Matters of moment, September 2004

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Huge crowd for Team Lotus celebration

Over 10,000 fans flocked to a wet Hethel test track in Norfolk to celebrate 50 years of Team Lotus in July.

Twenty-five cars from the team’s past were demonstrated by a number of star drivers. A further 15 were on static display in what was judged to be the biggest-ever gathering of Team Lotus cars and personnel.

Cliff Allison drove a Lotus 12, John Miles was at the wheel of a 49B and Martin Donnelly drove the 97T in which Ayrton Senna scored his first grand prix win. Other former Team Lotus drivers and team members joined in the celebrations, including Richard Attwood and Peter Warr.

Team Lotus made its debut in the British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park in April, 1954. But Classic Team Lotus boss Clive Chapman organised the celebration to coincide with the day 50 years before when his father Colin Chapman scored the team’s first win at Silverstone in a Mk VIII in the British Grand Prix sportscar support race.

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Peking to Paris to be recreated

A rerun of the Peking to Paris race will take place in 2007 to celebrate the centenary of the marathon event.

The event is being organised by the Endurance Rally Association and is scheduled to run for more than a month in the spring. Up to 100 cars will travel from Tiananmen Square in Beijing (formerly Peking) to Paris.

The route will largely mirror the 1907 event and will take crews via the Great Wall of China, the Gobi Desert, Outer Mongolia and Siberia.

Classes include one for pre-1920 cars, as well as cars split at ’40 and ’60.

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Reader wins our HSCC prize

Reader Chris Wainwright has won the chance to make his race debut at Silverstone next month in a competition run by Motor Sport and the Historic Sports Car Club.

The 29-year-old graphic designer beat four other racing novices to claim the prize of a drive in a Lancia Beta Monte Carlo in the final round of the HSCC’s ’70s Road Sports series.

The five finalists were put through their track paces by the Mithril Racing school at Goodwood. Historic racer and Morgan dealer Richard Thorne, who owns the Lancia, was on hand to announce the winner.

Mr Wainwright must now pass the MSA’s ARDS course before the HSCC event on October 16.

“This is the chance of a lifetime,” he said. “I don’t enter many competitions, but I’m glad I entered this one.”

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