Historic racing

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Brighton back on track

Carter sets FTD in popular seaside sprint | By Paul Lawrence

More than 200 competitors tackled the annual Brighton Speed Trials in early September as the famous event returned to prominence.

Run along Madeira Drive at the seaside town, the annual sprint faced the threat of cancellation after the death of a motorcycle competitor in 2013. Following a concerted effort by the Brighton and Hove Motor Club, however, it was given a reprieve.

This year, 150 cars and 60 bikes took part and fastest time of the day went to Matthew Carter’s 2-litre Force PC single-seater, with a best run in 10.48sec. Former double winner Jim Tiller was second in his mighty Chevrolet-powered Allard J2, with a 10.60sec run and a top speed nudging 140mph. John Gray’s Spa-Judd V10 set the existing car record for the course – 8.90sec – back in 1993.

Among the class winners was JD Classics boss Derek Hood in his 1954 Cooper T33. Back in 1955, the car’s original owner Cyril Wick won his class and so Hood marked the occasion’s 60th anniversary by taking the car back to the south coast.

“The Brighton Speed Trials is an absolutely fantastic event,” said Hood. “It’s very special to come back 60 years after this car managed a class win here and take home another.”

Beaulieu’s Sunbeam appeal

The National Motor Museum has launched a £30,000 appeal to fund a new gearbox for Sir Malcolm Campbell’s 1920s Sunbeam 350hp land speed record car.

After World War II the original gearbox was removed and lost, after which a fragile Albion unit was substituted. The plan is to replace that with a stronger gearbox better suited to the car’s powerful 18.3-litre V12.

“For the next stage of the Sunbeam’s restoration story, we need to build a new gearbox from scratch,” said chief engineer Doug Hill.

“As the original gearbox no longer exists and there is no template to follow, this will be a challenge. It is a vital step in our journey to restore the car to its 1925 specification and will greatly help us to drive the car closer to the speeds for which it was designed.”

Trabant enters Safari

A rare 600cc 50bhp Trabant P601 will be the most unlikely car on this year’s Safari Classic Rally.

Michael Kahlfuss, originally from East Germany, started rallying in 1983 and first entered the Safari in 1994 with a Trabant. He has also competed extensively in modern four-wheel-drive cars. He returned to Africa in 2003 for the first Classic Safari and has rebuilt the 600kg Trabant he last drove 12 years ago. “I am afraid mostly of the mountains when we have to drive in first gear for half an hour,” said Kahlfuss. “Also, if there is a strong current at the water crossings, the Trabant could very easily float away.”

Tighter route for RACFrom a base in Sunderland, a route covering 150 stage miles in just 46 hours will make the 12th Roger Albert Clark Rally (November 27-29) one of the most compact so far. A tough opening night will be followed by two days of largely daylight rallying. The route will take in 20 stages in Kielder and the Scottish borders, with 40 stage miles on Friday evening, 60 on Saturday and 50 on Sunday. “We’re really pleased with the route and delighted to be returning to Sunderland,” said rally manager Colin Heppenstall. “We’ll have a ceremonial start in Mowbray Park in Sunderland city centre this year.” The rally will return to Sunderland each night, with an earlier finish than usual on Saturday. Heppenstall reports strong interest from European crews. More details are at www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org Junior showtime

More than 20 famous tracks on four continents will feature in Formula Junior’s Diamond Jubilee World Series between January 2016 and the summer of 2018.

In what will be the biggest series of global historic races ever run, the World Series will mark the 60th anniversary of the single-seater category and will conclude at Monza, the birthplace of Formula Junior, in 2018.

The schedule starts in South Africa early next year with races at Zwartkops, Killarney and East London. Key dates in Europe during 2016 include Goodwood in March and September, Monaco, Brands Hatch GP and Spa.

A three-round Tasman Series will run in Australia in late 2016 before four events in New Zealand in early 2017. Later in 2017, the focus switches to North America for races at venues such as Lime Rock. The series concludes in Europe in summer 2018 with races at the Silverstone Classic and Monza.

“This will be the greatest and longest series of races ever organised for one formula within historic motor racing,” said Duncan Rabagliati of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association.

Targa hits the screen

A new film about the Targa Florio road race will be premiered this month. Pistons, Passions, Pleasures: A Sicilian Dream traces the story from 1906 until the final edition in 1977.

Created by Sicilian Vincenzo Florio, the event was initially run over three laps of a 92-mile course. It was one of the world’s most famous and dangerous road races, but finally ended in 1977 amid growing concerns over safety.

Described as a “theatrical documentary”, the film has been produced by David Biggins, and Alain de Cadenet was among those driving period cars for the filming. More details at www.siciliandreammovie.com.

* The Royal Automobile Club recently marked 40 years since Derek Bell’s first of five Le Mans wins by inviting him to drive the 1982-winning Porsche 956 up the Captain’s Drive at its Woodcote Park clubhouse. The Gp C car is chassis 001 and was shared by Bell and Jacky Ickx for the first of the 956’s four straight Le Mans wins.

* Duncan Rabagliati contested a record-breaking 500th race in his Alexis during the Lurani Trophy Formula Junior races at the Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix. Rabagliati has campaigned the front-engined Alexis continuously for more than two decades.

* Sir Stirling Moss’s Rob Walker Lotus 18, his 500cc Cooper MkIV and the four-wheel-drive Ferguson in which he won the 1961 Oulton Park Gold Cup are among the racing exhibits promised for the first Classic & Sports Car London Show, which will be held at Alexandra Palace on October 30-November 1. For tickets, go to www.classicand sportscarshow.com

* Roger Keele, the 1960s and early 1970s single-seater ace, has died at the age of 70. He started karting in his father’s Keele chassis, and later raced in Formula Ford and F3 with considerable success. He was forced to stop racing when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1974.