Thornton dominates Jarama’s second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race
Greg Thornton fended off an early charge from Michael Lyons to go on to dominate the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race of the Espíritu del Jarama weekend. The Lotus 91 driver put in two consecutive fastest laps of the race on laps 5 and 6 to break Lyons’ will before crossing the line with a massive 36-second lead after 17 laps. In James Hagan’s Hesketh 308, Lyons finished 35 second ahead of his rival Max Smith-Hilliard (Shadow DN5) to take Fittipaldi class honours and seal the pre-78 title.
“I was on tyres that had done 26 laps”, said Thornton, “while Michael was on new tyres. So I reckoned he needed two laps to come on, and then he would be close for a couple of laps before they would go off. So I knew I had to push right at the start to pull the gap. Did I really beat him with half a minute? The guys on the pitwall didn’t tell me that!”
“The temptation was there in the beginning”, said Lyons when asked about his early charge. “But then I thought, this is silly, I have a championship to win. In all fairness, Max has done a tremendous job all year, that’s why it went to the last race. It was really nice to have fought someone all the way.”
“Michael is a different class to me”, said Smith-Hilliard. “I hung on for what it was worth, you never know, he’s had his fair share of trouble all year. But then I wouldn’t want to have won it in that way anyway.”
Ten seconds adrift of Smith-Hilliard, Richard Barber (Williams FW08) fought with Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) all the way, as they had done in race one. As Barber finished second in the post-78 class, Wright had to let go of him in the closing stages, his engine note changing to a lower tune.
“It wasn’t the engine going off”, said the American afterwards. “It was me going off! My seatbelts were killing me, they were too tight on my chest, so I had to loosen them. That forced me to slow down and not use all the revs.”
Ron Maydon (March 761) and Michel Baudoin (Hesketh 308E) crossed the line in sixth and seventh, one lap and two laps down respectively.
Patrick d’Aubréry’s March 761 harried Smith-Hilliard for two laps before the Frenchman came into the pits with a stuck throttle. He then re-entered the race five laps down, to post similar lap times to Michael Lyons’ Hesketh 308.