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Italian veteran ‘Lucky’ and his hugely experienced co-driver Fabrizia Pons were top scorers on the 53rd Mecsek Rallye in Hungary to finish the season as Category 4 champions in the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship.
In a dramatic final round for the pan-European FIA-sanctioned special stage rally championship, their Lancia Delta Integrale moved back to the head of Category 4 (pre ’92) as former leaders Will Graham and Michael Johnston retired their BMW M3 mid-rally with alternator problems. ‘Lucky’ emerged as the only category champion not using a Porsche 911.
Monza Historic, sixth and penultimate act of the 2019 Peter Auto opera, performed on some of the most famous European stages, brought many expectations for the weekend of 20-22 September. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is one of the stages on which every motorsport actor likes to shine, either because, after the mutilation of so many European circuits it still lives up to its sobriquet of “the temple of speed” on which many epic pages of motorsport history have been written, or because it is one of those where the difference, as Jarno Trulli recalled in an interview a few years ago, is in the “guts” and not just the technicalities, which is why many actors look more favourably at Imola or Mugello. In short, it is a stage as famous as it is unforgiving. To make everything more complicated, capricious weather, characterised by two days of summer sun, and typically autumnal rain on the final day added to the challenge
The Circuit des Remparts Angoulême celebrated its 80th anniversary on 13-15 September, attracting nearly 1000 classic and historic cars into the city. The only street circuit in France to have remained unchanged for eighty years, the anniversary celebrations included a series of exhibitions, a special grid showing the cars of the first race in 1939 and, as always, the Concours d’Élégance, as well as Sunday’s races and demonstrations on the famous circuit. Former racing stars were amongst the invited guests, including Jean-Pierre Jarier, Anne Baverey and Jean-Claude Andruet. Hundreds of cars took part in the tourist rally, while 80 Bugattis were present amongst the 400 racing vehicles and there were some 12,000 spectators around the circuit.
Local man Damien Kohler won the Plateau Henri Greder in his Lotus Elan. Photos Agence Austral
“I’ve never started last and won before. It was an amazing race,” said Will Leverett after his
famous victory in 70s Road Sports with his father’s Lotus Elan. Photo Eric Sawyer
Cameron Jackson and Adrian Langridge were crowned champions at Brands Hatch on 21 September, as the Historic Sports Car Club’s one-day race meeting on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit delivered some first class racing in warm sunshine.
Marcus Pye Reports
Victories for Jonathan Abecassis (Austin-Healey 100/4) and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports) evoked memories of the past at Castle Combe’s seventh stand-alone Autumn Classic event on Saturday, October 5, by common consent one of the best (maybe the best) CCAC yet.
Photos Eric Sawyer
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
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