Imola, 9th Trofeo Alberto Ascari

BRDC Championship

Following our desire to change the team's direction, we sold the Riley Special and purchased a Lotus 11. The car already had an entry for the final 2 rounds in Imola so we bundled everything in the van and trailer and set forth for foreign climes. The run out and back was good fun but totally exhausting; the van is simply not up to towing for long journeys, as it "dies" on hills, so we shall replace that for next season.
However, on the way down we went through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and finally Italy, so we became very European.
The organisation worked OK and we quickly set ourselves up in the paddock. (As the sun beat down mercilessly, lovely!)
Friday, we had 2 practice (familiarisation) sessions, one of which we lost trying to cure a misfire, which we eventually traced to a loose condenser in the distributor cap.
The second session went better and we were able to record some times, though at this stage, we had no idea, what markers we had.
Saturday was dull and overcast, or was that the hangover? Anyway, qualifying was held in damp conditions which Mark likes and we were rewarded by 2nd in Class B behind John Clark in his Cooper Bobtail T39 and just in front of Peter Austin in his very pretty Lola Mk1. Most notable scalp was out qualifying Mark Knopfler in his Class A Maserati 300S
Win Percy easily annexed pole in Don Law's

Mark gets ready for the first run on Saturday

Lotus 15, harried by Alan Minshaw's stunning Birdcage Maserati. These Class A runners were well supported by a fine collection of Lister Jaguar's, which looked a real handful coming out of the chicane onto the pits straight.

No 90 gets a last minute tweak from Andrew.

Race 1 on Saturday afternoon was held in drying conditions and we were rewarded with a second in class behind the Bobtail, after a good dice with Austin's Lola. Win Percy took the win and Class A.

Sunday was cold and damp (Or was it the hangover??) Conditions varied between "Wigan" and "Venice" (When the water started running though the middle of our awning). Our race was set for 1520 and at about 1500 it actually stopped raining and started to dry.
Race 2 kicked off and there seemed a long pause before the field came round with Mark leading Class B! (Cue wild waving of pit board with P1 on it) The field going into Tamburello had had collective madness with a number of spins amongst the Class A runners, one of which involved John Clark in his Class B car. It seemed an age before Mark next came round and this time he was being hounded by both Austin AND Clark. Mark had celebrated being in the lead by spinning also and battle was now joined. John Clark was on a roll and quickly passed both Mark and Peter to take the lead. Peter also bested Mark after a tough well fought race, so we finished with a 2nd and 3rd in our first meeting with the car.
The first lap problems meant Win Percy could literally disappear into the distance and romped home a clear and unchallenged winner. Alan Minshaw also survived an "off" to take a well-deserved 2nd in the race and Class A.
The meeting was an interesting one with races for HGPCA cars and Historic Saloons, amongst others. There were some lovely old Alfa's present, which were very unlikely to appear outside Italy, I suspect.

Lined up and ready for Race 2 on Sunday.

So that 's the season finished. We intend to test both the 11 and shake down the Lotus 18 also as soon as we can. (Spring settings on the 11 were set far too soft and the throttle wouldn't open to its maximum, so we know there is more to come.)

Alan Minshaw in the Birdcage, dodging the weather.

More news about these events as they occur, plus full reports next season in the newly designed web site. Keep checking progress please.


One of the lovely old Alfa's in the pit garage.