The Magazine

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

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, go to Subscribe where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.  Those who subscribe online are automatically given access to our bulletin board area.

Features and Reports

Fully Booked

Packed grids characterised the Preis der Stadt Stuttgart meeting at Hockenheim on 16-18 April, where Youngtimers, HTGT for Touring and GT cars of the early ‘70s, and the HEC endurance series for cars up to ‘76 met up for the first time this season.

Brothers Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race. The professional stage manufacturers entered the historic racing stage without the backdrop of spectators due to Covid. Their Ford Escort BDA proved largely superior to the RS1600 of Heinz Schmersal and Mike Stursberg by a clear 49 seconds at the end of the one-hour race. Schmersal recognised defeat, “There is no match for this BDA, we had to be content with a class win.” Michael Wittge and Markus Diederich kept the Porsche 911 ST of the Sanchez brothers in check to take third place.

“There is no match for the BDA” Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race.  Photos Peter Heil

 

The rapid Alexander and Vincent Kolb father-son combination secured overall victory in the final two-hour race for the FHR Dunlop Historic Endurance Cup in their beefy Ford Cobra 289. The road to victory was only cleared when the exhaust manifold of the leading Ford GT40 eliminated the Sanchez opposition halfway through the race. The Munich-based Alfa GTAm duo of Peter Praller/Clement Fromm skilfully kept the Porsche 914/6 GT of Wittke/Diederich within two seconds, which turned out to be seven after a time penalty was added for a pit stop infringement. There was bad luck for the reigning German champions (DHAM) Jochen Wilms and Christian Dannesberger, who were let down by their GTAm Alfa in both races.

The road to victory for the Kolb Cobra was only cleared when the leading Ford GT40 retired

 

Vice-Champion Kersten Jodexnis fared no better. His Porsche 911 S/R lost almost 14 laps due to a lengthy shift linkage repair, after which his teammate, Robin Chrzanowski, showed what could have been by taking fastest lap of the race on day that remained dry despite a thick cloud brew. Encouraged by the great popularity and the smooth running of the event under Corona conditions, the FHR is planning another event at the Motodrom to replace the cancelled Nürburgring Classic.

The 29th running of the Historic Vltava Rallye, round 2 of the 2021 FIA European Historic Rally Championship, as well as counters for local and national Czech championships, finished with a victory for the Italian duo of Andrea ‘Zippo´ Zivian and Denis Piceno, who drove their Audi Quattro in a nail-biting duel that was only decided on the last stage of the two-day event.

It was reigning Category 3 champions Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of the 7-8 May event, based in the Bohemian city of Klatovy.  Their Porsche 911 SC finished the day with a 17 second advantage over the chasing Audi.  The lead pair were far ahead of the rest, with third-placed Anders and Ingrid Johnsen 54.7secs behind in their Porsche 911 RS, leading the category 2 field, ahead of the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera, which was the fastest Category 4 competitor.

Karl Wagner had led the rally from the start.  Photos Rallyservice.cz

 

There were several retirements on the opening day.  James Potter and Geoff Jones retired their Ford Escort before SS1, while their Flexifly teammates Ernie and Karen Graham had an engine issue on the first stage and missed the rest of the day.   On the second day, with seven more stages to run, the fight grew even more heated.  On the first few stages Wagner extended his lead over the Audi, taking a full six seconds from the Italians on one stage alone.  ‘Zippo’ took the next two stages, with Wagner responding to the challenge to take SS8 and head to the service park 29 seconds to the good, with three stages to go. 

EHRC newcomers Vojtech Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka, (Opel Kadett) scored an excellent fourth overall in the FIA contest, just 2.2secs behind Anders and Ingrid Johnsen’s 911 Porsche RSR

 

On stage 10 the Audi closed the gap by 11secs, and on stage 11 the gap was down to just 0.7secs with just the 22.71km Stransinska stage remaining.  ‘Zippo’ put everything he had into it, improving his stage time from the morning run of the same stage by an incredible 41 seconds for a time of 12m37.4.  But Wagner improved on his morning time too, and finished the stage in 12m42.6.   It was just not quite enough to keep the lead, and the Audi Quattro  finished the rally just 4.5 seconds ahead to take the overall victory at the last gasp.  This also gave Zippo his second category 3 win of the season.

Third overall, and the Category 2 leaders, were Anders and Ingrid Johnsen, the Swedes fending off a late challenge from the Opel Kadett C GT/E of EHRC newcomers Vojtěch Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka, the Czech crew finishing just 2.2 seconds behind the Porsche at the end of the final stage. 

Spaniards Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera won Category 4 in their Ford Sierra Cosworth.

The Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera finished the day in fifth overall and the winner of Category 4.  The Spanish crew finished the rally 1m41.9 seconds ahead of the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Austrian Alfons Nothdurfter and his German teammate Jurgen Nolte.  Ville Silvasti and Risto Pietilainen (Audi Quattro A2) came home eighth overall and completed the Category 4 podium.

The familiar Porsche 911 S of Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo finished in 15th place overall to add the Category 1 victory in the Czech Republic to the one they took in Sanremo last month.  With some 22 registered competitors, the EHRC seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival and will no doubt pick up even more competitors as the championship moves further south after the next round in Hungary in late June.

May 15-16 marked the return of VdeV Historic Endurance racing when 26 crews and 65 drivers gathered at Nevers Magny-Cours to participate in the VdeV 6 Hours of Magny-Cours. Despite tricky weather conditions, with alternating showers and clear skies resulting in ever-changing track conditions, everyone was delighted to be there after the long winter break and all the many cancellations and postponements caused by COVID.

After two free practice sessions and the qualifying session, the competitors set off on Sunday at 12:40pm for six hours of racing on the 4.41km Nivernais track under heavy rain, resulting in a rolling start with five initial laps behind the safety car.  In total, the event would see no fewer than ten different leaders during the 6 hours and also a number of safety car interventions, brought on by a heavy rain, or shorter interventions caused by racing incidents.

The winning Porsche did 644 kilometres and 146 laps.  Photos Jacques Letihon Courtesy VdeV Racing

 

Starting from pole, the team consisting of Damien and Matthieu Alfano, Nathalie Seigneurin and Maxime Tandel was long delayed when their Porsche 911 3.0 SC was stopped by an oil leak an hour in. Others also experienced reliability issues, like the Ford Mustang of Dutch crew Bas Jansen and Jacques Meeuwissen. The victim of engine overheating during free practice, the team made an overnight return trip to the Netherlands to bring back an identical Mustang, an effort that was rewarded with a sixth place finish.

Overall and GT category victory went to the Swiss-Belgian team of Serge Libens, Henrique Gemperle and Marc De Siebenthal at the wheel of a Porsche 964 RS. The crew completed 146 laps and 644 kilometres over the six hours. They were followed home by the Châteaux family BMW 635 CSI, which took Touring Car honours, and the Mk 1 Ford Escort of José Beltramelli, sharing with sons Brady and Viny. Two more Porsches, the 944 S2 of former rally champion Jean-Claude Andruet, co-driven by Christian Noret, and the 964 RS of the Pelletier family, with Christophe Peyrat, made up the rest of the GT podium.

The Beltramelli family took third overall in their Ford Escort MK1

Contested until the last laps, first place in the Saloon Car class was finally won by former tennis pro and winner of the Davis Cup, Henri Leconte, in the Van de Vyver TVR Griffith 200 shared with Léo Mothe and Alex Meynard.  The Sport Prototype category saw the Chateaux Sport Auto team clinch another victory in their Grac MT 14B, driven by Axel De Ferran and Bernard Zimmer.

A beautiful spring morning greeted the drivers of the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s season opener at Silverstone, the Club’s first race meeting since way back in August last year. A light breeze and bright sunshine under a clear sky soon boiled away the overnight frost, as the teams began the engine warm-up procedures and the heady aroma of pure alcohol racing fuel with just a hint of Castrol R drifted across the paddock, says Chris McEvoy. The spacious environs of Silverstone made it the ideal location for racing during a pandemic, but despite this, the meeting had to be held without spectators. It was, however, the opportunity to give the cars an outing and test the work done over the extended winter lay-off and to see if all of the hard work, skinned knuckles and occasional verbal threats would pay off.

Terry Crabb in ERA R12C and eventual Allcomers race winner Julian Wilton in ERA R7B.  Photos Eric Sawyer

The morning’s mixed practice sessions passed largely uneventfully, though one driver lost a wheel at Copse. The wheel stayed on all the way through the wiggle of Maggotts and continued onto the full circuit, when the rest of the car turned right into Becketts for the National one. As always with VSCC events there was an interesting range of vehicles, showing automotive development, some with features still discernible on modern cars, to the quirky that only lasted briefly but seemed a good idea at the time. And you have to remember that in the VSCC ‘modern’ cars are typically those that have front brakes and the gear lever inside the body work. Although a roof and full windscreen are still regarded as optional. An afternoon’s card of ten races kept the action moving and started with a 32-car grid for the VSCC Specials Race for the Silverstone Trophy. Having made their official debut at Silverstone in October 1948, two races for F3 500s were on the programme, as the invited Formula 3 500 Owners Association took to the track. An unkind description of these diminutive but rapid vehicles is that they resemble a large cigar tube powered by a motorcycle engine. However, with lap times amongst the fastest of the meeting they are certainly serious racers. George Shackleton (Cooper MkXI) demonstrated his prowess at the wheel by taking the flag in both races from pole position.

George Shackleton (Cooper MkXI) demonstrated his prowess at the wheel by taking the flag in both F3 500 races from pole position

Race 3 was an amalgam of the Vintage, Pre-War and Pre-1961 Racing Cars grids, comprising the classes for the GP Itala & Lanchester Trophy, and the Amschel Rothschild & Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophy. Possibly the race of the day, Frederick Harper took his Kurtis Indy-Roadster to a win from pole, ahead of Richard Wilson in a Ferrari 246 F1.

Another guest grid was the HGPCA with a cracking race for Pre-1966 Grand Prix Cars that saw Barry Cannell in his Brabham BT11A chasing poleman Will Nuthall’s Cooper T53 from the off, with Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 18) keeping a close eye on proceedings.

The Pre-War and Pre-1961 Racing Cars race was initially led by Richard Wilson’s Ferrari 246 but was eventually won by Fred Harper in his Kurtis Indy Roadster

The ODM/Fox & Nicholl Trophy Race for Standard and Modified Pre-War Sports-Cars saw a packed grid with reserves, one of which was the eventual winner. The ODM stands for Owner-Driver-Mechanic and is a special award for amateur racers.

The race attracted a wondrous variety of cars such as Delahaye, Frazer Nash and Talbot Lago into the action.  A joint venture between the VSCC and the Fifties Sports Car Club, the FISCAR Tom Cole Trophy & VSCC Hawthorn International Trophy Race featured sports racing cars from the ‘50s.

ernardo Hartogs leads the 50s sportscar pack in his Lotus XV ahead of Martin Hunt/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in Hunt’s HWM

Handicap races are a favourite feature of VSCC events, bestowing a means by which disparate vehicles can compete on a relatively equal basis. Two short All-Comers Handicap Races for Pre-War cars saw victories for Wilfred Cawley in his Austin 7 Special and Ben Maeers (1926 GN Parker), a fitting consolation for a DNF in the earlier HGPCA race aboard a Cooper T51.

For a full report see out June 2021 issue....

After considerable speculation from competitors about whether or not it would even happen, the 12th edition of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix will be remembered for the special conditions in which it took place, and also for the beautiful on-track battles seen there. Originally schedule to run last year, COVID forced the organisers to postpone it to this year. The pandemic is still with us in 2021, but the will of the Automobile Club de Monaco has been stronger, and this Historic Grand Prix inaugurated a series of three race meetings in the Principality within one month, with the E-Prix coming 15 days later, then the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Jean-Marie Biadatti takes up the story.

Spaniard Guillermo Fiero-Eleta was another driver to win more than one race during this year’s Grand Prix, taking victory in Plateau B in his 250F Maserati and winning the sportscar race in his Maserati 300S.   PhotoClassicRacing.com

 

It was necessary to show a certain initiative to come to Monaco. All the actors, drivers, mechanics, media, commissioners coming from countries outside of the Principality had to provide a PCR test made less than 72 hours before, to enter Monaco. This done, the organisers provided everyone with a bracelet in Monegasque colours to act as a “Covid Pass”. This was in addition to the usual badges and passes, and allowed holders to both enter the circuit, and to be able to eat in the restaurants of the city. Covid-19 however, got the better of a number of entrants who could not get there because of restrictions in their own countries, bringing many late cancellations and the total number of entrants to just under one hundred, when usually at least double that number are present. On the spectator side, if the day of Friday took place behind closed doors, the spectators were able to attend on Saturday and Sunday under a beautiful sun, but always respecting sanitary procedures, the number of places being limited to 6,500.

Nightfall in the paddock.  Photos PhotoClassicRacing.com

This year, the Automobile Club de Monaco had chosen to put Ferrari in the spotlight and the headliners were Jean Alesi and René Arnoux, present at the wheel of two magnificent German-entered, Methusalem Racing Ferrari 312B3s in Series F.

While some of the fields were a little thin, the races were very intense, the prestige of a victory in the Principality remaining just as coveted regardless of the type of competition. The man of the weekend was undoubtedly Michael Lyons who won the three races in which he took part!

Bugatti girls: Julia de Baldanza (T 35B) and Nicola Dönhoff (T 51) in qualifying

Having qualified in second place in the Series E field, for 3-litre cars up to ’72, at the wheel of his mother’s Surtees TS9, Lyons got off to a flying start to win the sprint to Sainte Dévote ahead of poleman Stuart Hall (McLaren M19A). The fight between these two was unrelenting, with Hall attacking every which way, every lap - attacks that were ultimately unsuccessful, the two men being separated on the finish line by only 7/10ths of a second.

After winning Series F in controversial circumstances, (see separate text), Lyons’ third victory came in Series G, where the latest cars of the meeting, up to 1980, were found. Michael knew how to pile on the pressure to poleman Jordan Grogor (Arrows A3) who ended up hitting the Armco and eliminating himself from the race.

Mark Shaw dominated the Serie D race in his Lotus 21

Guillermo Fiero-Eleta was another driver to win more than one race during this year’s Grand Prix. First, at the wheel of his Maserati 250F in Series B for pre-‘61 GP cars, the field of which was one of the smallest with only seven cars. The Spanish pilot also won the Series C race for sports cars, run as a reminder that in 1952 the Automobile Club de Monaco, faced with an F1 in crisis, exceptionally chose to open its Grand Prix to this type of car. Fiero-Eleta took this one at the wheel of his Maserati 300S ahead of Martin Halusa’s Jaguar D-Type, driven by son Niklas, who, although finishing only 4.8 seconds in arrears, was never much of a threat to the winner.

Series D, with the beautiful F1 cars of the early ‘60s, was also very thin with just seven cars. The race was dominated head and shoulders by Mark Shaw in his Lotus 21.

Finally, in Series A for pre-war cars, poleman Patrick Blakeney-Edwards kept his Frazer Nash in the lead for half of the race until gearbox problems forced him to stop.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The Duel of the Meeting Alesi vs Werner

The race for Plateau F for pre-’77 cars promised to be exciting. With two explosive first rows, it sadly ended in recriminations and controversy. On pole was the former triple 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Marco Werner, but it was Jean Alesi quickest off the mark in the older, less powerful Ferrari. Though outgunned by the Lotus, which had qualified two seconds faster, in an enthralling battle Alesi used all his experience to keep Werner behind for 14 laps, with Michael Lyons keeping close watch from behind the wheel of his McLaren M26.

Lyons kept a watching brief behind the lead battle

Coming out onto the start-finish straight with three laps to go, Werner was tucked up right behind Alesi. Did Alesi miss a gear, as Werner later claimed? It didn’t really matter. Werner’s Lotus, accelerating faster out of the bend made contact. The contact was light, but on touching the left rear wheel of the Ferrari, the car was unbalanced and crashed into the wall. Alesi appeared to remonstrate as the German went past again, with a broken front wing, to win the race.

Feeling aggrieved, the German refused to stand on the podium

At the end of the race, the Lotus came to position under the No. 1 panel. There followed a wait before the podium ceremony began, where we imagined what was happening in the Race Director’s office. An official arrived after five minutes with the result sheet and informed Werner that he had received a 25-second penalty and was demoted to third place, without having been heard by officials. This gave Michael Lyons his second win of the meeting, ahead of the excellent Andlauer and his March 761. The German pilot expressed his disapproval by refusing to stand on the podium and by putting the cup on the ground. It is a shame that the race ended this way because it was the best fight on the track that we saw during the whole meeting. Of note was the sportsmanship displayed by Lyons, who took his winner’s cup and placed it on the muzzle of Werner’s Lotus.

Under a splendid sun in Portimão, the grids run by Diogo Ferrao and his Race Ready organisation began their season on 7-9 May, supporting the KIA GT Cup and the Super7s. A new Race Ready initiative this year, the Carrera los ‘80s cars produced a 20-car grid for their first outing despite the absence of many of the foreign teams. The new series, for Touring cars of the ‘80s and early ‘90s also has a class for GT Trophy and Cup cars.

Historic Endurance

A 40-car grid lined up for the first of two Iberian Historic Endurance races with Carlos Barbot’s Merlyn MK4 on pole. Pedro Bastos Rezende should have been alongside in his De Tomaso Pantera, but instead opted to drive his Porsche RSR, so had to start from the back of the grid. As the clock approached 5pm the traffic lights went out and the roar of the Iberian Historic Endurance engines echoed through the empty stands of the Autódromo de Portimão.

The big grid, with a number of foreign teams, was a demonstration of just how keen drivers are to get out racing again.  Photos Antonio Paquete

Barbot started well, but he had the two Porsches of Alfredo Martinez/Jesus Fuster and Miguel Vaz/Fernando Soares on his tail, both eventually getting past the little prototype. Some fared better than others during the mandatory pit stops, and the 50-minute race was cut short after 39 minutes due to oil on the track, leaving an all-Porsche podium.

 

 

After the wet morning, the second race kicked off at lunchtime on Sunday, giving the track time to dry. This time Rezende started at the front and got off the line quickest to lead the pack. However, though starting in 16th place, a re-energised Barbot was challenging for second after only a few laps. Next, he surprised Rezende and snatched the lead, but the Porsche driver was having none of it and re-asserted control, though he never quite lost the Merlyn. It was great racing.

los Barbot made a brilliant comeback to challenge the mighty Porsches

Race Ready also ran two 40-minute rounds of their Group 1 / Trophéu Mini races. These too are very popular and attracted a grid of over 40 cars of great variety, made up of VW Golf GTIs, Datsun 1200s, Porches 924s, and of course Minis. Ford Escorts RS2000s dominated the sharp end of both races, with Paulo Vieira taking two victories in his. It was clear that the drivers were happy to be out racing again after a five-month abstinence.

To read the report see our June 2021 issue....

Though it ran behind closed doors, the 2021 edition of the Donington Historic Festival, run on the Bank Holiday weekend of 1-2 May, was in many ways the best yet. The tenth edition had superb grids, consistently exciting racing and even the fickle UK spring weather was kind. Paul Lawrence reports.

Across the socially-distanced paddock there was a wonderful feeling of renewal and optimism as teams and drivers went racing, some for the first time in many, many months. Many drivers spoke of their delight at going racing again and seeing old friends. The atmosphere of the whole event was outstanding and although fans could not be there, excellent live-streaming offered all the race action to a global audience. Roger Wills and Tim Harvey claimed the event’s big prize of victory in the three-hour Pall Mall Cup while father and son Justin and Ben Maeers won a memorable ‘Mad Jack’ Pre-War Sports contest in their 100-year-old Parker GN. The opening round of the Jaguar Classic Challenge got the weekend’s racing off to a fine start with a grid of more than 30 Jaguars battling over an hour and Saturday’s racing closed with the inaugural Amon Cup for Ford GT40s featuring a reasonable grid, which will be boosted once European contenders are able to get to the UK. The 11 cars made a fantastic sight and sound as they raced into the early evening.

In the ‘Mad Jack’ race a field of wonderfully diverse pre-war cars battled mightily. Wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side and nose- to-tail, they made a truly epic spectacle around the sweeps of Donington. The race was won by Justin and Ben Mears in the 100 year-old 6.2-litre aero-engined Parker GN Photo Oliver Flower

The Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy grids were combined to form a vast field of pre-1961 sports cars. The opening laps of the race featured a sensational battle as the Tojeiro Jaguar of James Cottingham worked hard to fend off the Lister Knobbly of Chris Ward. Lap after lap they ran nose-to-tail as they threaded a path through the slower traffic. The ‘Mad Jack’ for Pre-War Sports Cars is always a popular element of the DHF and in the early laps five wonderfully diverse Pre-War cars battled mightily. Wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side and nose-to-tail, they made a truly epic spectacle around the sweeps of Donington.

Big grids characterised the meeting, including the Historic Touring Car/Tony Dron Trophy/U2TC race won by Andy Middlehurst/Jonathan Bailey’s Nissan Skyline.  Photo Eric Sawyer

The headlining three-hour Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup race on Sunday afternoon was an action-packed endurance race run at a frenetic pace, with a 50-car grid, and ending with a resounding win for Roger Wills and Tim Harvey in Roger’s ex-Bruce ex-Bruce McLaren Lotus 15.

Roger Wills and Tim Harvey won the headline 3-Hour Pall Mall Cup race in Roger’s Lotus XV.  Photo Eric Sawyer

The opening round of the Historic Touring Car Challenge also featured the Tony Dron Trophy and the U2TC season opener, so there was a vast and varied grid of racing saloon cars in action for an hour. The early laps delivered a great spectacle from a leading five-car pack of two Nissan Skylines, two Ford Sierra RS500s and a Cologne Capri.

Graham Churchill’s Austin Mini Cooper suffered a massive engine failure.  Photo Eric Sawyer

The UK Formula Junior Championship featured three races for an entry of more than 50 cars. The opening race catered for the earlier cars and it was three front-engined cars that enacted a wonderful contest for the lead. Ray Mallock (U2 Mk2), Chris Drake (Terrier) and Andrew Hibberd (Merlyn Mk2) went wheel-to-wheel for much of the race.

Father and son John and Jack Young clinched the Tony Dron Trophy spoils with a fine run in their Chevrolet Camaro, here seen at rest as night falls.  Photo Oliver Flower

Will Nuthall was twice a commanding winner from a strong HGPCA grid of Pre-‘66 Grand Prix cars. His Cooper T53 was away and gone early in both races as John Fairley (Brabham BT11/19) was the best of the rest.

For the full report see pour June 2021 issue....

Let’s Go Racing!

A chilly but sunny Easter weekend saw Britain’s long-awaited return to racing, and historic cars were honoured to be the first to fire up their engines when Masters Historic   Racing and the HSCC’s single-seater department convened for the   Masters Historic Race Weekend at Donington Park just days after the ban on motor racing was lifted.    Mattijs Diepraam reports.

In fact, Masters had succeeded in having their Donington Park event – and also its forthcoming late-May event at Brands Hatch – listed as Elite Sporting Events, which meant that foreign competitors, team members and essential staff would be able to enter the UK without having to quarantine for a minimum of five days.  Of course, the exemption only applied to travellers coming into the UK, but their return trip was a different matter, with most EU countries still upholding strict quarantine rules.  As a result, the entry across the six Masters grids was essentially all British, while the few men in possession of a foreign racing license – such as Ireland’s Mike Cantillon, Austrian Lukas Halusa, Max Girardo from Switzerland and Kiwi Warren Briggs – are either UK residents or were present in the UK already.  In the end, only official series photographer Carlo Senten and the Michelin tyre people dared to cross the Channel from Holland and France respectively to be at Donington.

Steve Hartley (right) led both F1 races in his McLaren MP4, but Mike Cantillon (below) twice prevailed in his Williams FW07C Photos Eric Sawyer

The travel restrictions – not to mention Brexit – particularly hurt Masters’ two former FIA championships, since Masters Historic Formula One and Masters Historic Sports Cars have always been the most ‘European’ of Masters series.  Fortunately the Gentlemen Drivers and Pre-66 Touring Car entry lists both burst at the seams with UK-based GT and touring car drivers eager to dust off their cars.  Meanwhile, the HSCC brought their Classic F3 and Historic F2 grids, and while both missed their international contributors, the club had no trouble in attracting many dozens of well-prepared British-based single-seaters.

Formula 1

Even though the grid number was down to 12, both Masters Historic Formula One races proved that large fields are not a necessity when it comes to exciting racing action.  Especially Saturday’s race was a corker, as Mike Cantillon’s Williams FW07C harried Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 until, with two laps to go, the jam Baron cracked under pressure, handing Cantillon his second win of the weekend.

Sportcars

On Friday, the Historic Sports Car race would be the first Masters race of the day, and it was WEC and ELMS racer Alex Brundle in Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 Mk3B who led away from pole.  Behind him, though, Tom Bradshaw in the family’s Chevron B19 succeeded in keeping young Brundle in sight and duly took over the mantle when on lap 7 the Lola limped into the pits with a broken gear linkage.

WEC and ELMS racer Alex Brundle, in Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 Mk3B, led the Sportscars away from pole, while confusion in the paddock had led to a gaggle of cars lining up in the wrong assembly area meaning they had to start from the pitlane.  Photo Carlo Senten

GTs

Friday ended on a feverish note as five cars contested the win in the 90-minute Gentlemen Drivers enduro for pre-66 GT cars.  Mike Whitaker in the pole-sitting TVR Griffith and then James Cottingham in the Cobra shared with Joe Twyman led early on, while Alex Brundle gave chase in the first of two Pearson Engineering Jaguar E-types.

Touring Cars

Saturday’s Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race proved to be a belter, initially led by Steve Soper in the Alan Mann Racing Ford Mustang, with Alex Taylor and Craig Davies maintaining close quarters while arguing between themselves in two more Mustangs.  Also keeping a watchful eye from a manageable distance while fighting over fourth with Richard Dutton’s similar Lotus Cortina was Marcus Jewell who put relief driver Ben Clucas in the perfect position when the safety car came out to aid the quick recovery of Mark Martin’s stranded Cortina.

Marcus Jewell put relief driver Ben Clucas in the perfect position after the safety car came out. Clucas wasted no time in claiming the lead  Photo Carlo Senten

Single-seaters

Meanwhile, the HSCC made a significant contribution to Britain’s return to racing by adding their Historic F2 and Classic F3 grids to the programme. 

The quality of racing across the 27-strong F2 double-header was fine, hard-fought victories going to Callum Grant (ex-Don Breidenbach 1600cc Atlantic March 79B) - two years after Matt Wrigley won at Brands Hatch in a sister car - and hotshoe Andy Smith. 

In Classic F3, Andrew Smith shared starring roles with Conor Murphy, taking pole in his March 783.  Murphy’s March 803B, however, beat Smith away from the line, and while trading fastest laps with his adversary Murphy never blinked on his way to victory by less than two tenths of a second. 

For a full report, see our May 2021 issue

Formula Ford cars of three eras took centre stage on Snetterton’s 300 Circuit as the Jim Russell Trophy meeting honoured one of the category’s founders and opened the Historic Sports Car Club’s 2021 season on 17-18 April.  Local hero Russell bought fleets of FFs - Lotus, Alexis, Merlyn and Van Diemen chassis - for his renowned racing drivers’ schools.  The triple national F3 champion died in 2019, just short of his 100th birthday, an innings matched by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, a motor racing enthusiast for whom a minute’s silence was observed on Saturday, as his funeral began at Windsor Castle.

Marcus Pye Reports

Jackson 5 tops the Chart

On a sunny weekend with a chill wind, the event ran behind closed doors due to extended COVID-19 protocols.  At the venue where the first FF Festival was won by Ian Taylor in a Dulon on the super-fast original track, Cameron Jackson won both the Historic (Pre-‘72) and Classic (Pre-‘82) championship double-headers at the wheel of his black ‘71 Winkelmann WDF2, a Palliser rebranded by its US marketer.  He also dominated the Historic Formula Junior opener in his Brabham BT2, resplendent in the livery of UK-based Dutch flower seller Klaas ‘Jimmy’ Twisk’s Tulip Stable, making it a five from five lockout.

Cameron Jackson won both the Historic (Pre-‘72) and Classic (Pre-‘82) championship double-headers at the wheel of his black ‘71 Winkelmann WDF2. He also dominated the Historic Formula Junior opener in his Brabham BT2.  Photo Charlie Wooding

Contemporary Formula Fords came out in the Heritage grids, American youngsters Max Esterson and Colin Queen twice beating the older cars in their Low Dempsey Racing Ray GR18s.  Their closest pursuer was retired F1 TV commentator Ben Edwards driving the Van Diemen in which Martin Byford won the Champion of Snetterton series in 1992!

Historic FF2000 looks set for a bumper season, with 30 competitors eagerly out on parade for the opening races.  Eighteen of them - including ‘79 European champion Adrian Reynard himself in the last SF79 built, dressed in his period car’s Canadian Club Whiskey livery - driving Reynards.  Past master Benn Simms was in a class of his own all weekend, charging his SF77 clear of Graham Fennymore - who had repaired his SF81 following a prang in Friday testing - and Greg Robertson (SF79).  Reynard finished fifth on Saturday, a place claimed by local Stephen Glasswell on Sunday.

Hard Tryer - Adam Cunnington Ford Lotus Cor na  Photos Eric Sawyer

Fresh from smashing the Donington Classic F3 lap record at the Masters meeting, Andy Smith annihilated Snetterton’s, hurtling his ex-Helmut Henzler March 783 away from reigning champion Benn Tilley (ex-Brian Henton/Rupert Keegan BAF March 743) and Tony Hancock (ex-Mike Blanchet Lola T670) in race one.  Smith’s suspension tweaks between races left him short of traction later, but he nonetheless harassed Tilley over the final laps of Saturday’s finale.

Dan Williamson (Ford Falcon) won the Touring Car race

Historic Road Sports brought out the first of the HSCC staples, a fine and representative multi-marque 22-car entry redolent of the 1950s and ‘60s. 

Later spec Morgans topped the even stronger 70s’ Road Sports contest which boasted 29 starters.  Lad and dad Will and Richard Plant rumbled clear of former Historic F1 racer Dave Karaskas (TVR 3000M) and triple champion Jeremy Clark, whose Elan S4’s engine blew spectacularly passing the pits.

When potential Historic Touring Car challenger Pete Hallford’s Ford Mustang struggled to leave the grid at the lights in both races, making things a bit fraught as the Lotus Cortinas and Steve Platts’ Singer Chamois funnelled through, poleman Dan Williamson scored two lonely wins in his Falcon.

Ben Simms took both FF2000 races in his Reynard SF77 from a bumper grid containing no fewer than 18 Reynards

Mark Charteris and a surprised Adrian Holey were the winners in a Classic Clubmans attrition-fest.  Charteris had a fright in Sunday’s finale when his propshaft grenaded (mercifully a safety hoop in the transmission tunnel did its job) shortly after he took the lead from Clive Wood, whose throttle cable snapped shortly thereafter.

Ecurie Classic Racing subscribed to a 40-minute guest slot with Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club invitees.  Soloist Allan Ross-Jones bolted his metallic blue Triumph TR4 out of the blocks at the start of the mini-enduro and was not unseated.

Get our May 2021 issue for a full report

Final Round Hampton Downs

Just when defending F5000 Series title holder Michael Collins looked like wrapping up this season’s series, Auckland resident Grant Martin pulled his Talon MR1/A “out of the shed,” qualified second to Collins, then proceeded to lead the first race at the final round, the big Paul Fahey Legends of Motorsport meeting at Hampton Downs, on Saturday afternoon from start-to-finish.

Collins did indeed find a place to get alongside and attempt to pass as the pair entered the downhill hairpin – only to have one of his car’s halfshafts let go, leaving the 25-year-old ace stranded at the side of the track and Martin to complete the final lap unchallenged. 

Codie Banks and fellow Lola T332 driver Kevin Ingram were the next pair home, though fourth quickest qualifier David Banks (Codie’s father) didn’t make the grid thanks to an issue with his Talon MR1’s crown and pinion.  Class A for pre’71 cars was again dominated by a quick and consistent Frank Karl (McLaren M10B).

The series was able to nally emerge from beneath the COVID-19 cloud it has been operating under this season, with strong entries and at least two new owners and/or drivers  Photos Fast Company Ma Smith

Enjoying a trouble-free debut in his newly-acquired ex-Ian Riley Lola T332 was long-time tin-top man Bruce Kett, whose measured approach saw him qualify 16th but finish Saturday’s race in 11th place.  As the weekend went on, Kett got quicker and quicker.  “I’m just buzzing,” he said afterwards.  “The car is just so different to anything else I have ever raced.  Every time I go out in it I learn something!”

Sunday’s handicap race was won by Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400), who admitted to a tad of embarrassment having won for the third time in as many rounds.  “Just a little bit,” he laughed.  “But what am I supposed to do when they give me a start time like they do?”

Grant Martin leads Michael Collins

As it was the race - which was started in the pit lane with the field split into different speed ‘bands’ - produced some impressive handicapping, with class coordinator Tony Jack congratulated on a job well done by the Clerk of the Course.

In a riveting 10-lap final on Sunday afternoon, enlivened up by the composition of the grid - with Martin on pole and Collins right at the back thanks to his non-finish on Saturday - Collins literally pulled out all the stops as he worked his way up through to a position where he could at least challenge for the lead.  However the field spent three laps behind the Safety Car early on while Chris Watson’s Gardos was dug out of the gravel trap.  Once the track went green, Collins pinned his ears back and made it up to second place only for the chequered flag to come out just as he had locked his lasers onto the Talon. 

‘’Seriously,” said Collins, “I really wanted to win that one and I would have had him if there had been one more lap.”  Kevin Ingram and Anna Collins (Michael’s sister) followed the two leaders home.