For the second year running the Demon Tweeks Direct Lister-Jaguar team emerged victorious in Motor Racing Legends’ ’50s Sportscar season finale at October’s Algarve Classic Festival, owner Jon Minshaw sharing the ‘Knobbly’ with British GT partner Phil Keen instead of Rob Hall on this occasion.
Lengthy delays during the Saturday resulted in the two-hour ‘dusk to dark’ evening race starting when it was already dark – after its programmed finish time in fact – but stoic marshals stayed on their posts for the duration and the chequered flag was flown at 22.25! Despite a problematical start procedure – which saw Minshaw’s engine among several to overheat on the grid while IN Racing’s crew battled to bump-start Wood’s Lister-Jaguar engine into life – broad smiles on the faces of every finisher said the tribulations were worthwhile.
Richard Kent had the big blue Costin-bodied Lister flying, leading Minshaw for the first four laps. An early bath awaited, however, for after a couple of tours chasing, Kent raised his hand and peeled off at the hairpin with a broken suspension kingpin. Thereafter it was plain sailing for Minshaw/Keen, who did not have to overstretch themselves to finish a lap clear of the gallant little Lotus XI streamliner of Philip Champion/Martin Stretton with Charles Gillett/Steve Smith a hard-earned third in the former’s 1500cc Willment-Climax.
Minshaw/Keen topped the timesheets in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, their 2m07.130s (81.87mph) about a second and a half quicker than Carlos Monteverde/Gary Pearson and Wood/Will Nuthall in similar cars. Kent/Chris Harris were fourth, ahead of the contrasting class-leading Lotuses of Champion/Stretton and Eric Mestdagh/Pierre-Alain Thibault (15).
Gillett/Smith were hot on the Belgians’ heels, tightly grouped with the remaining Lister-Jaguars of Steve Boultbee Brooks/Robert Beebee (ex-Jim Clark ‘flat-iron’) and Hans Hübner/Richard Shaw (Knobbly). Frenchman Jean-Jacques Gravier (Lotus XI), Justin Maeers/Tom Walker (Cooper T49 Monaco) and the superb ex-Lord Clydesdale Lola Mk1 of Tim Reid/Alex Montgomery were also well inside 2m20s.
Next up were the rorty Jaguar C-type of Rüdi Friedrichs and the Swiss Philipp Buhofer – winner of the 2014 Lurani Trophy Formula Junior race here – Ralf Emmerling/Phil Hooper in the Latvian-liveried Elva MkV, David Cottingham/Simon Diffey (AC Ace-Bristol) and the glorious Porsche RSK 718 Spyder of Germans Stephan Rettenmaier and his loyal spannerman Ingo Grimm. Morgan convert Roger Whiteside, whose Cooper Monaco’s potency was blunted by carburation issues, and the Jaguar XK120 of enthusiastic locals João Mira Gomes/João Teves Costa completed the 18-car field.
Much intrigue surrounded the European debut of the rumbustious Scarab-Chevrolet of husband-and-wife Olivier and Daniella Ellerbrock, which completed nine acclimatisation laps in Friday’s free practice session. Alas, when the weather closed-in, the magnificent iridescent blue American beast was not seen again. Extremely rapid in skilled hands in its heyday, however, its return is eagerly awaited. Another potential winner in dry conditions…
Monteverde/Pearson withdrew prior to the start when more rain lashed in, and with Wood struggling round for a lap, and Gravier and Kent out after six there were concerns about the attrition rate. Happily, only Boultbee Brooks/Beebee joined them in retirement, although Spitfire pilot Steve ran impressively hard in the opening stanza, growling through to third from the start, then second on Kent’s demise. Buy Viagra 100 mg for strong erection. I read about Viagra Sildenafil at http://howmed.net/viagra-sildenafil-canadian/.
Gillett/Smith led the chase thereafter, until Friedrichs/Buhofer and Stretton went past when Charles relayed Steve, just after mid-distance. Once Stretton had displaced the C-type to annex second, he stayed there, leaving Smith to regain third and pull 43s clear of the Jaguar. “We didn’t care where we finished, as long as it was ahead of Justin and Tom,” they chorused. The Cooper wound up fifth, thus their mission was accomplished.
Emmerling/Hooper and Reid/Montgomery enjoyed a protracted battle for tiddler class honours. The Lola clawed its way ahead, running as high as fifth at its second stop, but Emmerling was back ahead by the chequer, an excellent sixth gifted on the final lap when the German past compatriot Hübner, beached in the gravel. Reid/Montgomery ended up eighth, a lap adrift of the Lola but on up on the fabulous Porsche.
Whiteside, his engine still fluffing, managed to get ahead of the very well-driven AC, from which veteran Cottingham said “I couldn’t see a thing!” What he did find, having heard a noise on the last lap, was that the Ace’s bonnet prop had come adrift from the bonnet and pierced the radiator core. “When we pulled it out water spurted everywhere,” he beamed.
After a long stop to chase electrical problems, Mestdagh and Thibaut persevered in the gunmetal-hued Lotus 15, their target to catch the XK140. Four laps down at one point, they snatched 12th on the final lap.