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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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Contents October Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Tour Auto - Rally Asturias - Scottish Malts - VSCC Mallory Park - Seven Questions with Jean Ragnotti - Monterey Motorsport Reunion - Oulton Park Gold Cup - French Championships, Historic Tour Val de Vienne - Hockenheim Historic - Vallelunga Classic - Goodwood Revival (four pages form Marcus Pye) - Limonest Hillclimb

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October 2021

  • The NKHTGT celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Circuito de Catalunya near Barcelona, offering season entrants a free pair of races to celebrate the milestone.  Supporting the Hankook 24 Hour Series, the Dutch Championship racers got set up and ready to qualify on Friday, with a 50-minute night race on Friday and a 30-minute Saturday morning race.

    While it had been sunny and warm all day, there was a rain shower during qualifying at which Andy Newall excelled in the E-type that he shares with Rhea Sautter.  Frans van Maarschalkerwaart took P2 thanks to a super-fast lap in his Shelby Mustang GT350 when it was still just about dry.  Michiel Campagne (Corvette GS) and Mark Dols (Marcos 1800GT) qualified on row 2. 

    A good number of NKHTGT drivers made the trip to Spain. The programme included a night race for them

    At 8pm on Friday, it was time for the evening race.  Campagne took the lead at the start, followed by Armand Adriaans in this “normal” Corvette.  On lap 7, Adriaans came to a stop in a dangerous spot, calling out the safety car.  A number of drivers benefited from this, in combination with the opening of the pit window.  Campagne left his stop too late, allowing Newall, now in the E-type, to take the lead ahead of Norbert Gross (Ford Falcon) who had passed Martin Bijleveld in the pits, and Erwin van Lieshout who made a giant leap into third with his Porsche 911.  Campagne managed to recover to second place but could not catch Newall.  As darkness fell the E-type came home with a lead of over a minute.  Gross took the third podium spot and won the touring car class. 

    The following morning, shortly after the start, Hemmo Vriend’s Ford Falcon broke down, and once again the safety car was called out.  This caught most drivers by surprise and caused chaos.  When the dust had settled, Campagne was in the lead, with the Ford Falcons of Jaap van der Ende and Norbert Gross giving chase ahead of a group that included van Maarschalkerwaart, Thijs van Gammeren (Ford Falcon), Rhea Sautter and Mark Dols’ Marcos.  Van der Ende was safe in second place when Gross had to pit to remove a flapping Falcon wing, while Sautter fought her way through the crowd to take third, and van Maarschalkerwaart, van Gammeren and Jac Meeuwissen completed the top 6.  Shadowing Meeuwissen’s big Healey home was Thijmen de Vries who drove a mighty race in his little Cooper S to finish seventh.

     

  • This year’s Royal Automobile Club London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which celebrates the passing into law of the Locomotive on the Highway Act that raised the speed limit for self-propelled  locomotives in England from 4mph to 14mph, will be a very special one, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the first ‘Motor Car Tour to Brighton’, the famous Emancipation Run of 1896

    Despite its significance, records of that very first Run are somewhat sketchy.  It is believed that 33 of the 54 entries published in the programme actually set out (after a breakfast including wine) in atrocious weather from London’s Hôtel Métropole, and around 16 of those starters are said to have taken part in the finishers’ parade in Brighton.  One of these, an electric car with limited range, is known to have travelled by rail and subsequently been splashed with mud to complete the deception!

    More than speeding up the introduction of motorised vehicles, the momentous Emancipation Run symbolised the freedom of the open road and dawn of the global automobile industry, with manufacturers such as Mercedes, Cadillac, Ford, Renault and Peugeot still familiar on our roads today, while others such as Century, Crestmobile, Elmore, Gladiator, Napoleon, Rexette and Minerva have fallen by the wayside.

    The Run is open to four-wheeled cars, tri-cars and motor tricycles built before 1 January 1905, and close to 300 of these pioneering veterans, representing more than 50 early automotive brands, have already signed up for this year’s very special edition, to be held, as tradition dictates, on Sunday 7 November.   Moreover, more than 100 have also registered for the previous day’s Veteran Car Concours, a highlight of The Regent Street Motor Show set on the capital’s famous shopping destination.  See www.veterancarrun.com for all the details of ‘London Car Week,’ which culminates in the Brighton Run.

  • First run last year in order to provide some end-of-season racing for its members after the cancellation of the Spa Six Hours, Motor Racing Legends’ Silverstone GP meeting featured a three-hour race for pre-’66 GT cars.  Such was its success, that the three-hour format was retained at Donington in the spring, and another meeting on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit was planned for 30-31 October this year.  Besides the three-hour Pall Mall Cup race, the Amon Cup for GT40s will also be a feature of the meeting.

    Other MRL grids will be running, including the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy, Jaguar Classic Challenge, and the Historic Touring Car Challenge, the latter with subsets for cars of all ages.  Guest grids will be the Jack Sears Trophy and Dunlop Allstars from the HRDC.  Entries are now open and can be made online at motorracinglegends.com.

  • Peter Auto staged two 45-minute Endurance Racing Legends support races at the Le Mans 24 Hours on 20-21 August and produced an impressive 45-car entry of the most notable endurance racers of the 1990s and 2000s.  Shaun Lynn was the winner of the first race in his spectacular Bentley Speed 8 after he vanquished the Dallara of Florent Moulin, and James Cottingham, in another Dallara, spun away the lead in the closing laps.  The overall and Prototype podium was completed by Mike Newton in his faithful MG-Lola, the car he had driven to LMP2 victory in the 2005 and 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours.  The GT battle between the Ferrari 550 Maranello of Dominik Roschmann and the Aston Martin DBR9 driven by Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall ended with the victory of the English car in fourth place overall.

    Cottingham did not repeat his mistake in the second race, taking a lights to flag lead in the Dallara Playstation 2, while Lynn and Moulin had a proper ding-dong for second place, the pair swapping places on several occasions on the Mulsanne straight in their 20-year-old prototypes at speeds of up to 315 km/h.  Moulin gave himself a big scare when he put all four wheels on the grass as he was pushing hard on the exit from the Forest Esses, but he managed to get back on the track without hitting the guardrail!  Finally, the French driver lost contact with Lynn during his pit stop, leaving Friday’s winner to clinch second place.  Another spectacular GT battle raged between two well-known drivers in two legendary cars: Dario Franchitti in an Aston Martin DBR9 and Emmanuel Collard in a Porsche 911 GT1.  Franchitti emerged victorious in the end, a great way for him finish off his weekend of discovery of the big Le Mans circuit on which he admitted he had always dreamed of racing!

  • The Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival powered by Gulf Historic, to give it its full title, will take place on 2-3 December 2021 at the Dubai Autodrome in the context of the 2020 Dubai UAE Universal Exhibition, celebrating 50 years  since the founding of the United Arab Emirates and 40 years after the 1981 Dubai Grand Prix, which was the first motor race held on a circuit in the Persian Gulf.  Promoting the event is GPX Events, a division of the Dubai-based GP Extreme Group, which has amongst its other divisions GPX Historic, a racing team that runs historic F1 and Group C cars.  GPX Events organised the historic F1 support race at the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi that took place in 2017 and has ambitions to develop a ‘Gulf Historic’ series of races over time.  

    According to press releases, the Dubai Revival will be “Both a festive and sporting event with races for historic Formula 1 cars and Group C prototypes, as well as an exhibition village where visitors can see classic cars and collector objects.”  The F1 race will be for cars from 1970 to 1985 and include two qualifying sessions and a 30-minute + 1 lap race.  The Group C prototypes will have a 45-minute + 1 lap race with a mandatory pit stop, so two drivers can run.  When asked, GPX could not reveal how many cars are involved, but GPX Historic fielded 11 historic F1 cars of different eras at Monaco.  Other track activity will include sessions for the Dubai classic car community.  Contact Eléonore Joulie eleonore@gpextreme.com for further details.

  • The US-based Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) has announced an ambitious 17-race schedule for next year, culminating in a return of the U.S. Vintage National Championships at the Circuit of the Americas on 3-6 November. The 2022 season marks the tenth anniversary of SVRA’s acquisition by Parella Motorsports Holdings, Inc., the organisation that has since transformed it from a regional club with a five-race schedule at three venues, to a national organisation that stages events across America. SVRA’s SpeedTour weekends include historic racing, contemporary sports cars, and other features, with the idea of presenting, “the most diverse and exciting array of race car design and engine sounds in the world”. The concept continues to attract sponsorship and increasing membership.

  • The Classic Silverstone event has grown into a complete festival over the years with equal focus on family activities, such as funfair rides, crazy golf, stunt driving displays and a massive shopping village, in a business model that relies on a large infrastructure and a high number of ticket sales. Originally conceived to run a couple of weeks after the British Grand Prix and to make use of the infrastructure already in place, the Classic has taken on a life of its own and circuit owners, the BRDC, have concluded that it needs its own weekend away from the GP. They have therefore set a new date for next year of 26-28 August, a bank holiday weekend in the UK.

    Drivers are already grumbling that this date clashes with the long-established HSCC Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting. “Not ideal, but we will have to live with it,” said Nick Wigley of Goose Live Events, promoter of the Classic. The HSCC runs the sporting side of the Classic and have given assurances that they can run both events on the same weekend using two teams of officials. They also affirm that the grids they have planned for next year’s Classic are not grids that they would normally host at the Gold Cup meeting. However, the clash is bound to have some effect on the driver line-up at both events.

     

     

  • Over the years, starting back in the ‘70s, there have been many “almost anything goes” categories for saloon and sports cars - Super Saloons, Thunder Saloons and Modsports etc., groups that led to the creation of such cars as Gerry Marshall’s Chevy V-8 “Big Bertha” and Mick Hill’s VW Beetle bodied F5000 car.

    Fortunately, the Classic Sports Car Club revived such racing back in 2011 and, after a couple of trial events in 2012, introduced a class for Racing Special Saloons and Modsports, together with the other “Classic” categories run at their race meetings.  The group caters for cars that could have raced up to the end of 1993 with separate classes for those running period correct engines and those with more modern engines.

    For the 2021 season, a 13-race programme at six circuits was planned with the latest rounds at the Brands Hatch August Bank Holiday meeting.  Originally a CSCC two-day affair on the Indy circuit, some COVID rescheduling saw the circuit taken over by a round of the World GT Championship on the full Grand Prix circuit on that weekend.  Unusually for a modern meeting, all the CSCC’s categories were retained to provide the supporting races, which attracted large entries for all categories given the opportunity to race on the full GP circuit.  

    Photo Eric Sawyer

    A total of 40 cars turned out for Sunday morning’s practice with 36 eventually taking the start.  Ironically the change of circumstances had a sting in the tale.  Competitors were scheduled to have two 20-minute races but, following serious barrier damage caused during the first World GT race that led to a 90-minute delay, the first of their races was cancelled.  

    Their one race of the weekend proved to be a four-car battle for the win.  Initially led by Brands specialist Rod Birley with his BMW E36 before Wayne Crabtree took over in his Ford Escort RS200, the MG Modsports of Chris Southcott moved into second.  Sam Wilson’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage then passed Birley on the main straight for third spot.  Crabtree collided with a backmarker approaching Stirlings on the penultimate lap, which eliminated the Escort, and Wilson also moved past Southcott to assume the lead and victory. The Peugeot 309 GTI of Danny Morris, which had been running in third, then inherited second place when Southcott’s MG blew it’s engine on the final lap, leaving poleman Birley to claim the final podium spot.

  • It’s Yesterday Once More…

    Goodwood fans and many among the historic motorsport fraternity had been counting the days down to the September 17-19, 2021 Revival Meeting since COVID torpedoed last year’s event. Two years on from the last edition what they found was a different looking venue, with new elements and familiar ones moved around, plus a wider range of options for those more into lifestyle choices than cars, motorcycles and aeroplanes. This was a proper festival, make no mistake, albeit with racing at its heart, for those into the romance of the motor circuit’s rough and ready 1948-‘66 era on the old RAF Westhampnett aerodrome perimeter track and appreciative of its glossy second heyday built on host the Duke of Richmond and Gordon’s fanatical attention to detail. Marcus Pye Reports..

    Photo Jayson Fong Courtesy Goodwood

    The road menders were back from furlough (why they haven’t fixed that patch of tarmac by the pit entrance yet nobody knows?) as beautifully-attired spectators arrived in their tens of thousands over each of the three days and paddocks full of competitors prepared to tackle one of the world’s most challenging, and unforgiving, circuits. A powerful posse of hot rods opened the 2.4-mile track on each day, and tributes to Goodwood’s most famous son and event patron Sir Stirling Moss - who died in April 2020 - and British Racing Motors split the motorised parades. And in peacetime, for which we are grateful, Sunday’s monumental Festival of Britain cavalcade turned the clocks back to 1951, recognising Britain’s WW2 effort and subsequent recovery as a nation, as the venue did then.

    Racing Peter Burton’s Lotus-Ford 30 for the first time, Phil Keen put in one of the finest drives in Revival history

    On track, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button made his historic racing debut, acquitting himself well in a Jaguar E-type and flying in an AC Cobra. No stranger to the Sussex estate’s Festival of Speed, which predates the Revival, Button drove a racing car, a friend’s Formula Ford, for the first time at Goodwood - at the age of 14. Now 41, and sharing with boyhood mate Alex Buncombe, Jenson was not playing up his chances. Indeed, having grown up with slick tyres since his karting days, the mixed conditions king was prepared for a baptism of fire, having tested the Cobra in the wet at Donington in the week and found comparatively little grip on treaded Dunlop historic race rubber!

    Andy Middlehurst didn’t put a foot wrong, emulating Jim Clark in John Bowers’ Lotus- Climax 25 to win the Glover Trophy race 

    Two regular Revivalists came chasing elusive victories in the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Celebration, centrepiece of Sunday’s programme. Oliver Bryant had come tantalisingly close on several occasions, finishing second twice in his family’s lusty red and gold Cobra, Roy Salvadori’s ‘64 TT car. Surrey Mustang dealer Bill Shepherd, who tested his Formula Fords at Goodwood as a young racer in the late ‘70s, also had two silvers on his plate, the first sharing the fabled AC with Olly’s father Grahame in 2004

    Photo Nick Dungan

    As the hour-long Pre-‘66 GT Pro-Am showpiece panned-out, both played central roles.

    Earlier GT cars contested Friday evening’s Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy race, won (like the Kinrara Trophy race it replaced) by Harvey Stanley and James Cottingham in DK Engineering’s Huffaker E-type.

    Following Sussex Trophy near misses, James Cottingham finally achieved his ambition to win the 1950s sportscar race in the hulking Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro-Jaguar.

     Emanuele Pirro and Richard Meaden took Geoff Gordon’s cheeky modified Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti to third place in the combined St Mary’s Trophy results  

    Keen had put in one of the finest drives in Revival history in the previous Whitsun Trophy V8 slugfest. Racing Peter Burton’s Lotus-Ford 30 for the first time, following a short test on Hethel airfield, he recovered brilliantly from an impromptu rallycross moment at St Mary’s - when the beast jumped out of gear - and overhauled Bryant (Lola T70) to win.

     

    Ben Mitchell’s Richmond Trophy (Grand Prix cars up to 1960) victory in period Goodwood racer Robs Lamplough’s BRM Type 25 merited the approval of those present for the marque’s 70th anniversary celebration.

    Roland Dumas and Bill Shepherd took revenge in Bill’s rumbustious Ford Thunderbird in the St Mary’s Trophy race

    Mark Gillies and Andy Middlehurst landed a seventh Revival win apiece in the Festival of Britain Trophy (Grand Prix and Voiturette cars of the 1930s and ‘40s) and Glover Trophy (1.5-litre Grand Prix machinery of 1961 to 1965) races. Gillies in Dick Skipworth’s Lincoln green two-litre ERA R3B had to use its torque to repass Michael Gans in the black 1500cc R1A (saddled by Claude Hamilton in the ‘51 FOB event) having been boxed by Peter Greenfield’s Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta at Lavant. Duncan Ricketts completed an ERA clean sweep, dedicating his third place in the low-line GP1 to tin-top racer brother Norman who died of COVID earlier this year.

    Photo Eric Sawyer

    Wet weather was just what the Frazer Nash boys ordered for their Brooklands Trophy pre-war contest. From a lower sightline than his usual monstrous Fiat Beast of Turin’s, Duncan Pittaway relayed Eddie Williams to victory in Charles Gillett’s Meadows-engined TT Replica, an ex-Brooklands racer.

    An unfortunate incident on oil at Madgwick defused the Freddie March Trophy finale as the battle between David Hart (Maserati 300S), Steve Brooks (Jaguar D-type) and poleman Gregor Fisken (HWM-Jaguar) was hotting-up.

    Tribute to Stirling Moss   Photo Eric Sawyer

    For the full story see our October 2021 issue...

  • After last year’s cancellation of the Bosch Hockenheim Historic, the organisers did everything they could to make sure it would happen in 2021.  As a tribute event to Jim Clark, it usually takes place in April, the month Jim Clark suffered his fatal crash at Hockenheim, but the dreaded COVID dictated that no event could go ahead in the spring.  As soon as the lights went green, the Hockenheimring moved the event to late-August and made sure it applied all government COVID rules. 

     Sadly, Casper Elgaard retired the Porsche 917/10 from the Can-Am race.  Photos Peter Heil

    Tim Havermans Reports

    Normally we would have seen some international grids at this event, but the Lurani Trophy for Formula Junior, the HSCC Historic Formula 2 and the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association dropped out when their schedules clashed with the new August date.  The German grids more than made up for it, as some 500 racing cars filled the infield of the Motordrom, amongst them full grids for the Colmore Youngtimers, Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge, GT Classics, Kampf der Zwerge, the HTGT Dunlop Trophy, Formula Vee and the less well-furnished Sports & Can-Am and Group C.   Demos and regularity events rounded out the programme.  Spectators were allowed both in the grandstands and paddocks and nearly 20,000 turned up for the occasion.

    Peter Mücke dominated the GT Classic race in his Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri, winning the race with a 45-second margin

    The presence of the Porsche 917/10 in the Can-Am series surprised many.  Casper Elgaard, however, could not cash-in his pole-position.  He suffered mechanical issues and didn’t make it to the finish line, leaving victory to Michael Gans in his Lola T290.  Also notable was the presence of 11 Group C cars that got a 45-minute race on Sunday, won by Michael Lyons in his Gebhardt C91.

    Christian Nowak took his brutish Cobra to double victory in the Colmore YTCC races

    Amongst the double race winners were Christian Nowak, who won two out of three Colmore Youngtimer races, Georg Hallau, who took two victories in his Lotus 23 in the Gentle Drivers Trophy races, and Swiss driver Luciano Arnold, who twice vanquished all comers in the Historic Racecar Association races in his Brabham BT36.

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

  • Historic Tour Val de Vienne

    The French Historic Circuits Championships (Historic Tour) reached its halfway point at the 3.7km Val de Vienne circuit in western France on 3-5 September, with 250 drivers in 19 races.   After two races each at Albi and Dijon, contenders for the two 2021 French championship titles have already taken position, with, in the Monoplaces/Protos category, Lionel Robert (Martini MK48 in Formula Renault Classic) slightly increasing his lead over Matthieu Châteaux (Ralt RT3 1982, F3 Classic).  Sébastien Mathieu (1996 BMW M3 GTR in GT Classic) was on equal points with Pierre-François Rousselot (Cobra Daytona 1965, Asavé Racing 65) going into the meeting, and the absence of Rousselot made every point in Mathieu’s two GT Classic victories count towards the GT/Tourisme title.

    José Beltramelli took two ASAVÉ wins, beating the later cars to the flag in his pre-‘66 TVR Griffith.  Photos Bruno \Bonisec

    José Beltramelli took two overall wins in two 45-minute ASAVÉ 65 & 75 contests, driving solo this time and beating even the later cars to the flag in his pre-‘66 TVR Griffith.  But bad luck dogged his rivals, as first Josserand De Murard’s Lola T70 got a puncture and retired from the lead of the first race and, in the hands of Jean-Marc David in race two, the Lola suffered from a broken shock absorber.  As Beltramelli continued to circulate behind Sylvain Regnier’s Porsche 910 in race 2, the latter, having recovered from an earlier visit to the gravel, received a drive-through for a shortened pit stop, and then a black flag for not observing the penalty in time.  This in turn was followed by disqualification for failing to stop at all.  Third in race 1 behind Regnier, Jean-Charles Valinho and Dominique Mathon, thus took second overall and first of the ‘75ers in their Datsun 240Z.  Antoine Benne was second both times in the 65 classes in his Lotus Elan.

    Gianluigi Candiani (no 44) proved unbeatable in his V6 Lucchini Alfa in two 25-minute SportProtosCup races

    Another double winner was Damien Benjamin, in the combined heats for Youngtimers GTI Cup and Maxi 1300 Series. Gianluigi Candiani proved unbeatable in his V6 Lucchini Alfa in two 25-minute SportProtosCup races. A full grid of first-generation Mazda MX-5s in the Roadster Pro Cup were led two times by Laurent Fresnais, who remained aloof from two heated battles in two races, the second of which saw the next three places covered by 4/10ths of a second.

    Frédéric Rouvier (March 783) and Matthieu Châteaux (Ralt RT3) each won a Formula 3 Classic race while Lionel Robert continued to dominate in Formula Renault

    Regular Formula Ford Historic rivals Gislain Genecand (Crosslé 25F), and François Belle (Lola T540E) animated two races, the pair keeping onlookers in suspense as to the outcome right up to the flag, the Swiss Crosslé driver finally coming out on top both times.  Further back there was some close racing, resulting in two third places for Stéphane Brunetti (Merlyn Mk20), who had to fight New Zealander Alan Crocker in race 1 and the Van Diemen of Ludovic Ingwiller in the second heat.

    For a full report see our October 2021 issue...

  • Marcus Pye Reports

    The wail of two-litre engines reverberated through the trees, traversed the tranquil lake and rent the air above rural Cheshire as the first standalone Formula 2 races at Oulton Park since 1972 highlighted the annual Gold Cup event, entertaining a large audience over the 28-29 August Bank Holiday weekend.  There were many twists and turns across the two-heat feature, the aggregate result deciding its outcome, mirroring many European Championship rounds of the later ‘70s, from which the majority of the entry was drawn.  When heat one winner Andy Smith’s hopes were dashed by engine failure in his March 742, Matthew Watts swept to victory on Monday in his works-liveried 782.

    Smith secured pole in 1m34.055s (103.03mph) on the 2.69-mile circuit, finally bettering local ace Andy Meyrick’s 782 time of 2007 - the best anybody could find official records of - and won the first leg as he pleased in his ex-Gabriele Serblin car, motivated by a Ford BDG engine as opposed to its original BMW M12.  Before the pack, from a standing start, reached Old Hall corner in a crescendo of sound, Mark Dwyer (742-BDG) from P7 had burst past Callum Grant (ex-Don Breidenbach 1600cc March-BDA 79B) whereupon a brush of wheels with Rob Wheldon (from P4 in Keith Bisp’s ex-Alex Ribeiro 762-BMW) deflated tyres on both cars.  When Wheldon’s right front gave way as he turned-in to Clearways he tagged the barrier and red flags flew.

    Matthew Watts swept to victory and Gold Cup honours in his works-liveried Polifac March 782, as Miles Griffiths (No 19) retired, and heat one winner Andy Smith’s March 742, (No 77) suffered engine failure

    Smith dominated the restart, hurtling clear of Miles Griffiths (Ralt-BDG RT1) to take a 4.955s advantage into the following day’s decider.  Third-placed Watts faced a deficit of almost 11 seconds, having finished a long way clear of Formula Atlantic standouts Grant and Marc Mercer (March 73B).  James Murray (ex-works/Peter Gethin Chevron-BDG B27) completed the top six, chased by the similarly motivated John Harrison (Team Harper March 742) and Mike Bletsoe-Brown (ex-Bob Marsland B27).  Julian Stokes (Tecno) beat Nick Pancisi (ex-Equipe Arnold/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud March 712) among the earlier 1600cc F2 runners.

    Griffiths snatched the lead as he and Smith careered through Old Hall abreast on Monday, Andy settling into Miles’ slipstream knowing he only had to keep him in sight to land the coveted title and have his name added to those of Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme and John Surtees on the Gold Cup first awarded in the 1950s.  It was not to be.  Exiting Brittens chicane on lap six Griffith’s engine cut and the white Ralt slowed abruptly on the rise to Hilltop.  The shadowing Smith couldn’t avoid it.

    Nobody could catch Jeremy Timms in the Chevron B17 in the 1000cc Historic F3 Races

    “It was unfortunate,” said Andy, “a case of mirror, signal and manoeuvre, which Miles did, but I chose the wrong side.”  The yellow March’s nosecone was scuffed, and tweaked slightly to the left, but Smith continued, now behind Watts who had torn ahead.  “My initial worry was that it had damaged the radiator (as on the F3 783 he previously raced), so I was watching the temperature gauge, then I remembered that they are at the back on the 742…”  Having picked himself up and got his head round understeer caused by the deranged nose, Andy closed back in on Watts, only to suffer, “a catastrophic blow-up, with no warning” on lap 11.  Rods through the sump told their own story, and Dwyer’s engine let go two laps later, a legacy of missing a gear he suspected.

    Watts thus cruised around patiently to the chequer, playing the role of Marc Surer, twice a winner in Polifac BMW Junior Team 782s in ‘78.  Grant and Murray finished second and third, Murray having just got the better of Mercer.  From the back, prototype racer Wheldon had reached second on the road, but a 35 second penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him to fifth in the heat, still well clear of Harrison and Bletsoe-Brown.  Pancisi earned 1600cc (Pre-’72) honours this time, but only after Stokes was docked 10 seconds for an over-eager getaway.

    For a full report of tis and other race meetings, see out October 2021 issue...

  • La Dolce Vita by Peter Auto

    Report by Jean Marie Biadatti

    The fourth meeting of the season after Dijon, Le Mans-Bugatti and Nogaro, the Italian track of Vallelunga near Rome welcomed the Peter Auto grids just a few days after the arrival of the Tour Auto in Nice. It should be noted that several teams, such as Equipe Europe, Gipimotor and Classic Garage managed to attend both events. In this difficult year, the Peter Auto team is striving to offer its supporters a full season of five meetings - the last one will be in Estoril in October - but some are on less prestigious circuits, which could help to explain why a lower number of cars than usual have been present this season.

    This was still the case on Italian soil, but to a lesser extent than in Nogaro. The Endurance Racing Legends (ERL) was again grouped together with Group C Racing due to the low number of cars in the latter category. Indeed, the tortuous profile of the track at Vallelunga was not well suited to this type of car and there were no ERL prototypes either. Likewise, the 2.0L Cup cars were again grouped with the Sixties’ Endurance. On the other hand, Classic Endurance Racing (CER) found its two usual grids here. The Sixties’ Endurance and the Heritage Touring Cup races found a larger number of competitors with 46 and 36 cars respectively, and it was once again these two fields that produced the most intense racing. There were six Shelby Cobras among the first seven cars in Sixties’ qualifying, separated by 2.6 seconds. The race was won by Christophe Van Riet, fresh from his Tour Auto win.

    Van Riet could also be found in the Heritage Touring Cup at the wheel of his powerful Ford Capri RS3100 where he found himself trailing Maxime Guenat, in a similar car, in qualifying and race.

    There were Cobras galore in the Sixties’ Endurance race.  Photos PhototClassicRacing.com & Julien Hergault

    As for Classic Endurance Racing 1, David and Olivier Hart dominated the field, both in qualifying and in the race in their Lola T70, but it should be noted that the under two litre prototypes made their mark on this twisty circuit, with Emmanuel Brigand’s Chevron B19 and Armand Mille’s Lola T212, which definitely shines this year, second and third respectively.

    Jean-Luc Papaux and Jacques Sando in the Greatests’ Trophy race

    With only 16 cars in the CER2 contest, there were still a few top drivers. Though Maxime Guenat took pole, he decided not to take part in the race because it preceded the Heritage Touring Cup race in the furnace of Sunday afternoon, he didn’t feel up to doing both and preferred to race his touring car. It was therefore Philippe Scemama and his beautiful Lola T600 that started on pole, ahead of Franck Morel’s TOJ SC206 for a front row in BP colours. The battle was good between these two cars during the first part of the race but unfortunately the Lola, which was in the lead at the time, never left the pits due to a starter and battery problem.

    Ford Capris led the Heritage Touring Cup race, which was won by Maxime Guenat

    With the Endurance Racing Legends running with Group C, it was natural to find the latter in the top spots, while the Bizzarrini 5300GTs could be found at the front of the Greatest’s Trophy field. For the first time since its inception, the Fifties Legends featured sparse ranks with just 12 cars at the start. Pierre Mellinger/Tommaso Gelmini took pole at the wheel of their Jaguar E-Type but were unable to capitalise due to a start-line driving error that plunged them down the order to last place on the first lap.

    For a full report see out October 2021 issue..

  • After the events of 2020 brought racing and many historic car events to a standstill, Car Week in Monterey was officially back for 2021 and with it, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Car Week’s two cornerstones.  Many of the usual small and large shows were not held.  However, the important ones, on Tuesday Cars On The Avenue in Carmel-By-The-Sea, on Wednesday McCall Motorsport Revival at the Jet Center, on Friday The Quail A Motorsports Gathering,  plus Concours Italiano, Porsche Werks, Little Car Show, and many other significant events were back on the menu.

    Monterey Motorsports Reunion - Good to be Back

    Celac Colvert Reports From Victory Lane Magazine

    Saturday started as a foggy and damp day, though that did not deter the confident racers at the Laguna Seca circuit.  As the fog started to lift, each qualifying race and feature race had its close battles, excellent passes, and above all else, the drivers’ respect for each other and the machinery as they entertained the many fans. 

    Photo Jim Rose/Rolex

    The Featured Marque this year was not a marque but a category celebrating Ford in Trans-Am and the 55th Anniversary of the Pony Car Wars and there were many on the Group 6A grid for 1966-1985 1996-1972 Trans-Am cars as 36 thunderous racers headed into Andretti Hairpin for the final feature race of Saturday. The Boss Mustang 302s of Jim Farley and Ken Adams were going head-to-head out front until Farley faltered and Adams went on to win the race.  Patrick Byrne (Shelby Trans AM Mustang) and Ken Epsman (Plymouth Barracuda) took second and third.

    Also on Saturday was the Group 3A for 973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU race, always much anticipated, with big-name drivers such as Cameron Healy, Adam Carolla, Bruce Canepa, and Zak Brown taking to the track.  With the Porsche marque dominating, it wasn’t unexpected to see most of them at the front.  Charles Nearburg in the Porsche 935K3 maintained his first place start ahead of Timothy Pappas in his Porsche 934.5, busy keeping high-flying Ken Epsman, in the “Porsche Killer” 1976 Dekon Monza, at bay.  While Nearburg was never really challenged at the front, behind him there was a great three-way battle between Carlos de Quesada (Porsche 935K3), Pappas, and Epsman.  Patrick Long, in his older 3.5-litre Porsche 911, kept contact and eventually made a spectacular effort to displace Tom McGlynn’s Porsche 934 for sixth place, the pair going into Turn 11 wheel-to-wheel.

    Steve Schmidt and Zak Brown in Porsche 935s - Brown retired from the race.  Photo Kurt Borden

    The final race result was Nearburg, Pappas, and Carlos de Quesada – a testament to the power and competitiveness of the drivers, and of course the Porsche 934.5 and 935 chassis. 

    Fantasy Junction’s, Spencer Trenery, vanquished all comers in the race for 1955-1961 sports racing cars in a Cooper Monaco.  Gregory Meyer in a Sadler, and Cameron Healy in the 1953 Cooper Porsche Pooper 1850, also entertained at the front of a big grid.  From the moment the flag dropped the three were swapping places and trying to out-drag each other out of (and into) the corners, to finally finish in that order.

    Hard trier Lynn Park in his Cobra

    After all the tribulations, another obstacle hit the event on Sunday morning, when the power was switched off on the whole Monterey Peninsula for several hours due to high winds and the danger of power lines coming down and igniting fires.  It served nicely as a demonstration that, despite the controversy of the recent past, the team at Laguna Seca was up to the challenge of staging a great event.  Schedules were tweaked, the morning races went on, albeit without timing, and, as always, the overcast lifted.  After all they’d been through, nothing much could dampen the spirits of fans, organisers or participants - everyone was just glad to be there.  

    Amongst the highlights in Sunday afternoon’s Rolex feature races was the battle of the 26Rs in Group 2B for under 2.5-litre ‘60s GT cars.  The field was dominated by Porsches both in number and on the podium.  lan Benjamin and Alan Terpins, enjoying a clear pace advantage, took first and second places with a clean run from the front row.  The next three in the finishing order were locked into a tight dogfight.  Mike Malone’s Lotus Elan 26R was gridded on the second row alongside Randall Smalley’s 911 with the 26R of Victor Avila a row back.  The 26Rs both got away at the start with the Porsche giving chase and eventually getting by on lap four to initiate what would be a great battle to the finish.  Malone and Avila tenaciously gave chase with Malone making a nice pass after running wide into Turn 10.  Smalley countered by winning the drag race up past the start-finish only to get slightly out of shape through the hairpin, whereupon Malone slid past to take third.  Great stuff.

    A small, but aesthetically pleasing and historically interesting grid of 1927-1951 racing cars lined up for Sunday afternoon’s third Rolex race, with Paddins Dowling leading in ERA R2A and Charles McCabe chasing in ERA R6B, the pair quickly running away from the rest of the field.   Nathanael Green resisted a challenge from James Cleary’s Studebaker to take third.  In the same race, the nimble Type 37 Bugatti of Luca Maciucescu caught and squeaked past Richard Morrison’s 1939 Lagonda V12 only to be caught and passed on the run up the hill.  This was a great battle, with each of the two drivers doing what he could to exploit his cars’ strengths.  Maciucescu was finally able to hold the position after a race-long duel.

    Best of Show 2021 went to the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier from the Keller collection

    Spencer Trenery took another victory in Sunday’s Master Endurance Legends race, bringing his Riley Dp MkXI in at the head of an impressive field of the most modern hardware featured at the event.

    Masters also staged an F1 race for their cars of the 1966-1985 era.  Charles Nearburg (Williams FW07) was finally able to break pond-hopping Greg Thornton’s (Lotus 91/5) run of wins in the series in a race in which position changes were rare and cars were spread out.  Cal Meeker finished third in his Tyrrell 009.

    After missing 2020, this was a welcome event for Monterey and the historic racing community at large.

  • The return of the Cobras

    For the second year running, the Tour Auto Optic 2000 was postponed to September, which ultimately aligns more closely with its history, as in times past it took place in late summer/early autumn.  In addition, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the event finished in Nice, as it did in the 1970s when it was relaunched by the Automobile Club de Nice.  

    After seven years of domination by Jaguar E-types and Lotus Elans, without forgetting the victory of a Ford GT40 in 2017, the event was won by a Shelby Cobra for the first time since 2014, in the hands of Christophe Van Riet and Eric Werner.  Jean-Marie Biadatti reports....

    PhotoClassicRacing.com

    One of the big changes was the location of the technical and administrative checks.  Due to work at the usual venue of the Grand Palais, the competitors found themselves on the Champs de Mars a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower in a temporary structure, the Grand Palais Ephémère, which took on the appearance of the Grand Palace, but without the glass roof and a little smaller.  In view of this, the organiser - Peter Auto - had planned to limit the number of participants to 200 crews, but in the end, 218 crews took the start, 124 in competitions and 94 in regularity.  There is no doubt that without the health crisis, the event would have returned to its usual number of entries, unlike last year.

    After mishaps involving most of the leading Jaguars, the Cobras were left to do battle with the Ford GT 40 of Didier Sirgue

    Despite the absence of some British competitors, the field in VHC competition looked great, with the Jaguar E-type of triple (including last year) winners Raphaël Favaro and Lucien-Charles Nicolet, as well as that of Jean-Pierre Lajournade, also a three-time winner.   Sébastien Berchon, who shone last year behind the wheel of his Austin Healey by finishing fourth overall, was also present, this time in an E-type.  On the Cobra side were Ludovic Caron, with 20 participations, two victories and seven podiums under his belt; Damien Kohler, third last year in his first appearance; and the Belgian Christophe Van Riet, partnered by Frenchman Eric Werner, at the wheel of a Cobra prepared in his Gipimotor workshops that we saw for the first time winning the Spa 3 Hours last June.  A Ford GT 40 was also present in the hands of Didier Sirgue, owner of the Albi circuit.

    Seeing, and hearing, the V-12 Matra MS650 of Mr John of B on the Fench country roads is not an experience that will be forgotten soon

    Only the cars in the VHC (pre-‘66) field can claim the final victory, but the other attraction of the competition fields was the Matra MS650 of Mr John of B/Sibel entered in the Period G class.  This model, initially intended for endurance races, won the Tour de France Automobile in 1970 and 1971 equipped with Beltoise’s V12 in 1970.  Seeing, and above all hearing, this recreation, built by Matra specialist EPAF, on the back roads of France was a unique experience that its crew and the spectators present on the roadsides will not soon forget.

    For a full report see our October 2021 issue

     

  • Rally de Asturias Histórico

    ‘Zippo’ and Piceno take Spain by storm

    The Rally de Asturias Histórico was the first of two 2021 FIA European Historic Rally Championship rounds to be held on the Iberian Peninsula, with the Rally Costa Brava scheduled for November.  A small contingent of FIA drivers made the effort to come to northern Spain on 2-4 September to race amongst the Spanish Championship contenders, hoping to collect valuable EHRC points.  Amongst these were eventual overall winners ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno, driving an Audi Quattro, who increased their Category 3 Championship lead to give them a 40-point advantage going in to the last three rounds.

    Juan Antonio Pruneda

    A dry day in Asturias saw the pair ahead by 8.1 seconds at the end of the first leg of the two-day event, taking fastest time on three of the five stages from the Ford Escort of Jesus Ferreiro and Javier Anido, also competing in Category 3.  Third in the Category Tim and Steve Jones were making a welcome comeback to the EHRC aboard their Chrysler Sunbeam.

    Overnight leaders in Category 2 were Ernie and Karen Graham in their Ford Escort RS1800, who finished the day fourth overall.   The pair came to Spain with a slim 4-point Category lead to the Porsche 911 Carrera RS of Paolo Pasutti and Giovanni Campeis, who led for the first three stages until mechanical issues dropped the Italians down the order, to the benefit of Ford Escort MK1 drivers, James Potter and Michael Johnston.  The Graham’s task was also made easier by the retirement of the VW 1300S of James Calvert and James O’Brien, who went out on stage 1 with a broken crankshaft.

     Championship leaders ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno

    The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4 of Daniel Alonso and Adrian Perez headed Category 4, but finished with a blown turbo and subsequent power loss in their Ford Sierra, but still ahead of Antonio Sainz and David De La Puente in a Subaru Legacy 2.0 Turbo 4WD on their 2021 EHRC debut, the pair finishing the day in fifth place overall suffering their own throttle and power issues.

    Seven more stages awaited the crews on day 2, which also dawned hot and dry, with the leading Italian duo taking the fastest time on five of them to finish 24 seconds ahead of Jesus Ferreiro and Javier Anido.  In so doing ‘Zippo’ and Piceno took their fifth Category 3 victory of the 2021 FIA season and their third overall win.  The Chrysler Sunbeam of Tim and Steve Jones finished in eighth place overall and third in Category 3, the British crew finishing the day a full 25 minutes behind the winning Audi Quattro.

    In Category 4, though still down on power, Daniel Alonso and Adrian Perez kept going to win the Category and take third place overall, having fended off a determined challenge from Sainz and De La Puente, who had gained some 75 seconds on the leaders during the day, but not enough to steal the lead.  In fact, the Sierra reached the finish line for Alonso to claim a home victory, but the Cosworth engine gave up as it was driven to the scrutineering bay!

     Rally headquarters were in the charming town of Pravia

    The overnight Category 2 leaders held on to take their second Category victory of the 2021 season, but behind Ernie and Karen Graham, Pasutti was on a mission, coming back from the back of the field in his repaired Porsche to move ahead of the Potter/Johnston Escort and finish second in class, the gap to the leaders proving just too big to bridge by the end of the day. There were no FIA Category 1 contenders.

    A full grid in all the categories is expected at the following round in Italy, when the Rally Elba Storico takes place as we go to press on 23-25 September.

  • With winter fast approaching its time to think about which winter event you will be entering for early next year.  The 34th Winter Marathon has just opened its entry list for the three-day event based in the ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites.  This event is unique in that it includes a race on the frozen lake in the town.  It runs next year on 20-23 January.

    Photo Pierpaolo Romano

    Organisers have announced a new, 500km route in the Trentino-Alto Adige and Dolomites, with 65 tests and regularities, starting on Thursday night, with a full day of rallying on Saturday and ice racing on Sunday.  For cars up to 1968, with some exceptions by special request for cars up to ’76, this event has remained a favourite for many drivers of pre-war cars.  There are discounts for those who enter early.  See www.wintermarathon.it for entries.

  • The 24th edition of the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique will mark the return of concentration legs on 27 January-2 February, with three cities on the starting list:  Bad Homburg, Milano and Reims.  After a COVID hiatus, this move was made by the Organising Committee of the ACM, who want to once again welcome crews from all over Europe.   A record number of 17 regularity stages (SR) on the roads and passes that have written the history of ‘the Monte’ are on the menu.   One of the most, if not the most, popular event in winter rallying, entries close on November 8 and can be made on the ACM web site, at https://acm.mc.

  • Cancelled this year and replaced by a ‘balade’ of classic cars from the general public running over the stages without timing, the Boucles @ Bastogne has set the date of 5-6 February for the 2022 edition, avoiding a clash with the Monte Carlo Historique, which takes place the week before and the Neige et Glace, which takes place a week later. 

    Such was the success of this year’s Balade des Legend Boucles Bastogne, that it too will run again next year, though no date has yet been given.

  • The shortened 2021 British Historic Rally Championship got underway in early September with the Three Shires Stages on the closed roads of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.  The first of just three rounds for 2021 got the BHRC back on track, 23 months after the last event, following the huge impact of COVID on UK special stage rallying.  The second running of the Three Shires featured 14 special stages on narrow lanes making up 65 competitive miles, although incidents meant that the historic crews had three stages cancelled during the day.

    Nick Elliott and Dave Price took a slender eight-second win over Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons in a battle of Ford Escort Mk2s.  Neither driver is an asphalt expert but are set to be the key title contenders for 2021 as the BHRC now switches to gravel for the final two events in the forests of Yorkshire and Kielder.

    Though Elliott grabbed a nine-second margin over the opening loop of stages, Friend kept up a determined pursuit until an overshoot on the final stage cost him crucial time.  “I’m over the moon,” said Elliott. “It was a really tough, hot, fast and tricky day.” 

  • Major Exhibition at Autoworld Brussels

    Inaugurated on 12th August 1921, the first event at the Spa Francorchamps race circuit was somewhat of a disappointment, with only one car turning up.  Only a few motorcycle races were held that year, and a year later, the first race for cars took place when the Grand Prix of the RACB was run over a distance of 600 kilometres.  It was won by a Belgian, Baron de Tornaco, at the wheel of an Impéria-Abadal shod with Englebert tyres, causing the “L’Automobile Belge” to proclaim, “A triple Belgian victory!”, in its issue dated 20th August 1922.  However, that was the only positive part of the coverage, as the article went on to complain that none of the other major automotive makes, such as Ballot, Peugeot, Sunbeam, Fiat or Bugatti, had been present, and not even the top Belgian manufacturers, such as Minerva, Nagant and Excelsior, sent cars.  In fact, there were a mere 12 cars at the start and three at the finish.  A regulation that excluded numerous car categories and the fact that many manufacturers did not consider the event to be of enough importance were cited as the reasons for such a feeble turnout.

    Baron de Tornaco, winner of the the 1922 Belgian Grand Prix in a Belgian-built Impéria-Abadal. His was one of only three cars to finish the 600km race

    The track’s initial layout was comprised of three sections of open road, roughly forming a triangle.  With just under 15km, the circuit was exceptionally long and followed the natural relief, which entailed exciting climbs and descents, such as the Descente de Masta.  For its time it was rather fast.  It obviously included its share of sharp bends, such as la Source and Stavelot, but also long straights and fast curves.  This combination proved to be fatal for many drivers, and in 1970, the last Grand Prix was held on the original circuit.  The lap record on the old circuit, set in 1973 by Henri Pescarolo with his Matra 670B, in 3min 13.3sec, at an average of 262.41km/h, was now set in stone.

    If it wanted to retain its international status, the circuit needed to become shorter and safer.  The new circuit was inaugurated in 1979.  Its length was 6.9kms, but still retained a section of open road.  It was only in 2003 that it became a permanent circuit, 7.004km in length.

    While the circuit management has expressed a desire to mark the anniversary with some special events, COVID has kept them from planning anything truly big, however in nearby Brussels, Autoworld will be paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Belgian track with a major exhibition of cars and motorbikes that have played a role in the circuit’s history.  The museum has opted to transform the “Sport & Competition” and “Design Story” zones on the first floor into a large paddock where visitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of the Ardennes circuit, which they count to be, “the greatest circuit in the world”.  The exhibition runs from 3 September to 28 November, so those going to the Spa Six Hours might take the opportunity to stop by for a visit.