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Pre-War Sports Cars at the Algarve, 22 & 23 October 2011

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The Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Cars race at the Algarve Historic Festival came in two halves: 30 minutes on Saturday, and 30 minutes on Sunday. 

“The grid for Race 2 was decided by the finished positions in Race 1, so it was really a one-hour race split into two parts,” explained Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends. “The beauty of this format is that if a car has technical problems (not unheard-of with pre-War cars), the team has a chance to repair it and take to the track the following day. It’s also a more exciting format for spectators.” 

At the end of Race 1, the three leading cars were the Alta Sports of Alex Ames, the Frazer Nash Super Sports of Charles Gillett and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards, and the Alta Sports of Sam Stretton – and each managed to hold onto their positions through to the end of Race 2. 

 It was cars such as the Riley TT Sprite of Luis Sousa Ribeiro which really benefitted from the two-race format, however: after a clutch problem on Saturday, which put the little Riley out after three laps, the car was repaired and – despite starting from the back of the grid on Sunday – it managed to pull through and take 13th place at the finish. It was a similar story for Gareth Burnett’s Talbot 105, which suffered electrical gremlins on Saturday but scythed back through the field to take an impressive fourth overall on Sunday. 

Class winners not yet mentioned included the Bentley 3/4 Litre of Clive Morley and Duncan Wiltshire, and Peter Dubsky’s Aston Martin 15/98. But the final word should perhaps go to Roger Wills who – despite his lengthy and highly successful racing career – had never before raced a pre-War car. Yet he managed to pilot his Talbot 105 to an extremely well-deserved sixth place. Congratulations.