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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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Rally News

Sadly the end of COVID is not yet upon us, and this has led Peter Auto to take the decision, in accordance with all the towns along the way, to postpone the Tour Auto again this year. To have run on 19-24 April, the new date for the 30th running of the event will be 30 August-4 September. The itinerary remains unchanged with the start from the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris and the finish in the beautiful town of Nice, as it did 30 years ago.

“We’ll be back on the road for the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo in September, a date which met with great success last year,” commented Patrick Peter.

This postponement has opened an opportunity for the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet, which had to be postponed from March, to re-schedule to 30 April-2 May.

Leading classic rally promoter HERO-ERA was forced to substantially re-work its calendar for the spring and early summer in response to on-going COVID restrictions. The Flying Scotsman event for Pre-War cars, planned for April, has been cancelled for this year but will return in 2022. Meanwhile, the ever-popular Scottish Malts has been re-scheduled to September 13-17. Other events, including the HERO Challenge One and the Novice Trial are also moving to dates later in the year in line with the UK government’s road map for coming out of the pandemic.

The Sahara Challenge, HERO Challenge Three, Lima to Cape Horn, The RAC Rally of the Tests and Le Jog currently remain unchanged on the 2021 calendar. The Per Ardua Ad Infinitum, postponed from March, has been moved to January 7-8 next year for a route in Somerset and North Devon. Competition Director Guy Woodcock said, “We are aiming to confirm a May date for the first rally of 2021, the HERO Challenge in the Peak District.”

This has had the knock-on effect of causing organisers of the Stella Alpina rally, which was to take place on the new Mille Miglia dates, to move their date to 11-13 June. This year’s event, which is the 36th running, will be based in Madonna di Campiglio and take in many of the greatest Dolomite passes, as competitors drive through the World Heritage site and the National Parks of the region. There is also a Ferrari rally that runs concurrently with the historic Stella Alpina. See canossa.com for details.

For reasons that appear obvious, the Swiss have maintained a lively schedule of hillclimb events nearly from the beginning of the motor car itself, the first was in 1901. These include such giants as the Klausenrennen, first run in 1922 and considered to be the Nordschleife of the hillclimb world, with its 21.5 kilometres and 136 bends at over 1,237 metres in altitude.

Revival events of some of the most famous, including the Klausenrennen, the Ollon-Villars and others, have been popular in Switzerland for the last couple of decades, though sadly the Klausenrennen has since been abandoned as a revival event for safety reasons. It will be 100 years old next year, and there has been much speculation about holding some kind of event to mark the centenary.

 Photo Courtesy Bernina Gran Turismo

Ollon-Villars International Motor Race

The 8.3 km Ollon-Villars hillclimb first ran in 1953 and was once a round of the European Hillclimb Championship, with a who’s who of elite racing drivers of the time participating. It now runs for historic cars every three years, attracting more than 300 entries, including Formula One cars. But these cars are not racing, these are demonstration runs. Due to run in 2020, it was cancelled because of COVID, so it will run for the eighth time this year instead, on 21-22 August. Always attracting large crowds of spectators, this is a social event with a charming, festival atmosphere, where one can enjoy the cars, the Alpine summer and the good company. See www.ollon-villars.com.

Bernina Gran Turismo

The Bernina Gran Turismo loosely revives a pre-war speed event held in the area around St Moritz, and now consists of a 5.6km hillclimb for both speed and regularity competitors, as well as for motorbikes, to the top of the Bernina pass from La Rösa. The three-day event also offers an opportunity to enjoy all the tourist attractions of St Moritz and the surrounding villages, as well as the fine dining and hotels of the region. Revived in 2014, it traditionally runs in mid-September, and this year will take place on the 16th to the 19th of the month. See www.bernina-granturismo.com.

 

Arosa ClassicCar

Not a revival, but a well-established event for historic cars, Arosa ClassicCar will run for the 17th time, also in September, along the 7.3 km hillclimb route from Langwiese to the ski resort of Arosa, situated not far from Davos. With an altitude difference of 422 metres, it is the only Swiss hillclimb that incorporates a downhill section. It also has a regularity category, and an exhibition category with no timing. Amongst the speed categories, is one for Formula cars, and entry lists are regularly filled with up to 200 cars of all shapes and sizes. Competitors get practice runs on Friday and four timed runs over Saturday and Sunday. This year the dates are 3-5 September. See www.arosaclassiccar.ch for details.

Plans are well underway for the 30th edition of what organisers style as ‘the Ultimate Tarmac Rally’, which will take place in 2022, starting from the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Launceston, Tasmania, the same location from which the very first Targa cars departed back in 1992.   Started by a group of local enthusiasts, the Targa Tasmania, and its sister Targa events, including Targa Great Barrier Reef, which now form a national championship, were taken over by the big Australian Automotive Group and long-time Targa sponsor, Dutton Group in 2019.

 

Dutton intends to continue to develop the event and the championship, and, in a year that has seen all event organisers take huge financial hits, Dutton is taking on new staff to better develop the Targa brand. 

Amongst the highlights that have been announced for next year’s anniversary event are new competitions, categories and classes added to the existing structure, major shows and associated events before, during and after the main event, new street stages in the longest Targa course yet, with more than 500 entries in two categories, Competition and Touring. 

Organisers have put out a call to all those who were there for the first event, and already some 70 have responded to say they will be coming.

Usually run in May, the 2022 Targa Tasmania will run in early March when the weather in Tasmania will still be sunny and warm.

After all the setbacks of 2020, the Belgian ASBL Spa Historic Racing Team has announced the creation of the Francorchamps Rallye Festival.  An event similar to the Eifel Rallye Festival, Alsace Rallye Festival and Rallyspirit in Portugal, it will consist of a vast demonstration of historic rally cars in their original livery, often driven by rally stars of the period.  With rally festivals proliferating around Europe, this one will be based at the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, with a show stage in the town of Stavelot on the programme, on 23-26 September.  Alpine will be the celebrated marque for this first edition of what is planned to become an annual event. 

See francorchamps-rallye-festival.be for details.

The new Scuderia Oriente, with the collaboration of Corsica superstars Dominique Savignoni, Yves Loubet and Sabrina de Castelli, has announced a new challenge, the first half asphalt and half gravel rally exclusively for Historic Competition (VHC) and Regularity (VHRS) competitors.  The 1st Aleria Historic Rally will take place on 8-12 June and offer four days of special stages on the Island of Corsica, the first two on asphalt and the second two days on loose surface.  Competitors can choose to run on hard surface or loose – or both, and there will be three winners declared.  For the moment there is only a Facebook page, (Aleria Historic Rally) but a website is under construction or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

The FIA Trophy for Historic Regularity Rallies has undergone a change in format in recent years and, instead of a list of point-scoring events, there are 17 qualifying events all around Europe with one final to decide the winner.  This year the final will be held in Poland for the first time.  The leading competitors from each qualifying event will receive an invitation to compete in the Rally Poland Historic in its tenth anniversary year, on 11-14 November 2021, the winner taking the FIA Trophy for Historic Regularity Rallies 

Based in the town of Wieliczka, close to the historic city of Krakow, the route will consist of 953km of open roads, with 633km of those being part of the regularity tests.   See www.rallypolandhistoric.eu for details.

See  the Historic Motor Racing News website calendar pages for a list of qualifying rallies and contact details of their organisers.

A new challenge for historic rally drivers was the Dakar Classic, a regularity event in the Saudi desert for cars up to the year 2000.  Run in parallel with the madness that is the modern Dakar, which took place from 3-16 January, a reconnaissance team led by historic rally specialist Yves Loubet and 1980s co-driver Alain Lopes traced a route comprising 12 stages running alongside those of the modern vehicles, but shorter in length - 200 to 300kms per day compared to 600 and more for the moderns.  Adapting the difficulties to avoid breakage and overheating, the route saw only one retirement when the Spanish team of Carlos Vento and Juan Carlos Ramirez retired their Mercedes G320 on stage ten.  The cars shared the bivouacs and started in amongst the modern rally stars each day.  A new route saw the start and finish in Jeddah.   

 

Ignacio Corcuera, co-driven by Iker San Vincente drove a Volksvagen Il s, iden cal to the vehicle that won the 1980 Dakar in the Cars category. Corcuera has raced the African Dakar three  mes, alone and without assistance. He also contested the Rally of the Pharaohs and went from Bilbao to Dakar in 112 hours in 2013 amongst his many other driving feats.  Photos Gustavo Epifanio

Like the rest of the world, protective measures against the COVID virus were in place and more than 2,400 PCR tests were completed to form the “Dakar bubble” in which the rally caravan operated for nearly two weeks.

Amongst the more 300 vehicles in different two and four-wheel categories at the start were some 25 classics, including the Porsche 911 SC tribute to René Metge’s 1984 Dakar winner, driven by American Amy Lerner and co-piloted by novice Belgian navigator Sara Carmen Bossaert, the pair finishing in 15th place.  Two Sunhill buggies like those that tackled the Dakar in the ‘80s were running, and it was the French team of Marc Douton and Emilien Etienne, driving a Nantes Prestige Auto-prepared example, that won the classic category.

 Classic category winners Marc Douton and Emilien E enne in the Team Sunhill Buggy, a lightweight machine, well- adapted to desert condi ons. On the  rst Dakar in 1978, an example of this avant-garde machine was present at the start, piloted by its preparer Yves Sunhill

Amongst other vehicles were a VW Baja, a Nissan Patrol, and even a Mercedes Unimog and a Renault truck with mechanic on board for assistance, which finished third overall.

Amy Lerner’s Porsche 911 SC tribute to René Metge’s 1984 Dakar winner

The 2021 Mille Miglia, the 39th revival event, will return to its traditional date, this year 12-15 May.  Owners must register their cars at registro1000miglia.it.  Only cars built before December 31, 1957, in original condition, restored in accordance to the original configuration, or with documented changes added during use, can be registered in the Mille Miglia Register.  A committee has been set up to vet each car that submits an application, to certify whether it is original and only registered cars will be able to apply for the Mille Miglia event.  Eligible cars are those models that took place in the original event from 1927 to 1957.  Entries are now open and will close on January 18.  The 375 successful applicants will be announced in early March.  Unusually for the revival event, the route will go down to Rome via Italy’s west coast, with a stop in Viaregggio, and come back to Brescia in an anticlockwise direction via Bologna