Now in its fifth year, the Race Retro International Historic Motorsport Show took place over the weekend of 13 - 15th March at the National Agricultural Centre near Coventry.
With four exhibition halls, a vintage “wall of death” bike demonstration, a Bonhams' auction and an adjacent “Group B” rally stage, there was something for everyone at this year's event; whether your model collection was incomplete, your Pirelli Ferrari formula classic 328 needed new drop gears or you wanted to learn how your V12 would run on bio-ethanol!
Undoubtedly "Stand of the Show" was the display of Ford rally cars old and new, celebrating the Escort’s 40 year contribution to motorsport as the most successful rally car of all time. Acknowledging this, the “star lot” of the aforementioned auction – a Ford Escort RS1600 Mk1, built by David Sutton’s Historic Motorsport team and driven by Bjorn and Mathias Waldegard to victory in the recent Classic Safari Rally, found a new home at £89,500 (incl BP) whilst a useable Aston Martin DB6 sold at £45,500. [Quite right - Ed]
Elsewhere two Ferraris caught the eye - the Motor Racing Legends stand created much interest with an ex works ’57 250 Testa Rossa, recently rebuilt by specialist Neil Twyman and presented by London dealer Fiskens, complimented by Tony Smith’s F1 246 Dino on the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association stand on "Speed Street".
For those interested in other marques - the Masters series displayed a Broadspeed Ford RS3100 and a race ready AC Cobra (both presented by Speedmaster), the Vintage Sports Car Club a 1908 Panhard Levassor and Bonhams its “star lot” of the forthcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed sale, the 1934 ERA R1A.
The Rally Stage was organised by the Slowly Sideways Group GB and featured several flame belching Group B rally cars, including Audi Quattro, MG Metro 6R4, Ford RS200 with the “star car”, Juha Kankkunen’s 1988 Paris-Dakar winning Peugeot 405T16.
With autograph signings and interviews at the Ace Café with Marku Alen, Bjorn Waldegard, Russell Brookes, Paddy Hopkirk and Phil Read amongst many others, along with the launch of Paul Lawrence’s biography, “Whizzo”, the racing life of the incomparable Barrie Williams, there was much to keep the sizeable attendance entertained.
A dash northwards to the comforts of the sofa to support Risi Competizione in the 56th Sebring 12hrs proved futile, as Jaime Melo ploughed his 430GT into the side of Dominik Farnbacher’s Porsche on lap 137 in a lurid act of driving that can at best be described as desperate and which resulted in retirement for both. For me the drive of the day came from Marco Andretti, who was close to the top of the time sheets prior to his Acura overheating….how long before the 21 yr old makes it to F1?
In the less serious world of historic motor-sport, the season is now
well underway with the Shannons Phillip Island Classic in Australia and
the Rally Clasico Isla de Mallorca recently completed. Next is one of
the European season’s highlights the Tour Auto….see you there!
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