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Zurich, Switzerland–Three-time World Driving Champion Niki Lauda died Monday May 20 at University Hospital here. Lauda had been in failing health since the beginning of the year when he contacted pneumonia, several months after undergoing a lung transplant in August 2018. His death was confirmed in a statement from his family, which read in part: “His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain a role model and a benchmark for all of us.”
2017 Singapore Grand Prix – Paul Ripke
One of the most legendary drivers in motorsport, his remarkable comeback from a near fatal crash and fire at the August 1976 Nürburgring Formula 1 race showed what a true hero is made of, Lauda rescued from his burning Ferrari 312 T2 by Harald Ertl, Guy Edwards and Brett Lunger with Arturo Merzario pulling him out of the flaming cockpit. Lauda had lost his helmet in the crash, so burns to his head and face were extreme, but it was the inhalation of flames and fumes that did damage to his lungs and his chances of survival were very slim.
Six weeks later he was back, battling his rival James Hunt, but Lauda missed the ’76 championship by only a single point. The return from such a devastating crash was astounding, but even more astounding was him winning the championship the following year in 1977, making the recent comeback by a famous golfer laughable by comparison. Lauda knew how to get the best out of his team, his car and mostly himself–a thinking racer and a stickler for details who won 25 Grands Prix in total.
Lauda later regretted leaving Ferrari at the end of 1977 because Enzo Ferrari made him the number two driver behind Carlos Reutemann, saying if he had stayed with the competitive Ferrari he felt he could have won more races and perhaps more championships.
After a brief retirement in 1979 to concentrate on his commercial airline business Lauda Air, he joined McLaren in 1982 and won another title with them in 1984, but retired for good in 1985.
Lauda is survived by his wife Birgit and children Mathias, Lukas, Christoph, Max and Mia.
Vintage Motorsport will present a tribute to Lauda by Pete Lyons in the 19.5 Sept/Oct issue.
Burlingame, CA — More than 200 of the world’s most treasured collector cars will adorn the 18th fairway of the Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame, Calif., on July 21 as the 64th annual Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance showcases excellence in automotive design and engineering.
69-Porsche-917-015 Photo Courtesy Canepa.com
The concours has selected Porsche as its featured marque for 2019 in recognition of the brand’s contributions to sports car design and precision engineering. A highlight of the show will be the internationally-acclaimed 917K which took the checkered flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1970 and 1971.
That prized car will be among a handful of rare Porsches from the private collection of racer and restorer Bruce Canepa. Additional Canepa-owned Porsches on display will include a 917/10, 935, 962, 959SC and a 918 Spyder.
“Given its history and impact on the Northern California collector car culture, we felt that the Hillsborough Concours is an ideal venue for us to show these specific cars,” Canepa said. “In honoring Porsche as its featured marque, the Concours truly hits at the passion we have for this acclaimed German brand.”
The world’s longest continuously-running concours, the event gathers exceptionally rare automobiles spanning virtually every genre and marque, from hot rods and muscle cars to sports cars and elegant classic luxury models. The event will cap a weekend of activities that start with the July 19 Concours Kick-Off Party held at a private vintage car club. Guest speaker Bruce Canepa will bring his iconic 917K in honor of the event.
Early the next morning, the Hillsborough Tour d’Elegance launches under police escort on a 70-mile rally along the Bay Area’s most stunning back roads and scenic vistas, culminating with a catered lunch at a private Hillsborough estate.
A total of 24 judged classes of rare sports and luxury cars will be on display at the concours, all vying for the coveted Best of Show award chosen by a panel of experts from the international collector car world. While event organizers are still selecting from an abundance of entries, early confirmations include a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, a 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Supersport, a 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic, a 1971 American Motors AMX and the 1961 “Beatnik Bandit” custom built by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.
Fullerton, CA — Gene Romero, the 1970 American Motorcycle Association’s Grand National Champion and 1975 Daytona 200 winner, passed away May 12 from complications of COPD. He was 71.
Gene Romero exits Turn 9 on the old Laguna Seca road course in August 1976. Photo: D. Randy Riggs
Romero honed his racing skills on dirt and scrambles tracks in the Central Valley of California. As an amateur, Romero used his scramble skills to become a top TT Steeplechase Rider. Not surprisingly, Romero’s first pro finish came at the age of 19 at the Castle Rock, Washington TT in July 1966. He adopted the nickname “Burritto” with two Ts instead of the conventional spelling with one T. His first national win was two years later in Lincoln, Neb., riding a Triumph.
Romero won 12 AMA Nationals during his 16-year racing career and received AMA’s most popular “Racer Of The Year” Award. He changed the course of professional motorcycle racing when he brought non-motorcycle-oriented sponsors into the sport from outside the industry.
At the Daytona 200 in 1970, qualifying used the full oval course rather than the road course. Aboard a 750cc Triumph Triple, Romero ran a scorching lap of 157.3 mph to win the pole, a record that will forever stand since that was the last time the oval was used for qualifying.
His best quote was memorialized in the greatest motorcycle movie of all time, the Academy Award nominated documentary “On Any Sunday.” At the time, Gene needed a 3rd place or better finish at the Sacramento Mile in order to be crowned the 1970 AMA Grand National Champion. He remarked when interviewed; “I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I’ve got to get third no matter what…I’m going to get third or come see me in the hospital — I dig carnations.”
Following his retirement, Romero was hired by Honda to manage the company’s dirt track program, taking on Harley-Davidson at its own game. Honda then took home the No. 1 plate, winning four championships in a row from 1984 to 1987.
As a promoter, Romero organized the West Coast Flat Track Series, giving novice and semi-pro riders a place to race at more than 30 venues. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998 and in 2001, received the Trailblazers top honors, their Dick Hammer Award.
He is survived by his wife Cheri and his son Geno. In lieu of a memorial service, many racetracks across the nation will be having a “Moment of Silence” in his name. And to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Gene’s championship run, a special event is being planned for the 2020 Sacramento Mile.
Vintage Motorsport extends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of Gene Romero.
Greenwich, CT — Celebrating its 24th year of showcasing significant cars, motorcycles and one-off automotive creations, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will feature the custom coachwork of Carrozzeria Zagato — during the centennial year of the famous Italian atelier — with displays of more than 20 significant cars bodied by Zagato.
Some of Zagato’s finest, this ’56 Ferrari 250GT — Tour de France. Photo: Dennis Adler
The Concours, conducted at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park overlooking the Greenwich harbor on Long Island Sound, will continue its tradition of holding two unique Concours back to back, with American cars and motorcycles on June 1, and foreign marques on June 2.
Andrea Zagato, grandson of founder Ugo Zagato, and his wife, Marella Rivolta Zagato, will represent the Zagato marque and are this year’s Concours honorees. Marella is the granddaughter of Iso’s founder Renzo Rivolta, and works closely with Andrea at the Zagato family business — the only surviving Italian coachbuilder that is still family owned.
One of the most compelling Zagato-bodied cars to be featured at the Concours is the 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Corto Spider originally built to order in 1933 for race-car driver Tazio Nuvolari. It was prepared by Raymond Sommer for the 1933 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Sommer and Nuvolari placed 1st overall. Three weeks later, it was driven by Sommer and Henri Stoffel to 2nd overall in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Barron Collier became its next owner, winning the Mt. Washington (N.H.) Hillclimb in 1937. It was subsequently raced by various owners in the U.S. until the early 1950s. It will be shown at the Concours by its current owner, Scuderia N.E.
Other Zagato-designed cars on the field will include those of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati, Lancia, Jaguar, Nissan, Porsche and Aston Martin. Also on display will be examples of the rare Alfa Romeo Tubolare Zagato, a 1964 Alfa Romeo TZ1, a 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ2 and a 2012 Alfa Romeo TZ3.
Visit https://www.greenwichconcours.com/ for ticket information and schedules.
Carmel, CA — A 1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast owned by Californian Sam Roberts was awarded Best of Show from among the 356 entrants at the May 4 Quail Motorcycle Gathering conducted on the grounds of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club.
BoS at Quail Motorcycle Gatnering, this Honda CB750 Sandcast. Photo: Deskgram
Another event highlight was the American Motorcyclist Association bestowing its Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award on Malcolm Smith, who won the Baja 1000 four times, won eight gold medals at the International Six Day Trials and rode in Paris-Dakar twice.
Although Smith was still recovering from a broken hip suffered Jan. 25 while participating in a charity golf tournament, he actively walked the course to greet fans and sign his name to helmets, programs and even a couple of motorcycles.
Other top honors:
• Spirit of The Quail Award: Chad Castle Family Private Collection
• The Quail Ride Award: 1986 Bimota DB1R, Adam Cecchini
• 50 Years of the Honda CB750 Award: 1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast, Sam Roberts
• Off Road Wonders Through the 90’s Award: 1969 Cheney/Triumph 750cc Scrambler/MX, Scott Dunlavey
• 100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior Award: 1925 Brough Superior SS100, Larry Bowman
• HVA Preservation Award: 1929 Brough Superior 680 OHV, Bryan L. Bossier, Sr.
• AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award: 1970 JAWA 652, Chris Carter
Monterey, CA–McCall’s Motorworks Revival, the kick-off event to the world-famous Monterey Car Week, has announced it will return to the Monterey Jet Center in Monterey, California for its 28th Anniversary celebration on August 14, 2019. Tickets for the event are now available on the event’s website while exhibitor entries are also being accepted. The event will continue the McCall’s Motorworks Revival tradition of featuring high-profile sponsor partners including Gulfstream, Chronoswiss A.G., Eberhard Co., McLaren, Pilatus, Reservoir Watch S..A.., Textron, WeatherTech, along with gourmet foods prepared by local celebrity chefs, handcrafted beers, bespoke cocktails and award-winning wines from California, Napa Valley, Italy, and many more.
“Our 2019 event is set to be one of our most thrilling and glamourous yet,” said Gordon McCall, founder of the McCall’s Motorworks Revival. “The show has come to be known for its eclectic mix of aircraft, motorcycles and automobiles and a great way to kick off the Monterey Car Week. Our team is working hard to “Wow” our guests once again with a unique and exciting experience. This is our 28th year and we’re ready to fire it up!”
As always, the event will take place on the tarmac and inside the hangar at the Monterey Jet Center. Featuring a unique variety of attractions for all to enjoy including exclusive gourmet food and beverages from a variety of high-profile chefs and mixologists along with live music and an exclusive dance party.
Pre-sale tickets are available online at www.mccallevents.com. Entry includes complimentary parking shuttle service, gourmet hors d’ouevres, artisanal cocktails, beers and award-winning California wines, specialty desserts, and more. Red Carpet ticket holders enjoy valet parking, early entry at 4:00 pm, a special Red Carpet Reception, and access to the exclusive Red Carpet Lounge in the main hangar. Doors open at 5:00 PM for VIP ticket holders. Learn more on the event website and follow the event on Facebook and Instagram.
Birmingham, AL — After a one-year absence from racing at Barber Motorsports Park, the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) and the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) series’ are teaming up to present the 2019 Barber Historics at the famous facility, May 17-19.
It’s the only time this year that vintage cars will be allowed on the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course.
HMSA President Cris Vandagriff said not many racers have the opportunity to compete on such a challenging road course, but that HMSA racers crave the challenge of a facility like Barber.
“We have only raced at Barber four times and I knew it was always going to be an event that grows steadily in interest and participation,” Vandagriff said. “Some racers do like going to the same tracks every year because they don’t necessarily want to think about learning a new facility, they just want to drive.
“Barber is a fun course because it’s a challenging track and it takes some getting used to. It’s a great facility in a great town.”
Not only is Barber a special racing facility, but the unique partnership between HMSA and HSR also is something Vandagriff said adds to the allure of the Barber Historics weekend.
“HSR brings a group of cars up to our Mont-Tremblant event each year, but this is the first time our two organizations will be co-hosting an event,” Vandagriff said. “(HSR owner) David Hinton and I get along so well and I think it’s a great example of two organizations working together toward one common goal of putting on an incredible event. It’s going to be great working with David and his team.”
Because of it’s lush and meticulous landscaping at the 880-acre facility, Barber is often referred to as “The Augusta of Motorsports” which Vandagriff says adds to the excitement of the event.
“The location of this race is so great and I think it’s the greatest facility in the United States,” Vandagriff said. “Everyone refers to it as ‘The Park’ because it really is. It’s beautifully designed overall and they plant half a million bulbs so when we arrive the flowers will be in full bloom.
“I’m totally thrilled to be holding an event there again because I’ve been a big supporter of the facility for years. It’s a big deal. So many other tracks allow vintage cars to race throughout the year. But not Barber. We get one weekend and I think it makes the racing even more competitive and exciting.”
The 2019 schedule of events for the only sanctioning body in the world that requires period correct race cars can be found at www.hmsausa.com and features some of the longest-running events in the country.
Los Angeles–To kick off the 6th edition of Luftgekühlt, the Petersen Automotive Museum has collaborated with Luftgekühlt to host AIR MEETS WATER, on Friday, May 10th. The event will dawn with an all-Porsche display featuring both Air and Water cooled cars and a special corral of GT3. Live entertainment, a special vehicle unveiling, and drinks will elevate the night’s festivities and close with a Porsche projection wall.
Photo: The Petersen Museum
To purchase tickets click here: https://www.petersen.org/airmeetswater