The Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or, held 25-26 June, 2011 in Dijon, France, offered mixed weather and mixed fortunes for two top-quality historic grids from Motor Racing Legends: the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and the Stirling Moss Trophy races.
The major rainstorms which hit Dijon earlier in the week had turned to hot summer weather by the Saturday of the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or, in time for the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy race for pre-1956 sports-racers.
At first, the Woodcote Trophy winner looked certain to be the pole-sitting Jaguar D-type of Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson – had it not been for the twin setbacks of a puncture and a stop-and-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane. This meant the pair had to bring their D-type into the pits three times, instead of once…giving Irvine Laidlaw and Simon Hadfield the chance to take over the charge in their Jaguar D-type – which they did in fine form, taking the chequered flag to win by 41 seconds from the Maserati A6 GCS of Carlo Vögele, who also put in one of the finest drives of the weekend. As Vögele had opted to drive the one-hour race alone, he was subject to a 45-second pit stop penalty for single drivers, which must have cost him 25 or 30 seconds more than the standard driver change – yet he still came back to take second place.
Third over the line was the Jaguar D-type of Ludovic Lindsay and Fred Wakeman, who did well to get onto the podium after a misfire in qualifying put them fifth on the grid, and a bad start saw them drop down to ninth by the end of the first lap. But perseverance saw them creep steadily back up the field to finish 14 seconds ahead of the Monteverde/Pearson D-type.
Sunday – and the Stirling Moss Trophy race – turned out to be even hotter than Saturday, and not just in terms of the weather. Graeme Dodd, driving solo in his Cooper Monaco (despite what the official results sheet says) and qualifying third on the grid, had taken the lead by lap four and seemed to have control of the race – except that on lap 29, a hub failed and Dodd lost a wheel.
This gifted the lead to Martin Stretton, at the wheel of the Lister Jaguar Knobbly he was sharing with Jon Minshaw, which had started on pole and – despite losing the lead for much of the one-hour race – finally finished 14 seconds ahead of the pack.
The real battle, however, was for second place. Ewan McIntyre’s Lotus 15 had qualified second on the grid but, when Ewan spun on the first lap, he had to sit and watch the whole field go by before rejoining the fray. He then put in an outstanding drive, lap after lap, until he was reeling in Bobby Verdon-Roe’s second-placed Ferrari 246S at the rate of two seconds per lap. As the pair crossed the finish line at the end of the hour-long race, the Lotus and Ferrari appeared absolutely side-by-side… with the official timekeepers clocking the Ferrari just 27 hundredths of a second ahead of the Lotus. “Another 10 yards and Ewan would have made it!” said race organiser Duncan Wiltshire.
Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2011 – Additional Race Photos
[Source: Motor Racing Legends]