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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 October Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News Tour Auto, Rally Asturias, Scottish Malts, VSCC Mallory Park, Seven Questions with Jean Ragnotti, Monterey Motorsport Reunion, Oulton Park Gold Cup, French Championships, Historic Tour Val de Vienne, Hockenheim Historic, Vallelunga Classic, Goodwood Revival (four pages form Marcus Pye) and the Limonest Hillclimb

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Features and Reports

A beautiful spring morning greeted the drivers of the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s season opener at Silverstone, the Club’s first race meeting since way back in August last year. A light breeze and bright sunshine under a clear sky soon boiled away the overnight frost, as the teams began the engine warm-up procedures and the heady aroma of pure alcohol racing fuel with just a hint of Castrol R drifted across the paddock, says Chris McEvoy. The spacious environs of Silverstone made it the ideal location for racing during a pandemic, but despite this, the meeting had to be held without spectators. It was, however, the opportunity to give the cars an outing and test the work done over the extended winter lay-off and to see if all of the hard work, skinned knuckles and occasional verbal threats would pay off.

Terry Crabb in ERA R12C and eventual Allcomers race winner Julian Wilton in ERA R7B.  Photos Eric Sawyer

The morning’s mixed practice sessions passed largely uneventfully, though one driver lost a wheel at Copse. The wheel stayed on all the way through the wiggle of Maggotts and continued onto the full circuit, when the rest of the car turned right into Becketts for the National one. As always with VSCC events there was an interesting range of vehicles, showing automotive development, some with features still discernible on modern cars, to the quirky that only lasted briefly but seemed a good idea at the time. And you have to remember that in the VSCC ‘modern’ cars are typically those that have front brakes and the gear lever inside the body work. Although a roof and full windscreen are still regarded as optional. An afternoon’s card of ten races kept the action moving and started with a 32-car grid for the VSCC Specials Race for the Silverstone Trophy. Having made their official debut at Silverstone in October 1948, two races for F3 500s were on the programme, as the invited Formula 3 500 Owners Association took to the track. An unkind description of these diminutive but rapid vehicles is that they resemble a large cigar tube powered by a motorcycle engine. However, with lap times amongst the fastest of the meeting they are certainly serious racers. George Shackleton (Cooper MkXI) demonstrated his prowess at the wheel by taking the flag in both races from pole position.

George Shackleton (Cooper MkXI) demonstrated his prowess at the wheel by taking the flag in both F3 500 races from pole position

Race 3 was an amalgam of the Vintage, Pre-War and Pre-1961 Racing Cars grids, comprising the classes for the GP Itala & Lanchester Trophy, and the Amschel Rothschild & Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophy. Possibly the race of the day, Frederick Harper took his Kurtis Indy-Roadster to a win from pole, ahead of Richard Wilson in a Ferrari 246 F1.

Another guest grid was the HGPCA with a cracking race for Pre-1966 Grand Prix Cars that saw Barry Cannell in his Brabham BT11A chasing poleman Will Nuthall’s Cooper T53 from the off, with Andrew Beaumont (Lotus 18) keeping a close eye on proceedings.

The Pre-War and Pre-1961 Racing Cars race was initially led by Richard Wilson’s Ferrari 246 but was eventually won by Fred Harper in his Kurtis Indy Roadster

The ODM/Fox & Nicholl Trophy Race for Standard and Modified Pre-War Sports-Cars saw a packed grid with reserves, one of which was the eventual winner. The ODM stands for Owner-Driver-Mechanic and is a special award for amateur racers.

The race attracted a wondrous variety of cars such as Delahaye, Frazer Nash and Talbot Lago into the action.  A joint venture between the VSCC and the Fifties Sports Car Club, the FISCAR Tom Cole Trophy & VSCC Hawthorn International Trophy Race featured sports racing cars from the ‘50s.

ernardo Hartogs leads the 50s sportscar pack in his Lotus XV ahead of Martin Hunt/Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in Hunt’s HWM

Handicap races are a favourite feature of VSCC events, bestowing a means by which disparate vehicles can compete on a relatively equal basis. Two short All-Comers Handicap Races for Pre-War cars saw victories for Wilfred Cawley in his Austin 7 Special and Ben Maeers (1926 GN Parker), a fitting consolation for a DNF in the earlier HGPCA race aboard a Cooper T51.

For a full report see out June 2021 issue....

After considerable speculation from competitors about whether or not it would even happen, the 12th edition of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix will be remembered for the special conditions in which it took place, and also for the beautiful on-track battles seen there. Originally schedule to run last year, COVID forced the organisers to postpone it to this year. The pandemic is still with us in 2021, but the will of the Automobile Club de Monaco has been stronger, and this Historic Grand Prix inaugurated a series of three race meetings in the Principality within one month, with the E-Prix coming 15 days later, then the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Jean-Marie Biadatti takes up the story.

Spaniard Guillermo Fiero-Eleta was another driver to win more than one race during this year’s Grand Prix, taking victory in Plateau B in his 250F Maserati and winning the sportscar race in his Maserati 300S.   PhotoClassicRacing.com

 

It was necessary to show a certain initiative to come to Monaco. All the actors, drivers, mechanics, media, commissioners coming from countries outside of the Principality had to provide a PCR test made less than 72 hours before, to enter Monaco. This done, the organisers provided everyone with a bracelet in Monegasque colours to act as a “Covid Pass”. This was in addition to the usual badges and passes, and allowed holders to both enter the circuit, and to be able to eat in the restaurants of the city. Covid-19 however, got the better of a number of entrants who could not get there because of restrictions in their own countries, bringing many late cancellations and the total number of entrants to just under one hundred, when usually at least double that number are present. On the spectator side, if the day of Friday took place behind closed doors, the spectators were able to attend on Saturday and Sunday under a beautiful sun, but always respecting sanitary procedures, the number of places being limited to 6,500.

Nightfall in the paddock.  Photos PhotoClassicRacing.com

This year, the Automobile Club de Monaco had chosen to put Ferrari in the spotlight and the headliners were Jean Alesi and René Arnoux, present at the wheel of two magnificent German-entered, Methusalem Racing Ferrari 312B3s in Series F.

While some of the fields were a little thin, the races were very intense, the prestige of a victory in the Principality remaining just as coveted regardless of the type of competition. The man of the weekend was undoubtedly Michael Lyons who won the three races in which he took part!

Bugatti girls: Julia de Baldanza (T 35B) and Nicola Dönhoff (T 51) in qualifying

Having qualified in second place in the Series E field, for 3-litre cars up to ’72, at the wheel of his mother’s Surtees TS9, Lyons got off to a flying start to win the sprint to Sainte Dévote ahead of poleman Stuart Hall (McLaren M19A). The fight between these two was unrelenting, with Hall attacking every which way, every lap - attacks that were ultimately unsuccessful, the two men being separated on the finish line by only 7/10ths of a second.

After winning Series F in controversial circumstances, (see separate text), Lyons’ third victory came in Series G, where the latest cars of the meeting, up to 1980, were found. Michael knew how to pile on the pressure to poleman Jordan Grogor (Arrows A3) who ended up hitting the Armco and eliminating himself from the race.

Mark Shaw dominated the Serie D race in his Lotus 21

Guillermo Fiero-Eleta was another driver to win more than one race during this year’s Grand Prix. First, at the wheel of his Maserati 250F in Series B for pre-‘61 GP cars, the field of which was one of the smallest with only seven cars. The Spanish pilot also won the Series C race for sports cars, run as a reminder that in 1952 the Automobile Club de Monaco, faced with an F1 in crisis, exceptionally chose to open its Grand Prix to this type of car. Fiero-Eleta took this one at the wheel of his Maserati 300S ahead of Martin Halusa’s Jaguar D-Type, driven by son Niklas, who, although finishing only 4.8 seconds in arrears, was never much of a threat to the winner.

Series D, with the beautiful F1 cars of the early ‘60s, was also very thin with just seven cars. The race was dominated head and shoulders by Mark Shaw in his Lotus 21.

Finally, in Series A for pre-war cars, poleman Patrick Blakeney-Edwards kept his Frazer Nash in the lead for half of the race until gearbox problems forced him to stop.

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The Duel of the Meeting Alesi vs Werner

The race for Plateau F for pre-’77 cars promised to be exciting. With two explosive first rows, it sadly ended in recriminations and controversy. On pole was the former triple 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Marco Werner, but it was Jean Alesi quickest off the mark in the older, less powerful Ferrari. Though outgunned by the Lotus, which had qualified two seconds faster, in an enthralling battle Alesi used all his experience to keep Werner behind for 14 laps, with Michael Lyons keeping close watch from behind the wheel of his McLaren M26.

Lyons kept a watching brief behind the lead battle

Coming out onto the start-finish straight with three laps to go, Werner was tucked up right behind Alesi. Did Alesi miss a gear, as Werner later claimed? It didn’t really matter. Werner’s Lotus, accelerating faster out of the bend made contact. The contact was light, but on touching the left rear wheel of the Ferrari, the car was unbalanced and crashed into the wall. Alesi appeared to remonstrate as the German went past again, with a broken front wing, to win the race.

Feeling aggrieved, the German refused to stand on the podium

At the end of the race, the Lotus came to position under the No. 1 panel. There followed a wait before the podium ceremony began, where we imagined what was happening in the Race Director’s office. An official arrived after five minutes with the result sheet and informed Werner that he had received a 25-second penalty and was demoted to third place, without having been heard by officials. This gave Michael Lyons his second win of the meeting, ahead of the excellent Andlauer and his March 761. The German pilot expressed his disapproval by refusing to stand on the podium and by putting the cup on the ground. It is a shame that the race ended this way because it was the best fight on the track that we saw during the whole meeting. Of note was the sportsmanship displayed by Lyons, who took his winner’s cup and placed it on the muzzle of Werner’s Lotus.

Under a splendid sun in Portimão, the grids run by Diogo Ferrao and his Race Ready organisation began their season on 7-9 May, supporting the KIA GT Cup and the Super7s. A new Race Ready initiative this year, the Carrera los ‘80s cars produced a 20-car grid for their first outing despite the absence of many of the foreign teams. The new series, for Touring cars of the ‘80s and early ‘90s also has a class for GT Trophy and Cup cars.

Historic Endurance

A 40-car grid lined up for the first of two Iberian Historic Endurance races with Carlos Barbot’s Merlyn MK4 on pole. Pedro Bastos Rezende should have been alongside in his De Tomaso Pantera, but instead opted to drive his Porsche RSR, so had to start from the back of the grid. As the clock approached 5pm the traffic lights went out and the roar of the Iberian Historic Endurance engines echoed through the empty stands of the Autódromo de Portimão.

The big grid, with a number of foreign teams, was a demonstration of just how keen drivers are to get out racing again.  Photos Antonio Paquete

Barbot started well, but he had the two Porsches of Alfredo Martinez/Jesus Fuster and Miguel Vaz/Fernando Soares on his tail, both eventually getting past the little prototype. Some fared better than others during the mandatory pit stops, and the 50-minute race was cut short after 39 minutes due to oil on the track, leaving an all-Porsche podium.

 

 

After the wet morning, the second race kicked off at lunchtime on Sunday, giving the track time to dry. This time Rezende started at the front and got off the line quickest to lead the pack. However, though starting in 16th place, a re-energised Barbot was challenging for second after only a few laps. Next, he surprised Rezende and snatched the lead, but the Porsche driver was having none of it and re-asserted control, though he never quite lost the Merlyn. It was great racing.

los Barbot made a brilliant comeback to challenge the mighty Porsches

Race Ready also ran two 40-minute rounds of their Group 1 / Trophéu Mini races. These too are very popular and attracted a grid of over 40 cars of great variety, made up of VW Golf GTIs, Datsun 1200s, Porches 924s, and of course Minis. Ford Escorts RS2000s dominated the sharp end of both races, with Paulo Vieira taking two victories in his. It was clear that the drivers were happy to be out racing again after a five-month abstinence.

To read the report see our June 2021 issue....

Though it ran behind closed doors, the 2021 edition of the Donington Historic Festival, run on the Bank Holiday weekend of 1-2 May, was in many ways the best yet. The tenth edition had superb grids, consistently exciting racing and even the fickle UK spring weather was kind. Paul Lawrence reports.

Across the socially-distanced paddock there was a wonderful feeling of renewal and optimism as teams and drivers went racing, some for the first time in many, many months. Many drivers spoke of their delight at going racing again and seeing old friends. The atmosphere of the whole event was outstanding and although fans could not be there, excellent live-streaming offered all the race action to a global audience. Roger Wills and Tim Harvey claimed the event’s big prize of victory in the three-hour Pall Mall Cup while father and son Justin and Ben Maeers won a memorable ‘Mad Jack’ Pre-War Sports contest in their 100-year-old Parker GN. The opening round of the Jaguar Classic Challenge got the weekend’s racing off to a fine start with a grid of more than 30 Jaguars battling over an hour and Saturday’s racing closed with the inaugural Amon Cup for Ford GT40s featuring a reasonable grid, which will be boosted once European contenders are able to get to the UK. The 11 cars made a fantastic sight and sound as they raced into the early evening.

In the ‘Mad Jack’ race a field of wonderfully diverse pre-war cars battled mightily. Wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side and nose- to-tail, they made a truly epic spectacle around the sweeps of Donington. The race was won by Justin and Ben Mears in the 100 year-old 6.2-litre aero-engined Parker GN Photo Oliver Flower

The Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy grids were combined to form a vast field of pre-1961 sports cars. The opening laps of the race featured a sensational battle as the Tojeiro Jaguar of James Cottingham worked hard to fend off the Lister Knobbly of Chris Ward. Lap after lap they ran nose-to-tail as they threaded a path through the slower traffic. The ‘Mad Jack’ for Pre-War Sports Cars is always a popular element of the DHF and in the early laps five wonderfully diverse Pre-War cars battled mightily. Wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side and nose-to-tail, they made a truly epic spectacle around the sweeps of Donington.

Big grids characterised the meeting, including the Historic Touring Car/Tony Dron Trophy/U2TC race won by Andy Middlehurst/Jonathan Bailey’s Nissan Skyline.  Photo Eric Sawyer

The headlining three-hour Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup race on Sunday afternoon was an action-packed endurance race run at a frenetic pace, with a 50-car grid, and ending with a resounding win for Roger Wills and Tim Harvey in Roger’s ex-Bruce ex-Bruce McLaren Lotus 15.

Roger Wills and Tim Harvey won the headline 3-Hour Pall Mall Cup race in Roger’s Lotus XV.  Photo Eric Sawyer

The opening round of the Historic Touring Car Challenge also featured the Tony Dron Trophy and the U2TC season opener, so there was a vast and varied grid of racing saloon cars in action for an hour. The early laps delivered a great spectacle from a leading five-car pack of two Nissan Skylines, two Ford Sierra RS500s and a Cologne Capri.

Graham Churchill’s Austin Mini Cooper suffered a massive engine failure.  Photo Eric Sawyer

The UK Formula Junior Championship featured three races for an entry of more than 50 cars. The opening race catered for the earlier cars and it was three front-engined cars that enacted a wonderful contest for the lead. Ray Mallock (U2 Mk2), Chris Drake (Terrier) and Andrew Hibberd (Merlyn Mk2) went wheel-to-wheel for much of the race.

Father and son John and Jack Young clinched the Tony Dron Trophy spoils with a fine run in their Chevrolet Camaro, here seen at rest as night falls.  Photo Oliver Flower

Will Nuthall was twice a commanding winner from a strong HGPCA grid of Pre-‘66 Grand Prix cars. His Cooper T53 was away and gone early in both races as John Fairley (Brabham BT11/19) was the best of the rest.

For the full report see pour June 2021 issue....

Let’s Go Racing!

A chilly but sunny Easter weekend saw Britain’s long-awaited return to racing, and historic cars were honoured to be the first to fire up their engines when Masters Historic   Racing and the HSCC’s single-seater department convened for the   Masters Historic Race Weekend at Donington Park just days after the ban on motor racing was lifted.    Mattijs Diepraam reports.

In fact, Masters had succeeded in having their Donington Park event – and also its forthcoming late-May event at Brands Hatch – listed as Elite Sporting Events, which meant that foreign competitors, team members and essential staff would be able to enter the UK without having to quarantine for a minimum of five days.  Of course, the exemption only applied to travellers coming into the UK, but their return trip was a different matter, with most EU countries still upholding strict quarantine rules.  As a result, the entry across the six Masters grids was essentially all British, while the few men in possession of a foreign racing license – such as Ireland’s Mike Cantillon, Austrian Lukas Halusa, Max Girardo from Switzerland and Kiwi Warren Briggs – are either UK residents or were present in the UK already.  In the end, only official series photographer Carlo Senten and the Michelin tyre people dared to cross the Channel from Holland and France respectively to be at Donington.

Steve Hartley (right) led both F1 races in his McLaren MP4, but Mike Cantillon (below) twice prevailed in his Williams FW07C Photos Eric Sawyer

The travel restrictions – not to mention Brexit – particularly hurt Masters’ two former FIA championships, since Masters Historic Formula One and Masters Historic Sports Cars have always been the most ‘European’ of Masters series.  Fortunately the Gentlemen Drivers and Pre-66 Touring Car entry lists both burst at the seams with UK-based GT and touring car drivers eager to dust off their cars.  Meanwhile, the HSCC brought their Classic F3 and Historic F2 grids, and while both missed their international contributors, the club had no trouble in attracting many dozens of well-prepared British-based single-seaters.

Formula 1

Even though the grid number was down to 12, both Masters Historic Formula One races proved that large fields are not a necessity when it comes to exciting racing action.  Especially Saturday’s race was a corker, as Mike Cantillon’s Williams FW07C harried Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 until, with two laps to go, the jam Baron cracked under pressure, handing Cantillon his second win of the weekend.

Sportcars

On Friday, the Historic Sports Car race would be the first Masters race of the day, and it was WEC and ELMS racer Alex Brundle in Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 Mk3B who led away from pole.  Behind him, though, Tom Bradshaw in the family’s Chevron B19 succeeded in keeping young Brundle in sight and duly took over the mantle when on lap 7 the Lola limped into the pits with a broken gear linkage.

WEC and ELMS racer Alex Brundle, in Gary Pearson’s Lola T70 Mk3B, led the Sportscars away from pole, while confusion in the paddock had led to a gaggle of cars lining up in the wrong assembly area meaning they had to start from the pitlane.  Photo Carlo Senten

GTs

Friday ended on a feverish note as five cars contested the win in the 90-minute Gentlemen Drivers enduro for pre-66 GT cars.  Mike Whitaker in the pole-sitting TVR Griffith and then James Cottingham in the Cobra shared with Joe Twyman led early on, while Alex Brundle gave chase in the first of two Pearson Engineering Jaguar E-types.

Touring Cars

Saturday’s Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race proved to be a belter, initially led by Steve Soper in the Alan Mann Racing Ford Mustang, with Alex Taylor and Craig Davies maintaining close quarters while arguing between themselves in two more Mustangs.  Also keeping a watchful eye from a manageable distance while fighting over fourth with Richard Dutton’s similar Lotus Cortina was Marcus Jewell who put relief driver Ben Clucas in the perfect position when the safety car came out to aid the quick recovery of Mark Martin’s stranded Cortina.

Marcus Jewell put relief driver Ben Clucas in the perfect position after the safety car came out. Clucas wasted no time in claiming the lead  Photo Carlo Senten

Single-seaters

Meanwhile, the HSCC made a significant contribution to Britain’s return to racing by adding their Historic F2 and Classic F3 grids to the programme. 

The quality of racing across the 27-strong F2 double-header was fine, hard-fought victories going to Callum Grant (ex-Don Breidenbach 1600cc Atlantic March 79B) - two years after Matt Wrigley won at Brands Hatch in a sister car - and hotshoe Andy Smith. 

In Classic F3, Andrew Smith shared starring roles with Conor Murphy, taking pole in his March 783.  Murphy’s March 803B, however, beat Smith away from the line, and while trading fastest laps with his adversary Murphy never blinked on his way to victory by less than two tenths of a second. 

For a full report, see our May 2021 issue

Formula Ford cars of three eras took centre stage on Snetterton’s 300 Circuit as the Jim Russell Trophy meeting honoured one of the category’s founders and opened the Historic Sports Car Club’s 2021 season on 17-18 April.  Local hero Russell bought fleets of FFs - Lotus, Alexis, Merlyn and Van Diemen chassis - for his renowned racing drivers’ schools.  The triple national F3 champion died in 2019, just short of his 100th birthday, an innings matched by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, a motor racing enthusiast for whom a minute’s silence was observed on Saturday, as his funeral began at Windsor Castle.

Marcus Pye Reports

Jackson 5 tops the Chart

On a sunny weekend with a chill wind, the event ran behind closed doors due to extended COVID-19 protocols.  At the venue where the first FF Festival was won by Ian Taylor in a Dulon on the super-fast original track, Cameron Jackson won both the Historic (Pre-‘72) and Classic (Pre-‘82) championship double-headers at the wheel of his black ‘71 Winkelmann WDF2, a Palliser rebranded by its US marketer.  He also dominated the Historic Formula Junior opener in his Brabham BT2, resplendent in the livery of UK-based Dutch flower seller Klaas ‘Jimmy’ Twisk’s Tulip Stable, making it a five from five lockout.

Cameron Jackson won both the Historic (Pre-‘72) and Classic (Pre-‘82) championship double-headers at the wheel of his black ‘71 Winkelmann WDF2. He also dominated the Historic Formula Junior opener in his Brabham BT2.  Photo Charlie Wooding

Contemporary Formula Fords came out in the Heritage grids, American youngsters Max Esterson and Colin Queen twice beating the older cars in their Low Dempsey Racing Ray GR18s.  Their closest pursuer was retired F1 TV commentator Ben Edwards driving the Van Diemen in which Martin Byford won the Champion of Snetterton series in 1992!

Historic FF2000 looks set for a bumper season, with 30 competitors eagerly out on parade for the opening races.  Eighteen of them - including ‘79 European champion Adrian Reynard himself in the last SF79 built, dressed in his period car’s Canadian Club Whiskey livery - driving Reynards.  Past master Benn Simms was in a class of his own all weekend, charging his SF77 clear of Graham Fennymore - who had repaired his SF81 following a prang in Friday testing - and Greg Robertson (SF79).  Reynard finished fifth on Saturday, a place claimed by local Stephen Glasswell on Sunday.

Hard Tryer - Adam Cunnington Ford Lotus Cor na  Photos Eric Sawyer

Fresh from smashing the Donington Classic F3 lap record at the Masters meeting, Andy Smith annihilated Snetterton’s, hurtling his ex-Helmut Henzler March 783 away from reigning champion Benn Tilley (ex-Brian Henton/Rupert Keegan BAF March 743) and Tony Hancock (ex-Mike Blanchet Lola T670) in race one.  Smith’s suspension tweaks between races left him short of traction later, but he nonetheless harassed Tilley over the final laps of Saturday’s finale.

Dan Williamson (Ford Falcon) won the Touring Car race

Historic Road Sports brought out the first of the HSCC staples, a fine and representative multi-marque 22-car entry redolent of the 1950s and ‘60s. 

Later spec Morgans topped the even stronger 70s’ Road Sports contest which boasted 29 starters.  Lad and dad Will and Richard Plant rumbled clear of former Historic F1 racer Dave Karaskas (TVR 3000M) and triple champion Jeremy Clark, whose Elan S4’s engine blew spectacularly passing the pits.

When potential Historic Touring Car challenger Pete Hallford’s Ford Mustang struggled to leave the grid at the lights in both races, making things a bit fraught as the Lotus Cortinas and Steve Platts’ Singer Chamois funnelled through, poleman Dan Williamson scored two lonely wins in his Falcon.

Ben Simms took both FF2000 races in his Reynard SF77 from a bumper grid containing no fewer than 18 Reynards

Mark Charteris and a surprised Adrian Holey were the winners in a Classic Clubmans attrition-fest.  Charteris had a fright in Sunday’s finale when his propshaft grenaded (mercifully a safety hoop in the transmission tunnel did its job) shortly after he took the lead from Clive Wood, whose throttle cable snapped shortly thereafter.

Ecurie Classic Racing subscribed to a 40-minute guest slot with Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club invitees.  Soloist Allan Ross-Jones bolted his metallic blue Triumph TR4 out of the blocks at the start of the mini-enduro and was not unseated.

Get our May 2021 issue for a full report

Final Round Hampton Downs

Just when defending F5000 Series title holder Michael Collins looked like wrapping up this season’s series, Auckland resident Grant Martin pulled his Talon MR1/A “out of the shed,” qualified second to Collins, then proceeded to lead the first race at the final round, the big Paul Fahey Legends of Motorsport meeting at Hampton Downs, on Saturday afternoon from start-to-finish.

Collins did indeed find a place to get alongside and attempt to pass as the pair entered the downhill hairpin – only to have one of his car’s halfshafts let go, leaving the 25-year-old ace stranded at the side of the track and Martin to complete the final lap unchallenged. 

Codie Banks and fellow Lola T332 driver Kevin Ingram were the next pair home, though fourth quickest qualifier David Banks (Codie’s father) didn’t make the grid thanks to an issue with his Talon MR1’s crown and pinion.  Class A for pre’71 cars was again dominated by a quick and consistent Frank Karl (McLaren M10B).

The series was able to nally emerge from beneath the COVID-19 cloud it has been operating under this season, with strong entries and at least two new owners and/or drivers  Photos Fast Company Ma Smith

Enjoying a trouble-free debut in his newly-acquired ex-Ian Riley Lola T332 was long-time tin-top man Bruce Kett, whose measured approach saw him qualify 16th but finish Saturday’s race in 11th place.  As the weekend went on, Kett got quicker and quicker.  “I’m just buzzing,” he said afterwards.  “The car is just so different to anything else I have ever raced.  Every time I go out in it I learn something!”

Sunday’s handicap race was won by Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400), who admitted to a tad of embarrassment having won for the third time in as many rounds.  “Just a little bit,” he laughed.  “But what am I supposed to do when they give me a start time like they do?”

Grant Martin leads Michael Collins

As it was the race - which was started in the pit lane with the field split into different speed ‘bands’ - produced some impressive handicapping, with class coordinator Tony Jack congratulated on a job well done by the Clerk of the Course.

In a riveting 10-lap final on Sunday afternoon, enlivened up by the composition of the grid - with Martin on pole and Collins right at the back thanks to his non-finish on Saturday - Collins literally pulled out all the stops as he worked his way up through to a position where he could at least challenge for the lead.  However the field spent three laps behind the Safety Car early on while Chris Watson’s Gardos was dug out of the gravel trap.  Once the track went green, Collins pinned his ears back and made it up to second place only for the chequered flag to come out just as he had locked his lasers onto the Talon. 

‘’Seriously,” said Collins, “I really wanted to win that one and I would have had him if there had been one more lap.”  Kevin Ingram and Anna Collins (Michael’s sister) followed the two leaders home.

The 17th edition of the Mallorcan Rally Classic took place on 11-13 March. Having been perhaps the last competitive event to take place just before the 2020 lockdown began - indeed it was actually cut short when the lockdown went into place - this year it was one of the first events to run. That it took place at all, last year or this, was thanks to the herculean efforts of rally organiser Toni Dezcallar, who worked tirelessly to gain permission to run it in the face of all the COVID restrictions. These included restricting admission to the Service Park in Puerto Portals, an absolute ban on spectators on the special stages, and a schedule of testing for everyone involved. Fortune smiled on Toni as the island of Mallorca reduced its pandemic emergency code shortly before the start of the rally, allowing restricted opening of bars, restaurants and hotels. In addition, travel from Germany, from where a core group of competitors comes, became permissible subject to a five day quarantine.

Tomeu Castañer and Miquel Deya in their Jaguar E-type were untroubled by the Nigorra Jaguar to win the Low Speed Regularity category.  Photos Courtesy Rally Clásico

Puerto Portals retained its position as title sponsor of the event and Michael Stoschek’s Brose Components, Germany’s largest independent motor parts manufacturer continued its long term association. Michael would run his self-manufactured, modern, all carbon version of the Lancia Stratos in the Show Car category, co-driving with his son Maximilian.

 

 

The entry necessarily suffered from the travel restrictions around Europe. Indeed, until a few days before the start Spain was restricting inbound travel to its citizens and those with residency. Although this was relaxed for the Germans, the competitors from the UK as well as everywhere else were prohibited. Whereas the majority of those who choose to compete in the regularity sections tend to be Mallorquins, Island residents or Spanish Nationals, the converse is true for the competition groups. The regularity entry held up well with 12 in High Speed and 14 in Low Speed. Favourite for this important speciality were multiple previous winners Tony Barcelo and Joan Vergers in their BMW 2002 Tii. The Show Car class even augmented its popularity with 16 starters.

A notable first here was the entry of an all-electric car. This was the Loryc Batteryrunner of Charly and Leone Bosch. The cars are built just down the road from the service park at Sa Bugadelles. How many people know that Mallorca has its own car manufacturer?

The Youngtimers result was never in doubt with the local crew of Jose Martorell and Tomeu Fluxa winning by nearly fteen minutes

It was the competition class that took the hardest hit from the travel restrictions, with no fewer than 18 entries from the UK lost. These included Steve Perez, boss of the Amigo beer drinks conglomerate, Silverstone Auctions founder Nick Whale, and John Sheldon who missed out on his 20th consecutive appearance at the rally. The class was left with a scant six starters. Two of these presented an intriguing prospect. Former event winner and multiple rally champion Kris Rosenberger had forsaken his regular co-driver of many years, the vastly experienced Cristina Ettel for the young local Sara Adolph. Their partnership had not got off to a good start when Kris almost destroyed his regular 1982 Porsche 911 in the local Rally Conserves Rosselló - Vila de Sineu event in September, leaving Sara quite badly bruised. It was a great effort to have the car repaired in time. Meanwhile, Cristina Ettel found herself a seat with German specialist car dealer Florian Feustel in a 1975 IROC Porsche 911.

Overall winners of the Competition section were Florian Feustel and a delighted Cristina Ettel in the 1974 Porsche IROC RSR. Theirs had been a near faultless and strategically impeccable performance.

For a full Report see our April 2021 Issue

One of the recurring themes encountered in this magazine, be it from the contributors or from the readers, is the “win at all costs” debate. Most of us say that historic racing shouldn’t be about winning, then we prepare our cars to within an inch of their legality and go out onto the track or rally stage with only one goal in mind – or at least there are many with that attitude. However there are some who really do just want to enjoy the cars. Some are not drivers of great talent, but they enjoy their racing just as much as the winners do, always seeking to improve on their personal best. Others want to campaign cars they love, even though they know they have no chance of a win in their category. These are the heroes of historic racing. They seldom get a mention, but we want to celebrate them in these pages.

Our photographers and contributors were asked to nominate their heroes of historic racing. Here are a few offerings.. Nominations from fellow competitors for future issues are welcome, accompanied with a few explanatory words.

 

Ian Simmonds - Nominated by Mattijs Diepraam 

Photos Ma js Diepraam

A stalwart of the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship for many years, Ian Simmonds has had his moments – such as fighting Greg Thornton for the championship some eight seasons ago – but most of the time he is well aware that there are better drivers on the grid than him. Success is irrelevant, he says, and his biggest competition is with his own expectations – he is only satisfied once he has exceeded those. He is still amazed that at the time he thought that stepping up from a Radical to a Tyrrell 012 Formula One car was a good idea, then wanted to walk away moments before his first test in the car, but somehow found the courage to continue while facing the steepest learning curve of his life. He has done so year after year, with the same Tyrrell, and with the mentality that typifies the unsung heroes of historic motorsport – feeling utterly privileged to be driving a Formula One car and sharing a grid with machines that were once raced by Ronnie Peterson and James Hunt. For me as a journalist, it feels like a privilege to be close to those machines and to be able to write about them – and it’s always good to meet someone who feels the same about driving them.

Egbert Kolvoort – Nominated by Carlo Senten

  

Photos Carlo Senten

I would like to nominate the racing secretary of the NKHTGT, Egbert Kolvoort. With his MGB he has been racing at the back of the field for years, but has managed to improve his personal record every year. However my nomination is more for his commitment to the NKHTGT and to Dutch historic motorsport. For me, he is the type of person we need more of in the sport where egos often get in the way.

 

Brian and Barbara Lambert - Nominated by Carol Spagg

Photo Stefan Eckhardt

Brian and Barbara Lambert have been racing an MGB since at least 2003. That is when they entered the Gentleman Drivers race at Spa and I first met them. After that they became friends and regulars in the series. Though never at the real sharp end with their 1800cc car, they often won their class, often against theoretically quicker cars. The pair look after the car themselves, while dispensing numerous cups of tea and coffee to their many friends in the paddock and always adding to the enjoyment and friendly ambiance. They became regular drivers in Equipe GTS, where Barbara continued to run in the MGB and Brian campaigned a Ginetta G4, both sometimes sharing with son Mark.

Photo Carlo Senten 

Always glad to be out racing, they have also raced in the Top Hat series, with the HSCC, GTSCC and just about anywhere else they can find some good racing amongst like-minded people. Barbara and Brian have also been campaigning the MGB and Ginetta respectively in the Dutch NKHTGT Championship with much class success. Driving the smallest car in a big field, with just 997cc, Brian became the 2018 Dutch Champion! The same year Brian drove the Ginetta, with Uwe Markovac, in the Pre-‘63 GT series. A welcome addition to the series, it was especially nice for me to see the couple in the paddock again, and meet the equally enthusiastic and friendly Uwe. Both Brian and Barbara are always pleasant in the paddock and both are true enthusiasts. In all these years, they have never left anyone in doubt about how much enjoyment they derive from their racing. They are best sort of historic racing people.

Barbara Lambert receiving the GT&SCC Ladies Prize, which she has won on a number of occasions, from John Pearson in 2010.

 

John Delane - Nominated by Jon Bunston

   

Photos Jon Bunston

I first met John Delane in 2010 at Hockenheim, where he was racing in the Historic Formula One race, and my opinion of the American from California has remained the same to this day, simply ‘what a nice guy’. Always engaging about his racing, he has embraced the history of Tyrrell, and more importantly, supported it. After seeing Jackie Stewart’s performance at Monza in the Tyrrell 001, he vowed to race one of his own one day and he accomplished his dream. After his early days in a Viceroy-liveried Lola T400 F5000 car, his Tyrrell dream came in 1998 when the François Cevert car, no. 002 came up for sale in California. Further acquisitions of Tyrrell 001, the team transporter, and 004 were added to his collection. John has been racing Formula 1 cars and his immaculate Lotus 15 ever since, regularly winning championships and flying the Tyrrell flag. He now also owns 006 and is the guardian of three of the seven early Tyrrells that still exist. Supported by Hall & Hall his cars were probably the best prepared and presented in the historic paddock, testament to John’s desire to show these cars at their absolute best. It is a great outcome for Ken’s cars, in the loving care of this passionate collector who knows how to race them and is still the same a nice guy. “The difference between me and a real racing driver is that I didn’t wake up with talent. I took lessons and worked at it. I’m a student of motor racing,” he once said in an interview with Motor Sport. John’s newest enthusiasm is campaigning a Chevron B21 in American races, where grids can contain a large span of cars and where he races against cars like 2005 Audi R8 LMP, 2013 Oreca FLM 9, but also GT40 and Ginetta G12.

Though restrictions on numbers were in place Peter R. Hill was one of the lucky few to attend the March 5-7 Phillip Island Classic and bring back this report. 

A year ago, the Victorian Historic Racing Register (VHRR) held its annual Festival of Classic Motorsport at Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. One week later the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled and COVID-19 changed the world. A year has passed since then and the VHRR again welcomed competitors to the island.

A car rarely seen on Australian tracks, Ian Buddery raced his March 86c Indy car.  Photos Neil Hammond

The club had taken a gamble in outlaying the funds to secure the circuit and facilities for the weekend when even a small outbreak of the virus could have seen the state locked down again and all events cancelled. Fortune favoured their bravery. Eleven fields took to the track comprising three hundred and sixty entries, no doubt rejoicing to be back doing what they loved.

Australians have a love affair with Ford versus Holden V8 racing

The event normally hosts between 450 and 500 entries but this year there were no overseas cars and inter-state entries were undoubtedly reduced because of the risk of a sudden closure of a state border. Spectator numbers were limited to one thousand each day, with tickets pre-purchased on-line. For those of us lucky enough to be there the extra space and lack of a milling throng was relished. Selfish, I know.

An eye-catching brace of Brabham BT30 team cars

Despite the reduction in entries there was still plenty to delight the enthusiast. A brace of Brabham BT30s were eye-catching. These were team cars — both red with Irish Racing Cars sign-written on their flanks. One was the ex-Alan Rollinson car, the owner of which is now Noel Robson, who explained that this car had been in Australia for many years and he was fortunate enough to be able to purchase it when his son Andrew wanted to retire from his Lola T330 F5000. The sister car belongs to Sean Whelan and is the ex-Tommy Reid car that Whelan imported from England. In the race these two led a field that was a mixture of racing and sports cars from ‘61 to ‘69 that included four pretty Lotus 18 Formula Juniors, an assortment of other Brabhams and a lone Chevron B14.

John Hardy’s lovely Alpine A110 1600S has been raced and hillclimbed for 30 years

In another mixed field of sports and racing cars that ranged from the 1930s to 1960 was the striking Allard J2X, its 5.4 litre engine a healthy litre bigger than anything else in the field. This is chassis number 3146 which was brought back to life by Joe Calleja and first raced here in 2018. This is the car that was driven by Carroll Shelby in five races in 1953 for four wins and a second place, and it is said that this is what got him noticed and launched him on his subsequent racing career. One of Australia’s most versatile racers, John Bowe was in Shelby’s seat for the occasion. Sadly, although the Allard qualified third it failed to finish its races. It was a shame we were unable to see Bowe, the two-time Australian Drivers’ Champion and twice winner of the Bathurst 1000, manhandling the Allard around the island.

For a Full Report See Our April 2021 Issue