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Classic Nostalgia a roaring success

This year’s Classic Nostalgia meeting will be remembered for several things: the fabulous cars, the buzzing atmosphere in the paddock, the extreme heat, but most of all, the joy of seeing hordes of spectators lining the banks. A euphoric feeling that our sport is returning to pre-Covid normality.

Shelsley Walsh is known throughout the motoring world for its stunning location and unique atmosphere, and last weekend enthusiasts were able to get close to the action as well as the cars and drivers. Visitors were able to walk around the paddock and soak up the sights and sounds of a bygone era.

Celebrating 10 years

It was the 10th anniversary of the popular annual event, and those who attended were treated to action-packed weekend of motor racing, demonstrations, classic-car displays, live bands and flypasts.

Honouring the late Murray Walker OBE

On the Saturday, a blue plaque was unveiled by Worcester Civic Society and former BBC Formula One commentator Simon Taylor to honour the late Murray Walker OBE. The much-loved broadcaster made his first appearance behind the microphone at Shelsley Walsh in 1948. He later admitted that he used the occasion as an audition for the BBC top brass who were in attendance, and it worked. Walker went on to commentate at the 1949 British Grand Prix, and the rest is history! The tribute included a montage of ‘Murray-ism’ quotes that endeared him to the nation.

The plaque was created by Worcester Civic Society to commemorate the achievements of eminent people who have had an association with the county, and will serve as a permanent memorial to ‘the voice of British motorsport’.

Murray’s commentary voice has been likened to a ‘screech and resembles a 500cc engine being revved up’, and there was plenty of that going on!

Cars are the Stars

Sadly, several of the star cars billed to give demonstrations were struck down by track-and-trace after appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed the week before Classic Nostalgia and had to isolate, but there were still plenty of incredible machines to enjoy.

The ex-Richard Burns 2000 Safari Rally Prodrive Subaru Impreza was in attendance to mark 20 years since the Englishman clinched the WRC title in a final-round showdown. The car was driven by Prodrive stalwart Paul Howarth, who worked closely with Burns as well as the likes of Colin McRae, Tommi Mäkinen, Petter Solberg and Carlos Sainz. It was Howarth’s first visit to Shelsley – the Prodrive Legends team thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and are keen to return.

It was joined by Colin McRae’s magnificent Donegal Metro 6R4 Group B rally car, and driver and restorer Ian Barkaway had enormous fun giving her a blast. Since the start of 2020, Barkaways have been recommissioning the Metro 6R4, and this was its debut.

Ralli22 also made a welcome return with a 40-strong class featuring an awesome selection of Group A, Group B and WRC machinery, which included a number of rarely seen cars, such as an ex-Colin McRae Ford Focus WRC, an ex-works Lancia 037, a Ford RS200 and an ex-Sébastien Loeb Citroen C4 WRC.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The evocative Battle of Britain Memorial Flight staged a flypast on both days of the Classic Nostalgia weekend. What a sight to behold as the Hawker Hurricane graced the blue skies over the Teme Valley on Saturday and the Dakota on the Sunday. The pilots flew so low you could almost see the rivets and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was met with thunderous applause from the crowds, and some shed tears of respect to those that had lost their life to give our today.

Legendary cars

One of the most famous of all Ferraris returned to Shelsley Walsh giving passenger rides to those who successfully won the Hope for Tomorrow and Midlands Air Ambulances charity raffles. Chassis number 2735 GT is the 250 GT Short Wheelbase in which Sir Stirling Moss won the 1961 Tourist Trophy for celebrated privateer Rob Walker, and raised over £1800 in raffle ticket sales for the charities.

Also present was a thunderous McLaren M10B Formula 5000 car being demonstrated by historic racer Matthew Wurr. Powered by a 5-litre Chevrolet V8 engine, this car carried Peter Gethin to the 1970 British F5000 Championship, and there was more V8-powered excitement when Stephen Hepworth roared into action with the spectacular ex-Pedro Rodriguez BRM P154 Can-Am car.

They were joined by a recreation of John Cobb’s famous Brooklands record-holding 1933 Napier Railton. The replica is true to the original design, except it is fitted with a 6.7-litre, six-cylinder, turbodiesel Cummins engine. The car is a masterpiece of both engineering and craftsmanship. It was hand-built with the full support of Brooklands over a period of 4,500 hours, using the same measurements and manufacturing techniques as the original.

Hill Climb heroes

Shelsley Walsh has a long history of talented female drivers, and there were none better than the late Joy Rainey. In 1986, Rainey set the Ladies’ Record at Shelsley with an impressive 28.32 seconds – a benchmark that remained untouched for 16 years. In total, she held the Ladies Record for 22 years.

Rainey was remembered at Classic Nostalgia via the presentation of her original ‘Fastest Lady’ trophy, gifted to Shelsley Walsh from her personal collection. The trophy was awarded to Sarah Thorne, who was competing in a 1961 Lotus 20/22. Sarah is in her third season with the car and posted an impressive best of 32.95 seconds, and was immensely proud to be awarded the inaugural Joy Rainey Trophy.

Rainey’s long-time friend and regular co-driver Mark Riley presented the trophy from the seat of Joy’s beloved 1904 Oldsmobile.

Andrew Hepworth took to the wheel of the four-wheel-drive Hepworth FF. 2021 marked 50 years since his father David became the first driver to break the 30-second barrier at Shelsley Walsh, on his way to winning the 1971 British Hill Climb Championship. The Hepworth brothers had a magnificent time and can’t wait to return, and have decided to sponsor the annual Hepworth Trophy.

Mini scoops top honours in the Classic & Sports Car Concours

On Sunday, the popular Classic & Sports Car Concours in association with Hagerty returned to Classic Nostalgia. A 1959 Morris Mini-Minor saw off stiff competition to take Best in Show.

The Concours was open to all cars built before 1985, and judged by motoring journalist and regular Shelsley Walsh competitor Simon Taylor. He was joined by John Mayhead, classic car valuations expert from event partner Hagerty, plus Alastair Clements, editor of Classic & Sports Car magazine.

The Clipper Blue Mini wowed the judges with its intriguing past, having been a pre-production model that was supplied new by BMC to John Bolster, technical editor of Autosport, for long-term test. The car featured charming details that told the story of Bolster’s ownership.

There was a heated debate over the Judges’ Choice award, with a patinated Austin Ten Drophead and an Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV among the leading contenders. But it was a magnificent 1939 Ford Standard Coupe that stole the judges’ hearts. The owner has had it for the past 30 years and personally rebuilt it using superb period hot-rod mods. The flathead V8-powered machine looked and sounded magnificent.

After the trophy presentations, the Mini led a parade of all the class winners up the hill, with the judges ‘top and tailing’ the cavalcade in classic course cars. Full details of class winner are listed below.

Best Time of Day (BTD)

George Brown secured best time of day on both days in the Mallock MK17. Brown spearheaded the charge to the finish line with 29.29 seconds on Saturday and 29.38 seconds on Sunday. George continues the family tradition of BTD at Shelsley, his father Richard won BTD in June 1992 setting an outright record on the hill with 25.34 seconds.

Ralli 22 Weekend Overall Results

Pre 82 Class:

Tony Shields - Opel Astra

Group B Class:

Andy Krinks - Audi Quattro S1

Group 4 (1 2):

Lee Kedward - Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III

Early WRC:

Will Nicholls - Subaru Impreza SII WRC

Best Time of Day:

Niall Moroney - 31.89 seconds - Subaru Impreza WRC

Congratulations and thanks to all the Ralli 22 Members, and especially Steve Davies for the continued support.

Car Club Trophies

Classic Nostalgia acted as a perfect venue for car clubs to gather in the most picturesque setting. Many members hadn’t seen one another for nearly two years, pre-pandemic.

The event was well represented by the likes of Porsche Club GB, Porsche 914 UK Register, MG Car Club, Midget & Sprite Club, MG and MGC Register, Austin-Healey Club, TVR Club, E-type Club, Morgan Sports Car Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, Alpine Renault Car Club, Riley Register, XKEC, Club Lotus, Lotus Seven Club, Club Marcos, GCCG and West Midlands Driving Club to name but a few.

On the Saturday, Hagerty awarded ‘Best Car Club’ to Knighton Historic Vehicle Club, and on the Sunday to the Riley Register. The latter had a fabulous 25-strong display of pre-war Rileys that were built in Coventry between 1899 and 1940.

Classic & Sports Car Concours Results

Overall Winner / Best in Show

1959 Morris Mini, ex-John Bolster

Judges’ Favourite

1939 Ford Hot Rod / Deuce coupe

Class 1: Pre WW2

1st - 1927 Humber 9/20

2nd - 1922 Brescia Bugatti Type 22

3rd - 1929 Austin 7 Chummy

Class 2: 1940s+50s

1st - Austin-Healey 100 BN1

2nd - 1950 Bentley MkVI 2-door coupé by James Young

3rd - 1954 Jaguar MkVII

Class 3: 1960s

1st - Renault Floride Caravelle

2nd - Porsche 356 SC Coupé

3rd - Lancia Fulvia HF

Class 4: 1970s

1st - Saab Sonnet

2nd - Rover P6

3rd - Alpine Renault 110

Class 5: 1980s

1st - Ford Sierra XR4i

2nd - Mercedes-Benz 500SL

3rd - Saab 900i Tjugofem

The Midlands Automobile Club would like to extend its enormous gratitude to the marshals and officials that kept the wheels of the event turning in the most unbearable heat.

Photos courtesy of:

Stuart Wing, Dennis Wood, Phil Kroll, Ian Dowding & Rob Macdonald

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