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Contents November Issue Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Tour de Corse - Rallye Elba Storico - St Moritz Automobile Week - Book Reviews - Insider’s Report - Castle Combe Autumn Classic - Seven Questions for Christophe Van Riet - Historic Tour Charade - Circuit des Remparts - Estoril Classics - Dijon Motors Cup -Spa Six Hours

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Features and Reports

At the heart of the temple of speed

Jean-Marie Biadatti reports

Though there were fears for the worst, in the lead-up to the event due to the pandemic, Monza Historic went ahead as planned on the weekend of 18-20 September.  Even though many regulars from the Peter Auto grids were absent, there were still over 200 cars spread over eight grids.  If the Friday practice took place under a beautiful clear sky, the weather was more mixed for the races on Saturday and Sunday, with even a little rain taking some competitors of the Greatest’s Trophy and the Endurance Racing Legends by surprise.

Philippe Scemama’s CER2 victory in his Lola T600 was expected.  Photos PhotoClassicRacing.com

As usual, it was the Sixties’ Endurance field that brought together the greatest number of competitors with 50 cars on track.  And a very competitive field it was, with many candidates for victory.  David Hart/Nicky Pastorelli in a Bizzarrini 5300GT, Richard Cook/Andrew Smith, James Cottingham/Harvey Stanley, Urs Beck/Olivier Hart, soloist Christophe Van Riet, Charles Firmenich/Henri Moser, Michel Lecourt /Raymond Narac, Yvan and Guillaume Mahé, all in Cobras, qualified in that order, grouped within 3.3 seconds!

The pace was ferocious.  Last year Christophe Van Riet took pole in similar weather conditions in the same car with a time of 2’10’’608.  This year he qualified fifth with a time of 2’08’’939, while Nicky Pastorelli took pole with a lap of 2’07’’493!  The level of driving and preparation of the cars continues to improve, but this is not always profitable. 

Classic Endurance Racing presented its two variously supplied grids, each having a one-hour race.  In qualifying were six Lola T70s in the first seven places, with Claudio Roddaro’s Porsche 917 setting the fifth fastest time, but it was the T70 of Hart and Pastorelli on pole.  In the race, though the Porsche recovered to lead for some time, the Hart/Pastorelli Lola ended up 12 seconds ahead of the beautiful German car.  In the GT classes, Mr John of B performed the feat of the weekend.  Starting last after not having competed in qualifying following a gearbox problem in his Ford GT40, he won his category and finished 5th overall.

In CER2, the highlight was the exceptional presence of four Ferrari 512 BBLMs.  Given the forces involved, Philippe Scemama’s victory at the wheel of his Lola T600 was expected, which was achieved by winning the race with an 11-second lead - a safety car having intervened at the end of the race while he was leading by 45 seconds. 

Christian Traber - BMW 3.0 CSL

One of the most seductive grids of the Peter Auto programme is undoubtedly the Heritage Touring Cup, both in terms of the participating cars and the show they produce.   There was a big fight in qualifying between the BMW 3.0 CSLs of the two Swiss entrants, Christian Traber and Michael Erlich, and the Capri 3100 RS of Belgian Christophe Van Riet with only a second between them.  For the race, after a fanfare start where Traber took the lead, all attention was on the battle between Erlich and Van Riet that only came to an end when Van Riet retired with transmission failure. 

In two Greatest’s Trophy races, where, in addition to the usual Ferraris, Bizzarrini and Alfa Romeos, there was the opportunity to see rare cars like the Christopher Milner/Nigel Greensall Lister Costin Chevrolet, which took pole, or the Lister Knobbly of Anthony Schrauwen, the Lister Jaguar of James Thorpe or Katarina Kyvalova’s Cooper T33 TT (which sadly, practised but didn’t start), all cars rarely seen on French or Italian grids.   In the first race Milner retired the Lister after only four laps in the lead.  With rain coming in during the race, Remo Lips and David Franklin were winners in a Ferrari 250 GT SWB ahead of Christian Bouriez (Bizzarrini 5300GT) and the Thorpe/Phil Quaife Lister Jaguar.  The Ferrari pair had started last after they missed qualifying.  Thorpe and Quaife won the second race, with Bourriez again second and the Lips/Franklin Ferrari in third place for an inverted podium.

James Thorpe’s Lister Jaguar - a rare sight at Monza

There was no doubt that grid numbers suffered due to all the travel restrictions, and just 15 cars lined up for the 2L Cup.  Though qualifying was close, with so few cars a 90-minute race became a little boring.

Ivan Vercoutere/Ralf Kelleners (Porsche 962C) dominated the Group C qualifying as usual, by over a second to Raymond Narac/Michel Lecourt’s identical car, and these two each scored a first and a second place in the two races.

The Endurance Racing Legends, for cars of more recent vintage, saw 23 cars at the start.  The field presented some great cars with, in particular, the Ferrari 333 SP of Lecourt/Narac,  whose song of 12 cylinders on the long Monza straights was inspiring. 

This second meeting of the season has kept its promises.  It is still a sign of the remarkable success of Peter Auto, that though the grids were considerably smaller than usual in these difficult times, there was still great quality throughout the fields and they were still bigger than some others, without having to resort to mixing more than one series on the same grid.

Read the full report in our November 2020 issue

Formula Ford 2000 in the War of the Wolds

Marcus Pye Reports

HG Wells’ science fiction novel The War of the Worlds has gripped readers for more than 120 years.  Historic Formula Ford 2000 has only been around for 13, but back in Lincolnshire’s Wolds where the series’ first battle was enacted in 2007 (a dramatic race won by Iain Rowley) the Pinto-powered slicks-and-wings category for charismatic cars from 1975-‘81, headlined the HSCC’s annual visit to sylvan Cadwell Park on the weekend of 19-20 September. 

Thirty five competitors, the strongest entry in years, justified four races on MotorSport Vision’s picturesque playground, a qualifying heat for each championship counter giving less experienced drivers more seat time, as the quickest 10 (five from each session) progressed directly to the points races.  Late lunges by class newcomer Adrian Langridge (Crosslé 41F) and local man Lee Bankhurst (Royale RP30) snatched victory in the preliminaries, robbing Ben Glasswell and Greg Robertson (Reynards) respectively.

Twice Historic FF1600 champion Callum Grant goes airborne in his Delta T78 on the way to HFF2000 victory. Photos Charlie Wooding

Twice Historic FF1600 champion Callum Grant (Delta T78) and former Classic F3, HFF2000 and HFF1600 titlist Benn Simms (Reynard SF77) stood head and shoulders above the rest in the finals. 

Classic Formula 3 – making a rare appearance on the narrow sinuous track that hosted British F3 Championship counters until future F1 champ Ayrton Senna wrecked two Ralt RT3s there in quick succession in 1983 – and Classic FF2000 were combined, with young stars in each group.  Benn Tilley (ex-Rupert Keegan March-Toyota 743) shadowed debutant Matt Wrigley (Chevron B38) and darted past boldly into the Hall Bends on Saturday as Wrigley grappled with a clutch problem.  Tilley outran John Finch (Ralt RT1) on Sunday, the latter having worked hard to shake off FF2000 ace Ben Stiles (Van Diemen RF82).   

Benn Tilley (ex-Rupert Keegan March-Toyota 743) darted past Matt Wrigley into the Hall Bends on Saturday and outran John Finch on Sunday in Classi F3

Formula Ford, Historic and Classic, were on the timetable, with points leader Pierre Livingston (Merlyn Mk20A) continuing his Oulton Park winning ways in the former.  Linton Stutely (Royale RP3) and Cameron Jackson (March 708) disputed the other virtual podium places, netting a second and a third apiece. 

Switching to his Van Diemen RF80 local property developer Jackson won both Classic FF rounds as Mike Gardner caught the stewards’ attention by swiping the nose from his Crosslé 32F en route to fourth and second. 

Will Plant, guesting in Kevin Kivlochan’s Morgan, won the opening Historic Road Sports race

Both Road Sports categories drew big grids.  Outdragged by Kevin Kivlochan in the ‘70s opener, defending champion Jeremy Clark squeezed his Lotus Elan back past to win, then repeated. 

Will Plant, guesting in Kivlochan’s Morgan, won the opening Historic Road Sports race, as KeKi sat in the pits rueing a broken throttle spring in his AC Cobra.  Half a minute behind when Sunday’s scrappy rolling start was released, Kivlochan blasted back to fifth, this time watched by young Plant who switched the big Moggie’s Rover V8 engine off when its oil pressure light glowed ominously.

Pierre Livingston (Merlyn Mk20A) continued his Oulton Park winning ways in Classic Formula Ford

Peter Smith won both Historic Touring Car bouts in his Lotus Cortina, but had a tough time on Saturday until Roger Stanford retired his energetically-conducted version. 

For the full story see our November 2020 issue

Historic Tour - Nogaro - Val de Vienne

The whole of the French historic racing season has been condensed into three exciting months with round four taking place at Nogaro on 11-12 September and the fifth and final round running at Val de Vienne only two weeks later.  With the French championship titles at stake - one for drivers racing in single-seaters or prototypes, the other for competitors in GT or Touring cars - there are 14 distinct series in which to score points, a number of which are on shared grids, giving 9 grids with races run twice over the weekend to make an 18-race programme over three days.

A season-long F3 Classic battle has been raging between Frédéric Rouvier (March 783), seen here leading and father and son Valerio (March 783) and Davide Leone in the blue Alba.  Photos Guy Pawlak

Single seat championship leader, Christian Vaglio-Giors, had bad luck (or was it planned?) in his bid for the title when ex-champion wunderkind Lionel Robert decided he’d like to come back to Formula Renault for a couple of races.  Taking pole and winning both races ahead of the Swiss by a margin numbering in the tens of seconds in a demonstration of effortless driving, the interloper put paid to Vaglio-Giors’ ambition.

On the same grid, but in a different race, a season-long F3 Classic battle has been raging between Frédéric Rouvier (March 783) and father and son Valerio (March 783) and Davide (Alba AR1) Leone.  The battle continued at Nogaro, but with the Leones not present at Val de Vienne Rouvier was able to score his third title of Champion of France.

Back in his own Porsche at Val de Vienne, a relaxed Laurent Sabatier completed the 14 laps and ran home joint winner of the French Championship GT title.

In the GT stakes, Franck Quagliozzi was invincible, and surprised no one by taking four wins out of four races at Nogaro and Val de Vienne, though the last one was a little bit tricky when the Honda Civic pilot was given a drive-through for jumping the start in the wet race.  Having already distanced the Citroën AX Coupe of Samuel Vivas on the first three laps, the Mâconnais had the luxury of taking his penalty without even losing his first place!  He flew to a new title by over 42 seconds to complete and a perfect score of ten out of ten.

 

Matthieu Châteaux was a double winner at Nogaro in his Debora SP91 BMW in SportProtosCup. He won the rst race at Val de Vienne too, but sadly retired from the last race

The only other contender for the GT title was betrayed by the double turbo of his Porsche 993 GT2 in free practice at Nogaro, but fortunately Laurent Sabatier found an emergency solution.  In a true act of sportsmanship, his comrade from GBF Racing, Sébastien Mathieu, gave him the wheel of his own BMW M3 GTR to run in the GT Classic races.   Back in his own Porsche at Val de Vienne, Sabatier took both races to run home joint winner of the French Championship GT title. 

Formula Ford Historic 

One of the most successful of the French series, the front battle for Formula Ford honours has been between two Swiss drivers.  The first race at Nogaro got off to a bad start when Didier Mantz took a severe off-track excursion at the first corner and crashed into the concrete wall.   The unfortunate ‘Didou’ was freed from the carcass of his Jomo and evacuated to Mont-de-Marsan hospital, then to Bayonne, where he was operated on for a fractured vertebra the next day.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

ASAVÉ 

In four poorly supported 45-minute ASAVÉ races with both groups ASAVÉ 65 and 75 running together on the same grid, the absence of a few regulars at Nogaro was partly offset by the arrival of the WG British Racing Ford Escort, now equipped with a formidable 300hp Ford BDG engine, in in the hands of Franck Julien, and the return of Gérard Besson’s Alpine A310 V6, seen on the Tour Auto a few days earlier.  Though not competing for the same trophy José Beltramelli was able to bring his TVR Griffith home in first place overall and dominate the 65 category ahead of Julien’s Escort in the first race. 

Absent from Nogaro, Jean-François Besson (Alpine A110) was back at Val de Vienne, and took the lead away from Sébastien Calas’ Cooper S

At Val de Vienne, the grids were not much better and with prototypes also allowed to race, François Derossi brought his magnificent Elva MK7S and German Roland Fischer unexpectedly brought out his AMS 2000, a car of Italian origin seen in its time at the Targa Florio, then at the 1000kms of Buenos Aires in the hands of Carlos Pace. 

Maxi 1300

The Maxi 1300 drivers had a busy Saturday at Nogaro, with two races on the timetable.   Philippe Gandini took pole with his Jem GT, but was penalised with a drive-through for jumping the start.   This left Laurent Majou at ease up front.  Halfway through the race, the Mini Cooper driver had a lead of over six seconds to Belgian 

In the afternoon race, Gandini was immediately relieved of Laurent Majou, who lost oil pressure.  After letting Falière lead for the first two laps, the Jem GT driver took command  and drove to victory, with Falière and Jean-Pierre Destombes (Simca CG) completing the podium.  Philippe Quirière won class 3 in his Mini Cooper in both races.

Absent at Nogaro, Jean-François Besson (Alpine A110) was back at Val de Vienne, and took the lead away from Sébastien Calas’ Cooper S on lap three of the first race after a bad start from pole.

The second race was run in the rain, which seemed to suit Calas, who took an immediate lead, followed by Jean-François Besson and Adrien Harang, both soon forced to perform  drive-throughs for jumping the start.  Halfway through the race, Calas had the situation in hand 11 seconds ahead of Laurent Poirier’s CG and 15secs over Besson, who had already returned to the fray.

Geoffroy Horion and Gislain Genecand (Trophée Formule Ford Kent), Augustin Sanjuan (Trophée Formule Ford Zetec), Matthieu Châteaux (Debora SP91 BMW) (SportProtosCup) and Anthony Delhaye (Trophée Lotus) were also double winners in their series over the two race weekends.

One of the biggest grids is the Roadster Pro Cup for Mazda MX-5s that regularly fields 25-30 cars and runs concurrently with the Youngtimers.  Florian Cabarrou and Ludovic Bellinato shared the spoils in this, swapping first and second places in four races.

The newest cars of the Historic Tour compete on the Saloon Cars grid for Touring and GT cars up to 1999.  Julien Grenet took his Dodge Viper to four consecutive wins in various conditions at Nogaro and Val de Vienne, leaving Alain Derognat (BMW 323i) and Patrick Delannoy (Porsche 996) to slug it out for second.

For a full report of both meetings, see our November 2020 issue

The Falkenberg Classic, organised by Sweden’s Racerhistoriska Klubben together with the Sports Car Championship, welcomed 160 drivers at the Falkenberg circuit near Sweden’s south-east coast on 19-20 September for a further two rounds for each grid of the Swedish Championships.  Bengt-Åce Gustavsson reports.

Dead Heat in Falkenberg

Talk of the paddock was the photo finish between Richard ‘Tiny’ Persson and Johan Lund in the Formula Vee race.  After a first win by Persson, by just 0.2 of a second in race 1, the second race also saw a battle royal between these two drivers, which ended literally in a photo finish.  However, so close were the two cars, that officials examining the photos could not pronounce a winner, so both drivers stood on the top step of the virtual podium! 

 Magnus Neergaard in his Lotus Eleven complete with its Gentleman Drivers 2005 s ckers

Formula Vee has taken over the role of being RHK’s largest class and such was the demand that the organiser applied for permission to increase the number allowed to start on the 1826-metre track.  Formula Slicks has also shown good starting fields this year.  Above all, there are many new F3 cars in the field. 

Håkan Tagesson made his Formula Ford debut at Falkenberg.  Coming from the rally forests, he has quickly adapted to track racing and won both heats ahead of Nicklas Nilsson and Björn Otterberg in race 1 and Nilsson and Daniel Magnusson in race 2.

The older historic cars finally got an outing this year on a mixed grid for pre-war cars, F3 500cc and Formula Junior.  Hans Hillebrink in his Lotus 20 Formula Junior felt very new and modern in this field, and this was clearly reflected in the results, as he managed to lap the rest of the field twice before the finish. 

Hans Beckert started in the 1000cc Cup with the Morris Cooper 970 S that burned a couple of years ago, now completely restored and in a great condition.  There was no lack of speed either and with Beckert on good form it could only end one way. 

In the GT class, Kennet Persson put in an unexpected appearance with his lovely Ford GT40.  He was the fastest in the qualifiers, but had a hard time getting off to a good start in the race, allowing Lotus Elan driver Bengt-Åke Bengtsson and Anders Schildt, in his Austin Healey 3000, to get away.  Persson, however, recovered and overhauled them both as the race progressed, with Schildt holding on to second and Claes Andersson, also in a Healey 3000, getting past the Elan to take third by the slimmest of margins.

In the class for standard cars over 1000cc, it was once again Beckert and Skårner in the lead with Beckert as the winner in both races. 

There was also a maximum field in the class for the newest cars with Rolf ‘The Mosquito’ Nilsson on pole with his Ford Escort RS1600.  He initially led the first race but had to give way to Anders Berger in a similar car, who had trouble in qualifying and had started further back.  However, both Berger and Tomas Hall (also in an Escort) missed the yellow flag when they lapped a back marker and thus received a penalty.  This handed the win to ‘The Mosquito’, with Claes Andersson (Opel Kadett GT/E) and the Ford Capri of Robert Paulsson next up. 

Read the full report in the November 2020 issue

The three-day Estoril Classics race meeting has been steadily gaining momentum over the past four years, with a winning formula involving 20-25 degree weather under a beautiful blue sky, an iconic circuit, built in 1972, that has seen all types of international racing, the beauty of the region, great food and the welcoming nature of the Portuguese people.  Despite travel restrictions and all the rest of the difficulties we are living through, 200 teams turned up to enjoy what was for many, the last outing of the season.

This is also the first year, in a three-year arrangement, that the Peter Auto grids were to make up the bulk of the programme, and though travel restrictions saw lower numbers than would have otherwise attended, it brought the cream of historic racing cars and drivers to Estoril. 

 

 Photos Carlo Senten Courtesy Race Ready

Usually attracting over 20,000 fans, this year no public was allowed, but enthusiasts could follow all the racing from home through a live stream of the whole weekend, and some 80,000 of them took up the offer.

It’s the Greatest

Many of the stalwart Peter Auto regulars were there with several cars, and these included David Hart, who, with Nicky Pastorelli won the first of two Greatest’s Trophy races in David’s Costin-bodied Lister Jaguar, having resisted the attentions of Dirk Ebeling’s Bizzarrini.  Sunday’s second race was unfortunately without the victorious Lister, leaving Ebeling’s Bizzarrini and Guillermo Fierro’s Maserati T61 Birdcage fighting for the top spot, with the Bizzarrini taking the advantage. 

Group C

Two 45-minute races for a thin grid of Group C cars saw the return of the Nissan R90 CK of Pierre-Alain and Erwin France.  The Nissan, that had been forced to withdraw from the race at Monza with mechanical issues, qualified second behind the Porsche 962C of Michel Lecourt and Raymond Narac, both cars reaching in excess of 300kph on the straight. 

Sixties

As usual for Peter Auto, a large and varied grid of pre-‘66 GT and pre-‘63 prototypes lined up for the two-hour Sixties’ Endurance race as the last race on Saturday, this time with the Porsche 911s of the 2L Cup in their midst.

Leading the pack were the well-known Sixties’ Endurance trio of Xavier and Olivier Galant, David Hart/Nicky Pastorelli and Damien Kohler, sharing his “new” Gipimotor-prepared car with Christophe Van Riet, all three teams in Shelby Cobras, with the Mahé father and son Cobra in their wake.  Young Xavier Galant took the initial lead from Hart, with Yvan Mahé and Kohler in their own battle for third.   

Leading the Sixties’ pack were Xavier and Olivier Galant, David Hart/Nicky Pastorelli, Damien Kohler/Christophe Van Riet and Mahé father and son, all in AC Cobras

After the pit stops Pastorelli in the Hart car was chipping away at Olivier Galant’s lead, but he was under attack by France, who got past on lap 46 and went after Galant.  By lap 50 of 56, as night began to fall, France was past Galant, and on the following lap Pastorelli was past too and on France’s tail.  In the final suspense-filled lap, with headlights ablaze, France crossed the chequered flag just 1.857 seconds ahead of the Hart/Pastorelli car. 

Heritage Touring Cup

A healthy grid (for these COVID times) of 20 cars lined up for the one-hour Heritage Touring Cup race with the Ford Cologne Capri 3100 RS of United Autosports’ Zak Brown, co-driven by Dario Franchitti, on pole with Gipimotor boss Christophe Van Riet’s Capri alongside hoping to make up for his retirement due to gearbox problems from the race at Monza. 

United Autosports’ Zak Brown, with Dario Franchitti, started the Heritage Cup on pole, but their race was short lived. The pair had bad luck too in their Jaguar XJR10, retiring from the Group C race

This time the bad luck hit his rivals when Franchitti had to make a pit stop with an engine problem at the end of the first lap.  The car did not return to the track until lap 17, with Brown at the wheel, who only did three laps before retiring to the pits again, this time for a problem with the accelerator cable.  Meanwhile Van Riet continued to circulate in the lead, followed closely by Yvan Mahé and Yves Scemama.  Unlike at Monza, in the absence of the Swiss-driven BMWs, it was an all Ford podium.   

CER 1

Hart and Pastorelli were once again in the limelight in the Classic Endurance 1 race, which they won in their Lola T70 MKIII B after a tough fight with the similar MK IIIB of Robert Beebee/Steve Brooks and Marc Devis/Martin O’Connell in a McLaren M8C.  A worthy contender in this David and Goliath battle was John Emberson in his Chevron B19, keeping pace with the McLaren, until the latter came to a stop on the side of the track, then restarted and limped to the pits. 

CER 2

Yves Scemama lined up his TOJ SC304 on pole for the one-hour CER 2 race.  In the last place was Monza winner Philippe Scemama in a Lola T600 after qualifying troubles.  OK it was a small grid, but by lap two Philippe was in second place and challenging brother Yves for first place, but with a mirror full of the Chevron B36 of Francisco Lara Resende.   A safety car, due to oil on the track, neutralised the race, which was re-started just as the pit window opened.  Everyone except Resende piled in for their mandatory stop, the Brazilian’s strategy to take advantage of a free track and make up the most time possible.  Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and didn’t allow him to come out of the pits ahead of the Scemama

Stormtroopers Haddon and Wolfe win GTSCC classic

Castle Combe’s ninth Autumn Classic should have been a special climax to the circuit’s 70th Anniversary celebrations on October 3-4.  Coronavirus dictated a late start to the season, with initial events run without spectators, but just when car club members and enthusiasts (in limited numbers) were invited back to South West England’s longest-serving venue, cruelly the rains came.  Thirty-six hours of unbroken precipitation failed to break competitors’ spirits on the Saturday – when a superb GT & Sports Car Cup enduro played out – but no overnight respite saw the new-for-2020 second day torpedoed.  Two feet of standing water in one run-off area made racing untenable.

Tom Water eld won the Freddie Giles Memorial Trophy race for Frazer Nashs in his Supersports.  Photos Eric Sawyer

Marcus Pye Reports

The GTSCC spectacle was world class.  An extraordinary battle raged throughout its 90 minutes as Andrew Haddon/Andy Wolfe (Lotus Elan) and Gregor Fisken/Marino Franchitti (in Gregor’s hooded early GT3 spec Jaguar E-type) slugged it out.  The cars were seldom more than a few seconds apart, their owners starting and finishing - but the mid-stint scrap between the vastly-experienced Wolfe and 2014 Sebring 12 Hours winner Franchitti was wonderful to behold as they scythed through seemingly endless traffic in the 33-car field.

The sweet aroma of methanol fuel pervaded the area as 18 500cc Formula 3 cars of the 1950s, representing 10 chassis marques and three engine manufacturers took to the wet track

Formula 3 500cc

The sweet aroma of methanol fuel pervaded the assembly area as 18 500cc Formula 3 cars of the 1950s, representing 10 chassis marques and three engine manufacturers, prepared to head out for the rolling start in the distant wheeltracks of period stars Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Don Parker and Jim Russell.  Missing, alas, was 2016 victor Richard de la Roche who had qualified his Smith Buckler on pole, only for a big end bearing failure to silence its JAP engine during the warm-up ritual.

Mike Fowler (above) was uncatchable once George Shackleton (right) retired his Cooper Mk11

Assuaging his father’s F3 disappointment, Peter de la Roche drove Pat Barford’s Lola Mk3 brilliantly to beat Lotus-mounted spinner Clive Richards (22) and Sam Wilson (in Simon Diffey’s second-string 20) in Historic Formula Junior.  Regenmeister Stuart Roach flung his Alexis Mk2 to fourth, ahead of Diffey’s Veedol Lotus 20/22 – future Lotus F1 team manager Peter Warr’s ‘62 Nürburgring winner – and debutant Tim Child in the ex-Curt Lincoln/Chris Merrick Cooper T56.  Nick Taylor (Elva-BMC 100) and Alex Morton (Condor) pursued Roach in the front-engined set. 

 

 

A magnificent pre-war Frazer Nash and GN pack – plus Philip Champion’s gloriously swoopy FN Mille Miglia – set out for the Freddie Giles Memorial Trophy race.  Tom Waterfield drove Simon Blakeney-Edwards’ Super Sports with great brio to win by a country mile. 

Peter de la Roche drove Pat Barford’s Lola Mk3 brilliantly in the Formula Junior race to beat Lotus-mounted spinner Clive Richards

Piloting a historic car for the first time in five years, third generation Combe racer Alex Buncombe lapped allcomers in the Norman Dewis Memorial Trophy Pre-‘66 Jaguar contest, debuting Bob Neville’s newly-built E-type FHC.  Surprisingly, the 2014 HSCC Autosport Three Hours winner had not previously raced at his local circuit, where granddad John and father Jonathan were favourites. 

Two drivers with British Touring Car Championship experience won the Dunlop National Mini Challenge rounds.  Andrew Jordan staved off Kane Astin among the 1275cc Mini Miglias while Jeff Smith beat Spencer Wanstall home in the 1000cc Seven class, in its 50th year. 

For a full report see our November 2020 issue

Mantorp Classic Festival

Bengt-Åce Gustavsson reports on the first two race meetings of the Swedish season

This year is like no other, and for the Swedish RHK historic racing cup, this has meant that this year’s first two competitions were postponed from spring to autumn (Kinnekulle and Karlskoga) and one has been postponed until next year (Knutstorp).  So, this year’s first race meeting wasn’t until August 22-23, when the Mantorp Classic Festival took place.

Run together with Legends cars and the Sports Cars Championship, more than 200 cars turned out, a very good number given the circumstances.  The event took place without spectators and the schedule was adapted to the circumstances, with some classes running clear before others started in order to reduce the number of people in the paddock. This meant that some had gone home before the last ones arrived.

 

 Torgny Johansson leads the race for cars with Slicks in his F2 March

Formula Vee had kicked off the season with an invitational race that included several new drivers in the starting line-up.  It was an incredibly exciting race with much overtaking and the outcome was uncertain until the very end. 

The first Formula Ford race had to be stopped prematurely when the drivers failed to slow sufficiently as they passed marshals working on the track with a stranded car.  The heat was red flagged and the drivers got a scolding. 

In the Formula Slicks heat, it was gratifying to see so many F3s in the starting field.  Michaela Månlycke has gained renewed confidence driving Torgny Johansson’s March 812 F2 car,  and wise driving saw her move up the field to finish second behind Johansson in his March 782.

The 1000cc Cup usually boasts the largest starting field, but Mantorp is not a favourite track, as it is too fast for these small cars.  However a dozen brave drivers still rose to the challenge, with Per Skårner’s Fiat Abarth 1000TC taking victory in the first race ahead of the Cooper S of Sissela Lidebjer and Håkan Huggare’s Saab 96.  The second race looked much the same, but unfortunately Lidebjer retired on lap 6, leaving Huggare to finish behind Skårner and Lennart Nilsson, also in a Saab 96.

 

Photos Bengt-Åce Gustavsson

RHK has chosen to try a new race division this year with the smaller cars from the 1966-71 class driving together with the standard pre-‘66 cars.  Hans Beckert started this from pole in his old Mini ahead of Kjell Wallin in a newer Mini.  These two Mini experts had a great duel, from which Beckert emerged victorious by half a second, the two leaders distancing the rest of the pack. 

The pre-‘66 GT races also offered some good dices, with Bengt-Åke Bengtsson (Lotus Elan S2) coming out on top from a battle with Tommy Bencsik’s similar car and the Austin Healey 3000 of Anders Schildt. 

The newest grid, with cars from 1972-1990 offered a large starting field.  Lennart Bohlin outclassed the others with his monster Corvette while Claes Andersson just managed to squeeze his Opel Kadett GT/E ahead of Rolf “The Mosquito” Nilsson’s Ford Escort RS 1600. 

Round Two: Eventful Racing

...in Changing Weather

Only two weeks later, more than a hundred Swedish historic racers were out again at Kinnekulle Ring, for an event postponed from May.  On Saturday, everyone got to run a practice and a qualifier in very difficult weather conditions, with first rain, then sun, then sun and rain and even thunder.

The Formula Vee fielded 19 cars, with Johan Lund, Richard “Tiny” Persson and Lars-Gunnar “Vegas” Johansson resuming their battle of two weeks earlier, finishing the first race in that order.  Lund also led the second race and took out a gap to the rest of the field, but when it was time to lap the back markers, he lost out to “Tiny” who went on to win the race.

In the Formula Ford heat, it was the twin carburettor Formula Vee of Johan Lund on rain tyres that had the advantage in the wet qualifying, but the race was dry, handing the advantage back to the Fords.  “The plan is to take Lund before the second curve, before he has time to get the heat into his slicks,” said Håkan Tagesson before the race.  However, the tactic failed, though Lund eventually had to let Henry Sandblom past. 

In Formula Slicks, we saw no slicks in the wet qualifier.  Rain specialist Sonny Johansson took his Reynard 883 to pole, with pre-race favourite Torgny Johansson’s March F2 only fourth on the grid.  In the dry race Torgny was quickly up to second, but there he remained behind Sonny lap after lap.  Maybe he lulled the Reynard driver into a false sense of security, but suddenly Torgny was past and stretching out a gap.   

In the Sports 2000 class, Henrik Hansson took a double victory in his Tiga. 

Keep your distance signs hang at the entrance of empty grandstands overlooking quiet paddocks

The 1000cc Cup has always provided a reliably large field, but at Kinnekulle they were only 14 cars.  It was really SAAB weather in the qualifiers, which suited Per Ola Persson well when he took his first ever pole position.  He thought about how to use it to his advantage in a dry race, but failed, as Per Skårner took his Abarth into the lead at the start.  Persson, however, hung in well and was less than a second behind at the finish. 

Standard pre-‘66 cars over 1000cc was the smallest grid of the weekend with only six entrants.  Newcomer Kevin Bengtsson took the lead in his Mini Cooper S, but lost it to Per Skårner’s similar car  after a violent spin under the bridge.  Skårner thanked him for the invitation, but had to stop with a puncture.  Veteran Hans Eklund (Saab Sonnett) stepped forward and won ahead of a recovered Bengtsson. 

In the GT class it was not surprising that the old rally fox Claes Andersson (Austin Healey 3000) would take pole in the wet qualifier, but in the race it got a bit tougher.  Rolf “The Mosquito” Nilsson, made a comeback to the class, helping Tommy Bencsik sort out his new Lotus Elan. 

Anders Berger completely dominated the latest standard car class (1972-1990) in his purple Ford Escort, beating an equally safe second placed Claes Andersson (Opel Kadett) by half a minute in both heats. 

See our October issue.....

Historic Tour – Dijon – Charade

What was meant to be a well-spaced calendar of five meetings, leaving a long summer break for “les vacances”,  turned into an action-packed month of August when first, Historic Tour Dijon, the second in this year’s series, took place on 15-16 August, and Historic Tour Charade took place two weeks later

After a first meeting at Albi, the French drivers (and many foreign drivers – some 30% of the entries) turned out at Dijon, with some grids joining forces with their counterparts from neighbouring countries, such as the F3 1000cc cars running with the Formula Ford Historics, or the Kampf der Zwerge, the German equivalent of the Maxi 1300 series running in tandem with the French cars, and the German FFR joining forces with the Formula Ford Zetec.

Guest F3 driver Jeremy Timms led the Formula Ford Historic pack at Dijon

For the local drivers, two races for most series offered additional opportunities to earn points towards the two French Championship titles.  After the first event at Albi, there were 11 drivers who had won two races at Albi, and were therefore on equal points.

Big winners at Dijon were François Belle, who took two Formula Ford Historic wins to add to his strong points tally from Albi, though in the first race he was bested by guest F3 driver Jeremy Timms (Chevron B15) by 0.137 of a second.  Finally defeated in the first race at Charade, he re-established his winning credentials over Alain Girardet in the second race, making three wins out of four races over the two weekends.

Franck Quagliozzi has completely dominated the Youngtimers in his Honda Civic

Another Dijon double winner was Frédéric Rouvier.  Already undefeated at Albi in his March 783 in Formula 3 Classic, he was shadowed home both times by Italian Valerio Leone in a similar March, in both cases by mere tenths of a second.   Leone turned the tables at Charade, bringing his March home over two seconds ahead of Rouvier in the first race.  On the same grid but in a different race, Christian Vaglio Giors, also double winner at Albi and, though Swiss, now eligible for the French title, was the only driver to take maximum Monoplaces points with four Formula Renault wins at Dijon and Charade.  He joins Franck Quagliozzi and Laurent Sabatier, who also remain unbeaten this season in Youngtimers GTi Cup and GT Classic respectively, competing for the GT/Tourisme crown.

Laurent Sabatier, driving a Porsche in the GT Classic series, is one of three drivers that has remained unbeaten so far this season, and one of only two competing in the GT/Tourisme category

For a full report of both meetings, see our October issue…….

Postponed from its original June date, Historic Promotions’ Thruxton Historic event delivered lashings of nostalgia on 15-16 August.  An eclectic mix of cars – the oldest dating way back to the 1920s, when the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club, forerunner of the current BARC was in its pomp – entertained spectators and classic car club members, permitted here for the first time this season.  Grids included cars of a type that competed at the airfield in 1952-‘53 (on different circuits), painted pictures of the fallow interval until ‘68 when it reopened on the current ultra-fast perimeter track, and traced much of its modern history.

Marcus Pye Reports

On a programme – not that one was printed per current Motorsport UK rules – on which rousing Jaguar C, D and E-type tussles delighted onlookers in the Motor Racing Legends’ sports and GT showcases, the other major highlight of the weekend was a splendid race for Pre-War Sportscars, a spectacle not seen at Thruxton since the Aston Martin Owners Club  hosted a pre-war race there in 2004.  Relayed by Blakeney Motorsport spannerman Mike Grant Peterkin, the intrepid Patrick Blakeney-Edwards overtook feisty German Rudi Friedrichs’ 4.3-litre Alvis Firefly in a whir of chains to win brilliantly in his 1929 Frazer Nash Super Sports.              

Start of the Pre-war race.  Photos Eric Sawyer

Four E-type Jaguars, braces of hooded roadsters and fixed head coupes, initially led the Pre-‘63 GT race.  Impressive leader James Cottingham had just handed over the ex-Merle Brennan US racer – a year to the day after its purchase – to Harvey Stanley when its distributor self-destructed.  With the James Hanson/Paul Pochciol coupe out with a brake issue, again just after the mandatory stop, current British Touring Car Championship racer Rory Butcher took Jon Minshaw’s dove grey roadster on to victory over soloist Oliver Bryant’s coupe, its engine power blunted by a misfire.

Driving the ex-Tom Hart Lola Mk1, in which veteran Dickie Le Strange Metcalfe won the final race of Goodwood’s contemporary era in July 1966, when the car was four years old, Ben Adams won the RAC Woodcote/Stirling Moss Trophy ‘50s sportscar enduro outright from the younger division.

Four E-type Jaguars, braces of hooded roadsters and xed head coupes, initially led the Pre-‘63 GT race

Mike Grant Peterkin kept Friedrichs on his toes in the opening half of the Pre-War race which embroiled cars representing 10 marques.  In a typically audacious manoeuvre, Blakeney-Edwards ambushed his rival into the chicane for victory in his Meadows-engined Nash.  “It’s scary out the back,” smiled Pat, an understatement surely, since he’d lapped the flowing 2.356-mile circuit in 1m42.050s (an average of 83.11mph) in a 91-year-old car with no differential and on 4.50 x 19in tyres.

Completing a remarkable weekend for PB-E, he and Gregor Fisken landed aggregate victory in the twin-legged Historic Touring Car Challenge driving a husky Group 2 Rover SDI.

Famous Healey wins on return to Thruxton

Sometime F3000 pilot and ‘87 European F3 champion Dave Coyne won a gripping Historic Racing Drivers’ Club Jack Sears Trophy 1958-’65 Touring Car race in Adrian Miles’ Ford Mustang, thanks to Tony Absolom’s Automotive Solutions team, which changed the gearbox post-qualifying.  Coyne grunted ahead of John Spiers’ Lotus Cortina (which Tiff Needell put on pole) at the start of lap two as a Cortina fight unfolded around him.

The race card’s sensational highlight was Mark Holme and Jeremy Welch’s tremendously hard-earned but totally against-the-odds GT & Sports Car Cup victory on VW Fun Cup stalwart Holme’s debut in SMO 746, the famous 1959 works Austin-Healey 3000 rally car, which the late John Gott subsequently raced extensively – notably in big-winged Modsports specification at Thruxton in 1970 and ‘71 – but hibernated until 2018 after Gott’s death in ‘72.

Completing a remarkable weekend for Patrick Blakeney- Edwards, he and Gregor Fisken landed aggregate victory in the Historic Touring Car Challenge driving a Group 2 Rover SDI

Holme had not driven SMO until Saturday’s qualifying session, when its gearbox broke.  Undeterred, he made a 280-mile round trip to transplant the box from his other competition Healey, returning for the 90-minute feature race.  Keith Ahlers (Morgan +4 SLR), Holme and Crispin Harris (Healey) led initially, before James Hanson blasted Paul Pochciol’s Jaguar E-type from the back of the grid and took the initiative.  While Jeremy Welch – due to drive the middle stint in Holme’s 3000, then finish Doug Muirhead’s - was signalling Mark to slow down, top qualifier Ben Adams was on a fuel-saving mission in his little Lola Mk1.  William Paul, meanwhile, kept the leaders within range before installing British Touring Car Championship Ford Focus star Rory Butcher in his semi-lightweight E-type.

Richard Merrell snarled his scorpion-logoed Giulia GT Junior to HRDC Alfa Challenge gold.  Photo Jeff Bloxham

Once aboard, Butcher sped into the distance, effectively presenting his car owner the lead when Adams made his second mandatory stop in the Lola.  But surprises lay ahead.  Adams had reeled-in Billy Bellinger (in Ahlers’ dark green Morgan coupe) and repassed Paul, with 11 minutes remaining.  Two laps later, though, the Jag ground to a halt, its 90 litres of fuel exhausted.  Then Adams, two-thirds of a lap clear of Holme with three to run, pulled off out of juice.  Holme thus motored round the final three laps, taking the chequered flag 49 seconds ahead of Ahlers.

Richard Merrell snarled his scorpion-logoed Giulia GT Junior to HRDC Alfa Challenge gold in Sunday’s curtain-closer.

Banking on the dunes

In any other year, this season’s Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix would have run the risk of being labelled uninspiring, if not bland.  But in fact, it was a kind of miracle.  Here was a motorsport event that went ahead on its planned date (September 5-6), with a crowd that was allowed to roam free in the paddock, and without the obligation of facial protection – as far we know still a unique situation in this mad world of 2020.  What’s more, as the news of the Spa Six Hours’ cancellation came in on the Friday, the entrants made sure that they enjoyed themselves twice as much for the remainder of the weekend.

Mattijs Diepraam Reports

That the event would happen as planned hadn’t been a given all summer.  With the UK putting the Netherlands back on its quarantine list in the run-up to the event, it looked very much under threat – sure enough, the HSCC pulled its Historic Formula 2 and 1000cc F3 contributions from the original programme, the HGPCA also withdrew its grid of Grand Prix cars, and on top of that the FIA announced the cancellation of all FIA historic championships.  This didn’t affect the two FIA grids promoted by Masters Historic Racing, as they would simply run as Masters Historic Formula One and Masters Historic Sports Cars, but the one-off FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup – by now a fresh Zandvoort tradition – was axed, despite initially having attracted a healthy entry of 20-plus cars.  As one of the F3 grid’s main suppliers said, “We would have had to remain in our own bubble during the entire weekend, in the same conditions now applied to today’s F1 and WEC paddocks.  But we are not here to win at all costs.  We are amateurs coming to Zandvoort to meet people and enjoy ourselves.”

Photos Peter Heil

And so the Zandvoort organisers looked to the east to find the German-based FHR organisation eager and willing to visit their newly renovated motor racing accommodation with its exciting pair of freshly banked corners.  It also created an opportunity to invite the Kampf der Zwerge gang, the Germans who cherish the smallest touring cars that ever raced.  Two weeks ahead of the event, the quarantine exemption granted to Masters was further tightened, which resulted in their losing many of the smaller teams and the cancellation of the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race, but still the three-day programme was packed from nine to five every day, with no lunch breaks on Saturday and Sunday, the final day even running to a 7pm closing time.  The weather helped, as only a few scattered showers interrupted the sunny late-summer conditions.  And the crowd too had banked their motorsport money on the event, as on both weekend days the main grandstand filled up nicely to its maximised capacity, while in the paddock social distancing became a challenge at various places.  It was as if they thought that this was a once-in-a-season opportunity – and looking at the historic calendar ahead it seems that they were right.

In the F1 races, Mike Cantillon proved unstoppable, the Williams FW07C driver clinching both wins in dominant form

With 14 Formula 1 cars, the Zandvoort entry list looked healthier than in COVID-free 2019, and the quality was well up too.  The Dutch-based Historic Monoposto Racing association was dealt the tough task of replacing the F2 and F3 bonanza pulled from the programme by the HSCC and the FIA.  With 14 cars, their grid was much smaller than usual, but still some of the midfield battles proved very entertaining.

The Masters Historic Sports Car entry disappointed with just ten cars, but with four Lola T70s, two Chevron B19s and Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1 there was no shortage of fast cars with winning potential.

The German-based seventies sportscar series was headed by Felix Haas in the Lola T294,

Without a shadow of doubt, most sportscar excitement was delivered by two 30-minute FHR 100 Meilen Trophy races.  The German-based seventies sportscar series was headed by Felix Haas in the Lola T294, Georg Hallau in the Lola T310 and Peter Schleifer’s McLaren M8F.  On Saturday, Haas and Hallau were at it hammer and tongs until, with five minutes left to run, Haas was forced to bail out with a puncture. 

With 53 cars, the Dutch ‘66-‘81 GTTC championship provided a bumper grid that was almost to the track’s full capacity of 58 cars.  The second race was won by the best of the series’ regulars, Saturday’s runner-up Hans de Graaf in his Porsche Carrera RS fending off Wolfgang Pledl’s Escort Mk1 RS1600. 

The Lotus Cortina of Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas and the Hart winning Bizzarrini 5300GT exit the spectacular banking

Meanwhile, the German HTGT championship ran a concurrent one-hour race in that Sunday two-hour curtain-closer, and the Schmersal/Stursberg Escort won that too, heading Tom Kuiper’s Corvette Stingray and the Nigel Greensall/David Gooding Mustang.

The previous day, Greensall was the star of qualifying for Sunday morning’s Masters 90-minute Gentlemen Drivers race.  Stepping into Andrew Haddon’s shoes as Mark Martin’s pro teammate, Greensall pipped all the local heroes for pole, and then in the race created a 30-second gap to David Hart’s Bizzarrini in his opening stint in Martin’s freshly built Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé.  But then Martin was hit by a double whammy – first an issue with his HANS device botched his driver change with Greensall, allowing Olivier Hart to jump the Daytona Cobra in just two laps after the stops, and then a puncture and its subsequent replacement pushed him down to sixth.  It would have been interesting to see how much work the lightning-quick Hart Jr would have had in chasing Martin in a healthy Daytona Coupé after a trouble free stop.

For a full report see our October issue…….