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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.