Undoubtedly the major attractions at the Grand Prix Historique du Pas De Calais on 6-7 July were the two rounds of the 500 Owners Association Circuit Championship. Many of the 500 racers are also Formula Junior drivers, and they were well represented at Croix, led by likely winner Mike Fowler (Cooper Mk 5). Martin Sheppard (Effyh “Brynfan Tydfyn“), Xavier Kingsland (Staride Mk3), Duncan Rabagliati (Comet Mk1) and Andy Rayner (Cooper) were also amongst the tourists from the other side of the Manche, while Elva 200 Lurani racer Gilbert Lenoir brought along three of his cars to race, the French built Terigi for Simon Frost, and two invitation cars, the front-engined, Monopole FJ for Jean-Luc Renard and the ex-Harry Schell 1950 Monaco F1 GP Cooper-JAP v-twin for journalist Dominique Pascal, while Goodwood French commentator, Olivier Barjon was also there in his near barn find Cooper Mk II, although not yet ready to race.
Two other invitation cars, Patrick Jamin in the (now) 600cc Boyer and Fred Marquet in his early DB-Panhard, now in 850 Monomil spec, were to lead in both practice and the races, but of the 500 F3s it was Mike Fowler ahead from Xavier Kingsland and octogenarian Roy Hunt in his faithful Martin, one of the specials built by Ray Martin after he had designed the prototype swing-axle Kieft for Stirling Moss.
Race 1 saw Fowler finally content leading the F3s home in third overall after a good battle with Marquet and Kingsland a little back in third. A great drive from the back of the grid by Nigel Challis netted the 500 OA Chairman fifth spot ahead of John Chisholm in the Arnott, while a good battle at the back saw Richard Bishop-Miller in the evocative Revis just pip Rabagliati’s Comet on the line.
After two long practices and a race, some of the 500s were a little tired by race 2 but Fowler drove another superb race to lead the F3s, and there was terrific joy from everybody to see Simon Dedman take a podium place for the first time in the Australian built Waye 500.
Other races included a small field of Formula Fords, enlivened by the presence of Croix Circuit owner Patrick d’Aubreby having a run in his Lotus 22 Formula Junior.
It was a really fun clubby weekend, much enjoyed by all the British visitors.
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