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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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August 2020

  • 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

  • The German Cup and Touring Car Trophy started its 11th season in full summer sunshine around three months later than usual on the weekend of 4-5 July at Hockenheim, with a 30-car grid. 

    In the first race, Harald Tänzler (BMW E46 WTC) celebrated a safe start-to-finish victory, his second overall victory in CTT.  “The boys did a great job over the winter and put me in a super prepared car,” said Tänzler.  Michael Nolte in a Porsche Supercup 3500 NM crossed the finish line eight seconds behind, while Jesco Kaczamarek was happy with third place in his Audi TTS.  “The hot temperature meant I had to struggle with waning brakes in the second half of the race,” he said.

    The fight of the race came - albeit in different classes – from Mike Münch (Ford Fiesta), Christoph Eicker (Renault Clio RS III) and Oliver Davidovic (Mini Cooper R56).  For 30 minutes the three fought door-to-door, but always clean and fair and were a joy to watch.  Münch, who is only 16 years old, came out ahead to take tenth overall.

    Michael Nolte won the second race in bright sunshine.  Manfred Lewe, who had been fastest in qualifying, had to let Nolte pass after a few laps.  Despite everything, Lewe was more than satisfied with the result.  After an accident in the first race, in which a rival had roughly driven into the side of his Seat Leon WTCC, putting him out, he was just glad to be able to start the second race, “Thanks to my boys who managed to get the car back so that a race was possible!”  As in the first race, Jesco Kaczamarek completed the podium and, after two class wins, also leads the overall points table of the Cup and Touring Car Trophy. 

    The catch-up race was provided by Marc Ullrich, who, coming from the back in his VW Golf GTI, was still eighth overall.  Next race for these Youngtimers will be on 11-13 September at Zolder.the three fought door-to-door, but always clean and fair and were a joy to watch.  Münch, who is only 16 years old, came out ahead to take tenth overall.

     Harald Tänzler showed a clean pair of heels to all comers in the first of two races, to score his second outright CTT win

    MAGAZINE  > LATEST NEWSCup and Touring Car Trophy

  • Members’ Meeting:  Cancelled, Festival of Speed:  Cancelled, Goodwood Revival:  Cancelled, but the Duke of Richmond is not to be downcast.  Instead he has announced a new, online event to take place on 16-18 October, that will be, in the Duke’s words, “The fastest, most exciting and spectacular event we have ever staged.”  The most ambitious event ever held at Goodwood, Speedweek will be broadcast to the world free of charge in innovative ways, with technology such as putting viewers in the racing seat, with layers of interactivity to create an immersive experience.  Without spectators present, the action can be faster and more extreme.  According to the press office, “It will redefine the experience of watching motorsport at home in much the same way that the Festival of Speed and Revival changed forever the perception of classic car events.”  The programme of events and full driver line-up will be announced over the coming weeks and months.

  • As reported in our July issue, the Historic Sports Car Club still wants to offer the Jaguar drivers at least one event in 2020, and have announced their own race for pre-‘66 Jaguars at the Oulton Park Gold Cup on 29-31 August.

     The Dunlop Historic Trophy will be a one-hour race for with mandatory pit stop and the option of two drivers.  There are classes and awards for E-types in both standard and race modified specification, Mk1 and Mk2 saloons and the XK range.  An invitation class will be open to suitable cars that do not fully meet pre-‘66 specification.

    The race will celebrate a long association between the HSCC and racing Jaguars, which started when Neil Corner’s D-type won the first race in the HSCC story at Castle Combe in 1966.  At the conclusion of the 1969 season, the Historic Jaguar Trophy was awarded for the first time and the recipient was David Beckett for his performances in a Lister Jaguar.

    HSCC CEO Andy Dee-Crowne said: “The loss of the Jaguar Classic Challenge to the COVID-19 pandemic was a great disappointment to Jaguar racers, but the Club is honouring its commitment to them with a chance to get back racing in this special race at Oulton Park.”

    MAGAZINE  > LATEST NEWS > Jaguar race at Oulton Park

  • Sadly, after searching for a date on which to run the postponed Donington Historic Festival, organisers have been forced to hold it over until next year.  The 2021 date will be announced soon.

     

    In the meantime, though, there is excitement in the ranks as the Legends’ season will be underway soon with a revised date of 15-16 August for the Thruxton Historic meeting.  With some grids missing out on their races at the cancelled Donington Festival and/or Silverstone Classic, Duncan Wiltshire has announced that all Motor Racing Legends grids will be able to race at Thruxton.  “We plan to run all of our race series at this meeting,” said Wiltshire, “with the Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy grids having separate one-hour races, and the Historic Touring Car Challenge/Tony Dron Trophy with two 40-minute races - to be shared with the Sixties Touring Car Challenge with U2TC.”

    In addition, there will be a 40-minute race for Pre-War Sports Cars, and a 60-minute race for Pre-‘63 GT.  The GT & Sports Car Cup and Julius Thurgood’s HRDC grids will also be on the bill.

    “We now have official confirmation that competitors who choose to stay overnight will be able to camp in the paddock; be it in a motorhome or caravan and the paddock will be open for set-up on Friday afternoon.  Our hospitality arrangements are still under review, but we definitely aim to provide COVID-compliant lunch on each day and to host some sort of socially-distant gathering on both Friday and Saturday evenings,” added Wiltshire.

    After that the Motor Racing Legends will continue their season as scheduled at the Spa Six Hours meeting, where there will be races for Woodcote Trophy, Stirling Moss Trophy, Pre-War Sports Cars, and all the touring car classes, and the Algarve Historic Festival on 23-25 October, where the Pre-’63 GTs will race and a pre-war sports car double header has been added to the programme.  Entries for these meetings are strong and it is clear that the Legends drivers are keen to get back out on track.  See www.motorracinglegends.com for details and entries.

     

    Photo John Retter

    MAGAZINE  > LATEST NEWS > Motor Racing Legends Revised Schedule

  • As in the UK, the weekend of 11-12 July saw the re-start for historic racing in Italy.  Imola was the venue and, along with the first round of the Gruppo Peroni Italian Historic Championships, the Alfa Revival Cup cars were on the programme.  Thirty cars for the Championship and 19 Alfas – fewer than usual as tentative competitors ventured out after a particularly traumatic time in Italy - were out on track at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit.  Three free practice sessions gave them ample opportunity to get back into the rhythm after a long winter and a cancelled spring.

    Although the drivers were greeted with hot sunshine, an unfortunate incident marred everyone’s enjoyment.  At the end of the third practice session, Andrea Manzoni of the Scuderia Clemente Biondetti suffered a heart attack while slowly driving back to the paddock and, although promptly rescued and transported by helicopter to the Maggiore hospital of Bologna, the Florentine driver sadly could not be saved.  When the terrible news arrived in the paddock, it created much emotion, but the drivers took the decision to honour Andrea’s immense passion for motorsport by carrying on with the race weekend, though the mood was understandably less buoyant than it would have otherwise been at the re-start of racing after such a long hiatus.

     

    A very tight qualifying session, especially at the sharp end, took place with a summer thunderstorm rapidly approaching the circuit.   Davide Bertinelli and Antonio Crescenti took pole in a GTAM, but only 4 thousandths of a second ahead of the GTA 1600 Group 4 of Giovanni Serio and Francesco Pantaleo.  Third was German Jürgen Ludwig in a beautiful GTA 1600 Group 2.  In the GT Veloce 2000cc Group 1 class Luigi Mercatali was the one to beat, followed by Andrea Guarino/Bruno Ferrari.  Amongst the oldest cars of the field, the Giulietta Spider Veloce of the Renzo and Raffaele Raimondi father and son team would start in front.

     

    Davide Bertinelli and Antonio Crescenti took pole in their GTAM with some spirited driving, and easily won the race when their main opposition faded

    As the green lights went on and the  60-minute race  began, the first one to fall was the GTAM of Umberto Bartolucci who retired with an engine problem and, on the second lap the same thing happened to the Alfetta GTV 6 of Amerigo Bigliazzi/Bruno Mazzuoli.  The retirement of the Serio/Pantaleo car on lap six robbed the race of the only serious rival to Bertinelli/Crescenti, who increased their margin to the end.   Another German driver, Michael Vos in a GTAM, had to start at the back of the grid due to technical problems in qualifying.  Had he started at the front, things may have been different.  As it was, he worked his way through the field to finish second.   Ludwig, having lost many positions at the start, came back to finish fifth.  An excellent performance by Roberto Restelli and Luigi Panini confirmed their third place achieved in qualifying, while Mercatali held on to the GTV Grp 1 class, followed by Gimignani.

     

     

    The all-important Index of Performance victory went to Roberto Lonardi and Romolo Raimondi in a Giulietta Spider Veloce after Renzo Raimondi was given a 25-second penalty for colliding with the Giulietta Ti of Marco Milla on the last lap. 

    Denny Zardo and Giovanni Ambroso took overall honours and class 4 in the Italian Championship in their BMW 323i, while Riccardo Lodi took the ‘60s win with his 1300 Alfa GT.

     Photos Courtesy GPS Classic

    MAGAZINE  >  FEATURES & REPORTS  > Alfa Revival Cup – Imola

  • The FFSA has done a great job of saving the 2020 French National Historic Rally Championship, which, despite the long interruption will still consist of seven rounds.  With the Touquet rally already run in March before lockdown, the rest of the season is scheduled to run as follows:

    Championnat de France des Rallyes VHC

    12-14 March, Touquet Pas-de-Calais

    19-21 August, Autun Sud Morvan

    3-5 September, Mont Blanc Morzine

    18-20 September, Grasse Fleurs et Parfums

    16-18 October, Antibes Côte d’Azur

    lines, 29-31 October, Cévennes

    26-29 November, Var

  • In another blow for beleaguered British rallying, this year’s Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship has been cancelled.  Championship promoter Colin Heppenstall had been hoping to run a shortened three-round championship in the later part of the year but the announcement that the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, scheduled for 25-16 September, has been cancelled has left the BHRC abandoned.

    Trackrod organiser Rod Parkin said, “We have closely monitored the advice from Government and Motorsport UK and we are sure that all the implications are well understood without the need to detail them here.  Uppermost in our minds is the safety of all concerned in running a complex event involving many people and outside agencies.  Whilst we had several ‘Plan B’ scenarios, time has overtaken us and it is now the appropriate time to make a decision.”

    Heppenstall from the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club said, “In the current climate of restrictions and with no timetable on the horizon for rallying to restart, we understand the Trackrod Motor Club’s decision to cancel their event in September.”  We had looked at adding one more event to the BHRC schedule along with the Trackrod and the Carlisle Stages (October 24), but this has left us with no option but to cancel the 2020 championship.”

  • HERO-ERA has launched the 2021 Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo, scheduled to run from 7 to 11 February from a start in Reims.  The organisers expect that COVID-19 restrictions will not impact the five-day event, which promises a top quality route and winter rallying at its best, as crews tackle French roads steeped in motor sport history.  These will include some high altitude, and therefore likely snow-bound, sections, like the Col-de-Turini.  The event will include night sections and the route will take in regions last used in 2005, before the finish in Monte Carlo.

    This 30-year-old event was first conceived by the late Philip Young, a pioneer in historic rallying.  Entries are now open at heroevents.eu.

  • On July 29, 1937, in the latter years of the Great Depression, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Canada, and the United States signed the Convention on the Pan-American Highway, whereby they agreed to achieve speedy construction, by all adequate means, of a highway running from the southern reaches of South America to Alaska.

    In the heady early post-war days Mexico became the first Latin American country to complete its portion of the highway, and in 1950 a great race was announced to celebrate the opening of the new road:  La Carrera Panamericana.  In its original form the race only ran for five years, but during those years it became a major prestige event on the same level as the Mille Miglia or Targa Florio, with all the great names and teams of the era competing.

    The building of the road had been a no-expense-spared operation resulting in a beautiful highway running from the jungles of Chiapas on the Guatemalan border, up into the highlands above Mexico City and down into the northern desert flatlands.   With excellent camber on a series of constant radius bends, despite the best part of  three-quarters of a century of wear and tear, the road is still a sheer delight to race on.  There are no jerky switchbacks here, just flowing curves.  In 1988 the race was revived as a special stage rally using much of the same route.  Since then, it has started and ended at various points, and used some other roads, but always with the old Panamerican Highway at its heart.

    The organisers have received the necessary authorisations to hold the 2020 Carrera Panamericana on its originally scheduled dates of 16-22 October, thouhg at time of writing, the border remains closed between the US and Mexico.  To help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1950 event, and the 33rd of the modern race, organisers are offering a 70 Years Sport and Classic Tour that will run from Oaxaca in the south, to Zacatecas in the north, running concurrently with the main rally for four of the days, from 16 to 19 October, and enjoying the two favourite stopping places of La Carrera, Oaxaca (where the main race will start this year) and Zacatecas, as well as a visit to Mexico City and Morelia along the way.  However, if the border situation remains unchanged, the event will no doubt be cancelled for this year.  See https://lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx for updates.

    MAGAZINE  > RALLY NEWS > La Carrera

  • It may have taken a little bit longer compared to other disciplines, but 115 days since the COVID-enforced sabbatical, rallying was given the go-ahead in the UK starting on 11 July.  As it stands, single and multi-venue, closed road, navigational and road rallies will now begin to resume under the latest guidance, which will include the use of PPE and the appointment of a COVID Officer for each event.  Any local legislation will also be applicable to the approval of event permits, so while there will be changes to the way in which rallies are conducted, teams can at least look forward to getting back on track, permits allowing.

    Hugh Chambers, Motorsport UK CEO, said, “We were delighted with how our first weekend of motorsport went following the suspension of all permits.  Upon visiting the various events it was clear members of our community were incredibly enthusiastic.  Rallying had to follow at a later date, as we worked upon the relevant information and followed the latest government guidelines.  Following the updates from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), this has enabled us to work on similar procedures to accommodate both driver and co-driver in a vehicle.  We have also put together information for event organisers, giving them time to implement appropriate measures and Motorsport UK is here to help support or clubs restart this popular discipline.” 

  • Plans are pushing ahead for the 20th edition of the Tour de Corse Historique, which will run from 5-10 October on the Mediterranean island.   With an expected entry of 200 cars, the event will take in 20 closed-road special stages covering 350km of competitive rallying over five days.

    The original Tour de Corse dates back to 1956 and the island has frequently hosted the World Rally Championship.  The historic event uses some of the famous WRC roads, renowned as some of the most challenging in historic rallying.  Entries close at the end of August and more details are at tourdecorse-historique.fr.

  • Postponed from its original date  of 15-20 June, Paul Lacombe  and his team have set the new date of 27-31 October for the 2nd Gravel Romania Rally.  For cars up to 1990, the event offers a five day route that includes 24 gravel stages in the forests of Transylvania, for a total of 391kms of timed special stage, all on loose surface.

    A single stopover point each night in the town of Moeciu at the Cheile Gradisteï Moeciu Resort & Spa complex (located just 30kms from the city of Brasov), makes life easy for competitors and especially for support crews.  See www.romania-historic-rally.com for entries.

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