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....one to remember
Gillian Carr was one of the intrepid souls to survive this year’s ‘Pom’
The VSCC is well known as a pioneering motoring organisation. As sporting events across the country were being cancelled left right and centre due to, first Storm Ciara, followed in quick succession by Storm Dennis, the fact that the Club at no point hinted that it might pull the Pomeroy Trophy definitely needs to be logged in its history books and is a testament to its hardy members.
London Classic Car Show, Olympia, February 2020
John Whiteman went from London Olympia, where he had a look at the London Classic Car Show, to Stoneleigh near Coventry, where, in the usual cock-up over dates between the two organisers, Race Retro was in progress on the same weekend.
For the sixth edition of the London Classic Car Show the decision was made to move from Excel in Docklands to the Grand Hall of the Olympia complex, a venue with strong motoring connections. First opened in 1886 it hosted the British Motor Show from 1903 until 1936 when a change was made to the more modern Earls Court. Olympia is a wondrous structure with a glass roof held in place by complex metal framing letting in plenty of natural light. Held over four days, from 20-23 February, it was said that the change in venue dictated the date of the show, which again clashed with Race Retro, and it therefore probably suffered in terms of automobilia stands. The move also prevented the running of any vehicles within the show, a previous feature on the long runway available before.
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
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
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
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
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.
HMR Holland will bring a full grid of monopostos for two races
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.
NKHTGT grids are full and diverse
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After an 19th edition marked by five intense days of racing that saw no fewer than six different leaders with a single second separating the first two crews, all eyes are on the 20th anniversary of the Tour de Corse Historique. From Monday 5 to Saturday 10 October aficionados of the Corsican rally stages will travel 900kms from Porto Vecchio to Bastia, Calvi, Ajaccio and back to Porto Vecchio including 20 special stages - to mark 20 years of the event - totalling nearly 350 stage kilometres. See www.tourdecorse-historique.fr for all the details.
The promoters of the Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand have confirmed more details of the November 2020 marathon rally. The rally will be based in Rotorua and will start on Sunday November 22 before finishing back there on Saturday 28. Overnight halts will be in Gisborne, Napier, Palmerston North and Ohakune. Peter Martin of the Ultimate Rally Group confirmed that the seven-day gravel rally, will cover 650 stage miles amongst the breathtaking scenery of the North Island. “We’re aiming at a field of 70 cars and we need to get at least half of them from overseas,” said Martin. “This year we will be supplying stage route notes and a DVD eight weeks before the rally.” The move to notes is aimed at encouraging European crews to enter. See https://silverfernrally.co.nz for entries.
The Royal Automobile Club and rally organisers, HERO took a break from running the 1000 Mile Trial last year, in order to better plan an event worthy of the 120th anniversary of the original Trial this year.
Photo Francesco & Roberta Rastrelli / Blue Passion Courtesy HERO
Starting from Preston and promising to be something special, there will be more emphasis on the social side of things, as the pre-war cars travel some 800 miles up to Edinburgh over flowing roads, amusing regularity sections, rousing tests, quirky stopovers and luxury overnight hotels for the final gala on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Photo Courtesy Canosssa Events
Brought to you by the team that runs the Cento Ore, the Terre di Canossa rally gives Luigi Orlandini and his organisation the chance to really show what they can do to give participants a unique Italian cultural experience. In the more relaxed atmosphere of a regularity competition covering only 600kms, the rally is a pilgrimage to many medieval sites dating back to the XII century, when Matilde di Canossa ruled over central Italy.
U2TC has found a new sponsor in the form of Prospect Brigstock Services, a firm specialising in corporate tax relief. While this may sound esoteric, it is, on the contrary, very pertinent to many of the small businesses and workshops that supply the technology to run the cars. Ria Goff of Prospect Brigstock explains, “Most of our clients will say they are NOT eligible for tax credits and cash and absorb R&D costs because they see the expenditure as day to day running costs. Because of this only a small number of companies are making the most of the R&D tax reliefs available to them. We’ve listed three questions to ask yourself below, if you answer yes to any of them you could be eligible:
Did you encounter problems that required unique solutions?
Have you worked on a project that was a challenge to resolve, and could you explain the challenges you faced and how you attempted to overcome them?
Have your designs involved innovative or creative ideas, perhaps around more sustainable, more efficient or durable products?”
This includes the scientific or technological uncertainty of turning something that has already been established into a cost-effective, reliable and reproducible process, material, device, product or service, or an advance in science or technology. Simply put there must be an improvement. Whether that’s in the form of a service or manufacturing of a product.
The Motor Racing Legends’ season was celebrated at London’s Royal Automobile Club in front of many significant personalities from the world of motor sport such as Chief Executive of Motor Sport UK David Richards and Chief Executive Hugh Chambers, RAC Chairman Ben Cussons, Silverstone Classic promoter Nick Wigley and, guest of honour, Touring Car and Le Mans racer, Tony Dron. Awards were presented for all seven Motor Racing Legends’ series during the evening.
Photo Oliver Flower
On 24 June, 2020, Alfa Romeo will hit a new milestone - 110 years of the well-loved marque. A number of events will take place to celebrate Alfa’s founding on 24 June 1910 in Milan, Italy and its subsequent achievements, both sporting and non-sporting.
Alfa’s official team, the Scuderia del Portello, is inviting all Alfa drivers to Monza on April 4 for a mega Alfa festival, for historic and modern road cars, racing cars, touring cars, grand touring cars, prototypes and single-seaters. All are welcome and many will get a chance to drive on the circuit. There will also be a parade on the old Monza banking, as well as displays, demonstrations and more. See http://www.scuderiadelportello.org for entries, but be quick if you want to drive on the circuit, as driving places are necessarily limited.
Having heard last month on the day we went to press the surprise announcement that the Chateau Impney Hillclimb event was to be discontinued, we have now had a conversation with Rod Spollon, Chairman of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb Club and Director of the Chateau Impney Hotel who said, contrary to what has been circulating on social media, that funding the event was “certainly not an issue, nor was there an environmental concern.” Reluctant to say much more, he repeated the words in the official press release, saying, “We set out to create a successful hillclimb event and we think we accomplished that, and we are moving on to other things.” The event will be missed.
2020 is a special year for Zandvoort as FIA Formula One returns to The Netherlands for the first time since 1985 and the circuit is being upgraded to welcome its return. The upgrades to the circuit include two new banked corners, improved run off areas and expansion of the paddock (check out Google or Youtube for some videos of the ongoing work).
Zandvoort has long been associated with Formula 3
Single-seater racers from the Historic Sports Car Club will have the chance to race on the famous Pau street circuit, first used for the French Grand Prix in 1930 and virtually unchanged since. In partnership with event promoters HVM Racing, up to 2-litre cars from the HSCC single-seater ranks will tackle a double-header over the weekend of 30-31 May. Originally billed as a round of the HSCC’s Historic Formula 2 series, it became clear that the timing was awkward as the date falls immediately after the Masters Festival F2 round at Brands Hatch and is itself followed the next weekend by a round at Dijon. “Consequently entries will surely suffer,” said Roger Bevan, HSCC F2 Championship Chairman. Therefore the grid has been opened up to cars from the new Geoff Lees Trophy. Launched this year, the Geoff Lees Trophy series is open to up to 2-litre Formula 2, Formula Atlantic, Formula 3, Formula Ford 2000, Formula Vauxhall Lotus, Formula Renault and Formula Super Vee cars built and raced during the 1980s.
A Century of Automotive History on Track
Le Mans Classic, the biennial event with its six grids for cars from 1923 to 1981, will include even more cars racing on the legendary track this year, with single marque support races for both Porsche and Jaguar and, as has become the tradition, two Group C races. This year the latter will run in partnership with Mazda, who will take the opportunity to celebrate its centenary during the July 2-5 event. The Japanese manufacturer will be bringing its iconic 787B. Even later cars will also be running, with the Peter Auto series Endurance Racing Legends no longer on display, but engaged in real racing. A 75-car grid of these GT and prototypes from the 1990s and 2000s is expected.
Bravo (Belgian Racing Automobile Vintage Organisation) the promoter behind the ever-popular Belgian historic championship, has announced five rounds for the 2020 season. Starting early in the year, they go to Zolder to support the 1000km of Zolder 2CV Cup on 21-22 March. At the end of June they go to Spa-Francorchamps for the Spa Summer Classic, before returning to Zolder in mid-August for the Historic Grand Prix Zolder. With a return to Circuit Zolder for the American NASCAR Festival at the beginning of October (3-4), they will end the season at the Nürburgring on 16-17 October for the Westfalen Trophy meeting.
This year will see a new class, “Nineties”, for cars after 1990 but with a maximum engine capacity of 2500cc. The category is therefore open to small cars (Peugeot 106, Toyota Yaris, etc.) and serves as an entry class for drivers who want to discover circuit racing at an affordable price. See www.bravoracing.be for entries and details.
As reported in our last issue, VdeV racing in collaboration with HVM, are reviving the Deux Tours d’Horloge at the Paul Ricard circuit on the weekend of 6-8 November. Cars up to 1990 are eligible and there are classes for early cars from Period E upwards. All GT, sports, sports prototypes, Sports 2000 (up to 1986 without aerodynamic aids) and touring cars are welcome. No slick tyres will be allowed. Entries are now open at https://vdev.fr.
Archie Scott Brown Trophy
The HSCC will be running ‘50s cars with the Archie Scott Brown Trophy, a race for pre-1960 sports and sports-racing cars to be held at Snetterton during the two-day Historic Sports Car Club race meeting on 4-5 April. The organisers are keen to encourage owners of drum-braked cars to join the grid. The pit-stop race will put the emphasis on the specialist manufacturers from the period when Archie raced, most notably Lister. This is the fifth running of this race and will comprise a 30-minute qualifying session and 45-minute race.
John Whiteman went to the top exhibition of the classic car world
Photos Eric Sawyer
The event that kicks off the European season each year, Salon Retromobile, took place over 5 days, from 5-9 February, in the 75,000 square metres of Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles 44 years after it was started by Marc Nicolosi whose passing was recorded in the January/February issue of Historic Motor Racing News. Sadly, apart from a brief mention in the official guide, no further tribute was paid at the show, which until last year has been run for events company Comexposium by Nicolosi’s right hand man at the very beginning, François Melcion.
Visiting UK driver Michael Lyons (Lola T400) roared to an SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series clean sweep at the annual Taupo Historic GP on the weekend of 18-19 January, the series’ second meeting of the 2019-2020 season.
After claiming pole in qualifying on Saturday morning, then smashing category stalwart Ken Smith’s F5000 class lap record on the way to a dominant win in the first race on Saturday afternoon, Lyons went on to win the two Sunday races, all from fellow young gun and series leader, Michael Collins (McRae GM1) from Christchurch.
Photos Fast Company/Graham Hughes