Pace notes -- your guide to what's coming up

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***

Race Programme — Check out where the action is…

MARCH:

When & where: March 27, Donington Park

What: The first HSCC race meeting of the new season. Admission: £10

Timetable: Qualifying from 9am, racing from approx 1.30pm.

How to get there: Off the M1 at junction 23A near East Midlands Airport.

Contact: Tel: 01332810048: www.donington-park.co.uk

***

When & where: March 28, Castle Combe

What: The complete set of Top Hat races features in the circuit’s opening meeting of 2005. Admission: £12

Timetable: Qualifying from 8.35am. racing from approx 1.30pm.

How to get there: Off the B4039, five miles west of Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Contact: Tel 01249 782417: www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk

APRIL:

When & where: April 9, North Wales

What: The Astra Stages includes the second round of the British Historic Rally Championship.

Timetable: First historic car starts at 9am.

How to get there: Event is based at Llangollen: stages in Clocaenog and Penmachno forests.

Contact: www.astrastages.co.uk

***

When & where: April 15/16, Spa Francorchamps (B)

What: Classic Endurance event supports the LMES race.

Timetable: Race starts 4pm on Saturday.

Contact: www.spa-francorchamps.be

***

When & where: April 17, Snetterton

What: A full programme of HSCC racing at the East Anglian track. Admission: £10

Timetable: Qualifying from 9am, racing from approx 1.30pm.

How to get there: Off the A11 near Thetford, Norfolk.

Contact: Tel 0870 850 5017: www.motorsportvision.co.uk

***

When & where: April 23, Silverstone

What: The VSCC season starts at Silverstone. Admission: £10

Timetable: Qualifying from 9am, racing from approx 1pm.

How to get there: Off the A43, five miles south-west of Towcester, Northants.

Contact: Tel: 01327857271: www.silverstone-circuit.co.uk

***

When & where: April 24, Silverstone

What: The BRDC Historic Sportscar Championship has a race on the Grand Prix circuit. Admission: £10

Timetable: Racing from approx 1pm.

How to get there: Off the A43, five miles south-west of Towcester.

Contact: Tel: 01327 857271: www.silverstone-circuit.co.uk

***

Full grids for the HSCC opener — Donington Park, March 27

The historic racing scene in Britain is booming. Evidence? Donington Park, Easter Sunday, for the first meeting of 2005 from the Historic Sports Car Club.

With more than 250 entries, reserves for some of the nine events and a jammed afternoon of racing, the 2005 historic racing season starts in impressive style on March 27.

Such an overwhelming field has entered the opening contest in the ’70s Road Sports Championship that even getting onto the grid will be an achievement. Pitching for back-to-back titles will be Richard Thorne in his Morgan +8, but the opposition includes the fast Datsun 240Zs of Matthew Bannister and Charles Barter.

All the ingredients are in place for another epic season from the Historic Racing Saloon Register Championship, one of the best saloon car series in Britain — of any kind. Les Ely (BMW 2000) faces tough challenges, not least the Alfa Romeo of Simon Garrad. Having developed the BMW that Ely now races, Garrad is striving to make the GTA as strong and could be the man for 2005. But so could Dan Cox in his fleet Ford Anglia, if misfortune leaves him alone.

Supported once again by Motor Sport, the Derek Bell Trophy race has a contingent of Formula 5000s, headed by Simon Hadfield’s ex-VDS Chevron B37. Stuart Tilley’s Modus tops the 2-litre pack, along with Tim Barrington (Lola T240) and Steve Worrad (Brabham BT30). With a quick rattle of the spanners, Worrad will de-wing his BT30 for duty in Classic Racing Cars and has to start as favourite.

The Classic F3 Championship gets underway with 2004 pacesetter Steve Maxted (Argo) as the target, but Richard Trott (Ralt RT1), Alan Parker (Chevron) and single-seater newcomer Adam Ormandy (March 803B) will be chasing him.

FIA Historic GT pacesetter Jamie Boot (TVR Griffith) is out for an early-season warm-up on home ground and will be a major force in the Classic Sports Car Championship. Jon Minshaw is planning a campaign in his lightweight Jaguar E-type and has the pace to win, while the Marcos pack includes veteran Stephen Minoprio, Allen Tice and Richard Styles.

As ever, the Historic FF1600 Championship grid is jam-packed, with vastly experienced ace Paul Sleeman returning to the series in his Jamun T2. But the opposition is fierce, with Jason Minshaw out in his Merlyn Mk20 and Simon Hadfield in a similar car. Nigel Bancroft will be a hard charger in his Crosslé 20F, while Nelson Rowe is an emerging force in his 20F.

The Australian Milano coupés of Mike Eagles and Justin Murphy will be hard-pressed to keep ahead of Laurence Bailey’s TVR Griffith in the Historic Road Sports opener, while Graeme Dodd should keep the Jaguar XK race under control.

Qualifying starts at 9am, with the first of nine races provisionally scheduled for 1.30pm. More details on www.donington-park.co.uk

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