VSCC celebrates in style
New events mark club’s 80th anniversary | By Paul Lawrence
The Vintage Sports-Car Club will celebrate its 80th anniversary season with a week-long programme of events in early August, starting at Prescott and then moving to the East of England Showground at Peterborough.
The annual VSCC hillclimb at Prescott has been extended to three days this year and on Friday August 1 there will be a special one-day event for 140 cars. The main weekend event at the famous Gloucestershire venue will have a capacity 260-car entry for practice on Saturday and timed runs on Sunday.
On Monday, the club’s focus moves to Peterborough, where 12 events through the week have attracted a record-breaking 1200 entries. They include tours, rallies, a straight-line sprint at Santa Pod and the VSCC’s first autosolo event (similar to an autotest). The week concludes on Saturday with a public ‘vintage day out’ and a gala dinner.
“We are very pleased with the response,” said the VSCC’s event co-ordinator Gemma Price. “Everything has a good entry and we’ve got reserves for two of them. The autosolo is a new venture for the club and has a full field of 60 cars.”
Spectators are welcome at the showground on Saturday and also at Santa Pod in Northamptonshire on Thursday for the straight-line sprint, which starts at 1pm following practice.
The VSCC, which now has more than 7000 members, was formed in 1934 in a bid to offer vintage motoring to other than the very rich.
BWA makes it to Britain
The rare BWA 1-litre F3 design made what is thought to be its competitive UK debut at Brands Hatch during July’s Historic SuperPrix meeting, when Swiss Johannes Kistler raced his 1967 chassis.
The BWA was designed and built at Monza and 10 1-litre F3 cars were made in ’67. Kistler’s car was one of nine to race in Italy in period, while one went to Argentina for the young Carlos Reutemann. In Italy, British ace Chris Craft was a works BWA driver.
Cars were built from 1965 and the ’67 monocoque model was the most prolific. However, production soon ceased due to financial problems.
“I want to come to the UK more,” said Kistler, who hopes to contest the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting at the end of August.
The same weekend marked steps back in time for seasoned British racers Ian Flux and Ian Ashley. Thirty-one years after narrowly missing out on the Formula Atlantic title, Flux returned to the category to drive Mike Smith’s March 79B in the Derek Bell Trophy.
In the same races, former F1 racer Ashley drove a Formula 5000 for the first time in 39 years when he fielded his ex-Mike Whatley Lola T300.
Barnstaple sprint blossoms
A south-western alternative to the Goodwood Festival of Speed will be held in North Devon, with the second running of the Castle Hill Car Festival on August 9/10.
The competitive element of the weekend is held on a 0.8-mile sprint course within the grounds of Castle Hill Estate, near Barnstaple. The maximum entry has been increased to 50 cars per day this season, including single-seaters as well as sports, GT and saloon cars.
The event will include many side attractions, with about 1000 classic cars on show. There will also be demonstration runs by several F1 cars, including an ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton and a Hesketh 308.
Famous TVR back on track
The ex-Ted Worswick TVR Griffith 400 – BFR 400B – will return to racing this year, nearly 50 years after it last competed regularly. TVR enthusiast Mike Whitaker now owns the car and is having a restoration completed by model expert Nigel Reuben.
This was the prototype Griffith, chassis 1, and was built late in 1964 with a 4.7-litre Ford V8. Worswick and Tommy Entwistle raced it during 1965 before Chris Lawrence took over. As well as races, Lawrence also tackled the St Ursannes-Les Rangiers and Ollon-Villars hillclimbs in Switzerland.
The car was converted to road trim at the end of the 1960s, but Whitaker now plans to race it again. “It has a very special history as it was up against lightweight E-types and Ferrari 250LMs during the ’65 season,” he said.
First-aid course for racers
Historic racers are to be invited to take advantage of first-aid training provided through the British Motor Sports Training Trust, following the experience of historic Mini racer Jonathan Lewis.
Lewis and fellow Mini racer Nick Swift were first on the scene earlier this year, when a racer collapsed following a heart attack in the paddock at Brands Hatch. The driver survived, but the incident prompted Lewis to think about the possibility of similar incidents.
“Most of us are unfit and like the odd drink, so why didn’t we set up a life-saving course system for all historic competitors?” he said. His suggestion was picked up by MSA chairman Alan Gow and routed to the BMSTT, which is funded by MSA donations.
Goodwood: 73 not out
The Goodwood Members’ Meeting will be repeated next spring, following the success of this year’s event.
Lord March has confirmed that it will be titled the 73rd Members’ Meeting, to continue a tradition from the track’s early years. “We all want to do it,” he said. “There are lots of things to sort out, but I think everyone enjoyed it.”
Plans will centre on maintaining a less crowded feel, compared with other Goodwood events.
In July, 42 pre-war cars took part in a week-long recreation of the 1000-mile trial. The event took participants on a clockwise loop of the UK, from a start and finish at the RAC Club at Woodcote Park, Surrey. Cars went as far north as Edinburgh as the event followed the route of the 1899 original.
European racers with Formula Junior single-seaters are being invited to go to New Zealand early in 2015, with the chance to race at up to five events on consecutive weekends in January and February. Building on the category’s global reach, the New Zealand Formula Junior Register will organise races at Hampton Downs, Ruapuna, Timaru and Teretonga between January 16 and February 15. The schedule includes tracks on both North and South Islands and practical assistance is promised for any European entries. FJ promoters are already formulating plans to celebrate 60 years of the category in 2018.