HITEK Electronic Materials Alfa Romeo Championship: the New Season

It seems a very long time since the HITEK Electronic Materials Alfa Romeo Championship was on track – at Oulton Park 7 months ago. It’s been a strange time. Although our 2021 calendar was established back in December it was unknown whether or not it would actually take place as planned and we waited and waited during the lockdown for information to emerge.

Towards the end of February the Goverment gave a provisional green light to the commencement of club motorsport from 29th March onwards subject to certain conditions (see 2 below). This appeared to give the green light to our first scheduled races taking place as scheduled on 3rd April. However, the uncertainty continued as confirmation of this from the 750 Motor Club was not forthcoming due to difficulties in negotiations behind the scenes. At last it emerged that our season would commence on Saturday 24th April. Hooray! We could now shake off the torpor of uncertainty and plan with with confidence. Given the resurgence of the Covid 19 virus in parts of Europe and elsewhere there could be further disruption to the race calendar as the season progresses but in that regard all we can do is follow the rules and await developments.

Overnight stays in hotels and caravan sites will generally not be possible until Step 3 of the phased opening up from 17th May. The only type of accommodation available in the meantime according to the Government guidance has to match this description:

“Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble will reopen [on 12th April].”

It is self evident that very few forms of accommodation will be able to comply with this definition.

Covid 19 Rules

In the light of the ongoing pandemic there are important rules that must be observed, and a reminder of these is timely.

Face coverings must be worn in all the following areas:

  • Assembly areas
  • Grid
  • Pits and Pit Wall
  • Pit garages and awnings
  • Enclosed areas
  • Incident intervention
  • Paddock and Parc Ferme (if not social distancing)

Subject to Government confirmation, spectators may attend our race meetings from Donington onwards.

Motorsport UK’s current guidance to competitors and teams is as follows:

  • Any queries to the officials/organisers must be via electronic/digital means, or to the admin desk where provisions can be made for social distancing and protection of staff
  • Any driver involved in an incident must indicate that they are OK by signalling with a “thumbs up” at the front windscreen at the earliest opportunity and to the approaching marshal. Failure to do so will result in mobilisation of medical personnel • If a competitor can safely exit the vehicle, they should do so and then stand in a suitable location, respecting social distancing
  • To reduce the potential for contamination of essential medical facilities, visits to Medical Centres should be avoided other than for serious injury/illness
  • Competitors/Teams are encouraged to bring and use their own first aid kits etc. in the first instance, in the event of minor injury/illness
  • Triage will be necessary before individuals are permitted access
  • Team personnel must not attend the event if they are unwell, and if any member should become unwell during the event they must notify the organiser by electronic or telephonic means and will be required to leave the venue
  • Social distancing shall respect the government guidance including PPE and any additional Motorsport UK requirements
  • Contact areas to be regularly sanitised
  • Sharing of tools and equipment to be avoided where possible
  • Team Managers to retain a record of personnel attending the Event and the names to be recorded on the pre-event declaration, recommended to be no more than Driver +3 (Motorsport UK prior agreement required to alter this number).”

Participants must be conscious of, and satisfied with, their own safety and of the impact of their actions on other participants.

Driver News

At the time of writing we have 26 registered drivers:

Modified Class

  • Gareth Haywood, GTV supercharged
  • Richard Thurbin, Lancia Delta Integrale
  • Tom Waite, 33 16v
  • Keith Waite, TBN
  • Scott Austin, 155 20v Turbo

Power Trophy

  • George Osborne, 75
  • Dave Messenger, 156 GTA
  • Andy Inman, 156 GTA
  • Tom Hill, GT
  • Paul Webster, 147 GTA
  • Graham Seager 147 GTA
  • Barry McMahon, Giulietta 1.7 TBi
  • Paul Plant, Giulietta 1.4 Turbo

Twin Spark Cup

  • Andrew Bourke, 156
  • Andrew Fulcher, 147
  • Stacey Dennis, 147
  • Richard Ford, 156
  • James Ford, 156
  • Jon Tortolani, 156
  • Tom Herbert, 156
  • Simon Cresswell, 156
  • Steve O’Brien, 156
  • Martin Jones, 156
  • Luke Powell, 147
  • Gethin Llewellyn, 156
  • Colin Cunniffe, TBC

I have a dream: all 26 drivers doing all 12 races!! What a resurgence that would be for our Championship!

We extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome to all our returning drivers, and those who are familiar with our grids will notice some interesting new developments in the list above. Barry McMahon is building a brand new Power Trophy class Giulietta, Gareth Haywood has bought Graham Seager’s GTV, Bianco is building a Giulietta with specification mirroring the future planned MiTO/Giulietta class for Paul Plant, Tom Waite is returning with his 33 having a 16v engine now installed, and Graham Seager is appearing in a newly built 147 GTA from Revs Italia.

Steve O’Brien and Martin Jones have switched to Motus One this season. Colin Cunniffe will be claiming his prize drive from Bianco for his performances in the virtual Championships and we very much hope he will continue racing with us after that.

We have been following the build of Tom Herbert’s 156 Twin Spark Cup car online for a while now and it looks superb. Great to see that Tom has taken the next step now and registered for the Championship!

Hopefully we will also see the Davie Peddie/David Faithful MiTO back in the Power Trophy class, budget and driver permitting. The formidable Alfa Workshop MiTO 2.0 404 has had significant further development and is waiting to be tested but Jamie Porter doesn’t have a driver at present, both Riccardo Losselli and Ted Pearson being unavailable pro tem. We have also heard that Neil Smith has purchased the Guy Hale Modified class 147 and we’d love to see that car back on our grid.

As always we are hoping that more cars will apear during the season. The Southgate Racing Abarths will be sorely missed but we hope they can get the necessary budgets together to race later in the season. We are expecting Jon Billingsley to register for the Twin Spark Cup and there is also planned to be a one-off appearance at Silverstone by a third Motus One driver. As always, we hope that others will appear

Last but certainly not the least thing to mention: Keith Waite is returning for his 33rd season in our Championship. He hasn’t confirmed which car he’ll be in yet but we extend a very warm welcome back to Keith!

I will do a full season preview shortly before the first race meeting.

Regulations Guidance

I have recently sent out guidance by email to Twin Spark Cup and Power Trophy drivers on specific aspects of their regulations. If you are one of these drivers and you haven’t seen this please check your email.

Andy Robinson