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The FFSA has done a great job of saving the 2020 French National Historic Rally Championship, which, despite the long interruption will still consist of seven rounds. With the Touquet rally already run in March before lockdown, the rest of the season is scheduled to run as follows:
Championnat de France des Rallyes VHC
12-14 March, Touquet Pas-de-Calais
19-21 August, Autun Sud Morvan
3-5 September, Mont Blanc Morzine
18-20 September, Grasse Fleurs et Parfums
16-18 October, Antibes Côte d’Azur
lines, 29-31 October, Cévennes
26-29 November, Var
In another blow for beleaguered British rallying, this year’s Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship has been cancelled. Championship promoter Colin Heppenstall had been hoping to run a shortened three-round championship in the later part of the year but the announcement that the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, scheduled for 25-16 September, has been cancelled has left the BHRC abandoned.
Trackrod organiser Rod Parkin said, “We have closely monitored the advice from Government and Motorsport UK and we are sure that all the implications are well understood without the need to detail them here. Uppermost in our minds is the safety of all concerned in running a complex event involving many people and outside agencies. Whilst we had several ‘Plan B’ scenarios, time has overtaken us and it is now the appropriate time to make a decision.”
Heppenstall from the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club said, “In the current climate of restrictions and with no timetable on the horizon for rallying to restart, we understand the Trackrod Motor Club’s decision to cancel their event in September.” We had looked at adding one more event to the BHRC schedule along with the Trackrod and the Carlisle Stages (October 24), but this has left us with no option but to cancel the 2020 championship.”
HERO-ERA has launched the 2021 Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo, scheduled to run from 7 to 11 February from a start in Reims. The organisers expect that COVID-19 restrictions will not impact the five-day event, which promises a top quality route and winter rallying at its best, as crews tackle French roads steeped in motor sport history. These will include some high altitude, and therefore likely snow-bound, sections, like the Col-de-Turini. The event will include night sections and the route will take in regions last used in 2005, before the finish in Monte Carlo.
This 30-year-old event was first conceived by the late Philip Young, a pioneer in historic rallying. Entries are now open at heroevents.eu.
On July 29, 1937, in the latter years of the Great Depression, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Canada, and the United States signed the Convention on the Pan-American Highway, whereby they agreed to achieve speedy construction, by all adequate means, of a highway running from the southern reaches of South America to Alaska.
In the heady early post-war days Mexico became the first Latin American country to complete its portion of the highway, and in 1950 a great race was announced to celebrate the opening of the new road: La Carrera Panamericana. In its original form the race only ran for five years, but during those years it became a major prestige event on the same level as the Mille Miglia or Targa Florio, with all the great names and teams of the era competing.
It may have taken a little bit longer compared to other disciplines, but 115 days since the COVID-enforced sabbatical, rallying was given the go-ahead in the UK starting on 11 July. As it stands, single and multi-venue, closed road, navigational and road rallies will now begin to resume under the latest guidance, which will include the use of PPE and the appointment of a COVID Officer for each event. Any local legislation will also be applicable to the approval of event permits, so while there will be changes to the way in which rallies are conducted, teams can at least look forward to getting back on track, permits allowing.
Hugh Chambers, Motorsport UK CEO, said, “We were delighted with how our first weekend of motorsport went following the suspension of all permits. Upon visiting the various events it was clear members of our community were incredibly enthusiastic. Rallying had to follow at a later date, as we worked upon the relevant information and followed the latest government guidelines. Following the updates from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), this has enabled us to work on similar procedures to accommodate both driver and co-driver in a vehicle. We have also put together information for event organisers, giving them time to implement appropriate measures and Motorsport UK is here to help support or clubs restart this popular discipline.”
Plans are pushing ahead for the 20th edition of the Tour de Corse Historique, which will run from 5-10 October on the Mediterranean island. With an expected entry of 200 cars, the event will take in 20 closed-road special stages covering 350km of competitive rallying over five days.
The original Tour de Corse dates back to 1956 and the island has frequently hosted the World Rally Championship. The historic event uses some of the famous WRC roads, renowned as some of the most challenging in historic rallying. Entries close at the end of August and more details are at tourdecorse-historique.fr.
Postponed from its original date of 15-20 June, Paul Lacombe and his team have set the new date of 27-31 October for the 2nd Gravel Romania Rally. For cars up to 1990, the event offers a five day route that includes 24 gravel stages in the forests of Transylvania, for a total of 391kms of timed special stage, all on loose surface.
A single stopover point each night in the town of Moeciu at the Cheile Gradisteï Moeciu Resort & Spa complex (located just 30kms from the city of Brasov), makes life easy for competitors and especially for support crews. See www.romania-historic-rally.com for entries.
Dates for the 2021 edition of the popular historic Monte have been set for 27 January-3 February with only one starting point. In the post-pandemic world, organisers of this major endurance regularity rally have decided that all competitors will start and end in Monte Carlo. They have written to authorities in Bad Homburg, Barcelona, Oslo, Reims and Milano, to inform them of their decision.
The 2021 Monte will start and end in Monte-Carlo for all competitors
The last uncertainties have been resolved and the organisers of the 2020 Rally de Portugal Histórico confirm their event will take place on the originally scheduled dates of 5-10 October. The 15th edition of this rally, considered by many to be “the most beautiful European regularity rally”, offers a route of some 2000kms with no fewer than 40 regularity tests.
Departure and arrival are at Estoril, and the rally forms part of what locals are promoting as Estoril car week, which includes the Estoril Classics race meeting at Estoril Circuit on 9-11 October (where rally drivers get to run a special stage), which has also been confirmed, and the concours d‘élégance in the town centre, rounded off by a gala dinner in Estoril Casino for all participants. The rally includes high-quality hotels and meals, luggage service and breakdown assistance. There are also options for car transport, reception of crews at the airport, and the possibility of joining a team for shared assistance. See www.rallyportugalhistoric.eu.
Despite it usually attracting large international crowds, Vito Piarulli and Paolo Valli, the creators of RallyLegend, have decided to go ahead with the event on 8-11 October. “The support we’ve received both from the Government of the San Marino Republic and our sponsors has been crucial to us deciding to attempt such a feat. The format of the event is now being reviewed and we would like, as much as possible, to adhere to the original formula. The presence of the public from all over Europe and beyond, a true cornerstone of the event, will be managed according to the relevant San Marino government regulations,” said the organisers.
One of Britain’s most popular historic rally championships, the HRCR Clubmans Championship, is the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although two rounds were run in February and March before the lockdown started, many rounds have now been cancelled and with only two possible events remaining on the calendar, the Historic Rally Car Register has pulled the plug on the 2020 championship for daylight historic rallies covering special tests and regularity sections.
The revised Balkan Classic rally is set to run in the last half of September, with final dates still to be announced. Due to restrictions in its usual venue in Bulgaria, and in consideration of other pandemic-related difficulties, organiser Alexander Kovatchev has announced that the rally, for cars up to 1985 and Youngtimers up to 1990 running in a separate group, will be shortened to two days of rallying and one day of shakedown in Poland. The rally runs on a series of flat gravel and dirt roads in a balanced mix of open wide roads and forest roads with no reconnaissance. See https://balkanclassic.com for information and entries.