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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.
Italy having been the first country to go into lockdown when the coronavirus struck, it is now coming out the other side with an eagerness to get back to normal quickly, none more so than Canossa Events, who are planning a full schedule of rallies for the remainder of the year.
As we go to press the Stella Alpina, will be running from 26-28 June, limited this time to 40 cars in order to ensure safe distancing at social moments. With Americans either unable or unwilling to travel to Italy, Canossa is planning to bring Italy to them in the second half of August with a new Canossa Grand Tour in California, open to all Italian cars.
A new driving tour in the Alps will be the Grand Tour Dolomiti on 4-6 September, which will be run on classic mountain passes interspersed with Michelin-starred restaurants. The Terre di Canossa rally will go ahead on the revised date of 1-4 October with a modified programme utilising alternative locations that allow for better social distancing. The gala 10th anniversary dinner originally planned for this year, will be postponed to next year.
As previously reported, the Modena Cento Ore, Canossa’s only full speed competition event, will now take place on 11-15 October, again with a modified itinerary and alternative social venues.
After a return to the US for an autumn rally in New England, the Canossa crew will set out in November for the United Arab Emirates Desert Tour, touring the deserts and mountains of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah.
As all of these events are subject to last-minute changes depending on prevailing rules and restrictions, long-term planning will be substituted this year by a just-in-time organisation, and Canossa is offering flexible registration and cancellation policies so that no one will lose an entry fee.
The global pandemic has had a massive impact on motor sport across the globe and rallying, in all its forms, has been particularly badly hit. Now, as the first shoots of recovery start to emerge, and racing will resume in Europe during July, rallying is set to be left behind in the early stages. How does rallying re-start in the aftermath of the COVID 19 pandemic? Rally Editor Paul Lawrence tries to make sense of a constantly evolving situation.
Strange days these, I trust all is well with you. Just to pick up on an article in the May HMRN about lap times, your correspondent interestingly takes my time from the last time I raced a T70 at Goodwood to make his comparison. The point is that I was asked (effectively told) not to go faster than 1’20”. I’m actually quite proud of my 1’19.955 done without a lap timer! Your correspondent should really have compared Nick Padmore’s very much faster time, also set in a T70 that so “rang the bells” at the MSA.
More interesting still are the lap times set at the TT in 1959. Stirling was on pole at 1’32 and change in the Aston, Brooks second on 1’33 and a bit in the Testa Rossa and third was Graham Hill in the works Lotus 15 in the 1’34s. Last time I looked the fastest Lotus 15s are now doing 1’25s....... and are not being driven by Graham Hill!
Thank you for producing a very enjoyable magazine at a time when there is nothing substantial to report.
John Hopwood’s article in the May issue on technical developments in historic motorsport is very well balanced and in my opinion the directions that he proposes and the questions that he asks are all the right ones.
At club level, the CSCC for instance, operates loosely Appendix K events, as well as a number of other nostalgias such as Modsports and Supersaloons that are very enjoyable, but for National and International competitions a set of clear regulations is essential.
As I perceive it the current position of the FIA is back to basics, back to the homologation papers and any other hard information from period, and I’m personally happy with that since it means that it should not be necessary to invest in lighter and shorter lifed parts not used in period.
As we all know there are always opportunities to improve performance that are invisible to the kind of cursory inspection that time allows for scrutineering at competitions. Right now the easiest things to check are most rigorously inspected, the labels on seat belts and fire systems dates, seat homologation, gloves, boots, suits.