Wednesday, 19 October 2022 14:44
29th Spa Six Hours - Francorchamps 29 September-2 October 2022Written by Guus Docen
The Spa Six Hours definitely rangs itself in the top 5 of the most important and attractive European historic racing car meetings. For the spectators this event is most enjoyable as there is access to almost all areas. Paddocks are open and viewing the mechanics working on the cars is always interesting. The Pit Bar Restaurant, located at the top of the pit building, is the ideal place to have a drink and enjoy the “all-you-can-eat” buffet dinner. Next to the restaurant is the terrace which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the most beautiful parts of the circuit, overlooking the pits, the finish line, the hairpin and the famous L’Eau Rouge. Just like last year the racing-weekend was characterized by erratic weather conditions. Friday remained dry but Saturday started very cloudly and there several showers during the day. On Sunday it rained constantly until half past three in the afternoon. For all participants there’s the possibility of a non-timed free practice and testing on Thursday with more restricted noise standards. Friday is the official beginning of the meeting with qualifications for each race class.
- Dutch victory in the Spa Six Hours Race
To stand a chance of winning the Six-Hour race at Spa, it is inevitable to start with a Ford GT40. Among the 90 registered vehicles, 18 were Ford GT40s. Last year there were 12 GT40s competing is in this race. Eight AC Cobra’s and Shelby Cobra’s were entered this year (ten last year) but this year the Lotus Elan is the most popular car to compete in this race. Compared with last year the number of Elans has almost doubled, 17 Elans appeared on the starting grid, last year there were 9 Elans entered in this race. Other marques appearing in this endurance race were Jaguar E-types, Ford Mustangs, Porsche 911s, Ford Falcon Sprint, MGBs, Triumph TR4s, Marcos, TVR, Morgan, Aston Martin, Ginetta and even a Ferrari 250 SWB. The Dutch GT40 team David Hart, son Oliver and Nicky Pastorelli put their GT 40 on pole position with a time of 2:40.709 minutes, followed by the second GT40 driven by E. Breitmayer / C. van Riet / F. Bouvy in 2:41.712 minutes. The first 14 positions on the starting grid were GT40s, before the first Jaguar E-Type could squeeze in between the mighty Fords. From the start David Hart took the lead just ahead of Cristophe van Riet. Immediately in the first bend on a slightly damp road, van Riet spun the Gipimotor GT40 and fell back to ninth position. However, during an impressive catch-up race, he quickly fought his way back to the front and was in first place after the end of lap eleven. Unfortunately, his team had to withdraw the GT40 in lap 89 due to engine problems. After 3 hours the Dutch team of Hart/Hart/Pastorelli dominated the race and even increased the pace in the second half of the race when Oliver drove the orange GT40, avoiding any mistakes and claiming an undisputed victory for the Dutch team. It was David Hart's second victory in the Six Hours Race, 15 years after his first victory with a Ford Mustang. For the fifth time in a row, a Ford GT40 team topped the podium at the Six Hours of Spa. It was finally the excellent Frenchmen Olivier Galant and Nicolas Minassian who grabbed 2nd place ahead of the 2021 winners, Oliver Bryant and James Cottingham. In 29 editions of this grueling endurance race the Ford GT40 won for the 15th time ! The adverse weather conditions during the evening were in favour of the light and nimble Lotus Elan 26R manned by Sam Tordoff, John Tordoff and BTCC racer Andrew Jordan. They steered their Elan to an impressive sixth overall, first non-GT40, and obviously class winner.
- Belcar Historic Cup The Belcar Historic & Youngtimer Cup is a championship suited for historic racing cars and youngtimers built until 2000. The Belcar Historic Cup was the first race on Saturday morning … under a downpour! In qualifying session Dutchman Wim Kuijl (Ford Capri RS 3100) had claimed pole position but in the race he was soon passed by Erik Bruynoghe (Porsche 964) and Erik Qvick (BMW 320 Turbo Gr.5). Finally the victory was for Bruynoghe as the BMW 320 Turbo was forced to retire due to engine problems. The weather conditions weren’t much better on Sunday-afternoon for race 2, and several cars didn’t enter the race. Luc Moortgat (Porsche 964) grabbed the lead and cruised to victory, while behind him the battle between the Dutchman Fred Krab and the Belgian Guy Fastres (both BMW M3 E30) continued through to the end. Finally Fred Krab finished second and Guyy Fastres third.
- Historic Grand Prix Cars
On Saturday morning when the Pre-66 Grand Prix cars started their first race the weather remained grey and miserable. The rear-engined Cooper machines setted the tone with Charlie Martin (T53), 5th on the grid, climbing to the top of the ranking to claim victory ahead of pole holder Michael Gans (T59) and Justin Maeers (T53). Same scenario on Sunday-afternoon concerning the weather conditions with Charlie Martin imposing his Cooper T53 for the second time ahead of Michael Gans. Tim Child completed the top 3 in the former Graham Hill Brabham BT3/4.
- Woodcote Trophy & Stirling Moss Trophy Saturday afternoon the combined Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy brought twenty-five classic sports cars on the grid. Under rainy conditions Nigel Greensall (Lister Knobbly) took the lead in the sixty-one minute race, quickly pulling away from the tiny Lotus XV driven by Michael Gans. (Lotus XV) and Tony Wood (Lister Knobbly). In the second part of the race, Tony Woods teammate Will Nuthall took the lead and the overall win. The overall podium and that of the Stirling Moss Trophy was completed by the Lotus XV of Michael Gans. Rudi Friedrichs won the Woodcote Trophy in a Jaguar C-Type, ahead of the Allard J2 of the Llewellyn family and the Lotus MkX of Paul and Bourne.
- Historic Formula Junior
The fast and lightweight Formula Junior cars can’t be missed at the Spa Six Hours weekend and a great field of 28 cars enjoyed the visitors around the track. Although the Lotus cars had dominated the qualifying sessions, the Alexis of Stuart Roach provided the show during the race on Saturday and drove to victory followed by Manfredo Rossi di Montelera in a Lotus 22. Unfortunately, the second race on Sunday morning had to driven under heavy rain. This time it was Manfredo Rossi di Montelera winning the race from Stuart Roach.
- Pre-War Sports Cars
The oldest cars on the track this weekend were the pre-war sports cars from the ‘20s and ‘30s. These amazing machines with their unique sound are always greatly appreciated by the public. Favorites to win the race were the GN Parker driven by the Maeers brothers and the mighty Bentley 3/8 driven by father and son Llewellyn. For several laps the Bentley was in the lead but suddenly the engine got smokey because of a burst oil gauge pipe. Also engine failure stopped Ben and Justin Maeers’s GN Parker from finishing the race. The lead and victory was taken by Gareth Burnett in the 2-litre 1939 Alta Sports followed by the Talbot AV105 Brooklands of Michael Birch and the Bentley 3/4 ½ of Clive and James Morley.
- Masters Gentlemen Drivers
The races of the Pre-1966 Touring Cars and the GT Cars of the Masters Gentlemen Drivers were combined into a single grid. Their single race was held on Sunday morning under very rainy conditions. The Touring Cars had a 60 minutes race and the GT cars drove another 30 minutes longer. Both turquoise Jaguar E-types of the Gotcha racing team set the GT cars tempo. Andy Newall had to drive Rhea Sautter’s Gotch E-Type all by himself as Rhea was to exhausted from all her pit work on the Gotcha cars during the Six Hours race. He drove to victory followed by Marcus Graf von Oeynhausen in the other Gotcha E-Type. The Touring car race was won by Olivier Hart in a Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA.
- Masters Sports Cars Legends
Just a small number of cars showed up on Sunday morning for the 61 minutes Masters Sports Cars Legends race as the driving conditions were extremely tricky because of the rain-soaked track. The Lola T70 of Hart-Hart and Minshaw-Keen, as also the McLaren M1A of Shaw were absent at the start. The race was started under Safety Car conditions. Tom Bradshaw (Chevron B19) won ahead of Manfredo Rossi di Montelera (Abarth Osella PA1) and Michael Gans (Lola T290).
- Despite the bad weather conditions it was a pleasure to attend the Spa Six Hours event.
All tribute to Alain Defalle, Vincent Collard and Jean-Marc Hardy from the Roadbook Organization for this amazing event!
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