It was a triumph for dad and lad duo Graham and Oliver Bryant last weekend at the Spa Three Hour race, after they converted a pole position to a win in the SPA 3 HOURS. A thrilling fight for second place resulted in the Elva Mk8 of Peeters/ Zurstrassen finished ahead of the English TVR Griffith piloted by Dupon/Lambilliote.
70 cars took to the start of this year’s SPA 3 HOURS race which revives the SPA endurance tradition and held many surprises.
Qualifying left everyone in no doubt of who the top dogs were – two FORD GT40 teams would be strong candidates to the title, blocking out the two front rows of the podium. Right after them, the pursuing squad was led by Belgium team Peeters/ Zurstrassen in Elva MK8, TVR Griffith from the English team Dupon/Lambilliote and Merlyn from Portuguese Barbot/Matos.
However, with 50 minutes to go, Davies/Newall team retires, leaving the first place to the Portuguese Merlyn with the Bryant family GT40 on the pursuit. With Oliver Bryant at the wheel, he began an amazing “Stint” overtaking the leader with 40 minutes to the finish, ending up winning the race and H-65B category.
Meanwhile the Merlyn started to have some mechanic problems, so second place was conquered by Peters/Zurstrassen on Elva Mk8 that crossed the line with only 0,7 tenths from the third place, Dupont/Lambilliote on TVR Griffith.
On H-71 category, the major surprise ended up to be the last years’ overall winners, Gomes/Claridge, having to withdraw with just 2 laps before the chequered flag. So the H-1971 class was won by Belgium Brugmans/De Borman with BMW 2002 TI, with second and third positions being discussed until the end between the Portuguese Porsche 911 S/T from Dal Maso/Carvalhosa and the French team Chriqui/Douart in Porsche 914/6, with only 4,5 seconds when crossing the finish line after 3 hours of race.
For H-76, it was another British win, this time it was the Ford Escort RS1600 from Christoforou /Sanders, that ended at 5th place at overall, followed by the Portuguese team Gaspar/Gaspar with Ford Escort RS2000, that normally races with Group1 Portugal, and the Spanish duo Sanchez/Sanchez with Porsche 911 2.7 RS.
For H-65A, the exotic Marcos 1800GT from well-known English team Tice/Conoley took the first place, followed by the Lotus Elan from Italio/Switzerland team Perfetti/Rovelli, and the Danish team Lokvig/Bikerlund getting the third place with the small Ginetta G4R.
The most important category for Iberian Historic Endurance, BRM Index Performance, ended up to be won by the Spanish team Fernandez/Casabella with Matra Djet 5, but because they already had won at Jarama Classic, the BRM watch was given to the second place Perfetti/Rovelli with their powerful Lotus Elan 26R. Third place ended up going to another father and son duo Jos and Bob Stevens.
To Diogo Ferrão, Historic Endurance races came back to be super emotional and this one was no exception “We cannot ask for more when we have a full grid with more than 70 cars, and a lot of them with an inestimable value. These endurance races highlights not only pure speed, but also driver’s regularity, at the same time that teams need to read and change race strategies. It’s a complexes machine, that demands almost perfection from every team member over 3 hours to get the best possible result. At the end, with an endurance race with several drivers and different strategies of refuelling, everything can happen.”
Another Historic Endurance journey just ended, and now the competition will take a break for two months. Next round will be on the next 22 and 23 of September, on the biggest classic gathering from Andalusia, at Jerez de la Frontera.