Keep­ing the As­ton end up

MIXED FOR­TUNES, BUT AS­TON MARTIN HON­OUR IS UPHELD AS THE 2017 SEA­SON GETS UN­DER WAY

VANTAGE - - Bulletin Classic Motorsport - WORDS STEPHEN ARCHER

LORD MARCH STARTED the sea­son in earnest with the 75th Mem­bers’ Meet­ing at Good­wood in March. This is quite un­like the Re­vival in scale and style but is still hugely en­ter­tain­ing. The Gra­ham Hill Tro­phy race for ’60s GT cars had two As­tons on the grid. Wolf­gang Friedrichs’ DP214 replica, in the hands of Joaquin Folch and Si­mon Had­field, re­tired af­ter 12 laps, but the ex-se­bring DB4 GT of Tom Alexan­der and Adrian Wil­mott fin­ished a re­spectable 18th in a strong field.

The mag­nif­i­cent Tour Auto made its tra­di­tional April ap­pear­ance, with plenty of fine weather in France to help the cars around the many road stages and cir­cuits on this su­perb event. While GT40S and Fer­raris bat­tled it out at the top of the or­der, two ven­er­a­ble As­ton Martins graced the Tour this year. The DB2/4 of French duo Robert and An­toine Janer fin­ished 54th in the reg­u­lar­ity clas­si­fi­ca­tion, while the DB2 of Lau­rent and Mar­ion De­s­places came home a most wor­thy 46th over­all. Given that it was one of the old­est cars on the Tour, this was a re­ally fine re­sult.

Over­lap­ping with the Tour was the very well es­tab­lished Don­ing­ton Fes­ti­val, char­ac­terised by large and var­ied grids. The pre-war sports car race saw some great ac­tion, with Heinz Stamm’s 2 Litre ‘Spa car’ just be­ing pipped to 9th by a Frazer Nash, while fur­ther back the highly orig­i­nal 1935 Ul­ster of Ed­ward Bradley fin­ished 14th. The two-hour GT race was a fast-paced affair with Wolf­gang Friedrichs’ DP214 replica fin­ish­ing 8th over­all with the highly able Michael Mal­lock co-driv­ing. This was an im­pres­sive re­sult in a very strong field. Friedrichs was out again in his DB3S in the Wood­cote Tro­phy race for ’50s sports cars and, with as­sis­tance this time from Si­mon Had­field, came sec­ond over­all and first in class.

The AMOC’S In­ter­mar­que cham­pi­onship and GT Chal­lenge had an ‘out-round’ at Don­ing­ton in April, but the first full AMOC race meet­ing of the sea­son was at Oul­ton Park in May. And, while the grids were mod­est, the rac­ing was keenly con­tested.

In the ev­er­green In­ter­mar­que se­ries, the As­tons had to fol­low home a num­ber of Ger­man cars, but the AM V8 of Watts and Gior­danelli upheld As­ton hon­our with 6th, while the Melling/min­shaw DB4 fin­ished off the or­der in 10th. Ni­cholas King braved the GT Chal­lenge race in his DB4 and with great gusto fin­ished 10th, while the much more mod­ern GT4 of David Tinn was a strong 4th over­all. On to Snet­ter­ton!

RAC­ING CAL­EN­DAR July 1-2 His­toric Su­per­prix, Brands Hatch July 8 AMOC Rac­ing, Snet­ter­ton July 28-30 Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic Au­gust 12 AMOC Rac­ing, Brands Hatch Septem­ber 30 AMOC Rac­ing, Sil­ver­stone

TRACK PHO­TOG­RA­PHY NICK ED­WARDS

Fom the top Melling/min­shaw DB4 cocks wheel at Don­ing­ton; De­s­places DB2 on Tour Auto; Tinn’s GT4 squeezes past at Oul­ton Park

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