FIA Lurani Trophy Round 4 – Oldtimer GP, Nurburgring; 10th – 12th August 2018

Well we started even with reserves, but that soon reduced.

John Chisholm’s collateral damage at Silverstone proved more extensive than at first sight; the Fyda’s found their intended Ferry already booked out; Buhofer was no longer able to participate; Serge Kriknoff ‘s Lotus was not ready, poor Leen ‘s back was “krank” necessitating last minute withdrawal by Hans Ciers, but it did not stop there, and Gunther Leidig had a gudgeon pin snap in the Thursday tests, and Alan Baillie’s Lola Mk  2 was still misfiring, so packed up home for a rolling road test before any more track outings: Andrea Guarino brushed the wall in his 22, but nothing that tape could not fix.

A very civilised lunchtime Friday qualifying brought more drama with Pierre Tonetti breaking his camshaft (but a spare motor was to hand), Arlette Muller spinning her 22 and unluckily swiped by Jorgen Brynne’s Merlyn Mk 3, eliminating both for the weekend, and Bob Birrell seemingly without brakes, ploughing into the barrier in the 20, causing the first red flag.

Lars-Goran, now in the T59, stopped, but later inspection could find nothing wrong, but poor Duncan had the centre come out of the oil temperature gauge, gradually losing all oil and with no red light was blissfully unaware; so second red flag!!

Up front it was a surprise to see Richard Smeeton back on form in the Wainer, and it would be him on pole on Saturday after Mark Shaw was docked one grid position for R1 for crossing the white line out of the pits. Alex Morton was an impressive front engined leader in the Condor S II, while the most heart-warming sight were the four Taraschi’s, Graeme Smith rejoining the team for this event, all under the control of Flora’s miniature pooch being pushed around in a doll ‘s pram.

Another very civilised start at lunchtime on Saturday for Race 1. Mark Shaw (BT6) was slow away in 2nd gear, while Smeeton was quickly overwhelmed by Bruno Weibel and Tonetti, and Drake spinning away his challenge at the first chicane, before resuming well down. 2nd lap and Greg Thornton (20/22) was in the pits, engine gone.

3rd lap and a good battle still in prospect with Tonetti ahead followed closely by Weibel and Shaw with Smeeton adrift, while Drake was now catching up through the field. There was a good battle between JP Campos Costa Jnr, finally having his first FJ race in the ex-Duncan ex-Vern Scorpion-Ford, sandwiched between Larry Kinch, happy in the Gemini, and Salodini’s leading Taraschi. At the back Carlo Maria Del Conte’s Wainer seemed to be knocking and he pitted, only to re-emerge a lap or two later in much better form.

Lap 4 and Tonetti was drawing ahead of Shaw, who had just passed Bruno, while Drake continued to climb back, now ahead of Chris Merrick in the Ex Curt Lincoln T59. JP Jnr was now getting his legs and was drawing away from Kinch and Floris-Jan Hecker (Rayberg), while Salodini was dropping back.

Next lap and change again, Shaw now ahead of Bruno and Tonetti, and Drake catching up to Pierre Guichard’s Lynx Mk3 for Class D, which he soon passed, while another good dice was between Christian Lange (Ex-Nick Finburgh Envoy), Colin Nursey (18) and Nick Taylor’s Elva 100, with Lange being overtaken by both on the following lap.

Tonetti was dropping back, but a lap later so was Bruno, with a broken fork, eliminating 4th gear, and a lap later Tonetti retired with broken engine leaving Mark with a comfortable victory from the ailing Bruno still keeping the purple Wainer at bay.

Pierre Guichard is really enjoying the Lynx and on lap 7 passed the remarkable Condor SII of Alex Morton into the back chicane but two laps later, in lapping the two Taraschi’s, he lost it at the hairpin and retired much annoyed with himself with a bent wishbone.

Much work overnight, and sharing of parts, saw Bruno Weibel, the Lynx and Steve Futter (starter motor failure in R1 pre grid) all fixed, while Tonetti’s team had planned to make the best of the two broken engines but a couple of clips had disappeared into the block and it was not to be.

Race two at 13.40 on Sunday had only 24 lined up which must be a record low for FJ at the OGP, but still twice as many as Masters F1, who were down to 12.

There seemed to be a long delay after the green flag lap but eventually the field were away, but not Smeeton, so Bruno led from Mark Shaw, Chris Drake in the drum braked Elva 300 and Iain Rowley and the Wainer a very long way behind in the middle of the pack.

Lap 2 and Shaw was now ahead and creating a gap from Bruno Weibel, Drake, Bruno Ferrari and Andrea Guarino, with Rowley now at the back of this bunch.

The Wainer was now past Chris Merrick on lap 2 and the Condor at the chicane next time round: further back there was a great and close battle between Nursey, Lange’s Envoy, Nick Taylor and JP Jnr’s Scorpion, while Tony Olissoff pulled up with engine maladies.

Just then Larry Kinch spun on oil at the hairpin and hit the wall hard in the Gemini, bringing out the safety car for three laps and bunching the field:  a visit to the medical centre ensued, but Larry was fortunately largely unscathed.

On release it was Shaw, Weibel, Ferrari and Drake together and Smeeton just ahead of Guarino. Bruno then got ahead with Mark retaking the lead with a lap to go but Bruno was on his tail and only inches behind at the flag.

Smeeton lost his fourth spot on the penultimate lap, trailing in behind Alex’s Condor, while Nursey had escaped his battling partners, now led by Futter and Marc Schmidt was going extremely well, engaging the Rayberg.

Parc Ferme saw cars weighed and Drake’s engine examined but all were in order and another jolly prize giving ensued.


Photo: Gruppe C Photography