Having got over the high spirits of Christmas and New Year, it’s good to get back on the ground to some sort of normality. There are many traditional pre-season events to attend to slowly cajole both mind and body once again into a routine. The Historic Rally Car Register’s Open Day at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon is one such event. HRCR members and the historic rallying community bring together all forms of the sport including Historic Road and Stage Rallies, Historic Endurance rallies and Speed events for Historic vehicles. This year’s special feature was on the Motoring News Rally Championship, celebrating 30 years since the last championship year. Many of the cars that competed in the championship were on display, together with those cherished HRCR members’ cars too.
Many luminaries from the rally world were on hand including Fred Gallagher, now head of the Endurance Rally Association, Tony Mason, Willie Cave and HRCR Club President, Paddy Hopkirk. Indeed, Hopkirk presented Cave with the HRCR’s prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his near 70-year service to the sport. Cave co-drove with John Sprinzel in Sprites and TR4s and 3-liter Rovers on many of the great rallies such as the Monte Carlo, Alpine and Liege-Sofia-Liege. He also competed in the demanding 1970 World Cup Rally in an Austin 1800 “Landcrab.” Cave, still in love with the sport he gave so much to, will celebrate his 90th birthday in 2017 while navigating the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique in February.
On display in a prime location was the famous Williams & Pritchard aluminum-bodied Sebring Sprite PMO 200, driven by Stirling Moss to 5th place in the 4-Hour GT race in 1961. John Sprinzel campaigned the car in many races and rallies throughout 1961 and 1962, before it was sold on to Spike Ducker and re-registered as 248 DXN. In 2006, Sir Stirling Moss was reunited with the car at the Goodwood Revival’s Fordwater Trophy where he finished 11th.
The show was augmented with many representatives of the various organizing bodies and clubs displaying details of their forthcoming rallies, tours and other events. Indeed, this open day, free to the public, gets better and better every year. While the weather is unpredictable, the overall ambiance is very warm. See you there next January?