The 2006 Tour d'Espagne
Patrick Peter's events command a loyal following of competitors from around the world but this year's Tour d'Espagne, organized as usual in conjunction with local Spanish enthusiasts, was overshadowed by torrential downpours which contributed to the loss of a young competitor's life in a freak road accident.
Some 130 cars started from Madrid on 6th November, ranging from a horde of Alfa Romeo GTAs through the usual early Porsche 911s, a handful of incredibly quick Lotus Elans (with 'period' carbonfibre bits) and a mixture of sleek Ferrari 275GTBs, thundering Ford GT40s, genteel Astons and even a bespoilered Seat rally car: in short, something for everyone. I took part with former colleague (and fluent Spanish speaker and map reader) Max Girardo in a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, which turned out to be a lucky choice given the weather.
The first three days of this five day event saw heavy rainfall and it was a large pool of sitting water and mud at the end of a fast road straight which surprised many competitors, although it was the Ferrari 275GTB/4 of father and son team Anthony and Nick Pozner (Anthony is the owner of Hendon Way Motors) which aquaplaned and rolled with fatal results. Max and I had shared breakfast with them just a couple of hours before and this brought home the potential risks involved even in relatively genteel motorsport, despite a roll cage and safety harnesses. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Anthony and his family.
Left: Spanish dealer Jaime Pueche (right) with his Ferrari 250 Europa.
Right: Max Girardo at work.
As these events become more popular and organizers are faced with ever greater entry lists, the diverging priorities of those who are more interested in good food, fun roads and wonderful landscapes and others who are more into shaving 1/10ths of a second off their lap times on a circuit make it ever more difficult to keep everyone happy. I've decided for next year to try the Modena Cento Ore and the Ecosse Tour whilst also giving the Mille Migliaanother try, if there's space. I'll leave the serious racing to others: there will always be someone faster, so one might as well have fun.
British dealer Martin Chisholm in his ex-Mark Bolan (T-Rex) Ferrari Daytona.