FIA Lurani Trophy Round 3 – Most, 28th – 30th June 2019

With most people (no pun) unfamiliar with the track, it was a full house for free practice, somewhat cooler than the sweltering heat with which we were greeted on arrival the day before. With Bruno Ferrari (Branca) an unfortunate non-starter when vital engine parts sent from England proved incorrect, it was left for a renewed battle up front between Mark Shaw (BT6) and Bruno Weibel (22), with Bruno setting his best before pitting well satisfied on lap 10 while Mark out performed this on three later laps before the session ended; another great race in prospect!!

Kim Shearn (Lotus 20/22) lost drive when the clutch failed and pulled off, Hans Hillebrink (Lotus 20) had a loose rear wheel, Malcolm Wishart (Faranda) stopped again right at the end and later finally diagnosed his problems as copper shavings at the bottom of the fuel tank. Lars-Göran Sjöberg, back in his blue T59 Cooper had a loose filler cap and petrol over his legs, while poor David Watkins never got further than the end of the pit lane, with a malfunctioning distributor under load.

Qualifying was later in the afternoon and both leaders were regularly in the 1m 52s, until Mark Shaw did one stunning penultimate lap over a second faster! Ivo was an impressive third in his Class D Jolus. Trouble struck Lars-Göran again as the Cooper started to misfire and then died as he headed for the gravel, while Hans was also in trouble again with electrics. Bill Hemming had fuel pressure problems and replaced the pump, Marc Schmitz had another core plug go in the Elva, but fixed it and David Watkins still never made it out, although the Stewards were to grant permission to start.

The cars sat hot on the grid after Marcel Ritzi lost drive after the chicane on the out lap; then Marc Schmitz was pushed off the grid in the Elva; and Kim Shearn broke an input shaft on the line.

Bruno Weibel made a great start while Mark Shaw briefly jumped it, caught it, but still got a drive through penalty which he took at the end of lap3, having already caught Bruno and set what was to be fastest lap, although he did well to reduce the gap to 12 seconds by the end, as the track was very oily from David Kent (Lynx)’s cracked oil filter, Colin Nursey’s BMC Mk 1’s blown engine and Marc Schmitz who eventually got going but blew another core plug: Lars- Goran never got to the grid with electrical problems; Hans Hillebrink thought he had cured his but it proved otherwise.

Ivo Goeckmann was seemingly secure in 3rd but spun it away to let David Kent onto the podium , and as he expired in a pool of oil on the slowing down lap, he nearly missed the raising of the Australian flag!!!

A good dice ensued between Peter Knöfel and Jeremy Deeley, side by side through the twisty bits, after Jeremy had worked out how to cope with only 3rd and 5th gears, and he then set off apace to catch Mark Haynes, reducing half a lap to two seconds by the flag, while behind, Hans Ciers had a couple of spins in the oily conditions.

The Two Taraschi’s caught Duncan and they all three toured together throughout the race and provided some entertainment, while Dave Watkins did manage a lap but his old troubles returned.

Saturday night was party Night at the Hněvín Castle with it’s amazing views over Most, the track, and surrounding countryside, and this year it was a much smaller affair, primarily for officials and FJ, although both Ellen Lauer and Jacques Villeneuve were there to make short speeches for Euro NASCAR, and Duncan also said a few words after Stan Minarik: the food was good, champagne and wines flowed and everyone had a great time.

Sunday Weather hotted up to 38 degrees, and everybody was running again except Lars-Goran (electrics), Colin Nursey (dead engine) and Marcel Ritzi (diff).

It was a good start for Mark, and he led all the way, though Bruno kept him honest, catching him back in traffic but the drive through deficit from R1 was too much and the aggregate results still had Mark 9s behind.

David Kent was left on the grid on the green flag lap, but eventually set off after the field, only to drive through to take up his original grid position: the inevitable visit to the Stewards followed but David pleaded “Australian rules” and was lucky to get off with a tap on the wrist: in the event, he stopped a few laps from the end with lack of regular petrol flow, the hot conditions causing havoc. His E2 class contender, Jim Timms, was in similar trouble, all but running out completely on his last racing lap, Duncan almost ramming him on the penultimate corner as he juddered to a near halt.

Ivo Göckmann‘s Jolus held third place throughout keeping him top of the Championship leader board, with Jim Blockley’s Caravelle following Kent’s Lynx for two laps before Jim ground to a halt at the hairpin, but not before Marc Schmitz’s weekend ended, having been full of optimism that the core plug issue in the BMC powered  Elva had been solved; but no, one went again after half a racing lap at the same spot.

Both Kim Shearn and Dave Watkins were pleased to get a race and trouble free at that, although David nearly came to grief under a shower of tyre smoke at the first hairpin!!

Christian Lange made a good start and headed the ultra competitive C2 before Crispian got by with Jeremy Deeley in his wake, however Crispian’s troubles returned on lap 8 and he slid back down the field, finally passed by Peter Fenichel to cross the line only just ahead of the fastest front engined runner, Floris-Jan Hekker in the Rayberg. Christian Lange had to slow too with overheating and was clearly disappointed to lose class C on aggregate by only a small margin from Jeremy Deeley.

Another drum braked dice further down the field ensued when Peter Knöfel’s Emeryson, rather held up at the start, caught up bearded Bill Hemming’s Tojeiro, places changed, but Bill just won the battle over the line.

At the back, Malcom Wishart’s troubles also returned early, but ahead the two Taraschi’s soon powered past Duncan and they then played together for some laps before intermittent power surge hit Graeme Smith in the black one and then Daniele slowed dramatically but just crossed the line before stopping in front of the pit exit, with Graeme fortunately still behind to give Daniele max points as we head to a very oversubscribed Oldtimer in just over a months time.

Class prizegiving was graced with a mass of Trophies and a set of podium stands, so everyone had their moment of glory in the FJ tent!!!