ALPINERS TO LE MANS CLASSIC 2016 Part 1; THE PLANNING
It is 8th December 2015 and I am sitting on deck – Costa Pacifica – having just passed Cape Verde, mid-Atlantic, on my way from Malaga to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, reading “British Cars At Le Mans” 1923-1989 by Dominique Pascal.
Horror no mention of Sunbeams or Alpines, a disclaimer reads “British competitors ……. so great that it has been necessary to be selective”!!!!! Looking out on the Atlantic I hatch a plan to drive in “Joan” – 34 SPG, S1 – from southern Spain, where I winter, to 24 Heures Du Le Mans 2017.
Why 2017, the 40th anniversary of my second and last visit to the race with my friend Tony Elliott. Having independently travelled on to Buenos Aires for the start in January of the Dakar Rally 2016, Argentina-Bolivia-Argentina, and returned to Spain via Uruguay and Chile I set about planning by calling Tony, he loved the idea. On researching I realised Le Mans Classic was scheduled for 8-11 July 2016, a biennial event, so on April 13 I emailed “Glenn The Ed” to see if he knew of any Alpiners making the pilgrimage.
Bingo the next day details for Steve Roizer of HORN 223 article fame and newly formed Leicester South East area contact. A most helpful conversation ensued 5 driving from the Midlands – going in convoy seemed sensible, we are based in Surrey – so another call to Tony who did not know of the event but loved the idea even more than the 24 hour race.
Spain April 30, after my return from warm Wales, searched and booked the limited availability of Hotel Papea – a log cabin site – €500 for 4 nights on outskirts of Le Mans near the river and close to tram serving the town and circuit. My S1 boot is to small for camping gear, unlike Steve and co S1V-V`s so they are camping on circuit site at €100 per car.
By May 11 all tickets booked, €123 pre sale price for 3 day admission, paddock + grandstand 19 – www.lemansclassic.com is poor and difficult to validate purchase.
The ferry Dover/Calais 5 day midday return through www.Aferry.com is only £75 per car 2 adults. Currently we are trying to change our circuit bookings to form a SAOC entry in the Bugatti pavilion – an massive area for pre 1966 road car clubs (10 minimum) to display and promote ownership – it is 21% cheaper pp. It is proving difficult as the Club entry office and ACO general sales do not liase, French bureaucracy!!!!
Hopefully some European mainland Alpines will attend but currently the following 7 UK Alpines are travelling in convoy; Series 1: Mike Glithero 34 SPG Series 1V: Tony Helps ART 4485 Series V: Steve Roizer ABW 76D Terry Newell NYE 914E Brian Thake JWK 944E Jason Wilkinson YBL 375 ????????? Allan Appleby ???????
Heres looking forward to trouble free drives, good weather, wine & food + great marques and racing. With 60th year of Alpines 2018/19 hopefully we can get a celebration tour to the closest event date July 2018. The Alpines 7301, 7302 and 7303 RW in 60`s Le Mans` were so great – one may be racing – what do you think SAOC committee members “Alpine 60/60 Le Mans Classic Tour”.