Circuit des Remparts

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After last year’s cancellation the 49th edition of one of the oldest race meetings in Europe – it was first run in 1939 – took place on 13-15 September still under some special COVID restrictions, with smaller numbers participating in some of the activities. The Remparts, encircling the charming Charentais town of Angoulême, is the setting for racing on Sunday, but before that cars were paraded in a concours d’élégance in the town’s Champ de Mars and, the scheduled International Rally having been cancelled due to restrictions, a tour took nearly 200 participants on a drive through the region. Usually stopping at a castle or other landmark in the area for a copious lunch, this year guests were transported back to Roman times with a visit to the archaeological site of Cassinomagus, now known under its modern name of Chassenon. Indeed, the whole town of Angoulême gives itself over to automobile-centred activities for the week leading up to the races, with displays, exhibitions, special celebrity guests, even the local chocolatiér was producing chocolate D-type Jaguars! On Friday evening, the mayor of Angoulême, together with the President of the Federation of Vintage Vehicles, ceremoniously unveiled a plaque designating Angoulême as a “Lieu de l’Histoire Automobile”.

Photos François Baudin Agence Austral 

Though the weekend started under uncertain skies, with a downpour on Friday that sent visitors to the concours scurrying for cover, Sunday’s demonstrations and races started in fine weather with a large crowd of vaccinated spectators. The 1279-metre course, unchanged since its creation, is truly unique and spectacular. As every year, the vehicles were divided into different categories, named after famous French drivers or marques, starting with early pre-war cars and ending with super-tourers of the 1980s. Traditionally, a large British contingent comes to Angoulême in a friendly yearly invasion of the town that makes up to a third of the entry list. This year there were far fewer than usual, and there were also fewer races than usual, only five, compared to nearly double the number in previous years. But the Brits that did come made their mark, bringing some exceptional cars, most notably in the pre-war category. The Plateau Maurice Trintignant was won by regular VSCC winner in the UK, Dougal Cawley in his famous Frazer Nash ‘Piglet’ in a race where Brits took six of the top ten places.


For a full report, see our November 2021 issue…

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