14th-16th June 2013 - Nurburgring
Max Blees dominates the Eifelrennen
The original Eifelrennen races were run on public roads in the Eifel mountains, and when the Nurburgring opened in 1927 they graduated to the famous Nordschleife where they ran until the circuit closed for racing in 2003. There have been various revivals of the old title over the intervening period, and the latest incantation took place over the last weekend.
A disappointing of entry of thirteen cars arrived; Max Blees (Brabham BT15), Roland Fischer (Tecno), Robert Retzlaff (Brabham BT15) and Klaus Bergs (Brabham BT28) for the host nation, Francois Derossi (Chevron B17), Maurice Slotine (Merlyn Mk.14) and Vincent Rivet (Brabham BT28) from France. Ferdinand Gustafson (Brabham BT18) and Leif Bosson (Brabham BT28) Sweden, Christoph Widmer (Brabham BT18) Switzerland, Mauro Poponcini (Cooper T82) Belgium and finally two entries from the UK; Jim Timms (Brabham BT21) and Keith Messer in his familiar Vesey.
The organisers had laid on free practice on the Friday morning, which in addition to qualifying and two races gave a total track time of an hour and forty minutes, Brands Hatch SuperPrix is going to seem rather rushed!
Practice proved trouble free, apart from Fischer having trouble with a new set of rockers. Qualifying saw Max Blees quickest from Derossi, Fischer and Gustafson all of whom were in the 2.03s; then came Messer, Timms and Slotine all within half a second in the 2.05s. Widmer and Bosson were next ahead of a troubled Rivet, Retzlaff, Bergs and Poponcini in the sole Class A car.
Race one start on Saturday evening, proved to be well the wait; sadly Gustafson was unable to take the start because of mechanical issues.
Form would have suggested that it might have been Blees, Fischer or Derossi in the lead at the end of lap one, but somehow Timms managed to get himself up to the front ahead of Rivet, with Blees, Derossi, Messer and Slotine right behind. Timms led into lap two, but by lap three Rivet and Derossi led; lap four it was Derossi and Messer at the front of a six car battle, which constantly changed position all the way down the long straight to turn one, and on the long climb at the back of the circuit. Widmer had been obliged to go off track on lap one, and found himself ahead of Bosson in seventh. The frantic pace at the front could not continue, and by lap seven Messer and Slotine had started to fall back from Rivet, Blees, Derossi and Timms, eventually after a spirited battle, matters were settled in Messer’s favour when Slotine spun under pressure on the last lap. In the end, it was local man Blees who took a well judged victory from Rivet, Derossi and Timms, but the outcome was in doubt right up to the last lap by which time Blees had eked out a lead of 0.6sec. Sadly Fischer was obliged to retire on lap one.
Race two, on Sunday afternoon saw Fischer restored to health, so we looked forward to another battle, sadly a kerfuffle on lap one down into turn one caused all sorts of confusion, which split up the field, allowing Fischer and Blees to break free. By the time the dust settled Derossi had lost his nose cone and Bosson was much delayed. Fischer and Blees led through as if tied together, and remained that way until the start of the last lap when Fischer’s engine started to die, having consumed 23 litres of fuel, such was the pace. Behind them Timms and Rivet had lonely races to second and third respectively; Slotine and Widmer entertained themselves in fourth and fifth ahead of Bergs and Retzlaff who had a much better race, his best lap being quicker than the three drivers ahead of him. Messer had been struggling for pace, which was explained when he retired with locked on front brakes! Bosson finished a lonely and unhappy eighth ahead of Poponcini who had the pleasure of reducing his best lap by three seconds.
In spite of the low entry two enjoyable races which went down well with the organisers and entertained the knowledgeable crowd; next stop Brands Hatch SuperPrix.