With the possibility that Club Racing may resume in some form or another behind closed doors in July, Andy Robinson’s latest Bulletin and Motorsport UK press releases should be closely read to see how it will affect our activities in the coming months.

To begin with, in July itself Motorsport UK will only approve 50% of the permits that were permitted in the same month in 2019. Moving on from that, we are sure that organising Clubs will do their very best to see that everyone has a fair share of available track time although, as Andy says, there are question marks over what constitutes a “National” championship in this context. There may also be some amalgamation of grids which competitors will have to accept to help as many people as possible to get a race. As to an extension of the calendar into November – I see no difficulty with that. Our first visit to Brands was on November 21st 1982, the race being run in the dry and we have had other November days at the same circuit.

Some of the biggest problems are going to come from the “social distancing rules” and from my own personal point of view there are few commentary boxes that would allow more than one person in at a time – Snetterton is a prime example – with Brands Hatch a possible exception. Then there is the question of equipment – headsets and microphone – and I have already been looking to see if my own radio mike can be adjusted to the right frequencies. Anyone who has been in Race Control at many circuits will also be aware of the lack of space and a big reduction in personnel there must inevitably affect the operation of the circuit and event organisation. Scrutineering in the open air is fine in decent weather but it may be that computer sourced declarations will have to suffice, except where eligibility is concerned. On track itself, marshals and race officials will have to be much firmer on discipline when an accident has occurred. I have the feeling that by the time we actually race, social distancing may have been reduced to 1m which would make life a great deal easier but I suspect that many families and team members will be actively discouraged from attending which will leave it as a somewhat selfish activity. Nonetheless, it is good to see that despite the “lockdown” the number of registrations for the Alfa championship has increased and hopefully will continue to do so as racing becomes a reality and that those registrations will convert to firm race entries.

Croix correction

I have to thank a note on Adie Hawkins facebook site which sent me scurrying to check a couple of non-facts associated with my Croix report in the last Friday Fix which implied that we didn’t race there in 1997.  Adie said that he didn’t go in 1996 because he couldn’t afford it but did in 1997! Well. of course, we did go there in 1997 and in all went five times 1996 to 1999 and then again in 2002. In 1997 Adie took a win and a second place. We’ll report on all that in due course.

Cancellations

Among the more important UK cancellations just confirmed is that of the Silverstone Classic which was, of course, was going to include two races for the HRDC Classic Alfa Challenge. One has to feel sympathy for Julius Thurgood who has put so much work (let alone money) into the project and which was to celebrate Alfa Romeo’s 110th Anniversary. I just hope that Julius’s efforts can be rewarded in the 2021 programme.

A Bit of Good News

It may not affect us in the short term but “Motorsport News” carried an item on the front page of its May 13th issue that the owners of Lydden Hill had at last received planning permission for a £5.5 million investment on the circuit and, most importantly, its infrastructure which was sadly lacking. It will include a large new hospitality and admin’ area overlooking the track and also a much needed new access road. The Alfa Championship first went there in 1991 but after receiving a very poor entry for the 2003 event, it was then dropped from our calendar. The HRDC have a Lydden date for the Classic Alfa Challenge and other races on July 3rd/4th but it may not gain the required permit under the 50% rule and may be too early anyway.  For the future, Lydden hopes to reclaim the World Rallycross round that briefly went to Silverstone and the future availability of any active circuit is to be welcomed even if some people view it as “off the end of the world”!

A look back at Alfasud racing between 1996 and 2004

The recent emergence of an official AROC Alfasud Register, a request by the HSCC to look at our old Class F regulations and conversations with Gary Walker were enough to send me looking back to the days when the Championship ran an unofficial sub-class for the cars that had dominated the grids in terms of numbers for so many years. By 1996 of course, if you were going to win in Class F you needed to have a 33 but there were still many drivers with Suds who still wanted to race them and the Championship committee decided that they should have something to compete for. Following the setting up of the Portello Cup the year before for Giulia and early Giulietta models the Alfasud Register Trophy was born. It was to run until 2002 after which, for the final two years, it was renamed as the Alfasud Cup. Eligible were 1.5 Alfasuds and Alfasud Sprints provided that they had not been converted to 33 type outboard front brakes. There were changes later on to allow 33 brakes and suspension, and also 1.7 engines.

Those who have been long-time followers of the Championship will find many familiar names the accompanying year-by-year list and I hope that it will prompt many memories in the process. It is not my intention to record every race – that would take far too much space – but mainly to look at the leading drivers in each season. Interestingly, in the nine years, there was nobody who won the award more than once. In 1996, it was a fairly easy ride for Bob Godbold with his Alfasud Sprint, helped on the way as the only Trophy competitor who went to Croix! Phil Smerdon would finish as runner-up, followed by Ian Brookfield and Graham Warner who both featured  frequently in later years.

1997 was strongly contested between Paul Edwards, Martin Jones and Graham Warner, Graham emerging the winner by virtue of an excellent start to the season and a degree of consistency towards the end. 1998 produced a very tight battle by the end of the year with Paul Edwards again featuring, but he failed by just 4 points to take the win away from Steven Pahlke with Martin Jones some way behind although Martin did take two wins at Croft. Other race day winners that year were Leon Bailey, Andy Lilley and Jonathan Griffin. The four door Sud was not the most popular version to race but Gary Walker remembers that Stephen Winchester with his four door was the person who persuaded him to go racing. 1999, though, saw Steve Fletcher’s four door emerge as winner by a wide margin with Paul Edwards again leading the pursuit, ahead of the Sprint of Shaun Hazlewood, Martin Jones and the Ti of Carl Hayton. Among the class race winners of note that year were Adie Hawkins, Leon Bailey, Jonathan Griffin, Peter Healey and Dave Thomas – so plenty of opportunities to take a trophy home.

Bob Godbold winner 1996Gary Walker at Lydden Hill 2004David Penlington 1996Gary Walker's TiGraham Warner Trophy winner 1997Ian Brookfield 1996Jeff Kite Alfasud Cup winner 2002Mark Peers Ti 1996Martin Jones winner 2004Mel Healey - second in 2002Paul Edwards runner up 1997 and 1998Peter Smart Alfasud Sprint 2000Rebecca Draper Alfasud SprintRockingham Alfasud Cup trio 2004Shaun Hazlewood Sprint 1999Steven Pahlke Alfasud TiTim Hayes Alfasud TiCarl Hayton Alfasud TiJames Burland 2000 winnerKeith Woolhouse Sprint 1997Steve Fletcher 4 door winner 1999

The number of eligible competitors had dropped quite sharply for the 2000 season which provided a strong year for James Burland with 5 wins in his Ti. Peter Smart, who had switched from the Portello Cup, was runner-up with a single win from newcomer Tim Hayes’ Ti. 1999 winner Steve Fletcher would undoutedly have challenged hard, winning all three of his mid season races at Donington, Mallory and Cadwell. Carl Hayton took victories at Snetterton and Brands Hatch. Such was the total dominance of the 33 in Class F that James Burland could only score enough points in the main points table to finish 28th to Steve Fletcher’s 34th! In 2001 another new name emerged to the top of the list – Chris Baker with a Ti, although his winning margin at the end of the year over Tim Hayes was a mere 2 points that was only settled in the final round at Donington.  Ian Brookfield, helped by a win at Snetterton and two second places at Castle Combe would emerge third ahead of Philip Raftery’s ex James Burland Ti.

For 2002, the Portello Cup was opened up to Alfettas and was renamed the “Single Spark” Trophy while the Sud category became the “Alfasud Cup”. The year was pretty well dominated by Jeff Kite in his Nick Suiter/Tony Favarin run Sprint but it was Melanie Healey in her Ian Brookfield run Ti that followed him home with Martin Jones, Steve Fletcher (now in a Ti) next in line. In 2003 it was Tim Hayes’ turn to take the win but again if Steve Fletcher had managed a complete season, he would have been hard to beat. As it was Rebecca Draper took her Sprint to the runner-up spot ahead of Ian Brookfield. Other category race wins went to Ian, Gethin Llewellyn and Gary Walker, the latter at one of our rare visits to Lydden Hill.

And so to 2004 – after supporting the Register Trophy and Alfasud Cup from the very beginning it was at last Martin Jones’ turn to take the top step with three category wins to his credit in the beautifully prepared green and red Ti. Making a racing return was Richard Drake who finished second, in front of previous winner Tim Hayes and we have a nice picture of Richard, Tim and Martin the last time they all raced together that year, at Rockingham. Rebecca Draper enjoyed her Sprint for another year and amassed enough points to finish ahead of triple race winner, Gethin Llewellyn in Gary Walker’s Sud, Gary himself also managing full points at Oulton early in the year.

It was decided in the winter of 2004 that, with Class F remaining strong in its own right and the increasing number of Class E cars, the separate Alfasud section would be dropped for the following year. This meant the virtual disappearance of the Sud from the Championship, so the interest from the HSCC (perhaps prompted by Julius Thurgood and the Historic Racing Drivers Club) in Production spec Suds will be welcome and Richard Ibrahim has already raced a Sprint with them.

1996

  1. BOB GODBOLD (Alfasud Sprint)
  2. Phil Smerdon (Alfasud Ti)
  3. Ian Brookfield (Alfasud Ti)
  4. Graham Warner (Alfasud Ti)
  5. Martin Jones (Alfasud Ti)
  6. Andy Lilley (Alfasud Ti)
    Mark Peers (Alfasud Ti)
  7. Keith Woolhouse (Alfasud Sprint)
  8. David Penlington (Alfasud Ti)
  9. Nick Barfoot (Alfasud Ti)
  10. Howard Nelson (Alfasud Ti)
  11. John Slade (Alfasud Ti0
  12. Graham Heels (Alfasud Ti)
  13. Richard Whitby (Alfasud Ti)
  14. Matt Davis (Alfasud Ti0
  15. John Norrington (Alfasud Ti)

Also took part: Phil Gibbs (Ti), Andrew Lawley (Sprint), Ray Wolland (Ti),Duncan Burge (Ti), Stacey Whitworth(Ti), Mike Roberts (Ti)

1997

  1. GRAHAM WARNER (Ti)
  2. Paul Edwards  (Ti)
  3. Martin Jones (Ti)
  4. Ray Wolland (Ti)
  5. Andy Lilley (Ti)
  6. Keith Woolhouse (Sprint)
  7. Leon Bailey (Ti)
  8. Jeremy Suiter (Sprint)
  9. Bob Parry (TI)
  10. Andy Miller (Ti)
  11. Tony Cutting (Ti)
  12. Tony Favarin (Sprint)
    Chris Snowdon (Ti)
  13. Carl Hayton (Ti)

1998

  1. STEVEN PAHLKE (Ti)
  2. Paul Edwards  (Ti)
  3. Martin Jones (Ti)
  4. Andy Lilley  (Ti)
  5. Leon Bailey (Ti)
  6. Jonathan Griffin (Ti)
  7. Steve Fletcher (4 door)
  8. Carl Hayton (Ti)
  9. Keith Woolhouse (Sprint)

1999

  1. STEVE FLETCHER (4 door)
  2. Shaun Hazlewood (Sprint)
  3. Martin Jones (Ti)
  4. Carl Hayton (Ti)
  5. Adie Hawkins (Ti)
  6. James Burland (Ti)
  7. Steven Pahlke (Ti)
    Peter Healey (Ti)
    Leon Bailey (Ti)
    Jonathan Griffin (Ti)
    David Thomas (Ti)

2000

  1. JAMES BURLAND (Ti)
  2. Peter Smart (Sprint)
  3. Tim Hayes (Ti)
  4. Steve Fletcher (4 door)
  5. Carl Hayton Ti)
  6. Martin Jones (Ti)

2001

  1. CHRIS BAKER (Ti)
  2. Tim Hayes (Ti)
  3. Ian Brookfield (Ti)
  4. Philip Raftery (Ti)
  5. Ian Muller (Sprint)
    Carl Hayton (Ti)
  6. Wolfie Smith (Ti)

2002

  1. JEFF KITE (Sprint)
  2. Mel Healey  (Ti)
  3. Martin Jones (Ti)
  4. Steve Fletcher (Ti)
  5. Tim Hayes (1.5 Ti)
  6. Adam Bird (1.5 Ti)
  7. Trevor Nicosia (1.5 Ti)

2003

  1. TIM HAYES (Ti)
  2. Rebecca Draper (Sprint)
  3. Ian Brookfield (Ti)
  4. Steve Fletcher (1.7 Ti)
  5. Martin Jones (Ti)
  6. Gethin Llewellyn (1.7 Ti)
  7. Chris Healey (Sprint)
  8. Gary Walker (1.5 Ti)

2004

  1. MARTIN JONES (1.5 Ti)
  2. Richard Drake (1.5 Ti)
  3. Tim Hayes (1.5 Ti)
  4. Rebecca Draper (Sprint)
  5. Gethin Llewellyn (1.7 Ti)
  6. Richard Ibrahim (1.5 Ti)
  7. Gary Walker (1.5Ti)

BBC SILVERSTONE 1950 GRAND PRIX NEWSREEL

We have to thank the BBC for screening a short film of the 1950 Grand Prix at Silverstone – the first ever World Championship race – and also a rare visit to a motor race by the Royal Family. The race was actually given the title of the European Grand Prix and I actually have to admit to being there as a schoolboy. Alfa Romeo had sent four of their 158s for Giuseppe Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli (the three Fs) to whom was added local hero Reg Parnell. The BBC footage is excellent, particularly the pit stops, but it makes you wonder at the lack of spectator safety. I was down at Club Corner for the first 25 laps and then switched with a friend of my father’s for a seat in the Stowe Grandstand – where I saw George VI for the first and only time. The commentary mentioned the lack of any competition for the Alfas from a British team, so it was ironic that earlier in the day Raymond Mays had demonstrated the prototype V16 BRM – what a sound!  I thought I had actually had a better view at Club and insisted for the 1951 race that we all went there. The film also shows the patient crowds stuck in traffic between Buckingham and the track which we had fortunately escaped after an experience for the International Trophy the previous August by getting up at some ungodly hour to drive there. Interestingly, in the last issue of “Autosport” before publication was paused recently, there is an article on the race by one of their leading writers of the time, Norman Smith – I can imagine myself in the main picture…………

Unusual, Different or just Bizarre colour schemes

There have been some startling colour schemes in the Alfa Championship over the years – some attractive, some different and some just bizarre. Micky Bolton would hold up his hand as being responsible for several. I thought we might take a look at a few of those, including Micky’s, that we have enjoyed looking at.

Always a recent favouriteA Sismey creationA Micky Bolton specialAndrew Lawley Alfasud SprintAndy Steavenson Alfasud TiChris Healey 156Colourful Alfasud SprintGraham Presley's startling 75 TurboJohn Griffiths 156Joel Wykeham Alfetta GTVJohn Liddle 33 Parts BoxMatthew Davis Alfasud TiStephen King 156 Sportwagon 2004Ed McDonough Alfetta GTVMark Pickering Alfetta GTVYou couldn't miss this!

Looking Ahead

Many thanks to those who have been in contact recently and it is good to know that our efforts with “Friday Fix” are appreciated. Let us hope that when we get to FF98  we will have some really positive news about when motor sport will be able to resume on all fronts. The Formula 1 season is due to re-start, pending Austrian government approval, over the weekend July 2nd to 4th, without spectators, and with strict Covid 19 rules in place. There are many question marks over the two planned Silverstone races but these have now been suggested for the first two weekends in August. For that to be possible there have to be sport exemptions for the quarantine rules which must be agreed by the UK government. Otherwise it would not be possible for the Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Alpha Tauri and Pirelli teams to come.

POSTSCRIPT

Assembly areas used to be a good source of group photographs but, for a while anyway, drivers will not be allowed to leave their cars to chat while they wait for the previous race to finish. And photographers may be excluded anyway. I thought it might be nice to look back on a happy group at Brands Hatch.

Michael Lindsay
unabated @ talktalk,net
01223-891219