Jerez Historic Festival; 22 – 24th October 2021

Formula Junior continued its four race Autumn European tour with a sun soaked weekend at Jerez in Southern Spain.

After having to miss Dijon, Duncan was back on the Continent, but without the faithful Iain Rowley. Darren Robinson provided an excellent transport and carnet facility  and the Alexis was under the co-care for the two weekends of Tom Smith, ably assisted by Alex Hallett and Lewis Morrison, already with hands full of both FJs and HGPCA cars for Mark Shaw and Hans Ciers. From France, Stephane Rey was now back in his faithful Lola Mk 5A, more than 22 years since his first outing at Paul Ricard, Gilbert Lenoir had his Elva 200, while Croix-en-Ternois Circuit owner, Patrick d’Aubreby, who was to prove the revelation of the meeting, had substituted his Lotus 22 for the BT6.

Taking their first trips across the new Brexit Border were Malcolm and Aileen Wishart, towing the Faranda, and Peter Anstiss with his familiar Lotus 20/22, easing the burden by, also, sending the car with Darren, while Peter and Jan enjoyed motorhome travel unencumbered by race trailer (their Iberian adventures warrant a separate report!!). Last but not least, James Hagan gave the ex AFJA championship winning Lynx its Continental debut, after Joseph Pomfret, who was working hard to keep ahead of its teething troubles, had given it it’s race debut at the Goodwood MM.

Alex Ames (Brabham BT6) continued his winning ways in race 1, but there were clear signs that the entente cordiale was about to be broken, with both Patrick d’Aubreby in his older Lotus 22, and Nogaro doctor, Stephane, both ahead of previous front runner, Mark Shaw (Brabham BT6). Mark was not having a happy weekend, demolishing the LH rear corner of his F1 Lotus 21 following a spin after exiting the chicane on someone else’s oil, and later incurring body damage to the BT6 after being caught out by an early braking Lee Mowle, going well, just ahead of him. “Team mates” Richards Wilson (Lotus 27) and Smeeton (Wainer), both under the care of Bob Boughton, were next up, both also enjoying HGPCA drives, Wilson in the front engined “Dino” Ferrari, and Smeeton in his new acquisition, the first of the Bowmaker Lola Mk 4-Climax V8s, the Ex 4 cylinder BRGP41.

Lukas Halusa was an early retirement in his ex Rossi 22 with a seized gearbox, while winner of the first HGPCA race in his Lotus 18, Andrew Beaumont, was not so lucky in his 22 (the car Rossi had borrowed and won Spa in), and broke a drive shaft passing the pits, coming to rest safely at the exit of the pit lane.

The only two front engined cars, Malcolm Wishart’s Faranda, with newly built Dan Setford 7 port head FIAT engine, and Duncan in the Alexis, had a race long battle, while at the rear, James Hagan had an early pit stop to fix a broken distributor, but then came out for two flying laps that clearly showed the Lynx’  potential.

Race two was a exciting battle between Ames and D’Aubreby, with the Frenchman earning La Marseillaise on the podium. His race craft was truly impressive, stalking Alex for the first part of the race, but then taking his opportunity, before visibly moving ahead to win by nearly 4 seconds, no mean feat against one of our recent new stars. This time Lee Mowle in the CTL run Lotus 20/22 was a distant third, just ahead of Rey, with Mark Shaw a lowly 6th, Richard Wilson’s 27 right on his tail.

Duncan managed to get every driver’s signature in time for Lukas to start at the back of the grid in the green Ex-Jonathan Williamson 22, which had had its gearbox reinstalled from the abortive attempt to make the white 22 a runner for Race 1; unfortunately Lukas switched off on the grid and could not restart, so was pushed to the pits, but got away, some way behind, from the pit lane, eventually passing  Peter Anstiss, and finally James Hagan in the light blue Lynx, to 9th place behind Richard Smeeton’s Wainer. Beaumont had trouble again, this time broken suspension sending him into the gravel on the last bend.

Last race of the tour follows at Portimao, and it will be fascinating to see how twice FJHRA/HSCC FJ Championship race winner Clive Richards in his Lotus 22, out for this one event, performs against the Continental regulars.