Bradshaw beats the regulars in FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race at Zandvoort

Tom Bradshaw came, saw and conquered at Zandvoort, driving off to an imperious FIA Masters Historic Sports Car win at the Historic Grand Prix event. In his Chevron B19, he converted pole to a dominant 29-second win over Henry Fletcher who himself starred by hauling his B19 up to second from last on the grid.

“I got a good pace from the off”, said Bradshaw. “The pitstop was really clean. I had an exhaust issue towards the end but that was timed really well with the rain, so everyone backed off. I’m absolutely over the moon. We put blood, sweat and tears into the car, and had lots of trouble with it, so to win makes it all the more sweet.”

“I had nothing to lose today”, said Fletcher. “I just pushed and caught up with the front pack pretty quickly. There was nothing I could do about the lead but I had a good gap behind me.”

In third, the Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield Lola T70 Mk3B won a thrilling duel with Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1, Hadfield passing the Italian with ten minutes to go. The Simon Fish/Diogo Ferrão Lola T292 and the Jason Wright/Andy Wolfe T70 Mk3B were up next, ahead of Bonnier class winner James Allison in the first of the Chevron B8s, who held off Greg Thornton’s example by a mere whisker.

“We were the first driver pairing home,” said a chirpy Hadfield, “so I consider that a win!”

The Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra decided an exciting battle for pre-66 Hulme-class honours in its favour, Ahlers repassing Chris Drake in the McLaren M1B started by Mark Shaw when ten minutes before the end a light drizzle turned parts of the track into a treacherous place. Behind them, Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing were happy to take third in class in the Cooper Monaco T61M, as it assured them of the pre-66 title.

“After the pitstops I was +4 on the McLaren”, said Ahlers. “He closed that and passed me. But I stayed with him, and when the rain came, I thought ‘Lovely….”

“It was fantastic”, said Drake. “Normally in the second stint it’s all about time, but we were fighting all the way to the finish. What a race!”

“We got the championship, that’s all we came for”, said Steve Farthing. “We can now go to Spa and enjoy ourselves.”

After a demon start, David Hart’s Lola T70 Mk3B took up second behind Tom Bradshaw’s pole-sitting Chevron B19, with Michael Gans’ Lola T290 passing Leo Voyazides’ T70 Mk3B for third. On the next lap, Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1 also moved past the Greek, with Simon Fish – Diogo Ferrão’s team mate on the occasion in the Lola T292 – holding sixth ahead of Matt Wrigley’s Chevron B19. Jason Wright was eighth in his T70 Mk3B, ahead of João Paulo Campos Costa’s Chevron B19, but from the back of the grid after his exclusion from qualifying for his B19 being found underweight, Henry Fletcher was already up to tenth in a 27-car race.

In the Bonnier class, Julian Thomas led the Chevron B8 battle ahead of Greg Thornton and Charles Allison, while in the pre-66 Hulme class Mark Shaw (McLaren M1B) had seven seconds in hand on Billy Bellinger in the Cooper Monaco King Cobra. In the Pescarolo class, Nicky Pastorelli’s Ferrari Daytona was 14 seconds ahead of James Bates’ RSR, that had lost time with a spin into Tarzan.

Ten minutes gone, Rossi had dropped from the top-five with a spin, resuming in seventh, while Gans was closing on Hart in second place, who was then handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, as his demon start had proved to be slightly too demonic, as it also included overtaking under yellow during the start procedure. The Dutchman and American trailed Bradshaw by 14 seconds, but had ten seconds in hand on Voyazides in fourth, who was trying to keep Fish and Wrigley behind.

As Bradshaw continued to lead imperiously, Hart served his penalty on lap 7, which dropped him all the way down to tenth. Bradshaw’s lead on Gans now amounted to 16 seconds, with Rossi about to lose third to a storming drive from Fletcher who in the previous laps had passed Campos Costa, Wright, Wrigley, Voyazides and Fish for fourth.

In 11th overall, Thomas was still leading Thornton and Allison in the Bonnier class, one place ahead of Siffert-class leader John Sheldon in the Chevron B16. Bellinger, meanwhile, had cut Shaw’s Hulme-class lead to nine seconds, the pair running 14th and 16th overall. At the start of the pit window, though, Thomas’ class-leading Chevron B8 was out with a broken gearbox.

Rossi, Fish, Wright and Voyazides were among the early stoppers, as Bradshaw, Gans and Fletcher continued in their first three places. Gans, Wrigley and Hart were in next, but the leader picked his pitstop time as almost the last in the field. As the pit window closed, Bradshaw held a dominant 32-second lead over Fletcher, as Gans was soon back into the pits with a throttle issue on his Lola T290. That elevated Rossi back up to third, while Simon Hadfield passed Ferrão for fourth, 48 seconds down on the leader. 20 seconds further back, Andy Wolfe was also playing catch-up in the T70 Mk3 started by Wright, Wolfe having passed Wrigley and Hart for sixth.

After Thomas’ demise, Charles Allison was the new Bonnier-class leader in tenth overall – which became ninth when Campos Costa retired his B19. John Sheldon’s B16 split Allison and his class rival Thornton, as Frazer Gibney moved up into third in the Bonnier class. In the Hulme class, the Ahlers/Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra now headed Chris Drake in the McLaren M1B started by Mark Shaw while Pastorelli was still in a comfortable Pescarolo-class lead.

With 15 minutes still to go, Rossi was unable to contain Hadfield, as the Lola powered past the Osella on the way up the hill to take third. Meanwhile, Wrigley had disappeared from the order, his Chevron B19 stopped out on track. This meant that Allison, Thornton and Sheldon now completed the overall top-ten. In 11th overall, Mark Owen in the B8 started by father Andrew was closing rapidly on the three of them, the younger having his eyes firmly set on something better than third in the Bonnier class.

At the front, Bradshaw, Fletcher and Hadfield were all setting similar lap times, the same applying to Rossi, Ferrão, Wolfe and Hart in fourth through seventh. Rossi wasn’t giving up, though, the Italian still hounding Hadfield as the first drops of rain began to fall. Hadfield feeling more comfortable on the slippery surface, the gap soon opened up again. Meanwhile in the Hulme class, the fight had truly heated up between Ahlers and Drake, the latter having repassed the Monaco King Cobra.

After an hour of racing, Bradshaw completed a dominant race to win by 29 seconds from Fletcher, who himself starred to haul his B19 to second from the back of the grid. Hadfield kept Rossi at bay for third. Ahlers profited from the rain to get back at Drake and take the pre-66 Hulme class win while Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing in their Cooper Monaco T61M were happy to take third in class and the championship. Allison, Sheldon and Pastorelli took Bonnier, Siffert and Pescarolo honours respectively, the former staying just 0.103 seconds ahead of Thornton on the line, with Mark Owen four seconds further down the road.