Matters of moment, September 2004

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Historic hall for Autosport show

The profile of historic racing and rallying will be given a boost at the Autosport International show early next year by a new dedicated section for exhibitors.

The Historic Hall will mark the first time in the 15-year history of the event that historic motorsport has been singled out for its own specialised area at Birmingham’s NEC. Apart from clubs, event organisers, preparation companies and restorers, the hall will include displays showing the diversity of the historic motorsport scene. An auction of historic competition and classic cars will be held by Cheffins in association with Top Hat Racing, while the photographic archive of LAT will also feature.

Historic enthusiast and exhibition expert Tony May has joined the Haymarket Exhibitions team to oversee the development of the Historic Hall: “Historic motorsport represents the largest growth area of world motorsport and will now be fully integrated into Autosport International.”

The 2005 event will run from January 13-16.

******

Door bolted on Hesketh stable

The final link between motorsport and the stable block at the former estate of Lord Hesketh was broken recently when Stable Fabrication moved out in advance of the sale of the Northamptonshire estate.

The stables were converted into workshops for the creation of Hesketh Racing and the design and construction of Formula One cars for James Hunt during the 1970s. Even after that team disbanded, the building’s motorsport links continued through JQF Engineering and then Stable Fabrication occupying part of it. The latter company, which is run by Steven Osborne and Mark Halleybone, has now moved to new premises in Towcester to continue fabrication work for F1 teams.

The entire Hesketh estate, including Towcester racecourse and the village of Hulcote, is expected to fetch in the region of £50 million.

******

Works Austin back on track

The Ex-Bert Hadley Austin twin-carn single-seater ran on a circuit for what is thought to be the first time since 1939 when it was shaken down at Donington Park recently.

The 750cc racer has been restored by Keith Taylor for the Donington Grand Prix Collection and was driven by David Fairley at a private track day for circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft and his guests.

The 1935 car is one of only two surviving and was raced up until ’39 by Hadley, who was also a factory machinist for Austin. It won its last race in August ’39, at Crystal Palace, and spent the war years stored in a tunnel between the two halves of the Austin factory.

The slimline car managed a dozen laps of Donington Park despite some teething troubles.

******

Le Mans racer hurt in crash

Neil Hadfield suffered serious injuries when his Jaguar C-type overturned and caught fire during the Le Mans Classic in July.

The US-based Englishman sustained arm injuries and burns in the terrifying accident in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Hadfield lost control trying to avoid the bonnet of another car which had flown off on the Mulsanne Straight. The C-type hit the barriers very hard before flipping over.

First on the scene was fellow Jaguar racer Guy Broad, whose XK120 had narrowly avoided Hadfield. Despite clipping the barrier and spinning himself, Broad ran back to the crash site and helped extinguish the fire.

At the time of going to press, Hadfield was receiving treatment to his badly injured arm.

Motor Sport wishes him a full and swift recovery.