As already reported, the 2021 Hitek Alfa Romeo Championship was brought to a conclusion at Oulton Park and I was very happy to see two new race winners, Scott Austin and Roger Evans.
For both of them it was a satisfying result that bodes well for 2022 although only Scott’s win in the ex Vincent Dubois 156 counted for points on this occasion. George Osborne completed a superb season in his Power Trophy 75 3.2 finishing every race while third spot on the overall podium, and the Twin Spark Cup win, went deservedly to Richard Ford. However, I was pleased to see that Barry McMahon’s commitment to a full Alfa Championship season for the first time was rewarded with ten race wins (in every race he started), putting a new name on the list of title winners after a period of Tom Hill domination. Barry’s 156 Turbo showed complete reliability and the only car to get on terms with him was Gareth Haywood’s GTV at Silverstone but sadly damage at Donington meant that he did not return until Oulton.
It has been good to see the Alfa Championship get more publicity in the motoring press of late, particularly in “Motorsport News”. They have featured Roger Evans and his Giulietta on more than one occasion. An excellent article by Roberto Giordanelli in the October issue of “Auto Italia” looked in depth at George Osborne’s 75 including a track test and photography to the magazine’s usual high standards.
WILL THERE BE NEW OWNERS AT ALFA F1
The Sauber/Alfa ownership saga goes on with Michael Andretti’s group emerging as a possible majority stakeholder, at the same time putting 21 year old Indycar race winner Colton Herta into the second seat as Valtteri Bottas’s team mate. However, other sources take the line that the current Swedish owners enjoy their racing too much to sell the team. What can’t be ignored is that the Andretti family have a lon-time Alfa connection, going back to the T33 sportscars and then the Autodelta run T179 Grand Prix car driven by Mario Andretti in 1981, even it was completely unsuccessful. In the meantime, the current team of Raikkonen and Giovanazzi have continued to try and put points on the board with the current C41. In Russia, Raikkonen drove superbly to finish 8th and grab 4 points but they just failed in Turkey, Giovanazzi led the way home in 11th place with Raikkonen 12th but the latter might have succeeded in grabbing 10th place had Giovanazzi obeyed team orders to let him past. As it was, Kimi made 5th fastest lap near the end of the race.
MORE PICTURES FROM THE 2010 SEASON
As promised, here are some more pictures from the 2010 season to go with those that appeared in FF113. We hope they bring back more, mostly, happy memories –
STORY OF THE 146 IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP
News of the 146 as a potential race car first came to me through the pages of the Italian weekly magazine “Autosprint” following on from successes achieved by the 145, However, it was a visit to Monza in October 2000 for an Alfa Romeo event (in the rain!) that I made me appreciate what the model had to offer and I hoped that it would make its mark in our own racing circles. Introduced to the UK market in 1995 with the ex 33 flat four engine, this power unit was soon replaced by 16v Twin Spark engines. However, we had to wait until Gary Walker and Bianco Auto Developments took the plunge in 2001, preparing a smart metallic blue 1.8TS to run in the then Class F. Unfortunately Gary only found the time to race it a couple of times and it was eventually sold to championship newcomer, John Day who started racing it in 2004.
In the meantime, Graham Heels had decided that a 2 litre version of the 146 would be a good basis for a championship challenge in Class E and a car was prepared by Bianco in conjunction with Adie Hawkins Motorsport to run in 2002. Sadly, Graham’s efforts came to a halt with completed brake failure at the opening Snetterton meeting, the consequent accident at Riches causing major damage, happily not to him. The end season review reported that “Graham’s supporters were not easily deterred and in the following four weeks the Bianco team rebuilt the car. Graham promptly paid them back by winning with it straightaway at Mallory and sister Sarah breathed again!”. He quickly followed this with another win at Silverstone. Graham would battle it out during the season with Bryn Griffiths’ 156 and would eventually finish 2nd in class and 4th overall in the championship, determined to improve on that in 2003. And this he certainly did, winning Class E on no fewer than ten occasions to take not only the class but the overall championship from Tim Lewis and Andy Page. Graham’s main class opposition came this time from the 156 of Chris Finch, outpacing the 75 Twin Sparks of Jeff Kite and Andy Inman. Another 146 appeared in 2003, this being a car prepared by Gus Lambrou at Alfatune for Andy Woodall who enjoyed a best result of 2nd at Snetterton towards the end of the season and several third places elsewhere.
Graham Heels decided to limit his 2004 season after a win and fastest lap at the opening Castle Combe round, leaving Chris Finch to lead the points table, but Graham still showed the potential of the 146 to take class wins at Brands, Donington and Rockingham. By a show of consistency, however, it was Andy Woodall who built on his previous season’s experience to take second in class by the end of the season although he never managed a class win and had to be content with second places at Combe, Silverstone and Brands Hatch. John Day raced the ex Gary Walker 146 on several occasions before switching to a 155 with a best of third at Combe while a surprise was the arrival of another 146 in the hands of Nick Suiter which enjoyed a win at Cadwell Park.
Graham Heels, Andy Woodall and Nick Suiter all raced their 146s in Class E 2005 but their appearances were few and far between but when they did race, a class win was often the result. Graham was on the top step at Anglesey and Nick at Brands Hatch but otherwise it was the 156s of Chris Finch and Andy Inman who dominated. The following year (2006), although Phil Donaghy’s 145 that took more wins, it was Andy Woodall who won the class by virtue of competing in 12 of the 13 races and taking his first ever class win, at his local Oulton Park, in the penultimate round. Graham Heels showed, however, that he had lost none of his speed by taking a double at Cadwell in mid summer. We saw Nick Suiter more often and he would finish the year 5th in class, having taken 2nd places at Oulton, Donington and Brands.
For 2007, Graham Heels decided that he would have another bid for the Championship, this time with a 147 while Chris Bentley popped up with Graham’s old 146 that would be prepared for Class D by John Pogson’s Italia Autosport that was also running a Class C 155. Chris had a mass of track day experience with Ferraris but racing was something new. The class was mainly populated by 33 16v’s which Chris found it hard to compete with although he did take a third in class at Snetterton. Matt Shaw also drove the car at Pembrey.
Chris Bentley fared considerably better in 2008, initially running in Class D in which he took a second place behind Paul Plant’s 33 at Oulton Park before switching to Class E in which he eventually gained that elusive first win, leading Richard Salt’s 145 home at Donington when he drove the red Andy Woodall owned car. A silver 146 appeared in the hands of airline pilot Tom Allen for the last race with plans for a full programme in 2009, sharing with father-in-law Len Brock. They were destined to be the only 146 representatives that year, with a best result of 5th (at Cadwell) in a class E season that saw Paul Buckley, Andy Inman and Paul Plant fight it out for final class honours ahead of the 145 of Keith Williams.
Longtime Alfa competitor David Thomas and his son James shared a 146 in 2010 and this was to form the basis of an assault by James on Class E and the overall Championship in 2011. In this he was only partly successful, coming up against the 147 of Emma Karwacki who would eventually win both and, for the first half of the season 2010 champion Mel Healey while Neil Smith (147) and Dave Messenger (156) would take class wins. In fact, it was not until the last two rounds, at Silverstone and Rockingham, that James took the top step. His 2012 started strongly but then petered out with a couple of retirements mid season. David Thomas race the car briefly in 2013 when a new name, that of Matthew Flynn, emerged in the 146 ranks at the beginning of the season but disappeared after the early season races.. This brought us to 2014 when Russell Anderson took over the Thomas 146 and made spasmodic appearances with it until the end of 2015. A final 146 to appear was that of Richard Ford in 2014 but it was to prove unreliable and Richard was eager to follow his brother James into the 156 ranks as soon as possible,
Like the 145, I think that in the right hands the 146 could still be a competitive Twin Spark proposition at a reasonable cost. However, it seems unlikely that we shall find out as the 156 and 147 now dominate the class and it would take a determined effort to disrupt the status quo (unless you are Matt Daly with a 145 that is!)
PETER CABROL 1927 – 2021
It is very sad when we lose one of our past champions and this was the case recently when we heard of the death of Peter Cabrol. But not only because the won the title with his Junior Zagato and an ex Dealer Team Alfasud Ti in 1982 but also because he had been a leading member of the Alfa fraternity for many years. Apart from his racing activities, Peter had been a committee member of Alfa Romeo Owners Club, then Treasurer, Chairman and finally President. He also owned many different Alfa models along the way, including a 2600 Sprint, TZ, several Giulias, an Alfasud Sprint, Sud 1.2 Ti and the racing Sud that he bought in 1978. In fact it was with his Junior Z that he made his championship challenge in the days of handicap racing but an accident at Cadwell rendered the car unraceworthy for the final round.
Angus Clark who now owned the racing Sud offered it back to Peter for the all important race which was at Brands Hatch. The handicapper somehow managed to have Peter crossing the line alongside Micky Bolton’s Alfetta and Rob Kirby’s Sud Ti to the point that the startline marshal couldn’t decide who had won! In the end, the timekeepers gave Micky the win with Peter in third place but this was enough to give him the title, the Bell & Colvill Trophy being presented later in the year at a club party by Martin Colvill. We send our sincere condolences to Peter’s wife, Betty, and the family. If you ever manage to get hold of the AROC magazine for 1993 (issues 3 & 6) or have access to the digital archive, Peter’s two articles on his Alfa ownership are well worth a read.
GOODWOOD REVIVAL & MEMBERS MEETING
Photos by Dave Messenger
All the Goodwood meetings are a fine opportunities for paddock photography, none more so than the Revival in September. Dave Messenger kindly sent me a couple of pictures – No.1 the Guyatt/Mann 2600 Monza and no.2 the Clevely/Mass 2300 Monza which both competed in the wet Brooklands Trophy race.
PURE ETCR GIULIA SCORES A FIRST
But not quite the one we were hoping for or expected. In fact is it true? Whatever, Touring Car Times reported that the Romeo Ferraris Giulias were now clothed in hemp fibre (yes, that’s right!!”) bodywork.
Team Manager Antonio Caruccio commented “we were looking for new ways to innovate and add new technologies, also adding a better sustainability for the environment. The Hemp fibre is as light and robust as carbon fibre, with the performance in terms of safety and shock absorbtion still high. Teams have used carbon fibre for decades which is light, robust and does a good job but there are other materials that add a greener production of the cars. The introduction of the new material for the bodywork caused the Giulias to go through the homologation process once again. We had to perform new crash tests and the new material performed within the same accepted deltas of the carbon fibre”.
The Super B final race results at the Pau Arnos circuit left the Giulia driven by Rodrigo Baptista on the podium alongside Jean Karl Vernay (Hyundai) and Tom Chilton (Hynudai) but it was the Cupra driver Mattias Ekstrom who took the overall title. The team results gave Romeo Ferraris great satisfaction by ending up 2nd, a single point ahead of Hyundai after the five meetings held.
NINO VACCARELLA 1933 – 2021
News came through towards the end of September of the death, at the age of 88, of Sicilian hero Nino Vaccarella who had been such a star driver for Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Porsche in the 60s and 70s. We will take a look at his long career in due course but, in the meantime, I can do no better than recommend the obituary in the latest issue of the AROC magazine, if you have access to it.
FORMULA W WRAPS UP IN TEXAS
After cancelling the Mexico City round, Formula W (Tatuus-Alfa Romeo) will wrap up its season after a long delay with a double header this weekend in Texas, supporting the American Grand Prix on the Circuit of the Americas. The eventual outcome of the title race will be fought out between Alice Powell, the 2019 winner Jamie Chadwick and Irma Kimilainen. Coverage live of the second race will be on Channel 4 at 4.30pm this coming Sunday.
Someone doesn’t seem to know where they are going!
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