STONELEIGH PARK, COVENTRY, 26-28 FEBRUARY
The 13th Race Retro – the show that traditionally gets the British motorsport season off to a roaring start – welcomed its busiest rallying section ever, with 76 race-bred machines taking to the muddy circuit last weekend. That’s 26 up on last year.
In total, 29,500 people visited Stoneleigh Park to watch the noncompetitive rallying action on the classic car calendar with fans’ favourites from previous years remaining the super loud side-exit exhausted Vauxhall Firenza Can Am driven by Mick Stafford. Cars not regularly run at the event also caught many fans’ eyes including a Chrysler Avenger and a Triumph Dolomite Sprint.
Group B machines like the Metro 6R4 and Lancia Delta S4 were out in force too, along with a stream of modern front-wheel drive hatchbacks giving them a good run for their money.
But views from visitors were mixed. Simon Hannam, taking part in an MG Midget, says the show scores highly for giving younger drivers the opportunity to drive with the greats. ‘You grow up watching some of these cars and now you can take part against them. Where else offers you the chance to do that?’ he says.
However, seasoned showgoer Warner Lewis, a competitive historic rally driver, was less happy with the weekend. ‘Race Retro was a bit of a letdown this year. It appeared to have half the stuff that there was last year – it definitely seemed smaller all round.’
Race Retro celebrated the career of 1996 Formula 1 World Driver’s Champion Damon Hill, marking the 20th anniversary of his title and his time with Williams. As part of the celebration four of his cars from the Williams Heritage Collection were on display – his cars from 1996, 1995 and 1993, as well as a 1990-91 FW13B.
Tom Siddall, event director of Live Promotions says: ‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the exhibitors, vehicle owners, partners and visitors who have supported us over the years.’
All in all, a fitting swansong from the show’s organiser which is handing over the reins to Clarion Events. Let’s see what fresh blood brings for 2017. Murray Scullion