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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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Contents December Issue Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Carrera Panamericana - Rallye du Valais - Daytona Classic 24 - Deux Tours d’Horloge - Alfa Revival Cup - Jerez Historic Festival - Historic Tour Lédenon - MRL Silverstone GP - Goodwood Members Meeting - Algarve Classic Festival

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The Magazine

Getting back to more normal times, news from Goodwood is that the 79th Members’ Meeting will be held on 9-10 April 2022, the Festival of Speed is scheduled for 23-26 June, and the Revival Meeting will be held on 16-18 September.

Photo DominicJames

The HSCC Silverline Championship had already had its final rounds at Spa, the Formula Juniors getting some terrible weather there (see report this issue).  Last race of the day on Sunday, it was the worst weather of the weekend, and most of the Belgians and Americans (sensibly?) pulled out, but even though Eau Rouge was a complete blur except for heavy spray and a red taillight ahead, all the brave survived.  In these conditions, on his maiden visit to Spa, Nic Carlton-Smith clinched the FJ Championship, but only by a whisker, ahead of a fast charging Stuart Tizzard in his Cooper T56.

Photo Peter Heil

Close and exciting racing settled the HSCC Championships over the weekend of 16-17 October on the Silverstone National circuit at the Club’s Finals Meeting.  Some championships had been decided at Mallory Park in September (see report this issue), while many others were still up for grabs.  Jordan Harrison secured the overall Classic Formula Ford title by winning once more in his Lola T540E despite the best efforts of Ben Tinkler and Henry Chart.

Will Plant went to Silverstone in need of another overall race win to make certain of the 70s Road Sports title and that’s just what he accomplished in his Morgan Plus 8, romping away as his father Richard played a supporting role, while Andy Newall rounded out his Guards Trophy title-winning season with another victory in his Chevron B6.  Three races for Historic Formula Ford decided the championship and it was Cam Jackson who took a third title in his Winkelmann after three hard fought races.  New Historic Touring Car champion is Mike Gardiner.

Another strong grid of Historic Formula Ford 2000s produced two great races and two wins for Graham Fennymore, but it was never easy for the new, 2021 champion, as Benn Simms and Tom Smith, who was guesting in Graham Ridgway’s car, chased hard. 

Eagerly awaited for the last four years, it’s official. Le Mans Classic will be held from June 30th to July 3rd, 2022. Created in 2002 by Peter Auto in association with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Le Mans Classic offers a formidable retrospective of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The event, acclaimed from its very first edition, has continued to grow and attracted over 195,000 spectators in 2018. It is the largest gathering of classic cars with 600 racing cars on the track and 8,500 classic cars displayed in the specially designed enclosures.

Originally scheduled to celebrate its 10th running in July 2020 before COVID caused it to be cancelled, this 10th edition will also mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of the event. For the occasion, new features will punctuate the weekend, starting with the opening of the circuit being brought forward to Thursday afternoon, allowing the public to attend the scrutineering. Another first, the Endurance Racing Legends series, which brings together the GTs and prototypes of 1990-2000, will have its own support race, and there will also be a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Group C.

The Bernina Gran Turismo Hillclimb has been running now since 2015 and is increasingly attracting Swiss and foreign competitors, who come to enjoy their cars in the crisp mountain air.   New this year, organisers decided to relaunch the Internationalen St. Moritzer Automobilwoche, which first took place in 1929.  

The week opened on 10 September with the Kilomètre Lancé at Engadin Airport in which vehicles such as the 1909 Blitzen Benz and the 1922 Wisconsin Special took part, as did three other record-breaking cars including two Abarth Pininfarinas and the Jabbeke Jaguar XK120.  Fastest car was an almost brand-new Bugatti Divo, which reached the highest speed and could hardly be heard doing so.  Motorbikes were also invited to test their 1/8 mile acceleration speed.

The Kilomètre Lancé at Engadin Airport.  Photos Peter Singhof Courtesy Bernina Grand Turismo

The Motorsport Rendezvous, a Concours d’Élégance that organisers say is not really a Concours d’Élégance at all because of its informal atmosphere, took place in the gardens of the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains.  A highlight was the presentation of the winning vehicles at the famous El Paradiso restaurant owned by event supporter Kurt Engelhorn, situated on the St Moritz piste at over 2,100m in altitude.

The Motorsport Rendezvous, a Concours d’Élégance was a relaxed affair featuring mostly competition machinery

The week culminated on the following weekend of 18-19 September with the Bernina Hillclimb itself, but before that, on Friday Sotheby’s held a motor car auction at the Kempinski, its first ever in Switzerland, that netted in excess of CHF16.5 million.

The 5.7km hillclimb, which climbs some 450 metres from La Rösa to the top of the Bernina pass, over more than 50 curves, was great fun for all involved.  For the record, Daniele Perfetti was fastest overall in the speed category in his Porsche RSR, but in this event no one really cares.  In fact, many competitors run their racing cars in the regularity classes, just for the fun, and take big penalties for arriving too early!  As always in the mountains, the weather veered from warm sunshine to thick fog and rain, but again, no one cared.

Daniele Perfetti made the fastest time on the hillclimb in his RSR Porsche

Having joined the giant Motorsport Network group of companies in 2020, Canossa Events and Alfa Revival Cup organisers GPS Classic have announced the creation of Canossa Racing, a joint venture focused on organizing circuit activities for drivers and classic car enthusiasts.   Canossa Racing will combine the expertise and broad network of Canossa Events with GPS Classic’s in-depth knowledge of classic car races.  Part of the arrangement has been the acquisition of the Alfa revival Cup by Canossa.

Tommaso Gelmini, Founder and CEO at GPS Classic said about the deal, “I’m thrilled to partner with Canossa Events, a global industry leader of events and experiences in the motorsport and automotive space, to create Canossa Racing.   For more than 15 years, GPS Classic has been organising events for historic race cars and this is an ideal opportunity to share our expertise with the Canossa team.  This new joint venture, as well as the acquisition of the Alfa Revival Cup, delivers a fantastic opportunity to further develop the race series across a wider and more international audience.”

Luigi Orlandini, Chairman and CEO at Canossa Events said, “I am delighted to announce this new Joint venture – Canossa Racing, another exciting step towards our continued growth strategy.” 

In our September issue we reported its acquisition of the Amelia Island Concours, and last month classic car insurance and event brand Hagerty, announced it is going public.  With more than 2 million vehicles insured globally, Hagerty has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Aldel Financial Inc., a special purpose acquisition company.  Upon the closing of the transaction, Aldel will be renamed Hagerty Inc. and become publicly traded, with its common stock expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker HGTY.   The company’s portfolio includes the Hagerty Drivers Club, more than 2,500 automotive events annually (including the recently acquired Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), an expanding automotive media content platform, and Hagerty’s proprietary valuation tools. 

McKeel Hagerty CEO of the company started by his parents, originally to insure classic wooden boats, has been a lifelong car enthusiast

September 8th saw the opening of the new Apprentice Training Centre at the famous Brooklands circuit and museum in Surrey, the latest development of the Bicester Heritage Skills Academy.  Attracting young and even not so young trainees into the historic car industry will help to replace many craft skills that will otherwise disappear.  Whilst apprentices were on hand to demonstrate various projects, Chairman Francis Galashan said, “it’s all about ensuring sustainability for the industry”. The Brooklands site naturally provides all the inspiration any budding engineer might wish for.

The FFSA has worked hard to obtain a favourable decision from the Ministry in charge of Public Accounts to classify French motorsport circuits in the category of premises and facilities with exceptional characteristics (EXC 1 category).  This decision will allow a significant reduction in the imposition of property tax for many circuits.  FFSA President  Nicolas Deschaux, said, “This has demonstrated that it was important for the FFSA to respond to the tax issues of important players in our ecosystem, especially in the context of the crisis that we have been experiencing since March 2020.  With this decision, we can say that we secure the sustainability of the circuits on the tax side.”

“When I stepped into the Blakeney awning to have a chat with mechanic Ben Pain - you know, the guy who looks like Obi Wan Kenobi - since I spotted that the Nash’s headlights were both turned inwards. “That’s a useful headlight set-up!”, I quipped, but Ben said, “No no, that’s all on purpose! We’re fighting that GN with the aero engine on the straights, and PBE said that we need every little bit of aerodynamic performance to stay ahead of it...” And then he won by three tenths. That’s attention to detail, even in pre-war!”