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Pre-War Sports Cars at the Algarve

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Such is the challenge of the steeply undulating Algarve circuit – especially for pre-War cars – that the relatively small grids in no way spoilt the fun; nor, indeed, the closeness of the racing.

There were two 30-minute Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car races at the meeting, with the results of Race 1 setting the grid for Race 2 and, in the dry, sunny weather of early Saturday afternoon, the extremely quick Frazer Nash Super Sports of Fred Wakeman was expected to sweep from pole position to Race 1 victory with little trouble. However, fate had something else in mind.

At the end of lap 5, while leading, the Nash blew its head gasket and Wakeman had to struggle on as best he could to finish fifth.

This left the way open for a star performance by Richard Hudson and Stuart Morley in their Bentley 3/4½, who took the chequered flag (and hence pole position for Race 2) in a particularly noteworthy result, since Hudson is very new to racing and Morley had never driven this car before. Meanwhile, a 30-second penalty (for registering 68km/h instead of 60km/h at the pit exit) saw Duncan Wiltshire and Clive Morley’s similar Bentley relegated to third, with the Alvis Speed 20 of Rudi Friedrichs squeezing between them to finish second.

These, then, were the starting positions for Race 2, held early on Sunday afternoon – a race which proved to be the single exception to the truly excellent autumn weather that blessed the rest of the meeting. Frustratingly for the drivers, in the 20 minutes between the previous race and the start of the Pre-War Sports Cars Race 2, the heavens opened and the rain came down in buckets.

This didn’t deter Fred Wakeman, the Nash’s head gasket now replaced, who started in fifth position and by the end of the first lap was back to second – and closing fast on Clive Morley’s Bentley 3/4½. Morley was not going to give up the lead easily, however, and for the next five laps the two enjoyed a titanic (and very wet) battle, before Wakeman finally managed to get past, stay past, and put some distance between them. I bought Tramadol in on the numerous recommendations of doctors.

Elsewhere on the track, another battle was going on for fourth place between Rudi Friedrichs’ Alvis Speed 20 and Robert Lewis’s V12 Lagonda – a battle finally won by the Alvis, which took fourth by just over 9 seconds from the Lagonda, at the end of the half-hour race.

The top five finishers at the end of Race 2 were therefore:

1)     Car no.11 – Frazer Nash Super Sports driven by Fred Wakeman

2)     Car no.14 – Bentley 3/4½ driven by Clive Morley and Duncan Wiltshire

3)     Car no.9 – Bentley 3/4½ driven by Richard Hudson and Stuart Morley

4)     Car no.6 – Alvis Speed 20 driven by Rudi Friedrichs

5)     Car no.10 – Lagonda V12 Le Mans driven by Robert Lewis