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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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Rally News

The 2021 Mille Miglia, the 39th revival event, will return to its traditional date, this year 12-15 May.  Owners must register their cars at registro1000miglia.it.  Only cars built before December 31, 1957, in original condition, restored in accordance to the original configuration, or with documented changes added during use, can be registered in the Mille Miglia Register.  A committee has been set up to vet each car that submits an application, to certify whether it is original and only registered cars will be able to apply for the Mille Miglia event.  Eligible cars are those models that took place in the original event from 1927 to 1957.  Entries are now open and will close on January 18.  The 375 successful applicants will be announced in early March.  Unusually for the revival event, the route will go down to Rome via Italy’s west coast, with a stop in Viaregggio, and come back to Brescia in an anticlockwise direction via Bologna

After the cancellation of the Dutch-organised Winter Trial, The Historic Endurance Rally Organisation was forced to abandon its planned Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo scheduled for February in light of on-going cross-border travel restrictions due to the Corona Virus. The Winter Challenge has been postponed for 12 months until February 2022 and in its place will be the UK-based Per Ardua Ad Infinitum classic rally running on 5-6 February.

The new event, based at Taunton in south-west England, will take in special tests and regularity sections across Somerset and north Devon, starting with a leg on Friday afternoon and evening which will finish in the dark at around 20:30hrs. Saturday will feature a full day of competition before a late afternoon finish back in Taunton. The logistics of running a UK-only event at this time are considerably easier and HERO has already successfully run a number of UK events within COVID restrictions.

This year the Tour Auto, one of the earliest motoring events, which first ran in 1899, will mark its 30th anniversary as a revival event. Each year a special marque or model is selected to receive priority and special recognition during the five-day rally, and this year Peter Auto has chosen to celebrate the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta and the Jaguar MK II. Competitors entered with these models will automatically benefit from a hotel upgrade as well as various advantages to be discovered in the coming weeks.

In order to improve the Tour Auto experience for competitors, organisers have decided to limit total entries to 200, meaning entries will be even harder to get. It is worth remembering that although organisers Peter Auto will welcome the big buck cars and high profile drivers, the selection committee’s brief is to construct the most diverse and representative grid, which reflects all the models, big and small, that ran in the original event, so it is often the humble car that will get an entry over the more high-profile one. There is a list of eligible models on the Tour Auto website. Dates are 19-24 April and entries close soon!

Pre-entries are now open for this five-day special stage rally on the roads of Corsica.  With a unique atmosphere between competitors and spectators, the 2021 edition will follow a new 900km route, over 220kms of which are on 18 special stages.  Entries are limited to 250, and include competition and regularity sections.  The event is often over-subscribed.  Go to www.tourdecorse-historique.fr for regulations and entry forms. 

On page 49 of our January/February issue, and on this website, you will find the 2021 historic rally calendar, including the FIA Championship dates for the Sporting Rally Championship, which undergoes a name change this year, and is to be officially known as the FIA European Historic Rally Championship. The bad news is that COVID has already made its presence felt in the early part of the year and the Costa Brava rally, originally scheduled to open the FIA Championship season in mid-March, has been moved to the end of the year to 19-20 November. The season will now open on 9-11 April with the Sanremo Rally Storico, which is back in the FIA Championship fold.

The Regularity Championship has been more problematic to plan and details will only be announced at the end of January.

Bengt-Åce Gustavsson Reports

Racing in Norway was affected just like everywhere else when COVID-19 arrived this spring, with the first race meeting, at Rudskogen, postponed until late June.  With restrictions in place, including a rule that said anyone who had been outside Norway’s borders in the two weeks before the competition was not allowed to enter the area, all foreigners were effectively excluded!  This applied to drivers as well as officials and the press…

The biggest event of the season is usually run in August each year at Rudskogen.  The Norwegians were expecting the rules to ease by then, so they invited foreign drivers to compete and they had almost 200 cars registered when stricter requirements were imposed instead, and they were not allowed to run the competition at all!  They partly solved the problem by moving the event to Vålerbanen, which is not so close to Oslo where the big summer spike in infections was, but of course, there were far fewer participants.  At least they had a competition.  The two final meetings in September were also run at Vålerbanen.

Atle Ramberg won seven out of eight races with his distinctive Ford Escort 1300 GT ahead of a determined John A Johansen in his Mini 1275 GT Atle Ramberg won seven out of eight races with his distinctive Ford Escort 1300 GT ahead of a determined John A Johansen in his Mini 1275 GT.  Photos Jörn Petersen

 
 Norwegian historic racing is divided into three different groups that run along FIA cut-off dates: Cars before 1965; cars between 1966-1971 and cars after 1972.  Eleven cars participated in the oldest class this year, of which eight were Ford Lotus Cortinas.  Ola Svendsen missed the premiere at Rudskogen, but then he won five of the remaining six races with his Cortina.  Frode Alhaug was the smoothie himself this year with his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.  He did not win any races but took lots of podium places and finished second in the points.  Arne Teig started the year best with three victories in the first five races, but then he missed the final and finished third.

Mathias Havdal took over his dad’s well proven Porsche 911 RSR and won all eight races for post ’71 cars

In the contest for cars from 1966-1971, as usual, Atle Ramberg was at the top.  He won seven out of eight races with his distinctive Ford Escort 1300 GT.  John A Johansen tried to hang on and he took one victory and five second places with his Mini 1275 GT and came second overall in the final rankings.  Odd-Andreas Ingebrigtsen came third with his Austin Cooper S.

The class for the newest cars was the largest this year with 22 starters.  They had also invited cars newer than 1990, but these did not get any points.  Mathias Havdal took over his dad’s well-proven Porsche 911 RSR and won all eight races!  Tor Magne Tjemsland started in a “new” BMW M3 E30 and came second.  Terje Nordmark came third with his Opel Kadett GT/E.

Hard tryer Thorkild Solberg

It was a short and intense season for the Norwegians this year.  They can hopefully look forward to a better 2021.

70th Anniversary

Only 28 cars took the green flag at the start of the Carrera Panamericana on October 15 this year, among them were French, American and Canadian crews, who had managed to get to Mexico despite all the restrictions.  Starting this year in Oaxaca, Studebakers, as usual, were favoured, and top teams included past winners Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernández, Gabriel Pérez and Angélica Fuentes, Hilaire and Laura Damiron, Douglas Mockett and Manuel Iguiniz, in Doug’s trusty Oldsmobile, as well as Carlos Pulido and Francisco Ortiz, who compete in a Ford.

“I am convinced that all the great rallyists in the world must live La Carrera Panamericana before they die,” said event Grand Marshall, Ari Vatanen  Photos Courtesy La Carerra Panamericana

The first day was run in rain and heavy mist for almost the whole day and proved to be a fight between “El Malditillo” being the Studebaker Champion of Cordero and Hernández, and “El Commander” of Franco/Brazilian couple Hilaire and Laura Damiron, the former ending the day in Veracruz with an advantage of over a minute, with Pérez and Fuentes in third.  The two leading Studebakers continued to slug it out, as Ricardo Cordero slowly increased his lead as the days passed, while Pérez and Fuentes were to suffer mechanical issues on two of the days, eventually giving third place overall and first in the Historic B Plus class to Alexis and Oscar Uribe in their Porsche 911. 

Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernández scored their third Carrera Panamericana victory

And so it was that Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernández scored their third Carrera Panamericana victory, as they rolled into Torreón after seven days and 3900kms, with nearly 700kms of special stages.  After winning two stages out of seven on the last day, 2017 champions Hilaire and Laura Damiron, came home in second place in “The Commander”, an extraordinary car that always remains in the fight.  Carrera veterans Gabriel Pérez and Angélica Fuentes refused to give up, landing in fifth place overall and third in the Turismo Mayor category.

Pascual Piccolo and Rafael Alvarez tackled the stages in a Datsun 260Z

As enthusiastic as ever, the live stream of the event recorded more than a million viewers, and though distanced from competitors and each other, many fans still turned out to see the cars along the route and as they arrived in the town squares across Mexico.

“We thank each and every one of the fans, competitors, authorities, sponsors and the media for being part of the legend in its 70th Anniversary in this very complicated year.  We were able to deliver free of charge, over 3,908.98 kilometres, one face mask for each kilometre travelled.  In addition we bring to all Mexicans, in the most remote areas of our country, a message of peace and unity, where we are all moving forward, despite the circumstances.”, commented an emotional Eduardo León, Honorary President of La Carrera Panamericana.

xis and Oscar Uribe’s reward for their conistency was a third place overall and first in the Historic B class

For a more detailed report see our December 2020 issue…

 

Entries are now open for the annual Winter Marathon regularity rally based in the resort of Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites.  It is due to run next year on 14-17 January.  One of the unique features of this event is the race on the frozen lake on the last day for the first 30 cars to qualify.  For cars up to 1976, this event nonetheless usually attracts quite a large pre-war entry.  Entries can be made online at www.wintermarathon.it

The 10th edition of the Gran Premio Terre di Canossa exploring the roads of Emilia and Tuscany came to a close on October 4 with a win for Alberto Aliverti and Stefano Valente driving an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato in less than ideal weather conditions for such an open car.

Even in these unusual and unsettling times, the team at Canossa Events and Scuderia Tricolore got the postponed Terre di Canossa regularity rally on the road, albeit with fewer cars, and revised itinerary better adapted to the necessary sanitary precautions.  Many regular competitors reluctantly had to forego competing because of the new restrictions, but crews welcomed the chance to run their cars, proven by the fact that many overcame logistical obstacles and travelled from various European countries, as well as the United States and Russia. 

 

 

Alberto Aliver and Stefano Valente won, driving an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato through rain and shine.   Photos Courtesy Canossa Events

 

Giorgio Lambruschi and Alessandro Mancini came second in a 1964 Porsche 356 C and also won the special classification for the average speed trials.  Third place went to Stefano Ginesi and Susanna Rohr, in a 1959 Porsche 356 A 1600 Super.  A small class of modern Ferraris was won by Enrico Zobele and Ivana Trentinaglia in a Ferrari GTC 4 Lusso.

 

Starting at Salsomaggiore Terme and finishing at Scandiano in the province of Reggio Emilia, as always, highlights of the three-day event were visits to historic sites, meals in medieval castles and beautiful scenery along the roads.  Accompanied by sun, then rain, then sun, on day two the afternoon excursion into Liguria had to be cancelled because of a flood alert and drivers were diverted directly to the night destination of Forte dei Marmi.  The event ended on a sunny terrace overlooking Reggio Emilia. 

 

One of the few significant UK classic rallies to go ahead since the COVID lockdown was the HERO Summer Trial, which moved to the late summer date of 25-27 September on a heavily revised route.

After two and a half days of competition, largely in Shropshire, over special tests and regularity sections, father and son David and Edward Liddell (Triumph TR4) finished nearly two minutes clear of the earlier TR3A of Piers Barclay and Nicholas Harries at the head of a 41-car field.

The event retained its planned base in Telford but when the problems of running in Wales became obvious, it was re-routed to stay in England, though sections on  Saturday took the crews very close to the Welsh border as the route wound around the border towns on Leintwardine and Clun.

The TR3A of Piers Barclay.  Photos Will Broadhead Courtesy HERO 

The first and third days were effectively half days, running in North Shropshire and taking in several special tests on private ground.  In trouble at the Rednal kart track was the rare Renault 8 Gordini of Malcolm Dunderdale, which suffered some cosmetic damage when it slid off into the tyres.  Dunderdale and co-driver Anita Wickins recovered to finish inside the top 20.

 

David and Edward Liddell (Triumph TR4)

“The first day was very stressful for us, we hit a lot of traffic so we were very happy to be third,” said David Liddell. “The second day was brilliant, losing just 60 seconds stuck behind four rally cars and a slow non-competing car, but we took the lead.  We were both pretty nervous going into the final test.  It was good to win with my son.” 

The rare Renault 8 Gordini of Malcolm Dunderdale

“It is more than we expected so we are both very happy with the podium,” said Harries in second place in the event aimed at beginners and intermediate level competitors.  Further down the field was classic motorcycle racer Mike Farrall in his 1936 Jaguar SS.  Fellow Goodwood-winning motorcycle rider Charlie Williams made a welcome return to take on the co-driving role.