MAGAZINE > RALLY NEWS >Southern Cross Safari
A 1927 Bentley emerged victorious after 19 days and 2000 miles of competition on the Southern Cross Safari from the Rally the Globe organisation. Paul Lawrence reports.
After nearly three weeks of challenging driving through the mountains, game reserves and private estates of Kenya and Tanzania, the 1927 Bentley 4½ Le Mans of British husband and wife team Keith and Norah Ashworth took overall victory after a dramatic final day.
The abnormal amount of rain that’s fallen in East Africa really tested the cars and drivers, including the winning Ashworth Bentley
MAGAZINE > RALLY NEWS > Romania Gravel Rally
First run in October last year with only 13 entries, this year Paul Lacombe and his equipe, organisers of the successful Romania Winter rally, will run the Romania Historic Gravel Rally on 15-20 June and are expecting a much bigger entry. Run over five days, with a total of nearly 400kms of loose surface special stages, many in the forests, the rally has its headquarters in the village of Cheia, some 30kms outside of the town of Brasov in Transylvania, where the rally will return each night. Dracula’s Castle is 7kms away. This is a beautiful part of Romania and is particularly good for rallying, and the local economy means that the event can be organised for a modest sum compared to some other countries in Europe. The event is for cars up to 1981, with a category for two-wheel drive cars up to 1985 (period J1) and two-wheel drive cars up to 1999 with manual gearbox. The regulations stipulate that cars must be FIA compliant, but HTPs are not mandatory. See www.romania-historic-rally.com for the details.
Organisers anticipate a much bigger turnout for the second running of the Romania Historic Gravel Rally
MAGAZINE > FEATURES & REPORTS > XVI Rally Clásico Isla Mallorca
Motorsport at the end of the World
The 16th edition of the Mallorca Classic Rally took place at its usual time, the second weekend of March. As it did so, the tsunami of the Coronavirus swept across Spain and would overwhelm the event. An absence of common sense or the pressure of a crowded calendar meant that once again the rally clashed with the opening round of the FIA Historic Rally Championship, scheduled on the same weekend across the Balearic sea at Gerona. The privileged Mediterranean island has hosted a classic rally for the last nineteen years and this was the 16th to be organised by Toni Dezcallar.
At this stage, the threat from Covid-19 was acknowledged by all but few could predict its effect on the event. In spite of the clash with the FIA Historic Championship round the rally attracted a capacity entry.
The Coves de Campanet consists of a narrow road bordered by low stone walls with occasional slippy wet patches and blind jumps. The impression of speed is tremendous. It is one for the young and the brave. Rally winner Seb Perez literally flew over it
MAGAZINE > FEATURES & REPORTS > Celebrating Colin McRae - Chester Rally Revival
Paul Lawrence Reports
A new event to celebrate rallying heritage ran successfully but in a fairly low-key way at the end of February when the inaugural Chester Rally Revival marked the 25th anniversary of one of the biggest moments in the career of Colin McRae.
The idea was to send a gaggle of cars and crews on a tour of Cheshire and Shropshire, taking in venues with RAC Rally heritage. It was not competitive, but some spirited driving kept the fans nicely entertained and it turned out to be a real hit with participants and spectators alike.
The field was headed by Colin’s father Jimmy
MAGAZINE > FEATURES & REPORTS > Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motor Sport
Report by Neil Hammond
Phillip Island’s annual Motor Sport Festival on 5-8 March again provided the country’s best historic race meet with, as usual, nearly 500 entries. While overseas entries were down compared to recent years, the gathering of cars from all parts of Australia was again the opportunity to see a vast number of cars that otherwise never run together on the same track. In an arrangement between British Brian Souley Motorsport and local Ecurie Australie/Davisons Formula Ford team, four local cars were driven by overseas drivers, Richard “Bulldog” Tarling, Adrian Reynard in a Reynard of course, Frenchman Xavier Michel and Dutch KLM pilot Jaap Blijleven. Brian Soule has hopes to extend Formula Ford swap deals to involve other countries in future. Luke Ellery motorsport entered Chris Hodgen, while further British deal drivers were Martin Whitlock and Donald Boyack.
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis brought two Ferraris. Photo Shaun Tanner
Roadbook organisation, which each year brings you the Spa Summer Classic and the Spa Six Hours meeting, is making it a hat-trick with a new, third meeting at the Francorchamps circuit, on 10-11 October this year.
For many years now, the other two meetings have been full to capacity, with many grid organisers being turned away due to lack of sufficient slots on the timetable. The Spa Hat Trick meeting, much like the Spa Summer Classic in its early days - before it became a meeting in its own right with its own character - will initially welcome the overflow from the other two meetings, but will no doubt take on a shape and character of its own in future years.
Already one of its special characteristics is that it will showcase single seaters more than GT or touring cars. In addition to MAXX Formula for Formula cars up to 1997, (motto … MAXXimum Power … MAXXimum Speed … MAXXimum Noise), the HSCC will run a round of its Formula 2 Championship, and HMR Holland, who runs races for Formula Vee, Formula 3, and Formula Ford 1600 and 2000, will also bring its monopostos to the party. The Classic Racing Automobile Club Belgium, the aptly named CRAC, organises track outings without competition and just for fun, and have invited their members with single seaters for some sessions at Spa.
On the GT/Touring car side of things, the Barry Sideways one-hour race will start its usual eclectic selection of 75 sports, touring and “interesting” cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Finally, prototypes will also be present in the form of the UK’s Sports 2000 series, having its yearly foreign outing. See the Roadbook web site for all the details and links through to the series organisers.
HMR Holland will bring a full grid of monopostos for two races
MAGAZINE > LATEST NEWS > Hat-Trick at Spa
The hitherto Dutch Championship series for Pre-‘66 touring and GT cars, NKHTGT, has this year taken the step to register as an FIA International Series to better reflect the international nature of the series, both in terms of circuits visited (this year in Holland, France, Germany and Belgium) and also in the international make up of the participants. The series has always been for Appendix K cars, but for 2020 drivers will need HTPs and international race licences. Now entering its 24th year – yes it’s been around for a long time - the ethos of this series is no frills, and the aim is to provide economical racing for the greatest number of participants. Thanks to sponsors Nolte Küchen, Gamma and HP Tyres, they are able to offer a season package of six races for only €3150, and individual races cost €795. Grids are generally full. See firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, or contact Egbert at Kolvoortrace@nkhtgt.nl for entries.
To encourage the younger drivers NKHTGT is offering new drivers under the age of 35 a 35% discount on the entry fee for the 2020 series. And that is not all, they even have a car waiting for budding historic race talent! NKHTGT regulars Martin Bijleveld and Bart Deenik have each made available an FIA-prepared Ford Anglia Super, ready for the CT07 class. But beware: This is not an arrive and drive deal. If you want to become a historic racer, you have to be prepared to wield the spanners, and a mechanic is not part of the offer. Crash-prone drivers are not eligible and drivers will undergo an assessment before the car is handed over. If you want to qualify for a Junior Package Deal with a 35% discount and/or the NKHTGT Anglia Talent Cup, please contact NKHTGT chairman Bert Mets (email@example.com) or secretary Egbert Kolvoort. Hurry, the first race weekend is on April 17-19, the Preis der Stadt Stuttgart at the Hockenheimring.
NKHTGT grids are full and diverse
MAGAZINE > LATEST NEWS > NNKHTGT Goes International
One of the most memorable eras of motor racing was the first five years of Group A. The European Championship was healthy and the national series were rising. In the big class Rover, Holden, Jaguar, BMW, Ford and the old Volvos battled it out, and there was close racing in the 1600 and 2500cc classes as well. Nowadays, these cars are racing with the much faster FIA J2 cars, like Cosworth Sierra and BMW M3 and sometimes even with the Super Tourers of the late ‘90s. Group A Volvo driver Peggen Andersson wants to see these cars run again in their own group and has plans for a new mini-series of three race weekends for this category of cars, starting in 2021. The Swede says he wants to create the feeling that existed before the ETC was ditched in the late ‘80s. “I want to have the races on the circuits that were used then and have not had any major changes. Therefore, I would like to have the three races at tracks like Spa, Nürburgring and Donington,” he says.
The plan is to have one or two one-hour races with two drivers and a pit stop that varies depending how quick the car model is. “I guess there are somewhere between 50 and 100 Group A cars in Europe that can be accepted for this series. The trick is to get in touch with all of them and keep them informed,” says Peggan. To do that he has created a web page where those with cars or with the intention of getting one, can register. “Already we have around 30 cars on our list but we need twice as many. Interesting is that a small country like Norway has seven cars that can race in this series, and they didn’t even have any Group A series in the ‘80s. There is a project to build a replica of the famous Jaguar XJS and even a Holden Commodore, in Norway.”
If you have a car, or intend to get one, and are interested in such a series, please register at www.group-a.se.
MAGAZINE > LATEST NEWS > New Series for Group A
MAGAZINE > LATEST NEWS > Historic Formula 1 at the French Grand Prix
Belgian suppliers and dealers of Formula One cars, Officina Caira, has organised for historic F1s to run demos at Paul Ricard on the weekend of the French Grand Prix on 26-28 June. For €1500 drivers will get a space for their car in the historic paddock, four driving sessions, One F1 paddock pass and two breakfasts, lunches and dinners daily over four days. They are looking for GP cars of any era, from 1950 to 2010. See officinacaira.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAGAZINE > LATEST NEWS > Calling all Alfisti - Alfas Only at the Classic
Since its inaugural race at Donington late in 2018, the HRDC has successfully built up its Classic Alfa Challenge series in 2019 and will continue it into 2020 with a flagship race at the Silverstone Classic for the marque in its 110th anniversary year. Alfa races always attract good grids, the Alfa Revival Cup series in Italy, and the Scuderia del Portello-run Tutto Alfa races at Monza, being cases in point. Not many single marques would be able to do that. It is therefore hoped that a full grid of 75 Alfas from all over Europe will put on a fitting show to celebrate the milestone in the history of a company that has produced more racing cars and more top results than any other.
MAGAZINE > LATEST NEWS > Les Deux Tours
Scheduled for 6-8 November on the F1 track at the Paul Ricard circuit, this 24-hour event, unique in the world of historic competition, is decidedly back in favour after some lean times. With a maximum of 60 grid spaces available, the list of confirmed entries has already exceeded 40 with nine months to go before the event, with another 40 having expressed interest.
Amongst the entries are Henri Leconte, who will be at the wheel of Eric Van de Vyver’s TVR Griffith 200, and Philippe Gache who will partner "John Doe" in his Chevron B36. There will be family teams from Patrice Lafargue, whose IDEC Sport team is the reigning champion of the European Le Mans Series, and who will be sharing another B16 with his son Paul, while two TVR Griffith 400s will be driven by José Beltramelli and his sons Brady and Viny, and by 2019 French Champion Didier Gruau, joining forces with his talented heirs Julien and Ghislain Gaubert. Brothers Matthieu and Jean-Baptiste Châteaux will drive a BMW 635 CSI entered by their parental team, while Jean-Jacques Mancel, the editor of the magazine Berlinette Mag will share his Alpine A310 V6 with his son Cyril.
On the Pace
Diary of a Virus
28 February: The historic motor sport world is increasingly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, as more and more drastic measures are taken by governments to curb its spread.
Gatherings of 1000 people or more are banned in Switzerland, and The Ice event in St Moritz, due to run on February 29, is one of the first casualties, soon followed by the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show. It is a decision that clearly didn’t take into consideration the rule of unintended consequences. On the same weekend that the outdoor Ice concours was cancelled, those who would have been strolling on the frozen lake were instead packing themselves into crowded cable cabins and going up the mountain. A number of cars went out on the lake anyway.
March 5: Very sad news for Jeremy Welch and his daughter, Arabella, who arrived in Almeria Spain on March 5th to start the Panda raid to Morocco, an adventure they had been long looking forward to, only to be told that the Moroccan government had cancelled all sporting events for the month of March in Moroccan territory. The father-daughter team had to take the return flight home. The Sanremo Rally Storico (and the concurrent Coppa Fiori Regularity rally) is called off, as organisers try to schedule a later date. It was to be round two of the FIA Historic Rally Championship.
March 6: The Spanish Ministry of Health announced that it will allow the first round of the FIA Championship, the Rally Costa Brava, to go ahead on 13-14 March, but without its Italian entrants, who were asked to stay home. Shortly afterwards the Italians were put on lock down anyway.
March 9: HERO and the ERA rally organisations wrote to all participants to say that their insurance covers them for cancelled events and entrants need not worry about losing their entry fees should the worst happen. Tecno Classica Essen, the monster classic car show, is cancelled and along with it the RM and Coys auctions that were to take place there. There is talk of a summer date, anywhere from June to August, but nothing is confirmed.
March 8: It is announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix (20-22 March) will be run without spectators.
March 10: The first round of the Alfa Revival Cup series, which was due to run on 28-29 March, is cancelled (as are all sporting events in Italy). French organisers HVM wrote to all competitors to say that the Historic Tour at Albi is still scheduled to go ahead, as it will run on April 17, two days after the ban on gatherings in France is scheduled to be lifted.
March 11: HVM writes to competitors to say Albi is, after all, postponed until 17-19 July. The situation is fast moving. The Rally Clásico de Mallorca announced that the number of people in parc fermé will be limited to 700, meaning the usual crowds that come to see the cars will be restricted. Coys puts some of the cars it was to sell at Essen up for sale by private treaty, as sellers don’t want to wait - maybe something to do with the fact that the world’s stock markets are crashing.
March 12: Things speed up. All the social events surrounding the Rally de Mallorca are now cancelled. So the drivers’ briefing will be written and the starting ceremony will take place without spectators and of course there will be no prize giving ceremony, but trophies will be handed out as cars arrive in parc fermé. The sporting side of the rally that takes place on the road will run normally. Rally Costa Brava, with a record number of 165 entries from all around Europe, is cancelled after all, the day before it is due to start. The Australian Grand Prix is cancelled at the 11th hour. At 9pm the news came through from Peter Auto that the Tour Auto is postponed and will now take place on 31 August-5 September overlapping with the Historic GP Zandvoort weekend, and the Dix Mille Tour meeting, which was to take place on 3-5 April at Paul Ricard, is postponed until 24-26 July. The 26-29 March SVRA Speed Tour Meeting at Road Atlanta is to be run without spectators, and the popular pro-am Vintage Race of Champions is cancelled altogether. The British authorities announce that large gatherings and sporting events will not be curtailed in the UK, so there is still hope for the Goodwood Members’ Meeting. RM has changed their 20th March Palm Beach auction to online only. Many other auction houses have followed suit and have taken their auctions entirely online.
March 17: It’s official. Organisers could hold out no longer and the 78th Goodwood Members’ Meeting has been postponed, to when we don’t yet know.
March 18: Historic Motor Racing News goes to press as scheduled!
I started writing this on 28 February and that now seems like such a long time ago.
Since we went to press, the GP de Monaco Historique has been axed, along with all other race meetings and rallies in both hemispheres. Looks like the Rally de Mallorca, which we cover in our April issue, and which was cut short when a ban came in during its running, is the last motor sport event we will be able to report for some time. No one knows when it will all re-start. Keep yourselves safe. We will publish a revised calendar once the situation becomes a bit less fluid!
MAGAZINE > BITS & PIECES > New-Look Zandvoort
Niek van Gils did a track day at the renewed Zandvoort Circuit and loved it!
MAGAZINE > BITS & PIECES > Coyote and Peter Auto
Historic motor racing, even if it could be described as a leisure activity, is a branch of motor sport that has to comply with regulations ensuring the safety of all those involved. In particular, the regs impose the deployment of a safety car in the case of an accident or breakdown to ensure that a low speed is maintained to make the circuit safe during activity by marshals or rescue vehicles. On long circuits like Le Mans, the arrival of the safety car can signal the end of a race for the drivers. This is why slow zones were introduced in 2016 at Peter Auto events enabling circuits to be divided up into several sectors thus isolating the zone at risk where an intervention is taking place.