Historic Motorsport Round-up: Formula Junior diamond jubilee

A world tour for celebrations of 60 years of Formula Junior, FIA Historic Formula 1 news, Miki Biasion to guest at Race Retro and more – in this week's round-up

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Formula Junior hits 60

Former drivers and significant cars from the history of Formula Junior opened the category’s 60th anniversary season in a feature display at Autosport International.

Last weekend and against a backdrop of landmark cars including a Lotus 18, a Brabham BT6, an early Stanguellini and a Lola Mk2, famous names from six decades ago came together at the NEC to celebrate Formula Junior. Several period drivers are still competing today, including Jeremy Bouckley and Caravelle creator Roger Utley.

The 2018 season will be the third and final season of an unparalleled Diamond Jubilee World Tour, which has already taken in Formula Junior races in South Africa, North America, Australia and New Zealand. This year will major on a unique Baltic Tour in June, spanning races in Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden over three consecutive weekends.

'The response to the Baltic Tour has been amazing,' said category promoter Duncan Rabagliati. 'We’ve already got 40 cars going.'

Confirmed entries include John Delane from the USA and Marty Bullock from Australia as well as a strong British contingent. The races will be at the Nemunas Ring in Lithuania, Bikernieki in Latvia and Karlskoga in Sweden.

The three Baltic tracks will allow Formula Junior stalwart Bob Birrell to move closer to his ambition of racing at 100 tracks. 'I only added one new track last year, which was Sandown in Australia, but these three will take me to 97 this year,' said the Lotus 22 racer.

The Formula Junior 60th anniversary celebrations will finally conclude at the Silverstone Classic in July.

Constable gets a Tyrrell

Jamie Constable plans to race three different Formula 1 cars this season, with his main focus being a newly acquired ex-Alboreto Tyrrell 011.

Constable has taken over the Tyrrell, most recently raced by Andy Wolfe, for the Masters FIA Historic Formula 1 season. However, he has also entered two cars for the Monaco Historic GP in May: his 1974 Hill GH1 and the sole remaining Brabham BT37.

He raced the Embassy-liveried Hill in America last year but it is now in the UK with Scuderia Classiche in Brackley.

'You pinch yourself every time you get in one of these cars,' said Constable who was a young spectator when the cars raced in period.

2019 Roger Albert Clark Rally announced

The organisers of the Roger Albert Clark Rally have revealed outline details of the 12th edition of the rally to run in November 2019.

After the runaway success of the 2017 edition, rally manager Colin Heppenstall has confirmed that the 2019 rally will follow a broadly similar format. The provisional date is 21-25 November.

Heppenstall’s initial plan is for between 250 and 300 stage miles across four full days in Wales, Kielder and Scotland. Brightwells in Leominster will again be the start venue and there will be a new finish venue on Monday close to Kielder Forest.

'We were overwhelmed with the positive feedback from the 2017 event,' said Heppenstall. 'So we are not going to re-invent the wheel. However there will be lots of detail changes and we plan to introduce some new stages to ensure the rally remains fresh.'

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Tip Top Sunday for Silverstone Classic

The Silverstone Classic will honour 60 years of the British Touring Car Championship with a dedicated ‘Tin Top Sunday’ on July 22 when around 200 racing tin tops will race on the Grand Prix circuit.

Sunday’s programme will feature races for the pre ’66 U2TC, the Trans-Atlantic Touring Car Trophy for pre ’66 V8s, the Historic Touring Car Challenge for cars of the 1970s and 1980s and the Super Touring Car Trophy for the BTCC cars of the 1990s.

Past and present touring car aces like Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, John Cleland, Tim Harvey, Colin Turkington, Jeff Allam, Gianfranco Brancatelli, Rob Huff, Mike Jordan and Steve Soper are all likely to be racing.

Biasion to be star guest at Race Retro

Two-time World Rally champion Miki Biasion will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his first title by being a star guest at Race Retro next month.

The Italian ace, who was 60 last week, will return to Race Retro (February 23-25) to drive on the live rally stage. As he did on his last appearance at the show in 2011, he is expected to thrill the fans with spectacular handling of the type of cars he drove in period, including a Lancia Delta Integrale.

Biasion was world champion with factory-entered Lancia Deltas in both 1988 and ’89 during a 14-year career at the top.

BHRC focus for champion Stokes

On the back of winning both the Welsh and Stage Masters historic rally titles in 2017, Andrew Stokes is planning to focus all-out on the FUCHS MSA British Historic Rally Championship this season. The Gloucestershire driver will start his BHRC campaign on Rally North Wales in the familiar Ford Escort Mk1 previously rallied by his late brother David.

Smith rebuilding F2 March winner

Historic Formula 2 racer Darwin Smith is currently rebuilding his race-winning March 722 ahead of a fresh campaign this season. The former Formula Ford ace is now having to fit his own racing in around a programme of junior karting for his seven-year-old son Ben, who is racing at home in Northern Ireland.

New co-driver for Bean

Veteran rally driver Bob Bean will have a new co-driver for his 2018 campaign. Malcolm Smithson hung up his helmet after contesting the Roger Albert Clark Rally in November and so fellow Yorkshireman Miles Cartwright will partner Bean in his Lotus Cortina. They plan to contest the British and Northern Historic Championships.

Swift gearing-up for Goodwood

Mini racing guru Nick Swift is currently working on the build of a fresh pre-’63 Mini Cooper for the Jack Sears Trophy race at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting in March. Swift will also field a pair of newer Mini 1275 GTs in the Gerry Marshall Trophy race, sharing one of them with Andrew Jordan once again.

Forest Rally Challenge

A five-round Forest Rally Challenge will run within the 2018 MSA British Historic Rally Championship. The Challenge will be for those who concentrate on gravel rallies, and will allow them to compete for points and end of season awards. The Challenge will comprise two events in Wales, two in Kielder and one in the Yorkshire forests.

Graham wins 'spirit of rallying' award

Ali Graham, the service park co-ordinator for Rally Isle of Man, has been awarded the 2017 ‘spirit of rallying’ award presented in the memory of David Stokes. The annual trophy aims to recognise the un-sung heroes of the sport and Graham follows 2016 winner Heather Grisedale who held a similar role for the Pirelli Rally.

Barney's busy season

Callum Barney is planning a mammoth season of 30 sprints and hillclimbs this year in both his own Ford Cortina Mk1 GT and an MG Midget on loan from Philip Stader. The Warwickshire driver will chase up to four championships and will start his year with a double-header weekend at Castle Combe and Rockingham on March 24-25.

10 rally year for white

Chris White is planning one of his busiest seasons of historic rallying by contesting both the BHRC and the Historic Asphalt Championships in his BDG-powered Ford Escort Mk2. The Leicester driver has not done many events over the last two seasons but will do up to 10 rallies this year, although business commitments will force him to miss Rally Isle of Man.

Images courtesy of Paul Lawrence and LAT

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