Historic Motorsport Round-up: 50th anniversary of Jim Clark death

WRC star Neuville will drive his first rally car, an Opel Corsa, in Belgium, Jim Clark commemorations and Formula Junior anniversary – in this week's historic racing news

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Neuville goes back to his rallying start

World Rally Championship star Thierry Neuville will re-visit the start of his rallying career by entering his first rally car on the Legend Boucles Bastogne.

Neuville and regular WRC co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul will contest the Belgian event in the Opel Corsa he used on his first rally back in 2007.

'I have in fact reacquired my first ever car, the Corsa with which I competed in my first event, the Crêtes rally in Luxembourg and at a hillclimb back in 2007,' said Neuville, winner of the 2017 Boucles.

'We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves last year and I truly wanted to be back in 2018, but in a different way: purely for the fun, for the fans and for Nicolas and myself. I really love this rally. The course, the atmosphere and the general public in Bastogne are fantastic.'

Neuville has been hands-on in re-preparing the Group A Corsa for the biggest historic event on the Belgian calendar, which runs over the weekend of February 3-4.

'Together with my brother we completely rebuilt the bodywork in the family workshops in Saint-Vith. We also made a few minor improvements. Let’s just say that the car will be somewhat hybrid. Hence we asked to be able to remain non-ranked, but nevertheless in ‘Legend’. I don’t want to drive in the demo section as I really want to compete and be able to register my times. But my name will not feature in the overall rankings. Our aim is first and foremost to be present in this great Belgian rally event and put on a show.'

Jim Clark to be celebrated

The life of double World Champion Jim Clark will be celebrated this April with a weekend of events in the Scottish borders.

Clark died in a Formula 2 accident at Hockenheim on April 7, 1968 and over the weekend of April 7-8, 50 years later, there will be a commemorative church service in Chirnside, a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Jim Clark Museum in Duns, an anniversary dinner and an open exhibition at Chirnside Village Hall for visitors to show their own Jim Clark memorabilia.

Classic Team Lotus will exhibit some of Clark’s racing cars, while Club Lotus will show more than 100 classic and modern sports cars.

Former racer Doug Niven, cousin of Jim Clark and Trustee for The Jim Clark Trust said: 'Everyone is welcome over the weekend. It is quite incredible how his memory remains so strong even 50 years on.'

Escorts to be the focus in Belgium

British crews are gearing up to contest a special Ford Escort-only rally in Belgium this September to celebrate 50 years of the model.

The Escort Rally Special will run on September 16 and will be based in the town of Couvin near the French border. The closed-road special stage event has the support of Ford Belgium and is expected to draw rally cars from across Europe.

The rally will feature a 25km stage which will be run four times, with visits to the service area after each stage.

'This is a one-off event,' said a spokesman. 'The main goal is to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Escort in a friendly atmosphere.'

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Formula Junior to break records

Four world champions will be honoured when the three-year Formula Junior Diamond Jubilee World Tour concludes at the Silverstone Classic in July.

Four races, two each for the front and rear-engined grids, will be dedicated to Jim Clark, John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Jochen Rindt who all raced in the category in their formative years.

The target is to have more than 110 cars racing, which would be a Formula Junior record to end the remarkable ten-country 100-race tour.

Duncan Rabagliati of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association said: 'We are going to have four fantastic races with full grids and some notable period drivers like Richard Attwood and our patron Howard Ganley as part of the celebrations.'

Obituary: Georgie Shaw

We are sad to report that Georgie Shaw, one of the leading forces in the British Women Racing Drivers Club, died on Sunday January 14 after an illness.

Shaw raced through the 1970s before moving into a career as an F1 journalist, pundit and TV producer. She served the BWRDC for 40 years as chairman, PR officer and president.

Lorraine Gathercole, chair of the BWRDC, said: 'Georgie was a massive part of the BWRDC for many decades and leaves a huge hole in the club and our hearts. Georgie will be sorely missed, but leaves us a legacy that we can build upon.'

HGPCA calendar released

The HGPCA calendar of races for pre ’66 Grand Prix cars will take in three UK dates in nine events across Europe. Silverstone National (April 21-22), Brands Hatch GP (June 30-July 1) and Silverstone GP (July 20-22) are the domestic dates, while Clermont Ferrand and Copenhagen are notable additions to the European schedule.

Rally North Wales entries soar

A surge of historic entries has boosted Rally North Wales after entries opened last Friday for the March 24 event. Over 50 historics committed during the first day of entries for the inaugural Rally 2WD event, the opening round of the Fuchs MSA British Historic Rally Championship.

Sleeman to make Formula Ford return

More than 20 years after he first won the Historic Formula Ford title, Paul Sleeman is to return to the category this season in a Macon MR8 tended by category expert Peter Alexander. Sleeman won the HFF title four times in five years in the late 1990s, twice in a Macon. Only Neil Fowler, with five, has more HFF titles to his credit.

Moon to bounce back

Yorkshire Ford Escort Mk2 driver Darren Moon has entered the Historic AGBO Stages at Weston Park in March. It will be Moon’s first rally since the middle of 2017 after being struck by a back injury. He is hoping his back will cope with a relatively short asphalt event before considering a return to forest rallying.

Burns, Vatanen Subaru for sale

A 1993 Subaru Legacy Group A rally car is expected to sell for up to £140,000 during the Silverstone Auctions sale at Race Retro. Driven in period by both Ari Vatanen and Richard Burns, the ex-Prodrive car is registered K555 BAT. Vatanen led the 1993 Acropolis with the Legacy and Burns later used it for the 1995 Bettega Memorial Rallysprint.

New rubber for CTCRC

The tyre regulations for the CTCRC Pre-1966 Touring Car Championship have been opened up to include the use of MSA List 1a approved tyres, with a minimum of 70 profile. The move allows some potentially cheaper and longer lasting road legal tyres into the series, alongside the existing Dunlop CR65 historic race tyre.

VSCC visit restored Brooklands

The restored Finishing Straight of the Brooklands Race Track will be the setting for the VSCC’s annual New Year Driving Tests on January 28. Tests will be laid out on the Straight, the Members’ Banking and other parts of the site. Notable entries include Katie Forrest’s Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, which will probably be the first time since 1923 that a Ghost has competed on the Finishing Straight.

50 entries for first HSTA event

The first event of the season for the Historic Sporting Trials Association will be the Sywell Trial on Sunday February 4. Around 50 entries are expected for the Northamptonshire event, which will be followed by a car on display with the HSCC at Race Retro at the end of February.

Images courtesy of Paul Lawrence and LAT

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