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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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Contents October Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Tour Auto - Rally Asturias - Scottish Malts - VSCC Mallory Park - Seven Questions with Jean Ragnotti - Monterey Motorsport Reunion - Oulton Park Gold Cup - French Championships, Historic Tour Val de Vienne - Hockenheim Historic - Vallelunga Classic - Goodwood Revival (four pages form Marcus Pye) - Limonest Hillclimb

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Bits and Pieces

We have long admired the French for their unpretentious attitude to their cars and to our sport. They are not worried at all about turning up in a modest car and joining in, whether it be a rally, tour or concours, or even a race on a circuit. Indeed many French organisers actively encourage the more modest cars, as these are often more rare than their superstar counterparts due to the fact that no one thought of preserving them at the time.

Less prevalent in the UK, where cars often seem to get entries based on their perceived value, (we say perceived because many are replicas anyway and don’t have the same value as the ‘real’ car), classic car insurance specialists Hagerty have been trying to redress this by running the Festival of the Unexceptional for the last seven years. Celebrating the mundane, the Festival’s centrepiece is the Concours de l’Ordinaire, open to classic cars, motorcycles and light commercial vehicles built between 1966 and 1996. The Festival of the Unexceptional remains the only concours that prefers a Dolomite to a Diablo, a Tagora over a Testarossa and where a Victor is preferable to a Vantage.

“Hagerty believes in basic and understands the labour of love needed to keep these cars on the road. Every city has an Italian supercar specialist, but you’ll struggle to find spares for a Talbot Solara regardless of where you live. You may think a supercar is a rare sight on the roads, but when did you last see a Datsun Cherry? The cars that were once every day transport are now on the verge of extinction and it takes a committed enthusiast to keep them alive.” said a Hagerty representative.

The chosen location for the 2021 Festival of the Unexceptional, which will take place on 31 July, is Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, with its expansive grounds and formal gardens. See the Hagerty web site and navigate to the Festival of the Unexceptional for entries. But be quick, places on the concours lawn are highly coveted by owners of the ordinary!

In what has now become a solid tradition, French classic car owners turn up in their country’s capital twice a year, winter and summer, for the Traversée de Paris.  This is a huge and joyful manifestation, made an even happier occasion this time, because it seemed right up to the last minute that it wouldn’t take place at all.  Organised by Vincennes en Anciennes, as the French lockdown was being eased owners of 580 classic cars, 89 motorcycles, 1 tractor, 41 bicycles and 3 buses finally got permission to gather in Vincennes for le Grand Départ to take them on a parade through the streets of Paris on the frosty morning of 31 January.  Though they were confined to their vehicles, instead of making the customary stop at the café, the mood was happy just to be out and about

Photo VEA

Photo Francis Guilbot

Replacing the long-standing Vie en Bleu event that ran from 2011 until being cancelled last year due to COVID, and celebrated France and French motoring, Prescott Speed Hill Climb is launching a new all-Italian event as part of its 2021 season, ‘Prescott Italia’.

Owned and operated by The Bugatti Owners Club, Prescott is one of the oldest motoring venues in the world and annually welcomes car enthusiasts from around the globe to their historic hill set in 69 acres of Cotswold countryside.  Visitors will see hundreds of classic and modern cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and, of course Alfa.  ‘Prescott Italia’ will celebrate everything Italian on Sunday, May 30.

Full details of the event will be on the Club’s website in due course.

Only run for one year in 2019, the concours d’elegance, staged on the frozen lake in St Moritz was one of the first COVID casualties last year when it was cancelled at the last minute in early February.  Alas, the 2021 event, scheduled for the end of February, once again had to be cancelled.  Due to its setting on the frozen lake, postponement to later in the year is not an option and the event has been re-scheduled for February 26, 2022.

Canossa Events, who bring you the Terre de Canossa, Stella Alpina and Modena Cento Ore rallies, has acquired US based concours event and media company Cavallino Inc., organiser of the Cavallino Classic concours at Palm Beach Florida and publisher of the Cavallino Ferrari lifestyle magazine.  Founded just ten years ago, Canossa Events has rapidly expanded its rallying and other activities to include major events in the Middle East and the US, including many events on behalf of Ferrari S.p.A., such as the numerous Ferrari Cavalcades organised in Italy and globally.  At latest count Canossa was running more than 250 events annually.  Canossa was itself acquired last year by the giant digital platform Motorsport Network group, with an eye to continuing its expansion.  John Barnes, President of Cavallino Inc. said, “I have dedicated a lifetime to building the Cavallino community with a passion for all things Ferrari and it is a business with an impeccable reputation.  I received several offers for the business, but I wanted it to be part of an ecosystem that serves the Ferrari community where it can thrive.”  Luigi Orlandini, founder, Chairman and CEO of Canossa Events said, “I am delighted to welcome John and the Cavallino team to Canossa.  We share the same passion for classic and sports cars, and especially for the Prancing Horse.

2021 will be the 110th anniversary of the foundation of the Italian Motorcycle Federation and it will also mark the 30th anniversary of the Motogiro d’Italia, a re-evocation of the oldest and most prestigious Italian motorcycle test, first run in 1914. Organisers of the road rally for historic, and not so historic, bikes are keen to make it a truly memorable occasion. On offer for 2021 are some 1,700kms through the small roads of central Italy in six days with time-distance trials to determine the winners. There is also a tourist category for those who just want to ride without any element of competition. The event will run this year on 23-29 May. Entries are now open, but filling up fast. See motogiroitalia.it.

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has released one of its periodic surveys into the classic car world of the UK. The independent survey was carried out during 2020 and revealed that the market in, and enthusiasm for, classic cars is growing steadily.

Amongst the findings are the fact that there are 1,538,927 historic and classic vehicles registered in the UK, up 48% from 1,039,950, when the last study was done in 2015. This represents 3.4% of all vehicles registered. The average mileage they cover is 1200 per year, representing just 2% of annual road mileage by all vehicles in the UK.

According to the survey there are almost 4,000 businesses in the historic vehicle sector, employing more than 34,000 people, with a total spend of 7.2bn, up from £5.5bn in 2016.

Another thing the survey covers is public attitude towards historic vehicles, and here too, the response is positive, with 21 million people seeing historic vehicles as an important part of British heritage. See fbhvc.co.uk for the detailed report.

HERO-ERA Independent Survey Produced for the HERO rally organisation by the independent Centre for Economics and Business Research, a report entitled ‘The Economic and Environmental Impact of the Historic and Classic Motor Industry in the UK’ was also recently completed and it findings show an even greater economic impact than the report from the FBVA. The study revealed an £18.3 billion turnover growth industry, that has the same economic impact as all the UK’s ports, all performing arts sectors and is double the size of the UK Scotch whisky industry. It is one fifth of the size of the huge UK built heritage sector of historic buildings. The report also claims that the sector provides 113,000 jobs through the chain spread across the UK, and analyses the extent to which traditional craftmanship and manufacturing skills are preserved in the industry in different forms. These heritage crafts have a strong intrinsic value and need to be preserved and, being highly skilled, they command a pay premium and offer greater than normal job satisfaction. Another highlighted factor is that the sector, because it is highly labour intensive and has a low materials and energy input, is much greener than virtually any other type of consumer expenditure. Its carbon footprint per £ spent is less than a sixth of an average consumer basket of spending. The detailed report can be obtained from the HERO web site free of charge at https://heroevents.eu.

At Phillips’ December 12 Racing Pulse auction in New York, Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona sold for $5.475 million to an anonymous private collector, the third highest price ever paid for a Rolex watch at auction. In the same sale, the Heuer Monaco watch that Steve McQueen wore while filming Le Mans sold for $2.2 million to set a record price for Heuer timepieces.

Racers Hugh Colman, Kevin Kivlochan, Ted Pearson and Andrew Warner have all been elected to join the Historic Sports Car Club board for 2021.acers Hugh Colman, Kevin Kivlochan, Ted Pearson and Andrew Warner have all been elected to join the Historic Sports Car Club board for 2021.

Around Europe ASNs are doing their best to renew competition and officials’ licences under favourable conditions, as many of them went unused last year due to cancellations and travel restrictions.  In France, for example competition race licence holders that didn’t race last year will have their licences automatically renewed for this year without charge, while in other countries discounts and other concessions are available.  In recognition of the fact that many people are still restricted from travelling, the FIA has also relaxed the rule that says international licence holders must get their medical from a doctor licenced in the issuing country.  This means that if you are stuck somewhere and unable to travel, you can get your medical locally and it will be recognised by your home ASN.