Alfa Romeos in the et at Spa-Francorchamps

After returning from Zandvoort a few weeks ago and not racing myself, it didn't take long to respond to the invitation to bring my Alfette GTV to Spa in Belgium for what was being touted as the "Greatest Alfa Romeo Race in Europe". With time ...

After returning from Zandvoort a few weeks ago and not racing myself, it didn't take long to respond to the invitation to bring my Alfette GTV to Spa in Belgium for what was being touted as the "Greatest Alfa Romeo Race in Europe". With time limited, I managed to get AROC Sud racer Rob Bishop interested, so it was the two of us and assorted helpers who set off to challenge the circuit and the Dutch, Belgian and German Alfa racers.

The race was to be a support to the Six Hours of Spa for Historic Cars over ten laps of the 7 km. track, where I had previously raced on the old circuit back in 1973. Our race embraced the Squadra Bianca Giulia Super series from Holland with 25 cars and the Trofeo Alfa Romeo, which is more of a club championship like our UK series.They had 35 cars in two classes...Standard and Modified, and including Giulietta Sprint Veloces, Alfetta Saloons, Giulias of all types, 75s and GTV 6. The standard cars ran on slicks and had bumpers off. As guests, we ran with the modified cars, so being more standard then their "standard", we had our work cut out.

Practice in the dry so me stuggling to stay near the slick-shod 'standars', never mind the modified cars, but my car was running well with new oil pump, water pump, correct dipstick and the right amount of oil! 49th on the grid was the result with Rob Bishop up in a more impressive 38th, but still 24 seconds off poleman Ron Simons in the ex-Luigi team GTV6. Vander Sluis's 2000GTV(well modified) was 2nd but blew up so a pack of Squadra Bianca cars filled the next 7 spots.

Heavy rain overnight meant two things: a lot of people were very! nervous and wets were the way to go. So Rob and I both went to wet tyres and softer set-up while watching the sky. We really wanted it dry and then have rain on lap three with every body elso on slicks but it didn,t work that way. A wet rolling start meant collective butterflies in the plunge down the hill to the notorious Eau Rouge and up Raidallion and out the first straight, with no visibility at all. I had to duck out of the wet to try and see where I was and found open space to take 4-5 cars into the first tight right. While Simons pulled away in the front, both Rob and I had to get down to the business of working past people in the wet. Everyone believes if you race in Englang you are much more experienced in the wet and so the opposition was mostly very polite and moved over....but not everyone! And of course we don't race in the wet that much more anyway.

I had a good battle for several laps with Rob Slop Jr.'s Giulietta SV, and passed him at the second fast left at Blanchimont, only to be boxed in by a faster Giulia Super making up time after a slow start which boxed me in at the bus stop, so I was 4/10ths behind Slop, but ahead of his father! I was 33rd overall, 12th in the class while Rob pushed the Sud up to 22nd and 6th in the class( and remember this is modified). Had we run in standard it would have been 4th and 8th, but nevertheless it was a great time for both of us.

My car had survived a trip through the gravel at Blanchimont in practice after foolishly moving over for another car...not recommended in this flat-out, top-revs bend! Both of us had managed a flat out run through Eau Rouge in the dry in practice so that's an achievement. We were traeted with great hospitality and look forward to bringing more of "our" contingent next year.

Alfas didn't do too well in the 6 Hours, won by Barrie Williams, Joe Ward and Chris Conoley in a TVR Griffith. I worked hard on getting a drive in that, but will have to wait til next year.

Ed McDonough Chairman AROC UK

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Barrie Williams , Joe Ward
Teams Williams