Photo-Finish for Woodcote Trophy at Spa Six-Hours Meeting

It’s not often that an hour-long motor race is decided by a photo-finish, but that’s just what happened in the final Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy race for 2007, at Spa last weekend. As the chequered flag fell, the Maserati 300S of Burkhard Von Schenk and Gregor Fisken - which had been leading for the entire race - was neck and neck with the Jaguar D-Type of Lukas Huni and Gary Pearson...

...and it was the D-type which snatched the victory laurels, by just 0.013 seconds. Starting from pole, Fisken and Von Schenk had pulled out a comfortable lead of some 30 seconds and their victory seemed certin. But as the final 20 minutes of the race ticked away, the lead became smaller and smaller, as a stunning stint from Pearson in the Jaguar saw him creep ever closer to von Schenk’s Maserati. On the last lap, they came around the tight corner of the chicane side by side, the Maserati on the outside, and howled towards the finish line.

Gregor Fisken, Managing Director of Fiskens, which sponsors the Woodcote Trophy, admitted that the race was a fitting end to a spectacular season for the Woodcote Trophy. “It was a shame to lose but it was an absolutely brilliant race and the weekend was one we’ll always remember. The weather was fantastic, the grid was world-class and the racing superb. It was a fitting end to the season and I’m certain that the Woodcote Trophy will continue to go from strength to strength in 2008.”

The one-hour, two-driver race, organised by Motor Racing Legends, is for genuine post-War sports-racers of the pre-1956 era, with the huge grid split into several classes. Other class winners included the HWM Jaguar of Michael Steele and Barrie Williams, the Austin-Healey 100M of Neil Hardy and Barry Sidery-Smith, the Cooper Bristol Sports T20 of Adrian van der Kroft and Andrew Cameron, and the Lotus Mark IX of Richard Ashmead and Peter Colborne Baber.

Photo-Finish for Woodcote Trophy at Spa Six-Hours Meeting Fiskens also supported the Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car race at Spa, another one-hour, two-driver race, this one won by Belgian Hubert Fabri in his Alfa Romeo 8c Monza, sharing with Adrian Stoop. Second place was also taken by a Belgian driver, Nicolas D’Ieteren, in an 8c Monza, after a fierce battle with the HRG of William Mahany and James Baxter.

Remarkably, five of the competing pre-War cars were driven to the race from their homes in the UK, including Mike Preston's Type 50 Bugatti, which finished 13th overall. Richard Frankel and Peter Flood drove their 4½-litre Bentleys by road to Spa, while Nigel Stacy-Marks and Jock MacKinnon both drove their Bentleys all the way from Scotland!

Motor Racing Legends Chairman, Duncan Wiltshire, who himself piloted a Bentley 3 Litre, said, “It was a wonderful race, highly competitive but tremendously good-humoured, with a fantastic variety of cars. But the new chicane is bloody horrible. Everyone now remembers the much-hated Bus Stop with fond nostalgia. During the race, I found four abreast into the chicane particularly interesting!”

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Tim Scott of Fluid Images - Strictly Copyright

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