Last weekend’s Race Retro, the 16th edition of Europe’s finest historic motorsport show at Stoneleigh, was another super show and a resounding success. Record crowds produced a ten percent increase on the 2017 event, with 23,100 attendees counted over the three days. VR‘s European Editor, Mike Jiggle, summed up the weekend: “The new organizers, Clarion Events, have truly taken the show by the scruff of the neck and raised the bar a notch or two to a significantly higher level, on which many visitors to the VR stand also commented positively.
“The VR stand was buzzing most of the weekend, especially Friday and Saturday. Advertising enquiries, editorial opportunities, cars offered for profile and subscriptions were all up on last year, demonstrating VR remains a significant part of the fabric of the historic motorsport community. It was good to meet old friends and make new acquaintances too. At this point I must thank all who helped us over the weekend, especially Roger Fowler, for the loan of his Lola T60, our central display car, Donington Historic Festival for providing a few lucky visitors to the stand with tickets to the event, Rupert Whyte’s Historic Car Art for a superb piece of art that was won by a very fortunate subscriber, Ian Shaw of One-system for providing the VR backdrop and for everyone who assisted with the setting up, manning and breaking down of the VR stand. Without this generous help our presence would not have been possible.”
The show itself included legendary racing drivers and World Rally Champions. Hall of Fame inductee Brian Redman was among the many guests at Stoneleigh Park, along with rally star Miki Biasion, who was celebrating 30 years since his first WRC win. Both shared stories from their careers and signed hundreds of autographs for adoring fans. Flying in from the USA especially for the show, Brian said: “Considering I haven’t raced in the UK for decades, the response has been amazing, and it’s been a pleasure to meet so many enthusiasts. Thank you so much for an incredible weekend.”
Steve Parrish, former motorcycle and truck racer turned pundit, celebrated his 65th birthday at the show on Saturday with two of his own racing Suzuki bikes on display in the Motor Sport Hall of Fame. Steve was joined by triple British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal, who was making his Race Retro debut. Other famous motoring names attending included Jimmy and Alister McRae, Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis, Rosemary Smith, Bron Burrell and Tony Mason.
The Motor Sport Hall of Fame Live once again brought together a mix of rarely seen racing and rally cars including the McLaren M14a that was Dan Gurney’s last Formula One drive, and a tribute to 40 years of ground-effects with a display including the Lotus 79, Williams FW07, a Porsche 956 and a freshly restored Chevron B48 that had not been seen for more than 30 years. There were also tributes to 30 years of Jaguar’s success at Le Mans with the winning XJR9, and four cars from Prodrive to encapsulate the career of Hall of Fame inductee David Richards.
From rallying, the Miki Biasion-inspired lineup included a Lancia 037, Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth and Lancia Delta Intergrale, all cars he drove in period. Miki also got back behind the wheel of the Sapphire on the Live Rally Stage, as well as a beautifully restored Lancia Fulvia that stepped in when the Delta had mechanical issues.
Rallying with Group B delivered the “best rally stage ever” at Race Retro, according to former rally champion Russell Brookes as around 80 cars, including more than 20 from the Group B era, provided spectators with thrill after thrill on the bespoke stage, which had a new layout for 2018 that allowed more cars to run at the same time.
Back in the halls, Silverstone Auctions had two sales over the weekend, with the Competition Car Sale securing a 62-percent sales rate, with a total of £891,945 including premium. The Classic Car Sale achieved a 70 percent sales rate and total sales of £2,690,029 including premium, giving a combined figure of 67.3 percent sales rate and £3,581,974 of total sales.
Highlights of the Competition Car Sale included the 1990 BTCC-winning Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 “Group A” that brought the hammer down at £182,250, and the ex-Colin McRae 1999 Ford Focus WRC Rally Car selling at £126,500, to prove that “fast Fords” are still in high demand.
In the Classic Car Sale, the Bullitt-spec 1969 Dodge Charger that was previously owned by Bruce Willis and Jay Kay sold for £94,500, while the rare manual 1997 Aston Martin V8 Vantage V550 formerly owned by Sir Elton John sold at whopping £219,375.
Visitors voted Jim Angliss’ modified 1967 Ford Anglia 105E as the winner of this year’s Pride of the Paddock award, with Mike Mayfield’s 1986 Lada Samara a close second. In the Retro & Café Racer competition, last year’s runner-up, Ken Perch, took the win with his 1962 Honda CB92 and Steve Taylor’s 1963 BSA Rocket Goldstar café racer in 2nd place.
Lee Masters, Show Director of Race Retro said: “After the response to last year’s event under the new ownership of Clarion Events, we wanted visitors and exhibitors to see yet another step change for Race Retro, showing our commitment to the industry and firmly securing our position as Europe’s number one historic motorsport season opener.”
The next Race Retro will be held February 22-24, 2019. For the latest updates as well as all the highlights from 2018’s event, please visit www.raceretro.com