Motor Racing, H:O Scale Slot Cars, Classic Cars, the building of my slot car circuit

Les courses automobiles francaises et voitures classiques

Sunday, 19 July 2015

4 ème Montée Historique du Guichet 2015

This is thus the sort of event I love!   Close to home, not too much in the way of crowds, just enough cars to interest you and a pleasant way to spend part of your weekend.  This was the fourth year of the Montée Historique du Guichet in Chateaudun.  As it is just an hour south of us we decided to pay a visit this year.  I believe the course is that of an old Course de Côte dating from the fifties but today it is just for fun and the runs are not timed.  However, that does not mean the drivers are not trying to go fast as can be seen below.

Ceci est donc le genre d'événement que je l'aime! Près de la maison, pas trop dans la voie de la foule, juste assez de voitures pour vous et une façon agréable de passer une partie de votre week-end intéressent. Ce fut la quatrième année de la Montée Historique du Guichet à Chateaudun. Comme il est à seulement une heure au sud de nous, nous avons décidé de payer une visite cette année. Je crois que le cours est celle d'un vieux Course de Côte datant des années cinquante, mais aujourd'hui, il est juste pour le fun et les pistes ne sont pas chronométré. Toutefois, cela ne signifie pas que les pilotes ne cherchent pas à aller vite comme on peut le voir ci-dessous.
The 1973 Simca Rallye 2 of Christian Lecuyer locks up wheels and brakes into the second of the tight hairpin bends
The theme for this Montée Historique was competition cars of over 30 years old but a few exceptions were made as you might notice in my pictures below.   My favourite cars were the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus Rally cars.  Firstly, because they are the only rally car that I have ever driven and secondly because they are famous cars in their own right.   Certainly they were driven with a certain amount of gusto!   One was the Henri Toivonen / Fred Gallagher car from the 1981 San Remo Rally in which they came second and scored the points that helped Talbot win the manufacturers title that year.

Le thème de cette Montée Historique était voitures de compétition de plus de 30 ans, mais quelques exceptions ont été faites comme vous le remarquerez peut-être dans mes photos ci-dessous. Mes voitures préférées étaient les voitures Talbot Sunbeam Lotus Rallye. Tout d'abord, parce qu'ils sont la seule voiture de rallye que je l'ai jamais conduit et d'autre part parce qu'ils sont célèbres voitures dans leur propre droit. Certes, ils ont été chassés avec une certaine quantité de brio! L'un était la voiture Henri Toivonen / Fred Gallagher de la 1981 Rallye de San Remo dans laquelle ils viennent en deuxième et a marqué des points qui ont aidé Talbot remporter le titre des constructeurs cette année.

Trying a little too hard the driver of the exToivonen/Gallagher Talbot hits the straw bales.
On the next run at the next corner, The Talbot Sunbeam Lotus makes no mistakes.
There was also the 1981Talbot Sunbeam Lotus of the French duo Guy Fréqelin and Jean Todt.

Il y avait aussi l'1981Talbot Sunbeam Lotus du duo français Guy Fréqelin et Jean Todt

The ex-Fréquelin/Todt Talbot exits the first of very tight hairpins
Another interesting and in fact unique car was the 1972 Popot FR2 driven by its maker Jean Rene Popot.  It was the only single seater taking part.

Une autre voiture unique intéressante et en fait était de 1972 Popot FR2 entraînée par son créateur Jean René Popot. Il était le seul simple prise de places partie

Popot in the 1972 car he made at the second hairpin.
Jean Rene Popot attending to his car that had lost some fluid on its previous run
One marque of car that I had never seen before was a Hommell.  Learn more about it by clicking here.

Une marque de voiture que je ne l'avais jamais vu avant était un Hommell.

The Hommell Berlinette Echappement drives past the podium near the finish in La Place 18 Octobre
Christel Petitjean in the Peugeot 205 Africain Raid
La Place 18 Octobre was where the cars were parked between runs as well has having the finishing line.

La Place 18 Octobre était où les voitures étaient garées entre les courses ainsi a avoir la ligne d'arrivée.

Two immaculate Simca cars in La Place 18 Octobre
Guy Neveux in his 1975 Alpine Renault A110 1,300 crosses the finish line
Not room to show you all 50 or so vehicles that participated but here are a few more to give you a flavour of the event.

Pas de place pour vous montrer tous les 50  véhicules qui ont participé mais voici un peu plus de vous donner une idée de l'événement.

Pierre Anjouis in his 1964 Simca 1000 negotiates the chicane before the final corner
Michel Revel in his 1967 Renault 8 Gordini leaving the Rue Guichet from which the climb gets its name.
Gerard Huet in his 1984 Alpine Renault A310 2700 VAA  drives past a café on his ascent
The only Ferrari was this Mondial of Pascal Chevalier
A Triumph Spitfire approaches the second hairpin
Family viewing.  A Peugeot 205 exits the hairpin.
Fabrice Meslard in his 1958 MG A
Talbot Samba Proto
There were also some bikes;
A bit of fun!
Not quite what it seems.
Thanks to Ecurie 28 for organising this fun event.  Chateaudun seems a nice place.  Must come back to visit the Chateau sometime.

Merci à Ecurie 28 pour l'organisation de cet événement amusant. Chateaudun semble un endroit agréable. Doit revenir à visiter le château autrefois.

After breaking my camera a week ago i was back covering my 14th motoring event of the year with a new Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ70, the next model on from my last one.  I was happy with the results.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Après avoir cassé mon appareil photo il ya une semaine, je suis de retour couvrais mon événement automobile 14e de l'année avec un nouveau Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ70, le prochain modèle sur de mon dernier. Je suis heureux avec les résultats. Espoir vous avez apprécié les photos!

John Etherton asserts his copyright to all of the photos on this blogpost.  However, you may post the photos elsewhere on the web as long as you credit the photographer, John Etherton, and this blog post, and provide a link to this page.

John Etherton affirme son droit d'auteur à l'ensemble des photos sur ce billet de blog. Cependant, vous pouvez poster des photos ailleurs sur le web aussi longtemps que vous créditez le photographe, John Etherton, et ce blog, et fournissez un lien vers cette page.

What is that? No.2

The second in an occasional series of rare vehicules for you to identify.  Seen today in Chateaudun, France during the Montée historique du Guichet.  But what is it?

What is his car?
In fact it is a French Marque but they made less than 180 cars.

Its emblem is three ears of corn.

The cars were made in Loheac, Brittany.

I believe this car was powered by a Peugeot 306 motor.

It was made by a French magazine proprietor following an article on what features would make the best sports car!   it is certainly an eye-catching beauty.

The marque existed between 1990 and 2003.

The make of car is a Homell named after Michael Hommell the proprietor.

This model is the Hommell Berlinette Echappement.

Not many people know that!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Course de Côte de Tancarville 2015

The Course de Côte de Tancarville was run this year on 12th July.  I was there but this report will be quite short as I fell over and broke my camera soon after getting there!   C'est la vie!
BMW at the Tancarville hairpin
The Tancarville Hillclimb has been run since the late nineteen sixties and past winners include Jean-Pierre Jaussaud who won in 1973.  It is 1,500 metres long and its main feature is a tricky hairpin bend. Being both narrow and short it tends to favour the F3 cars over the Norma sports cars.

Bertrand Lasalle in a Dallara F300 Formula Three car
The unpredictable Normandy weather hit this years event and the track was wet when we arrived after a nice lunch with friends in Le Havre.  Thus many cars were tip toeing around the course and I wouldn't blame them as they are some steep drops if you make a mistake on the section after the hairpin.
Sebastien Dorien spins his Peugeot 205 at the hairpin in the tricky damp conditions...
.....but recovers and gets going again quickly
This is one of those wonderfully amateur events run on public roads that can only happen in France.   Very little security in places, we were asked for no admission fee, but a lovely event nonetheless.  Long may they continue to run it.
The drivers have a nice chat at the top of the course
A Citroen negotiates the dark section between the trees leading up to the hairpin
Wide angle view of the hairpin bend 
The section after the hairpin leading back into the dark wooded section leading to the finish
As I mentioned earlier, some drivers were being very cautious but some were really trying and giving us good entertainment.  These were mainly the modified touring cars and small sports cars.  I think it was Antoine Cordonnier in this Simca 1000 who was the luckiest of this brigade as he ended up in a ditch but was retrieved and got going again.

Arthur Saint Germain in a Norma M20
Dupont in a Porsche 996 Cup
Francois Prieur in his beautiful CG 1300, a Simca based sports car
Gerard Brianza in an Alpine Renault A110.  A110s have been running here since the seventies.
Olivier Compain in his Peugeot 309 GTi
Patrick Laine in a Peugeot 205
This Renault Rally Car was very entertainingly driven as a course car in the damp conditions...
....whilst other cars seemed to send some spectators to sleep!
Must't fall asleep for the Alpine Renaults!   This one in an A110 of Maxime Bertrand.
Touring Car heading up the Tancarville Hill
Jerome Debarre pushing his Dallara F305-Mercedes around at the top of the hill.
All in all a gloomy day with the weather and busting my calendar but made up with some nice company at lunchtime and some nice cars going up the Tancarville Hill.  In the end I got a few pictures so the blog wasn't that short!

To see more of my Motor Racing blogposts click here or on the Motor Sport button at the top of this page.

John Etherton asserts his copyright to all of the photos on this blogpost.  However, you may post the photos elsewhere on the web as long as you credit the photographer, John Etherton, and this blog post, and provide a link to this page.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sonoma NASCAR 2015

I had a weekend to kill in California and was lucky enough to find it was the very weekend that NASCAR came to town in Sonoma at what used to be called Sears Point Raceway. Funnily enough i had been considering doing the European NASCAR race on the Tours oval the same weekend before finding myself in the USA; thus I was going to see the real thing rather than a copy.  Being somewhat adverse to crowds I decided to just do the Saturday qualifying.  But at least I would get to see one of the classic California tracks and the NASCAR boys going flat out in qualifying.  On arrival I found there were some actual races as well - an added bonus.

Porsche GT3 Qualifying.
Intent to avoid anything resembling traffic, I arrived early but luckily the Porsche GT3 Cup final practice started at 8.15am.  Apparently this was the first time that the Porsche GT3 cars had competed at a NASCAR weekend.
The motor homes and flags are very typical of a NASCAR weekend, the Porsche GT3s were something new.
My first view of the track was the Esses; I was sold on this track immediately.
Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy car driven by Michael Zuieback entering turn 2 with empty grandstands this early in the morning.
There are apparently 21 one-make Porsche series in the World.  I had seen the French one at Le Mans earlier in 2015 and now I was seeing the USA series at Sonoma.  This is Albert Salvo at turn 2.

NASCAR Pro Series West Qualifying

This is a feeder series for NASCAR and has a mixture of young talent and older drivers who enjoy driving NASCAR style cars.  This was the qualiying for the Carneros 200 later in the day.
The mountains provides a great backdrop to the Sonoma Raceway as rookie Nicole Behar speeds by. She already has a second place to her credit this year but here she could only qualify in 31st place.
The Pro-Series cars generate quite a lot of roll.  This is the car of Johnny Borneman who qualified 34th but came up the field in the race into eleventh spot.
Johnny White makes a smoky entry into turn 2 on his way to qualifying 22nd.
Tim Spurgeon who qualified 23rd riding the turn 2 kerbs.
NASCAR fans enjoying the sun and cars at Sonoma Raceway.
The No.1 car of Jim inglebright who qualified 14th comes through a dust cloud into view.
Many of the Pro Series drivers had an affinity with the kerbs, including Tom Souza in this Ford who qualified 19th.
Carlos Vierakicks up a little dust at Sonoma's turn 2.
David Mayhew's Chevrolet at speed coming out of turn 2 on his way to pole position.


At 11.15 it was time for the real thing, the Drive for Safety NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying.  There was quite a cheer when Jeff Gordon came round, he is very popular being a local lad and having been a five time winner here.  This year is his swan song as he is retiring from NASCAR at the end of the year.
Jeff Gordon in his famous No.24 Chevrolet.  He was to qualify fifth but only finished sixteenth in his last NASCAR race at Sonoma.
It was to end up being Kyle Busch's weekend with a late win in the M&Ms Crispy Toyota.  He had qualified eleventh.
Paul Menard tries too hard and goes wide in his Chevrolet as he only manages to qualify thirty second.
Ricky Stenhouse attacking the kerbs in his Ford.  He only qualified fortieth but moved up the field to twentieth in the race.
Jimmy Johnson's Chevrolet leads Aric Almirola's Ford.  jimmy Johnson just mised out on the top twelve run off in qualifying and thus started thirteenth.  In the race in finished sixth.
Alex Kennedy in the Dream Factory Chervolet who qualified 36th.
Matt Kenseth in the Dollar General Toyota who qualified on the second row of the grid in third place.
Alex Bowman in the Chevrolet who qualified 41st in this large field.
Dale Earnhardt Jnr's Chevrolet with Ricky Stenhouse's Ford in his draft.  Dale could only qualify twentieth but moved up to seventh in the race.
Justin Marks in the Dockside Logistics Ford who qualified thirty fifth.
Danica Patrick qualified 21st in her Chevrolet
There was a top twelve run off for pole position.

Brad Keselowski's Ford between turns 1 and 2.  He qualified in tenth place for a fifth row grid position.
Clint Bowyer's Toyota that qualified sixth and finished third.
Casey Mear's Chevrolet that qualified eighth but had a rear axle failure in the race.
He was fast through much of practice but only qualified eleventh.  However, in the race he did well in only his fifth race after breaking a leg and foot and Daytona and came through to win.
Tony Stewart in the Mobil Chevrolet qualified seventh.
David Ragan qualified ninth.
Kyle larson qualified fourth in his Chevrolet.
Kurt Busch was on second place on the grid but was beaten into second place by his younger brother in the race after having led 43 laps.
AJ Allmendinger took pole position but was not so lucky in the race.
Lunchtime in the paddock

Truck after truck after truck in the paddock
There is never rest for the wicked, mechanics that is!
Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy USA Race 1

The first actual race I saw at Sonoma was for Porsche GT3 cars.
The Porsche GT3 pack heads into turn 2 on lap one of the first race
The GT3 field consisted of a number of classes for Porsche 991, 997 and 996 cars of various ages.  The classes are named Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver.

The field heads into turn 3 through the heat haze.
Michael Zuieback came fourth overall and in the Diamond class after 29 laps
Will Lin in the red car finished a lap behind in tenth place.
This was battle for the lead with the eventual winner being car No.20 of Fred Poordad.
Although Steve Goldman in the white and green No3 car is still close to the leader in this picture he eventually dropped back to finish 14 second behind.
Close racing at turn 2 - Car No.18 drive by Mike Mcalister eventually finished third.and car No. 8 driven by John Scarlett seventh.
Car 69 of Robert Rodriguez eventually finished fifteenth.
The No 49 car of Alessandro Chioccetti finished fifth.
Carneros 200 - NASCAR Pro Series West Race

The second race of the weekend was a over 64 laps of this 1.9 mile circuit and featured a large field for these junior NASCAR cars.
Following the pace lap the lights go green and the race is on under the hot California sun.
In the early laps Ryan Partidge's Ford leads the similar car of James Bickford
Ron Norman leads Jim Weller into turn 10
Grazin Raz's Ford with the Main Grandstand in the background
Johnny Bornemann at speed through turn 9.  He finished 11th in this Chevrolet.
Cole Buster in the NAPA Toyota leads a group out of the Esses.
During one of three pace car periods the cars head into turn nine with the main grandstands behind them.
The battle for second, third and fifth places goes under the leader board and through turn two. 
Shortly after the pace car period Austin Dillon's Chevrolet leads a long train of cars through the Esses.
Thomas Martin's Chevrolet leads another group through the Esses.
Toyota leads Chevrolet.
Spectators in the turn nine grandstands await the restart during the second pace car period.
Alex Schutte in the eighth placed Chevrolet
Plenty of room in the stands as Matt Tifft's Toyota chases a Ford.
Turn Seven is a great place for watching the action, here the cars are still very close after the restart.

Jim Inglebright's Chevrolet uses the kerbs for an overtaking manoeuvre on Rich DeLong III's Chevrolet.
Midfield battle at turn seven
Noah Gragson who eventually finished seventh leads a group under breaking for turn seven
Johnny White makes an ovetake into the Esses
Nicole Behar spins and tries to get going again as John Wood passes her.
Dave Mayhew ended up the winner in this MMI Racing Chevrolet
Three abreast along the straight.
Michael Shawhan gets dust kicked up into his windshield
A view of turn seven and the backdrop.
Time to say goodbye to Sonoma Raceway or Sear's point as i am still apt to call it.  I think I will be back one day, maybe one year for the Indy Cars!

To see more of my Motor Racing blogposts click here or on the Motor Sport button at the top of this page.

John Etherton asserts his copyright to all of the photos on this blogpost.  However, you may post the photos elsewhere on the web as long as you credit the photographer, John Etherton, and this blog post, and provide a link to this page.