Loads of thrills and spills at 9th Monaco Grand Prix Historique

| 12 May 2014

The racing finally got underway on Sunday in the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, many of the grids depleted after two days of nose-crunching mayhem in practice and qualifying.

The early grids were littered with spins and one moment of high drama in the third race of the day when a rear wheel fell off the Climax-engined Lola MkIV of Jorge Ferioli. As the wheel rolled off, the brake disc shattered and the hub dug into the track throwing the car into a dramatic series of spins before it smashed into the armco. Luckily the incident happened on the start-finish straight and no other cars were involved.

Other than that incident, the race was something of a parade for Andy Middlehurst in the Lotus 25. Already the pole-sitter having qualified some four seconds ahead of the rest of the field, Middlehurst's job was made even easier after second quickest qualifier, Lotus 24 pilot Paul Drayson, crashed in qualifying and didn't make the grid. When Joe Colasacco's Ferrari 1512, third on the grid, slowed dramatically with a mechanical problem it put paid to any potential challenge to Middlehurst who ran away with the victory from Sid Hoole's Cooper T66 and Tommaso Gelmini's Scirocco BRM.

The day had kicked off with the pre-war GP cars. With just 11 cars starting, it was left to Matthew Grist to take the laurels in the Alfa P3 after a thrilling battle with Paddins Dowling in his ERA. The margin of victory was just .235 of a second, but this pair was way in front of the field, with Nick Topliss' ERA taking the third podium spot some 35 seconds further back. 

Even a yellow flag couldn't bridge the gap between Roger Wills and the rest of the field in the pre-1961 F1 and F2 cars. As the Cooper T51 cruised to victory, the highlight of the race was a last lap tussle between Frank Stippler's Maserati 250F and Tony Wood's Tec-Mec Maserati, the former diving through to take second. As has become traditional for Wills at Monaco, the Kiwi's victory presentation was accompanied by the English national anthem and the Union Flag.

The afternoon's track action got underway with the huge 1950s sports cars grid with C-type mounted Alex Buncombe roaring away from the field. To put in perspective the ease of his victory the hotshoe was lapping the back-markers within four laps. There was some tasty action behind Buncombe, though, with Gavin Pickering squeezing past John Ure's Cooper-Bristol at the start. Ure came charging back, though, and re-took Pickering with a bold outbraking exercise at the swimming pool. After that Ure thrilled the crowds throwing the T24 into corners and driving like a man possessed, but he couldn't close the gap on Buncombe.

For many the highlight of the event was the 1966 to '72 F1 cars with Katsu Kubota piloting the Classic Team Lotus 72 to a five-second win ahead of Duncan Dayton's Brabham BT33 and Rob Hall's screaming Matra MS120B. The race was marred, however, as the ex-Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312 became one of many casualties over the weekend – along with the ex-Jim Clark 1967 Dutch GP-winning Lotus 49 that Chris MacAllister lost in practice – when driver John Goodman veered into Richard Smeeton's March 712 and ended up ploughing into the barriers.

The penultimate race of the festival was for 1974-'78 F2 and F3 single-seaters, a grid that had seen many a nosecone smashed in practice and qualifying. Italians came to the fore and came close to having a clean sweep. Paolo Barilla triumphed in his Chevron B34 from Valerio Leone's March 783 and Oliver Hancock's Lola T670 in third. Tiff Needell brought the Chevron B38 home in fifth.

The harum-scarum meeting was rounded off with the 1974-'78 Grand Prix cars, Michael Lyons enjoying an easy victory in the Hesketh 308, 33 seconds ahead of the March 761 of Charles Nearburg and the Williams FW05 of Nick Padmore.

Click here to see our full gallery of the event.