FIA Lurani Trophy Round 6. Estoril Classic; 11th – 13th October 2019

The FIA Lurani Trophy headed to Estoril for the final round of the 2019 Championship. Only Crispian Besley (Cooper T56) could match Bruno Weibel’s points, although he himself could still be beaten by Jeremy Deeley in C2. Sadly, transport problems from Italy had seen the withdrawal of the only other Championship contender, Daniele Salodini (Taraschi).

Almost all cars took advantage of at least one of the three test sessions on Friday, shared with the HGPCA, to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with this taxing circuit.

Saturday morning qualifying set the pattern, with Richard Bradley (Brabham BT2), a man equally at home with Nissan LMP2 or a prewar Aston Martin Ulster, at the head of the times, but with Bruno (Lotus 22) and Mark Shaw (Brabham BT6) almost inseparable behind him. Newcomer Stephan Joebstl was settling in well to the Hall and Hall run ex- Greg Audi Lotus 20/22.

Race1, and Bradley led, with Bruno close behind, before Bradley drew ahead to leave a frantic battle between Bruno and Mark Shaw, with places swapping until Mark got by again and held on to the flag.

Another race long battle behind for 4th, with Richard Wilson much enjoying his ex-Jonathan Hughes Brabham BT6, working ahead of Richard Smeeton (Wainer 63), Team Lotus run Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 22) and Texan, Robert Hoemke (Lola 5A), till the latter pitted.

Close encounters all the way through the field in fact, with a much improved Martin Aubert (Lotus 20) just keeping ahead of the two Cooper T56’s of Besley and Deeley swapping places behind. Marty Bullock’s Wren blew a fuse, and Alan Baillie (Lola 2) had a mild excursion, and was unable to catch the flying Dr. Stephane Rey in the Scorpion for front engined honours.

Although rain was threatened, it remained dry for Race 2 on Sunday and another convincing race win for Richard Bradley, although, with a comfortable cushion, he kindly slowed on the last lap to allow Duncan’s Alexis to remain unlapped!!

Behind him came another great dice between Bruno and Mark Shaw. Proceedings were interrupted on the fourth lap when David Drew in the newly rebuilt Ausper T3 missed a gear, and spun at the sharp turn 3, collecting Mark Haynes (Elva 200), and a safety car period intervened. Mark Shaw took advantage of the restart and a lap later they passed by, side by side, Mark holding on for the second podium place.

The action behind was an equally exciting repeat of R1, save that Marty Bullock in the drum braked Wren was now in the heart of the Wilson /Smeeton/ Hoemke/ Beaumont battle, Wilson heading Smeeton and Marty at the flag, while, behind, Aubert, Besley and Deeley, were split by less than a second.

Stephane Rey again took front engined honours, this time from Colin Nursey’s California built BMC Mk 1, while the unfortunate Richard Bishop-Miller had a head gasket go, after jubilation the previous day on seeing the chequered flag.

Duncan presided over a jolly end of season prizegiving, with Bruno the new Lurani Champion, his third victory, and Crispian Besley leading the three car Cooper T56 team in the closely fought C2 Class.

With bumper grids this year in Lurani and an extremely exciting calendar ahead for 2020, after a trip for some to South Africa in January, Formula Junior remains in very good spirit.