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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

A second weekend of 2020 track action took place at Shelsley Walsh with two meetings over the weekend of 8-9 August.  The annual Vintage VSCC day was held on Saturday and was followed by the Reg Phillips Trophy meeting on Sunday, as drivers got back in the seat and sharpened their skills up the 115-year-old hillclimb.

Both events were held behind closed doors, with the Midland Automobile Club ensuring  safety for all, and the sun flooded the Teme Valley all weekend to make the freshly cleaned 1000-yard hill as good, quick and grippy as possible.

The ever-quick James Baxter won the VSSC meeting with superb consistency over his two runs – he twice recorded 34.80 seconds in the Riley TT Sprite.  A host of new drivers also attacked the hill, including Charlotte Bowyer, who shared the family Lea-Francis P Type with father Simon.

The stunning class of Shelsley Specials included the GN BHD, the Becke Powerplus and the simply incredible 97-year-old Spider, which first took the outright record at Shelsley with Basil Davenport in 1926.  David Leigh was again at the helm of the car that utterly epitomises the pioneering spirit of hill climbing to this day, fresh from a winter engine rebuild and quickly getting back into the groove after all drivers had a bonus practice run.

It was perfect weather and the course was grippy and fast

Several competitors from the vintage day stayed over as modern cars joined them for the Reg Phillips Trophy meeting on Sunday.   The stunning Type 51 Bugatti of Edmund Burgess whirred its way up with the supercharger noise echoing through the Worcestershire trees, and the Freikaiserwagen that ran at Shelsley pre-war also made a return.

David Leigh in Spider that held the record at Shelsley in 1926...94 years ago!

David Leigh in Spider that held the record at Shelsley in 1926...94 years ago!

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > Shelsley Re-opens

While Club racing is restarting all over Europe and the US, those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020.  From Monterey to Goodwood, from Silverstone Classic to le Mans Classic, all have fallen victim to COVID. 

These are the very events that require the most capital investment and huge amounts of forward planning, contract negotiations with all sorts of suppliers, staff recruitment, etc. etc.  While the organisers have put in all the work to stage them, alas, they will see no return on their investments this year.

Two such organisations have asked for help.  The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who of course relies on activities and events at the Goodwood Estate, including the horse racing, has written to the friends of Goodwood and other interested parties asking that they join the Goodwood Supporters’ Association (GSA), with the joining fees going towards keeping the estate running during these hard time.  “It is my hope that, with the renewal of the GSA, you may consider standing beside us as we weather this storm’”, he wrote.  It seems he was answered by his many friends, as two weeks later, he sent a message of thanks.  “I wanted to convey a heartfelt thank you from both me and the team at Goodwood.  Our loyal Goodwood visitors have been overwhelmingly supportive in getting behind our reinvigorated Goodwood Supporters’ Association (GSA) and while the challenge still prevails, the kindness and support shown by so many of our fans will go a long way to ensuring that the spirit of Goodwood and our unique interpretation of the sport we love will continue.”

In the meantime, he has announced a new initiative, Goodwood Speed Week, for which many of his sponsors, including his main sponsor, Mastercard, have signed up, for an online race meeting (see our news item in the August issue).

Another victim of, in a way, his own success (because his event is so big), is Nick Wigley of Goose Live Events, who had to cancel the Silverstone Classic.  He has set up a crowd funding site to help his small events company through the crisis.  “As a small independent events company passionate about what we do, Goose Live Events has been hugely challenged financially by the need to cancel the Silverstone Classic in 2020.  With 10 months’ work already done by the team in preparation for the Classic prior to its cancellation and costs incurred for an event that isn’t now happening, COVID-19 has set us back by at least 10 years.  We will survive it, but we’d really appreciate your help,” he wrote to friends and competitors.  “Any support you feel able to provide would be hugely appreciated... and in recognition of the fact that our charity partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK, is expecting a drop in support by as much as 45% as a result of COVID-19, we will donate 10% of any funds received in this way to their very important cause.,” he added.  The address for donations is https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-the-silverstone-classic.

For those readers who have not followed the story so far,  Nick Wigley and Goose were originally engaged to run the Silverstone Classic on behalf of erstwhile organisers Racing at Silverstone Ltd. (RAS).  With nearly a year of work done, RAS was ready to pull the plug on the whole enterprise, which would have left Wigley facing a large unpaid bill for all the work his team had put in.  The alternative was to take over the event himself, debts and all.  They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Wigley saved the very existence of the Classic, which has gone on to thrive under his stewardship.

Looking on the positive side to 2021, provisional dates for next year’s Silverstone Classic are 30 July–1 August.  As usual, these will remain unconfirmed until the dates for the British Grand Prix are ratified by the FIA, usually at the start of December.

Those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020 

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > Organisers Fall on Hard Times

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From our June 2020 Letters Section, From Simon Hadfield

Dear Carol,

Strange days these, I trust all is well with you.  Just to pick up on an article in the May HMRN about lap times, your correspondent interestingly takes my time from the last time I raced a T70 at Goodwood to make his comparison.  The point is that I was asked (effectively told) not to go faster than 1’20”.   I’m actually quite proud of my 1’19.955 done without a lap timer!  Your correspondent should really have compared Nick Padmore’s very much faster time, also set in a T70 that so “rang the bells” at the MSA. 

More interesting still are the lap times set at the TT in 1959.  Stirling was on pole at 1’32 and change in the Aston, Brooks second on 1’33 and a bit in the Testa Rossa and third was Graham Hill in the works Lotus 15 in the 1’34s.  Last time I looked the fastest Lotus 15s are now doing 1’25s....... and are not being driven by Graham Hill!

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From our June 2020 Letters Section, From Nick Atkins

Dear Carol

Thank you for producing a very enjoyable magazine at a time when there is nothing substantial to report.

John Hopwood’s article in the May issue on technical developments in historic motorsport is very well balanced and in my opinion the directions that he proposes and the questions that he asks are all the right ones.

At club level, the CSCC for instance, operates loosely Appendix K events, as well as a number of other nostalgias such as Modsports and Supersaloons that are very enjoyable, but for National and International competitions a set of clear regulations is essential.

As I perceive it the current position of the FIA is back to basics, back to the homologation papers and any other hard information from period, and I’m personally happy with that since it means that it should not be necessary to invest in lighter and shorter lifed parts not used in period.

As we all know there are always opportunities to improve performance that are invisible to the kind of cursory inspection that time allows for scrutineering at competitions.  Right now the easiest things to check are most rigorously inspected, the labels on seat belts and fire systems dates, seat homologation, gloves, boots, suits.

Dear Carol, 

Thanks for the link of the May issue of HMRN, very funny article about the Reykjavik GP, a good read.

About Peter Collins’ article entitled The Time and Space Continuum, if of any interest to you, I started a lap time analysis back in the days I was working for Peter Auto that I continued up to 2016.  I feel the article is of interest but misses quite a few things.  Goodwood is probably the only place where one can compare lap times, given the circuit has not changed since its heyday, but of course it has been resurfaced.  Anyway, the interesting fact is if you look at those values:

2006, Pre-66 Whitsun Trophy and best time by Frank Sytner in a Lola T70 Spyder is 1:22:513 and which was also the last year I believe that the T70s were allowed to run the front high downforce spoiler, which is now only possible if you run a McLaren M1 like Chris Godwin.  Then comes the T70 times of 2012 (Pearson 1:19.703) and 2014 (Hart at 1:19.985), but what about 2016 and Padmore, who did a 1:17.079?  All competent drivers, just like Hadfield.  Both Pearson and Goodwin are even faster than the reference taken in HMRN but Padmore, another very competent driver, was really a break in terms of performance.  Ever since 2016 it seems that the previous level of drivers chosen for the race has changed back to a more capable but enthusiast type, maybe a way for Goodwood to hide the fact that it was getting out of control.  You may also remember the crash of Michiel Smits from the Netherlands and I guess things had to be calmed down.

If you compare all of the above with period times, it’s true that Hadfield, Pearson and Goodwin are all close to Clark’s inferior Lotus 30 although my reference time shows a 1:23:200 as fastest time for Bruce McLaren in his Zerex Special that year and Clark in close second with a 1:23:800, a clear gap. 

The other one to look at is the Tourist Trophy, not far off from the best times of period today either if comparing the 1964 Tourist Trophy and the high-level drivers in today’s race.

What appears more disturbing today is the fact that back in the days, all the best times were achieved by a bunch of World Champion level drivers, all of whom - Moss, Hill, Clark, Gurney, etc. - would go on to achieve the best one could achieve at professional level and today are recognised as some of the best there ever were.  And they were young and benefitted from full factory backing and development, the highest level back then.  Today’s drivers are good, but pardon me, Simon Hadfield, Gary Pearson, Chris Goodwin were all in their 50s when achieving those times, on engines probably sourced from the same place with Tim Adams, all Chevy work but nothing special.   The Tourist Trophy is a “feature” race with skilled ex or active professionals in cars prepared by competent teams, but nothing like the Cobra/Ford effort of 1964, proving that the performance has grown. 

The fact is that today, average pros or competent amateurs are able to lap at a pace that in period was only accessible to the best of the best.  The thing that sits between the seat and wheel is a big part of the equation but historic motor sport and associated development has succeeded in narrowing that parameter and its importance.  Imagine what Dan Gurney would achieve in a Lanzante run Cobra Daytona Coupe today if he was still alive and in his late 20s or early 30s?  I bet Kenny Brack could go home. 

Take care.

Best, Louis Quiniou

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MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From Our July 2020 Letters Section From Joel Wykeham

Faster Now Than Then?

Not Faster Than an Arrows

Dear Carol,

Peter Collins’ excellent piece in the April issue about the relative speed differential of some cars now and in period, reminded me of the well documented case of the Arrows A4 F1 car.

In 1982 this basically sound but heavier Grand Prix design would get smoked every time by the likes of Williams, McLaren and Brabham.  Despite having the same DFV engine and some highly competent drivers, it was, for example, over three seconds a lap slower than the leading FW08 at Brand Hatch that year, a huge gap by F1 standards.  Fast forward to Historic F1 in 2014-2017 and talented amateur driver Steve Hartley was using an A4 to beat many of the pros in their period-superior machines.  How was this possible?  Much credit must go to Nigel Rees at GSD race dynamics.  A very clever man who recently revealed he was once part of the support crew of the ‘good old boys’ Terry Sanger Camaro team at the Spa 24 Hours way back in 1973.  His company has since developed increasingly sophisticated engineering and computer analysis capabilities for all manner of race cars.  By recording detailed measurements and data, plus the use of potentiometers and software programming largely unavailable back then, they are able to make up for many of the advantages in dynamic road-holding, handling and aero efficiency that the bigger budget teams had at the time - and for much lower cost.  The need for the  ‘black art engineering’  role of a test driver is also thereby reduced to a minimum by science.

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.

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.

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MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > New Sponsor for U2TC Offering R&D Tax Relief for Preparers and Other Small Businesses

 Offering R&D Tax Relief for Preparers and Other Small Businesses

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.

Sounds like a lot of preparers we know.  Contact Ria Goff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if you qualify.

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > New Sponsor for U2TC Offering R&D Tax Relief for Preparers and Other Small Businesses