Photos by Paul/Fotografia Corse
GOODYEAR MARANELLO FERRARI CHALLENGE
He's Back !John Pogson, in the Adams Associates F40, returned to the winners circle with a decisive win at an eventful third round of the GMFC. Pole sitter, Stuart Bowler, also F40 mounted, spun away an early led on lap 2 and could not get himself back into contention.
Morning practice saw a classy grid of 32 Ferraris take to a damp and slithery track, with some drivers even taking to wet tyres, but the majority were on slicks which seemed to be the better choice as a dry line gradually emerged. Stuart Bowler took a firm hold on pole, followed by Colin Davids (Testarossa), Pogson and then the two F355/Chs of Neil Woodford and Nicky Paul-Barron. For Woodford, however, it was not to be because he then severely damaged his car in a red-flag incident affecting Amedeo Serra (F355/Ch) and the unfortunate "O" class 328s of Kevin Wilkins and John Avery. All four were non-starters for the race. The heavy metal of Alan Cosby (F512M) and Ian Hetherington (F50) followed in sixth and seventh on the grid, before a tightly grouped bunch of five 355/Chs led by Guy Hudson and Marco Attard.
The "O" class was destined to be the expected treat, with David Ashburn (F355GTS) just fractions ahead of Fred Moss (F355), and Gary Culver (F355).
By the mid-afternoon start the track had dried completely and a large crowd had assembled to watch the Ferrari race with eager anticipation. From the start Bowler took his F40 into a clear lead, followed by Davids, Pogson, Cosby and Hetherington. Next came the leading 355/Chs, with John Seale having made a good start from 12th on the grid to lead Paul-Barron, Attard and Marc Gachoud, who had made amazing progress from 15th on the grid.
On lap 2, however, the F40 of Bowler got away from him over the bumps at Avon Rise at a speed approaching 160 mph and the spinning Ferrari somehow avoided all contact as it travelled probably a quarter of a mile facing every which way but forwards. "My own fault", reported Stuart afterwards. For the next lap it was Davids' Testarossa in the lead but by lap 4 Pogson was in a lead he was never to lose. The leading Challenge cars unfortunately came to grief when Seale and Paul-Barron made contact and the latter spun into retirement, with anger about robust driving tactics. The order at the front remained Pogson-Davids-Cosby, with the latter soon to be passed by the awesomely powerful F50 of Hetherington. After a long gap came a frenetic battle between the two 355/Chs of Gachoud and Attard, with Seale being caught and passed by the flying 355/Ch of Graham Reeder - a car he was racing for the very first time.
On the penultimate lap Colin Davids lost his second place when he had the mother of all spins after one of his Compomotive wheels collapsed. The order at the finish was therefore John Pogson (F40), Ian Hetherington (F50), Alan Cosby having run strongly in the F512M and then came two pairs of Challenge cars, those of Attard and Gachoud a few seconds ahead of the Reeder and Seale dice. Stuart Bowler recovered after his earlier spin to finish eighth and behind him came the amazing "O" class 355s of Fred Moss and David Ashburn. These two had fought for the entire 12 laps, never more than a cars length apart and were separated by less than 0.2 secs. at the finish.
Behind the two "O" class leaders was yet another two-car confrontation, between Guy Hudson and Bruno Cappuccini, both in F355/Chs. On the very last corner of the last lap, Bruno unfortunately lost it in a big way at the notorious Camp Corner and hit the earth bank a tremendous blow, happily emerging unhurt. "Not so skilful today", rued Bruno afterwards.
The excitement had kept the packed spectator banks on their toes throughout and it was a beaming John Pogson who took the winners laurels. Graham Reeder was awarded the Psygnosis Driver of the Day award for his charging drive into sixth place in his first outing in his recently acquired 355/Ch.
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