The inaugural running of the Dijon Motor Cup was held 12-13 July 2013 at Circuit Dijon-Prenois near Dijon, France. The two-day historic car race enjoyed perfect summer weather on the 8-turn, 2.362-mile road course.
With just six races (all of them top calibre) over the whole two days, and free access to spectators, the atmosphere was delightfully relaxed. The general mood was more akin to a private race meeting than a high-profile public event, which was all to the good, according to the drivers in Motor Racing Legends’ Stirling Moss Trophy race, who found the weekend hugely enjoyable – especially as the on-track action was interspersed by barbecues and informal fun.
A quick glance at the results of the one-hour Stirling Moss Trophy race might suggest that the podium places were a foregone conclusion, but nothing could be further from the truth. The pole-sitting Lister Jaguar Knobbly of Gary Pearson threw a rod in practice and didn’t take the start, hence Bobby Verdon-Roe’s Ferrari 246S – starting from second on the grid – was in a strong position from the outset. Putting heavy pressure on Bobby, however, was the Lotus 17 Prototype of Dion and Gabriel Kremer which, sadly, had to pull into the pits after just a few laps because of a simple mistake (the wrong fuel pump was switched on at the start). Once that error was rectified, the Lotus was back out on track but only managed to claw its way back to 11th by the finish.
With the threat of the Kremers’ Lotus removed, Verdon-Roe did manage to put distance between himself and the rest of the pack to finish more than a lap ahead when the chequered flag fell, but the car that came second – the Lister Knobbly of Stefan Ziegler and Sam Hancock – only just managed to pass the Lola Mk1 Prototype of Keith Ahlers and James (Billy) Bellinger in the closing stages, having fought its way up from 14th place after the pit stop.
The Lotus XI of Jean Jacques Gravier, who drove solo and hence suffered a 30-second penalty, managed to pip the Lotus XI Le Mans of Phil Champion and Sam Stretton to fourth overall – but it was a close-run thing.
Also worthy of mention is car number 14, the Lotus XI Le Mans Series 1 with its 1100cc engine, which was running in 9th place when Jacques Naveau took over from David Axisa at the pit stop – and which re-emerged onto the track making horrendous noises that seemed to suggest serious engine problems, but which hung on in there to achieve second in class and 13th overall at the finish. The mechanical malady turned out to be a misfunctioning battery cut-off switch: nothing major to repair, but a serious challenge for Naveau in the race.
And the final word goes to Gregory De Prins, who has previously suffered persistent problems and a series of non-finishes with his Rejo Mk VI, but came through in fine style at Dijon – driving arguably the best race of his life to finish a commendable 10th overall.
Dijon Motor Cup Stirling Moss Trophy – Race Results
1. no.40 – Bobby Verdon-Roe, Ferrari 246S Dino
2. no.27 – Stefan Ziegler and Sam Hancock, Lister Knobbly
3. no.29 – Keith Ahlers and James Bellinger, Lola Mk1 Prototype
4. no.157 – Jean Jacques Gravier, Lotus XI
5. no.4 – Philip Champion and Sam Stretton, Lotus XI Le Mans
[Source: Motor Racing Legends; photos: John Retter]