Matters of moment, August 2004



50th anniversary Aintree festival

Celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee of Aintree race circuit’s opening will give fresh impetus to plans to bring racing back to the Liverpool venue. On November 19-21, the Aintree Festival of Motorsport will put historic cars onto the full 3-mile GP layout for the first time in 20 years.

Organised by Aintree Circuit Club and CCUK, the festival will include track displays and car parades, and will be attended by Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, who shared the winning Vanwall at Aintree in 1957.

“It is a very serious plan designed to resurrect the circuit,” said prime mover Mike Ashcroft. “I reckon there’s a 75 per cent chance of getting racing back. Most of the track is absolutely as it was, and races for cars from the 1950s-60s shouldn’t be a problem.”

The Liverpool region is a ‘special investment area’ within the EU and European funding for the project is being pursued.

“We have support from the local authority and, if we get the funding, we could start racing again as early as 2005. We’ll get some resurfacing done before November,” said Ashcroft.

Next year will also mark the 50th anniversary of the first British Grand Prix to be held at Aintree.

BRDC takes back Silverstone

The BRDC hopes it’s taken another step towards securing the future of the British GP at Silverstone after the termination of its lease deal with the Interpublic Group two years early.

The BRDC will regain possession of the circuit no later than December 15, 2004, and will also receive £27 million in instalments from IPG — a figure that reflects the value of the Group’s obligation through to 2007.

“Formula One Administration [FOM] has publicly guaranteed that the British GP is secure for 2005 and 2006,” said Alexander Hooton, chief exec of the BRDC. “We are cautiously optimistic that the long-term future of the event will be secured.”

FOM, however, stated: “We are prepared to enter into an agreement with a suitable promoter, but as yet the BRDC, nor any other person, has stepped up to accept this offer…”

Mikkola set for Roger Albert Clark Rally

Hannu Mikkola is the latest star to unveil plans to contest the Roger Albert Clark Rally in November. The former world rally champion, a four-time winner of the RAC Rally, will conduct a Ford Escort Mk2 built by Historic Rallysport.

Mark Solloway, the boss of the Carmarthen-based team, has prepared a Group 4 Escort in similar spec to the Eaton Yale-sponsored cars which Mikkola drove to victory on the 1978 and ’79 Lombard RACs.

Having been a long-time fan of the Finn, Solloway invited Mikkola to tackle the event that is designed to recreate those classic RAC rallies of the 1970s and ’80s.

Solloway’s team is likely to also enter cars for its regular British Historic Rally Championship drivers, Ray Bellm and Richard Gower.

The event, which commemorates Britain’s popular rally hero, starts in Sheffield on November 21 and will take in stages in Kielder and Scotland.

Goodwood just the ticket

The new Festival of Speed ticketing arrangements have been hailed a great success, with few traffic problems and better viewing for the fans, after the advance ticket-only scheme reduced attendance by around 10,000 to 147,000.

“I believe the Festival was more comfortable for everyone, with better views of the action,” said Lord March.

The same policy applies to the Goodwood Revival on September 3-5.