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Kent and Ward dominate Algarve ’50s enduro 

Victory in Motor Racing Legends ’50s Sportscars season-closer at the 11th Algarve Classic Festival on November 2 neatly bookended a breakthrough season for Richard Kent and his Lister-Jaguar Costin. Winner of the opening Lister-supported Stirling Moss Trophy Pre-1961 race of the programme at May’s Donington Historic Festival, Kent shared this time with past-master Chris Ward. They dominated proceedings throughout, starting the two-hour race into darkness from pole and taking the chequered flag a lap clear of their closest rivals.

Initially the Lister-Jaguar Costin of Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson challenged for second, but the Brazilian was soon outrun by feisty Cooper Monaco duo Justin Maeers/Charlie Martin. Another Brazilian, Bernardo Hartogs, partnered by IN Racing’s Will Nuthall, wound up a combative fourth in the former’s Lotus 15 S3, clear of the Jaguar C-types of Paul Pochciol/James Hanson and Germany’s Rudiger Friedrichs/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards, best of the EFG Bank-backed Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy contenders.

Fourteen teams arrived in Portugal, drivers representing five nations forming a cosmopolitan field. Kent/Ward topped the time sheets with a 2m07.599s (81.56mph) shot, clear of the contrasting front and rear-engined two-litre Coventry-Climax FPF-powered machines of Brazilian Hartogs and Nuthall and Maeers/Martin on 2:09.054 and 2:10.395 respectively.

Fourth quickest were Monteverde/Pearson with 2:11.812, with Malcolm Paul/Rick Bourne fifth with an impressive 2:13.193 in Malcolm’s 1490cc Lotus 11. A trio of Jaguar C-types was split by 3.4s, Pochciol/Hanson leading invitee Nigel Webb/John Young and Friedrichs/PB-E.

David Reed/Peter Snowdon (Aston Martin DB2) batted above their weight to record 2:23.550, outpacing the Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans of David Stanley/Jason Minshaw, the Elva-Climax MkV of moustachioed German Ralf Emmerling and Phil Hooper, the Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica of a trio of Wards, father Steve and sons Thomas and Josh. Two Jaguar XK140 coupes completed the field, Marc Gordon’s swifter than that of omnipresent Portuguese Joao Mira-Gomes and his cohort Fernando Campos Ferreira.

From the start early on Saturday evening Monteverde bolted past the smaller-engined cars to run second behind Kent as the pack accelerated up the hill out of the hairpin behind the pits and into the writhing middle sector. By the end of the lap, however, Maeers was established in second and Hartogs fourth, ahead of Friedrichs and Snowdon who had leapt ahead of Pochciol and Paul. Further down, Gordon and Stanley were engaged in an energetic battle in which they would trade places repeatedly.

Monteverde attempted to oust Maeers for a couple of laps, then slipped back, despite the rival Cooper’s four-cylinder engine suffering from a misfire audible at 50 paces. Leader Kent’s charge took him ever further ahead of his pursuers, his advantage being almost a minute when, with drizzle descending, he put Ward in after 16 laps.

Maeers thus led temporarily, from Chris, Monteverde – who had served a drive through penalty on lap 14 for overtaking under yellow flags, while marshals tended the Ward family’s broken down Frazer Nash on the back straight – and Hartogs, not far apart. By one-third distance Friedrichs was a lap down, chased by Pochciol and Snowdon, still tussling in disparate machinery.

Maeers made his mandatory stop after 20 laps, Ward moving back into the lead as Martin resumed. Monteverde and Hartogs had stopped together after 18, whereupon Pearson and Nuthall took up the cudgels. Friedrichs assumed third until Gary got going and Nuthall drove eight laps before putting Hartogs back in, leaving Blakeney-Edwards and Pochciol fourth and fifth.

As the race moved into its final phase, Kent was back in the lighter blue Lister and pulling away from Maeers, who he lapped 10 tours from the end. Both Justin and Charlie Martin had struggled with poor (standard lighting) on the class-winning Cooper Monaco, “but I refuse to spoil its lines by adding spotlights,” grinned the owner. Nonetheless, they finished more than a minute and a half ahead of the Monteverde/Pearson Lister, both a lap clear of Hartogs/Nuthall. Paul/Bourne and Emmerling/Hooper completed the SMT-eligible runners in seventh and ninth overall.

Pochciol/Hanson finished top of the Woodcote Trophy contenders, fifth past the chequer and pursued by the similar Jaguar C-type of Friedrichs/Blakeney-Edwards. Third in the Pre-’56 split [behind Webb/Young’s C-type, running for fun] was a meritorious result for Reed and Snowdon in the lofty Aston Martin. Stanley/Minshaw and Mira-Gomes/Ferreira also finished, but Gordon’s XK was retired after half-way.