Circuit Des Remparts

City walls rumble to racing thunder

19-21 September. Angoulême, France

Words: LizCawley Photography: Ian Wilson

THE HILLTOP TOWN of Angoulême becomes engulfed each year in a fiesta-like atmosphere of historic cars and their drivers as the roads surrounding the ramparts evolve into a racetrack. The Friday holds a concours d'élégance for the swanky set, while after Saturday's rally and an evening of culinary indulgence for competitors in the market hall, Sunday brings ten grids of fervent international competition.

This year's racing was sparked off by an enthusiastic trio of Morgans vying for the flag. Sue Darbyshire hounded winner Chas Reynolds while Gary Caroline came in third. The plateau DB was a perfectly French spectacle with HBR5 and other Panhards in a true-blue display of flat-twin, front-engined, front-wheel-drive period racing cars. Then the Alfa Romeo grid turned out to celebrate its marque centenary with 13 cars in the running.

The larger-engined vintage set suffered a disappointment in the demise of Piglet', Dougal Cawley's GN Ford after only one lap; his leap ahead of rival Jean-Marc Laffont IBugatti Type 35B) off the startline suggested a hearty battle, but to no avail. However, Richard lliffe (Riley) saw this as his chance to chase the leader and achieved second place with John Paul Mason very close behind in his Alvis. The Bugatti race was contested by 12 drivers, of which Michael Hudson had a seemingly unthreatened lead in his Type 35, which he enjoyed to the end - much to the dismay of the French.

The Tourism grid featured the heroic Celia Stevens in her glassfibre-bodied Peerless, with fellow gang member Ian McDonald thrilling the crowds, sideways in his 1965 Warwick.

Above and left

Michael Hudson's winning Type 35B was one of 12 Bugattisinthe Bugatti Grand Prix race; Warwick V8 was an unusual entrant in the Pescarolo and Larrousse GT races.

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