2008 Club Events

 
       
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Le Mans Classic     July 2008
Report from Tony Tucker, Events Co-ordinator

This must surely have been the best event in the history of Speedsters and Spyders - the Club!

It did not, however, start too auspiciously, as it rained solidly and heavily on Wednesday all the way to Portsmouth and then on Thursday all the way from Caen to Alencon, mercifully turning to a pleasant afternoon for the final convoy from Sees to Le Mans.

At Sees, various groups of members met in a small restaurant by the cathedral in this historic City. The "campers" turned off at Le Mans for Ecommoy, leaving the "hotel group" to proceed to the Ibis Centre, where every single room was occupied by classic car drivers!

For those Speedster drivers who were thoroughly sick of driving for well over a hundred miles with almost nil visibility and rain finding new and innovative ways of entering their cars, the only consolation was that the poor sods in Spyders (of whom there were many) were not just wet, they were web-footed!

On Friday morning, things took a turn for the better. The hotel group proceeded to the campsite to meet up with the large contingent of members and friends under canvas. An impressive convoy then took off for the Le Mans track, stopping for petrol just south of Mulsanne, where the locals came out in force to admire the 25-strong contingent of our cars.

At the track, the club had its own area on the Bugatti circuit to display its cars and to act as a base from which to explore the tented village, the paddock and the magnificent rows of classic cars on view - you name it and I guarantee it was there! (The Morgan Club alone had 670 cars present!)

On the Friday afternoon, we were able to watch the competing cars in practice - 1920s Bentleys and Talbots, 1950s Jaguar C and D types, Porsche 356s, 911s, 917s etc etc. Plenty of good stuff to buy in the stalls and tents as well.

 

click on any image to enlarge


On Saturday morning, the real excitement began, with most of our club cars taking to the track for what were described as "club parade laps". But this was no parade! The safety car shot off at well in excess of a ton and we were able to get up to some pretty hairy speeds on the celebrated Mulsanne straight (where the Porsche 917s do well over 200mph). Mulsanne at close to 100 mph is nothing too scary, except for two things - the acrobatics of some of the other drivers on the track and the fact that there is a right-angle corner at the end of the straight! What a thrill, however, to be able to drive through such famous landmarks as the Dunlop bridge, Tertre Rouge, Arnage and the Esses!

Saturday afternoon and Sunday were spent watching the racing - 6 groups of cars from 1923 to 1979, complete with Le Mans-style running start. From our vantage points, first in front of the grandstands, then from Tertre Rouge and later from the bottom of the Mulsanne straight, the noise and excitement were terrific.

Evenings had until Sunday been spent eating at various restaurants, Friday being a particular success with some 40 of us in a restaurant on the street in Arnage, packed with Le Mans visitors and classic cars. On Sunday, a grand barbeque was held on the campsite at Ecommoy, where our cars lined up for a photoshoot. The barbeque, as per all the other arrangements for the event, had been organised by Trevor Hughes, assisted by Ruth. We duly presented Trevor with some gifts to show our thanks for a truly fantastic effort. These included a splendid drawing of a Spyder in racing action, bought at one of the stalls at the track.

Monday was spent travelling home, this time in bright sunshine with all Speedster hoods down and Spyders enjoying a dry drive to make up for the purgatory of the journey down!

A truly great event and, once again, many thanks to Trevor for the immense amount of work he put in - also to Leslie and Mary Bennett for arranging the hotel group's trip and to Simon Hambly for his invaluable Satnav! And it's less than 2 years now to the next Le Mans Classic!

Tony

 

Tony Tucker - Contact details - 07899 654543 (m) 020 8643 2531 (h) or ajt@speedsters.co.uk)

 

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