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Contents December Issue Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Carrera Panamericana - Rallye du Valais - Daytona Classic 24 - Deux Tours d’Horloge - Alfa Revival Cup - Jerez Historic Festival - Historic Tour Lédenon - MRL Silverstone GP - Goodwood Members Meeting - Algarve Classic Festival

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November 2021

  • At least two Historic Sports Car Club racing champions for 2021 were crowned when the club returned to Mallory Park for the first time in a decade for a weekend of racing on 18-19 September.  Despite the clash with the Goodwood Revival meeting, meaning grids were somewhat down in numbers, the weekend delivered some great racing in generally warm and sunny weather except for a torrential downpour on Sunday morning that disrupted qualifying for a while. 

    Historic Road Sports racer John Davison did enough in Saturday’s opening race to put the title beyond doubt.  However, it had been a fraught morning, when his Elan’s brakes seized in qualifying and the car had to be lifted back to the paddock.  Repaired in time, Davison duly raced to victory.  But there was more trouble to come in race 2, when a rear wheel departed and ended his day.  Still, it was a case of mission accomplished in championship terms. 

    Another champion crowned was Jeremy Timms, who took two resounding victories in Historic Formula 3 to settle the title in the final races of the season with his Chevron B15.  After a soaking wet and shortened qualifying session the grid was very jumbled and Timms started only eighth.   However, he was quickly into his stride and swept up the order to move ahead of Ian Bankhurst and Steve Seaman in a thoroughly entertaining race.  Sam Wilson had been right with them in Paul Waine’s De Sanctis but spun at Gerard’s and a starter motor problem ensured that he was not able to continue.

     

    Photos Charlie Wooding

    At the end of the afternoon Timms had an easier time to romp clear in race 2, as Wilson, Bankhurst, Simon Armer and an inspired Mike Walker battled.  Bankhurst finally took the place from Walker who had his best performance so far in Historic F3.  Wilson went out when the De Sanctis lost drive and Armer had his March cut out at the Hairpin on the final lap.  He coasted down the hill to get to the finish line but dropped several places as a result.

    Historic Formula Ford 2000 featured prominently with a busy double-header.  Murray Shepherd was the sole Classic FF2000 runner, so he joined the near-capacity grid and ended up taking a weekend double despite the very best efforts of Historic front- runners Benn Simms and Ian Pearson.

    Another strong 70s Road Sports grid was headed by Will Plant although in the opener he had to deal with the fast-starting John Williams and then had Dave Karaskas (TVR 3000M) and his father Richard as constant shadows.  In the second race Plant was away clear until his Morgan +8 lost oil pressure and he quickly turned it off and parked up.  

    Mike Gardiner moved ever closer to the Historic Touring Car title with victory in the opening race, but he had Neil Wood as a constant and determined rival in the flying Anglia and less than a third of a second split them at the flag.  Wood was looking forward to trying to turn the tables in the second race later on Sunday only to find Gardiner absent after the Lotus Cortina suffered alternator failure and was put away.

    Both Formula Ford categories delivered some fine racing and there was a double victory in the Historics for Tom McArthur who had Horatio Fitz-Simon as a constant shadow in the opening race, with a quarter of a second splitting them after 18 flat out laps.  Matt Wrigley pipped Samuel Harrison for third place as the impressive Mark Bates, racing the Alexis Mk15 of Robin Haslam, showed his pace by running fifth, right on their tail.

    McArthur had things slightly easier in the second race as Fitz-Simon was more occupied dealing with the constant threat from Harrison.  That’s how they finished with Bates edging ahead of Wrigley for fourth. 

    Jordan Harrison took a big step towards the Classic Formula Ford title with two impressive victories in his Lola T540E.  The main action in the race lay in the contest for a second as Rick Morris and Stuart Kestenbaum took on teenage upstart Samuel Harrison.  Over 50 years their junior, Samuel Harrison actually got through to second at one point, but was then edged back, having lost a little time with a moment on the brakes into the Esses.  He finally took fourth behind the two hugely experienced elder statesman of Classic Formula Ford racing.

     

  • 2021 was a good year for Norwegian historic racers, with five race meetings instead of the usual four, thanks to the opening of a new circuit.  The season started at Vålerbanen in May, where there was great enthusiasm for getting started after a long boring winter.  Bengt-Åce Gustavsson reviews the season

    In the class for older cars, it was clear that the duel would be, as usual, between Atle Ramberg (Ford Escort 1300 GT) and John A Johansen (Mini 1275 GT), and this proved to be the case throughout the season, the pair going head-to-head over ten races.  Ramberg, proved his, and his car’s, superiority by completing a near-perfect season, winning eight of the ten rounds to take the 2021 title for Period G (1966-1971).  Though able to largely keep pace, it was only at the new circuit of Sokndal that Johansen was able to win a race. 

    André Saethern Photos Jörn Pettersen

    In the newer classes, it looked as though Evald Holstad (Ford Escort RS1600), Mathias Havdal (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR) and André Saethern, who had made his debut with his Opel Kadett B last year, would be the season front-runners.  Havdal had sold his Ford to Holstad  so it must have been galling to be beaten by his old car first time out at the first meeting of the season at Vålerbanen, but the Porsche driver was able to turn the tables in the second race.

    The second race of the year was at Rudskogen and the Asfalt Super cars meeting, but without any super cars either from Sweden or Denmark.  Tor Magne Tjemsland brought his beautifully presented  BMW M3 E30 to vanquish both Havdal and Holstad in two races first time out, and continued his winning streak at Sokndal as well.

    Atle Ramberg and John A Johansen

    For the fourth round, the circus returned to Rudskogen for the Asphalt Classic – the largest event for historic racing in Norway, but unfortunately with very limited international participation this year.  Here, Ramberg scored two of his wins, and Hans Peter Havdal managed to  beat Holstad, who only came third behind Rune Rödset (Opel Kadett GT/E).  In the second race, Tjemsland was back in charge.

    The final was run in September back at Vålerbanen, where Tjemsland took two more wins ahead of Havdal and Rödset in race 1 and Rödset and Holstad in race 2.  However, it was the most consistent driver of the season, André Saethern that took the Category G,H,I title in his Opel Kadett, while runners up Evald Holstad and Mathias Havdal took turns winning or breaking, while Tjemland scored fewer class points and finished sixth in the championship.

    In Norway, the championship has been divided into three different categories. The oldest class is for all pre-1966 cars, and there Ola Svendsen was crowned champion in his Ford Cortina Lotus, with Lars Kristian Ekorness (Morris Cooper S) and Jon Asakskogen (Ford Mustang) runners-up.

    A total of 80 drivers participated during the season.

  • After a successful support race for the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, Peter Auto has announced that there will be an Endurance Racing Legends race at next year’s Total Energies 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps organised by SRO.  In collaboration with Stéphane Ratel, Patrick Peter’s ex-partner in the famous mid-‘90s BPR series for many of the same cars, the event will be celebrating 30 years of SRO’s involvement in the GT championship.  As at Le Mans, a grid of sixty GT1, GT2 and GT3 cars is expected.  “We are planning an exceptional race that brings together cars from all the different series we have organised over the years,” said Ratel.  “The participants and others who have marked this period will also be invited,” he continued.

  • Getting back to more normal times, news from Goodwood is that the 79th Members’ Meeting will be held on 9-10 April 2022, the Festival of Speed is scheduled for 23-26 June, and the Revival Meeting will be held on 16-18 September.

    Photo DominicJames

  • The HSCC Silverline Championship had already had its final rounds at Spa, the Formula Juniors getting some terrible weather there (see report this issue).  Last race of the day on Sunday, it was the worst weather of the weekend, and most of the Belgians and Americans (sensibly?) pulled out, but even though Eau Rouge was a complete blur except for heavy spray and a red taillight ahead, all the brave survived.  In these conditions, on his maiden visit to Spa, Nic Carlton-Smith clinched the FJ Championship, but only by a whisker, ahead of a fast charging Stuart Tizzard in his Cooper T56.

    Photo Peter Heil

  • Close and exciting racing settled the HSCC Championships over the weekend of 16-17 October on the Silverstone National circuit at the Club’s Finals Meeting.  Some championships had been decided at Mallory Park in September (see report this issue), while many others were still up for grabs.  Jordan Harrison secured the overall Classic Formula Ford title by winning once more in his Lola T540E despite the best efforts of Ben Tinkler and Henry Chart.

    Will Plant went to Silverstone in need of another overall race win to make certain of the 70s Road Sports title and that’s just what he accomplished in his Morgan Plus 8, romping away as his father Richard played a supporting role, while Andy Newall rounded out his Guards Trophy title-winning season with another victory in his Chevron B6.  Three races for Historic Formula Ford decided the championship and it was Cam Jackson who took a third title in his Winkelmann after three hard fought races.  New Historic Touring Car champion is Mike Gardiner.

    Another strong grid of Historic Formula Ford 2000s produced two great races and two wins for Graham Fennymore, but it was never easy for the new, 2021 champion, as Benn Simms and Tom Smith, who was guesting in Graham Ridgway’s car, chased hard. 

  • Eagerly awaited for the last four years, it’s official. Le Mans Classic will be held from June 30th to July 3rd, 2022. Created in 2002 by Peter Auto in association with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Le Mans Classic offers a formidable retrospective of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The event, acclaimed from its very first edition, has continued to grow and attracted over 195,000 spectators in 2018. It is the largest gathering of classic cars with 600 racing cars on the track and 8,500 classic cars displayed in the specially designed enclosures.

    Originally scheduled to celebrate its 10th running in July 2020 before COVID caused it to be cancelled, this 10th edition will also mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of the event. For the occasion, new features will punctuate the weekend, starting with the opening of the circuit being brought forward to Thursday afternoon, allowing the public to attend the scrutineering. Another first, the Endurance Racing Legends series, which brings together the GTs and prototypes of 1990-2000, will have its own support race, and there will also be a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Group C.

  • The Bernina Gran Turismo Hillclimb has been running now since 2015 and is increasingly attracting Swiss and foreign competitors, who come to enjoy their cars in the crisp mountain air.   New this year, organisers decided to relaunch the Internationalen St. Moritzer Automobilwoche, which first took place in 1929.  

    The week opened on 10 September with the Kilomètre Lancé at Engadin Airport in which vehicles such as the 1909 Blitzen Benz and the 1922 Wisconsin Special took part, as did three other record-breaking cars including two Abarth Pininfarinas and the Jabbeke Jaguar XK120.  Fastest car was an almost brand-new Bugatti Divo, which reached the highest speed and could hardly be heard doing so.  Motorbikes were also invited to test their 1/8 mile acceleration speed.

    The Kilomètre Lancé at Engadin Airport.  Photos Peter Singhof Courtesy Bernina Grand Turismo

    The Motorsport Rendezvous, a Concours d’Élégance that organisers say is not really a Concours d’Élégance at all because of its informal atmosphere, took place in the gardens of the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains.  A highlight was the presentation of the winning vehicles at the famous El Paradiso restaurant owned by event supporter Kurt Engelhorn, situated on the St Moritz piste at over 2,100m in altitude.

    The Motorsport Rendezvous, a Concours d’Élégance was a relaxed affair featuring mostly competition machinery

    The week culminated on the following weekend of 18-19 September with the Bernina Hillclimb itself, but before that, on Friday Sotheby’s held a motor car auction at the Kempinski, its first ever in Switzerland, that netted in excess of CHF16.5 million.

    The 5.7km hillclimb, which climbs some 450 metres from La Rösa to the top of the Bernina pass, over more than 50 curves, was great fun for all involved.  For the record, Daniele Perfetti was fastest overall in the speed category in his Porsche RSR, but in this event no one really cares.  In fact, many competitors run their racing cars in the regularity classes, just for the fun, and take big penalties for arriving too early!  As always in the mountains, the weather veered from warm sunshine to thick fog and rain, but again, no one cared.

    Daniele Perfetti made the fastest time on the hillclimb in his RSR Porsche

  • Having joined the giant Motorsport Network group of companies in 2020, Canossa Events and Alfa Revival Cup organisers GPS Classic have announced the creation of Canossa Racing, a joint venture focused on organizing circuit activities for drivers and classic car enthusiasts.   Canossa Racing will combine the expertise and broad network of Canossa Events with GPS Classic’s in-depth knowledge of classic car races.  Part of the arrangement has been the acquisition of the Alfa revival Cup by Canossa.

    Tommaso Gelmini, Founder and CEO at GPS Classic said about the deal, “I’m thrilled to partner with Canossa Events, a global industry leader of events and experiences in the motorsport and automotive space, to create Canossa Racing.   For more than 15 years, GPS Classic has been organising events for historic race cars and this is an ideal opportunity to share our expertise with the Canossa team.  This new joint venture, as well as the acquisition of the Alfa Revival Cup, delivers a fantastic opportunity to further develop the race series across a wider and more international audience.”

    Luigi Orlandini, Chairman and CEO at Canossa Events said, “I am delighted to announce this new Joint venture – Canossa Racing, another exciting step towards our continued growth strategy.” 

  • In our September issue we reported its acquisition of the Amelia Island Concours, and last month classic car insurance and event brand Hagerty, announced it is going public.  With more than 2 million vehicles insured globally, Hagerty has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Aldel Financial Inc., a special purpose acquisition company.  Upon the closing of the transaction, Aldel will be renamed Hagerty Inc. and become publicly traded, with its common stock expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker HGTY.   The company’s portfolio includes the Hagerty Drivers Club, more than 2,500 automotive events annually (including the recently acquired Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), an expanding automotive media content platform, and Hagerty’s proprietary valuation tools. 

    McKeel Hagerty CEO of the company started by his parents, originally to insure classic wooden boats, has been a lifelong car enthusiast

  • September 8th saw the opening of the new Apprentice Training Centre at the famous Brooklands circuit and museum in Surrey, the latest development of the Bicester Heritage Skills Academy.  Attracting young and even not so young trainees into the historic car industry will help to replace many craft skills that will otherwise disappear.  Whilst apprentices were on hand to demonstrate various projects, Chairman Francis Galashan said, “it’s all about ensuring sustainability for the industry”. The Brooklands site naturally provides all the inspiration any budding engineer might wish for.

  • The FFSA has worked hard to obtain a favourable decision from the Ministry in charge of Public Accounts to classify French motorsport circuits in the category of premises and facilities with exceptional characteristics (EXC 1 category).  This decision will allow a significant reduction in the imposition of property tax for many circuits.  FFSA President  Nicolas Deschaux, said, “This has demonstrated that it was important for the FFSA to respond to the tax issues of important players in our ecosystem, especially in the context of the crisis that we have been experiencing since March 2020.  With this decision, we can say that we secure the sustainability of the circuits on the tax side.”

  • “When I stepped into the Blakeney awning to have a chat with mechanic Ben Pain - you know, the guy who looks like Obi Wan Kenobi - since I spotted that the Nash’s headlights were both turned inwards. “That’s a useful headlight set-up!”, I quipped, but Ben said, “No no, that’s all on purpose! We’re fighting that GN with the aero engine on the straights, and PBE said that we need every little bit of aerodynamic performance to stay ahead of it...” And then he won by three tenths. That’s attention to detail, even in pre-war!”

     

  • Europe’s most significant motor shows, which should have taken place in February 2022, has been cancelled yet again with organisers sighting pandemic travel restrictions and recent exhibitor cancellations due to the continuing shortage of semiconductors.

    The news came shortly after the announcement of a new partnership with Qatar Tourism that will result in a biennial auto show in Doha that will take place in either autumn 2022 or 2023.  The latter date has become more likely given the cancellation of the main Swiss event, but no official announcement has yet been made regarding the Doha edition.

  • It has been heartening to hear that the modern Rally du Maroc has gone ahead on 7-13 October, and while not many definite dates have been announced, the way should now be open for the many classic and historic rally organisers to plan their events.  Yves Loubet and his organisation are now on track to run their Maroc Historic Rally on 7-12 December and another date that has been set is 12-18 March 2022 for the 27th running of the Maroc Classic regularity rally.

  • The 2021 edition of the Roger Albert Clark rally will be the longest, toughest, most competitive and best supported event yet in the 14-year story of the rally that sets out to recreate the RAC Rallies of the 1970s and 1980s. 

    Running from 25 November through to the afternoon of Monday 29 November, this five-day adventure takes in forest special stages in Scotland, England and Wales, and covers a whopping 330 competitive miles to make it the longest UK special stage rally for more than 20 years. 

    Building on the success of the last edition of the bi-ennial event, the response for 2021 overwhelmed the organisers as almost 200 competitors applied for a place.  Gradually, those numbers have been whittled down, but it seems likely that a capacity field of 150 cars will set out from Carlisle on the opening leg of the rally.  A fantastic line-up of leading contenders will do battle over five days.  Running concurrently is the Roger Albert Clark open rally for any two-wheel drive car. 

    At the head of the action Northern Irishman Martin McCormack will aim to be the first driver to score a hat-trick of titles in the overall event with his Ford Escort Mk2, but he faces the toughest opposition ever as young guns Craig Breen, Matt Edwards, Osian Pryce and Rhys Yates all take time out of their modern rallying programmes to switch to Ford Escort MK2s for this special occasion. 

    Breen’s presence on the entry list is a massive boost for the event, although it remains subject to confirmation, given that he recently signed a two-year deal with MSport to head Ford’s WRC campaign. If he does get time out to run a 40-year old Ford, instead of the latest hybrid Puma, He will be a massive draw for the rally fans. 

    British champion Matt Edwards considers this event unfinished business and will be keen to add it to his impressive tally while Pryce and Yates both have pace to be winners. From the regular historic ranks, Jason Pritchard, Nick Elliott, former winner Matthew Robinson, veteran Steve Bannister and 2019 podium finisher Roger Chilman all add immense quality to what is a fantastic entry list. 

    But this is not just about the big guns at the top of the entry. This is about the ordinary guys having a fantastic experience and tackling probably the most challenging rally they will ever take on.  Among them will be the evergreen Bob Bean now 83-years young having yet another run in his Lotus Cortina, and sure to be a contender for class success.  It will be an epic experience for all those who are competing, servicing rally cars and simply out watching in the forests. There is no other event quite like it.

  • New Mongolian Event

    The continuing impact of the COVID pandemic has triggered a postponement of the 2022 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge until June of 2023.  However, the HERO-ERA team have provided some optimism for 2022 in the form a Mongolian event for competitors to experience the sheer joy and freedom of competition by day and camping at night in the vast and beautiful Gobi Desert, as an adventure competition to be held on 5-22 June.  The Trans Mongolian Motor Challenge 2022 will be set in the vast and remote Mongolian desert, with nights under canvass and the stars.  The Gobi Desert landscape and its desolate beauty will become the base for a cross desert route that hasn’t been used since 2007 and a final ‘Hinti’ loop, that for HERO-ERA, has remained untrodden since they ran the reincarnated P2P through Mongolia in 2007.

    HERO-ERA Chairman, Tomas de Vargas Machuca, explained the decision.  “The P2P event has been hampered by China’s borders being firmly shut and, according to information presented in the Wall Street Journal, corroborated by our agents on the ground, likely to remain so until next June.  It has, however, accelerated the decision to produce a purely Mongolian event that provides a deep dive extreme motoring adventure set in a genuinely desolate part of the world.  Just as with the recent Olympics, although scheduled for 2023, the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge will be dated the 2022 event with 2025 on stream after that.”

    HERO is certainly optimistic with a full calendar of events for 2022, that, besides its staple events such as the Rally of the Tests, Le Jog, and other UK-based rallies,  includes rallies in Morocco, South America, and the Temple Rally, which goes from Athens to Rome in September of next year.  Beyond that, they have published a full schedule of events stretching out to 2025.

  • Building on the success of 2020 when the event returned to the Doubs and Jura regions, and its base camp in Malbuisson, the 67th Rallye Neige et Glace returns to the fundamentals that have shaped the history of this sporting winter trial.

    This year, in order to avoid date clashes with the Monte-Carlo Historique and the Boucles de Bastogne, organisers Zaniroli Events has shifted the usual date by a few days to 13-16 February, with a start in Sochaux for a prologue to a frenzied first night stage to Malbuisson, centre of the rally for the next three days.

    Photo Richard Bord\

    The French “little Siberia” offers everything you could want over three loops, traced on forest paths along the Swiss border between the Doubs and the Jura, with snow, ice and sliding on the sporting regularity programme, with a return each night to the comfort of a quality hotel. See www.zaniroli.com/rallye-neige-et-glace/ for all the details.

  • With the record number of 215 entrants, exceeding event organiser ACI Livorno’s expectations, the Rallye Elba Storico and the concurrent Elba Graffiti regularity rally, counting both for the Italian and FIA European Championships, attracted competitors from 13 nations to the small Island of Elba in the Tyrrhenian sea.   Also comprising contests for the A112 Abarth Trophy and the Michelin Historic Rally Cup, reserved for Porsche and Maserati owners, the FIA inscriptions were also at their highest, with 62 entries.  This year, it was dedicated to the memory of Elio Niccolai, founding father of the event, who passed away suddenly in May.  Many of the top drivers of the Italian and FIA Championships were there, creating an air of expectation at the start in the rally headquarters in the town of Capo Liveri.

    That said, after the traditional Thursday evening prologue, the rally lost some of its top protagonists on the first of two days, with the  Category 3 Audi Quattro of ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena crashing out on SS2 (without consequences for the crew), and the leading Category 4 Lancia Delta Integrale of ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons failing to make it to the end of the day after an oil pump failure.  Also out of Category 4 were the front-running Lucio Da Zanche and Daniel De Luis, the double winners retiring from the very first stage.  2018 Category 4 Champions Valter Jensen and Eric Pedersen, making their first 2021 appearance, had issues on the opening day when their BMW M3 ran out of fuel.  The car’s fuel gauge was recalibrated on Friday evening and the Norwegians re-joined the rally for Saturday’s final leg.

    With the Prologue and stage 1 winning Lancia Integrale gone, and Karl Wagner struggling with fuel pump issues in his Porsche, Gabriele Noberasco and Giacomo Ciucci took the next two stages amongst the FIA crews to finish the day in eighth place amongst all competitors, and first in the FIA contest, with 44 seconds in hand to Category 2 leaders Paolo Pasutti and Giovanni Campeis in a Porsche 911 RS, ahead of Karl and Gerda Wagner, who, despite their mechanical difficulties, were still leading Category 3.  Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D‘Angelo led Category 1 by a large margin ahead of the BMW 2002 of Carlo Fiorito and Marin Bertonasco, the only other car in the category. 

    Photo Courtesy Elba Storico

    The tightest contest was in Category 2, where 21 seconds covered the first three cars, Ernie and Karen Graham (Ford Escort RS1800) behind Pasutti, followed by Czechs Vojtech Stajf and Vladimir Zelinka (Opel Kadett C-GTE).

    The next morning, in foggy and slippery conditions, the Wagner Porsche was back – big time – the Austrian crew taking all five of the day’s stages.  Noberasco was out on stage 2 with a failed head gasket, leaving the Category 2 battle to rage in the leader’s wake.  Stajf was Category winner on the first stage of the day, ahead of the Grahams.  Pasutti countered on the second stage, but then Stajf, on a charge, took over to win the next three stages and finish the rally 16 seconds ahead of Pasutti, with a 50-second advantage over the British Escort, which still nonetheless, leads the overall season points table with two rallies left to complete.

    Jensen and Pedersen, with fuel issues sorted on the BMW, scored four out of five of the day’s Category 4 wins, but had started the day too far behind to worry Alfons Nothdurfter and Juergen Nolte (Ford Sierra Cosworth 4X4), the new – after Noberasco’s retirement from SS6 - Category leaders.  The Austrian driver has now come within striking distance of 2021 Category leader Daniel Alonso Villaron, while Nolte has moved up to lead the Co-Driver points table.  Parisi and D’Angelo kept their Porsche on the tarmac to claim Category 1 honours and consolidate their Championship lead.  

    Wagner won the FIA rally by bringing his Porsche home in sixth place overall amongst all the different classes and categories.  Overall winners of the rally and Italian Championship top scorers were the crew of Alberto Salvini and Davide Tagliaferri driving a Porsche 911 RS, who finished ahead of locals Andrea Volpi and Michele Maffoni.  Already winners in 2019 and 2020, it was the third consecutive win for the Sienese Scuderia Palladio Historic team.  For three quarters of the rally, Salvini, however, had battled the Sicilian Salvatore “Totò” Riolo, a great admirer of the island race, who was participating for the 20th time.  Back with his Subaru Legacy, the Sicilian had won the first two stages, only for a puncture to set him back by six minutes halfway through the second day, dropping him down to seventh place at the finish and third in the Italian Category 4 Championship.

  • Home run for Casanova

    Frédéric Lombard Reports

    For 21 years, the Tour de Corse Historique has become a must-do event in historic rallying, and many drivers, some of whom have a prestigious track record, eagerly return each year to its mythical special stages. This year a record 330 crews, 162 cars in competition and 168 in regularity, were enough to delight the public and the Corsican spectators, who came in large numbers to cheer by the side of the road, to admire and listen to the melodious song of the engines, and dream of the glorious years of rallying that continue to perpetuate this passion on this island and around the world.

    2020 winner Alain Oreille crashed out on the final day.  Photos Courtesy Tour de Corse Historique

    For several years now, the start has been from Porto-Vecchio, a city that also hosts technical and administrative checks, and the rally’s final podium. The star names of Dumas, Vaison, Mourgues, Foulon and Padrona were absent, but Philippe Gache, winner in 2011 and 2012, was back and Alain and Sylvie Oreille were putting their victory of last year on the line. There were also local heavy hitters on the start line, like Christophe Casanova, second last year, and Youness El Kadaoui, who knows these roads particularly well, having won the Rallye Régional de Porto-Vecchio four times. The fight for victory was therefore very open in the VHC category with a lot of talent in the line-up. On the programme for this 21st edition was a 1004km route with 18 specials, totalling 382kms of speed sections over five days - more than enough to make for a meaningful competition.

     

    Marc Vallicionni led the rally twice before also crashing out.

    The twists and turns of the roads were matched by the twists and turns in the fortunes of the drivers, as first one, then another leader crashed out. On the last day it finally came down to a re-match between Christophe Casanova and Alan Oreille. But the long-awaited duel was not to take place. At the end of the day's first special stage, Oreille left the road and the door was wide open for the driver from Corte to take his revenge. Christophe Casanova, with co-driver Stéphane Delleaux, finished 2’9” ahead of Period E winners, Anthony Agostini and Jérôme Royer in their Ford Escort 1800. Completing the podium, 2018 winner Pierre Manuel Jenot, with ‘Slo” on the notes, finished 4’45 ’’ behind the winners. In the Classic category, Jean-Michel and Anne-Laure Rouquille drove their Porsche 914/6 to the category victory ahead of Dominique Frossard (R5 GT Turbo) and Robin Leyssens (Porsche 911).

    Alain Faymonville took low average regularity honours in one of the oldest cars in the event.

    In the regularity categories, with three-time winner Christophe Baillet absent, the succession was open. Equipped with the Tripy system that constantly tracks the average speed of each team at every moment, Jean-Claude Kauffman won the high average speed category in his Porsche 911. Jean-Louis and Marie-Christine Albertini imposed their Peugeot 205 GTi in the medium category with a gap of only three points to Dominique Larroque (Ford RS 200), who won the intermediate category ahead of Stéphane Blaise (Golf GTI). Alain Faymonville won the low average category in his lovely DB2 Aston Martin. The fight was hot on the winding Corsican roads and, in the end, the leading trio was separated by just 10 points and the first ten overall by only 26 points.

    For a full report, see our November 2021 issue

  • With all the precision of a synchronised swimming squad the Denis Welch Motorsport-run Austin Healey 3000s of Mark Holme and Doug Muirhead - both aided by Jeremy Welch - splashed to a resounding one-two finish in the GTSCC enduro that closed another soggy Castle Combe Autumn Classic on October 2.  

    Welch started Muirhead’s TON 792 - built as the first right-hand-drive 100/6, originally BMC chairman Sir George Harriman’s - then leapt into Holme’s SMO 746 - a works rally car raced by police chief John Gott until 1972 - for a short middle stint in the 90-minute race, in which the owners did most of the work.

    Weathering heavy rain, the pair finished 33 seconds apart.  “It was brutal just getting to the end,” beamed Holme, with blistered fingers as a souvenir, having added another gold to his overall victory on the combo’s debut at Thruxton last year and a class win at Donington this summer.  Muirhead was elated with P2 on his first visit to the popular airfield circuit near Bristol, which hosted a Formula 1 race - won by Franco-American Harry Schell (Vanwall) in October ‘55.

    Photo Eric Sawyer

    Local man Mark Williams kept his AC Cobra on the island to claim third, matching 2020’s result, a lap clear of Crispin Harris/James Wilmoth (AH 3000), Gregoire Audi/Mike Dowd (Cobra) and John Watson’s three-driver Lotus Elan 26R, which Dan Cox qualified on pole and Historic F2 racer Matthew Watts finished. GT2 honours fell to MGB duo Tim and Laurence Jacobsen, rewarding their trek south from Scotland.

    For a report of all the racing see our November 2021 issue....

  • The national championship final for this year’s Racing Historic Cup was run, as tradition dictates, at Falkenberg, with some 140 historic cars on the starting line on a cold and slightly windy autumn day, watched by a few hundred brave spectators on 18-19 September.   Bengt-Åce Gustavsson reports...

    Formula Vee opened the proceedings and offered two exciting races that left speaker Bosse Lindman hoarse from the excitement.  The very last race of the weekend was also the most exciting, Lindman said, that he had ever seen!

    Henrik Mathiasson was fastest in qualifying ahead of Anders Tjärnlund and Håkan Green in his Veemax.  These three drivers plus Johan Lund, Magnus Rugsveen, Richard “Lillen” Persson and Lars-Gunnar “Vegas” Johansson formed a cluster that changed positions constantly.  Halfway through the race, “Lillen” and Tjärnlund hooked up and were forced to retire.  Green went on to win ahead of Lund and Rugsveen.

    The second race was just as exciting with tight and intense racing from start to finish.  The end was dramatic too, when Green and Lund clashed in the last metres and more or less crossed the finish line backwards!  “Lillen” was declared winner, ahead of Pontus Bencsik, Lund, Tjärnlund and Green, with a 1.1 second difference between the first five cars.

    Torgny Johansson (March 782) was fastest in qualifying for Formula Slick with his F2 car, but in the race,  he was unfortunately forced out with a blown head gasket.  That left the field open for Alexander Weiss to win by a large margin in his F3 Reynard 873.  Peter “Lill-Orsa” Bohlin (Ralt RT30) crossed the line as runner-up but got a 10-second time penalty for a jump start and fell to fifth, leaving Thomas Rådmyr (Reynard 903) to take second ahead of Anders Lofthammar (Ralt RT21).  

    2021 RHK Champion Anders Tjärnlund.  Photo Bengt-Åce Gustavsson

    Johansson’s bad luck was Michaela Månlycke’s good fortune.  Forced to skip the first race after the ignition box in her March 812 gave up, she was able to take Johansson’s box and start the second race from last place.  Working her way through the field, she made it to second place.  However, the distance to Weiss was just too great for her to get there in the remaining laps.  Peter Bohlin finished third.  Things got a little chaotic during the race when Rådmyr spun his Reynard and the safety car went out to collect the field.   When the cars were released, Weiss made a lightning start, shrugging off  the rest of the field that was gathered behind Sören Forsberg’s Lola T492 Sports 2000.  Several drivers became impatient and overtook Forsberg before the start/finish line, with the result that four of them were penalised. 

    The new Swedish National Champions are Gustaf Stenquist, who won the Saloon class, Johan Lund, who won the Formula class, and Bengt-Åke Bengtsson, who took the GT sportscar title .

    Anders Tjärnlund was crowned overall RHK Champion of the year with Johan Lund and Bengt-Åke Bengtsson runners-up.

    For more on this race meeting, see our November 2021 issue...

  • The final races in the Peter Auto season were completed at Estoril on the weekend of 8-10 October, giving drivers the opportunity to end the season in this beautiful part of the world under balmy 20-degree skies. They appreciated it, judging by the number of social media posts of beautiful sunsets and idyllic seascapes that were circulating over the weekend.

    Photos Félix Macías courtesy Peter Auto

    The Estoril Classics meeting, promoted by Diogo Ferrão and his Race Ready organisation, is part of a wider celebration of the motor car, that includes a concours d’elegance in Estoril town, and the arrival of the Rally de Portugal Histórico. There was also an F1 race and, of course, an Iberian Historic Endurance race on the timetable, but Peter Auto provided the bulk of the race content.

    Michael Lyons won the first of two F1 races

    In its traditional slot of last race on Saturday 55 cars lined up for the two-hour Sixties’ Endurance race shortly after 6pm in a glorious cacophony of sound. With no fewer than 18 entered, the Shelby Cobras were to the fore, James Cottingham at their head and series regulars Maxime Guenat, Urs Beck and Leo Ebeling all squabbling over second. A half hour in, Pierre-François Rousselot slipped off the track bringing out the yellow flags. Guenat also made a mistake a few minutes later and came out at turn 12, dropping down the order from third place. Cottingham led the peloton under full course yellows while the course was made safe, Ebeling, Beck and Richard Cook in his wake as the pit stop window opened. The Cottingham Cobra, now driven by Max Girardo, emerged from the pit stops out front, as night was gradually falling.

    Christian Traber and Franz Wunderlich battled for second and third in the Heritage Touring Cup race

    Further back, in a fine drive starting from 18th place, Gareth Burnett was bringing the Lotus 15 he shared with Michael Birch up to the front, passing Jaguars and Cobras, to finish in fourth place, having even held third until the very end when Henry Moser got his Cobra past. Up front Harvey Stanley, having taken over Richard Cook’s car, was gaining on Girardo, with less than five seconds separating them, both drivers giving it all they had, with the vivid orange glow from the brake discs clearly visible in the dark. With ten minutes to go the gap was less than a second. A few laps later and Stanley was past on the pit straight. Girardo didn’t give up and the outcome was uncertain until the last lap, when Stanley crossed the line in first place. Index of Performance went to Edouard Deguemp, driving a Lotus Elite to 35th place overall.

    Frank Morel (TOJ SC206) claimed fourth after a comeback from a lowly start in the CER 2 race

    For a full report of all the racing, see our November 2021 issue...

  • After last year’s cancellation the 49th edition of one of the oldest race meetings in Europe – it was first run in 1939 – took place on 13-15 September still under some special COVID restrictions, with smaller numbers participating in some of the activities. The Remparts, encircling the charming Charentais town of Angoulême, is the setting for racing on Sunday, but before that cars were paraded in a concours d’élégance in the town’s Champ de Mars and, the scheduled International Rally having been cancelled due to restrictions, a tour took nearly 200 participants on a drive through the region. Usually stopping at a castle or other landmark in the area for a copious lunch, this year guests were transported back to Roman times with a visit to the archaeological site of Cassinomagus, now known under its modern name of Chassenon. Indeed, the whole town of Angoulême gives itself over to automobile-centred activities for the week leading up to the races, with displays, exhibitions, special celebrity guests, even the local chocolatiér was producing chocolate D-type Jaguars! On Friday evening, the mayor of Angoulême, together with the President of the Federation of Vintage Vehicles, ceremoniously unveiled a plaque designating Angoulême as a “Lieu de l’Histoire Automobile”.

    Photos François Baudin Agence Austral 

    Though the weekend started under uncertain skies, with a downpour on Friday that sent visitors to the concours scurrying for cover, Sunday’s demonstrations and races started in fine weather with a large crowd of vaccinated spectators. The 1279-metre course, unchanged since its creation, is truly unique and spectacular. As every year, the vehicles were divided into different categories, named after famous French drivers or marques, starting with early pre-war cars and ending with super-tourers of the 1980s. Traditionally, a large British contingent comes to Angoulême in a friendly yearly invasion of the town that makes up to a third of the entry list. This year there were far fewer than usual, and there were also fewer races than usual, only five, compared to nearly double the number in previous years. But the Brits that did come made their mark, bringing some exceptional cars, most notably in the pre-war category. The Plateau Maurice Trintignant was won by regular VSCC winner in the UK, Dougal Cawley in his famous Frazer Nash ‘Piglet’ in a race where Brits took six of the top ten places.

     

    For a full report, see our November 2021 issue...

  • Historic Tour Charade

    In its beautiful setting amongst the volcanic landscapes of the Auvergne in southwest France, the undulating Charade circuit was the battlefield for the penultimate round of the French Historic Championships. An old-fashioned track that commands respect, Charade’s 3.9kms hug the terrain and preserve sections of the old F1 GP circuit of the ‘60s and ‘70s, leaving little room for error. These characteristics make it a favourite destination for the Historic Tour drivers, with more than 300 cars entered in 23 races, offering drivers one of the last chances to increase their points tally in the 2021 French Historic Circuits Championship. Sébastien Mathieu (BMW M3 GTR in GT Classic) arrived in Auvergne as leader of the GT/Tourism category, ahead of Damien Benjamin (Honda Civic, Youngtimers GTI Cup), Dominique Vulliez and Anthony Delhaye (Lotus Seven in the Lotus Trophy for both). In the Monoplaces/Protos category, Lionel Robert (Martini MK48 in Formula Renault Classic) had a small advantage over Matthieu Châteaux (Ralt RT3, F3 Classic) and François Belle (Lola T540, Formula Ford Historic).

    François Derossi dominated both ASAVÉ races in his Elva Mk 7S. The undulating curves of the Charade circuit are a drivers’ favourite.  Photos Hugues Laroche

    F3 Classic - The Lion’s Share

    The F3 Classic Formula Renault race brought together a very high-level international field, which included the Italians Valerio Leone (Alba AR1) and son Davide Leone (March 783) and Manfredo Rossi (Martini Mk34), ranged against Frenchmen Frédéric Rouvier (March 783) and Matthieu Châteaux (Ralt Rt3). Author of the best qualifying time, the latter was however surprised at the start by his front-row neighbour, Davide Leone. A few laps later, while the Italian was still in command, Rouvier lost a piece of bodywork, which landed on David Caussanel’s car! More seriously, Tony Boudreault sharply hit a wall, causing the race to stop temporarily. At the re-start young Leone and Châteaux quickly broke away from immediate pursuers Rossi, Leone père and Eric Martin. Leone put the last laps to good use to gain a definitive advantage over Châteaux, followed home some 20 seconds later by Rossi, Valerio Leone and Eric Martin grouped together in less than a second. Ninth overall, Lionel Robert won the Formula Renault contest ahead of “Nelson” and Jean-Paul Gobba after dominating from start to finish. Building on his victory of the previous day, Leone started the second race at a pace that was enough to put his pursuers out of reach. With a two-and-a-half second advantage after only five laps, Châteaux was the only one who could keep pace, while Valerio Leone kept contact a little further down on his own, followed by Eric Martin, Frédéric Lajoux, Rossi and Fred Rouvier, who was launched into a crazy comeback after starting at the back of the grid. The young Italian continued to widen the gap further and completed his 15th and final tour ten seconds ahead of Châteaux. Lionel Robert once again dominated Formula Renault proceedings.

    This time Julien Grenet’s main competition in the Saloon Cars race came from Alain Derognat, back with his formidable BMW 323i

    For a full report of all the racing see our November 2021 issue....

  • Bryant’s cloud nine

    Olly Bryant must be living on cloud nine these days, having completed what must be regarded as one of the grand slams of historic motorsport – first a win in the RAC TT at the Goodwood Revival, followed up two weeks later by a triumphant run in the Spa Six Hours. Both were a long time coming, and while Bryant’s Goodwood win was still the talk of the Spa paddock on Thursday and Friday, his Six Hours success with James Cottingham would soon provide new headlines in a weekend that succeeded in rekindling some of the spark of those halcyon pre-COVID days.

    Photo Mattijs Diepraam

    Mattijs Diepraam Reports

    After the event’s late cancellation in 2020, Vincent Collard and his Roadbook organisation made sure to confirm its definitive go-ahead as early as August, allowing everyone at least another month to make up their minds – the result of which had varying degrees of success in terms of entry numbers. Eighty-five cars instead of a 110-car full house for the main event was good enough, but some of the supporting grids were less fortunate. A few of them were halved in comparison with previous years. While some of them confessed to having been put off by the necessary bureaucracy, many of the British legion did make the effort of plunging themselves into the toxic mix of Brexit and COVID to not miss the revival of this blue-riband event on the historic calendar. Oddly enough, historic racers from the continent weren’t queueing up to take the missing places in the usually over-subscribed event. Entries from Holland, Germany and France were notably down, even though border traffic with Belgium has been free for a steady few months now, with either proof of vaccination or a negative test enough to be allowed into the country. Not so for UK residents, as even vaccinated Brits needed to go through the test cycle to get into Belgium and return home. As for the paying spectator – Friday qualifying still had a distinct club atmosphere while diluvial conditions prevented Sunday from being a crowd puller (even though, to be fair, it never was). On Saturday, however, the pitlane was at times as pleasantly (or annoyingly – take your pick) overcrowded as it always has been.

    Twelve GT40s headed the pack, though as per tradition, the hares wouldn’t all last   Photos Carlo Senten

    The sun was out for most of the Friday practice sessions, but clouds gathered over the Six Hours qualifying. This time, 12 GT40s would decide which one would start from pole – and one of those had in fact planned on a special effort. With Marcus Graf von Oeynhausen and his Gotcha team scheming to achieve the first sub-2.40 qualifying lap around Spa, pole was always going to be theirs, and indeed Frank Stippler delivered with an eye-watering 2.39.827. Joining Stippy and the Count on the front row, Eric van de Poele trailed the German effort by a full 1.2 seconds in the GT40 the Belgian shared with Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley, while the Nicky Pastorelli/Olivier Hart (father David Hart was unwell) and the Clive Robertson-run Bryant/Cottingham GT40s only narrowly got on the right side of the 2.42s. Almost as per tradition, though, the hares wouldn’t last – although this time, it would take some truly cruel luck to eliminate the quick German and Dutch teams from the early running. In fact, the pole-sitting car was out of the contest within 20 minutes, as the race’s first big casualty. In the hands of Stippler, it had been mystifyingly languishing outside the top-20 before it rolled into the pits, its left front wheel on fire. As soon as the German bailed out, the car was engulfed in flames and it took a spectator – Dutch historic racer and former Six Hours competitor Mark Dols – to keep his cool and grab a fire extinguisher. The car’s left-hand tank had been leaking from the start, and it became a fireball once fuel traces made contact with the glowing front-left brake disc.

    Photo Peter Heil

    For a full Six Hour report and all the racing at the meeting, see our November 2021 issue....

     

  • For over two decades the October race meeting at Dijon has been geared to the international grids, most notably, the FIA Championships. Now run by Laurent Vallery-Masson and his equipe at HVM under the Dijon Motors Cup title, it was cancelled last year due to COVID, but made its comeback this year on the second weekend of October with headline grids from the HSCC International Formula 2, the FIA Lurani Trophy for Formula Junior, NKHTGT and the other Dutch Championship grids and an HVM-run endurance race for later GTs, prototypes and touring cars with various cut-off dates. In all, there were 15 races on the timetable.

    Manfredo Rossi took his March 762 to two Formula 2 victories in the only HSCC International F2 race to be run outside the UK this year  Photos Carlo Senten

    Two Formula 2 races were won by Manfredo Rossi in a March benefit that saw the marque finish in the first nine places. Chased all the way by poleman Wolfgang Kaufman (782) in race 1, the Italian thought he would have an easier time in Sunday’s race after the German was called in for a drive-through for a jump start. But Matthew Wrigley (782) had other ideas and took his March past on lap 8, with Mark Charteris (742) following in third place, just ahead of Laurent Vallery-Masson (77B). That seemed to be that, but young Wrigley’s gearbox blocked itself in fourth gear and Rossi again took the lead. Meanwhile Kaufman was back in contention, passing Vallery-Masson and Pascal Gerbout, locked in their own battle, and finally, one lap from the end, he passed Charteris to finish in an unexpected second place. But then, he was given another penalty that dropped him down to fourth, this time for speeding in the pit lane when he came in for his drive-through. Gerbout took the opportunity to step onto the podium, while his compatriot Robert Simac (March 712), came seventh and won the 1600 class, as he had the previous day.

    The only Frenchman to enter the NKHTGT races, José Beltramelli, was rewarded with a race win

    The lively Dutch NKHTGT series started over 30 cars for two 40-minute races, the first of which lost the leading Ford GT40 of former Swedish F3 racer Kennet Persson in the opening lap, giving the place back to poleman Michiel Campagne in his monstrous Chevrolet Corvette C1 ahead of the TVR 400 Griffith of José Beltramelli, the only local Frenchman who came to mingle with this plateau. His reward was victory, as from lap three, he led the race, carefully managing his distance from the Corvette to the end. Niel Van Gils, in another TVR 400, led the bulk of the field home, some 50 seconds in arrears. Beltramelli, whose TVR suffered a broken suspension in the 300km race the previous evening, did not start race 2. Rid of the Frenchman, Campagne found himself in the lead from the start of the race, but the party was short-lived for the Dutchman. Before the halfway point, he saw Kennet Persson’s Ford GT40, forced to retire on Saturday, swooping down on him. The change of leader came in the 18th minute and from then on, the Swede matched his pace to that of the Corvette. The interest then shifted to the battle for third between the TVR of Niek Van Gils, the Marcos 1800 GT of Mark Dols and the Ford Falcon of Philippe Vermast, the Marcos, the first non V-8 home, eventually taking the advantage.

    Photo Hugues Laroche

    For a full report, see our November 2021 issue...