Previews of upcoming events, Race & Rally Reports, News, Reviews, Letters and Regulation Information from Historic Motor Racing News.
The Historic Racing Drivers Club took over the lesser-known Kent circuit on 3 July to run double races for the Jack Sears Trophy, Dunlop Allstars and their ever-growing Alfa Challenge. In the latter category, George Osbourne in the ex-Peter Hilliard GRP2 Alfetta GTV normally driven by Chris Snowden, came out on top after close battles with Ben Colburn in a Giulia Sprint GT. Both Jack Sears and Dunlop Allstars races were ruled by Pete Chambers’ Cortina, despite the close attention of Nathan Heathcote’s Mini which, well suited to the short up and down hill track, at least won the first heat.
June 18-19 saw one of the world’s largest vintage racing organisation return to Indianapolis Speedway after a two-year break. Featuring pre-war Indy cars, single seater classes and numerous sports and GT races there was plenty to attract interest. Champion racer Jimmy Vassar made a return to his roots and won both the Formula Ford events while Formula Vee was popular as ever. The other star attraction was Geoff Brabham, who did almost as well, winning the second of his races in a 1971 1600cc Brabham BT35. It was also the 47th annual convention of the Shelby American Automobile Club.
Fine hot weather and the joy of returning crowds lining the routes and town squares greeted participants in the Mille Miglia run on 15-18 June. Entries were up 25% on last year and over 400 cars were chosen to take the start. Navigating their way through the time trials (some even on dirt) that have taken the place of the original 1950s road race, Andrea Vesco and Fabio Salvinelli won again in their 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C1750 Zagato.
Picturesque Vernasca lies deep in the Piacenza region of northern Italy where, between 1953 and 1972, it hosted a legendary hillclimb that ascended 290m from Castell’Arquato via Lugnano over an 8.5km course. Many a famous name drove here when it was part of the European Championship in the 1950s and 60s, but these days it is run as an untimed demonstration in a festival atmosphere.
With a final court appeal denied, it is now all but certain there will be no more racing at the historic eastern Canadian Circuit Mont-Tremblant after a campaign by locals led by the “Association des Résidents pour la Qualité de Vie”. It’s a significant blow to the sport in general and the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) in particular. “I was informed on June 10 that Le Circuit has exhausted all legal options regarding the sound-limit restrictions to continue racing at the track,” explained a shocked and saddened HMSA President Cris Vandagriff.
British Pair Nick Sleep and Alex Montgomery won the Plateau 5 event in their Lola T70 at the Le Mans Classic, but it took a turn of events worthy of the Michel Vaillant comic book ‘le Fantome des 24 Heures’. Sleep in an Elan broke down at the Mulsanne chicane…
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion takes place this year on 17-20 August at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. It usually attracts a top selection of some of the most authentic race cars in the USA and afar. Complementing the planned 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary kick-off celebration will the appearance of record nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen who will serve as Grand Marshal. Remarkably he won half of all his Le Mans starts, quite a career. Info at https://hsrrace.com.
The Alfa Spettacolo Sportizo returned to Zandvoort in Holland on 2-3 July, finally without the COVID pandemic restrictions of previous years. This festival of the ‘Alfisti’ featured races from the ‘Squadra Italia’ series, including their classes of diverse models from the 1970s upwards and the 105 series cup. There were demonstration runs called ‘Tribunes‘ and also opportunities for visitors to drive the on the track.
One hundred and eight rather special automobiles gathered in southern France for the annual International Bugatti Meeting, this year organised by Club Bugatti France on 12-19 June. These iconic examples of motoring that were built in Molsheim between 1910-1939 congregated in the village of Najac for a week. There were entrants from 18 countries across Europe, North America, Japan and Australia who came to enjoy the 1200km route, sample some of the Occitanie region’s best driving roads, and celebrate the brand’s history. Among the diverse fleet of automobiles were two outstanding creations from the famous French marque, the 750kg lightweight Type 35 “Grand Prix de Lyon” from 1924, and a 5000cc Type 54, one of four to remain in existence.
If an early autumn trip to Italy’s Veneto region sounds appealing, what about a visit to Auto e Moto d’Epoca fair at Padua, which returns on 20-23 October. Only 20 minutes from Venice this classic car and bike show has all manner of delectable items from the rich but not often seen catalogues of collectors from 46 different countries. Up to 5000 models are on show or for sale and there are exhibitions, specialist car parts and automobilia. Visit www.autoemotodepoca.com
Only two weeks before the start date the organisers have reluctantly had to postpone the rally until 1-5 November after it became clear they would not get the required authorisations from the tourist district authorities. This event which comprises 1200 km in total, includes 430 km in 29 timed special stages and normally compliments the Winter version in January. Previously run in mostly warm, dry and dusty conditions through the remote forests, it could take on a different character during the new late autumn dates. Info at www.romania-historic-rally.com.
The ‘Midnight Sun’ of Sweden’s summer was one of the iconic names of 1950s and 60s rallying, held on mostly forested dirt roads closed to the public, combined with some tarmac tests often around race circuits. The 2022 event was no exception and incorporated some iconic stages dating from events as far back as 1951. It is the country’s largest historic rally, attracting crews from across Scandinavia and 5000 spectators gathered to watch the start.
Round 4 of the FIA Historic Rally Championship took place in the picturesque, hot and sunny foothills of the Mecsek mountains in Hungary. Not far from the Croatian border, this remote wooded region was for a long-time part of the Ottoman Empire and after their expulsion, came under German influence back in the 18th century, before it became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Based in the city of Pecs, it provided excitement, as no one there could imagine just how close the overall finish of the 2022 rally might be.
For the second year running the Aleria district Historic Rally in Corsica offered separate tarmac and gravel events in one location on 9-11 June. What’s more, it had a classical theme in keeping with the history of this beautiful island. The lucky finishers were even greeted by a pair of female Gladiators at the victory arch, which wobbled as if from an ancient earthquake as the winning teams celebrated on the podium. Frédéric Lombard reports..
The European Formula 2 Championship took its final curtain call at Brands Hatch in 1984 before being replaced by F3000, thus merits the HSCC’s retrospective, run for two-litre cars to 1978 and 1600cc predecessors from ‘67-’71. The spectacular cars always deliver on the Grand Prix circuit, indeed the annual Legends Superprix’s double-header could not have been more hotly fought. Invitee Martin Stretton – the 2007 and ’09 champion, running his March 712 with a two-litre Ford BDG engine narrowly prevailed each day, shading 782 drivers Matthew Watts (BMW M Power) and Matt Wrigley (Hart power).
Who doesn’t love visiting le Castellet in Provence in early summer? The nearby beaches at Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer and Bandol are just the spot for a seafront lunch with a cool glass of rosé, followed by a short brisk but twisty drive up to the baking hot circuit. The 2022 French Historic Grand Prix at Paul Ricard on 18-19 June revisited the history of F1 and various other single-seater categories. Once again, its impressive paddock boasted many stars including Rene Arnoux, Jean Alesi and others, chatting and signing autographs. Éric Hélary was one of these and he was going to drive a Formula Ford for the first time in over 30 years.
The normally popular HSCC Donington weekend on 18-19 June offered 22 races over two days and if the grids were not as full as some previous years, then they were still holding up well. With a largely wet Saturday and dry Sunday, those with a race on each day could test their driving in both conditions. For four laps one time Euro Series champion Adrian Reynard led the Historic FF2000 race driving one of his very own cars and looking very impressive, but it was regulars Ben Simms and Graham Fennymore who eventually took victory in both races in that order.
Four years since the last time, including a nearly-moment in 2020, Peter Auto’s Classic Le Mans, now legendary in its own right, exploded into action with over 600 cars entered in a plethora of races to compete on the hallowed, mostly public roads, of La Sarthe. Back in the sixteenth century Christopher Marlowe must have been prescient, when in Dr Faustus he writes, ‘Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it….the stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike, the devil come….’ There is much to Le Mans that is unique, but time is almost bent during this event.
Entries may have been small across promoter Motor Racing Legends core grids for the first Snetterton Historic 200 event on 16-17 July, but quality action embroiling wonderful cars, with strong HRDC supports, entertained an unusually large spectator turnout. With focus, Duncan Wiltshire’s organisation and MotorSport Vision, owner of the venue which hosted non-championship F1 races in the early 1960s, could be grown into something really special. Marcus Pye Reports..
The annual Spa Summer Classic own the weekend of 24-26 June was a major event for fans of historic motorsport, perfectly organised by the Roadbook team led by Vincent Collard. It wouldn’t be Spa-Francorchamps if the drivers weren’t treated to rain over the weekend and as expected, it was prominent on Friday and Sunday with heavy showers, while Saturday stayed dry. Once again, it managed to attract a wide variety of historic racing cars. Big starting grids provided the necessary spectacle, culminating in the main three-hour race on Saturday evening.