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From our Editor..
We have a pretty active Facebook group, the members of which are historic motor sport enthusiasts from all the corners of the world, and I always look forward to reading their posts. I saw a post by Ian McAlpine that I loved and decided to share it here. However I then started looking into the personality of its subject and had to add some of what I found in my researches to what Ian originally posted.
The driver Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca Y Leighton, better known as the Marquis de Portago, would have made James Hunt’s exploits seem run of the mill. He was born in London and, aged 17 flew a light aircraft under Tower Bridge to win a $500 bet, losing his pilot’s licence in the process. He played a ferocious game of Jai-Alai (Pelota), swam competitively, won a tennis title and took up top-level polo, yachting and shooting. He was a fearless horseman, winning three successive French amateur titles, rode in the Grand National twice and, in 1956, represented Spain at the winter Olympics in their bobsleigh team coming a creditable fourth. He also won bronze medals in the two-man event at Cortina d’Ampezzo and the 1957 FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz. He competed in many other sports, including the Cresta run, but unlike Hunt, de Portago wasn’t a drinker. Wealthy, young, tall, dark and handsome, he was an international celebrity, plastered as much across the social columns and tabloid front pages as he was in the sports sections. He was fluent in four languages. His Godfather was King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
He won six major races, including the Tour de France, giving the 250 Ferrari its “Tour de France” nickname, the Grand Prix of Oporto, and the Nassau Governor’s Cup (twice). He participated in five World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 1 July 1956. Enzo Ferrari offered him a works F1 drive in a Lancia-Ferrari D50A for the French GP at Reims. His best result was a second place at the 1956 British Grand Prix (in a shared drive with Peter Collins). In the British GP he was called in to hand over to Peter Collins. In Germany he was again called in, but didn’t object. “One day someone will be asked to hand over to me”. Ferrari valued the gentlemanly side of ‘Fon’, “that always managed to emerge from the crude appearance he cultivated”.
Founder of Autosport magazine, Gregor Grant, said of him, “The fellow does everything fabulously well. Never mind the driving, the steeplechasing, the bobsledding, the athletic side of things, he could be the best bridge player in the world if he cared to try, he could certainly be a great soldier, and I suspect he could be a fine writer.”
Unsurprisingly, he was precocious when it came to women as well. At just 20 he married Carroll McDaniel, a former model he barely knew who was several years older than him. Though they had two children together, he soon divorced her so he could legitimise a Mexican marriage certificate to Dorian Leigh, a fashion model eleven years his senior, with whom he fathered a son. There was also a third lover, the last woman he’d ever kiss. The story goes that Mexican actress Linda Christian, ex-wife of actor Tyrone Power, was waiting for him at the Rome checkpoint of the ill-fated 1957 Mille Miglia. De Portago stood on the brakes, ran to her, kissed her and carried on.
He was killed when a tyre burst on his Ferrari 335S and the car crashed into the crowd killing 10 spectators, himself, his co-driver and the Mille Miglia. That was the last time the race was run. He was 28 years of age.
As one contemporary said of him, “He packed more into his 28 years than most people pack into a much longer lifetime.”
I was always aware of his fame as an international playboy, much of his story as a racing driver and his reputation for bravado, but when I started reading about all his other accomplishments I must admit I became fascinated by his character. I’ve now discovered that Ed McDonough published a book about him in 2006, now out of print, about which one reviewer said, “It reveals many of the “exaggerated” claims that have been spread since Portago’s death, without doing damage to the reality of his life.” So do take all of the above with a grain of salt.
Now that’s what I call Sprezzatura. Steve McQueen eat your heart out. Thank you, Ian, for your post. CS
The Historic Sports Car Club’s new race category for up to 2-litre single-seater racing cars from the 1980s, the Geoff Lees Trophy, will open with a double-header at the HSCC Wolds Trophy meeting at Cadwell Park on 19-20 September. Competitors will also have the chance to race at the Dijon Motors Cup meeting on 3-4 October, subject to the travel situation to France.
Competitor interest is growing for the new series open to Formula 2, Formula Atlantic, Formula 3, Formula Ford 2000 and Formula Super Vee cars built and raced during the 1980s. There is also an invitation class for other suitable period single-seaters including those from Formula Vauxhall Lotus and Andy Wallace in an F3 Reynard Photo Mike Dixon Formula Renault. Early entries for Cadwell Park include the Formula 2 Chevron B48 of Steve Worrad and the Formula 3 Dallara 389 of Samuel Harrison. An ex-Damon Hill Ralt RT30 is also being readied, while aiming to join the grid is regular Formula 3 racer Paul Smith in his Reynard 873, the 100th F3 car to be built by the Reynard factory.
Titled in honour of one of the UK’s most popular and successful single-seater racers of the era, Lees has given enthusiastic backing for the series.
Jean-Marc Laffont, President of the Association du Circuit des Remparts d’Angoulême issued a statement on 16 august announcing the cancellation of the 2020 event. “Despite all our determination, the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the last few days has brought with it an ever-increasing number of measures and restrictions that has brought us to the ineluctable conclusion that, due to the very nature of the event, the Circuit des Remparts cannot go ahead this year.
“It is with extreme sadness that we make this announcement, but in view of the large number of people that the event attracts, it is clear it would represent a public health risk, even if all the precautions were followed.
The whole team wants to thank all the volunteers, the partners, the suppliers, and the competitors, who have done so much in the planning of the event. We start working now on a 2021 event that will be even more successful than the last three that we have had the privilege to organise since 2017.”
The Circuit des Remparts attracts huge crowds from the whole Charente region, and a large number of British competitors, who, at the time the announcement was made, are still under restrictions if they travel to France.
One of the biggest international race meetings of the year is still on track to take place on 24-27 September, but as we go to press – still some six weeks before the meeting is set to kick off - the requirement for those visiting Belgium to go into quarantine when returning to other European countries is still in place, which could seriously jeopardise the numbers on the girds. However, word coming from Brussels is that the pandemic is coming under control and they are hoping to be off the list within the next couple of weeks. With a large number of teams coming from the UK, the good news is that they will have a special dispensation, for attending a sporting event, whether or not the quarantine is lifted.
As things stand, there will be no extracurricular activities in the paddock – no clubs, no vendors village, no FBVA meeting, no parking for ‘Oldtimers’.
This will certainly change the atmosphere in the paddock, but will not detract from the racing, which, unlike some other big festivals, is always the main focus of this meeting. “We still don’t know whether we will be able to welcome spectators,” said organiser Vincent Collard, “so we are concentrating 100% on the racing. We have to wait until the regional government gives us the go-ahead for that, and for other questions, such as press accreditation, catering, etc., and at the moment, even the authorities don’t know what will and will not be possible when the time comes.” Collard’s ever-resourceful Roadbook organisation has set up a reservation system, so that if spectator numbers need to be limited, the tickets will be allocated to those who booked in advance.
Photo Jeff Bloxham
The entry lists are not yet published, but the Six Hours entry list is full, with reserves, and organisers are still fielding two or three new requests a week. “And people are really looking forward to it. There is so much enthusiasm from the people who are contacting us, you can feel their excitement to get back on the track! He added, “All the teams on the list are European. For obvious reasons we have lost the usual American, Hong Kong, and South American teams, but apart from that the percentages for the various European countries have remained pretty much the same, with at least 60% coming from the UK.”
Roadbook has an excellent web site that is kept scrupulously up to date. Keep your eye on it for developments: www.spasixhours.com. You will also find the full list of support grids there and contact details for entries into each one. These include the Masters FIA F1 and Sports Car Championship grids, as well as all the Motor Racing Legends grids, the HGPCA, Formula Junior and an HSCC closed-wheel race. Bonus: there will be more room in the paddock for the teams!
Fulfilling a long-held ambition, Paulo Pinheiro, founder and CEO of the Autodromo Algarve has succeeded in bringing Formula One to his circuit. This is good news for all of us, as at times in its history the circuit has been barely viable and this will give it the fillip it so richly deserves and help secure a healthy future for the venue. However, it comes at a momentary cost for the Algarve Historic Festival, which has had to be postponed from its original 24-25 October date to 6-8 November, in order to accommodate the F1 cars.
This will put a full month between Patrick Peter’s Estoril meeting (9-11 October) and the Festival. Grids are set to remain much the same as last year, with Motor Racing Legends bringing Pre-war cars, touring cars of all ages, and of course their flagship Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophy grids that race into the night, which will come even earlier in November. In addition the GT and Sports Car Cup and the Pre-’75 sports cars are on the timetable.
Weather in the Algarve is pretty reliable and is expected to still be fine in November for those very last rays of sun before it’s time for winter sports.
Amongst the races at Algarve, the GT & Sports Car Cup is on the bill
Always an eclectic mix of cars for the Barry Sideways race at Spa
Peter Auto has announced its 2021 calendar, which includes five race meetings for its regular series, very similar to what it should have been this year, plus the postponed Le Mans Classic, the date for which has been set at 1-4 July. A new feature will be two test days for its series competitors at the Paul Ricard circuit in early March. The schedule will be marked by anniversary celebrations of the 10th running of Le Mans Classic and Spa-Classic and the 30th anniversary of the Tour Auto Optic 2000.
In the wake of the dreaded COVID pandemic, the Valletta Grand Prix Foundation announced that the Malta Classic, which was to take place on 8-11 October, has been cancelled. 2020 will be the first year since 2008, that the annual street racing event, along with all its peripheral activities, will not be taking place. Attracting thousands of enthusiasts to the picturesque island each year, the Malta Classic committee has promised, “the most thrilling edition yet for its drivers, patrons and spectators alike for Malta Classic 2021.” The four-day national event is scheduled to be back on the road on 7-10 October next year.
Racing in the streets of Malta will be back next year
In order to support the organisations and the involvement of men and women volunteers in the field, the FFSA Steering Committee on July 29, 2020 decided on the following measure:
“Volunteers holding a license in 2020 will be offered the same license in 2021, subject to meeting the delivery conditions defined in the FFSA regulations.”
The Committee also sent out a reminder of the previous decisions designed to aid clubs and organisers with the challenges of the COVID situation.
- Reimbursement of calendar fees for organisers for events cancelled during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Freezing of technical regulations until the end of the 2021 season (apart from those related to security).
- Amount of the contribution for all Auto Sport Associations and Karting reduced to a symbolic €1
After the resignation of Frank Lyons, following his conviction by the UK’s governing body for cyberbullying, the Historic Sports Car Club members have elected Roger Bevan as their new Chairman. Bevan, who is finally stepping down from racing his ex-Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus 69 F2 car, is already the man behind the runaway success of the Club’s Historic Formula 2 International Series. Though Lyons reconsidered, “due to the tremendous support I have received from members and friends,” and put himself up for re-election, the membership decided a new face in the position was required. Bevan’s commitment to Historic F2 has made it one of the best historic single-seater categories in Europe and his passion for the class goes back half a century to watching Fittipaldi race the Lotus at Crystal Palace. “It was a surprise result considering the strengths of my fellow contestants,” said Bevan, “Now the hard work starts! So many unknowns, so many questions in this strange new world.”
Roger Bevan is stepping down from racing his ex-Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus 69 F2 car and stepping up to the role of HSCC Chairman
Since he joined the NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in 2017, dynamic young Christchurch driver Michael Collins (Leda LT27) has been tipped as a likely overall series’ title winner. And that is exactly what the 24-year-old now is, as the New Zealand Formula 5000 Association decided to call the result of the COVID-19-interrupted series after the fourth round and officially cancel the series’ final, which was to have been run at Hampton Downs in March. Collins, with the most points to his credit in the season so far, has therefore been named champion.
“At the time we were quite bullish about getting in our final round, “ says committee member Glenn Richards. “But as the days turned into months I think we all started to realise that a better idea would be to put a line under the 2019-20 season and start planning for ‘20-21.”
The long-running NZ-based series could hardly have a better champion either. A former karter and 2016/17 South Island (of NZ) Formula Ford champion, Collins has been impressing everyone with the maturity and racecraft he first displayed behind the wheel of the Alastair Hey-owned, Collins family-run, Leda LT27 at the opening round of the 2017/18 series at Pukekohe Park Raceway. Then just 21 years of age, the mild-mannered young man, who works as an electrician, won his first F5000 race at the second round that season. He enjoyed similar success over the 2018/19 season but like the year before, prior commitments meant he had to miss the final and key points-scoring round. Congratulations to the new Champion.
Michael Collins won the 2019/2020 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in the family-run Leda LT27 after the nal round was cancelled
Former British Truck Racing champion Richard Walker is starting preparations for his biggest motor sport challenge to date, as he embarks on a project to contest the Peking-Paris Rally in 2022.
Walker, a multiple truck racing champion, has most recently contested a few races in a Lotus Cortina with his nephew, Jack Walker-Tully, in Masters two-driver events, but now he has bigger plans and is starting build up a 1939 Chevrolet Coupe for the five-week marathon that pits crews against some of the remotest landscapes on the planet.
He plans to do an event in the Sahara next year as a lead-in to Peking-Paris and is keen to do as much of the build work on the car himself. “I’ll need to know every nut and bolt so that I can hopefully deal with any problems we get on the rally,” said the Nottinghamshire driver.
The organisers of the Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship have come up with a significantly altered calendar for 2021 after losing this year’s championship to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Championship manager Colin Heppenstall, from the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club, says he has deliberately opted for events that are less expensive and require less time away. With the overall state of the economy and some business owners facing difficult times, he wants the 2021 programme to be as affordable and accessible as possible. It will cover six gravel and two asphalt rallies.
Three new events are on the provisional championship schedule: the Riponian Rally in Yorkshire, the Plains Rally in Wales and the closed-road Three Shires Stages in Worcestershire are all in the BHRC for the first time and will replace the Kielder Forest Rally, the Jim Clark Rally and the Ulster Rally in the eight-round programme.
The schedule of largely one-day rallies, all based on the mainland, means that there will be no ‘sail-away’ rounds next year, but Heppenstall confirmed that he is discussing the possibility of a return to the Isle of Man in 2022. “We wanted to choose events that give value for money and enjoyment to the competitors,” he said.
The provisional 2021 programme is: Riponian Rally (7 February), Rally North Wales (27 March), Plains Rally (22 May), Red Kite Stages (13 June), Harry Flatters Rally (25 July), Three Shires Stages (5 September), Trackrod Rally (24-25 September) and the Carlisle Stages (22 October).
Six gravel and two asphalt rallies will be on the Biritsh rally Championship menu in 2021
We were surprised to find the following message in our inbox from Liz Wenman in mid-July.
Rally Round is no longer running international car rallies or driving adventures, a decision has been prompted mainly by the situation of the global pandemic but also it is time to enjoy my fabulous family and home life with my husband David to the full.
Liz goes on at some length to thank all her colleagues on the Rally Round team, and her agents in the various countries around the world that Rally Round has visited. Rally Round has had to cancel two major events due to COVID and an event planned for Mongolia next year was in doubt given that a recce wasn’t possible and TB, as well as Coronavirus, is rife in that country.
Photo: Founded in 2011 by Simon Hope of H&H Auctions, John Brigden of World Wide Classic Car Rallies (who has since moved on to found Bespoke Rallies) and Liz and David Wenman, H&H Classic Rallies - later re-named Rally Round - went on to organise rallies around the world, including the Rally of Rajasthan, Road to Mandalay, Paris-Madrid and many more.
Founded in 2011 by Simon Hope of H&H Auc ons, John Brigden of World Wide Classic Car Rallies (who has since moved on to found Bespoke Rallies) and Liz and David Wenman, H&H Classic Rallies - later re-named Rally Round - specialised in exo c loca ons and went on to organise rallies around the world, including the Rally of Rajasthan, Road to Mandalay, Paris-Madrid and many more.
Well known Italian events Company, Canossa, organisers of regularity rallies such as the Stella Alpina and Terre di Canossa, and competitive rallies, such as the Modena Cento Ore, have announced a series of North American, small-group road-trip excursions, starting with the Fall Rallye New England in October. In 2019 US-based Motorsport Network, acquired Canossa Events via its ticketing division, Motorsport Live, and these tours will ensure that they will be able to serve their American customers, who for the moment, cannot travel to Italy. While classic cars are always welcome, these touring events will be mainly for supercars. Canossa already organises tours and rallies in the Middle East and around the world for Ferrari.
Photo Rachel Soria
After all the work put in by everyone to salvage the FIA Championship, the Rally Weiz, originally postponed, has had to be cancelled for 2020 after all. “The sports scene in Austria still has the annoying Corona virus in its power. So much so that the organisers of the Rally Weiz now have to “cut their sails”. Which is as painful as it is short: The Rally Weiz 2020 has been cancelled! A shift from the original July date to the weekend of September 3rd to 5th was ultimately of no use,” said Mario Klammer., leader of the organising team. “We would have had a huge field of starters, “After the Styrian motorsport highlight had already received promises from the FIA and the Austrian Motorsport Federation, the level of confidence was at least as great as the current level of depression.”
A second weekend of 2020 track action took place at Shelsley Walsh with two meetings over the weekend of 8-9 August. The annual Vintage VSCC day was held on Saturday and was followed by the Reg Phillips Trophy meeting on Sunday, as drivers got back in the seat and sharpened their skills up the 115-year-old hillclimb.
Both events were held behind closed doors, with the Midland Automobile Club ensuring safety for all, and the sun flooded the Teme Valley all weekend to make the freshly cleaned 1000-yard hill as good, quick and grippy as possible.
The ever-quick James Baxter won the VSSC meeting with superb consistency over his two runs – he twice recorded 34.80 seconds in the Riley TT Sprite. A host of new drivers also attacked the hill, including Charlotte Bowyer, who shared the family Lea-Francis P Type with father Simon.
The stunning class of Shelsley Specials included the GN BHD, the Becke Powerplus and the simply incredible 97-year-old Spider, which first took the outright record at Shelsley with Basil Davenport in 1926. David Leigh was again at the helm of the car that utterly epitomises the pioneering spirit of hill climbing to this day, fresh from a winter engine rebuild and quickly getting back into the groove after all drivers had a bonus practice run.
It was perfect weather and the course was grippy and fast
Several competitors from the vintage day stayed over as modern cars joined them for the Reg Phillips Trophy meeting on Sunday. The stunning Type 51 Bugatti of Edmund Burgess whirred its way up with the supercharger noise echoing through the Worcestershire trees, and the Freikaiserwagen that ran at Shelsley pre-war also made a return.
David Leigh in Spider that held the record at Shelsley in 1926...94 years ago!
David Leigh in Spider that held the record at Shelsley in 1926...94 years ago!
Postponed for three months but fortunately saved, the Historic Tour d’Albi (also called “3ème Grand Prix Historique d’Albi” this year) kicked off the French Historic Circuit Championships on 17-19 July with hope and relief for over 200 drivers.
With the country still subject to “post-containment” health rules linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Albigensian meeting was a milestone in the resumption of automobile sport in France, as the first major competition of the year of any motor sport discipline. “Our meeting is the first French Championship event to be organised this year and thanks to everyone’s efforts, we even have the chance to welcome spectators. For months, it has been our role to find solutions to get back to work as soon as possible. Without ever giving up, we all fought for this, our team, our volunteers, our partners. The circuit of Albi has constantly responded to put in place all possible operating modes and our status as federal promoter has enabled us to benefit from close monitoring by the FFSA and its President,” remarked organiser Laurent Vallery-Masson of HVM Racing.
Reigning French champion Frédéric Rouvier was untouchable in the F3 races in his March 783
But there is no doubt that grid numbers were down, with most races fielding fewer than 20 cars and some even less than 10.
2020 marks the sixth edition of the French Historic Circuits Championship (the Historic Tour), which set itself the mission in 2015 of reviving nearly half a century of motor racing for the most representative competition cars of the ‘50s to the ‘90s. With all the French Championships series present, most with two races, and guest grid Legends Cars Cup, there were 23 separate races on the timetable over the weekend.
The Maxi 1300 duel between Laurent Majou and Philippe Gandini, back in his Jem GT, was unfortunately cut short
Double winners were Matthieu Châteaux (Debora SP91 BMW) in the SportsProtosCup races, Frédéric Rouvier aboard his new March 783 Toyota in F3 Classic, Swiss racer Christian Vaglio Giors in Formula Renault, Laurent Sabatier in the GT Classic race driving his Porsche 993, Florian Cabarrou, who performed flawlessly to take two wins in the GTI Cup and Jose Beltramelli, who won two thin ASAVÉ 65 heats.
Father and son Ghislain and Guillaume Gaubert took their family Porsche 911 2.8 RSR to victory in two races at the head of an even thinner grid for ASAVÉ 75, while Florian Cabarrou dominated the two Roadster Pro Cup races on a shared grid with the Youngtimers GTI Cup. The Honda Civics of brothers Fabien Julia and Franck Quagliozzi put on a great display of spirited racing at the front of the GTI field, fighting wheel to wheel in both races, with both results decided in favour of Quagliozzi.
Ghislain and Guillaume Gaubert dominated two ASAVÉ Racing 75 races in their 911 RSR Porsche
Jérôme Policand, coming back to the Formula Ford of his beginnings (vice-champion of France in 1986 and boss of the prestigious Akka-ASP team), put the cat amongst the pigeons in Formula Ford Historic, winning the first race with championship leader François Belle on his heels. He would have won the second race too, but a penalty dropped him down the order.
To read all about it, see our September issue
Photos Guy Pawlak
Paul Lawrence Reports
Masters boldly took a date on the third weekend of the UK’s belated racing season and ran most of its key categories including F1, Historic Sports Cars and Endurance Legends. For both F1 and Historic Sports Cars, these were the first qualifying rounds for the 2020 FIA Championships. In truth, the competitor response was mixed, with some fair grids and others that were down in numbers. Clearly, COVID-induced limitations on travel took its toll, with no American racers able to attend and, though UK quarantine rules were changed considerably on the run-up to the event, the news came too late for many mainland European racers to make plans.
Nevertheless, everyone was pleased to be back on track and there was some excellent racing across two mainly dry days. There was even a better-than-expected spectator turn-out as racing-starved fans took the chance to see some glorious machinery. The Masters team was understandably pleased with progress and was rightly expecting more competitors for its following date at Brands Hatch in mid-August.
Will Nuthall trailed the entire eld into Redgate but charged through the pack in the rain to take the lead from Sam Wilson
A dozen Historic F1 cars went out for qualifying, which featured three red flags in the first 15 minutes. The sight of a driver walking down the pit lane carrying his car’s rear wing is never a good sign and this time it was Masters boss Ron Maydon who had damaged both the rear of his LEC CRP1 against the large Recticel barriers that now mark the clipping points at the chicane. Efforts to get the car fixed for Sunday failed and so the grid was down to 11 cars.
Michael Lyons, in the non-ground-effect Hesketh, led Canttillon in the early stages of both F1 races, but ultimately had to give way to the newer car
But there was still a mighty spectacle in both races as Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308) turned in two fine performances in a bid to contain the ground-effect cars of Cantillon (ex-Carlos Reutemann/Keke Rosberg Williams FW07C) and Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1).
While Lyons was denied a second race win within a week, Jonathan Mitchell was not after adding to his Brands Hatch Thundersports win with victory in the Masters Historic Sports Cars race in his Chevron B19. However, in the opening stages of a race of attrition, it seemed that third would be his lot.
The Historic Touring Car race featured three Ford Mustangs disputing the lead
Although his Lola T70 faltered in the sports car race when in the lead, Gary Pearson did not leave Donington empty-handed, as he went solo to win Saturday’s 90-minute Gentleman Drivers’ race in a Jaguar E-type. The original plan was for him to share both cars with Alex Brundle but the re-scheduled European Le Mans Series race at Paul Ricard put paid to that idea.
The HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix car contenders suffered the only rain of the weekend with a track that got quite wet before starting to dry again in the later stages. That didn’t trouble Will Nuthall, who started his Cooper T53 from the pit lane and charged through the pack to take over the lead from Sam Wilson in the ex-Dave Charlton Lotus 20/22, newly converted back to F1 trim with a 1500cc twin-cam engine.
Tom Bradshaw (Chevron B19) and Gary Pearson (Lola T70) led until both were out with mechanical issues, handing Sports Car victory to Jonathan Mitchell (Chevron B19 No 71)
The Historic Touring Car race featured three Ford Mustangs disputing the lead, with Nigel Greensall charging into the front in David Gooding’s car. But when Greensall handed the car over to the less experienced Gooding with a 27sec lead after the pitstop, the latter was mercilessly hunted down by Craig Davies.
Photos Eric Sawyer
For a full report, see out September issue
Postponed from its original April date the Dix Mille Tours event finally took place on the weekend 24-26 July under a glorious Provençal sun, launching the start of the 2020 Peter Auto season. The long wait meant that the resumption of racing was all the more appreciated by those who were able to take part – drivers, team members, services, the organisers and the public included – with everyone respecting the health measures in force. Formula Junior Driver Carlo Maria del Conte said about the event, “Great race weekend! It was exciting to be back on track after the lockdown in such a beautiful international event. Stunning cars, good races and friendly people!”
Maris (Ford Escort RS 1600) in the Heritage Touring Cup race
Nine Peter Auto grids told the history of motor sport: Fifties’ Legends; Sixties’ Endurance; 2.0L Cup; Classic Endurance Racing I & II; Endurance Racing Legends; Group C Racing; Heritage Touring Cup; The Greatest’s Trophy and, as guest grid, the Eric Offenstadt Cup, a joint double-header for Formula Junior and F3 screamers. In all, more than 350 cars took part in the races. There was also a large club presence and over 380 historic cars turned up and were displayed on the infield and took part in track runs, making it more than 700 marvellous machines on site. In all, the event can only be classified as a resounding success, given that normally this time of year would be off-limits for French organisers, who avoid the family holiday season, and the residual reluctance of some teams to travel outside of their own countries.
In CER 2 Maxime Guenat took his Lola T298 across the line pursued by a penalised Yves Scemmama. Photoclassicracing
The weekend’s winners included Dirk Ebeling and Christian Bouriez, both in Bizzarrinis, taking a heat each in the Greatests’ Trophy. Star of the show, however, was Marco Werner driving the Tojeiro EE Ford, who only failed to win the first race because of mechanical problems that finally manifested themselves in the second race with a big bang on the Mistral Straight, sending the car off the track and into the wall!
Ivan Vercoutere (Porsche 962) was king in the first Group C race, after the Jaguar XJR14 of main rival Christophe d’Ansembourg stopped with only a few minutes left to run. In the second race he was pipped on the line by the similar 962 C of Michel Lecourt.
Jeremy Timms was the class of the Eric Offenstadt Cup races. Photoclassicracing
The Sixties’ Endurance two-hour race turned out to be a race of contrition, with 63 cars qualifying and 38 crossing the finishing line. At their head was the Shelby Cobra of Urs Beck and Patrick Simon, though Christophe Van Riet took fastest ap in the Cobra he shared with Damien Kohler, the pair placing second.
The one-hour Classic Endurance racing 1 race saw David Hart run clear into the lead after the demise of Marc Devis’ McLaren M8C, while in Classic Endurance 2 Yves Scemama took his TOJ SC 304 to a 17-second lead at the flag, but sadly was penalised 33 seconds for a yellow flag infringement, leaving Maxime Guenat victor in his Lola T298.
Maris (Ford Escort RS 1600) in the Heritage Touring Cup race. Photo Reynaud Guillaume
The one-make two litre Porsche Cup 90-minute race saw Richard Cook and Harvey Stanley emerge victorious, ahead of a relentless Philippe de Craene. Christophe Van Riet took his Ford Capri 3100 RS to pole in qualifying for the Heritage Touring Cup and went on to be the class of the race, immediately opening up a gap of 1.5 seconds to nearest rival Michael Erlich in his BMW 3.0 CSL, who beat arch-rival Christian Traber to second.
New grid for Peter Auto, Fifties Legends saw a good turnout for its inaugural 45-minute race. Led by Jean-Marc Avezou in an Austin Healey 3000, then by Eugène Deleplanque in his TVR Grantura when the Healey stuck trouble, the race was eventually won by the Lotus Elite of David Clark and Pascal Pandelaar, after the two top runners were penalised for pit stop infringements.
Photo Reynaud Guillaume Courtesy Peter Auto
With no Lurani Trophy Championship this year, the Formula Juniors teamed up with F3 1000cc cars for the “Eric Offenstadt Cup”, a race dedicated to the eclectic French F3 driver of the ‘60s. Jeremy Timms dominated two 25-minute races with lights to flag victories in his Chevron B1, with fellow F3 driver Christoph Widmer second both times. Third place and victory in the FJ class went to Tommaso Gelmini in the Branca.
Christophe d’Ansembourg led the first Group C race in his Jaguar XJR14, but stopped just a couple of laps from the end, handing first place to Ivan Vercoutere in his 962 Porsche. Photo Morgan Mathurin Courtesy Circuit Paul Ricard
For a full report of the weekend’s racing, see out September issue…
The 2020 AvD-Oldtimer-Grand- Prix, which took place in low-key pandemic conditions, was nonetheless a success for organisers and the drivers of some 300 cars. It wasn’t easy for the organisers, without whose hard work the event wouldn’t have happened. They were even given permission to accept 5000 spectators per day, though fans were not allowed into the paddock this time. It was the first German sporting event of the year at which spectators were allowed.
“We are proud that we were able to welcome spectators this weekend”, commented Ludwig Fürst zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, President of the AvD. “We are pleased about the approval from the authorities and thank everyone involved for the constructive cooperation.” Accompanied by great media interest, the concept was disciplined and implemented consistently. “We are aware that we were pioneers this weekend and were the focus of attention. We succeeded in something that was previously not possible and I hope that we have been able to pave the way for other major events,” he added. The whole event was live-streamed and organisers claim they had 350,000 viewings.
As no press was admitted, we have published a brief report in our September issue based on press releases and participant comments.
Start of the Rennsport Meisterschaft
Amongst the event highlights was a new feature, Formula 1 Legends, which included a display of F1 Ferraris of the 1970s to the 1990s. Guest of honour Jacky Ickx climbed back into the cockpit for a demo of the Ferrari 312 B3 in which he won the 1972 German Grand Prix at the ‘Ring, while four-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner presented a Lotus 77 John Player Special in the same run, and René Arnoux also took to the track.
Many former DTM stars such as Harald Grohs, Leopold Prinz von Bayern and Marc Hessel competed in the colourful Tourenwagen Classics
Last run four years ago, the AvD Historic Marathon was scheduled to make its return this year, this time in collaboration with the FHR who would have guaranteed sufficient numbers on the grid. Sadly this much-anticipated three-hour race on the Nordschleife had to be cancelled, but it was replaced by the two-hour AvD / Dunlop Historic Endurance Cup on Sunday morning on the GP circuit.
Pre-war cars were represented in demonstration runs, and a good many turned up to enjoy their time on the circuit.
Amongst them was Ulrich Sauer who has attended every Oldtimer Grand Prix since the beginning, this being the 48th time. He was there with his 23-year old granddaughter Anna Schneider, who shares the driving in the family 328 BMW.
All Photos Courtesy AvD
For our fuller report see our September issue
While Club racing is restarting all over Europe and the US, those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020. From Monterey to Goodwood, from Silverstone Classic to le Mans Classic, all have fallen victim to COVID.
These are the very events that require the most capital investment and huge amounts of forward planning, contract negotiations with all sorts of suppliers, staff recruitment, etc. etc. While the organisers have put in all the work to stage them, alas, they will see no return on their investments this year.
Two such organisations have asked for help. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who of course relies on activities and events at the Goodwood Estate, including the horse racing, has written to the friends of Goodwood and other interested parties asking that they join the Goodwood Supporters’ Association (GSA), with the joining fees going towards keeping the estate running during these hard time. “It is my hope that, with the renewal of the GSA, you may consider standing beside us as we weather this storm’”, he wrote. It seems he was answered by his many friends, as two weeks later, he sent a message of thanks. “I wanted to convey a heartfelt thank you from both me and the team at Goodwood. Our loyal Goodwood visitors have been overwhelmingly supportive in getting behind our reinvigorated Goodwood Supporters’ Association (GSA) and while the challenge still prevails, the kindness and support shown by so many of our fans will go a long way to ensuring that the spirit of Goodwood and our unique interpretation of the sport we love will continue.”
In the meantime, he has announced a new initiative, Goodwood Speed Week, for which many of his sponsors, including his main sponsor, Mastercard, have signed up, for an online race meeting (see our news item in the August issue).
Another victim of, in a way, his own success (because his event is so big), is Nick Wigley of Goose Live Events, who had to cancel the Silverstone Classic. He has set up a crowd funding site to help his small events company through the crisis. “As a small independent events company passionate about what we do, Goose Live Events has been hugely challenged financially by the need to cancel the Silverstone Classic in 2020. With 10 months’ work already done by the team in preparation for the Classic prior to its cancellation and costs incurred for an event that isn’t now happening, COVID-19 has set us back by at least 10 years. We will survive it, but we’d really appreciate your help,” he wrote to friends and competitors. “Any support you feel able to provide would be hugely appreciated... and in recognition of the fact that our charity partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK, is expecting a drop in support by as much as 45% as a result of COVID-19, we will donate 10% of any funds received in this way to their very important cause.,” he added. The address for donations is https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-the-silverstone-classic.
For those readers who have not followed the story so far, Nick Wigley and Goose were originally engaged to run the Silverstone Classic on behalf of erstwhile organisers Racing at Silverstone Ltd. (RAS). With nearly a year of work done, RAS was ready to pull the plug on the whole enterprise, which would have left Wigley facing a large unpaid bill for all the work his team had put in. The alternative was to take over the event himself, debts and all. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Wigley saved the very existence of the Classic, which has gone on to thrive under his stewardship.
Looking on the positive side to 2021, provisional dates for next year’s Silverstone Classic are 30 July–1 August. As usual, these will remain unconfirmed until the dates for the British Grand Prix are ratified by the FIA, usually at the start of December.
Those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020
Members’ Meeting: Cancelled, Festival of Speed: Cancelled, Goodwood Revival: Cancelled, but the Duke of Richmond is not to be downcast. Instead he has announced a new, online event to take place on 16-18 October, that will be, in the Duke’s words, “The fastest, most exciting and spectacular event we have ever staged.” The most ambitious event ever held at Goodwood, Speedweek will be broadcast to the world free of charge in innovative ways, with technology such as putting viewers in the racing seat, with layers of interactivity to create an immersive experience. Without spectators present, the action can be faster and more extreme. According to the press office, “It will redefine the experience of watching motorsport at home in much the same way that the Festival of Speed and Revival changed forever the perception of classic car events.” The programme of events and full driver line-up will be announced over the coming weeks and months.
Leading manufacturers will launch their latest cars to a global audience, as supercars will be put through their paces around the Goodwood Motor Circuit, and technology will take centre stage, as FOS Future Lab gives viewers a glimpse into the mobility of tomorrow. Long-time sponsor, Bonhams, will hold an online auction over the weekend, with viewing by appointment only, at Goodwood on Wednesday-Friday.
With no spectators, there will be the freedom to run the faster, modern cars on the circuit, to put rally cars through their paces all around the Goodwood Estate, and to use areas that are normally out of bounds to stage trials and contests that would normally not be permitted. The Duke continued, “An event unlike any that’s gone before, Goodwood Speedweek will be a fitting celebration of the spirit of the Festival of Speed and Revival, both of which will return, bigger and better than ever, in 2021.”
As reported in our July issue, the Historic Sports Car Club still wants to offer the Jaguar drivers at least one event in 2020, and have announced their own race for pre-‘66 Jaguars at the Oulton Park Gold Cup on 29-31 August.
The Dunlop Historic Trophy will be a one-hour race for with mandatory pit stop and the option of two drivers. There are classes and awards for E-types in both standard and race modified specification, Mk1 and Mk2 saloons and the XK range. An invitation class will be open to suitable cars that do not fully meet pre-‘66 specification.
The race will celebrate a long association between the HSCC and racing Jaguars, which started when Neil Corner’s D-type won the first race in the HSCC story at Castle Combe in 1966. At the conclusion of the 1969 season, the Historic Jaguar Trophy was awarded for the first time and the recipient was David Beckett for his performances in a Lister Jaguar.
HSCC CEO Andy Dee-Crowne said: “The loss of the Jaguar Classic Challenge to the COVID-19 pandemic was a great disappointment to Jaguar racers, but the Club is honouring its commitment to them with a chance to get back racing in this special race at Oulton Park.”
Sadly, after searching for a date on which to run the postponed Donington Historic Festival, organisers have been forced to hold it over until next year. The 2021 date will be announced soon.
In the meantime, though, there is excitement in the ranks as the Legends’ season will be underway soon with a revised date of 15-16 August for the Thruxton Historic meeting. With some grids missing out on their races at the cancelled Donington Festival and/or Silverstone Classic, Duncan Wiltshire has announced that all Motor Racing Legends grids will be able to race at Thruxton. “We plan to run all of our race series at this meeting,” said Wiltshire, “with the Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy grids having separate one-hour races, and the Historic Touring Car Challenge/Tony Dron Trophy with two 40-minute races - to be shared with the Sixties Touring Car Challenge with U2TC.”
In addition, there will be a 40-minute race for Pre-War Sports Cars, and a 60-minute race for Pre-‘63 GT. The GT & Sports Car Cup and Julius Thurgood’s HRDC grids will also be on the bill.
“We now have official confirmation that competitors who choose to stay overnight will be able to camp in the paddock; be it in a motorhome or caravan and the paddock will be open for set-up on Friday afternoon. Our hospitality arrangements are still under review, but we definitely aim to provide COVID-compliant lunch on each day and to host some sort of socially-distant gathering on both Friday and Saturday evenings,” added Wiltshire.
After that the Motor Racing Legends will continue their season as scheduled at the Spa Six Hours meeting, where there will be races for Woodcote Trophy, Stirling Moss Trophy, Pre-War Sports Cars, and all the touring car classes, and the Algarve Historic Festival on 23-25 October, where the Pre-’63 GTs will race and a pre-war sports car double header has been added to the programme. Entries for these meetings are strong and it is clear that the Legends drivers are keen to get back out on track. See www.motorracinglegends.com for details and entries.
Photo John Retter
As in the UK, the weekend of 11-12 July saw the re-start for historic racing in Italy. Imola was the venue and, along with the first round of the Gruppo Peroni Italian Historic Championships, the Alfa Revival Cup cars were on the programme. Thirty cars for the Championship and 19 Alfas – fewer than usual as tentative competitors ventured out after a particularly traumatic time in Italy - were out on track at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. Three free practice sessions gave them ample opportunity to get back into the rhythm after a long winter and a cancelled spring.
Although the drivers were greeted with hot sunshine, an unfortunate incident marred everyone’s enjoyment. At the end of the third practice session, Andrea Manzoni of the Scuderia Clemente Biondetti suffered a heart attack while slowly driving back to the paddock and, although promptly rescued and transported by helicopter to the Maggiore hospital of Bologna, the Florentine driver sadly could not be saved. When the terrible news arrived in the paddock, it created much emotion, but the drivers took the decision to honour Andrea’s immense passion for motorsport by carrying on with the race weekend, though the mood was understandably less buoyant than it would have otherwise been at the re-start of racing after such a long hiatus.
A very tight qualifying session, especially at the sharp end, took place with a summer thunderstorm rapidly approaching the circuit. Davide Bertinelli and Antonio Crescenti took pole in a GTAM, but only 4 thousandths of a second ahead of the GTA 1600 Group 4 of Giovanni Serio and Francesco Pantaleo. Third was German Jürgen Ludwig in a beautiful GTA 1600 Group 2. In the GT Veloce 2000cc Group 1 class Luigi Mercatali was the one to beat, followed by Andrea Guarino/Bruno Ferrari. Amongst the oldest cars of the field, the Giulietta Spider Veloce of the Renzo and Raffaele Raimondi father and son team would start in front.
Davide Bertinelli and Antonio Crescenti took pole in their GTAM with some spirited driving, and easily won the race when their main opposition faded
As the green lights went on and the 60-minute race began, the first one to fall was the GTAM of Umberto Bartolucci who retired with an engine problem and, on the second lap the same thing happened to the Alfetta GTV 6 of Amerigo Bigliazzi/Bruno Mazzuoli. The retirement of the Serio/Pantaleo car on lap six robbed the race of the only serious rival to Bertinelli/Crescenti, who increased their margin to the end. Another German driver, Michael Vos in a GTAM, had to start at the back of the grid due to technical problems in qualifying. Had he started at the front, things may have been different. As it was, he worked his way through the field to finish second. Ludwig, having lost many positions at the start, came back to finish fifth. An excellent performance by Roberto Restelli and Luigi Panini confirmed their third place achieved in qualifying, while Mercatali held on to the GTV Grp 1 class, followed by Gimignani.
The all-important Index of Performance victory went to Roberto Lonardi and Romolo Raimondi in a Giulietta Spider Veloce after Renzo Raimondi was given a 25-second penalty for colliding with the Giulietta Ti of Marco Milla on the last lap.
Denny Zardo and Giovanni Ambroso took overall honours and class 4 in the Italian Championship in their BMW 323i, while Riccardo Lodi took the ‘60s win with his 1300 Alfa GT.
Photos Courtesy GPS Classic
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.
The building of the road had been a no-expense-spared operation resulting in a beautiful highway running from the jungles of Chiapas on the Guatemalan border, up into the highlands above Mexico City and down into the northern desert flatlands. With excellent camber on a series of constant radius bends, despite the best part of three-quarters of a century of wear and tear, the road is still a sheer delight to race on. There are no jerky switchbacks here, just flowing curves. In 1988 the race was revived as a special stage rally using much of the same route. Since then, it has started and ended at various points, and used some other roads, but always with the old Panamerican Highway at its heart.
The organisers have received the necessary authorisations to hold the 2020 Carrera Panamericana on its originally scheduled dates of 16-22 October, thouhg at time of writing, the border remains closed between the US and Mexico. To help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1950 event, and the 33rd of the modern race, organisers are offering a 70 Years Sport and Classic Tour that will run from Oaxaca in the south, to Zacatecas in the north, running concurrently with the main rally for four of the days, from 16 to 19 October, and enjoying the two favourite stopping places of La Carrera, Oaxaca (where the main race will start this year) and Zacatecas, as well as a visit to Mexico City and Morelia along the way. However, if the border situation remains unchanged, the event will no doubt be cancelled for this year. See https://lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx for updates.
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.”