Historic reflections 2011

First of all happy 2012 to all our readers.  As you know myself and the MyCarHeaven team attend a great many car events throughout the year and 2011 was a busy one for us all.

Hopefully you have been following my Postcards from the events I have attended.  More to follow in 2012, which is already looking like a great year for us car fans.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you my 2011 reflections.

With the Floridian Cavallino Classic (see video below) and Retromobile (Paris) already complete, my first motoring trip of the year was to Race Retro, and the opportunity to connect with friends and fellow enthusiasts at Stoneleigh’s Royal Showground. Staged and refined over more than a decade, this “season opener” included a rally stage, an H and H auction and three halls which celebrated the fiftieth birthday of the Jaguar E-type, historic racing promoters on “Speed Street”, and an extensive art gallery, including the evocative, action style of John Ketchell.

New for 2011, race promoter, The Masters series headed to nearby Oulton Park in mid-March, for its first event of the season….sadly, significantly under subscribed, much attention was on former F1/CART/IRL super-sub, Roberto Moreno, who drove Ron Maydon’s Mini Cooper S superbly, until engine maladies intervened.      

The Vintage Sports Car Club’s annual Spring Start meeting at Silverstone in April, has always been one of its best attended events. Despite the circuit’s history, and its central presence to the UK motor-sports industry, it’s never been the most exciting venue, but this is more than made up for, by the opportunity to enjoy some great racing. With unseasonably mild weather, a full, “vintage car park” and the opportunity to enjoy lunch from the unique perspective of the BRDC members clubhouse, my schedule was well and truly underway.     

In 2010 I attended the Technica Classica Essen, so in my quest to always try a new event during the European calendar – in May 2011, I headed to the shores of Lake Como, for the Villa D’Este Concours (video below). A stunning location, an “invitation only” collection of some of the globes foremost collectors cars, and some equally well manicured attendees (!); not even the violent thunderstorm on the Saturday evening detracted from a superb RM auction, and multiple Ferrari concours success the following day, at the nearby Villa D’Erba….definitely on the “return visit” list.  Read my postcard from Villa D’Este.

In early July, the 19th Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Jaguar E-type, 75 years since the innovative Auto Union won the European Championship, and 60 years since Jaguar won the first of its seven Le Mans victories. With primary celebrations marking the centenary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Ferrari F1 team was also represented by test driver Marc Gene, ably demonstrating the F10 and across the three paddocks, there were significant, rare Ferrari’s, from every era (driven by pilota including Jacky Ickx, Brian Redman and Arturo Merzario).  A superb Cartier Style et Luxe Concours, included Lukas Huni’s gorgeous Vauxhall 30/98 Wensum, whilst the Moving Motor Show, saw the public launch of the new Ferrari FF, and I still had time to chat with two personal F1 and Indycar favourites, Eddie Cheever and Bobby Rahal.  Read my Postscard from Goodwood.

Always the busiest motor-sport month, thankfully my second July event, was 40 mins from home ……the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, where Rick and Rob Hall, along with Kevin Wheatcroft, again presented a superb display of single-seater racers, in memory of Kevin’s late father, and Donington owner, Tom. Making a return trip to the Cheshire countryside, Brutus thundered through the estate and would have been the weekend’s main talking point, if it hadn’t been for the appalling weather.  Read my Postscard from Cholmondeley.  Watch the video below.

Returning to Silverstone in late July, for the seventh annual “Classic“ meeting and importantly sunshine, this three-day event had something for everyone with significant marque and club displays, combined with some superb racing on the revised Grand Prix circuit.  Most noteworthy, was a win for Nathan Kinch in his family’s Ferrari 512S, and with a major infield presence from the FOC, more than one thousand Jaguar E-type’s on display and new auction operator, Silverstone Auctions, holding their inaugural car sale in the equally new “Wing” complex, the event was a major step forward – but the new promoter hasn’t yet rekindled the spirit of bygone times.  Read my Postscard from The Silverstone Classic.

I’ve been asked several times – “If there were only two domestic events you could attend, which would they be?”. Much emulated, very rarely equalled and superbly organised…. over the last decade, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival, have been central to the growth in popularity and grids in historic racing. This year’s Revival was sublime  – great racing and a superb ladies day, complimented by a successful auction, fantastic aviation and a pre ’66 car park, that’s worth the trip alone. This was again my event of the year.

In mid October, I headed to Portugal, to the Autodromo Algarve, for the third Historic Festival, and with a record entry (80%+ were UK-based), and the promise of sunshine and motor-sport during the day, and relaxing by the beach in the evening…. it’s a great way to end the European season. Parkalgar is a superb facility, blending the twists and turns of Oulton Park, with the elevation changes of Spa and three hundred plus days of sunshine!! This year I watched the racing from a different perspective, as I again provided the commentary for the four-day event, interrupted only once by Portugese National Aerobatic Champion Luis Garcao, and his Ford-sponsored, Pitts Special. Thankfully, after four long, intense days behind the microphone, the Algarve beckoned for a further two and the chance to sooth the vocal chords, with more than one bottle of the local tipple!

With a return to Monaco in May for the biennial Grand Prix Historique, more commentary and my first visit to the Le Mans Classic, 2012 looks as busy as ever….see you there!!

PS. Keep a watch out for the MyCarHeaven free ticket offers throughout the year and who knows you could bag yourself and a friend some complimentary tickets to these events…very nice indeed.

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