Mallory Park rescued
New operator hands under-fire track a lifeline, By Paul Lawrence
The new operator of Mallory Park has pledged to maintain a strong element of four-wheeled activity in the circuit’s programme for 2014 and beyond as they plan for the circuit’s re-opening in March.
Stuart Hicken and Eddie Roberts, both well known in the motorcycle racing world, have formed a jointly owned company called Real Motorsport Limited to operate the Leicestershire track after taking on a lease from land owner Titan Properties.
The previous circuit operator, Mallory Park Motorsport Ltd, went into administration after a series of problems associated with the contravention of noise regulations. Many feared that the circuit would be lost to the sport, but the new owners are confident that the popular track has a long future.
“This is a great day for us,” said Roberts. “We have grown up with Mallory Park, firstly as spectators, then as competitors and now running businesses associated with the sport.
We realise that there is a lot of bridge-building to be done with the local community, but Mallory Park has been here for a long time and we are hopeful that – with understanding all round – it will have a long and successful future.”
Roberts said that plans for 2014 centre on a broadly similar programme of events and has enlisted the services of former circuit manager David Overend as a consultant. “We’re aiming to have plenty of car action,” said Roberts. “The first aim is to maintain what we have and improve the facilities. We’d like to improve the paddock area and the garages during the winter of 2014/15.”
Roberts enjoyed a 20-year bike racing career, while Hicken is owner of the Buildbase BMW Motorrad British Superbike team. “We would like to thank circuit owner Chris Meek for giving us the opportunity to re-establish Mallory Park,” said Roberts.
GpB joins F1 at Goodwood
Demonstrations for F1 cars of the turbo era and Le Mans cars of the 1970s and ’80s will feature at the new Goodwood race meeting next spring – along with a timed competition for about 20 Group B rally cars.
On March 30-31, the 72nd Members’ Meeting will be restricted to members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club and, unlike the September Revival Meeting, will include cars built after the track initially closed in 1966.
The event’s 12 races will be named in honour of noted British racers, including Stirling Moss (pre-62 GT cars), Peter Collins (pre-55 sports-racing cars) and John Surtees (pre-66 sports-racers).
Wartime Spitfire pilot and racing driver Tony Gaze, who first suggested the use of Goodwood for racing back in 1948, will have a race for pre-59 sports and GT cars in his memory. Gaze died in Australia last July, aged 93.
A one-make pre-war Bugatti race (The Grover-Williams Trophy) will mark 90 years of the Bugatti Type 35, while the late Gerry Marshall will be celebrated in a race for 1970s Group One Touring Cars. Star names are expected to share the cars in a two-driver race on Sunday.
Silverstone’s Mustang tally
The organisers of the Silverstone Classic are aiming for another record in July, when the event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. Two races for pre-66 V8 touring cars should attract a grid of more than 50 cars and the majority of them are likely to be Mustangs. The target is to set a record for the biggest number of Mustangs in one event.
The meeting will feature a birthday party for the Mustang, in conjunction with the Mustang Owners’ Club, along with a parade of road-going cars.
“The Mustang has been in continuous production for 50 years and has become a global icon,” said event director Nick Wigley. “We expect to have a record number of Mustangs racing.”
Revised format for GTs
There will be a new look to the Autosport three-hour race at Snetterton in June, with only pre-66 GT cars eligible. Since its revival by the HSCC the race has been dominated by Chevron B8s, but a new tie-up with the GT and Sports Car Cup means an exclusively GT grid for 2014.
The GTSCC cars will join the HSCC pre-66 GT field to create a 40-plus grid. Other GTSCC fixtures take place at Silverstone GP (May), Brands Hatch (June) and Portimão (October).
The sports cars will have a dedicated hour-long race at Snetterton. A new class will encourage pre-68 big-engined sports-racing cars to join the grid for this race and the Guards Trophy races at Thruxton (April), Silverstone GP (May) and Oulton Park (August). Early McLarens, Lolas and Ford GT40s will compete for a trophy named in memory of Bruce McLaren.
Britannia dates released
Promoter Alec Poole has revealed the dates for Tour and Mini Britannia in 2014. In a change of format, Mini Britannia will first run on Saturday May 10 from a base at Woodcote Park in Surrey.
The main Tour Britannia, Britain’s only classic race and rally tour, will be based in Chester for three days from August 7-9. The route for Tour Britannia is expected to run into North Wales and take in races at Anglesey and Oulton Park. Entry forms for both events are at www.tourbritannia.com.
Classic Fiat returns
The Fiat 131 Abarth will appear in historic rallying in Britain next year, as Yorkshire-based Rally Sport Developments concludes a two-year project to bring the car back into British rallying.
Markku Alén, Timo Salonen and Walter Röhrl won major rallies in the 131 Abarth in the late 1970s and RSD boss Kevin Theaker wants the car to compete against the Ford Escort Mk2s that set the standard in historic events.
“It has taken two years to find the cars and the bits,” said Theaker. “You can find some of the bits, but they come at such a premium.”