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Previews of upcoming events, Race & Rally Reports, News, Reviews, Letters and Regulation Information from Historic Motor Racing News.

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Hancocks’ 40 minutes of Classic K glory

Father and son Anthony and Ollie Hancock’s fine Mintex Classic K race victory at Thruxton on July 26 was the super-fast Hampshire circuit’s season-opener and the historic element of the Classic Sports Car Club’s belated 2020 season start.

Lithe Lotus Elans are ideally suited to the sweeps of the aerodrome circuit, where Jon Fletcher and Richard Jenvey were among the stars of Modsports races in the 1970s, thus the Hancocks and 2019 winner Paul Tooms were the men to beat.

The Hancock car, in which they finished an astonishing fourth in last September’s Spa Six Hours had not been used in the interim.  Nonetheless Anthony had a shock in Friday testing when its left rear wheel departed at the flat-out Church corner, but not before Ollie had posted a low 1m29-second lap (an average of over 95mph), almost certainly the first FIA Appendix K 26R-spec Elan inside the 90-second barrier.  Tom Ebbs repaired the car for Sunday qualifying, replacing both stub-axles.

Allen Tice/Chris Conoley qualified their Marcos 1800GT on pole with 1:31.766, with the Hancocks and Tooms close behind. The 39-car field’s Touring Car split was led by Ollie and Mel Streek (Lotus Cortina) and Dan Williamson (Falcon Sprint).     

Tooms led initially from Hancock Sr, but long-distance specialist Tice outbraked Anthony a couple of times into the complex to give Paul breathing space as he acclimatised to his Elan, rebuilt since last August’s Oulton Park shunt.

First to make the mandatory stop was Tooms, after eight laps, freeing Hancock.  He went five more laps, scrabbling clear of Tice who put Conoley in after 15.  Stephen Bond then had a lap in front, before pitting his red 26R for Cliff Gray to finish.

 

By that stage Hancock Jr was flying, Ollie setting a new lap record of 1:29.618 (94.64mph) as he screamed to victory. Tooms had no answer, his brakes overheating, but kept second 32 seconds adrift as the Marcos challenge faded.

Fourth, a lap down from the back, having run the wrong tyres in qualifying, was the TVR Griffith of Peter and Nathan Dod.  Nigel Winchester was a grand fifth in his Ginetta G4, narrowly beating Roddie Fielden’s Shelby Mustang GT350.

Driver of the race, though – and lauded by the marshals for his commitment, consistency and inch-perfect lines – was Luke Wos who finished an excellent 10th in his immaculate Wosp Performance Turner Mk2, powered by a 1650cc Ford engine.

We have lost another friend this month with the passing of Patrick Quiniou, after a long spell of ill health at the age of only 65.   A  whole generation of French racers will have great memories of Patrick  and the race meetings he organised, most notably the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or and the Grand Prix Historique de Pau.  Patrick began his involvement as a racer, with a Terrier, then a Lotus 23 and a Mustang, but preferred to focus his efforts on the organisational side of things.  He became President of ASAVÉ in 1997 and remained in the role until 2000.  He also created the autumn meeting that is now known as the Dijon Motors Cup, and took over the organisation of the very popular Easter Meeting at Paul Ricard.  He brought his son, Louis, into the business, giving him the foundation that has allowed him to go on to have an important role in the historic section of the FIA.

Patrick’s conception of historic racing was that it should be fun for all the participants, that things should be kept simple and friendly and that no one should take themselves too seriously.  He had a light touch, keeping officialdom to a minimum and his meetings were always relaxed and a pleasure to attend.  With the reputation for being irascible at times, overriding that Patrick had a wonderful sense of fun and humour, for which he will always be remembered. 

To his family, Carol, Louis, Margaux and Lauren, we offer our sincerest condolences.

“A lot of investment of self goes into a winning car at this level.  It involves keeping going beyond reason when things do not go so well.”

It is with the upmost sadness that I write that Jon Dooley, a friend of 35 years and someone with whom I have enjoyed many adventures, left us on 2 September.  The historic motor racing world has lost a great supporter and the Alfa Romeo owners of this world will all be particularly hard hit by his absence.  He was a font of experience and knowledge and his generosity in sharing what he knew and his love for the cars was prodigious.

His racing career is well documented.  From his Giulietta racing days while still at university to his co-founding of the Squadra Alfa, which later became the Alfa Romeo Dealer Team, running the British Saloon Car Championship and the BTCC in the mid-seventies all the way up to the 1980s.  With a string of first and seconds in class, this happy band of privateers – every member of the team, including the engineers and mechanics had day jobs – caused a sensation, competing on a budget of less than 10% of the professional teams they were up against.  Napolina, which imports Italian foods into the UK, first lent its support to the team in 1976, and its colours of black relieved by red and green striping became synonymous with ARDT cars for many years.   In 1980, he took an eight-year-old Alfa Sud with 85,000 miles on it and turned into a racer that won the 1300cc class in the 1981 Saloon Car championship against the works Metros in the Tricentrol series.   

He was at various times the owner of Brookside Garage, which prepared Alfas for competition, the Chairman of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club, the editor of their magazine, the founder and Chairman of the Scuderia del Portello GB, financial controller of Alfa GB and the owner of many historic Alfas and other cars.  Most recently he has been writing articles for the Alfa Romeo magazines and he was working on a book recounting the history of the Alfa Romeo factory at Portello.  He was also the friend who, though wildly overqualified, took the financial side of Historic Motor Racing News in hand and made sure we paid our VAT and filed our taxes correctly. 

Amongst my many memories of him was his support when I decided to get a racing licence and he held my hand and team managed me in my first season of racing – in an Alfa of course.  My car was faster than his, so I outqualified him and lined up on the grid a couple of rows ahead.  When the lights changed for the standing start, I thought I was doing pretty well when he shot past me as if I was standing still, and of course went on to beat me soundly in the race.  When I asked him if he’d jumped the start, he replied,  “No, I was just in a hurry.”  Also, once the licence was obtained, we did a crazy trip down to Perugia in 1990 for the historic Giro dell’Umbria in my little Alfa SZ, during which we rarely ever stopped laughing.  That’s when I discovered he was an even worse passenger than me.  Or sharing the car at the Christies Festival at Silverstone when Jon was uncharacteristically late for drivers’ briefing.  Reason:  He rolled his Fiat Uno on the roundabout coming out of Towcester and it took him a while to get the car upright again!  I learned so much about driving from him.  During that Silverstone meeting, with quiet confidence building, he talked me into going five seconds a lap quicker.  One of the greatest compliments I was ever paid was when Gregor Fisken said to me, after we’d been dicing on the track that day, “Oh I thought it was Jon driving.”

In our October 2019 issue he talks about his time as an amateur competitor against the pros with clear pride in his accomplishments, but also with the down to earth realism that all who knew him appreciated so much.  Despite his many accomplishments he was incapable of being arrogant or snobby and instead maintained a simple, friendly attitude to everyone he met.  He shared his time and his knowledge with all who needed it, and he was a good friend to those who were lucky enough to count amongst his friends. 

To his wife Meg, to his brother James, and to all his many friends and family we offer our sincerest condolences.  We very much share in your sadness at his going.  Rest in Peace Dear Jon.  CS

 

The 2020 NK HTGT season finally got underway at Zandvoort on the weekend of  12-13 September with two 45-minute races in the Kronos organised Benelux Open weekend.  Despite COVID restrictions in the Netherlands, some 25 teams were raring to go, sharing the track with Triumph Competitions.  Qualifying was interrupted by a red flag, but the clock was stopped and the session generously restarted after everything had been cleared up.  Full marks to Kronos for this, other organisers please take note!  Rhea Sautter and Andy Newall took pole in their E-type, posting a 2:00.8 lap on the new circuit layout.

The first race on Friday afternoon saw Newall build up a lead from Jos Stevens in his Lotus Elan, with Bob Stevens, who had had trouble in qualifying moving up quickly to fight for fourth with the Ford Falcon of father and son Jaap and Jacky van der Ende.  Sadly both these teams were to retire.

After the compulsory pitstop, Stevens overhauled Sautter, now in the E-type to take the win.  Roland Zoomers took third in his E-type, beating touring car winner Bart Deenik (Ford Falcon).

Saturday’s race again saw Newall build up a lead, only for Stevens to take over after the pitstop.  Kaj Dahlbacka drove a steady race and took third in the Corvette Grand Sport, while Frans van Maarschalkerwaart (Shelby Mustang) managed to reel in Zoomers E-type, only to receive a time penalty for a pitlane infringement.

Bart Deenik (Ford Falcon) and Bas Jansen (Ford Mustang) were touring car winners and Sjoerd Peereboom and Jasper Izaks won GTS11 in their MGB both times.

The Historic Sports Car Club’s new race category for up to 2-litre single-seater racing cars from the 1980s, the Geoff Lees Trophy, will open with a double-header at the HSCC Wolds Trophy meeting at Cadwell Park on 19-20 September.  Competitors will also have the chance to race at the Dijon Motors Cup meeting on 3-4 October, subject to the travel situation to France.

Competitor interest is growing for the new series open to Formula 2, Formula Atlantic, Formula 3, Formula Ford 2000 and Formula Super Vee cars built and raced during the 1980s.  There is also an invitation class for other suitable period single-seaters including those from Formula Vauxhall Lotus and Andy Wallace in an F3 Reynard Photo Mike Dixon Formula Renault.  Early entries for Cadwell Park include the Formula 2 Chevron B48 of Steve Worrad and the Formula 3 Dallara 389 of Samuel Harrison.  An ex-Damon Hill Ralt RT30 is also being readied, while aiming to join the grid is regular Formula 3 racer Paul Smith in his Reynard 873, the 100th F3 car to be built by the Reynard factory.

Titled in honour of one of the UK’s most popular and successful single-seater racers of the era, Lees has given enthusiastic backing for the series.

MAGAZINE  > LATEST NEWS > HSCC Geoff Lees Trophy

Jean-Marc Laffont, President of  the Association du Circuit des Remparts d’Angoulême issued a statement on 16 august announcing the cancellation of the 2020 event. “Despite all our determination, the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the last few days has brought with it an ever-increasing number of measures and restrictions that has brought us to the ineluctable conclusion that, due to the very nature of the event, the Circuit des Remparts cannot go ahead this year.

“It is with extreme sadness that we make this announcement, but in view of the large number of people that the event attracts, it is clear it would represent a public health risk, even if all the precautions were followed. 

The whole team wants to thank all the volunteers, the partners, the suppliers, and the competitors, who have done so much in the planning of the event.  We start working now on a 2021 event that will be even more successful than the last three that we have had the privilege to organise since 2017.”

The Circuit des Remparts attracts huge crowds from the whole Charente region, and a large number of British competitors, who, at the time the announcement was made, are still under restrictions if they travel to France.

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