5th-6th October 2013 - Dijon
The Nations Cup Held Under Water
A very enjoyable weekend at Dijon en Prenois saw some excellent racing in somewhat damp conditions.
With Francois Derossi winning Race one from Dean Forward. This race was run during a downpour and saw several laps under the Safety car before it was Red flagged due to the conditions. Race two on Sunday was held in much better conditions, still very wet, and this saw the two leading positions changed with Dean taking the win from Francois.
The Nations Cup results: -
1st Great Britain A Dean Forward and Keith Messer
2nd France Francois Derossi, Maurice Slotine and Thierry Gallo
3rd Germany Max Blees, Klaus Bergs and Robert Retzlaff
All photos Robb Faloon
Trophees Historique de Bourgogne 4th – 6th October 2013
Twenty four cars and drivers gathered at Dijon for the second running of the revived Nations Cup. Period driver Bev Bond had selected the teams, but sadly was unable to make the journey because of ill health. Great Britain ‘A’ took the trophy in 2012, and their winning team of Dean Forward, Keith Messer were re-united and Jim Blockley was to have joined them, but withdrew with engine bothers. France with Francois Derossi, Thierry Gallo and Maurice Slotine looked to be in with a good chance, as did Switzerland A with Louis Maulini, and Christophe Widmer.
Qualifying took place in greasy conditions on Friday afternoon, and saw Gallo, Maulini and Forward trading fastest times; in the end Gallo came out ahead, the only runner to break into the 1.41’s, a second ahead of Forward, who was two hundredths of a second quicker than Maulini who pulled in with engine troubles after his seventh lap. Unusually Derossi was a little off the pace in fourth ahead of Widmer, Messer, Blees and Timms who were closely grouped. Peter Thompson and Maurice Slotine were next up ahead of Johannes Kistler who was debuting his immaculate BWA 324. Klaus Bergs and Robert Retzlaff were next up ahead of three Brits, Mike Pascall (in the now immaculate ex Hauge Brabham BT21), Paul Waine (De Sanctis), and Peter Froude’s familiar Tecno. Leif Bosson was the Swedish filling ahead of Julian Maynard and Mark Witherspoon. Clas Muller, Geoff O’Nion, Dick van Amsterdam, Mauro Poponcini and Andrea Delea rounded out the field.
Heavy rain greeted the competitors on Saturday morning; overnight Maulini had made an engine change, and Kistler discovered that the wheels for his wet tyres didn’t fit his hubs so he was obliged to non-start. Gallo led away into the spray and led through at the end of lap one, from Forward and Derossi; Maulini was already dropping back and he pulled in to retire at the start of lap three with further engine troubles. We lost Gallo on the second lap with gear box issues; Forward continued to lead from Derossi with Max Blees now up into third ahead of Peter Thompson. Conditions were truly awful, visibility minimal and rivers of water running across the track in several places; down at the Parabolica Forward ran wide and Derossi (who had already had a quick spin) took the lead, still from Blees and Thompson. Behind them Widmer, Timms and Messer were circulating close together; at this point the Safety Car was sent out, and at the end of eight laps the race was red flagged. All the drivers are to be commended for bringing their cars home in one piece in such atrocious conditions. Overnight, Louis Maulini and Thierry Gallo were obliged to withdraw as their mechanical problems could not be remedied. Patrice Souzzoni and his band provided the music for the superb F3 Historic barbecue on Saturday evening, many thanks to Francois Derossi and his band of helpers.
At least the rain had stopped on Sunday morning, although the circuit remained extremely slippery. Dean Forward had dramas when warning up his engine, two pushrods broke, and it was only due to the efforts of Steve Wilkinson and the team that Dean made it out for the race. Forward was well fired up, and jumped into an immediate lead from Derossi, a lead which he held all the way to the finish. Derossi had a couple of major moments, and decided to take a safe second place. Matters behind were less clear cut, Widmer had made an excellent start and was running with Blees, Timms and Messer who was just ahead of Thompson. Messer worked his way onto Widmer’s tail, finding his way through when Widmer ran wide; Thompson also took advantage as well as Blees, demoting the Swiss to sixth. Messer and Thompson renewed their season long hostilities and fought over third to the end of the race, Messer taking the decision on the last lap. The timing screens were showing Tompson down in fifteenth place, a lap down, and Messer’s crew were making desperate measures to pass this information to him. Messer has been around long enough to realize that Thompson was on the same lap so sensibly ignored the signals.
Witherspoon had another good race with his Tecno coming home eighth ahead of Slotine; Bosson and Waine had a good battle over tenth. Again all who started managed to keep their cars in one piece in tricky conditions. All the cars were held in the pit lane at the end of the race for prize giving, which saw Dean Forward, Francois Derossi and Keith Messer take the podium for race two. The timekeepers totted up the points for the Nations Cup, and for the second year it was Great Britain ‘A’ (Dean Forward and Keith Messer) who took the trophy from France (Francois Derossi, Maurice Slotine and Thierry Gallo) and third Germany (Max Blees, Klaus Bergs and Robert Retzlaff).
Once again Dijon provided a superb finale to the season; Christoph Widmer was a very popular winner of the F3 Historic Championship, and matters may have been different in the Nations Cup but for Gallo and Maulini’s mechanical difficulties.
Another season comes to an end, entries were disappointing for a couple of the races, but we continue to see new cars and drivers joining in; as always the racing has been close and clean (apart from a couple of incidents). 2014 is the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of the one litre cars, and no doubt the quality of the racing will reflect this; see you all again next season.