Search


After what had turned out to be the most momentous week in an already remarkable life, after his TT and Mallory Park comeback victories back in June 1978, Mike Hailwood wrote down his reactions for Britain's Motor Cycle Weekly newspaper. Here's how he saw it:

"Basically, the whole TT business was a bloody silly idea that turned out to be reasonably good in the end. I’d like to stress, however, that not once during the whole TT period did I stick my neck out. Not once did I have a full-out go - I always had a lot in hand. At most, I rode at eight-tenths, so I'm naturally delighted I was able to lap reasonably fast. But obviously Mallory Park was a different matter."


"Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles had told me the Ducati wasn't suited to Mallory - very long wheelbase, and not so much acceleration as the best four-cylinder bikes. So when he agreed to me racing the bike there, he warned me not to expect to win. I really went to Mallory without a great deal of hope. I hadn't raced there for eight or nine years, remember, and the only practice I got was two ten-minute periods in the morning. I don't think I covered more than a dozen laps in all!"


"After the first session, Steve asked me what needed changing. I asked him to lop half an inch off the footrests, and to up the gearing by a tooth on the gearbox sprocket. The Ducati handles so well that I'd been digging the footrests in all over the place, and the gearing was definitely too low. So they set to work with the spanners, and in the second session I was second fastest to John Cowie on a Kawasaki. He was flying, and he had the advantage of also racing in the 250cc class, where he finished a close second to Chas Mortimer, so I thought he was going to win it."


"Steve told me to go easy on the clutch at the start - apparently, it's not the Ducati's best point, and he thought that if I caned it, it might pack up. So I took it easy, and was about tenth going into Gerards (Mallory Park’s first turn). I thought I'd blown it then. I really didn't think I'd be able to get by all those blokes weaving and scratching around in front of me. But once I got going, I managed to scrabble by the field, until I caught up with Cowie and Phil Read, who were battling for the lead.


We both got past Phil on the same lap, and I was making my big effort when we caught up with a lapped rider at Gerards. John was baulked, which allowed me to close right up. I outbraked him going into the Esses, and when I looked round a lap later, I had a nice lead, right to the flag.


“Mind you, my poor old toes took a hammering! I wore my right little toe down to the bone going round the long right-hander at Gerards. I must say I was surprised and very pleased to have won. In some ways I was just as happy about my Mallory win as I had been about the TT. It's one thing to have won in the Isle of Man, where people could always say it was because I knew the circuit better, and so on. But to win at a short circuit is a different matter - it proved I can still scratch a bit, and that pleases me personally!"


Mike Hailwood - June 11, 1978




Action photographs courtesy of Motor Racing Legends. Static images by Roger Cooper

The sun shone on Sunday, October 28th as over sixty competitors lined up for the inaugural three-hour RAC Historic Tourist Trophy race on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.


The Motor Racing Legends organisational group were determined not to allow the grey skies of 2020 to further darken the Historic Racing season and so the concept for the Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy meeting was born out of the demise of the MRL’s autumn programme of events. Silverstone Circuit came to the fore by making the Grand Prix circuit available and, in collaboration with The Royal Automobile Club and event sponsors DK Engineering, a pioneering concept gathered momentum for a three-hour race for Pre-’66 GT and Touring Cars, also open to Pre-1963 GT and Pre-1961 Sports Cars.

In only six weeks, the Royal Automobile Club Historic Tourist Trophy meeting was taken from concept to reality. Scheduled to start at 2pm and run into dusk, the raceday programme also allowed for two one-hour support races from within the Motor Racing Legends ranks to be held in the morning. A combined Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy race for Pre-1961 Sport and Sports Racing cars and a Historic Touring Car Challenge for the Tony Dron Trophy were both well supported.

In addition to the race action, the event sponsors, DK Engineering had a sumptuous display of vehicles from their showroom racing from modern supercars, to historic racing cars and the iconic Mercedes CLK GTR currently in their portfolio.

All eyes were on the prize of the illustrious Historic Tourist Trophy to be presented by the Royal Automobile Club, this going to the best of the teams that were comprised of one car from each class in the race.



Team ‘Ecurie Triple C’ – which took the final honours - was comprised of the Roger Wills and David Clark 1958 Lotus 15 (that finished an impressive seventh overall, with a fastest lap of 89.26mph), Karsten Le Blanc and Chris Milner’s Austin Healey 3000 and the Ford Mustang of Georg Kjallgren and Jeremy Cooke. Having only been able to participate in a handful of races all season and with it being first time out for Kjallgren, Ecurie Triple C were over the moon to get their hands on the impressive silverware.

Overall individual honours as the first of forty cars to take the final flag in the three-hour enduro went to Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie in Thomas’s 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra. Their fastest lap was 90.06mph and their average speed for the race (including the pit stop for driver change) was 76.21mph.

Second at 75.57mph was the Shelby Cobra GT of Wilmott and Jordan, after the car had run nose to tail with the Thomas/Lockie car in the early stages, while third was the Jaguar E-Type of Kent and Ward, with a 75.53mph average.


The Shelby Daytona Cobra of Taylor and Lockie was harassed by the Shelby GT of Wilmott and Jordan in the early stages of the race but set fastest lap at 90.06mph and pulled away to win at a 76.21mph average

The little Lotus 15 of Roger Wills and David Clark kept pace with the big boys on the opening laps

The Kent/Ward Jaguar E-Type eventually placed third


The Bryant’s AC Cobra GT, in its period UK racing livery, placed fourth


The Minshaw E-Type in close company with a Lotus Elan. They placed fifth and sixth.

Only three other contenders were on the lead lap behind the leading trio. Fourth went to O.Bryant and G.Bryant at 75.36mph in their AC Cobra GT, followed by the E-Type of J.O. Minshaw and J.M. Minshaw at 75.10mph and the amazing little Lotus Elan (with less than half the engine capacity of the other front-runners) of Evans, Littlejohn and Twyman at a 75.06mph race average and a fastest lap of 87.73mph.

The giant-killing Lotus Elan of Evans/Littlejohn/Twyman


It looks like a scene from NASCAR but is the Tordoff/Woolmer Ford in the Silverstone pits


Hard work for heavy metal – the big American cars needed all the Silverstone track and more!


The Chevrolet V8-powered Miller/Greensall Lister Costin won the one hour Pre-1961

Sports Cars race by the narrowest of margins from the similar Donnor/Smith car (below)


The one-hour race for the pre-1961 Sports and Sports Racing cars was won by the

Milner/Greensall driver combination at 78.65mph in the closest race of the day, This pair were only 0.214s ahead of Donnor and Smith, who averaged 78.84mph and set the fastest lap of the race at 86.49mph. The two leading driver pairs were both in aerodynamic Lister Costins powered by 5-litre V8 Chevrolet engines. Third was Mark Cole at a 77.05mph average, putting in a remarkable drive in his 1.5-litre Lotus 11, one of the smallest cars in the race.

Another Lotus giant-killer. This one being the 1.5-litre Mk11 with which

Mark Cole chased the big vee-eights all the way to the chequered flag


The second of the one-hour races was for Historic Touring Cars and was the fastest race of the day – proof of how far automobile engineering had progressed between the 1960s and 1980s. David Tomlin won at a 92.77mph average from Mark Wright (both in Ford Sierra Cosworths) and the Ford Escort RS of the Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie driver pairing. Fourth was the Nissan Skyline GTR of Ric Wood, who set the race’s fastest lap at 97.22mph. These were the only cars on the lead lap.


The Ford RS500 Sierra Cosworths of Mark Wright (left) and David Tomlin rubbed door handles in the early stages of the Historic Touring Car race but Tomlin got by and eventually won by 27 seconds

.


Third was the Ford Escort RS shared by Juilan Taylor and Calum Lockie. They followed this up by taking their Daytona Cobra to the win in the big race of the day,


Ric Woods Nissan Sklyline GTR set fastest lap of the day at 97.22mph in the Historic Touring Cars race


The Motor Racing Legends 2021 calendar will be announced in the coming weeks with plans to run the Three-Hour race format again during the year.

If Covid restrictions are lifted, there will be a full season of historic racing from the Motor Racing Legends group in 2021 for beautiful classic cars like this Austin Healey 100M. Fingers crossed!







Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie won the recent RAC Historic Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone


There are some great blog pieces scheduled for Classic Wheels subscribers during November and beyond. These include a fully illustrated report from the recent RAC Historic Tourist Trophy race meeting organized by Motor Racing Legends at Silverstone where the main three-hour race was won by Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie in the Shelby Daytona Cobra coupe pictured.


Then there is a preview of the prestigious 2021 Amelia Island Concours complete with photographs and a short history of each of the various marques that will feature as special individual classes at this springtime Florida event.


Hispano Suiza masterpieces will be just one of the classes to feature at Amelia Island in 2021


One item that we are particularly proud to feature is an interview with the legendary motorcycle racer, the late, great Mike Hailwood in which he describes how it felt to come back and beat all the top UK short circuit riders of the time at Mallory Park in 1978 - more than 11 years after he had earlier retired from motorcycle racing!


The feature is an excerpt from a Motorcycle Files e-book by Alan Cathcart on the Ducati 900SS TTF1 with which, a week before the Mallory Park race, Mike had returned to racing with a famous win in the Isle of Man TT – the greatest comeback of all time.


Mike Hailwood on his way to victory in the now-legendary 1978 Isle of Man TT


Finally, Joe Scalzo returns with an entertaining piece on an entertaining character -and he does seem to have a knack for finding them! This time Joe features the Belgian politician and self-styled ‘stock market guru’ Pierre Van Rossem, who, in 1989, made a brief but colourful foray into the world of Formula One sponsorship.


Make sure you get all Classic Wheels features through November and beyond by going to www.brgmultimedia.com and adding your e-mail contact (free of charge) to our subscriber list.



MV AGUSTA PARTNERS WITH HERTZ RIDE

MV Agusta and Hertz Ride have announced a new partnership that allows thousands of moto tourism enthusiasts who tour with Hertz Ride every year to have brand new MV Agusta models available for their next riding experience.

Hertz Ride offers a wide range of fully equipped, high-end motorcycles for rent in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and the United States. Filling the ambition to deliver the tour of a lifetime to all motorcycle lovers and moto tourism enthusiasts, Hertz Ride has decided to enlarge its motorcycle brands' portfolio and be relevant to new riders: In Europe, a new chosen brand is MV Agusta. Starting in Italy and France, the Turismo Veloce 800, Lusso SCS and Dragster Rosso models are available to rent. Portugal and Spain will follow at the beginning of the 2021 riding season and, later, the USA.

The MV Agusta Turismo Veloce



LONDON CONCOURS CLASSES FOR 2021

Each year, the London Concours seeks to celebrate the very best examples of automotive design and construction from across the whole spectrum of the motoring world. Whether they be pre-war innovators, coach-built mid-century rarities or the very latest hypercars, the only criteria for entry is that they have, in some way, left their mark.


For 2021, from June 8th – 10th, the concours will feature cars in the following classes: Italian Berlinettas, Top Trumps, The Great Designers, Great Marques: Lotus, Great Marques: Porsche, 1980s Icons, 1990s Icons, The Supercar Icons, The Supercar Challengers. Venue for the London Concours is again the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company, an oasis of green lawns amongst the high-rise office blocks of the famous City of London financial district.



NEW BOOK ON BSA A50 & A65 TWINS

There have been a few books out recently on the marques and models of the golden age of British motorcycling, but what marks Thunderbolts & Lightning out as special is the approach to how it has been written. The 1960s may seem ancient history for many, but not for those of us around at the time, nor those who worked in the great factories of the British Midlands, churning out motorcycles such as BSA’s A65 and A50 Twins to the tune of over 100,000 units in the ten years to 1972.


It’s to these workers that author Peter Crawford has turned for much of the content of his book, using more than eighty interviews with everyone at BSA from draughtsmen and metallurgists to test riders and homologation engineers. Outside of the factory the interviews have covered the dealers who sold the bikes new, police riders, army display team members, models from the photo shoots, racers and ‘owners from new’, who recount their tales of what the machines were like when first wheeled out ‘factory fresh’.


A hefty hardback volume (210x270 x 2.5cm - 1.25kgs) of 280 pages it contains over 400 images and is available from www.wideline.co.uk priced at £25 + £3.10 P&P in the UK. Order by phone at + 44 (0) 7966 575182 or via editor@wideline.co.uk.


For non-UK markets the postage is somewhat prohibitive, with the total cost working out at approximately US $96, EURO €39, AUS $91, but check with the editor at the email address above for specific country prices and shipping charges.



2021 DONINGTON HISTORIC FESTIVAL

The dates for the 2021 Donington Historic Festival (DHF) have been confirmed as Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd May. This marks the Festival’s tenth anniversary, and organisers are looking to celebrate with a fantastic selection of hundreds of historic racing machines from the 1920s to 1980s.


Since its inception in 2011, the festival has always been renowned for the quality of its grids, featuring everything from Pre-War Sports Cars to glamorous 1950s and 60s GT and Sportscars and from historic single-seaters to classic Touring Cars from the 1950s onwards.

Each day will see action-packed qualifying sessions and highly competitive races, while car clubs will be invited to stage static displays in Donington Park’s Infield. Trade stands and lunchtime parades will add further to the ever-popular DHF mix.


Donington Historic Festival organiser Richard Grafton said: “With DHF 2020 having to be cancelled due to the Covid lockdown, we are very much looking forward to the sights and sounds of historic race cars battling it out around Donington Park in 2021. We are already working hard on securing some excellent grids, and, like everyone looking to stage an event next year, will do all we can to hold a superb celebration of classic motorsport, within whatever Covid restrictions may apply at that time.”


For further information please visit www.doningtonhistoric.com

Historic Touring Cars at the Donington Historic Festival - Photograph by Jacob Ebrey


NEW DAIMLER EXHIBITION AT BRITISH MOTOR MUSEUM

‘When Jaguar Bought Daimler’ is a new exhibition at the British Motor Museum, from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT), telling the story of when Jaguar bought the Daimler Company from BSA in 1960. Most people know very little about the early history of the Daimler Company in the UK, or when it became part of the Jaguar Group, therefore the 60th anniversary of Jaguar’s purchase of the company from BSA provides the ideal opportunity to tell the story.


The exhibition will run to the end of January 2021 and starts by detailing Sir William Lyons’ requirement for additional factory space, which fortuitously coincided with BSA’s desire to divest themselves of the loss-making Daimler Company. It further explains the background behind the deal that was struck between Sir William and Jack Sangster of BSA, without the knowledge of Jaguar’s own board of directors.


The exhibition covers 100 years from the Daimler Company’s beginnings in 1896, its history of Royal patronage, its acknowledged superb engineering, otsefforts supporting both World Wars and then its ‘post-Jaguar acquisition’ life. A series of period advertisements provides an insight into Daimler’s social history.


The exhibition is included in the normal Museum admission. Museum entry is £14.50 for adults, £12.50 for concessions, £9 for children (5-16 years) and under 5s are free. There is also the option to Gift Aid or donate your entry fee and get an Annual Pass in return, at no extra cost. To find out more information about this exhibition please visit the website at www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk or call 01926 927823.


The 1998 Daimler Corsica concept car built to celebrate the marque’s centenary