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3rd-5th October 2014 - Dijon

Thierry Gallo take a dominant win and France win the Nations Cup

Nations Cup Dijon Prenois

October 3rd – 5th 2014

A fine field of twenty eight cars including our first Italian driver Simone Tacconi, gathered at Circuit Dijon Prenois for the fourth running of the Nations Cup for the Bev Bond Trophy.

Sadly testing on Friday eliminated two competitors; the perennially unlucky Roland Fischer broke a front upright and Mike Pascal suffered engine maladies with his Brabham BT21.

Saturday qualifying saw twenty six cars venture out, including the Formula Ford Crossle of John Moulds who was running by invitation. The early pace was set by Louis Maulini (Merlyn) but Thierry Gallo (Tecno) ran him close; these two being the only drivers to break into the 1’30”s.Third was Simon Armer (March) making his first visit to Dijon just over a second ahead of Keith Messer (Vesey), who in turn was just ahead of Slotine (Merlyn) and Derossi (Chevron). The next six drivers, Jim Blockley, Christoph Widmer, Steve Smith, Jon Waggitt, Jim Timms and Robert Retzlaff were all within two tenths of a second, demonstrating just how competitive HF3 is becoming. Moulds, Paul Waine (De Sanctis) and Leif Bosson (Brabham) formed the next cluster from Peter Hamilton, Geoff O’Nion, Mark Witherspoon, Clas Muller and Peter Froude.

Robert Thorpe continues to enjoy himself in the March, and headed Dick Van Amsterdam’s Class A Belgica, Simone Tacconi’s Tecno and dad Andrew’s Lotus.

Sadly mechanical woes eliminated Ferdinand Gustafson and Johannes Kistler; Francois Derossi was another in trouble, but a mammoth effort from Jeremy Bennett, Filoche and Paul Hughes saw the engine dismantled and then re-built using Jim Blockley’s spare bottom end and parts from Francois’ engine. In addition to this Paul Waine’s gearbox had been damaged, but was cobbled together so that third and fourth gears were operable.

As usual at Dijon, the race provided action right from the start, Derossi made a superb start, dodging Messer who was struggling with his gears, but the best start was from Jon Waggitt on the fifth row. While all this excitement was going on, AVIT Motorsport were pushing Paul Waine up the pit road with their golf buggy, and managed to get him into the race. Derossi was out in front, but a quick ‘tete a queue’ dropped him right to the back of the field, Gallo came through in the lead just ahead of Waggitt who had been shocked to find himself leading at one point, Maulini was right up there with Armer, Slotine and Blockley. Down through the field groups were engaged in private battles; Froude was leading the Tecno battle until a quick spin dropped him back. Derossi and Messer were climbing back through the field, but Messer was in trouble with a failing gear linkage and retired after seven laps. We had already lost Jim Timms and Simone Tacconi with engine bothers and O’Nion also disappeared on lap seven. Dick Van Amsterdam who had managed to replace a broken selector rail after qualifying, won Class A, splitting the Thorpes with a fine 17th overall.

Out front Gallo gradually pulled away from Maulini and Armer, but behind them it was all rather frantic with no quarter being asked or given between Slotine, Waggitt, Blockley and Steve Smith. Derossi had worked his way up to join in the fun, and it was Formula 3 racing at its best; sadly it was not to last, into the fifteenth lap Smith and Derossi disappeared over the hill towards the first corner neck and neck, and unfortunately the two touched. The resulting confusion brought out the red flag; Steve had damage to his left hand, but otherwise the drivers were ok, But Steve’s car was out for the weekend. Special mention should be made of Paul Waine, who managed to work his two speed De Sanctis up to ninth place; as well as Ewen and the AVIT crew.

Sunday’s race promised to be another outstanding event, but unfortunately on Sunday morning the heavens opened, flooding the track and delaying proceedings, with the forecast promising more rain, a drivers vote was taken and the decision was taken not to race.

Thus the 2014 HSCC HF3 Championship went to Jim Blockley, as the drivers’ decision not race, meant we were denied the opportunity to see the battle between Simon Armer and Jim Blockley go down to the wire.

The Nations cup went, for the first time, to France ahead of Great Britain A and Switzerland. 

Photos Robb Faloon.

View Results and Timings (as a PDF document) [PDF]