Nick Padmore, Michael Gans and Andy Wolfe all climbed the top step of the podium twice during the Masters’ Most Historic Grand Prix weekend in the Czech Republic, June 23–24. Padmore doubled up in FIA Masters Historic Formula One, while Gans and Wolfe won the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race together in their AC Cobra and added wins in FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars and Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars respectively. Wolfe did so by joining up with Mike Gardiner in Gardiner’s Ford Falcon Sprint. Meanwhile, Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger were back to their winning ways, taking home two class wins in both Gentlemen Drivers and FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars.
Padmore won the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race from the front, converting pole into a win. On Sunday, though, Padmore and his Williams FW07C had to pick their way forward from eighth on the reverse grid. His closest rival on the weekend was debuting Italian Matteo Ferrer-Aza who in his Ligier JS11/15 took both second places. Perennial class rivals Greg Thornton (Lotus 77) and Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A) split the pre-78 class wins.
Gans and Wolfe dominated the 90-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers race on Saturday afternoon. A longer pitstop allowed Rob Fenn’s CLP-class-winning Lotus Elan 26R to momentarily sniff at the tail of the AC Cobra but then Wolfe increased the gap back to where Gans had left it. Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger (Morgan SLR) took top honours in the C2 class.
In a car better suited to the twisty Most circuit, Gans edged away from his powerful Lola T70 Mk3B rivals Jason Wright and Mike Donovan, his nimble open-top Lola T290 crossing the finish line some 20 seconds before Wright’s bulkier machine did so. Further back, Ahlers and Bellinger bagged another class win in their trusty Cooper Monaco King Cobra.
The first half of the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race on Sunday morning was all about a tight three-car battle between Mike Gardiner’s Ford Falcon Sprint, Peter Klutt’s Ford Mustang and Steve Soper in the Cortina he shared with Mark Martin. On lap 11, though, the trio clashed at the chicane. While innocent victim Soper lost the most amount of time, handing a first Cortina class win to Norwegian Martin Strommen, the Gardiner/Wolfe and Klutt cars survived to take the top two places in the V8-powered class.
After a weekend in the Czech Republic that was met by enthusiasm from the local crowd it’s onto a double date at Silverstone – first for our Historic Formula One support race at the Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix (July 5-8), and then for the Silverstone Classic (July 20-22).