Settimana Motoristica Ennese; 17th – 19th May 2024

Lurani Trophy Round 2 – Pergusa-Enna

17th – 19th May 2024

We arrived at Autodromo Pergusa to the warmest of welcomes from Mario Srgo and all the circuit organisation team, with a full sit down Welcome Dinner on Thursday night, bright sunny weather (except for a Mediterranean  storm at the start of our second race). A seven car Western Australian/Dutch/Danish/ British camper corale in the main paddock, supplementing those in garages transported south by truck, brought Formula Junior back to Pergusa-Enna for the first time since the Period races, the first having been won in 1959 by Raffaele Cammarota, in a Stanguellini, and in subsequent years by Jo Siffert, “Geki” and Jo Schlesser.

Clive Richards’ red Lotus 22 was soon once again on the pace, but Manfredo Rossi di Montelera was back with his white, Sam Kendle run, 22, and ex Touring car racer, Lee Mowle is ever improving in his CTL run Lotus 20/22, so all three provided plenty of entertainment and action.

The first half of race one was a slow affair behind the safety car, as, later HGPCA winner, Rudi Friedrichs in the ex-Marc Buhofer Lola 5A dislodged a drum at the penultimate chicane, and stopped trackside with a broken wishbone.  Once let loose, Clive pulled a slight lead, but, behind, for Rossi, Mowle, and Danny Baker in his CTL run 27, it was only four tenths of a second that separated the trio at the flag, with Kubota-san (20/22) trailing them ahead of Dave Watkins’ Elfin, and Ray Mallock, U2 Mk 2, the first of the front engine cars.

Race two was on Sunday, greeted by such unseasonal weather that the folk dancers who were due to entertain us on the grid, had to take refuge. Clive again showed his current mastery, leading Manfredo and Lee, but behind these two was a great scrap, Kubota-san having been left behind on the grid, eventually catching 4th place man, Danny Baker, and holding on to the flag. Rudi was welded up, but in the end, decided not to start again on this fast track without facilities to set the car back up, while both Australians ran home smiling, David Watkins collecting a special award for the furthest travelled competitor, a few miles further south than Marty Bullock’s yellow Wren. Both U2s, Erik Justesen being in the original Arthur Mallock car, finished well as did Floris Hecker in the faithful Rayberg, but Duncan burst an oil pipe in the Alexis, and pulled off without causing any track incident.

A full Podium prizegiving followed with beautiful handmade terracotta pots as awards, and the weekend was rounded off with a special tea party, cake and candles to celebrate Bob Birrell’s 100th different circuit, accumulated across five continents in his competition career  from 4th place in the Johore Grand Prix in a Hawke DL2, to racing the Shannon Super Vee around German airfields, to a long career, not yet finished, in Historic Formula Junior.