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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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May 2021

 

 

Content from the May 2021 Issue....

 

  • With UK racers confined to home circuits for the time being, the Thruxton Historic race meeting, put on by Motor Racing Legends, will give them an opportunity to drive on the country’s fastest circuit on the weekend of 12-13 June, and they have responded by filling the grids.  Nestled in the Hampshire countryside, the circuit, opened in 1968, offers a thrilling high speed ride to competitors.

    The meeting will welcome the usual mix of MRL grids, which include two grids for cars from the 1950s.  The Woodcote Trophy is for original sports cars from post-war era, and the Stirling Moss Trophy is for sports racing cars up to 1961. 

    Touring cars are catered for with two 40-minute races in one big grid, encompassing everything from what was the U2TC (under two litre touring cars) series, to the MRL HTCC for Group A cars up to 1990, Group 2 cars up to 1981 and Group 5 cars up to 1969 – so everything from Ford Lotus Cortina and GTA Alfa, to Ford ‘Cologne’ Capris and ‘Batmobile’ BMWs, through SD1 Rovers and Jaguar XJSs, to BMW M3s and Ford Sierra RS500s.  There are four separate podiums depending on period.

    Pre-‘63 GT drivers will have a dress rehearsal for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy feature race, which takes place at Classic Silverstone at the end of July.  A one-hour, two-driver race is scheduled for them.

    The most recent addition to the MRL line-up, the Jaguar Classic Challenge, will also have a one-hour, two-driver race, and more recently a Pre-War race has been added to the timetable after a big response from competitors keen to get their cars out of the garage after a long hiatus.

    Julius Thurgood will bring his HRDC Jack Sears Trophy for pre-’66 touring cars, Allstars for GT and touring cars of the same period, and Classic Alfa Challenge grids, giving many car owners the opportunity to enter two or even three races.

    Icing on the cake will be the Jochen Rindt Trophy race.  This was born from a group of competitors who wanted to race at Thruxton and formed the Classic Racing Car Club to organise a race for them.  For early Formula 2, Historic and Classic F3, Formula Atlantic and FF2000, plus an invitation class, their efforts have garnered huge support, and nearly two months before the event the grid is virtually full.  The event has also gathered support from Former F1 world champion Damon Hill supporting the F3 class, multi-championship winning race car constructor Adrian Reynard backing the FF2000 class and British club racing hero Ian Flux, sponsoring the Formula Atlantic class.

    This prestigious trophy has been awarded by the BARC over the years, since the untimely death of Rindt, who had strong connections with Thruxton and Formula 2.  The first JRT was won in 1971 by Graham Hill (Rindt’s teammate at Lotus in 1970).  Since then, the JRT has been run periodically for special races with the blessing of the BARC.  Two 20- minute races are on the programme.   Contact Rob Manger robmanger@live.co.uk for entries for this.

     

  • Organisers of the Bernina Gran Turismo hillclimb, first run in 2015, have long held the ambition to revive the International Automobile Week, which last took place in 1929 and 1930 in glamourous St Moritz.  The event back then comprised of a concours d’élégance, a race over a flying kilometre, a rally, and the Bernina hillclimb. 

    As of 2021 the Internationale St. Moritzer Automobilwochen will be relaunched to include all of these events over one week in autumn based in the famous resort.  “It was only logical to resume the Kilomètre Lancé and the Concours,” said event Advisory Board member Florian Seidl.  “Of course, such events have to be adapted to the times without losing the reference to history.”   Rather than running on the road, the race will take place at the airport in Samaden, within sight of Shellstrasse, the road where it was first held, and which still bears the name of the sponsor of the time.  Event backer, Kurt Engelhorn and his team have recruited expert reinforcements in the form of German organisers Tobias Aichele and Jörg Litzenburger, known for the Solitude Revival and the Glemseck 101 motorcycle events respectively, to help with the planning. 

    “The Motorsport Revival will be a concours that is not a concours,” continued Seidl.  “Instead of the conventional, somewhat dusty display of over-restored vehicles, we will focus on racing and sports cars.  It will be a very exclusive event, celebrating upscale lifestyle, but uninhibited and modern.  This suits St. Moritz and not least the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, where the event will take place.  There will therefore only be a strictly limited number of tickets available to maintain exclusivity and the vehicles on display will also be selected according to strict criteria.”  A motoring-themed film festival is also planned during the week.

    Another topic close to the organisers’ hearts is the issue of the next generation, which is why there will not only be a decidedly young jury, but also a themed discussion panel where the new generation will have a voice.  “This is the main reason why we want to leave the beaten track.  We need to make Classic Cars and the related events interesting and exciting for a young audience.  Therefore, we will bring more movement and action and much less stiff static into play.  The events have to be more fun again.”

    Dates over which the various events will take place, culminating on the second weekend with the popular Bernina hillclimb, are 10-19 September.  Each event has its own website and social media pages.

  • In August 1921 the first race was held on the Spa Francorchamps circuit.  The circuit is intending to celebrate this centenary over the year starting at the beginning of summer, but in view of the changing health situation, plans will only be revealed when there is more certainty.

    However after it was announced that there would be an €80m investment in the circuit, work has been continuing to give the whole place a facelift and to vastly improve the paddock facilities, especially the area known as the Red Paddock, ahead of the return of motorcycle racing to the circuit in June 2022, when the new FIM Endurance World Championship 24H Spa Motos event will make its debut. The renovation will form part of a 10-year investment plan designed to support the modernisation of the historic circuit.  Run-off areas will be enlarged and 13,000 new grandstand places will be added.

  • With backing from the FFSA and the Ministry for Sport, organiser HVM gave numerous reassurances that the Historic Tour Albi, first round of the French Championships, could go ahead.  It was only on 6 April that the Prefecture asked HVM to postpone the event, which was to take place three days later, on the weekend of 9-11 April, leaving both organisers and competitors disappointed to have got so close.   The event is now rescheduled for 9-11 July.

    In a further blow only a week later, HVM was forced to re-schedule their Historic Tour Dijon round too, which will now take place on 6-8 August.

    “We were optimistic that we would be able to maintain the Historic Tour d’Albi on the initial dates, as this event was fully within the scope of professional events authorised by the Ministry in charge of sports and the FFSA.  This had been clearly confirmed to us “, commented Laurent Vallery-Masson of HVM.  “Caution requires us to postpone the Dijon meeting now to avoid the risk of a Prefectural veto at the last moment, such as the one we were faced with for Albi.  We were obviously sorry for our competitors to have to make such a late announcement and we don’t want to do that again.  Beyond that, as we did in 2020, our objective is to succeed in maintaining all five rounds of the French Historic Circuit Championships this year.”

    The new Historic Tour calendar is:

    Historic Tour Albi, 9-11 July

    Historic Tour Dijon, 6-8 August

    Historic Tour Val de Vienne, 3-5 September

    Historic Tour Charade, 24-26 September

    Historic Tour Lédenon, 22-24 October

    Check the calendar section of our website for all calendar updates.

  • Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest have announced the postponement of Le Mans Classic to the first or second weekend of July 2022 (date to be confirmed in September).  This event will come back in 2023 for a centenary edition of the 24 Heures du Mans which promises to be exceptional.  A Peter Auto race meeting on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit will be held in its place on July 3-4, 2021, the weekend scheduled for Le Mans Classic, offering races for all the Peter Auto grids.

    In a further development, the Dix Mille Tours meeting at Paul Ricard circuit, already postponed from March to early May, has now been cancelled altogether.   This is mainly due to travel restrictions for competitors and teams, explained Patrick Peter.  “Respecting distancing measures and other health protocols are only small obstacles that can be overcome.  We were able to put up with it and organise a very good 2020 event last July, when it was possible for French and foreign competitors to move relatively freely.  This time, however, fluctuations in intercountry travel restrictions forced us to cancel the event.”

    A consolation prize for the Endurance Legends drivers will be two races in August as a curtain-raiser to the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

  • News from Peter Schleifer, driving force behind the European Historic Can-Am & Sportscars series, is that he is branching out with a grid to include Le Mans cars from 1982-2004, to be run in collaboration by Germany’s largest historic racing club, FHR.  The new series, ‘Group C Classics’ will welcome all sports prototypes from the Group C era up to the furious days of the LMP cars born in the beginning of the new millennium.  “We have not forgotten to create a home for the GT cars from those years as well,” said Schleifer.

    To launch the new series, Schleifer’s Can-Am & Sportscars group will invite the Group C Classic cars to join them in two races at the FHR Spring Classic at Hockenheim in early May.  “If there is a Can-Am, a 2-litre racer, Group C1 or C2, CN, C3 or LMP car up to 2004, please join us.  We will be for sure at the Oldtimer GP, so it`s time to join,” urged Schleifer.

    With all DMSB permits in place, further events will have separate races for each series.

  • The international vintage automotive collectibles show, held each August as part of ‘Automobile Week’ in Monterey, California has been cancelled for what would have been its 18th year this summer, due to continuing Covid-19 governmental regulations, particularly restricting large indoor events.  What does this mean for the many other festivities during that week?

  • Former American driver and current championship team owner Roger Penske will be a focal point as he attends the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed on 8-11 July.  Penske’s attendance comes as the event celebrates “The Maestros – Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders”, a theme consistently exemplified by Penske and his race teams.  As a driver, Penske enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic, winning in NASCAR and making it to Formula 1.  But ‘The Captain’ is perhaps best known as the leader of Team Penske, having achieved unprecedented success across a number of motorsport disciplines, including INDYCAR, NASCAR, Trans-Am, Sports Cars, Australian Supercars and Formula 1.

    Goodwood will assemble some of the team’s most famous cars at the Festival.  These will include Team Penske’s first Indy 500 entry from 1969, the four-wheel drive Lola T152; the McLaren M16B representing the first of the team’s 18 Indy 500 wins in 1972; the Penske PC23 that dominated the 1994 Indy 500; as well as the 2006 and 2018 Indy 500 winners.  Also confirmed is the Pontiac Catalina honouring the car that Penske himself drove to a NASCAR victory at Riverside in 1963, as well as the 2008 Daytona 500 winner.  Representing Team Penske in Formula 1 will be the Penske PC1 from 1975, the first car manufactured by Penske Cars UK, and the PC4, which won the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix driven by John Watson.  Penske himself will take to the Goodwood Hill in the Porsche RS Spyder that won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008.

    Penske commented, “I have wonderful memories of racing at Goodwood in 1963 and am honoured to be invited to return this summer.  I am very much looking forward to sharing in the celebrations with Goodwood’s passionate fans as they return for the 2021 Festival of Speed.”

  • The UK Pre-war trials season was able to make a delayed start in April with a rescheduled Exmoor Trial and Herefordshire Trial organised by the Vintage Sports-Car Club.

    Some serious racers took the opportunity to get some action on the muddy hills, trading the driving seat of some fearsome historic racing cars for that of the ubiquitous Austin 7.   Martin Hunt of Historic TT HWM fame and son Theo were getting to grips with a lovely Austin 7 Ulster whilst Jaguar C-Type racer Ben Cussons of the Royal Automobile Club had his daughter Grace and son Alexander out in Austin 7 Chummys.  Patrick Blakeney-Edwards is itching to race his hairy BMW CSL ‘Batmobile’ this season, but was getting his pre-season kicks, with daughter Scarlett and son James, in his Austin 7 saloon, which has a potent supercharger!

    The Cussons family seem to be nding itself in a spot of difficulty

  • MotorSport Vision (MSV) has purchased the freehold of the Donington Hall Estate comprising Donington Hall itself, former office building Hastings House and the Lansdowne workshops building.  The estate is set in 28 acres of grounds next to the MSV operated Donington Park race circuit in the East Midlands.

    A magnificent 18th century mansion house with historical ties to the adjacent racing circuit, which is within the estate’s original grounds, MSV plans to develop the Grade II listed Donington Hall into a 40-bedroom hotel with a range of accommodation.  The hotel is planned to open for the 2023 season.

    Hastings House was built in 1990 as the main administrative headquarters for the British Midland International airline.  MSV plans to transform the 45,000 square foot building into the state of the art Donington Hall Motorhouse, a storage facility for supercars, classic road and racing cars and motorcycles.

    The Lansdowne workshops, totalling 18,000 square feet, will be available to let for high-end motor engineering businesses that support the preparation and maintenance of vehicles kept at the Donington Hall Motorhouse and used on the race circuit.  Both the Hall and Motorhouse will benefit from a direct route to the circuit paddock areas, in addition to direct access from the Hall to the circuit by the original Starkey’s bridge.  This will allow race cars to be driven directly to Donington Hall for awards presentations and special events.

    MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer said, “We will be creating an extraordinary and unique facility.  Car owners will be able to fly directly into East Midlands airport, view their cars within 10 minutes of landing before settling into, for example, the Rosemeyer Suite at the hotel.  Their car will be prepared and warmed up, waiting outside the front of the Hall after breakfast, from where they can drive it up the original carriage drive and directly into the Donington Park circuit.  After a day’s circuit driving or racing, our team will return the car to the workshops for cleaning and a check over before returning it to storage, while our visitors are on their way home.”

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

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

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

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

  • In a recent interview, incoming Historic Motor Sport Commission President John Naylor was asked how the FIA will promote the European Historic Rally Championship to enable it to grow in the next few years?

    “2021 is not the year to think about growth, although I am all for growth.” said Naylor.  “At the moment we have to make sure the existing events are supported and run within the COVID-19 protocols.  We need to get to the end of the pandemic, with everyone getting vaccinations, then we can start to think how we are going to grow the championship.  Having said that, even under these difficult circumstances, we received entries from new competitors ahead of the first rally in Italy, which is another good sign that we are going in the right direction.”

    “The FIA is also being proactive, providing the organisers and competitors with new tools for registering, we are looking at attracting more media coverage and more video features on each of the rallies across the website and social media channels, making the championship more visible.  All these things go towards making the EHRC more popular, which in turn brings more competitors.”

    “One of the other things we are looking to include is another gravel rally on the calendar, not for this year or, maybe not even for 2022, but for the mid-term.  This would help grow the status of the championship.”

  • France is suffering badly from the effects of the pandemic, and with it the 100 teams that signed up for this year’s Rallye des Princesses.  Having had to cancel their event in 2020, for the second year running, Viviane Zaniroli and her team are amongst the many French organisers that have had to once again put off their activities until next year.  The Rallye des Princesses, scheduled for June 2021, will next run in 2022.

  • After the cancellation of the event in 2020 due to travel restrictions, the Automobile Club de Portugal confirmed that the Rallye de Portugal Histórico, considered the best European regularity rally, will take place on 4-10 0ctober 2021 as part of the Estoril Classics Week.

    With its traditional start in the holiday resort of Estoril, the overnight towns have not yet been confirmed.  However it has been confirmed that the rally will return to Estoril on Friday October 8 for the famous “Sintra Night”.  On Saturday 9, the rally will join the Estoril circuit for the festivities of the Estoril Classics Week and the Peter Auto race meeting on the Estoril circuit.

  • Sadly organisers of the Eifel Rally Festival, scheduled this year for 22-24 July have decided to postpone the tenth running of the event until 2022.  “The Eifel Rallye Festival exists principally for its participants and the thousands of fans.  Demonstration drives of historic rally cars, the enthusiastic fans out on the stages, autograph requests, petrol-head chatter, worldwide meeting of rally drivers all sharing the pleasure of reminiscing about the sport and its cars – this is what makes our Festival so very special,” explained organisation manager Otmar Anschütz.  “Unfortunately, in 2021 we cannot ensure that this can all happen as we would like to see it.  For example, there is currently no certainty that there will be freedom of travel in July, at least in Europe, so it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to extend the period of patience for another twelve months.”

    Moving the Festival into the autumn is not an option, as the event’s home city of Daun can only provide the required infrastructure during the school holidays.  “We have planned a lot for the tenth anniversary.  Now we will extend the preparations for another year and then celebrate a great tenth edition together with EVERYONE in July 2022!” Anschütz added.

  • Due to run for the second time last year, but like so many other events, cancelled at the last minute, the Gravel Romania Historic Rally promises to be challenging with a five-day route and 24 ES, for a total of 391kms of timed special stages, all on 100% gravel.  Open to cars up to the end of 1990, with or without HTP, the rally offers a pure speed section and a regularity category, as well as a LEGENDE class.

    Planted in the heart of Transylvania, this event features a changing landscape each day, between forest, plains and mountains, with a single location, the village of Cheia, 30kms from the city of Brasov, for night stops in the Cheile Gradisteï Moeciu Resort & Spa hotel.

    The event is scheduled for 22-26 June and entries are now open at romania-historic-rally.com.

  • The 36th Historic Sanremo Rally opened both the Italian and FIA Historic Rally Championship seasons on 7-8 April.  Back on the FIA calendar after a five-year absence, some 75 crews, of which over 20 were contesting the FIA Championship, were at the start line, including three past winners and six of 2019’s top ten finishers.  These included defending FIA Champions and 2019 Sanremo winners ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons, in their Lancia HF Integrale, and arch-rival Lucio Da Zanche co-driven by Daniele De Luis in a Porsche 911 SC RS with the number 2 on its doors.  This crew has won three Sanremo Storicos (2011, 2012 and 2018) and put in a further six podium appearances in 17 participations.  Another FIA Championship regular, ‘Zippo’ Zivian, driving an Audi Quattro co-driven by Denis Piceno was on the hunt for some early-season points.  In all, the entry list included teams from 13 different nations.

    2019 winners, and FIA Championship title holders ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons were sidelined by “a small accident” on day 2.  Photos ©Fotomagnano

    In the end, the event was dominated by Lucio Da Zanche, winning 10 of the 14 special stages for the overall and the FIA victory. Some pressure was off when the Lancia of ‘Lucky’ and Pons retired on the opening stage of day 2, after what was described as a ‘small accident’, in a field that saw over 20 retirements.

    For a full report, see our May 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.