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After an 19th edition marked by five intense days of racing that saw no fewer than six different leaders with a single second separating the first two crews, all eyes are on the 20th anniversary of the Tour de Corse Historique. From Monday 5 to Saturday 10 October aficionados of the Corsican rally stages will travel 900kms from Porto Vecchio to Bastia, Calvi, Ajaccio and back to Porto Vecchio including 20 special stages - to mark 20 years of the event - totalling nearly 350 stage kilometres. See www.tourdecorse-historique.fr for all the details.
The promoters of the Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand have confirmed more details of the November 2020 marathon rally. The rally will be based in Rotorua and will start on Sunday November 22 before finishing back there on Saturday 28. Overnight halts will be in Gisborne, Napier, Palmerston North and Ohakune. Peter Martin of the Ultimate Rally Group confirmed that the seven-day gravel rally, will cover 650 stage miles amongst the breathtaking scenery of the North Island. “We’re aiming at a field of 70 cars and we need to get at least half of them from overseas,” said Martin. “This year we will be supplying stage route notes and a DVD eight weeks before the rally.” The move to notes is aimed at encouraging European crews to enter. See https://silverfernrally.co.nz for entries.
Photo Courtesy Canosssa Events
Brought to you by the team that runs the Cento Ore, the Terre di Canossa rally gives Luigi Orlandini and his organisation the chance to really show what they can do to give participants a unique Italian cultural experience. In the more relaxed atmosphere of a regularity competition covering only 600kms, the rally is a pilgrimage to many medieval sites dating back to the XII century, when Matilde di Canossa ruled over central Italy.
The Motor Racing Legends’ season was celebrated at London’s Royal Automobile Club in front of many significant personalities from the world of motor sport such as Chief Executive of Motor Sport UK David Richards and Chief Executive Hugh Chambers, RAC Chairman Ben Cussons, Silverstone Classic promoter Nick Wigley and, guest of honour, Touring Car and Le Mans racer, Tony Dron. Awards were presented for all seven Motor Racing Legends’ series during the evening.
Photo Oliver Flower
On 24 June, 2020, Alfa Romeo will hit a new milestone - 110 years of the well-loved marque. A number of events will take place to celebrate Alfa’s founding on 24 June 1910 in Milan, Italy and its subsequent achievements, both sporting and non-sporting.
Alfa’s official team, the Scuderia del Portello, is inviting all Alfa drivers to Monza on April 4 for a mega Alfa festival, for historic and modern road cars, racing cars, touring cars, grand touring cars, prototypes and single-seaters. All are welcome and many will get a chance to drive on the circuit. There will also be a parade on the old Monza banking, as well as displays, demonstrations and more. See http://www.scuderiadelportello.org for entries, but be quick if you want to drive on the circuit, as driving places are necessarily limited.
Having heard last month on the day we went to press the surprise announcement that the Chateau Impney Hillclimb event was to be discontinued, we have now had a conversation with Rod Spollon, Chairman of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb Club and Director of the Chateau Impney Hotel who said, contrary to what has been circulating on social media, that funding the event was “certainly not an issue, nor was there an environmental concern.” Reluctant to say much more, he repeated the words in the official press release, saying, “We set out to create a successful hillclimb event and we think we accomplished that, and we are moving on to other things.” The event will be missed.
2020 is a special year for Zandvoort as FIA Formula One returns to The Netherlands for the first time since 1985 and the circuit is being upgraded to welcome its return. The upgrades to the circuit include two new banked corners, improved run off areas and expansion of the paddock (check out Google or Youtube for some videos of the ongoing work).
Zandvoort has long been associated with Formula 3
Single-seater racers from the Historic Sports Car Club will have the chance to race on the famous Pau street circuit, first used for the French Grand Prix in 1930 and virtually unchanged since. In partnership with event promoters HVM Racing, up to 2-litre cars from the HSCC single-seater ranks will tackle a double-header over the weekend of 30-31 May. Originally billed as a round of the HSCC’s Historic Formula 2 series, it became clear that the timing was awkward as the date falls immediately after the Masters Festival F2 round at Brands Hatch and is itself followed the next weekend by a round at Dijon. “Consequently entries will surely suffer,” said Roger Bevan, HSCC F2 Championship Chairman. Therefore the grid has been opened up to cars from the new Geoff Lees Trophy. Launched this year, the Geoff Lees Trophy series is open to up to 2-litre Formula 2, Formula Atlantic, Formula 3, Formula Ford 2000, Formula Vauxhall Lotus, Formula Renault and Formula Super Vee cars built and raced during the 1980s.
A Century of Automotive History on Track
Le Mans Classic, the biennial event with its six grids for cars from 1923 to 1981, will include even more cars racing on the legendary track this year, with single marque support races for both Porsche and Jaguar and, as has become the tradition, two Group C races. This year the latter will run in partnership with Mazda, who will take the opportunity to celebrate its centenary during the July 2-5 event. The Japanese manufacturer will be bringing its iconic 787B. Even later cars will also be running, with the Peter Auto series Endurance Racing Legends no longer on display, but engaged in real racing. A 75-car grid of these GT and prototypes from the 1990s and 2000s is expected.
Bravo (Belgian Racing Automobile Vintage Organisation) the promoter behind the ever-popular Belgian historic championship, has announced five rounds for the 2020 season. Starting early in the year, they go to Zolder to support the 1000km of Zolder 2CV Cup on 21-22 March. At the end of June they go to Spa-Francorchamps for the Spa Summer Classic, before returning to Zolder in mid-August for the Historic Grand Prix Zolder. With a return to Circuit Zolder for the American NASCAR Festival at the beginning of October (3-4), they will end the season at the Nürburgring on 16-17 October for the Westfalen Trophy meeting.
This year will see a new class, “Nineties”, for cars after 1990 but with a maximum engine capacity of 2500cc. The category is therefore open to small cars (Peugeot 106, Toyota Yaris, etc.) and serves as an entry class for drivers who want to discover circuit racing at an affordable price. See www.bravoracing.be for entries and details.
As reported in our last issue, VdeV racing in collaboration with HVM, are reviving the Deux Tours d’Horloge at the Paul Ricard circuit on the weekend of 6-8 November. Cars up to 1990 are eligible and there are classes for early cars from Period E upwards. All GT, sports, sports prototypes, Sports 2000 (up to 1986 without aerodynamic aids) and touring cars are welcome. No slick tyres will be allowed. Entries are now open at https://vdev.fr.
Archie Scott Brown Trophy
The HSCC will be running ‘50s cars with the Archie Scott Brown Trophy, a race for pre-1960 sports and sports-racing cars to be held at Snetterton during the two-day Historic Sports Car Club race meeting on 4-5 April. The organisers are keen to encourage owners of drum-braked cars to join the grid. The pit-stop race will put the emphasis on the specialist manufacturers from the period when Archie raced, most notably Lister. This is the fifth running of this race and will comprise a 30-minute qualifying session and 45-minute race.
John Whiteman went to the top exhibition of the classic car world
Photos Eric Sawyer
The event that kicks off the European season each year, Salon Retromobile, took place over 5 days, from 5-9 February, in the 75,000 square metres of Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles 44 years after it was started by Marc Nicolosi whose passing was recorded in the January/February issue of Historic Motor Racing News. Sadly, apart from a brief mention in the official guide, no further tribute was paid at the show, which until last year has been run for events company Comexposium by Nicolosi’s right hand man at the very beginning, François Melcion.
Visiting UK driver Michael Lyons (Lola T400) roared to an SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series clean sweep at the annual Taupo Historic GP on the weekend of 18-19 January, the series’ second meeting of the 2019-2020 season.
After claiming pole in qualifying on Saturday morning, then smashing category stalwart Ken Smith’s F5000 class lap record on the way to a dominant win in the first race on Saturday afternoon, Lyons went on to win the two Sunday races, all from fellow young gun and series leader, Michael Collins (McRae GM1) from Christchurch.
Photos Fast Company/Graham Hughes
For a report of the proceedings of the Historic Circuit Sub Commission see our March issue
P. Cantarella (ITA)
HRH Prince Joachim (DNK)
President of the International Historic Commission
F. Graf Zu Ortenburg (DEU)
South Africa’s historic racing scene is vibrant, colourful, relaxed and proudly independent of institutional red tape. The focus and cars are, in the main, very different from those in other theatres of warfare. They, not to mention the promise of winter sunshine, attract British, European and American competitors year after year. Marcus Pye ‘Brexited’ from the UK early to experience February’s 19th Passion for Speed events.
An inspired Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 18) staved off Will Nuthall (Cooper T53) to record a superb maiden HGPCA victory at Killarney. Photo Colin Brown
Paul Lawrence Reports
On his first competitive rally since his World Rally Championship career came to an end, Irishman Kris Meeke joined the illustrious list of winners of the Legend Boucles à Bastogne. Equipped with a full-spec Ford Escort Mk2 from the stable of Belgian competitor Christophe Jacob, Meeke and co-driver Seb Marshall dominated the huge Belgian event and pressed home their advantage when the rally moved to gravel stages for the second day.
“Meeke was simply on another planet” Photos Letihon.be
Jurriaan Tas Reports
Formerly a famous speed event, the ‘Neige et Glace’ fell foul of the 1974 oil crisis and was revived as a historic regularity rally in 2000, run by Dakar winner Patrick Zaniroli. He moved the event from Grenoble to the Jura, dubbed by locals as ‘Little Siberia’, because of the near certainty of finding snow and ice there in January. A switch back to the area around Grenoble for the past two years proved unpopular with competitors and the event is now firmly back in Malbuisson.
Winners Romuald Sanseigne and Florin Fornassier in their Autobianchi A112 Abarth. “In the end, it was a small mistake that decided the place. We are so proud to achieve the double, Joël and Corinne taught us everything,” said Romauld of his uncle and aunt, who came second. Photos Richard Bord Courtesy Zaniroli Classic Events
Andrea Belome and Massimo Be nsoli took a slender 8-point win
Andrea Belometti and Massimo Bettinsoli won the Winter Marathon 2020 driving a 1937 Fiat 508 C. The crew from team Brescia Corse remained amongst the top positions over the many Dolomite passes on 23-24 January, beating the young crew of Edoardo Bellini and Roberto Tiberti in a similar Fiat, by eight penalty points. Third place went to Guido Barcella and Roberto Ghidotti in a Porsche 356 C Coupe, some 90 points down on the two leaders.
Peter Collins Reports on one of the most popular events in endurance rallying, with over 300 entries.
Consistency was the key to success for Henrik Bjerregaard and Jaromir Svec Photo http://promopub.org
The first cars to set off on the annual pilgrimage to Monte-Carlo were those from Athens at 12:40 on Wednesday January 29th. Five crews had chosen to do this and they were faced with a 1,715km drive before they would finish on the harbour of the Principality. A further two cars had chosen Glasgow from where they started, along with the Rallye Classique participants, at 19:00 the same day, faced with covering 2142kms to Monte.
This year’s 28-29 March Goodwood Members’ Meeting will feature three 20-minute races for the Gerry Marshall Trophy for saloons that raced between 1970 and 1982, but unlike in past years, it will be for owner-drivers. In contrast, the last race on Saturday, the new Pierpoint Cup, will be a two-driver event for V8 saloon cars of a type that raced up until 1966. That means Plymouth Barracudas and Ford Falcons will face up against Mustangs and Galaxies, in a 45-minute race.
The Edwardian cars, the Earl Howe Trophy for pre-war cars, the rear-engined Formula Juniors, the pre-‘63 GT cars, a two driver, 45-minute race for pre-‘66 prototypes, a 20-minute race for ‘50s prototypes, a pre-’66 GT race, a race for the 500cc Formula 3 cars and the Hailwood motorbike race are also on the programme, along with demonstrations including F1 cars dating from 1970 to 1975 in which the innovative Lotus 72 will be a key feature.
In a departure to what has gone before, the Masters will only be running the two FIA Championships at three venues this year. The Historic Formula 1 and Masters Sports Cars will run as championship counters at the Silverstone Classic, the Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort and the Spa Six Hours meeting. Masters boss, Ron Maydon, was surprised to be informed by the FIA that the Formula One Historic cars would only be allowed to run Championship points rounds at Grade 1 circuits. This limited his ability to form a calendar the historic racers would like. The regs for the Sportscar Championship remain unchanged and they are allowed on Grade 2 circuits, however the two championships will continue to run together, which means only three venues this year. “We have been running the Championships for seven years now,” said Maydon, “and we were trying to think of ways to freshen them up, so this came as an opportunity to do something different.”
The Masters will continue to run non-championship races for both series at the four other venues they are scheduled to attend this year (see our calendar pages). Two circuits that they have not visited for some years appear on the calendar, with races scheduled at the Autodromo do Algarve in April and, in August, instead of their usual visit to the Oldtimer Grand-Prix, they will go to Zolder on August 22-23. They will also run the one-make Mini races, as last year, at Donington in June and at the Silverstone Classic.
The title of FIA Champion is no doubt attractive and brings great prestige with it,” said Maydon, “and if it wasn’t for the fact that Zandvoort is being upgraded for this year’s Grand Prix, we wouldn’t have been able to run a championship round there either. But the drivers also enjoy running at some other great circuits and events, like Brands Hatch GP and Algarve, and we want to make sure they have the opportunity to do so.”
The Historic Sports Car Club has opened up its Historic Touring Car Championship for 2020 to 1300cc Austin A30s, A35s, A40s and Morris Minors. Previously, these cars were only admitted into the championship for Pre-‘66 Touring Cars with the 1150cc or smaller engines they had in period. Andy Dee-Crowne, CEO of the HSCC said: “This is a logical step to offer a group of cars the chance to race with the HSCC.”
1300cc Austin A30s, A35s and A40s can now run in the HSCC Touring Car Championship
Motor Racing Legends has announced a new grid for the 2020 season - the Sixties Touring Car Challenge. To be run for Group 1 and Group 2 cars that were eligible for the European Touring Car Championship from 1966 to the end of 1969, the series will also encompass the current U2TC grid for pre-’66 cars, but importantly, will stick to the U2TC under 2 litre formula. The new series gives a home to Mk2 Lotus Cortinas, BMW 2002s, Alfa Romeo GTA variants, early Mk 1 Ford Escorts, Mk 2 Minis, Lancia Fulvias and a host of other small-engined cars that have hitherto been poorly served.
Photo Oliver Flower Courtesy MRL
FIVA has backed an initiative by German Firm Parts4you GmbH to provide what seems to be a comparison-type web site for parts for classic cars. In exchange for your personal information (you can’t use the site without registering), you can search “the independent and global service platform for the classic car community” as it is described on the home page, for suppliers of “spare parts, repair workshops, restoration or overhaul of assemblies as well as specialised experts.” According to their press release, the FIVA Parts Catalogue provides a very complete cross reference between (original) part numbers and suppliers so that car owners can select the vendor to work with, based on proximity, price or other conditions. See https://classicparts4you.com and, if you use the service please let us know how useful you find it.
24‐26 April Rechberg (AUT)
29‐31 May Ustecka 21 (CZE)
05‐07 June Ecce Homo Sternberk (CZE)
12‐14 June GHD Gorjanci (SVN)
03‐05 July Trento Bondone (IT)
10‐12 July Cesana Sestriere (IT)
28-30 August GHD Petrol Ilirska Bistrica (SVN)
18‐20 September Buzetski Dani (HRV)
25-27 September Coppa Chianti Classico (IT)
The 2019 GT & Sports Car Cup season was celebrated at The Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London, where the year’s winners were announced. Chris Clarkson and David Smithies were overall GT & Sports Car Cup winners, as well as class GT3 winners, for their performance in their Austin Healey 3000. Amongst other class winners were Malcolm Paul and Rick Bourne, who took the GT2 Class in their TVR Grantura MkIII, GT1 Class victors Marc Gordon and Nick Finburgh in a Lotus Elite and in Class GT4 John Watson and Dan Cox (Lotus Elan 26R). The Ladies Cup went to Barbara Lambert.
In the ongoing saga over WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, home to the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the five-person Monterey County board of supervisors voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with A & D Narigi, LLC (A&D). Provided both sides can agree terms, the company led by former Monterey Plaza Hotel general manager John Narigi will replace the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and SCRAMP’s 62-year tenure as Laguna Seca’s manager will come to an end ahead of the new racing season.
According to commentators, the non-profit SCRAMP organisation’s volunteer base is its greatest asset. Assembled over decades, i t is unclear whether the hundreds of volunteers who’ve provided their support, and allowed many events to operate without the vast expense of a paid staff, would shift their allegiance to A&D.
Amongst other things SCRAMP has been organising the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since it took the Monterey Historics from Steve Earl in 2010.
Paul Lawrence Reports on one of the toughest rallies in historic motorsport
McCormack the third
Marty McCormack and Barney Mitchell won the 2019 Roger Albert Clark Rally in late November after a fabulous battle with Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke on the 13th edition of this unique event.
Marty McCormack on the way to a record third RAC win. Photos Paul Lawrence
For four and a half days, over 31 special stages, McCormack drove faultlessly to take a 52-second victory after more than five hours of flat out rallying. However, the result was in doubt until the very end as Pritchard never stopped chasing despite a puncture in Scotland on Sunday morning that proved a turning point in his rally.
Rosenberger Rules under the African Sky
Paul Lawrence Reports
Austrian driver Kris Rosenberger and co-driver Nicola Bleicher headed the Safari Classic Rally at the finish in Mombasa on Friday 6 December after nine tough days through Kenya and Tanzania.
Rosenberger, who last rallied in Kenya back in 1989, took his Tuthill Porsche 911 to a 93-second victory over the similar car of 2015 winner and rally legend Stig Blomqvist. Porsche 911s claimed the top eight places as Tuthill Porsche and Team Tido Race 4 Health dominated the leader board.
Kris Rosenberger and Nicola Bleicher head towards victory. Photos McKlein
The Tour European Rally (TER), created in 2016 by the Italian TV producer Luca Grilli, is aimed at “merging the assets of some outstanding rally events in Europe to create a series in order to have an enhanced global promotion. The chosen events must have outstanding characteristics: based in tourist-oriented areas, they must possess unique specific features different from the other championship events and they must display an excellent touristic and/or historical background.”
In 2019 the Tour European Rally Historic based on the same principles ran for the first time and comprised six events. Won by the German crew of Heinz-Walter Schewe and Frank Blondel in a Porsche 911 SC, the championship attracted a truly international entry, though modest in number in the first year.
For 2020 promoters have announced a new six-event calendar based in southern Europe and taking in one gravel rally and five asphalt events, beginning with Rally Città di Arezzo in Tuscany, on the gravel roads that are part of the history of rallying from when Rallye Sanremo was in the World Rally Championship.
Not content with winning the Peking to Paris rally for the third time last year at the age of 87, Gerry Crown is about to embark on his next adventure. The remarkable Australian octogenarian has now entered the ultimate circumnavigation challenge – Rally the Globe’s eponymous Round the World.
87 year-old Gerry Crown won the 2019 Peking to Paris. His next exploit will be to rally around the world