Amy Davidson recently wrote for us about New Zealand’s Leadfoot Festival, and here she gives an insight into her introduction to historic motorsport, and the lengths she has gone to in order to enjoy her passion!
“My first experience of an historic event was the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013. My brother and I were on a three-week motorsport-rich tour, and Goodwood was the final event. We were there from dusk till dawn, waiting for gates to open and being ushered off the premises as the last remaining spectators. Admittedly though, most of the time I was jogging behind him listening to brief history of every single car and driver, responding to gasps of amazement with “oh yeah, what’s that?”, and photographing only exactly the right angles and details that I was told our dad would like to see when we returned home.
“Though it was an eye-opener into a great event, I focussed interest more on rally and Formula One, until a chance encounter in a small Adenau cafe (right near the entrance to the Nurburgring Nordschleife) in 2016.
“Michael Sexton is known in New Zealand for racing Escorts, the Targa, and in Formula Junior to name just a few. He’s known to us as a family friend, and luckily for myself and my partner, he was sitting at the table right beside us. Better still, he was racing at Spa the following weekend with spare gold passes that would then become my inspiration for classic events and historic racing cars.
“The Spa Six Hours is an event I highly recommend to spectate at or compete in. The event consists of classes of historic racers including Endurance Legends, Gentlemen Drivers GTs, and the crowd favourite of historic Formula One. Watching the F1 cars get properly thrashed gives you a glimpse into what the world of motorsport was like in that era. Proper machines that rattle the stands and make you deaf for the weekend.
“Races are throughout the weekend, with the highlight being the six-hour race into the night, lit up only by historic headlights and GT40’s burning red brake pads. A photographer’s dream, with access all around the circuit to watch the streams of bulbs and occasional neon light strapped to a roof in what I can only assume is for colour or identification.
“These vehicles were made to be driven, and I became addicted to seeing them driven properly. It was a turning point in my appreciation as suddenly I was the one running between corners and pits, excitedly pointing out famous drivers and cars to Stephen.
So then there was no other option than to plan a return to Europe and partake in the bi- annual events.
“With the Spa Six Hours confirming my new-found love of all things classic, plans started formulating in my mind before we’d even left Europe the first time. We spent eleven months in the van visiting WRC and Formula 1 at Monaco, watching the Kiwi’s win the Le Mans 24 Hours, and ended the journey with another jaunt to the Goodwood FOS and even the RX7 day in Tokyo.
“With the big events of Monaco Historic and Le Mans Classic being bi-annual, I knew 2018 was another big European escapade, and luckily for me I could wrap up the tickets and flights into a package and present them to Stephen as a 30th birthday gift while we explored Waiheke Island in my Mazda RX3.
“If you’ve dreamt of historic racing, then chances are you’ve thought of the Monaco circuit. If you’ve ever wanted to see millions of dollars of history raced in sun and rain by passionate drivers or collectors, then the Monaco Historic Grand Prix is the event for you.
“Once every two years Monaco celebrates motorsport over two consecutive weekends, allowing Monégasque’s and visitors alike to attend the events and witness race meetings for both historic and modern Formula One.
“It is an incredibly interesting track for spectators with the stands positioned to capture great views for everyone, and live screens viewable from each of those zones. I knew it would be the height of my historic event experience, so I purchased Casino view tickets for Saturday, and K stand tickets for Sunday, while general admission allowed all of Friday to try soak up as much of the atmosphere over various locations.
“The 2018 Monaco Historic welcomed pre-war Grand Prix vehicles to event, expanding the meeting into a celebration of Formula One and hosting over 180 Grand Prix cars for the audience to properly admire, in the hot sun of Saturday and pouring rain of Sunday.”