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Centenary meet collects runners from a century of hillclimb history -- Auto Union for Shelsley 100
A 1939 Auto Union D-type will be the star attraction at the Shelsley Walsh Centenary on August 21 as the Worcestershire hillclimb venue marks 100 years of motorsport over the same 1000-yard course.
The presence of the Auto Union, owned by Abba Kogan, celebrates one of the landmark events in the history of Shelsley: in June 1936, during a round of the European Hillclimb Championship, Hans Stuck tackled the hill in an Auto Union.
Although Stuck recorded 40sec climbs in practice, the day of the competition turned very wet and he recorded a best time of 45.2sec. The spectacle of the German ace fighting to control the 5.3-litre C-type quickly passed into Shelsley history.
The car that will run in August was built up in the late 1980s by Crosthwaite & Gardiner, using original Auto Union components gathered together from behind the Iron Curtain by Paul Karassik. It has done very little running in recent times and in fact is not thought to have been used in anger since Paul Fearnley, then editor of Motor Sport, track-tested the car for the magazine in late 2003.
At Shelsley the car will be tended by Hall & Hall, and either Rick Hall or his son Rob are possibles to drive the 3-litre machine after attempts to get Hans Stuck Jr on board failed.
The three-day centenary event will feature practice on Friday followed by a round of the British Hillclimb Championship on Saturday and the celebration event on Sunday. Classes of cars spanning the complete Shelsley history will be a feature of Sunday's competition.
Record grid for F5000 double-header
What could be the biggest-ever grid of Formula 5000 single-seaters in Europe will line up for double-header events at Brands Hatch and Silverstone at the end of July.
Nine cars are currently in transit from New Zealand for the back-to-back weekends, when the F5000 cars will form a substantial part of the grids for the Derek Bell Trophy races supported by Motor Sport.
F5000 registrar Ian Woodhouse hopes that a big turnout of UK- and European-based cars will result in as many as 25 being on the grid for the Brands Historic Superprix and Silverstone Classic events.
"We had 16 cars at Brands three years ago and in the mid-70s there were some grids in the mid-20s," said Woodhouse. "Brands will certainly be the biggest F5000 grid since the category was recreated."
Now en route from New Zealand, where the category is the premier historic single-seater class, are the cars of Poul Christie (Lola T190), Stan Redmond (Lola T332 and McRae GM1), Lindsay O'Donnell (Begg FM5), Noel Atley (Begg 018), Stuart Lush (McRae GM1), Murray Sinclair (Lola T332), David Abbott (Lola T430) and Kerry Anderson (Lola T142). Bruce McLaren's younger sister Jan will be travelling with the New Zealand party.
Current estimates suggest that around 25 cars are now race-ready in the UK and Europe. Entries are set to include two cars from Frank Lyons, three from Simon Hadfield and two from Nick Shrigley-Feigl. Matthew Wurr will also return after a year away from racing, with Mark Longmore's McLaren M10B.
Dundrod TT event axed
The organisers of the planned Dundrod TT celebration sprint have axed the event at the last minute in the face of financial and safety concerns.
Planned for Saturday June 18, the sprint was intended to mark the 50th anniversary of the last Tourist Trophy on the Northern Irish road circuit. It had been intended to run a pursuit sprint on the full seven-mile course of closed public roads for an entry of up to 50 sportscars from the period up to 1955. But the obvious clash with the Le Mans Legends race for cars from the same period meant that the Dundrod event was struggling for entries as soon as it was unveiled at the start of the year.
Announcing the cancellation, the directors of the Ulster Automobile Club issued the following statement: "This decision has been taken as a result of a number of unfortunate circumstances, not least the disappointing response from potential competitors, the lack of availability of experienced motorsport marshals to staff the event safely and the poor reaction from the general public.
"Despite considerable efforts made by club officials to address these issues and recruit sufficient personnel to ensure the safe running of the event, managing the associated risks to an acceptable level has become impractical."
Sadly, the 50th anniversary of the final Dundrod will now pass unmarked. The late cancellation, for reasons that have been apparent for some time, has angered some of those who had entered the event.
German ERA enthusiast Rainer Ott has acquired R9B from Peter Mann, who has owned the car since the 1960s. The transaction included Mann taking ownership of Tony Merrick's ERA recreation, AJM1.
In recent seasons John Ure raced R9B to great success at events such as Monaco and Goodwood. Ott raced the car for the first time at the VSCC Silverstone meeting and more recently took part in the Gaisberg Rennen at Salzburg.
AJM1, which Merrick built from many original parts in the 1980s, is now with Ure, with racing plans yet to be confirmed.
Long, long trail
David Sutton has launched a new classic rally in North America for September 2006. The competitive special-stage rally takes in 500 miles of gravel stages in eight states, running from Long Beach, California to San Francisco 11 days later.
Cars up to 1980 are eligible, but four-wheel-drive or turbo cars are not. The route includes stages in the Grand Canyon and forests in Oregon and Washington which were used on WRC events in the '80s.
The entry fee, which includes flights, airfreight, accommodation and a service van, is £18,500. More details from www.americanadventure2006.com
US Road show
The 50th anniversary of the Road America circuit will be celebrated with a grid of around 30 Can-Am cars during the Brian Redman International Challenge over the weekend of July 15-17.
The Wisconsin track opened in 1955 and was a regular venue for Can-Am races between 1966-74. A crowd of 60,000 is expected at the event, which also features 3-litre F1 races. Mario Andretti has been named Grand Marshal.
Six McLaren M8s are entered, plus rarer cars from Shadow, McKee and Matich.
Record grid bid
Organisers of the FIA Thoroughbred GP World Championship are hoping for a record F1 grid at the Silverstone Classic on July 30/31. With the option of starting 42 cars on the Historic GP circuit, they are aiming at a capacity field for the Silverstone International Trophy race.
TGP has filled the grid at three events already in 2005. "A full grid at Silverstone is not impossible." said the series' Mike Whatley. "We have 38 cars registered with the series and other cars are still out there." TGP put 41 cars on the grid during its 2001 British GP support race.
956 001 back in UK
The first Porsche 956 is returning to the UK this summer after nearly two decades in America. Porsche enthusiast Henry Pearman has succeeded in his bid to acquire the car that made its debut at Silverstone in 1982. It was later presented by Porsche to Jacky Ickx, and Pearman has been chasing the car for several years.
"It's fantastic; it's so original," said Pearman of the Rothmans-liveried car. Chassis 001 only raced in 1982 and was a spare car for Le Mans.
Pearman has also acquired the Shell/Dunlop 962, chassis 010, which finished second at Le Mans in 1988.
Rare car for GpC
Five new cars join the ranks of Group C/ GTP this summer, including Martin Eyre's rare Gebhardt, thought to be the car raced at Silverstone in 1992 by Almo Coppelli, which missed out on its series debut at Monza in May.
Porsche 962s will be entered by female racers Jenna Brorsson from Sweden and Janine Payne. Both cars started life under the wing of the Kremer brothers. Klaus Frers will join the series with an ex-Team Nova 962, while Swede Thomas Henrysson will race an ex-Kremer Porsche 935K3 in the invitation class.
Viva Tour España
The seventh running of the Tour de España will take competitors into regions of Spain never before used on the event.
Starting from Madrid on November 2, the tour will take in a dozen competitive sections before finishing in Seville four days later. "There is a new route, but no drastic change in the spirit," promised a statement from event organisers Peter Auto. The competition will be over stages on closed public roads and races at Jarama and Ascari (near Ronda) for a maximum of 100 GT and touring cars from the period 1946 to '75.