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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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Features and Reports

The 17th edition of the Mallorcan Rally Classic took place on 11-13 March. Having been perhaps the last competitive event to take place just before the 2020 lockdown began - indeed it was actually cut short when the lockdown went into place - this year it was one of the first events to run. That it took place at all, last year or this, was thanks to the herculean efforts of rally organiser Toni Dezcallar, who worked tirelessly to gain permission to run it in the face of all the COVID restrictions. These included restricting admission to the Service Park in Puerto Portals, an absolute ban on spectators on the special stages, and a schedule of testing for everyone involved. Fortune smiled on Toni as the island of Mallorca reduced its pandemic emergency code shortly before the start of the rally, allowing restricted opening of bars, restaurants and hotels. In addition, travel from Germany, from where a core group of competitors comes, became permissible subject to a five day quarantine.

Tomeu Castañer and Miquel Deya in their Jaguar E-type were untroubled by the Nigorra Jaguar to win the Low Speed Regularity category.  Photos Courtesy Rally Clásico

Puerto Portals retained its position as title sponsor of the event and Michael Stoschek’s Brose Components, Germany’s largest independent motor parts manufacturer continued its long term association. Michael would run his self-manufactured, modern, all carbon version of the Lancia Stratos in the Show Car category, co-driving with his son Maximilian.

 

 

The entry necessarily suffered from the travel restrictions around Europe. Indeed, until a few days before the start Spain was restricting inbound travel to its citizens and those with residency. Although this was relaxed for the Germans, the competitors from the UK as well as everywhere else were prohibited. Whereas the majority of those who choose to compete in the regularity sections tend to be Mallorquins, Island residents or Spanish Nationals, the converse is true for the competition groups. The regularity entry held up well with 12 in High Speed and 14 in Low Speed. Favourite for this important speciality were multiple previous winners Tony Barcelo and Joan Vergers in their BMW 2002 Tii. The Show Car class even augmented its popularity with 16 starters.

A notable first here was the entry of an all-electric car. This was the Loryc Batteryrunner of Charly and Leone Bosch. The cars are built just down the road from the service park at Sa Bugadelles. How many people know that Mallorca has its own car manufacturer?

The Youngtimers result was never in doubt with the local crew of Jose Martorell and Tomeu Fluxa winning by nearly fteen minutes

It was the competition class that took the hardest hit from the travel restrictions, with no fewer than 18 entries from the UK lost. These included Steve Perez, boss of the Amigo beer drinks conglomerate, Silverstone Auctions founder Nick Whale, and John Sheldon who missed out on his 20th consecutive appearance at the rally. The class was left with a scant six starters. Two of these presented an intriguing prospect. Former event winner and multiple rally champion Kris Rosenberger had forsaken his regular co-driver of many years, the vastly experienced Cristina Ettel for the young local Sara Adolph. Their partnership had not got off to a good start when Kris almost destroyed his regular 1982 Porsche 911 in the local Rally Conserves Rosselló - Vila de Sineu event in September, leaving Sara quite badly bruised. It was a great effort to have the car repaired in time. Meanwhile, Cristina Ettel found herself a seat with German specialist car dealer Florian Feustel in a 1975 IROC Porsche 911.

Overall winners of the Competition section were Florian Feustel and a delighted Cristina Ettel in the 1974 Porsche IROC RSR. Theirs had been a near faultless and strategically impeccable performance.

For a full Report see our April 2021 Issue

One of the recurring themes encountered in this magazine, be it from the contributors or from the readers, is the “win at all costs” debate. Most of us say that historic racing shouldn’t be about winning, then we prepare our cars to within an inch of their legality and go out onto the track or rally stage with only one goal in mind – or at least there are many with that attitude. However there are some who really do just want to enjoy the cars. Some are not drivers of great talent, but they enjoy their racing just as much as the winners do, always seeking to improve on their personal best. Others want to campaign cars they love, even though they know they have no chance of a win in their category. These are the heroes of historic racing. They seldom get a mention, but we want to celebrate them in these pages.

Our photographers and contributors were asked to nominate their heroes of historic racing. Here are a few offerings.. Nominations from fellow competitors for future issues are welcome, accompanied with a few explanatory words.

 

Ian Simmonds - Nominated by Mattijs Diepraam 

Photos Ma js Diepraam

A stalwart of the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship for many years, Ian Simmonds has had his moments – such as fighting Greg Thornton for the championship some eight seasons ago – but most of the time he is well aware that there are better drivers on the grid than him. Success is irrelevant, he says, and his biggest competition is with his own expectations – he is only satisfied once he has exceeded those. He is still amazed that at the time he thought that stepping up from a Radical to a Tyrrell 012 Formula One car was a good idea, then wanted to walk away moments before his first test in the car, but somehow found the courage to continue while facing the steepest learning curve of his life. He has done so year after year, with the same Tyrrell, and with the mentality that typifies the unsung heroes of historic motorsport – feeling utterly privileged to be driving a Formula One car and sharing a grid with machines that were once raced by Ronnie Peterson and James Hunt. For me as a journalist, it feels like a privilege to be close to those machines and to be able to write about them – and it’s always good to meet someone who feels the same about driving them.

Egbert Kolvoort – Nominated by Carlo Senten

  

Photos Carlo Senten

I would like to nominate the racing secretary of the NKHTGT, Egbert Kolvoort. With his MGB he has been racing at the back of the field for years, but has managed to improve his personal record every year. However my nomination is more for his commitment to the NKHTGT and to Dutch historic motorsport. For me, he is the type of person we need more of in the sport where egos often get in the way.

 

Brian and Barbara Lambert - Nominated by Carol Spagg

Photo Stefan Eckhardt

Brian and Barbara Lambert have been racing an MGB since at least 2003. That is when they entered the Gentleman Drivers race at Spa and I first met them. After that they became friends and regulars in the series. Though never at the real sharp end with their 1800cc car, they often won their class, often against theoretically quicker cars. The pair look after the car themselves, while dispensing numerous cups of tea and coffee to their many friends in the paddock and always adding to the enjoyment and friendly ambiance. They became regular drivers in Equipe GTS, where Barbara continued to run in the MGB and Brian campaigned a Ginetta G4, both sometimes sharing with son Mark.

Photo Carlo Senten 

Always glad to be out racing, they have also raced in the Top Hat series, with the HSCC, GTSCC and just about anywhere else they can find some good racing amongst like-minded people. Barbara and Brian have also been campaigning the MGB and Ginetta respectively in the Dutch NKHTGT Championship with much class success. Driving the smallest car in a big field, with just 997cc, Brian became the 2018 Dutch Champion! The same year Brian drove the Ginetta, with Uwe Markovac, in the Pre-‘63 GT series. A welcome addition to the series, it was especially nice for me to see the couple in the paddock again, and meet the equally enthusiastic and friendly Uwe. Both Brian and Barbara are always pleasant in the paddock and both are true enthusiasts. In all these years, they have never left anyone in doubt about how much enjoyment they derive from their racing. They are best sort of historic racing people.

Barbara Lambert receiving the GT&SCC Ladies Prize, which she has won on a number of occasions, from John Pearson in 2010.

 

John Delane - Nominated by Jon Bunston

   

Photos Jon Bunston

I first met John Delane in 2010 at Hockenheim, where he was racing in the Historic Formula One race, and my opinion of the American from California has remained the same to this day, simply ‘what a nice guy’. Always engaging about his racing, he has embraced the history of Tyrrell, and more importantly, supported it. After seeing Jackie Stewart’s performance at Monza in the Tyrrell 001, he vowed to race one of his own one day and he accomplished his dream. After his early days in a Viceroy-liveried Lola T400 F5000 car, his Tyrrell dream came in 1998 when the François Cevert car, no. 002 came up for sale in California. Further acquisitions of Tyrrell 001, the team transporter, and 004 were added to his collection. John has been racing Formula 1 cars and his immaculate Lotus 15 ever since, regularly winning championships and flying the Tyrrell flag. He now also owns 006 and is the guardian of three of the seven early Tyrrells that still exist. Supported by Hall & Hall his cars were probably the best prepared and presented in the historic paddock, testament to John’s desire to show these cars at their absolute best. It is a great outcome for Ken’s cars, in the loving care of this passionate collector who knows how to race them and is still the same a nice guy. “The difference between me and a real racing driver is that I didn’t wake up with talent. I took lessons and worked at it. I’m a student of motor racing,” he once said in an interview with Motor Sport. John’s newest enthusiasm is campaigning a Chevron B21 in American races, where grids can contain a large span of cars and where he races against cars like 2005 Audi R8 LMP, 2013 Oreca FLM 9, but also GT40 and Ginetta G12.

Though restrictions on numbers were in place Peter R. Hill was one of the lucky few to attend the March 5-7 Phillip Island Classic and bring back this report. 

A year ago, the Victorian Historic Racing Register (VHRR) held its annual Festival of Classic Motorsport at Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. One week later the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled and COVID-19 changed the world. A year has passed since then and the VHRR again welcomed competitors to the island.

A car rarely seen on Australian tracks, Ian Buddery raced his March 86c Indy car.  Photos Neil Hammond

The club had taken a gamble in outlaying the funds to secure the circuit and facilities for the weekend when even a small outbreak of the virus could have seen the state locked down again and all events cancelled. Fortune favoured their bravery. Eleven fields took to the track comprising three hundred and sixty entries, no doubt rejoicing to be back doing what they loved.

Australians have a love affair with Ford versus Holden V8 racing

The event normally hosts between 450 and 500 entries but this year there were no overseas cars and inter-state entries were undoubtedly reduced because of the risk of a sudden closure of a state border. Spectator numbers were limited to one thousand each day, with tickets pre-purchased on-line. For those of us lucky enough to be there the extra space and lack of a milling throng was relished. Selfish, I know.

An eye-catching brace of Brabham BT30 team cars

Despite the reduction in entries there was still plenty to delight the enthusiast. A brace of Brabham BT30s were eye-catching. These were team cars — both red with Irish Racing Cars sign-written on their flanks. One was the ex-Alan Rollinson car, the owner of which is now Noel Robson, who explained that this car had been in Australia for many years and he was fortunate enough to be able to purchase it when his son Andrew wanted to retire from his Lola T330 F5000. The sister car belongs to Sean Whelan and is the ex-Tommy Reid car that Whelan imported from England. In the race these two led a field that was a mixture of racing and sports cars from ‘61 to ‘69 that included four pretty Lotus 18 Formula Juniors, an assortment of other Brabhams and a lone Chevron B14.

John Hardy’s lovely Alpine A110 1600S has been raced and hillclimbed for 30 years

In another mixed field of sports and racing cars that ranged from the 1930s to 1960 was the striking Allard J2X, its 5.4 litre engine a healthy litre bigger than anything else in the field. This is chassis number 3146 which was brought back to life by Joe Calleja and first raced here in 2018. This is the car that was driven by Carroll Shelby in five races in 1953 for four wins and a second place, and it is said that this is what got him noticed and launched him on his subsequent racing career. One of Australia’s most versatile racers, John Bowe was in Shelby’s seat for the occasion. Sadly, although the Allard qualified third it failed to finish its races. It was a shame we were unable to see Bowe, the two-time Australian Drivers’ Champion and twice winner of the Bathurst 1000, manhandling the Allard around the island.

For a Full Report See Our April 2021 Issue

Not only fast on the track, historic racer and organiser, Diogo Ferrao, is also fast on his feet when it comes to adapting to ever-changing circumstances. Without his efforts the Iberian Endurance 250km race at Estoril would not have taken place on Friday 20 November. With tighter curfew restrictions announced in the late run-up to the two-day meeting, originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Ferrao moved his races to Friday, while some other grids were cancelled. He was rewarded with good support from the local, and some international, drivers, and even the weather, which remained warm and sunny all day, helped boost everyone’s spirits. The other race on the one-day programme was the Group 1 + Troféu Mini race, its drivers also enjoying a two-hour enduro.

250 kms Estoril

With a wide variety of cars, the regs allow for a myriad of classes, leaving everyone to battle for supremacy in their own group, but occasionally, a car and driver combination comes along that punches above its weight, and that has certainly been the case of Carlos Barbot and young Diogo Matos, who drove their little Merlyn MK4, in the H-GTP class, to pole and overall victory, ahead of the powerful Porsche 911 3.0 RS of Danish father and son Lars and Andreas Rolner, who nonetheless fought brilliantly for two hours and won the H-76 class. These two dominated the race, especially after the Ford Escort RS 1600 of Miguel Ferreira and Francisco Carvalho retired in the first half.


Last Race of the Season - Jerez

Being so far south, the Iberians can start their season early (in normal years) and end it late and still expect reasonable weather. With so much of the early season destroyed by COVID, they took advantage of their geography and extended the season on into mid-December with a grand finale at the Jerez circuit, where the Iberian Endurance racers again got a two-hour race. Joined by cars from the newest Race Ready grid, Carrera M80 for touring cars of the ‘80s and small capacity cars from the ‘90s, as well as GT Cup cars of the same years, Carrera los 80s was to have a three-race debut season, but the cancellation of the Jarama meeting in November meant they were invited to share the Iberian Endurance grid at Jerez. The 30 teams and more than 50 drivers were met in Andalucía with dry and mild conditions. The Pereira/Basso Escort dominated the first 30 minutes of the race, shadowed closely by Piero Dal Maso in a Porsche 911 2.8 Carrera RSR. Luis Pedro Liberal (in a similar Ford) and Francisco Freitas (Datsun 1200) lost time to the leaders, slowed by their own battle for third. But in the final phase of the race and after the last pit stop for refuelling and driver change, Piero Dal Maso returned to the lead, and held it until the end to take overall and class H76 honours.

Read more about these two race meetings in our January/February 2021 issue

Repeat Race Winners Crowned at Sebring International Raceway

The fifth annual Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Sebring 12 Hour presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network brought a compact but competitive 2020 HSR race season to a conclusion on 2-6 December at Sebring International Raceway, where a pair of competitors scored repeat wins in their group, and two more raced to their first 12-Hour victories.

Adam Saal Reports

With a full programme of support races beginning with free practice on Wednesday, qualifying on Thursday and racing on Friday for HSR members interspersed with qualifying for the main event, the Classic Sebring 12 Hour was just the third HSR event of the year. Joining the rest of the motorsports world in the global pause in the spring to fight against COVID-19, HSR brought the curtain down on a short season that was long on close competition. HSR’s first race of 2020 was a guest appearance with the Vintage Sports Car Drivers Association (VSCDA) at the Elkhart Lake Festival in September.

David Porter, in his Peugeot 908 HDi FAP scored a four-out-of-four win in HSR Classics competition.  Photos Brian Cleary

Although dozens of European and other international entries – and hundreds of fellow competitors and friends from around the world that annually come to Florida to race their cars – were forced to miss this year’s races, impressive entries of well over 100 cars turned out at both Daytona and Sebring.

Competitors in the HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour were divided into four period Run Groups with each taking to the 3.74-mile Sebring circuit four different times for 42-minute race segments over the course of two days. Each overall Run Group winner was presented with a special-edition B.R.M. Chronographes watch commissioned specifically for the event.

Alejandro Chahwan completes his night race in Group B in his Porsche

Group A honours went to debuting Sebring 12 Hour driver John Delane in the GMT Racing 1972 Chevron B21, while Gray Gregory, Randy Buck and Ethan Shippert scored a second victory for the Chevron marque when they co-drove to a third consecutive victory in Run Group B.

Run Group C was home to another repeat winner, with David Porter scoring his second-straight 12-hour win in his GMT Racing 2007 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, despite some tough competition. The Run Group D victory went to first-time HSR Classic Sebring winners Chris Ruppel and Eric Zitza in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup from Zotz Racing. Ruppel and Zitza avenged a narrow loss to the similar Ebimotors Porsche GT3 in Group D last year.

Sebing 12 Hour debutant John Delane solo drove his GMT Racing Chevron B21 to Group A victory

Notable performances were seen in Groups A and B by a pair of quick and well-prepared Porsche 911 competitors recording overall podium showings. Dawn Myers raced to a solid third-place finish in Group A in her 1969 Porsche 911 prepared by the 901 Shop. Finishing behind only Delane’s Chevron and the second-placed GMT Racing Lotus 23B of Travis Engen, she out-paced four other production-based Porsches and several pure-bred race cars. Damon DeSantis and HSR President David Hinton in turn co-drove the Heritage Motorsports 1974 Porsche 911 to third place in Group B, topping a field of six similar Porsche 911 models. For a full report see our January/February 2021 issue

 

 

Collins and Windelburn Share Spoils at Manfeild

Defending MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series champion Michael Collins (Leda LT27/GM1) got his 2020/21 campaign off to a winning start in the series’ opening rounds at the 35th annual MG Classic race meeting at Feilding’s Circuit Manfeild Chris Amon over the weekend of 14-15 November.

Defending MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series champion Michael Collins (Leda LT27/ GM1) got his 2020/21 campaign o  to a winning start in the series’ opening rounds at the 35th annual MG Classic race mee ng at Feilding’s Circuit Manfeild Chris Amon over the weekend of 14-15 November.  Photos Fast Company/Matt Smith Photography

Now behind the wheel of famed Kiwi driver, car designer and constructor Graham McRae’s distinctive ‘hot-pink’ STP-liveried Leda LT27/GM1 001, the 24-year-old from Christchurch qualified quickest and won the first, of three races on Saturday afternoon from second quickest qualifier and impressive local driver, Kevin Ingram (Lola T332). Collins also won Sunday’s 10-lap feature final in the afternoon. With Kevin Ingram out with a gearbox issue on the first lap, competition this time came from Race 2 winner Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400). Under the rules of a new handicap initiative, Race 2 was started from a reversed grid based on the drivers’ best lap times. The field was split into six groups, each flagged off in succession. Unfortunately, early race leader – and one of two newcomers to the series, Toby Annabell in a Class A McLaren M10B - was an early retirement thanks to a fuel issue. Fellow Class A runners Tony Roberts (high-wing McLaren M10A) and Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) then each briefly held the lead before both were overwhelmed by a hard charging Windelburn (who had started the race halfway up the order), and Tim Rush in his Class A McLaren, with category veteran Russell Greer (Lola T332) just hanging on to third place ahead of a fast-approaching Collins. But Collins reckons that was OK. “You can’t win every race you start, and I think it’s a good thing that the committee is at least looking at – and now obviously trying out – some different starting formats. I know I was trying fairly hard to make up the deficit they gave me.” Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) was back to his best in Class A, twice leading home 2019/20 class winner Frank Karl (McLaren M10B). For his part Shayne Windelburn was buzzing – as much about finishing second to Collins in the feature final on Sunday afternoon, as he was winning the handicap race earlier in the day.

 

The other driver to make a big impression at the meeting was Anna Collins, driving the other Hey family-owned Leda LT27, the car that her younger brother Michael has been driving for the past three seasons, and with which he won the championship last year. Like Michael, Anna has a solid driving CV from 10 years of racing karts at an Island and National level before spending the past five years contesting both the NZ Formula Ford championship and the South Island F1600 series.

Though she said that her plan at Manfeild was to “ease my way into the car and category” the 28-year-old from Christchurch came away with two third places in the scratch races and seventh place in the handicap on Sunday.

Not bad for a first attempt.

Anniversary Edition

Way back in April, when the Modena Cento Ore was postponed to 11-15 October, it seemed like an impossible dream, but the persistence of Luigi Orlandini and his team paid off when a reduced grid of 24 cars in the competition section and nine regularity competitors, as compared to the usual hundred cars, lined up in Rome to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this popular event. 

Crews gathered at Villa Borghese in the centre of Rome for scrutineering and then set out for an early evening parade through the city centre, taking in all the monuments and tourist attractions the eternal city has to offer, with some racing cars suffering from being forced to run at such a slow pace.

he annivesary event started with a tour of Rome.  Photos Courtesy Canossa Events

 

The following day, crews drove to Perugia via two runs over the classic hillclimb Rieti Terminillo, steep, but fast if you have the horsepower, while the following day, the cars paraded through some of the hilltop towns that characterise this part of central Italy on their way to Florence, with a stop for racing at the Magione circuit on the programme.   With so few cars they all shared a common grid. 

The cars line up at Imola for the last race of the event with Janssens’ Porsche up front

As always on the Cento Ore, there is racing and there is enjoying the sights of Italy, and before the final drive into Florence crews paused for drinks in Arezzo under the Logge del Vasari in Piazza Grande.  Belgians Glenn Janssens and Tom de Geetere arrived at the top of the leaderboard in the Piazza Ognissanti in their Tuthill Porsche 911 SC, with Andrew Siddall and Sebastian Perez 1800 Escort less than 2 seconds behind.  Initial leaders, Kevin and Lee Jones from GTO Engineering, suffered mechanical problems in their Ford Escort RS 1600 and so had dropped down the order.  Richard Evans and John Faux arrived a day late in their Iso Rivolta IR 300, having repaired the clutch that failed during the parade in Rome.  First period F car was Roddie Feilden’s Shelby Mustang, co-driven by Simon Jeffries and the stunning SEFAC Ferrari 250 SWB of Arnold and Melanie Meier, was the first Period E car.

The Kadoorie Porsche continued its winning ways over the stages, but was clearly too far behind to be able to catch up

In the regularity section German crew Stephan Rohleder and Nadia Hahn led in their Porsche 911 2.4T by a tiny margin.

The following day was just as much of a challenge for organisers as it was for the competitors.  First test of the day was on the beautiful Mugello circuit just outside of Florence, where, as the cars lined up on the grid, the rain started.  This soon turned into a storm that brought out the safety car.  The race was able to resume after a few laps, and amongst various spins and offs, which happily didn’t lead to any damage, Philip Lawrence Kadoorie and Daniel Wells, in their Dansport Porsche Carrera RS proved the most agile in the conditions, with Sidall up next followed by Janssens.   The Iso Rivolta showed what it was made of by coming fifth, and Roddy Feilden somehow managed to tiptoe his big Mustang to the line in sixth place ahead of the E-type of Swiss crew Thomas Kern and Stephan Peyer to take Period F honours. 

Glenn Janssens and Tom de Geetere celebrate overall victory

Two stages in the wet rounded off the day without change in the leaderboard.  It was all change, however, for the organisers, when new rules governing distancing and gatherings were published 24 hours before.  The Gala Soirée at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, planned for that evening, had to be re-routed to the Ballroom of the St. Regis and they were also working on changing the final prizegiving ceremony from the Military Academy of Modena to the Enzo Ferrari Museum.

On the final day, the goal of arriving in the Piazza Roma in Modena was now firmly in sight, but first two more hillclimbs awaited and the best treat was reserved for last, a race on the circuit of Imola.  The day offered, wet, dry, dusty and leafy conditions.  The Kadoorie Porsche was clearly too far behind to be able to catch up, while Janssens’ Porsche enjoyed a comfortable cushion to Sidall’s Escort.  Kevin and Lee Jones were back in their Escort, performing well on the stages, but way behind in the overall rankings. 

Arnold Maeier’s stunning SWB SEFAC nished ninth and second in Period E

So it was Glenn Janssens and Tom de Geetere that rolled into Modena as overall winners of the 20th anniversary edition of the Cento Ore.  Though they only won one stage outright, their consistency while all around them faltered, paid off.  They were followed by Andrew Siddall and Sebastian Perez, with Philip Kadoorie and Daniel Wells on the third step of the podium, all three cars in the G/I categories.  Period F winner, and an excellent fourth overall was the Swiss Scuderia Apax Jaguar E-type of Thomas Kern and Stephan Peyer.  Louise and Jason Kennedy captured the Period E Trophy and the Index of Performance award, driving  their Lancia Aurelia B20. 

Stephan Rohleder and Nadia Hahn maintained their lead in the Regularity section in their Porsche 911.

Competitors, many of whom had braved quarantine and logistic restrictions to get there, were grateful to Orlandini and his team that the event took place at all.  They had seen an autumn Italy, with the leaves turning red and gold and the sun lying low, in stark contrast to the usual mid-summer date.  Canossa Events CEO Orlandini summed it up, “There is no doubt that this was the most difficult edition from an organisational point of view.  I have my team to thank for their commitment and for their prompt action when faced with the never-ending changes in the regulations, as well as the authorities for their advice and support.  But the biggest thanks of all go to all the participants who decided to come and join us on our 20th anniversary”.

Though socially distanced, there was still elegant dining in Florence

For a more detailed report see out December 2020 issue…

a little smaller, just as loud

Patrick Tremblay Reports

The Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Daytona presented by IMSA shook the coast of Florida for its fifth running on 4-8 November with a colourful spectrum of historic race cars.  More than 60 years of speed were represented, from late-‘50s American muscle to barely-past-their-prime prototype and GT cars, all attacking the famous high banks for the 24 hour event. 

Billing itself as the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona works hard to earn the title.  The coastal Florida city is famous for its long sandy Atlantic beaches, but its thundering heart is the Daytona International Speedway.  This sprawling complex is built around a 4-kilometre (2.5 mile) tri-oval stock car track, bordered on one side by a massive 123,500 seat grandstand, hosting a variety of motorsport events including the NASCAR crown jewel, the Daytona 500. 

Jim Cullen and Frank Beck keeping their distance atop the Group A podium  Photos Patrick Tremblay

Sports cars get another mile of asphalt with the addition of a tricky infield road section, as well as a chicane to break up the super-fast outer track.  This full 6.23 km (3.87 mile) course is home to the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Rolex 24, which joins the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans to form what many call the triple-crown of endurance racing. 

If attending an event at Daytona is a pilgrimage craved by most enthusiasts, then the chance to race there is to be lusted over.  HSR’s annual event provides the perfect opportunity, with seven classifications designed to create close competition for almost any car.  The Classic Daytona 24-hour race debuted in 2015 and was originally intended to run every other year on a schedule opposite Le Mans Classic.  This would give international competitors an opportunity for a premier round-the-clock race annually, in Europe one year and America the next.  However, HSR’s second event, in 2017, proved so popular that it became an annual running, growing each of the next two years. 

R III Racing brought a 1979 BMW M1 Procar

Then 2020 arrived, pandemic in tow.  Like most of the world, HSR had to cancel some events and reconfigure others, but decided ultimately to go ahead with its signature Daytona Classic with concessions made for travel restrictions and social distancing.  The downsides were evident; fewer spectators, more subdued and distanced celebrating, and most significantly, the absence of dozens of European teams that had added colour, intensity and flair to the past few events. 

The winning Corvette’s original red, white and blue livery was modi ed in a homage to US President Donald Trump

Competitors seemed unphased by the lack of fireworks, autograph sessions and driver’s forums.  The thousands of masked fans in attendance, likewise, didn’t seem to mind.  The focus has always been on the machines, mechanics, drivers and support crews that make the glorious speed, sound and fury possible. 

Porsche 911 iterations were the weapon of choice in Group B

Though some distant teams weren’t able to attend this year, and grid numbers were down, there were still many significant or rare cars on track being run at full tilt.  Two fan favorites, both from 1979, were cars that hadn’t been raced in decades.  The No. 94 “Road Atlanta” 1979 Porsche 935 was recently restored by Carlos de Quesada and his Alegra Motorsports team.  Fans and competitors alike were thrilled to see the deep-yellow ex-Whittington Brothers Racing car make its first race start since winning the 1979 IMSA GT final at Daytona more than 40 years ago. 

For the full report see our December 2020 issue

The final of this year’s Swedish Racinghistoriska Cup was run during the Velodromloppet Historic GP in Karlskoga.  Postponed to 16-18 October from its usual June date, the meeting was run in very rainy autumn conditions, with everyone thankful that at least it didn’t snow!  For this and other reasons, the meeting saw the lowest grid numbers seen in years, with fewer than a hundred cars.  All the competitions this season have been run without an audience, but just like in Falkenberg, the proceedings were live-streamed.

Bengt-Åce Gustavsson Reports

Many participants have been lost in all the classes this year, but one of the great joys is Formula Vee, which has kept a steady and high level of participation - and what exciting races they have offered.  Lars-Gunnar “Vegas” Johansson took pole by just over a tenth of a second ahead of Johan Lund, with this year’s shooting star, Richard “Tiny” Persson, who had come to the meeting leading the championship, qualifying third.  It was these three fighting for the podium places in the final.  Lund proved strongest and won both races, meaning that he took the “grand slam”.  Winner of the Formula Vee series, he also took this year’s overall RHK title and won the National Championship for historic formula cars!  “Tiny” had to settle for second place in all three contests.

Formula Vee Champion Johan Lund took the “Grand Slam” of championship titles.  Photos Bengt-Åce Gustavsson

 

Lund also participated in the Formula Ford heats with his double-carburettor Formula Vee.  As it was raining, he had the great advantage of his rain tyres and was therefore first over the finish line in both races, while the Formula Ford drivers fought amongst themselves. 

There weren’t so many slicks in Formula Slicks, where the F2s of Torgny Johansson (March 782) and Michaela Månlycke (March 812) had a hard time finding grip for all their horsepower.  Mikael Nordlander stepped forward and won both races with his F3 Ralt RT30. 

The 1000cc Cup has had a tough year with many dropouts, and for the final only ten cars started.  Hans Beckert was in a class of his own in the wet conditions in his 970 Mini, finishing far ahead of teammate Torbjörn Andersson in an identical car, who was having his first race of the year.  Old rally fox Håkan Huggare took care of third place in both heats. 

Stig Blomqvist enjoying the weather, in a Mini in the over 1000cc race

In the races for pre-‘66 GTs, Anders Schildt dominated in his Austin Healey 3000, once again beating Lars Weigl’s Porsche 911 and the MG Midget of Per Roxlin in race 1.  Sixth in the first race, Jimmy Edvardsson upset the order in his MGB in the second race, passing both Roxlin and Weigle – as well Bengt-Åke Bengtsson’s Lotus Elan - to finish second.  Claes Andersson scored a fifth place in heat 1 and sixth in heat two in his Austin Healey 3000, giving him enough points to win the 2020 GT-Sportscars title.

Two over 1000cc Saloon Car contests were topped by Kevin Bengtsson, who finished two seconds ahead of none other than Stig Blomqvist (both in Mini Coopers) in the first race.  Hans Eklund was third in his Saab Sonett II.    Blomqvist didn’t contest the second race and Jonas Pölda, who had not been in the first race, took second in his Mini Cooper MK2 ahead of Hans Beckert.

Finally, the race was on for the newer Saloon and GT cars where Anders Berger took his Ford Escort 1600 RS to two victories. 

Along with Formula Champion Johan Lund and Sportscar Champ Andersson, the overall Saloon Car title went to Kenneth Nilsson, driving his Volvo 142 “Swedish flying brick”.

Edgy Edwardians star in SpeedWeek potpourri

Marcus Pye Reports

Curated to showcase the best aspects of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival - all lost to the COVID-19 pandemic this year - SpeedWeek was a colourful mix of motor sport genre performed behind closed doors at the motor circuit on October 16-18.  Streamed live, it provided a snapshot of the brand to loyal sponsors, GRRC members and Fellowship subscribers and petrolheads globally.  Filling the void was always going to be tall order, but overall the stopgap, which hung in the balance as lockdowns loomed and international travel logistics changed throughout its gestation, probably succeeded.

Drifting illustrated raw power in a bizarre tyre-frying skill set

For competitors, support teams, demo participants and those of us there covering the event it was very strange not having tens of thousands of spectators enjoying the opportunity to don genteel vintage wear, or buzzing grandstands, or commercial partners’ hospitality suites, or even the hurly-burly of myriad sideshows and trade stalls around the campus.  Nonetheless, at the heart of the three-day show, the core product was as strong as ever.  Unmistakably Goodwood, but without the motorcycle brigade, omnipresent since the inaugural FoS of 1993.

Seventy Years of Formula One and a Silk Cut Jaguar reunion brought daily colour.   Photo Courtesy MotoHistorics

 

The ‘Rally Super Special’ worked well, its seven short stages run in daylight and darkness.  Drifting - while not, perhaps, to the hardcore enthusiasts’ taste - illustrated raw power in a bizarre tyre-frying skill set.  While the Goodwood Hillclimb record-holding Volkswagen ID-R was a late withdrawal, the Shootout for the lap record brought surprises across a broad spectrum of machinery.  Seventy Years of Formula One and a Silk Cut Jaguar reunion brought daily colour, building to The Duke of Richmond & Gordon’s heartfelt tribute to ‘Mr Goodwood’, Stirling Moss.

Freed from the constraints of the Revival’s Pre-1966 timeline the race programme still commanded most excitement. 

Appropriately Gregor Marshall was on pole for the Gerry Marshall Sprint race in his Vauxhall Firenza.  Photo Jason Ingold

For spectacular motoring, nothing could match the SF Edge Trophy double-header for Edwardian cars in the spirit of the BARC’s remarkable Brooklands era, before that track was closed by the war in 1939.  The sight of four very different cars and their apparently fearless drivers doing battle was akin to a motorised chariot race of the early 20th century.  Ben Collings in the Sinsheim Museum’s Blitzen Benz Land Speed Record car; Mark Walker’s thunderous 200bhp Darracq - which completed a 1,000-mile return trip to Europe last year; hirsute son Hughie on the Hildyard family’s 10-litre aero-engined Theophile Schneider and Julian Mazjub’s sublime Indianapolis Sunbeam (which finished fourth at ‘The Brickyard’ in 1916, with Belgian Joseph Christiaens) were the protagonists at the field’s sharp end in two five-lap jousts.

Will Nuthall and Miles Grif ths battled at the head of the Richmond & Gordon Trophies pack

The Goodwood Trophy contest for Grand Prix cars and Voiturettes of 1930-‘51 went the way of David Morris in ERA R11B -  nicknamed ‘Humphrey’ for the marque’s financier Humphrey Cook, while the Glover Trophy was a period 1500cc F1 fixture of the ‘61-‘65 epoch, carrying much prestige among historic racers.  This time McLaren GT star Michael O’Brien, 26, put a cat among the pigeons by coming out in veteran Alan Baillie’s Lotus twin-cam engined Brabham BT14, Rodney Bloor’s period mount. 

Marino Franchitti was uncatchable in Nick Mason’s Maserati Birdcage in the Lavant Cup

The earliest sports racing cars on the programme were those of the 1952-‘60 era that populated the Lavant Cup race.  Marino Franchitti was uncatchable in Nick Mason’s Maserati Birdcage, try as James Cottingham (Tojeiro-Jaguar) did, ramping up the pressure when his Scottish rival’s rear tyres overheated. 

 

 

Two big double-driver Gran Turismo races were on the bill.  Cottingham’s day was Friday when team-mate Harvey Stanley battled Gary Pearson in the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy Pre-‘63 event in similar Jaguar E-types. 

The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Celebration brought a magnificent Pre-‘65 field into focus.  Three-time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer finally broke the ex-Peter Lumsden/Peter Sargent ‘63 race-contending Lister-Jaguar coupe’s luck - and the eight-year-old lap record - to the delight of its latest custodian Fred Wakeman.

The Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy for Pre-‘63 cars was last race of the meeting on Sunday evening

The Whitsun Trophy Pre-‘66 big-banger sports prototype race rewarded Mike Whitaker for the second time in his Lola-Chevrolet T70.  His task was aided by the early demise of Tony Sinclair, whose similar car was spun out at St Mary’s, leaving Gordon Shedden and James Cottingham disputing second in Ford GT40s. 

Two tin-top grids brought action aplenty as ever.  Driving Bill Shepherd’s ex-Bo Ljungfeldt Ford Galaxie, Stig Blomqvist beat Nic Minassian in Adrian Willmott’s Studebaker Lark Daytona 500 by 0.283s in Saturday’s celebrity leg of the St Mary’s Trophy Pre-‘66 contest. 

The later Group 1 cars of the 1970s - a Members’ Meeting favourite - saw Fred Shepherd drive a superb opening stint in the mini-enduro - bringing dad Bill’s Boss Mustang back from sixth to snatch the lead from Mike Whitaker (Capri 3.0S) - then handed over to Andre Lotterer with the lusty V8 in perfect condition. 

The reverse grid Sprint race - appropriately with Gregor Marshall on pole in his Vauxhall Firenza ‘droop-snoot’ - again started dramatically when Jason Brooks’ Mini 1275GT tagged the inside kerb and flipped through St Mary’s, causing a bomb-burst avoidance and the inevitable stoppage. 

After a busy weekend hopping from car to car across the race programme, Historic lap record holder former FIA Historic F1 champion Nick Padmore underlined his versatility in an ex-Derek Warwick 3.5-litre Arrows-Ford DFR A11 of a subsequent era.  From a short standing start through the timing beam Nick put together a splendid 1m09.973s (122.44mph) lap to win the Shootout on Sunday. 

Read the full report in our December 2020 issue