FIA Lurani Trophy Round 5; Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix – 2nd – 4th September 2016
The first weekend in September, and Duncan takes the FJ family to the seaside!
ZANDVOORT to be precise. The promotional material boasted that “The Boys Are Back In Town” which had it been in the UK, would have raised eyebrows at Advertising Standards!!
With Goodwood only a week away, naturally most front engine runners chose to stay at home and save their cars. However, Chris Drake brought the Terrier, and Floris-Jan Hekker wheeled out the amazing Rayberg. Despite a weak front engined entry though, we still fielded over 30 cars, with drivers from 11 countries, spanning 3 continents.
I think that ticks the Lurani remit?
Qualifying: Friday 10.30 am. 20C. Dry. Over cast, refreshing stiff breeze blowing in across the sand dunes from the North Sea.
Manfredo Rossi Di Montelera in the Lotus 22, led the pack out on to the track, but within seconds, Niklas Halusa had lost control of his Lotus 20 entering the Turn 3, Hugenholtz, and modified the front end of the car somewhat. So with not even one lap completed, we were treated to waved yellow flags! Luc Deneve suffered a Renault gearbox failure before the end of the first lap, and was bitterly disappointed, as until that point he was lying 3rd overall in the Championship. Qualifying resumed after a couple of laps, and James Murray emerged as the man to beat. Interestingly some cars that were looking super-fast at various points around the circuit, did not necessarily convert into great lap times. On lap 6 Steve Futter in the black Lotus 20 also suffered a Renault gearbox failure, and that was his weekend over. By now Chris Drake was well in the groove, lighting up the rear tyres of the Terrier exiting the slower corners.
On Lap 7 Jan Goeckmann was also on a charge, and had a spin exiting the Hugenholtz, tapping the Armco with the Gemini’s right rear wheel, thankfully with no damage. He parked up next to Halusa’s Lotus.
Murray finished the session a full second and a half clear of next man Mark Pangborn, with Bruno Weibel a further half second back, not bad for a D2 car! No surprise to find Drake fastest in B2, whilst John Lord headed up the tightly bunched C2 class. Fastest lady was Caroline Rossi Di Montelera, just outside the top 10, in the Brabham BT6!
From the Paddock
Rossi was putting a new set of tyres through their 1st heat cycle, as was Ivo Goeckmann, and they both were surprised with the lack of grip.
Steve Futter was spitting teeth, literally, it was his 3rd Renault gearbox failure this year, and was threatening to sell the car!
Niklas Halusa was mortified with his crash, but his team were already repairing the car in his garage. He explained that thankfully a Lotus was relatively easy to repair, unlike some of the more expensive machinery he normally drives, where he would have been in big trouble had he crashed one of those!
After a drink in the Drivers Club, it was off to Sandy Hill bar and restaurant for an excellent BBQ together with our cousins the 500 OA, such a great group of competitors, friends and families.
Thank you so much to Duncan and Mair, for all this extra effort that you put in on our behalf.
At the end, Duncan asked us to raise our glasses to remember the extraordinary Urban Fassler, who had entered the pits for the last and final time on the previous Sunday.
Saturday 10am. 19C. Dry. Partial cloud, even stiffer breeze.
As the Juniors headed for the assembly area, the dull conditions of Thursday, had given way to blue skies, some cloud, and dozens of jet trails above close by Schiphol airport. At the start, Rossi made full use of his “new” tyres, and was side by side with Murray around Turn 2, finally taking the lead out of Turn 3. Colin Nursey had the spring on his distributor point break, and retired, as did Peter Knoefel in the Emeryson, with yet another Renault gearbox failure. By lap 2 the leader had already opened a second gap to Murray, who likewise pulled out a second on Pangborn. These 3 continued to pull away from the chasing pack, also increasing the distance between each other, lap by lap. Ivo Goeckmann was up into 6th on his “new” tyres, only to emulate his brother, with a gentle spin, this time coming out of turn 10, dropping back to 9th. In the meantime, John Lord in the Lotus 18, and Robs Lamplough, Brabham BT2, had one of those “after you, no after you” or should it be “after me”? moments entering the right flick at the Hans Ernst. They both tried very hard to avoid each other, but Lord bounced over the inner kerb, whilst Lamplough took to the grass on the outside. Lord was able to continue, but the Brabham suffered a sheared rear left drive shaft. Drake was trying to get on to the gearbox of John Delane, but the Lotus 18 had the legs on the Terrier, and pulled away again. There were two great battles going on, firstly between the yellow Lola and Lotus, of JP and Andrew Beaumont, separated by a handkerchief, disputing 5th, and the recovering Lord and Kim Shearn, in Lotus 18s having a ding dong for the C2 win. Manfredo took overall victory, Bruno Weibel D2, Drake B2, and Lord C2.
From the Paddock;
James Murray’s tyres were pronounced an expletive I can’t use, but suffice to say, they were finished, much of the tread missing.
On the Podium, Manfredo had his young son, Andrea, five, with him, who was a big hit with the girls presenting the prizes, smothering him with kisses. And I think he quite enjoyed it!
John Lord went to find Robs Lamplough to talk through their incident, and I’m pleased to say they had an amicable chat.
Steve Futter had calmed down slightly, and was having second thoughts about selling the Lotus.
Please remember boys and girls, that on the podium in Holland, it is 3 kisses. I know this as we have plenty of Dutch friend here in Spain, and greetings take for ever!
In the evening Jeremy Deeley, Cooper T52, and Andrew Beaumont, Lotus 22, took their cars for the traditional parade through the streets of Zandvoort, lest we forget that in the 1960s, cars were garaged in town, and driven out to the racetrack.
Sunday 3.55pm . 18C. Dry. Squalls, blowing old boots off the North Sea.
The track, damp from overnight rain, was soon dried by the ever increasing wind. During the day a few light showers, had added to the excitement, but by the time the Juniors took to the track it was dry. It would have been easy to think that race 2, would have been a rerun of race 1, and indeed it seemed that this would be the case. However never underestimate the Juniors! James Murray had a new set of tyres, and it was assumed that he would be down on grip, for the first heat cycle. The grid lined up in qualifying order from Friday, and this time, Murray held on to his pole advantage, through the first 3 testing corners, this time with Mark Pangborn snapping at his heels. However, on the long sweep down to Hans Ernst, Rossi was in the slipstream of Pangborn, and then out braked him for 2nd place. The following pack were still disputing track position, and we were treated to a spectacle of wheel to wheel racing, until the order settled down. Unknown to anyone, Rossi’s Lotus 22 was starting to lay down strips of oil, even though the pressure gauge was fine. The quick thinking race control brought out the Safety Car and marshals laid thin strips of cement around the affected areas. Now of course at this moment in time, no one knew where the oil was coming from, so as the marshals covered one strip, a lap later there was another new strip of fresh oil beside it!! Soon however conditions in the Lotus cockpit made it obvious where the oil was coming from, and the car was retired. In came the safety car and racing was resumed, only for Colin Nursey to severely damage his Lotus 18 exiting the Hans Ernst Hairpin, when he spun on the oil. Safety car again! By this time John Delane, who had started at the back, having been delayed, because he had been racing his Tyrell in the previous race, probably thought that this race was going nowhere behind the Safety Car, and pulled in for a cup of tea!
By the time of the second restart we were almost out of time, but it was Bruno Weibel who was now mounting a challenge for the lead and on the last lap, was alongside Murray coming out of Turn 10, but could not make it stick into Turn 11, leaving Murray to take a narrow victory. Weibel took 2nd overall, and 1st D2!?, Pangborn 3rd, Drake B2, and this time Kim Shearn took the honours in C2. Sadly, in 25 minutes, there were only 2-3 racing laps, but then everybody returned safely to parc ferme.
From the paddock;
Prize giving took place during a squall of rain and wind, mixed with horizontal sand, which did nothing to dampen the FJ spirits. As usual all contestants were present, and collected their awards with enthusiasm. (I still have my brilliant sparking plug trophy from Brands Hatch 2007 which sits on my desk at home).
If I was to vote for the car that I would like to take home with me, it would be the Lola MK 5 of JP, the car is presented to an exceptional standard.
It was good to catch up with my old Jolus, now in the hands of Ivo, and he made me very welcome throughout the weekend.
This was my first ever visit to Zandvoort, had I known what a great circuit it is, I would have surely have put it on my to do list.
I thought the official programme, was excellent, a really well thought out publication, which gave a great history of Zandvoort through the decades, and highlighted the different race groups in a concise but interesting manner, and kept a good balance between local heros, and the international scene. Written by a true enthusiast!
By John Tweedale