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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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October 2020

 Content from the October 2020 Issue.....

 

  • In another blow to historic rallying the planned Silver Fern Rally has been cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 travel restrictions.  The marathon biennial event relies on entries from Europe to make it viable and with those now not possible the organisers had no option but to cancel the 2020 edition completely.  Plans to run a shorter two-day event for local crews have now also been shelved.

     

  • Since 1999 Viviane Zaniroli has been encouraging women to get behind the wheel of old sports and GT cars and compete in their own right.  The resulting Rallye des Princesses regularity rally, inspired on the old Paris – Saint-Raphaël  Féminin, has been a great success over the ensuing 20 years, bringing many women into competition as drivers that might not have had the chance in mixed rallies when there is only one eligible car in the house.  A number have since bought their own rally cars.  Zaniroli has created an event tailored to women’s interests, in the route, in the places visited and in the evening stops.  For some years now, she has been supported by the high end watchmaker, Richard Mille.  Mille is well-known in racing circles for his sponsorship of the Peter Auto run Le Mans Classic, Rallye des Legendes and Chantilly Art et Elegance, and also for his large collection of racing cars, which he exhibits at Retromobile each year.

    Now Zaniroli would like to step back and she will be handing the baton over to Patrick Peter’s organisation, which will observe and handle media and some other aspects in 2021 and take over the running of the event in 2022.  Next year’s event is scheduled for 29 May- 3 June 2021.  Zaniroli Classic Events, which Viviane runs with her Husband Patrick, will continue to run all its other annual events as usual, including Neige et Glace, Trans Maroc and Trophée des Alpes.

  • Though some things have changed much will be the same on next year’s Historic Monte, which takes place on 30 January – 3 February.  Though organisers have foregone the multi-national starting points in 2021 after the trauma of this year’s COVID epidemic, the challenge will be as tough as ever for four days and one night loop, returning cars to the unique starting point of Monte-Carlo after three nights in Valence and many historic regularity stages.  The final night run in the arrière pays that will include stages such as Col de Braus – La-Bollène-Vésubie and Lantosque – Lucéram will sort out the final order.

    The organisers have also widened the eligibility criteria, now allowing any car that took part in the Monte between 1911 and 1983, making cars such as the Audi Quattro, Renault 5 Turbo, Lancia 037 and Fiat Panda eligible, at one end of the spectrum, and pre-war cars such as Bugatti, Delahaye, Talbot and Invicta at the other.  Another change to the regulations is that cars will run to only two average speeds.

    Though this is likely to result in some newer cars entering the event for the first time, it seems unlikely that many pre-war cars will be attracted, as all cars built before 1966 are to be lumped into a single category, with further category cut off dates falling at the end of 1971, 1976 and 1982.  Entries must be in by 9 November and can be made on the ACM web site.

    Lucy O’Reilly-Schell nished the Monte ve mes between 1929 and 1936, her best result being second place in 1936. In 1930 she drove a Talbot 2600, which has now become eligible for the historic Monte. She later became a Grand Prix team owner and was the mother of Grand Prix driver Harry Schell

  • Hancocks’ 40 minutes of Classic K glory

    Father and son Anthony and Ollie Hancock’s fine Mintex Classic K race victory at Thruxton on July 26 was the super-fast Hampshire circuit’s season-opener and the historic element of the Classic Sports Car Club’s belated 2020 season start.

    Lithe Lotus Elans are ideally suited to the sweeps of the aerodrome circuit, where Jon Fletcher and Richard Jenvey were among the stars of Modsports races in the 1970s, thus the Hancocks and 2019 winner Paul Tooms were the men to beat.

    The Hancock car, in which they finished an astonishing fourth in last September’s Spa Six Hours had not been used in the interim.  Nonetheless Anthony had a shock in Friday testing when its left rear wheel departed at the flat-out Church corner, but not before Ollie had posted a low 1m29-second lap (an average of over 95mph), almost certainly the first FIA Appendix K 26R-spec Elan inside the 90-second barrier.  Tom Ebbs repaired the car for Sunday qualifying, replacing both stub-axles.

    Allen Tice/Chris Conoley qualified their Marcos 1800GT on pole with 1:31.766, with the Hancocks and Tooms close behind. The 39-car field’s Touring Car split was led by Ollie and Mel Streek (Lotus Cortina) and Dan Williamson (Falcon Sprint).     

    Tooms led initially from Hancock Sr, but long-distance specialist Tice outbraked Anthony a couple of times into the complex to give Paul breathing space as he acclimatised to his Elan, rebuilt since last August’s Oulton Park shunt.

    First to make the mandatory stop was Tooms, after eight laps, freeing Hancock.  He went five more laps, scrabbling clear of Tice who put Conoley in after 15.  Stephen Bond then had a lap in front, before pitting his red 26R for Cliff Gray to finish.

     

    By that stage Hancock Jr was flying, Ollie setting a new lap record of 1:29.618 (94.64mph) as he screamed to victory. Tooms had no answer, his brakes overheating, but kept second 32 seconds adrift as the Marcos challenge faded.

    Fourth, a lap down from the back, having run the wrong tyres in qualifying, was the TVR Griffith of Peter and Nathan Dod.  Nigel Winchester was a grand fifth in his Ginetta G4, narrowly beating Roddie Fielden’s Shelby Mustang GT350.

    Driver of the race, though – and lauded by the marshals for his commitment, consistency and inch-perfect lines – was Luke Wos who finished an excellent 10th in his immaculate Wosp Performance Turner Mk2, powered by a 1650cc Ford engine.

  • It’s been a while, but vintage racing was back, with the VSCC Formula Vintage race meeting at Mallory Park on 23 August.  And what a way to start.  Mallory Park is one of the UK’s most attractive venues, its twin lakes giving it a unique setting, think Interlagos transplanted to rural Leicestershire.  Chris McEvoy reports....

    This was the first VSCC race meeting since the world went into lockdown and it was an interesting experience, with access to parts of the circuit heavily restricted, even for accredited media, with no entry to pits or paddock for chats to drivers or mechanics, or light repartee with marshals.

    This being August and England, the weather was always going to be a bit variable.  Indeed the forecast was “Cloudy changing to thunder in the afternoon”.  True to form a brief but heavy shower added a little frisson to the early afternoon races, but soon dried and it remained settled for the rest of the event.

    Photos Chris McEvoy

    As ever with the VSCC there was a great range of cars.  A welcome returnee was Mark Walkers’ World land speed record 1905 Darracq 200hp, its first race since the engine gave up with an oily piston through its block on the same track way back in September 2016.  Its first outing proved a success with a finish in the John Holland Trophy race.  A 1957 Kurtis Indy-Roadster, various configurations of Austin 7, a smattering of Frazer Nash, a couple of Bugatti T35s, an ERA or two, plus plenty of MGs filled the grids.

    The meeting definitely had a family theme.  Along with Mark Walker, other family members, son Hughie (Theophile Schneider and GN Thunderbug) and daughter India (Austin 7 Special) also took to the track.  The family thread continued as much on the track as well as in support roles to keep everything running smoothly.  The Cawley clan had a trio racing, with father Dougal (GN/Ford Piglet), son Wilf (Frazer Nash Emeryson) and grandad Andy (Frazer Nash Super Sports) participating in the Frazer Nash Challenge.  Father and son Dennis and David Johnson, with Frazer Nash Colmore and Super Sports respectively, also contested the FN/GN Challenge.  Other families shortening the odds of taking home a trophy were the Seber brothers Rodney and Tony, both in Wolseley Hornet Specials, father and sons Harry (MG PA) James (MG Kayne) and Mike Painter (MG PA) in two Allcomers races and the MG vs Austin 7 race.  Another VSCC racing dynasty taking to the grid consisted of various Blakeney-Edwards, who at the close of play scored the most victories, with three winners out of the nine events. 

    Tony Seber, Wolseley Hornet Speical

    As befitting the nature of VSCC racing and its competitors, the racing was good, clean and honest.  The handicappers performed their tasks with the usual skill and in the last race the margin between the first three finishers was less than a quarter of a second.

    For a full report of the racing see our October issue……

  • Masters Racing made a triumphant return to Brands Hatch in late August with a programme full of drama and spectacle, says Rachel Harris-Gardiner

    Historic Formula One provided a mix of familiar cars, with some interesting newcomers, including former FIA Formula One World Championship racer, and Sky Sports F1 speaker, Johnny Herbert debuting in an Ensign N180B.

    Martin O’Connell won the first race on Saturday in dominant style, piloting his Tyrrell 011B to a confident lead from pole.  Greg Thornton challenged but was not able to keep up with the charging O’Connell, and the Lotus 91/5 driver was also overhauled by Steve Hartley’s ex-John Watson McLaren MP4/1 later on.  Mike Cantillon was a fairly distant fourth in his Tyrrell 010 but started from pole in Race 2 on the reversed grid.  Thornton was determined not to be denied this time and took the lead from lap two.  O’Connell came within touching distance when the Lotus driver got caught among the backmarkers, including Johnny Herbert’s ailing Ensign. 

    Mike Whitaker cruised home to win the Gentlemen Drivers race in his TVR Griffith.  Photos Eric Sawyer

    The F1 cars are always evocative but the best racing spectacle of the weekend came from the 90-minute Gentlemen Drivers race.  Mike Whitaker came back to Masters after several years of concentrating on Goodwood and won in a TVR Griffith, fending off the challenge of Julian Thomas’s Shelby Daytona Cobra, shared with Calum Lockie, and Gary Pearson’s Jaguar E-type, driven with guest pro Alex Brundle. 

    The fortunes of Whitaker and Brundle/Pearson were reversed for the Historic Sportscar race.  Brundle started the Lola T70 Mk3B and wasted no time in taking the lead from Jonathan Mitchell’s Chevron B19, despite Mitchell’s fast start.  Gary Culver held third for a long period in another T70 but was penalised for a jump start, and was later disqualified for failing to take his penalty in time.  The chief beneficiaries were Gonçalo Gomes and James Claridge, who were third in a Chevron B23.  Charles Allison was the leading Chevron B8 finisher in tenth place after Calum Lockie and Julian Thomas had to retire.  Whitaker, driving a T70 Mk2 Spyder, also retired.

    The minis put on a great show.

    Saturday’s Pre ‘66 Touring Car encounter was a race of survival, won by Rob Fenn’s Ford Mustang after Steve Soper had a frightening-looking off at Stirlings in the last minutes of the race.  The throttle of the Mustang he shares with Henry Mann stuck open when in the lead, sending Soper over the tyre wall and into the trees.  Fortunately the car landed on its wheels, trapped between the Armco and the trees, and Soper emerged unscathed. 

    Pre-’66 Minis had two dedicated races, race 1 won by Former British Touring Car Championship racer Jeff Smith.  The second race featured a classic Mini lead battle between Smith and Joe Ferguson, behind the wheel of the Austin Mini Cooper S taken to second by Tom Bell in the preceding encounter, with both protagonists sideways. 

    British cars were very much in evidence for both Equipe Classic races, which featured 46-car all-British grids with a queue of reserves.  Tom Smith claimed top spot on the podium for the first race in his MGB, ahead of Lee Atkins in his TVR Grantura.  Atkins also led the second race, which featured a different grid, but was overtaken by Mark Ashworth’s TVR Grantura in the closing laps. 

    Steve Soper was unfortunate in Henry Mann’s Mustang. While in the lead the throttle stuck open in the braking area for Stirlings and the car was badly crashed, thankfully without injury to the driver

    The HGPCA also provided two races, both won by Jon Fairley (Brabham BT11/19) followed by Will Nuthall (Cooper T53).  Andrew Beaumont was the fastest qualifier, but his Lotus 18 ran out of fuel in the first race.  He was another driver who fought back strongly, finishing sixth from the back of the grid in Race 2.

  • Banking on the dunes

    In any other year, this season’s Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix would have run the risk of being labelled uninspiring, if not bland.  But in fact, it was a kind of miracle.  Here was a motorsport event that went ahead on its planned date (September 5-6), with a crowd that was allowed to roam free in the paddock, and without the obligation of facial protection – as far we know still a unique situation in this mad world of 2020.  What’s more, as the news of the Spa Six Hours’ cancellation came in on the Friday, the entrants made sure that they enjoyed themselves twice as much for the remainder of the weekend.

    Mattijs Diepraam Reports

    That the event would happen as planned hadn’t been a given all summer.  With the UK putting the Netherlands back on its quarantine list in the run-up to the event, it looked very much under threat – sure enough, the HSCC pulled its Historic Formula 2 and 1000cc F3 contributions from the original programme, the HGPCA also withdrew its grid of Grand Prix cars, and on top of that the FIA announced the cancellation of all FIA historic championships.  This didn’t affect the two FIA grids promoted by Masters Historic Racing, as they would simply run as Masters Historic Formula One and Masters Historic Sports Cars, but the one-off FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup – by now a fresh Zandvoort tradition – was axed, despite initially having attracted a healthy entry of 20-plus cars.  As one of the F3 grid’s main suppliers said, “We would have had to remain in our own bubble during the entire weekend, in the same conditions now applied to today’s F1 and WEC paddocks.  But we are not here to win at all costs.  We are amateurs coming to Zandvoort to meet people and enjoy ourselves.”

    Photos Peter Heil

    And so the Zandvoort organisers looked to the east to find the German-based FHR organisation eager and willing to visit their newly renovated motor racing accommodation with its exciting pair of freshly banked corners.  It also created an opportunity to invite the Kampf der Zwerge gang, the Germans who cherish the smallest touring cars that ever raced.  Two weeks ahead of the event, the quarantine exemption granted to Masters was further tightened, which resulted in their losing many of the smaller teams and the cancellation of the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race, but still the three-day programme was packed from nine to five every day, with no lunch breaks on Saturday and Sunday, the final day even running to a 7pm closing time.  The weather helped, as only a few scattered showers interrupted the sunny late-summer conditions.  And the crowd too had banked their motorsport money on the event, as on both weekend days the main grandstand filled up nicely to its maximised capacity, while in the paddock social distancing became a challenge at various places.  It was as if they thought that this was a once-in-a-season opportunity – and looking at the historic calendar ahead it seems that they were right.

    In the F1 races, Mike Cantillon proved unstoppable, the Williams FW07C driver clinching both wins in dominant form

    With 14 Formula 1 cars, the Zandvoort entry list looked healthier than in COVID-free 2019, and the quality was well up too.  The Dutch-based Historic Monoposto Racing association was dealt the tough task of replacing the F2 and F3 bonanza pulled from the programme by the HSCC and the FIA.  With 14 cars, their grid was much smaller than usual, but still some of the midfield battles proved very entertaining.

    The Masters Historic Sports Car entry disappointed with just ten cars, but with four Lola T70s, two Chevron B19s and Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1 there was no shortage of fast cars with winning potential.

    The German-based seventies sportscar series was headed by Felix Haas in the Lola T294,

    Without a shadow of doubt, most sportscar excitement was delivered by two 30-minute FHR 100 Meilen Trophy races.  The German-based seventies sportscar series was headed by Felix Haas in the Lola T294, Georg Hallau in the Lola T310 and Peter Schleifer’s McLaren M8F.  On Saturday, Haas and Hallau were at it hammer and tongs until, with five minutes left to run, Haas was forced to bail out with a puncture. 

    With 53 cars, the Dutch ‘66-‘81 GTTC championship provided a bumper grid that was almost to the track’s full capacity of 58 cars.  The second race was won by the best of the series’ regulars, Saturday’s runner-up Hans de Graaf in his Porsche Carrera RS fending off Wolfgang Pledl’s Escort Mk1 RS1600. 

    The Lotus Cortina of Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas and the Hart winning Bizzarrini 5300GT exit the spectacular banking

    Meanwhile, the German HTGT championship ran a concurrent one-hour race in that Sunday two-hour curtain-closer, and the Schmersal/Stursberg Escort won that too, heading Tom Kuiper’s Corvette Stingray and the Nigel Greensall/David Gooding Mustang.

    The previous day, Greensall was the star of qualifying for Sunday morning’s Masters 90-minute Gentlemen Drivers race.  Stepping into Andrew Haddon’s shoes as Mark Martin’s pro teammate, Greensall pipped all the local heroes for pole, and then in the race created a 30-second gap to David Hart’s Bizzarrini in his opening stint in Martin’s freshly built Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé.  But then Martin was hit by a double whammy – first an issue with his HANS device botched his driver change with Greensall, allowing Olivier Hart to jump the Daytona Cobra in just two laps after the stops, and then a puncture and its subsequent replacement pushed him down to sixth.  It would have been interesting to see how much work the lightning-quick Hart Jr would have had in chasing Martin in a healthy Daytona Coupé after a trouble free stop.

    For a full report see our October issue…….

  • Postponed from its original June date, Historic Promotions’ Thruxton Historic event delivered lashings of nostalgia on 15-16 August.  An eclectic mix of cars – the oldest dating way back to the 1920s, when the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club, forerunner of the current BARC was in its pomp – entertained spectators and classic car club members, permitted here for the first time this season.  Grids included cars of a type that competed at the airfield in 1952-‘53 (on different circuits), painted pictures of the fallow interval until ‘68 when it reopened on the current ultra-fast perimeter track, and traced much of its modern history.

    Marcus Pye Reports

    On a programme – not that one was printed per current Motorsport UK rules – on which rousing Jaguar C, D and E-type tussles delighted onlookers in the Motor Racing Legends’ sports and GT showcases, the other major highlight of the weekend was a splendid race for Pre-War Sportscars, a spectacle not seen at Thruxton since the Aston Martin Owners Club  hosted a pre-war race there in 2004.  Relayed by Blakeney Motorsport spannerman Mike Grant Peterkin, the intrepid Patrick Blakeney-Edwards overtook feisty German Rudi Friedrichs’ 4.3-litre Alvis Firefly in a whir of chains to win brilliantly in his 1929 Frazer Nash Super Sports.              

    Start of the Pre-war race.  Photos Eric Sawyer

    Four E-type Jaguars, braces of hooded roadsters and fixed head coupes, initially led the Pre-‘63 GT race.  Impressive leader James Cottingham had just handed over the ex-Merle Brennan US racer – a year to the day after its purchase – to Harvey Stanley when its distributor self-destructed.  With the James Hanson/Paul Pochciol coupe out with a brake issue, again just after the mandatory stop, current British Touring Car Championship racer Rory Butcher took Jon Minshaw’s dove grey roadster on to victory over soloist Oliver Bryant’s coupe, its engine power blunted by a misfire.

    Driving the ex-Tom Hart Lola Mk1, in which veteran Dickie Le Strange Metcalfe won the final race of Goodwood’s contemporary era in July 1966, when the car was four years old, Ben Adams won the RAC Woodcote/Stirling Moss Trophy ‘50s sportscar enduro outright from the younger division.

    Four E-type Jaguars, braces of hooded roadsters and xed head coupes, initially led the Pre-‘63 GT race

    Mike Grant Peterkin kept Friedrichs on his toes in the opening half of the Pre-War race which embroiled cars representing 10 marques.  In a typically audacious manoeuvre, Blakeney-Edwards ambushed his rival into the chicane for victory in his Meadows-engined Nash.  “It’s scary out the back,” smiled Pat, an understatement surely, since he’d lapped the flowing 2.356-mile circuit in 1m42.050s (an average of 83.11mph) in a 91-year-old car with no differential and on 4.50 x 19in tyres.

    Completing a remarkable weekend for PB-E, he and Gregor Fisken landed aggregate victory in the twin-legged Historic Touring Car Challenge driving a husky Group 2 Rover SDI.

    Famous Healey wins on return to Thruxton

    Sometime F3000 pilot and ‘87 European F3 champion Dave Coyne won a gripping Historic Racing Drivers’ Club Jack Sears Trophy 1958-’65 Touring Car race in Adrian Miles’ Ford Mustang, thanks to Tony Absolom’s Automotive Solutions team, which changed the gearbox post-qualifying.  Coyne grunted ahead of John Spiers’ Lotus Cortina (which Tiff Needell put on pole) at the start of lap two as a Cortina fight unfolded around him.

    The race card’s sensational highlight was Mark Holme and Jeremy Welch’s tremendously hard-earned but totally against-the-odds GT & Sports Car Cup victory on VW Fun Cup stalwart Holme’s debut in SMO 746, the famous 1959 works Austin-Healey 3000 rally car, which the late John Gott subsequently raced extensively – notably in big-winged Modsports specification at Thruxton in 1970 and ‘71 – but hibernated until 2018 after Gott’s death in ‘72.

    Completing a remarkable weekend for Patrick Blakeney- Edwards, he and Gregor Fisken landed aggregate victory in the Historic Touring Car Challenge driving a Group 2 Rover SDI

    Holme had not driven SMO until Saturday’s qualifying session, when its gearbox broke.  Undeterred, he made a 280-mile round trip to transplant the box from his other competition Healey, returning for the 90-minute feature race.  Keith Ahlers (Morgan +4 SLR), Holme and Crispin Harris (Healey) led initially, before James Hanson blasted Paul Pochciol’s Jaguar E-type from the back of the grid and took the initiative.  While Jeremy Welch – due to drive the middle stint in Holme’s 3000, then finish Doug Muirhead’s - was signalling Mark to slow down, top qualifier Ben Adams was on a fuel-saving mission in his little Lola Mk1.  William Paul, meanwhile, kept the leaders within range before installing British Touring Car Championship Ford Focus star Rory Butcher in his semi-lightweight E-type.

    Richard Merrell snarled his scorpion-logoed Giulia GT Junior to HRDC Alfa Challenge gold.  Photo Jeff Bloxham

    Once aboard, Butcher sped into the distance, effectively presenting his car owner the lead when Adams made his second mandatory stop in the Lola.  But surprises lay ahead.  Adams had reeled-in Billy Bellinger (in Ahlers’ dark green Morgan coupe) and repassed Paul, with 11 minutes remaining.  Two laps later, though, the Jag ground to a halt, its 90 litres of fuel exhausted.  Then Adams, two-thirds of a lap clear of Holme with three to run, pulled off out of juice.  Holme thus motored round the final three laps, taking the chequered flag 49 seconds ahead of Ahlers.

    Richard Merrell snarled his scorpion-logoed Giulia GT Junior to HRDC Alfa Challenge gold in Sunday’s curtain-closer.

  • Historic Tour – Dijon – Charade

    What was meant to be a well-spaced calendar of five meetings, leaving a long summer break for “les vacances”,  turned into an action-packed month of August when first, Historic Tour Dijon, the second in this year’s series, took place on 15-16 August, and Historic Tour Charade took place two weeks later

    After a first meeting at Albi, the French drivers (and many foreign drivers – some 30% of the entries) turned out at Dijon, with some grids joining forces with their counterparts from neighbouring countries, such as the F3 1000cc cars running with the Formula Ford Historics, or the Kampf der Zwerge, the German equivalent of the Maxi 1300 series running in tandem with the French cars, and the German FFR joining forces with the Formula Ford Zetec.

    Guest F3 driver Jeremy Timms led the Formula Ford Historic pack at Dijon

    For the local drivers, two races for most series offered additional opportunities to earn points towards the two French Championship titles.  After the first event at Albi, there were 11 drivers who had won two races at Albi, and were therefore on equal points.

    Big winners at Dijon were François Belle, who took two Formula Ford Historic wins to add to his strong points tally from Albi, though in the first race he was bested by guest F3 driver Jeremy Timms (Chevron B15) by 0.137 of a second.  Finally defeated in the first race at Charade, he re-established his winning credentials over Alain Girardet in the second race, making three wins out of four races over the two weekends.

    Franck Quagliozzi has completely dominated the Youngtimers in his Honda Civic

    Another Dijon double winner was Frédéric Rouvier.  Already undefeated at Albi in his March 783 in Formula 3 Classic, he was shadowed home both times by Italian Valerio Leone in a similar March, in both cases by mere tenths of a second.   Leone turned the tables at Charade, bringing his March home over two seconds ahead of Rouvier in the first race.  On the same grid but in a different race, Christian Vaglio Giors, also double winner at Albi and, though Swiss, now eligible for the French title, was the only driver to take maximum Monoplaces points with four Formula Renault wins at Dijon and Charade.  He joins Franck Quagliozzi and Laurent Sabatier, who also remain unbeaten this season in Youngtimers GTi Cup and GT Classic respectively, competing for the GT/Tourisme crown.

    Laurent Sabatier, driving a Porsche in the GT Classic series, is one of three drivers that has remained unbeaten so far this season, and one of only two competing in the GT/Tourisme category

    For a full report of both meetings, see our October issue…….

  • Mantorp Classic Festival

    Bengt-Åce Gustavsson reports on the first two race meetings of the Swedish season

    This year is like no other, and for the Swedish RHK historic racing cup, this has meant that this year’s first two competitions were postponed from spring to autumn (Kinnekulle and Karlskoga) and one has been postponed until next year (Knutstorp).  So, this year’s first race meeting wasn’t until August 22-23, when the Mantorp Classic Festival took place.

    Run together with Legends cars and the Sports Cars Championship, more than 200 cars turned out, a very good number given the circumstances.  The event took place without spectators and the schedule was adapted to the circumstances, with some classes running clear before others started in order to reduce the number of people in the paddock. This meant that some had gone home before the last ones arrived.

     

     Torgny Johansson leads the race for cars with Slicks in his F2 March

    Formula Vee had kicked off the season with an invitational race that included several new drivers in the starting line-up.  It was an incredibly exciting race with much overtaking and the outcome was uncertain until the very end. 

    The first Formula Ford race had to be stopped prematurely when the drivers failed to slow sufficiently as they passed marshals working on the track with a stranded car.  The heat was red flagged and the drivers got a scolding. 

    In the Formula Slicks heat, it was gratifying to see so many F3s in the starting field.  Michaela Månlycke has gained renewed confidence driving Torgny Johansson’s March 812 F2 car,  and wise driving saw her move up the field to finish second behind Johansson in his March 782.

    The 1000cc Cup usually boasts the largest starting field, but Mantorp is not a favourite track, as it is too fast for these small cars.  However a dozen brave drivers still rose to the challenge, with Per Skårner’s Fiat Abarth 1000TC taking victory in the first race ahead of the Cooper S of Sissela Lidebjer and Håkan Huggare’s Saab 96.  The second race looked much the same, but unfortunately Lidebjer retired on lap 6, leaving Huggare to finish behind Skårner and Lennart Nilsson, also in a Saab 96.

     

    Photos Bengt-Åce Gustavsson

    RHK has chosen to try a new race division this year with the smaller cars from the 1966-71 class driving together with the standard pre-‘66 cars.  Hans Beckert started this from pole in his old Mini ahead of Kjell Wallin in a newer Mini.  These two Mini experts had a great duel, from which Beckert emerged victorious by half a second, the two leaders distancing the rest of the pack. 

    The pre-‘66 GT races also offered some good dices, with Bengt-Åke Bengtsson (Lotus Elan S2) coming out on top from a battle with Tommy Bencsik’s similar car and the Austin Healey 3000 of Anders Schildt. 

    The newest grid, with cars from 1972-1990 offered a large starting field.  Lennart Bohlin outclassed the others with his monster Corvette while Claes Andersson just managed to squeeze his Opel Kadett GT/E ahead of Rolf “The Mosquito” Nilsson’s Ford Escort RS 1600. 

    Round Two: Eventful Racing

    ...in Changing Weather

    Only two weeks later, more than a hundred Swedish historic racers were out again at Kinnekulle Ring, for an event postponed from May.  On Saturday, everyone got to run a practice and a qualifier in very difficult weather conditions, with first rain, then sun, then sun and rain and even thunder.

    The Formula Vee fielded 19 cars, with Johan Lund, Richard “Tiny” Persson and Lars-Gunnar “Vegas” Johansson resuming their battle of two weeks earlier, finishing the first race in that order.  Lund also led the second race and took out a gap to the rest of the field, but when it was time to lap the back markers, he lost out to “Tiny” who went on to win the race.

    In the Formula Ford heat, it was the twin carburettor Formula Vee of Johan Lund on rain tyres that had the advantage in the wet qualifying, but the race was dry, handing the advantage back to the Fords.  “The plan is to take Lund before the second curve, before he has time to get the heat into his slicks,” said Håkan Tagesson before the race.  However, the tactic failed, though Lund eventually had to let Henry Sandblom past. 

    In Formula Slicks, we saw no slicks in the wet qualifier.  Rain specialist Sonny Johansson took his Reynard 883 to pole, with pre-race favourite Torgny Johansson’s March F2 only fourth on the grid.  In the dry race Torgny was quickly up to second, but there he remained behind Sonny lap after lap.  Maybe he lulled the Reynard driver into a false sense of security, but suddenly Torgny was past and stretching out a gap.   

    In the Sports 2000 class, Henrik Hansson took a double victory in his Tiga. 

    Keep your distance signs hang at the entrance of empty grandstands overlooking quiet paddocks

    The 1000cc Cup has always provided a reliably large field, but at Kinnekulle they were only 14 cars.  It was really SAAB weather in the qualifiers, which suited Per Ola Persson well when he took his first ever pole position.  He thought about how to use it to his advantage in a dry race, but failed, as Per Skårner took his Abarth into the lead at the start.  Persson, however, hung in well and was less than a second behind at the finish. 

    Standard pre-‘66 cars over 1000cc was the smallest grid of the weekend with only six entrants.  Newcomer Kevin Bengtsson took the lead in his Mini Cooper S, but lost it to Per Skårner’s similar car  after a violent spin under the bridge.  Skårner thanked him for the invitation, but had to stop with a puncture.  Veteran Hans Eklund (Saab Sonnett) stepped forward and won ahead of a recovered Bengtsson. 

    In the GT class it was not surprising that the old rally fox Claes Andersson (Austin Healey 3000) would take pole in the wet qualifier, but in the race it got a bit tougher.  Rolf “The Mosquito” Nilsson, made a comeback to the class, helping Tommy Bencsik sort out his new Lotus Elan. 

    Anders Berger completely dominated the latest standard car class (1972-1990) in his purple Ford Escort, beating an equally safe second placed Claes Andersson (Opel Kadett) by half a minute in both heats. 

    See our October issue.....

  • Three Cheers for Favaro

    Jean-Marie Biadatti reports

     The 29th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 had to be postponed to September because of the pandemic and the continuing health situation led some competitors to withdraw at the last minute.  There were nevertheless 195 competitors still at the start, with 102 in regularity and 93 in the competition category, the latter including four previous winners.  Shaun Lynn and Ludovic Caron brought Shelby Cobras, Jean-Pierre Lajournade was in his winning Jaguar E-type, and the winner of the last two editions, Raphaël Favaro, who drove a Lotus Elan 26R in 2018 and 2019, was this year at the wheel of a Jaguar E-Type belonging to his co-driver, Lucien-Charles Nicolet, prepared by Equipe Europe.  Damien Kohler also abandoned his Lotus Elan for a 289 Shelby Cobra maintained by Gipimotor.  Porsche prototypes were in the spotlight for 2020 and there were three 906s in the VHC field, as well as a Porsche 904.

    This year there was no start from a chateau but on the legendary Linas-Montlhéry circuit where the first special stage started on the road and ended on the speed ring, making an atypical special that saw Favaro dominate the debate.  We then witnessed a sumptuous battle on the Magny-Cours circuit in grid 4, which saw the victory of Mr John of B’s ​​Porsche 906.  Meanwhile Caron dropped right down in the results following contact with the Cobra of Frédéric Jousset, who was forced to retire.  There was also a beautiful battle in grid 3 between Sébastien Berchon (Austin Healey 100/4) and Stanislas Gurdjian (Morgan +4 Super Sport) that would continue at all circuits.

      

    Chased variously by the Cobras of Shaun Lynn, Ludovic Caron and Damien Kohler, and the Porsche 906 of Mr John of B, Raphaël Favaro resisted them all to take his third Tour Auto victory, this time in an E-type Jaguar shared with Lucien-Charles Nicolet

    The second leg started from Clermont-Ferrand and allowed competitors to have an early morning race on the grandiose circuit of Charade.   On the evening of this second leg, Mr John of B’s ​​Porsche 906 led the general classification ahead of Lynn by six short seconds, with Kohler and Lajournade further back.

    The third leg, which took the rally from Limoges to Toulouse should have included a race on the Albi circuit, but the change of date for the event meant the circuit was no longer available.  Instead, there were three road special stages.  This was Favaro’s day, the Swiss getting to grips with his new mount and winning all three stages! 

    On day 4 competitors crisscrossed the roads of southern France, passing through the magnificent site of the Cirque de Navacelles.  Once again Favaro dominated special stages, while Mr John of B lost a little time in a minor exit from the road.  Kohler missed a turning which made him also lose precious seconds. 

     

    Less comfortable on the roads, Mr John of B lost time to the GT cars on the special, stages.  Photos PhotoClassicRacing.com

    The last leg was shortened, with the finish taking place at the Paul Ricard circuit.  It remained only for Favaro to manage his lead, and he left the scratch win of the last special stage to Lajournade and the victory on the Castellet circuit to Kohler, who won it after a final twist of fate when the Porsche 906 of Mr John of B stopped with a seized gearbox. 

    The final victory therefore went to Raphaël Favaro and Lucien-Charles Nicolet ahead of Jean-Pierre Lajournade and Christophe Bouchet and the Cobra of a Damien and Sylvie Kohler for what was an edition filled with suspense and drama. 

    We should also note the excellent performance of Sébastien Berchon in his Austin Healey 100/4, a car from grid 3 that punched above its weight to finish in a fine fourth place. 

    "

    For us it was above all an edition to familiarise ourselves with the Cobra, which is much more powerful than what we have driven in the past,” explained Damien Kohler. “... nishing on the podium is a real satisfaction. Our direct opponents have been warned: next year, we are back to play for the win!”

    A very important part of the Tour Auto is the index of performance result.  Here three lovely cars topped the podium, with Gilles and Marielle Couraudon winning in a Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500 ahead of Diego Meier and the romantically named Giacomo Amoroso in a Ferrari 225S Vignale Berlinetta and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce of Jean-Yves Beaupigny and Garard Dumesne.  In fifth place was arguably the most exotic car in the rally:  a Pichon Parat Dolomites in the hands of Hugo Baldy.  A good fight all week between the Ferrari 308 Gr4 Michelotto of the Jean brothers and the Porsche 911 3.0 RSR of Emmanuel Brigand in the G/H/I categories resulted in a win for the Italian car, which finally to a lead of 2m16secs over the Porsche.

    The regularity section attracts more and more specialists and becomes more and more closely fought.  Regular Tour Auto competitors  Jean-François Nicoules with his son François won this year for the  fourth time at the wheel of a Ford Mustang, beating 2018 winner Jean Rigondet in Porsche 356 and Patrick Bonnardel, driving a Triumph TR4.

    For a full report, see out October isse…….

  • Bumper entries mark the resumption of the French rally season

    Rallye de la Châtaigne

    After the long break between the Touquet Pas-de-Calais rally in March, and the second round of the French Historic Rally Championship, the Rallye de la Châtaigne finally got under way on 19-21 August.  The 2020 edition offered a concentrated route with more than 160 special stage kilometres with the city of Autun, in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, as its hub.  A record attendance of 171 competitors in modern cars, 57 in VHC and 22 in historic regularity, with waiting lists, welcomed the return of the French Rally Championship.  Competitors praised the organisers for their forethought in ensuring the safety of all the participants and spectators in the light of the COVID restrictions and remarked how well-run every aspect of the rally was.

    Impressive entry in Parc Fermé in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

    In the historic speed competition, past WRC driver, Alain Oreille, with wife Sylvie as usual on the notes, was the star of the show, untouchable in his 911 Porsche, finishing over two minutes ahead of reigning French Historic Champion Alain Foulon’s Ford Escort RS and winning 11 of the 12 special stages outright, and fastest in all 12 in his category.  Foulon’s challenge was hampered by a fuel pump failure on the first stage, but he and co-driver, Sébastien Mettai, finished third overall and second to Oreille in the crucial group 1/2/3/4 category.  Benoit Chavet and Pascal Boyer in their BMW M3 drove the only group N/A/B car to outclass them for second overall and victory in their category. 

    Christophe and Anne Baillet won a three-Porsche race in the regularity section.

    Rally Mont Blanc Morzine

    Leader for half the Mont Blanc rally, Alain Rulland in his BMW M3 fell back to third but suddenly went on the attack in the very last stage to pulverise last year’s winner, Pascal Perroud, taking over 18 seconds off him in the stage and nally winning the rally by 6.8 seconds

    Next on the French Calendar was the Rallye Mont Blanc, on 3-5 September.  Once again there was a full house, with 315 entries of all categories including 58 in historic competition.  Alain Rulland, accompanied by Xavier Machet, proved himself to be king of the Alpes in his BMW M3, fastest overall and winner of his category.

  • The 2020 NK HTGT season finally got underway at Zandvoort on the weekend of  12-13 September with two 45-minute races in the Kronos organised Benelux Open weekend.  Despite COVID restrictions in the Netherlands, some 25 teams were raring to go, sharing the track with Triumph Competitions.  Qualifying was interrupted by a red flag, but the clock was stopped and the session generously restarted after everything had been cleared up.  Full marks to Kronos for this, other organisers please take note!  Rhea Sautter and Andy Newall took pole in their E-type, posting a 2:00.8 lap on the new circuit layout.

    The first race on Friday afternoon saw Newall build up a lead from Jos Stevens in his Lotus Elan, with Bob Stevens, who had had trouble in qualifying moving up quickly to fight for fourth with the Ford Falcon of father and son Jaap and Jacky van der Ende.  Sadly both these teams were to retire.

    After the compulsory pitstop, Stevens overhauled Sautter, now in the E-type to take the win.  Roland Zoomers took third in his E-type, beating touring car winner Bart Deenik (Ford Falcon).

    Saturday’s race again saw Newall build up a lead, only for Stevens to take over after the pitstop.  Kaj Dahlbacka drove a steady race and took third in the Corvette Grand Sport, while Frans van Maarschalkerwaart (Shelby Mustang) managed to reel in Zoomers E-type, only to receive a time penalty for a pitlane infringement.

    Bart Deenik (Ford Falcon) and Bas Jansen (Ford Mustang) were touring car winners and Sjoerd Peereboom and Jasper Izaks won GTS11 in their MGB both times.

  • “A lot of investment of self goes into a winning car at this level.  It involves keeping going beyond reason when things do not go so well.”

    It is with the upmost sadness that I write that Jon Dooley, a friend of 35 years and someone with whom I have enjoyed many adventures, left us on 2 September.  The historic motor racing world has lost a great supporter and the Alfa Romeo owners of this world will all be particularly hard hit by his absence.  He was a font of experience and knowledge and his generosity in sharing what he knew and his love for the cars was prodigious.

    His racing career is well documented.  From his Giulietta racing days while still at university to his co-founding of the Squadra Alfa, which later became the Alfa Romeo Dealer Team, running the British Saloon Car Championship and the BTCC in the mid-seventies all the way up to the 1980s.  With a string of first and seconds in class, this happy band of privateers – every member of the team, including the engineers and mechanics had day jobs – caused a sensation, competing on a budget of less than 10% of the professional teams they were up against.  Napolina, which imports Italian foods into the UK, first lent its support to the team in 1976, and its colours of black relieved by red and green striping became synonymous with ARDT cars for many years.   In 1980, he took an eight-year-old Alfa Sud with 85,000 miles on it and turned into a racer that won the 1300cc class in the 1981 Saloon Car championship against the works Metros in the Tricentrol series.   

    He was at various times the owner of Brookside Garage, which prepared Alfas for competition, the Chairman of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club, the editor of their magazine, the founder and Chairman of the Scuderia del Portello GB, financial controller of Alfa GB and the owner of many historic Alfas and other cars.  Most recently he has been writing articles for the Alfa Romeo magazines and he was working on a book recounting the history of the Alfa Romeo factory at Portello.  He was also the friend who, though wildly overqualified, took the financial side of Historic Motor Racing News in hand and made sure we paid our VAT and filed our taxes correctly. 

    Amongst my many memories of him was his support when I decided to get a racing licence and he held my hand and team managed me in my first season of racing – in an Alfa of course.  My car was faster than his, so I outqualified him and lined up on the grid a couple of rows ahead.  When the lights changed for the standing start, I thought I was doing pretty well when he shot past me as if I was standing still, and of course went on to beat me soundly in the race.  When I asked him if he’d jumped the start, he replied,  “No, I was just in a hurry.”  Also, once the licence was obtained, we did a crazy trip down to Perugia in 1990 for the historic Giro dell’Umbria in my little Alfa SZ, during which we rarely ever stopped laughing.  That’s when I discovered he was an even worse passenger than me.  Or sharing the car at the Christies Festival at Silverstone when Jon was uncharacteristically late for drivers’ briefing.  Reason:  He rolled his Fiat Uno on the roundabout coming out of Towcester and it took him a while to get the car upright again!  I learned so much about driving from him.  During that Silverstone meeting, with quiet confidence building, he talked me into going five seconds a lap quicker.  One of the greatest compliments I was ever paid was when Gregor Fisken said to me, after we’d been dicing on the track that day, “Oh I thought it was Jon driving.”

    In our October 2019 issue he talks about his time as an amateur competitor against the pros with clear pride in his accomplishments, but also with the down to earth realism that all who knew him appreciated so much.  Despite his many accomplishments he was incapable of being arrogant or snobby and instead maintained a simple, friendly attitude to everyone he met.  He shared his time and his knowledge with all who needed it, and he was a good friend to those who were lucky enough to count amongst his friends. 

    To his wife Meg, to his brother James, and to all his many friends and family we offer our sincerest condolences.  We very much share in your sadness at his going.  Rest in Peace Dear Jon.  CS

     

  • We have lost another friend this month with the passing of Patrick Quiniou, after a long spell of ill health at the age of only 65.   A  whole generation of French racers will have great memories of Patrick  and the race meetings he organised, most notably the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or and the Grand Prix Historique de Pau.  Patrick began his involvement as a racer, with a Terrier, then a Lotus 23 and a Mustang, but preferred to focus his efforts on the organisational side of things.  He became President of ASAVÉ in 1997 and remained in the role until 2000.  He also created the autumn meeting that is now known as the Dijon Motors Cup, and took over the organisation of the very popular Easter Meeting at Paul Ricard.  He brought his son, Louis, into the business, giving him the foundation that has allowed him to go on to have an important role in the historic section of the FIA.

    Patrick’s conception of historic racing was that it should be fun for all the participants, that things should be kept simple and friendly and that no one should take themselves too seriously.  He had a light touch, keeping officialdom to a minimum and his meetings were always relaxed and a pleasure to attend.  With the reputation for being irascible at times, overriding that Patrick had a wonderful sense of fun and humour, for which he will always be remembered. 

    To his family, Carol, Louis, Margaux and Lauren, we offer our sincerest condolences.

  • The Blower Continuation Series is a run of 12 newly-built recreations of one of the most famous Bentleys of all time – the supercharged 4½-Litre ‘Blower’ Bentley raced by Sir Tim Birkin in the late 1920s.  Forming the world’s first pre-war continuation series, Bentley Motors is creating 12 cars amid protests from owners of real Bentleys and the disapproval of many historians and lovers of the original cars.  All 12 new cars have been pre-sold.

     

  • Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR), organisers of Daytona 24 Classic and Sebring Classic 12 Hour, amongst many others, has been named the new sanctioning body of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS).  The previous sanctioning body was the Historic Motor Sports Association.

    In the new multi-year partnership, HSR will provide expertise in vetting entries for authenticity, competitor and participant registration and full technical scrutineering for both the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Monterey Pre-Reunion.

    Previously owned by SCRAMP, who also held the franchise for the track, and now owned by the County of Monterey, new track managers A&D Narigi will take care of the event in its entirety, retaining the marshals, rescue and medical, timing and scoring and all ancillary activities associated with the event. 

    HSR will play a critical role in the selection process and ensure the cars are appropriately grouped.  It will take responsibility for technical inspection, competitor relations and conduct driver meetings, etc.  When it comes to on-track racing, HSR will be the primary point of contact.

    Established in the mid-1970s, HSR is currently operated by David Hinton, who acquired majority ownership of the organisation in 2012 in partnership with the late George Tuma.  A racer himself, who often participates at Monterey, Hinton has served as HSR President ever since.  When asked about his plans for the event, Hinton said, “I think what they’ve got going on has been phenomenal with the best cars in the world racing out there and I don’t think we need to change that.  It’s simply the best vintage race in the country.  Some of the people on the East Coast have never been comfortable going out there, so I think they might be a little more inclined to send an entry in now.”

    “Our intent is to continue evolving the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to new levels of excitement by continuing to attract and present the very finest historic and authentic race cars that owners want to drive and fans want to see,” explained John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway. “In partnership with HSR, we will continue this journey.”

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