Spiers/Greensall prevail in finely poised Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Jerez.

In a 90-minute race that to the end remained finely poised between the three front-running cars, the John Spiers/Nigel Greensall TVR Griffith came out on top as Greensall swept past the Elans of Graham Wilson/David Pittard and Andrew Haddon in the final seven minutes of the race. On lap 35, Haddon himself was caught by Pittard but the Elans then saw Greensall charge past the both of them.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the winners, though. With Spiers coming in for his stop five seconds before the pit window opened, Greensall was forced to do a drive-through next time around, handing him an additional challenge to overcome.

“I’m delighted”, said Greensall. “I’ve just started racing with John, and this was my first proper race in the TVR. John did a great first stint, but the pitstop came just five seconds too soon, so I was basically forced to drive flat-out for 50 minutes! I managed to get both Elans on the same lap, Andrew into turn 1 and then David on the back straight. I’m absolutely thrilled – first time at Jerez, and wins in all the big cars, Cobras, E-types and now the Griffith.”

Haddon had held the advantage in the first part of the race, as he challenged Michael Gans in the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé for the lead to take over the helm on lap 9 before the big American car was forced to retire with an engine issue. Two early safety-car periods helped Spiers and Wilson to keep the lead in sight, allowing their relief drivers to ‘only’ have to close gaps of well less than a minute, which both duly did.

“It was good”, said Wilson. “The safety cars helped us, I must say. I was amazed how many cars were off in the gravel!”

“The safety cars got me!” said Haddon. “I lost my lead every time. But hey, I got beaten by two worthy pros, so all good. It was good fun and the car was great.”

In Lee Mowle’s Jaguar E-type, Phil Keen looked set to join the top-three but finished 24 seconds down, while Robin Ward took Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R to fifth overall and third in the CLP class behind the two Elans. Right at the end, Andy Willis in Stephan Joebstl’s Elan passed Richard Hywel Evans’ AC Cobra for sixth overall.

C2 class honours went to Chris Clarkson/David Smithies after a race-long fight with the similar Austin Healey 3000 of Harvey Woods/Mark Pangborn. Woods had led the first part but Smithies came back to take the lead in the second part of the race. Overcoming several issues, the Thomas Henkel/Karl Günter Diederichs Porsche 904 cornered the C1 class win.

Dawn had only just broken when the cars got underway for their 90 minutes of racing in the fresh air of an Andalusian morning in autumn. Spiers and Gans led away, with the latter soon taking over the helm. The man on the move was Andrew Haddon, passing Wilson, Mowle and then Spiers to be second after the opening lap. Behind the TVR of Spiers and Mowle’s E-type, Peter Dod was up next in the second Griffith, chased by Richard Hywel-Evans in the Cobra, Lukas Halusa in the Ferrari 250 GT ‘Breadvan’, while Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R had passed Graham Wilson’s Elan for second in the CLP class. In tenth, Steve Soper driving solo in Mark Martin’s Lotus Cortina had made up a wealth of places to easily lead the one-hour touring-car race-within-a-race.

At the front, Haddon’s Elan kept Gans in the big Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé honest, as the two broke away from Spiers by three seconds. Dod was up into fourth ahead of Hywel Evans’s AC Cobra, both having passed Mowle, but on lap 2, Dod dropped away to allow Hywel Evans into fourth. Meanwhile, Alex Birkenstock’s Porsche 904 was into the pits with damage.

After four laps, Gans and Haddon were still tied together by a string, having left Spiers behind seven seconds. Haddon was the convincing CLP-class leader ahead of Maydon in seventh overall and Wilson in ninth, while Harvey Woods kept Chris Clarkson behind in the intra-Austin Healey 3000 battle for C2 class honours. With Birkenstock in the pits, Thomas Henkel’s other 904 had an easy time of it in C1, now in 15th overall.

On lap 5, the safety car was called to recover the stricken TVR of Peter Dod, so the field was bunched up, allowing fresh overtaking opportunities to those left behind. Green-flag conditions returned on lap 7, and soon enough Gans and Haddon left the competition trailing once again, as the order behind remained mostly unchanged for the moment: Spiers, Hywel Evans, Halusa and Maydon, with only Mowle dropping down to seventh ahead of Soper, Wilson, and Peter Thompson in the Marcos 1800 GT. Meanwhile, the Christian & Wolfgang Molitor Lotus Elan 26R became the race’s next retirement.

One lap later, Haddon had done it, passing Gans for the lead into the final corner and then using the twisty bits to eek out a 1.7-second lead halfway into lap 10. Further back, the A-class Lotus pair of Guy Peeters and Guillaume Peeters – Guy in a 15, Guillaume in an 11 – pushed Thompson off the top-ten leaderboard. Soon, Haddon was all on his own, as Gans was seen limping into the pits, . With one hour remaining on the clock, this left Haddon with a 15-second lead over Spiers, who was chased hard by Hywel Evans, Halusa, Maydon and Mowle, the five all bunched together.

On lap 12, the order among the pursuing group changed around, as Halusa leapt ahead to claim second place, with Hywel Evans also snatching third from Spiers. Soper’s Cortina trailed Mowle by five seconds, with another gap opening up to Wilson and the Belgian pair of open-top Lotus machines. In 15th overall, Woods was four seconds clear of C2 class rival Clarkson while C1 class leader Henkel was 12th overall – but only until the moment the German’s Porsche 904 hit the gravel. So on lap 13, the safety car re-emerged to allow the beached Porsche to be retrieved, and again the leader’s advantage was slashed. The touring-car pit window now open, Soper took the opportunity to come in and hand over to Mark Martin who had originally been scheduled to take over from Gans.

The green flag was waved at the start of lap 16, just as the Gent Drivers pit window was about to open. Spiers was quick to come in and hand over Nigel Greensall – but too quick, as the window would only open five seconds later, forcing Greensall to do a drive-through next time around. The Charles Allison/Peter Thompson Marcos 1800 GT was in the pits too but for a different reason – its Volvo engine overheating after a blown head gasket. Next time around, Maydon and Wilson were in too, handing over to Robin Ward and David Pittard respectively, while at the start of lap 18, Halusa, Hywel Evans, Mowle, the two Peeters, Steve Jones and Stephan Joebstl in the Elans, and Clarkson were all in at the same time, the leader coming in on lap 19. Phil Keen was now in Mowle’s Jag, the Peeters were relieved by Louis Zurstrassen in the 11 and Frédéric de Braey in the 15, with Chris Atkinson taking over from Jones, and Andy Willis from Joebstl. Woods, meanwhile, had handed over to Mark Pangborn.

The overall lead had now gone to Mark Martin in the Cortina, with Haddon up next, but he was being caught by Keen and Pittard, who had already jumped Hywel Evans and Ward, while Greensall in Spiers’ TVR and Willis in Joebstl’s Elan were rapidly catching up as well – Greensall now the fastest man on track. In C2, Smithies in the Big Healey started by Clarkson had passed Pangborn for the class lead, and now led his rival by three seconds.

With many of the quicker drivers now in the cars, the race towards the chequered flag was on. The Steve Soper/Mark Martin Cortina took that first, after an hour of racing, to win the Masters Pre-66 Touring car section from Rick Carlino in the Mini, the American in 17th overall when the touring-car race ended. Sadly, the race had ended for Halusa too, the Austrian retiring his Breadvan with a fuel-pump issue.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 cars – Race 1
Cantillon takes commanding win in first Masters Historic Formula One race at Jerez

From pole, Mike Cantillon stormed off to crown a flawless performance with a commanding win in the first Masters Historic Formula One race at the Jerez Historic Festival. Opening up a gap as large as 7 seconds, the Irishman’s Williams FW07C was never headed. Marco Werner took second in the Lotus 81 while Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 passed Nick Padmore’s Lotus 77 for third on lap 9.

“It was great to win”, said Cantillon. “It was still tough out there, especially in the second half of the race when the tyres went off.”

“I’m happy because it’s nice to see the chequered flag again”, said Werner, reflecting on the bad luck in his Spa weekend. “The engine in the 81 had a misfire, but now it has a used engine from a Lotus 76 that had just arrived in our workshop. We did a demo run at Hockenheim and it was fine, so we brought it here. Big compliments to Mike, he did a great job, he was really fast. I lost too much time in the slow corners.”

“As his tyres were going off, I knew it was coming, I just had to wait for it”, said Constable on the opportunity to snatch third from Padmore.

Padmore still took a comfortable pre-78 class win from Miles Griffiths in the Fittipaldi F5A, who chased Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C for fifth all race. In the McLaren M23, Lukas Halusa took eighth overall while sandwiched between the Lotus 91s of Katsu Kubota and Steve Brooks.

“My tyres just went off”, said Padmore on losing third overall. “I was sliding and wheelspinning all over the place – and those ground-effect cars are just faster in high-speed corners.”

“I was chasing Christophe the whole race but just couldn’t get close enough”, said Griffiths, as he looked back on his first Masters Historic Formula One race. “It was my first time, I’m truly thankful to Max Smith-Hilliard and really happy to get the opportunity.”

“It was hot!” said Halusa. “It was a bit lonely for me. I was chasing Katsu and Steve for a bit but they were faster, so I decided to have a bit of fun and just bring it home.” The Austrian had only completed his pre-66 F1 race 25 minutes before so was forced to adapt quickly. “It took a few laps to get used to, but in fact I really enjoy those switches!”

Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 completed the top-ten while in 13th overall, Mark Hazell took the post-82 class win in his Williams FW08.

As they rushed towards the first couple of corners, Cantillon led away from Werner, Padmore, Constable and d’Ansembourg, with Griffiths, Brooks, Kubota, Halusa and Briggs up next. After one lap, Cantillon had drawn away from Werner by a second, as the German was chased by Padmore, with the leader increasing the gap to 1.7 seconds on lap 2.

The positions behind stayed unchanged but groups were beginning to take shape, Werner’s Lotus 81 leading Padmore’s pre-78 class-leading Lotus 77 and Constable’s Tyrrell 011, with a 5-second gap to d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C and Miles Griffiths in the Fittipaldi F5A, the latter in second place in the pre-78 class. Steve Brooks and Katsu Kubota’s pair of Lotus 91s were just tenths apart in seventh and eighth respectively, with Lukas Halusa’s McLaren M23 a further five seconds behind, and third in the pre-78 class. Meanwhile, Briggs’ McLaren M29 had dropped into a gap between Halusa and Patrick d’Aubreby’s March 761.

At the front, five laps into the race, Cantillon’s lead over Werner had increashed to 3.4 seconds as Padmore kept on hounding the newer Lotus ahead of him while having to keep an eye on Constable behind. Two more laps in and reaching the halfway point of the race, the Irishman’s first place was looking ever more secure, the Williams FW07C now in front by 4.6 seconds. Further back, Kubota had passed Brooks for seventh, the two 91s having switched order.

With ten minutes to go, Cantillon led the Werner-Padmore-Constable gaggle of cars by 6.5 seconds, the trio now having bunched up even more and following each nose-to-tail. D’Ansembourg was 15 seconds down on the leader, having dropped Griffiths by two seconds, while Kubota was inching away from Brooks who in turn saw Halusa chase him down, with Briggs rounding out the top-ten.

On lap 9, Constable made it stick to move into third, as Padmore began to drop away from the two more recent cars now ahead of him. Meanwhile, Cantillon had eased his pace as he consolidated his lead at a comfortable 6.3 seconds while towards the back of the top-ten Halusa had now usurped Brooks for eighth overall. After 11 laps, Marc Devis’ Surtees was the first car to retire, the TS16 suffering from overheating, joined by Bob Blain in the March 761.

At the front, Cantillon was in conservative mode but held on win by 4.8 seconds from Werner, who was followed home by Constable and Padmore, the latter taking the pre-78 class win. 21 seconds down, d’Ansembourg was fifth, holding off Griffiths who took second place in the pre-78 class. Kubota, Halusa (third in the pre-78 class), Brooks and Briggs rounded out the top-ten. Next up were d’Aubreby’s March 761, the returning Max Smith-Hilliard in the Shadow DN5 and the post-82 class-winning Williams FW08 of Mark Hazell.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 cars – Race 2
Werner steals win from Constable in second Masters Historic Formula One race at Jerez

Marco Werner won the second Masters Historic Formula One race at Jerez when right at the end he passed long-time race leader Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 to steal victory in his Lotus 81. Werner was given the opportunity when his teammate Nick Padmore in the pre-78 class-leading Lotus 77 was forced to retire from second place on lap 11. Until that, Constable successfully soaked up the pressure from Padmore.

“It was a crazy race!” said a smiling Werner. “A good race, though, and a lot of fun. If I had managed to pass Nick earlier I would have got Jamie sooner too, but Nick was giving me a hard time – that’s racing!”

“I had a great race with Nick”, Constable explained, “but I was suffering from a slow puncture, and couldn’t do much about Marco coming past…”

Taking the pre-78 class win in only his second Masters Historic Formula One race, Miles Griffiths shone to take third overall in his Fittipaldi F5A, moving up a place after Padmore’s demise. Christophe d’Ansembourg was the early leader in the Williams FW07C before dropping down the order and incurring a time penalty for exceeding track limits.

“I enjoyed that!” said Griffiths, beaming from ear to ear. “A lot more today than yesterday!”

This promoted the Lotus 91 pair of Katsu Kubota and Steve Brooks to fourth and fifth respectively, with Lukas Halusa taking sixth in his McLaren M23, the Austrian also bagging second place in the pre-78 class. Series returnee Max Smith-Hilliard completed the pre-78 podium with eighth overall in his Shadow DN5.

“I’m still rusty, very much so”, said Smith-Hilliard about his two-year absence. “I had three races today, and I’m steadily pulling it back together again. I lucked in with this one, I just followed the other cars home.”

From the reversed grid for the first five of race 1, d’Ansembourg led away from Padmore, Constable, Werner and Cantillon, with Kubota giving chase ahead of Griffiths, Halusa, Brooks and Briggs. Across the line for the first lap, the order remained unchanged but it soon turned to tears for Cantillon, as the Williams FW07C dropped down to tenth.

D’Ansembourg’s FW07C had broken away from Padmore by three seconds, the latter’s Lotus 77 feeling the heat of Constable’s Tyrrell 011 and Werner’s Lotus 91, with Griffiths up into fifth, having demoted Kubota. On lap 3, though, the Belgian in the lead missed a step, allowing Padmore, Constable and Werner through, but into lap 4 the FW07C was back up into third.

Further behind, Brooks in the second Lotus 91 had risen to seventh ahead of Halusa’s McLaren M23 but the Austrian soon gave way to Cantillon’s remount. On his return to Masters Historic Formula One, Max Smith-Hilliard now sat in tenth in his Shadow DN9, ahead of Marc Devis in the Surtees TS16, Warren Briggs’ McLaren M29 having dropped out.

On lap 5, Constable took over the helm from Padmore who now had to deal with Lotus stablemate Werner, as Griffiths climbed up to fourth and wasn’t far away either, the Fittipaldi F5A driver profiting from another slip-up from d’Ansembourg. In fact, Griffiths was now the fastest man on track, as Constable proved to brake free from Padmore and Werner. Meanwhile, Patrick d’Aubreby called it quits, the Frenchman giving up on the gearbox issues on his March 761.

Now getting a full taste of this new Masters Historic Formula One thing, Griffiths joined the top three to make it a leading quartet five seconds clear of d’Ansembourg. 13 seconds down on the leader, Kubota was sixth but was facing Cantillon’s challenge, and sure enough, the Irishman was past on lap 8. Brooks fought Halusa over eighth overall, the latter still third in the pre-78 class, ahead of Smith-Hilliard and Devis.

With ten minutes still to go, things now truly began to heat up at the front, the first three separated by less than a second, with Griffiths slightly dropping away again. Constable continued to soak up the relentless pressure from the two Lotus cars, while further behind Cantillon began to close on teammate and fellow Williams driver d’Ansembourg.

Then suddenly, Padmore was out of the fight and into the pits on lap 11, and then Cantillon was in too, suffering from ignition issues. This left Werner with a clear view of Constable’s Tyrrell, with Griffiths five seconds behind and the new pre-78 class leader, and d’Ansembourg in fourth, ten seconds down on the front. As Constable and Werner crossed the line for the 12th time, the gap was down to 0.177s, with three minutes still to go…

On lap 13, it was done – Werner was past and into the lead. And that is where he would stay, as the safety-car board came out for the final couple of minutes, Bob Blain’s March 751 having spun in a dangerous place. Constable came home second, Griffiths in third while pocketing a pre-78 class win. D’Ansembourg salvaged fourth, ahead of Kubota, Brooks, Halusa and Smith-Hilliard, the latter two completing the post-78 podium. Marc Devis and Paul Tattersall’s Ensign N179 rounded out the top-ten. When the dust settled, though, d’Ansembourg incurred a 30-second time penalty for exceeding track limits on several occasions, demoting him to seventh overall.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Brooks/O’Connell take dominant Masters Historic Sports Car victory at Jerez.

Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell converted pole position into a convincing victory in the one-hour Masters Historic Sports Car race at the Jerez Historic Festival, their Lola T70 Mk3B leading from lights to flag to win by 29 seconds. In second place, Michael Gans vainly gave chase in his Lola T290 while Max Smith-Hilliard and Miles Griffiths wrapped up third in their Chevron B19. Griffiths came close to Gans towards the end but couldn’t quite make it.

“It was fairly straightforward race, wasn’t it?” said Brooks. “The car was just breathtaking, and it’s a hell of a track. I love the sweeping nature, it’s like making love to a beautiful girl!”

“My job was easy”, said O’Connell about being handed a nice lead by Brooks. “I just drove around, trying not to make a mess of it!”

“Close, but not close enough!” said Griffiths. “We always want one more lap, don’t we?”

In his Chevron B23, Belgian Guy Peeters finished a distant fourth, also profiting from the early demise of his countryman Marc Devis, whose Chevron B19 was the first retirement of the race, quickly followed by the Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis Lola T212. Winning the Siffert class, John Sheldon was fifth in his Chevron B16 while John Spiers and Nigel Greensall took the pre-66 Hulme class trophy in their McLaren M1B.

“With the McLaren, you just can’t breathe all the time you’re in it!” said an exasperated Greensall. “It’s phenomenal, you have wheelspin in fourth gear…”

Despite starting from the pits, Chris Lillingston-Price quickly moved to the front of the Bonnier-class fight but was forced to retire shortly before the halfway mark. This handed the initiative to the Charles Allison/Peter Thompson Chevron B8, Thompson increasing the gap to Andrew Owen’s example during the pair’s second stint.

In this lunchtime race, Brooks in the T70 Mk3B charged away from Gans in the Lola and the Chevrons of Smith-Hilliard, Devis and Peeters, with Sheldon up next ahead of Spiers and Joebstl, while Allison led the Bonnier class due to Chris Lillingston-Price starting late from the pitlane with coil trouble. Soon, though, he was past Andrew Owen’s Chevron B8 and Chris Jolly in the Cooper Monaco T61M.

After three laps, Devis gave up the chase, his Chevron B19 reporting to the pits with transmission trouble. At the front, Brooks led Gans’ T290 by 1.8 seconds, the pair having dropped Smith-Hilliard by 12 seconds. Peeters’ B23 was fourth, ten more ticks in arrears, with Sheldon’s lone Siffert-class Chevron B16 in no man’s land between the Belgian and John Spiers’ Hulme-class-leading McLaren-Chevrolet M1B in sixth overall. In seventh, Lillingston-Price was back at the top of the Bonnier class, having just passed Allison, with Owen further back.

15 minutes into the race, Brooks had increased his advantage to four seconds while further down the road Lillingston-Price had usurped Spiers for sixth overall. Smith-Hilliard trailed the two leaders by 22 seconds but had a healthy 14 seconds in hand on Peeters. Meanwhile, Joebstl’s Lola T212 had ground to a halt, and so did Chris Jolly’s Cooper Monaco T61M, both denying Andy Willis and Steve Farthing a run in the respective cars.

As the pit window approached, Brooks inched away from Gans further and further, and the gap had grown to 14 seconds when the first were allowed to make their mandatory stops. Smith-Hilliard was 50 seconds down on the leader but still on the same lap – which could not be said of Peeters, the Belgian being the first to pit. Sheldon was holding his own in fifth, ahead of Lillingston-Price and Allison, the latter having left Spiers behind in eighth, as the latter handed over to Nigel Greensall. Soon though, Lillingston-Price was to relinquish his Bonnier-class lead, his B8 heading into the pits with a terminal issue.

As Brooks now led Gans by the whole back straight and then some, Smith-Hilliard was the next one in, Miles Griffiths taking over the B19 from its owner. He was followed by Gans and Sheldon, and at the final opportunity the leader made his stop to hand over to Martin O’Connell, with Allison joining him to be relieved by Peter Thompson.

After the dust had settled, O’Connell remained in front by a decent margin and went on to increase the gap with every tour. Griffiths was closing on Gans, though, even though the American’s margin was still extremely healthy. Peeters and Sheldon were a lonely fourth and fifth, with Greensall leading the Hulme class in sixth. Thompson had taken charge of the Bonnier class, leading Owen by 48 seconds.

The positions remained static to the end of the race, O’Connell duly converting the advantage that Brooks had given him to win the race by 29 seconds. While Gans lost ground to Griffiths, it wasn’t enough to depose the American, as they divided the remaining podium positions between themselves. The gap at the end was down to less than two seconds. Peeters finished a distant fourth ahead of Sheldon’s B16, while Nigel Greensall cornered the pre-66 Hulme-class win for John Spiers and himself. Peter Thompson held Andrew Owen to about 50 seconds to win the Bonnier class.