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From humble beginnings in 2014, the Bernina Gran Turismo 2019 event proved there is an ncreasing appetite for a sociable hillclimb amongst owners of great cars. Staged on the Bernina pass just outside of the chic resort of St Moritz, this year’s event brought out an even greater variety of cars to run in the competition and regularity categories, with little distinction between the two - the road is closed and participants can run at any speed they choose. It is a chance for collectors to bring out some cars that they might not usually race.
The French Historic Tour resumed in the Auvergne at the undulating circuit of Charade on 20-22 September after a long summer break with 300 entries competing in 20 races. Clement weather on Saturday gave way to rain on Sunday afternoon, as the pilots wrangled for the two French Championship titles.
With Formula Ford forming the biggest grid of the meeting, 37 starters were headed by reigning F Ford Champion François Belle in his Lola T540E, ahead of Alain Girardet. These two distanced the rest of the pack, led by Alexandre Fournier and guest driver, Frédéric Rouvier, getting into his stride and moving firmly into third place. Half way down the pack, Brit Alan Crocker took Class A. The second race was a re-run of the first, Belle, taking it by 7/10ths of a second. Crocker took his second Class A win, ahead of Lombardi and Didier Mantz.
This time it was the turn of Alain Girardet to try a new formula, the Swiss taking a Ralt RT3 to third place in qualifying behind regulars Rouvier and Davide Leone in his March 783. A long safety car period two laps in, after Gianluigi Candiani went off, saw the trio circulating in that order, with only three laps left to run once the safety car retired. The sprint to the chequer saw Rouvier finish by a 7/10ths margin to Leone and Girardet, with Eric Martin (Martini MK39) and Ian Jacobs (Ralt RT3) completing the top five.
In the F Renault division, Tony Boudreault was the winner when Fabrice Porte, who had started from the back of the grid after his engine blew in qualifying, flew to the front in the few available laps, only to break again within sight of the flag.
The Dutch NKHTGT, the British Classic Sports Car Club, The Triumph Competition and British HTGT series, the Colmore Youngtimers and the new Maxx Formula grids brought an international cast to Dijon Prenois to do battle in some tough weather conditions on the weekend of 5-7 October at the traditional Dijon Motors Cup meeting.
Playing a starring role, the Formula 2 International series also had its final two rounds at the former French GP circuit. The category has gone through somewhat of a resurgence this year, with grids increasing in size at each meeting bringing new entries in throughout the season. This left those who began at the beginning with hopes for the championship title.
Sixty years after Belgian hero Jacky Ickx scored the last Le Mans 24 Hours victory for Ford’s GT40, with Jackie Oliver, 14 late-built versions of the icon started odds-on favourites to win the 27th Spa Six Hours, highlight of the Historic racing season, on September 28. The following day 70 plus GT40 evocations lined-up in echelon along the Formula 1 pit wall and were flagged away by Jackie Ickx for a two-lap celebratory cavalcade.
The FIA Appendix K-spec GT40s filled the top 10 places in qualifying. Another Belgian ace and former F1 driver, Eric van der Poele, secured pole, from which Ford Motor Company’s President, New Business and Technology, Jim Farley had the honour of starting at 15:55 on the Saturday, in the damp with 98 cars behind him, from the period downhill grid preceding the daunting Eau Rouge left-right and the ascent to Raidillon. No pressure then!
Zndvoort’s eighth Historic Grand Prix event, held on September 6-8, rolled the years back beautifully to what are now considered to be golden eras of motor racing. Hazardous years in which heroic drivers in charismatic and distinctive cars, mainly unencumbered by wings, hurtled through the dunes of the seaside town, entertaining legions of appreciative fans.
There was symmetry in the results too. Andy Middlehurst’s hard-won HGPCA double in a Coventry-Climax V8-engined Lotus 25 evoked memories of his idol Jim Clark’s Dutch GP wins in 1963 and ‘64, albeit outrunning Will Nuthall in a 2.5-litre Cooper T53 of the type in which Jack Brabham had won the 1960 World Championship round.
Lancastrian Tom Bradshaw’s dominant maiden FIA Masters Sportscar triumph in a Chevron-FVC B19, meanwhile, took seasoned onlookers back to September ‘71 when Red Rose Racing’s John Hine, local ace Ed Swart and his Canon Cameras team-mate John Burton drove Derek Bennett’s slippery Bolton-built creations to a resounding Trophy of the Dunes 1-2-3.
The venerable Vintage Sports-Car Club’s first ever race meeting at Brands Hatch was to form the centrepiece of its 85th anniversary celebrations but thanks partly to the proximity of the M25, which was supposed to make travel so much easier in the south-east of England but is fast becoming a tourniquet round London, and an unfortunate Bank Holiday timing on 24 August, the celebrations were largely cancelled. Several events did take place in the area organised by local members and happily what was left, a sprint and race meeting over the Brands Hatch Indy circuit was blessed with glorious hot weather, a large crowd and a good entry.
Tony Lees’ AC/GN Cognac was fastest in the sprint Photos Eric Sawyer
A rich and sportive history
Created in 1953 the Rallye Neige et Glace quickly became an unmissable event for the factory teams, keen on settling the score after the Monte-Carlo Rally. Gérard Larousse,
Bob Neyret, Jean-Claude Andruet and Jean Vinatier, in particular, are associated with the rally, considered by some to be even more challenging than the Monte.
The 2020 edition, will go back to its previous format, which commences with a meet at Sochaux at the Peugeot Adventure Museum for technical and administrative checks, before a first night stage to Malbuisson, rally headquarters for the next three days. Route masterminds Patrick Zaniroli and Alain Lopes have devised three loops using the winding roads along the Swiss border between the Doubs and the Jura and have increased the number of regularity zones to eight per day and minimized the untimed miles on the open road. With a return each night to the comfort of the Hotel du Lac in Malbuisson, organisers also offer a ‘Randonnée’ category, for those who want to join the party without the stress of being timed. Classes go from 1946 to 4 x 4s up to 1993, but most participants take cars of the ‘60s and early ’70s. Entry forms can be downloaded at www.zaniroli.com and there are discounts for early entries.
Dates for next year’s Tour Auto have been announced as 20-25 April. Each year a marque or type of car is favoured and next year will be the turn of the roadgoing Porsche Prototypes to take priority for entries. Expect to see 550 sypders, 904 GTS, Carrera Abarth and more. The itinerary for next year’s event has not yet been announced, but entries for this oversubscribed event can be made on the Peter Auto website: peterauto.peter.fr.
Coming soon (November 27-December 6) is the big one – The Safari Rally. First run in 2003, the legendary East African Safari Classic Rally now run biennially, is a nine-day event covering some 5,000 kilometres through Kenya and Tanzania, rekindling the spirit of the original Safari Rally, which put East Africa on the motorsport map and earned an unassailable reputation as the world’s toughest rally.
Photo McKlein Images
Open to two-wheel drive, normally aspirated, FIA rally cars built before 1986, Safari Classic is a true adventure and replicates the challenge of the original Safari, travelling through the East African landscape, passing through famous game parks and overnighting at many of the finest lodges in the cradle of Africa.
Round 6 of the 2019 FIA Championship was held in Finland on August 9-10. The Lahti Historic Rally is the only gravel rally on the calendar and invokes memories of the legendary Thousand Lakes. Won on the road by Finns Antero Laine and Topi Luhtinen in an Audi Quattro, with Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto in second place in their the Toyota Starlet 1300 and the first EHSRC entrant across the finish line, the Toyota was 1m03.5secs behind the Audi and 9.9 seconds ahead of the Audi Quattro of ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena, the Italians finishing third overall and second in the EHSRC contest. However, in post event scrutineering the Finnish Audi was disqualified for technical reasons, leaving the two Championship contenders first and second overall, as well as first and second in Category 3 of the Championship.
Overall winners Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto in their Toyota Starlet1300 were also the first European Championship contenders across the line. Photos Jarmo K Mäki / @JamoPic.Photography
The 2019 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca, the scenic circuit that winds around a mountain top in the highlands just east of Monterey in California, was both a continuation of a great tradition and also a new beginning for the event. Organisers, SCRAMP were under the direction of new CEO Tim McGrane and, while he certainly qualifies as an experienced hand, it was nevertheless the first time out of the gate for him and many new team members. The general consensus in the paddock was that the event is in safe hands. None of this was hurt by the fact that the Rolex feature races were favoured with great weather, sunny but cool, and that the paddock was packed with wonderful, historic cars, with some 550 racers driving cars from 1910 to 2014.
Group 2A for 1955 - 1961 Sports racers produced a great dice between the Sadler Mk IV of Greg Meyer and Fantasy Junc on’s Spencer Trenery in a Cooper Monaco. A short pace car interrup on did nothing to cool the pair’s ardour, un l Trenery’s Cooper began to fade from the lead and nally pull o , promo ng Al Aciero (Lister Knobbly) and Rob Walton (Birdcage Masera ), who’d been having their own entertaining dice, to second and third respec vely. Photos Eric Sawyer
“Our visiting friends from Europe exclaimed, “We have nothing like it!” Two racing weekends, four major concours and a dozen others, six auctions, several rallies, dozens of private parties and all set in one of the most spectacular seaside resorts in the world. It attracts over 250,000 visitors and nearly 10,000 participants.”
Dan Davis of Victory Lane Magazine gives us a rundown of an intense week of activities centred on burning oil, gas and rubber...
Photo Rolex/Tom O’Neal
The Mantorp Park racetrack in Sweden celebrated its 50th anniversary on 24-26 August together with the Racerhistoriska Klubben. Event promoter MK Scandia managed to invite over 600 exhibition cars, and there was plenty to see throughout the weekend. In addition to many fine display cars there were also some familiar faces, including ex-Formula 1 driver Reine Wisell who gladly shared his stories about what it was like in the good old days.
Hans Hillebrink in his Lotus 20 was one of very few Formula Junior drivers Photos Bengt-Åce Gustavsson - www.racefoto.se
Ford Mustangs of all model series since the sports car’s launch in 1964 met on September 7 at the Lommel Ford Proving Ground in Belgium to set a new world record for the largest number of Mustangs ever gathered in one place. With a total of 1,326 Ford Mustangs, the previous record was broken, which was set on December 3, 2017 with 960 vehicles in Toluca, Mexico. More mustangs are sold per capita in Belgium than in any other European country.
Wonder how long it took them to get so neatly lined up Photo Courtesy Ford Belgium
Round four of the Alfa Revival Cup, the last race before the long summer break, took place at the Misano World Circuit on July 13-14. Dodging a morning thunderstorm, the young driver from Milano, Davide Bertinelli took his first ever pole position at the head of the 23-car grid in his GTam, as Austrian Gerald Grohmann lined up alongside with Roberto Arnaldi just behind.
Race winner young Davide Bertinelli. Photos courtesy GPS Classic
The biggest race meeting for historic cars in Norway is the “Asfalt Classic” at Rudskogen. Nestling in the forest south of Oslo, the circuit was built in 1990, and rebuilt in 2011 when it was doubled in length to 3.217kms, offering an extremely challenging ride, the elevation changes offering some big slopes. A few years ago the Norwegians put a major effort into historic racing at Vålerbanen, about two hours north of Oslo, that also included a competition for the Swedish RHK series for a few years. Unfortunately, the meeting was stopped, but for a couple of years now the Norwegians have been interested in reviving this pan-Scandinavian concept at Rudskogen. It is not an exact copy of the previous event, but the main focus is on the historic classes. Drivers from all the Nordic countries were invited on the weekend of August 17-18, as was the sports car series from Sweden. 200 drivers took part in the races. On Saturday rain poured down all day, but on Sunday the sun was shining.
Mads Gjerdrum splashes through Friday’s rain. Photos Bengt-Åce Gustavsson – www.racefoto.se
The Dutch NK HTGT pre-‘66 championship made its yearly trip to the Assen TT track for the Gamma Racing Day event on August 16 in very changeable weather conditions. A dry Saturday afternoon quickly became a very wet one just seconds before the start of race 1 much to the delight of the drivers of the nimble Lotus Elans, Alexander Schlüchter’s making a super start when the lights turned green. But it was Roger Grouwels who powered past in the beefy Iso Rivolta 300, despite a misted-up windscreen. Fending off the attacks of Martin Bijleveld in his powerful Ford Falcon, Grouwels went on to take a well-deserved win. Third overall fell to guest driver Simon Gras, who took like a duck to water in the downpour in a Morris Cooper S.
Drivers are heading south to cheat the onset of winter for a number of attractive events
You are probably reading this at the end of September/early October and there are still a number of race meetings on the calendar before the season ends. First of these is the Dijon Motors Cup on 5-6 October where, amongst others, the Dutch NKHTGT and the HSCC Historic Formula 2 series will finish their season and choose their champions. Youngtimers, Triumph Competition and British HTGT and some more modern races will complete the programme. www.hvmracing.fr
After a successful inaugural event in 2019, the Sonoma Speed Festival will run for the second time on May 28-31, 2020 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Billed as the place for the most authentic racing cars from the brass era to the modern age, along with the track racing, organisers also offer high quality hospitality to competitors, fine food and wine options, motorsport exhibitions, car shows and more, all in the lovely Sonoma setting.
The 18th running of the HSCC Oulton Park Gold Cup took place at the Cheshire circuit with 21 races spread over the sweltering Bank Holiday weekend of 24-26 August. Since a Historic Gold Cup was introduced in 2016, it has been awarded to the winner of the headline single-seater race, which this year was the two-part XL Aurora series and it was fitting to see a couple of 3-litre F1 cars in the entry, along with representation from F5000 (in the 50th anniversary year of the formula’s debut race at Oulton), Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic.
Marty Bullock’s was a popular win, the Australian taking a pukka F1 car to its rightful place on top of the Gold Cup podium. Photos Charlie Wooding
It’s subjective of course, but, if speaking to a cross-section of competitors is any guide, the 22nd Goodwood Revival Meeting, bathed throughout in glorious Indian Summer conditions on 13-15 September, was right up there among the best from their side of the fence. Celebrations of the 60th anniversaries of Cooper’s first Formula 1 championship titles with Jack Brabham and Aston Martin snatching the world sportscar crown from under the noses of Ferrari and Porsche in the dramatic Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy here and Sir Stirling Moss’ imminent 90th birthday added to the occasion.
Friday’s Kinrara Trophy race for Pre-‘63 GTs was a beautifully evocative snapshot of a stunning era set against the backdrop of a perfect sunset. Photos Eric Sawyer
The annual Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix was organised on its traditional first weekend of August date by CEO Jens Peter Lange and his team with the sporting side of things run under the Automobil Sports Klubben Hedeland for the 19th time. Once run in the Tivoli Gardens in Denmark’s capital, this was the seventh event on the Bellahöj Park Circuit, which in a huge undertaking has to be built up over two days before the race and dismantled afterwards, requiring over 4000 concrete blocks, and the construction of several bridges. There was fine weather over the weekend and over 44,000 spectators turned up to the enjoy the event.
Jac Nelleman drove his Volpini in the first Formula Junior race and switched to his Alfa Dana in the second. Photos Daniel Slater
The Circuit des Remparts will this year celebrate 50 years since the first ‘Circuit Automobile des Remparts’ at Angoulême with a re-evocation of that original grid. Run in 1939 as two qualifying heats of 40-laps each, followed by a final of 70 laps, it was hardly surprising there were a number of DNFs behind eventual winner Raymond Sommer in an Alfa Romeo 308, the only truly modern GP car to have competed.
This year’s event will feature many favourites, such as the Bugatti races, this year split into two categories, for four and eight and cylinder cars. Other pre-war grids will include pre-war GP racers and there will also be a grid for Edwardian cars. Post-war cars will run in two grids, for cars up to 1965 and for cars up to 1976. In addition, numerous demos and themed runs are planned.
As usual there will be the Concours d’Élégance and the Concours d’État and the International rally, all culminating on Sunday when the streets are closed and the racing takes place in front of packed grandstands. Dates this year are 13-15 September. For once it doesn’t clash with Spa Six Hours, which has moved to 27-29 September this year, but it does clash with the Goodwood Revival.
Fastest from the off, Arne Rådström dominated Sweden’s most important historic rally, the KAK Midnight Sun Rally, in his Volvo 262 at the head of a highly competitive 130-car field, finishing each of the three days, from July 10 to 13, in the lead. But, after 900kms and over 150 stage kilometres, the Volvo driver was disqualified for a technical infringement, which was upheld after appeal.
This gave second on the road Patrik Dybeck and Jonny Norling the victory in their Opel Kadett GSI over the Volvo 242 of class-winning Harry Joki and Tony Sundkvist by a margin of 23 seconds. An expected podium place for Ola Axelsson evaporated on the final day when he was sidelined with clutch problems in his Volvo 244, gifting the place to Mikael Wisti’s Volvo 240. A worthy fifth were reigning European rally champions Mats Myrsell and Esko Juntilla in their Porsche 911 RS, who also won their class.
Fastest from the start, Arne and Dennis Rådström were disqualified for a technical infringement in their
Volvo 262 SE
Organised by Malcolm McKay’s ClassicRallyPress organisation, this year’s Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally for Triumph TRs in July saw 26 TRs from 1953 to 1976 take part. The rally closely followed its original 1958 route but was split over 10 days instead of the original continuous 60hrs with just one 8hr break. Still formulated as a navigational endurance challenge, with three circuit tests, drivers were offered the possibility to drive the rally as a tour, but none of the TR owners were interested in that option, all battling to find the route controls and win at least a class award, if not win overall.
The route headed over the Belgian Ardennes into Germany and the Dolomites, crossing Austria to Italy then headed east into Slovenia and over the challenging Vrsic pass before dropping down to Ljubljana, where a day’s break allowed competitors to service their cars and visit the city.
The weather was superb throughout – making the scenery all the more stunning and the roads more enjoyable.
Lyn St James crashed James Heck’s Corvette out of a star-studded Charity Pro-Am race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the weekend of 3-4 August. The seven-time Indy 500 starter and prominent sports car racer sustained minor injuries during the crash and was kept overnight in hospital as a precaution. “St. James said. “I’m really thankful that all of the safety equipment that I wore and what was on the car functioned as it was designed to. I am walking away from a pretty big hit.”
Willy T. finally won the Pro-Am race at Indianapolis Photo Courtesy SVRA
The race was won by Willy T. Ribbs and Edward Savadjian in a Duntov-prepared 1969 Corvette A Production racer, Ribbs’ first Sportscar Vintage Racing Association pro-am win after seven tries. After a close battle Geoff Brabham had taken the lead of the 50-minute race until a belt broke in his similar Corvette, shutting off his power steering and rendering the car undrivable.
“We were having a great duel with Geoff, and I honestly feel for him,” Ribbs said from the podium. “We had the deal here all but closed the last two years and then something always happened. There’s no place like the Speedway. Anytime you win here, it’s a terrific day.”
Prescott is the great early August annual social occasion for VSCC members with the Orchard car park as full of desirable motor cars as is the competitors’ paddock. Rileys are always well represented and with the grandson of founder William, and son of Victor Riley, Victor Jnr in attendance, this year even more so. The hill also finds favour with Lady drivers, often sharing with their ‘other half’ which, of course, is more difficult to do when circuit racing, and there were many among the large entry.
Undoubtedly the major attractions at the Grand Prix Historique du Pas De Calais on 6-7 July were the two rounds of the 500 Owners Association Circuit Championship. Many of the 500 racers are also Formula Junior drivers, and they were well represented at Croix, led by likely winner Mike Fowler (Cooper Mk 5). Martin Sheppard (Effyh “Brynfan Tydfyn“), Xavier Kingsland (Staride Mk3), Duncan Rabagliati (Comet Mk1) and Andy Rayner (Cooper) were also amongst the tourists from the other side of the Manche, while Elva 200 Lurani racer Gilbert Lenoir brought along three of his cars to race, the French built Terigi for Simon Frost, and two invitation cars, the front-engined, Monopole FJ for Jean-Luc Renard and the ex-Harry Schell 1950 Monaco F1 GP Cooper-JAP v-twin for journalist Dominique Pascal, while Goodwood French commentator, Olivier Barjon was also there in his near barn find Cooper Mk II, although not yet ready to race.
This meeting has now become so big that it commences on Wednesday 25 September with track sessions for pre-war cars (this in collaboration with the Belgium Classic Cars Federation) and the activities of Aston Martin Heritage, who is sponsoring the track time for their customers with recent racing cars. This is in addition to the two Masters Endurance Legends races, also sponsored by Aston Martin that were already shoe-horned into the event last year.
The schedule for this year’s Spa Six Hour meeting is more packed than ever
As in previous years, Thursday is given over to free practice and testing for all competitors before the full race programme begins on Friday with qualifying for all grids and racing for a few. All of the usual grids will be there, including HGPCA, all the Masters grids, all the Motor Racing Legends grids, including pre-war sports cars, and the HSCC has its usual two-30-minute race slots, this year for closed wheel cars from any of their championships, from Touring cars, to Thundersports. The HSCC also brings back its Jaguar Challenge.
After a successful run this year for historic IMSA cars at the Long Beach Grand Prix, next April Historic Formula Atlantic cars will run two 20-minute support races at the annual IndyCar street racing event.
Races will run Saturday, April 18 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 19 - the same day as the NTT IndyCar Series race -- with practice and qualifying on Friday.
The Formula Atlantic series ran at Long Beach from 1978-‘82 and 1989-2008 as one of the premier “feeder” series to top-level open-wheel racing. “Hosting the historic Formula Atlantic cars are a natural at Long Beach,” said Cris Vandagriff, president of the HMSA, the body that will be organising the race. “It will be so exciting to see these cars on the Streets of Long Beach again and have many of the former drivers attend the Formula Atlantic autograph session. All the cars will be authentic in every detail including the livery they ran in-period.”
Contact HMSA at www.hmsausa.com for details and entries.
Historic Sportscar Racing is making some alterations to the groupings at this year’s Daytona Classic with the division of Group E into two distinct classes, each featuring modern but retired prototypes and GT cars from this century. Group E remains the place for Audi R8, Pescarolo Judd, Peugeot 908 and Lola B07 LMP race cars that compete in the group with Daytona Prototype International (DPi), LMP2 race cars and others just past their prime, but the split paves the way for Oreca FLM09 Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) “PC” cars and Gen 2 and Gen 3 Daytona Prototypes to compete for overall honours in a move to completely restructure Group F. Still current in their appeal but no longer eligible in contemporary racing series, the “DP” and “PC” cars will compete in Group F against retired LMP2 cars of the same era.
Daytona Prototypes and LMPC cars have become quite popular with HSR competitors in recent years