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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 September  issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Classic Marathon - Rally Weiz - Lahti Historic Rally - Heroes of Historic Motor Sport - Insider’s Market Report - Zandvoort Classics - Seven Questions for Erik Comas -  Nogaro Classic - VSCC Prescott - NKHTGT - Classic Silverstone - Historic Tour Dijon - Alfa Revival Cup

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With fewer traditional F1 support races this season, the Masters were invited to stage two 30-minute races for their Gentlemen Drivers ‘60s GT grid at Silverstone to support the Pirelli Formula 1 British Grand Prix.  A 33-car, all-British, grid was duly formed, consisting of Cobras, TVR Griffiths and E-type Jaguars at the sharp end, mixed with Lotus Elans, Austin Healey 3000s, Porsche 911s, Morgan +4, etc. in other classes.

Julian Thomas was a dominant winner of the first race, as he passed  2013 British Touring Car champion Andrew Jordan on lap two and pulled out a 16-second lead, both drivers in Cobra Daytona Coupes.  James Cottingham in his Shelby Cobra was a lonely third but doing his utmost to keep contact with the leaders.  Further down, the battle for fourth place between two TVR Griffiths was terrific, with John Davison leading John Spiers for the first two-thirds before Spiers got past.  However, Davison never gave up and stayed within three-tenths of a second behind to the chequered flag.

Matthew Wrigley (Jaguar E-type), in sixth, was under pressure from Ben Short (Aston Martin DP214) and Jonathan Mitchell’s E-type.  Short passed Wrigley at Brooklands but ran wide and lost the spot.  Rob Fenn (Lotus Elan), Jeremy Welch (Austin Healey 3000M) and Mark Sumpter (Porsche 911) were other class winners.

The second race ended in drama as the two leaders continued their battle.  As on the previous day, Jordan made a demon start to get the jump on Spiers and lead the pack into Abbey  with Thomas breathing down his neck.  Thomas repeatedly tried for the lead and each time drifted wide allowing Jordan to reclaim the place, but on lap eight he finally made a move stick and took the lead.  But it wasn’t over.

This time he couldn’t shake Jordan, who applied plenty of pressure, using all the tricks he could find, flashing his headlights to distract his rival, and forcing a couple of inconsequential errors out of Thomas.  He made his final charge on the last lap.  Drawing level with Thomas on the approach to Stowe, both braking as late as they dared, Jordan’s car slid slightly, and just clipped Thomas who was turning into the corner, causing both cars to spin.  Thomas recovered ahead of Jordan but by then James Cottingham was in the lead to take a surprise win.  He was followed through by the two Griffiths of Davison and Spiers in that order, leaving Thomas in fourth and Jordan fifth.  

 

Sixth went to Matthew Wrigley again.  Class wins went to Cottingham, Eddie Powell who hauled his Lotus Elan up from the rear of the grid to 10th place, Welch, and Billy Bellinger (Morgan +4).

Historic Promotions and circuit operator MotorSport Vision (MSV) have signed a new agreement for the Donington Historic Festival, ensuring the future of the event for the next three years.  Dates for 2022 have been announced and the Festival will keep its traditional place on the calendar of the early May Bank holiday weekend, next year on 30 April-1 May.  Running capacity grids in 2021, next year should finally see the event run again with a full complement of spectators, vendors, clubs and other attractions, back after the restrictions of the last couple of years.

With high demand, Automobiles Historiques added an extra GT & Sports Car Cup race to its 2021 calendar and are offering a 90-minute race at the Castle Combe Autumn Classic, before finishing their season, as tradition dictates, with a two-hour enduro at the Algarve Classic Festival on 29-31 October.  Eligible cars are pre-’66 GT and pre-’63 sports prototypes.  Entry forms for both invitation-only events can be requested from      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Those who expect to see our Oldtimer-Grand-Prix report in this issue will be disappointed.  If you hadn’t already heard, the Oldtimer, along with other events to have taken place at the Nürburgring, was cancelled for this year at the last minute.  This time it was not due to COVID, but to the extreme flooding in the Ahrweiler region of Germany.  The circuit itself survived the worst, in fact, the Nordschleife has already re-opened for ‘tourist drives,’ but its unique infrastructure in the area has meant that the emergency and rescue services are using it as a base of operations to help the many thousands of stricken people in the area.  Much of the immediate needs of those affected by the flood, such as clothing, food and water, is stockpiled there.

The Kreissparkasse Ahrweiler has set up an emergency aid account for those who want to help with donations for the victims:

IBAN: DE 86577513100000339457     BIC: MALADE51AHR

Brands Hatch was the location of Festival Italia on August 15, celebrating a wide spectrum of motorsport, people and virtually anything else Italian.  Peter Collins Reports…

Perhaps one of the most remarkable features was to be found in the static display of Abarths from Tony Castle-Miller’s emporium.  On show in public for the first time in over 50 years and only just completed was the famous ex-Bob Burnard Abarth Simca Due Mila RB 38, which enjoyed much success in early to mid-1960s UK GT sportscar racing.  Not quite ready to run as yet, it headed up a row of over a dozen examples of Carlo Abarth’s expertise over the years.  Some of these cars took to the track for a demonstration during the lunch break.

Chris Whelan in the ex-Dooley and ex-BTCC Alfasud

The competitive on-track action took place courtesy of the various UK Ferrari and Alfa Romeo championships, both classic and modern.

The two Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic races were both won at a canter by Wayne Marrs in his Ferrari F355 Challenge and the same mounts were used by Tim Walker and Tristan Simpson in finishing second and third in race one.  The order was changed in the second race when Gary Culver took second with his Ferrari 328 GTB.

 James Colburn took a lights to falg HRDC Alfa Challenge win in his Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT

The HRDC race for the Classic Alfa Challenge was also an unopposed, lights to flag drive, this time for James Colburn in his fast Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT.  He was followed in by Ben Colburn who was at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina with the 75 of James Wright in third.  With a superb entry of around 30 cars and a race around the Indy Circuit for 30 minutes the track was very busy at all times, with drivers reckoning on getting dizzy by the finish!  Gavin Watson was driving the wheels off his venerable ex-Dooley Giulietta Ti and Chris Whelan was finding plenty of speed from his, also ex-Dooley and ex-BTCC, Alfasud.  

With a live performance of Nessun Dorma just prior to the first race, the large crowd enjoyed a great Italian day out.

According to FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) some of the most iconic vehicles in history could be lost to the future unless new blood is introduced to the restoration industry.  That is the main conclusion reached at a FIVA-supported international symposium in Bucharest that took place in July, entitled ‘Restoration – Art or Science?’

Tiddo Bresters Photo Dragos Savu courtesy Retromobil Club Romania

FIVA president Tiddo Bresters describes it as an “existential challenge” for the future of classic motoring.  “This is one of FIVA’s primary objectives – to foster the preservation of historic vehicles and pass them on in working condition to future generations.  To this end, a mature restoration industry is as important as it is for other areas of cultural heritage, such as paintings and historic buildings”

A succession of world authorities addressed the symposium hosted by the Retromobil Club Romania.  Stéphane Guarato and Arthur Morault run the Conservatoire National des Véhicules Anciens near Paris, where students gain experience in basic restoration techniques before going on to specialist training.  They say a lack of skilled labour means demand is outstripping supply.  Part of the problem is the increasing gap between the skills needed for modern car repairs and those needed for historic restoration.  Plus it’s difficult to attract young people to the industry.  Half their current 150 students are around 60 years old.

A skills training programme at the Collège La Cité in Ottawa, Canada aims to attract young people into historic vehicle restoration from September 2022.  Michel Lamoureux, principal advisor for the programme, told the symposium about the two-year course, one with an international approach, offering global recruitment, work placements and collaborations with restoration shops, museums, collectors, auction houses, clubs, associations and automotive media.

Eastern European countries are increasingly looking for opportunities in historic vehicle restoration.  Cătălin Cedric Ghigea has run a specialist facility near Bucharest International Airport for the past 18 years, working on 20 or 30 cars a year.  He says all his clients are from Western Europe, and similar operations are being successfully set up and run in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

 

David Cooper of Chicago-based Cooper Technica Inc. spoke of his “forensic restoration” technique when recreating parts that can no longer be sourced.  He has travelled all over the world researching original design drawings, surviving broken parts, and construction techniques, methods and materials.

 

Well-known collector Corrado Lopresto from Milan uses modern techniques taken from the art world for his special Italian cars, both to analyse monochromatic photographs to identify the true colours of the time, and to preserve the original paint as much as possible, entrusting his cars to professional restorers of vintage paintings.

 

President of Retromobil Club Romania, Gabriela Măgureanu, concluded, “It’s high time we talked about restoration and worked together to create opportunities, share experience, exchange ideas and address challenges better.  We are honoured that these leading figures have agreed to share their knowledge, and we aim for this symposium to be the first of many.”

Organisers of Bernina Gran Turismo have expanded their offering to encompass a week of automotive festivities for this year’s event, which will be the seventh edition. Celebrating the Internationale St. Moritzer Automobilwochen that took place in St Moritz in 1920 and ’30, an automotive film festival, a sprint race, and a concours will culminate with the Bernina Hillclimb in the week of 10-19 September. The latest announcement from organisers is that RM Sotheby’s will also be holding an auction on the grounds of the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains in St. Moritz Bad on 17 September, RM Sotheby’s first auction in Switzerland. The event will now be known as the International St. Moritz Automobile Week and can be found at http://i-s-a-w.com.

The huge organisational machine behind the giant Auto e Moto d’Epoca exhibition in Padua is working full steam ahead for the 2021 edition, having reported strong demand for its 115,000 square metres of exhibition space from international vendors.

One of the new features of the 21-24 October show, will be a special focus on Classic Motor Sports and competition cars highlighting an industry on the rise with an increasing number of fans. The show, spanning 11 exhibition halls in addition to the outdoor areas, will host a special exhibition of barchetta sports cars and torpedoes that raced before the war, Formula cars, World Touring Car Championship racing cars and the stars of the great international rallies from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Other themes this year are 100 years of the Lancia Lambda, and motor bikes from famous collections, from rare Menons to old single-cylinder Moto Guzzi to the great Japanese motorbikes of the 70s. Go to https://autoemotodepoca.com for tickets.

 

Rally organiser Laurent Blomet, founder of Happy Few Racing - which specialises in family rallies, for father and daughter, father and son, mother and son, etc. - has launched a new app that allows anyone to participate in regularity rallies across Europe and even compete against one another. With numerous itineraries in a multitude of countries, anyone can call up a regularity route any time on their phone from anywhere. The app supplies the route and the timings, and tracks participants to create an overall classification amongst all competitors. 1500 routes are currently available, comprising some classic rally stages. First prize for the 2021 winner will be a Maserati MC 20 supercar! In the words of Blomet, “Open to everyone, you just need a car and a phone. Choose one of the thousands of routes available and get behind the wheel to join the biggest rally in the world.” See https://www.instagram.com/grantrofeo/ for details.

 

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Details of the route for the 24th edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique have been unveiled and the event will feature the return of concentration legs, with three famous cities on the starting options: Bad Homburg, Milan and Reims.

There will be three different routes to Monte-Carlo. This move was directed by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) in order to boost the economy of the Principality and to again welcome crews from all over Europe. The 2022 route will feature a record number of 17 regularity stages. The End of Concentration Leg is scheduled for Saturday January 29 between Monaco and Valence with a 6am start before four regularity stages. The start for the Final Leg is scheduled in the night of Tuesday 1 to Wednesday February 2 in Monaco from 9pm onwards, taking in the famous Col de Turini and the winning crew is expected at around 1.20am on Port Hercule in Monaco.

In order to respect tradition, the Prize Ceremony and Gala Night will be on the evening of Wednesday February 3 in the Salle des Etoiles at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club. Entries are now open and close on Monday November 8. The confirmation of selected cars will be made on Monday November 15.

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