The Le-Mans Classic event is regarded by many competitors and spectators as the pinnacle of vintage and historic motor racing.
This is no doubt due to the racing being held on the same track that has been the site of so many epic battles over the previous years. The Le-Mans 24 hour race has over the years proved an unforgiving test track for manufacturers and drivers alike. In its infancy, the cars resembled production models that could be bought by the average (albeit, wealthy) man or woman. In fact, on many occasions, the cars were not only raced for the duration of the 24 hours, but were driven to and from the circuit as well!
I had previously attended the classic in 2014 with my dad and his well know Imp. This was as a large group celebrating the famous 1934 Riley win of the Rudge-Whitworth cup and the Index of performance cup.
This year, I was attending in a business rather than spectator role. The news about Blue Diamond agreeing to purchase Keith Pointing’s business was released on the Thursday that we all departed for event.
Keith and his team had two customers’ cars they had prepared, and a third that they were supporting over the weekend.
I had orignally hoped to be travelling down to Le Mans in our ever present 1931 Riley 9 WD. Its role during the weekend being that of team support vehicle.
Sadly, an oil pressure problem meant that the engine was being stripped and I had to press our VW Van into action instead.
Dan and Ian were flying the flag, but using Ian’s recently acquired 12/4 Lynx for the trip.
My disappointment in not being in the WD was soon tempered by the 2 1/2 hour traffic jam I became part of around Paris. The heat, slow traffic, and general poor driving skills on show would have been a challenge in the WD!
The two cars Keith and I were supporting included AVC 17– to be in the company of such a famous team car was an honour indeed. Two years ago, I had watched the frantic efforts of Keith’s team from the other side of the rope – this year was to prove to be very different.
After the first run, the Brooklands required some mechanical TLC. It was fantastic to see the BD team and Keith’s team work together to sort out the problem and get the car back ready for the next session. We all had to work long and hard on our own areas, but the teamwork paid off in the end.
One of the Bentley teams had a superb oil rag saloon as their team car, this was called into action to donate spares late into the evening of the first day.
Meanwhile the German BMW 328 team only had to polish and clean their car (and smaller copy) as fate had been favourable to them!
The next day brought with it the night racing and the Little Big Mans race.
The night racing was something else, very tiring but also very enjoyable. The noise and atmosphere really was something to remember. I had been unable to watch this in 2014 and so was glad to have been able to be a part of it this year.
The Little Big Mans race was also a real spectacle, the effort of the teams in making and preparing these cars was something else. Who knows if BD will have their own car for 2018??!!
It was a fantastic experience for Ian, Dan and I to be a part of Keith’s support team for the 2016 Le Mans Classic.
Racing is a thoroughly enjoyable but very tiring experience. Emotionally, we had some highs and a couple of deep lows, especially when Ralph had to retire whilst leading the index of performance.
For those who haven’t been to Le Mans Classic, make sure you add it to the diary for 2018!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our trip.