Visitors to this year’s Race Retro, powered by Motor Sport, were treated to motorsport stars, rally legends and glorious sunshine at Stoneleigh Park over the weekend, bringing a record crowd to the show.
Some 24,212 enthusiasts attended over the three show days, an increase on 2018’s 23,100 attendees, to see the mix of rally and racing cars as well as special guests including British racing drivers John Watson and John Fitzpatrick along with ‘Rally Professor’ Rauno Aaltonen.
Event Director Lee Masters said: “This is the third year the show has been under Clarion Event’s ownership and to ‘buck the trend’ and increase the audience in the current climate is testament to all those who have helped and supported not only our vision for the much loved event but their own passion for the future of Race Retro and historic motorsport.”
The Motor Sport Live Stage also played host to F1 engineer Frank Dernie, rally drivers Rosemary Smith, Russell Brookes, Jimmy McRae, and Willy Cave as well as racing pundit Tony Jardine and BTCC driver Antony Reid to name a few.
On Saturday and Sunday, visitors were treated to two new Live Rally Stages with over 120 Group B and WRC cars in action under the watchful eye of Rallying with Group B. The existing stage had been forced to move due to the construction of HS2 and, despite a steep learning curve on the first session on finding the prime viewing locations, the new layout proved very entertaining for both the drivers and spectators.
Rauno Aaltonen was the first across the start line after being reunited with the original Mini he drove to victory in the Monte Carlo Rally, with owners Patrick Walker acting as co-driver. Jimmy McRae lined-up alongside him in his late son Colin’s Subaru.
The number of rally stars must have inspired a new generation as HERO events offered driver and navigator training to over 150 novices and rally crews looking to hone their skills. HERO also offered ‘Arrive and Drive’ opportunities to go behind the wheel of one of their classic fleet while on Sunday 30 cars took part in the Retro Classic Tour.
Back inside the halls, and the Pride of the Paddock competition saw visitors awarding first prize to Ian Medcalf’s Fiat 500 Special Saloon with Justin Benson’s Ferrari 250SWB replica announced as the runner up.
The Retro & Café Racer Pride of Ownership was won by Dave Morgan’s 1976 Honda CB836, which he rides on a daily basis, with Phil Knapton’s 1964 Triumph Bobber as the runner up.