James Cottingham and Harvey Stanley considered themselves fortunate to win the Pre-’63 GT race at the Algarve Classic Festival on Saturday, November 2. Following a drive through penalty, meted out when Stanley traversed the pit exit line having taken over the leading Jaguar E-type roadster, Gary Pearson howled past in Carlos Monteverde’s Ferrari 250 GTO only for second gear to fail with four laps to go. “The same as last year, on the penultimate lap,” shrugged Pearson who could only park the Italian stallion safely and watch victory slip away. “That was lucky,” conceded Stanley. “My little mistake looked like it was going to cost us dearly. Then the Ferrari broke!”
The result saw Cottingham/Stanley – who qualified second, 0.457s behind the GTO – take the chequered flag two minutes and 20 seconds clear of Paul Pochciol/James Hanson in the former’s Manthorpe Engineering E-type. Ex-motorcycle racer Mark Pangborn completed the podium, having finished on the same lap in his Austin-Healey 3000. The event closed the charismatic DK Engineering-supported three-race season, which previously graced the Donington Historic Festival and the Silverstone Classic.
Pearson planted his Brazilian team mate’s Ferrari on pole, having topped the Friday qualifying session with a 2m13.316s (78.06mph) best on the dramatic 2.89-mile 15-turn Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Cottingham/Stanley pushed the pair close, recording 2:13.773 in their maroon Jaguar.
The rest of the 14-car field were a distance behind, third qualifiers Martin Melling and Stephen Blower (son of the late and much-missed racer Colin) being in the low 2m16s with Melling’s pretty E-type Fixed Head Coupe. They were marginally quicker than Grahame and Olly Bryant, first time out in a newly-built sister car. Pochciol/Hanson were in the long ‘18s,’ clear of Pangborn’s gruff Healey.
Karsten Le Blanc and Spa Six Hours heroine Katarina Kyvalova shared the Dutchman’s ex-Le Mans Healey ‘DD300,’ their 2:22.198 heading off Matt Walton’s E-type FHC [destined to non-start], class C leader John Emberson’s ex-Pip Arnold Morgan +4 SLR – its polished aluminium coupe body glinting when the sun appeared – and Bob Binfield’s E-type roadster. Marc Gordon/Nick Finburgh were in touch too, whirling their little 1216cc Lotus Type 14 Elite round in 2:27.634 for 11th.
The ex-works Morgan Plus 4 SuperSports of Simon Gurney/Nick Lyford, nicknamed ‘Choc Ices’ in period, sat 12th. The field was completed by Bentley racer Richard Hudson who shared his Healey with top RHS Chelsea Flower Show award-winning garden builder Mark Richardson – whose father Peter and uncle Jeremy were European 2-litre sportscar championship racers in the early 1970s, racing unusual Daren cars designed and built by John Green – and David Stanley in his BMC-powered TVR Grantura MkIII.
Cottingham set off from pole like a scalded cat, pursued by Hanson, Olly Bryant, Monteverde, Pangborn, Le Blanc and Emberson. The Bryant E was pulled-up, overheating, after four laps, by which time the Jaguars of Melling and Binfield were battling with Finburgh’s Elite in mid-field. Crankshaft failure stopped Martin’s car abruptly on lap 10 and Le Blanc’s Healey was out within five laps of Katarina taking over.
Up front Monteverde established himself ahead of Pochciol a quarter of the way through the hour, then relayed Pearson from second place after 12 laps, just before half distance. Pearson regained second as the pit stagger unwound, but remained 27 seconds behind Stanley who took over the leading car from Cottingham after 17 laps. Gary eagerly set about negating the deficit by two seconds a lap, but the drive through penalty did for Harvey. As Pearson swept ahead on lap 24 Stanley’s hopes looked torpedoed, but the Ferrari didn’t last another lap thus all he had to do was reach the chequer.
Behind Cottingham (who set the race’s fastest lap of 2:13.586 on the first proper flyer) and Stanley, Pochciol/Hanson and class C winner Pangborn, Emberson finished fourth, with C honours, a lap down. The Elite was classified fifth, on 24 laps, half a minute ahead of the Hudson/Richardson Healey. Gurney/Lyford’s traditional-bodied Morgan took the flag ahead of both, but was penalised 90 seconds for cumulative transgressions thus fell to seventh. Also penalised with a drive through were David Stanley, classified eighth on 23 laps, and Binfield who covered 21 between stops.