Lombard Classic Rally Grimsthorpe Castle 2023

Published on 12 July 2023 at 12:08

The highly professional Boston Bowl Racing team on the way back from recovering the Integrale. Driving is Russell Thompson. in the middle is Malcolm's mate Paulo, the silly bugger on the right is me. If you have to work you might as well enjoy it.

I have always loved things that work - steam engines, electronic devices, complex machines and absolutely anything that has an engine in it. Bikes and cars have been a big part of my life since I could walk but my interest went in to over load the day my eldest Brother came home in a brand new Jag 4.2. My parents had a 1300 Ford Cortina at the time - this Jag had all sorts of things the 'Tina didn't like electric windows, air con and an engine that could pull the skin off a rice pudding. I must have bored all my friends stupid banging on about this endlessly but I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

Bikes featured big too - mainly Raleigh Runabouts and Wisps and other mopeds that could be bought for 15 or 25 quid - about 5 weeks pocket money back then. I have probably had about 40 cars and the same number of bikes since then, although the child like excitement has gone, the thrill of a fast car or bike has never left me.

It was therefore with utter joy that I accepted an offer to help out with fielding a couple of cars at the Lombard Classic Rally at Grimsthorpe Castle. There were a few members of the Mablethorpe and District Motor  Club going, quite a few of them have rally cars so we all met up in Boston and went in convoy from there. We took Malcolm Leggate's Group B Integrale and Renault 5 turbo, he was going to take his Metro 6r4 but it had a noisy diff and then developed a leaky head gasket. Dap took his gorgeous Opel Manta, John Flynn took his Cortina MK2 GT and a few other members joined in the fun either with cars or as pit crew, I never did ask who's the Alfa was, I think it was a guy called John, I must find out. It was a brilliant gathering, when John Flynn's car decided to have a leaky water pump everybody jumped in to help and get it back on track again. It's a good, honest classic racer that one, nothing flashy or overdone but it definitely goes some with John getting the best out of it, despite it's steering box sloppiness.


The racing started at about 10 am , it's very informal and sort of free form, everybody was enjoying it, it had everything - noise, smells of burning rubber and Castrol R racing oil, and cars being driven hard. Sorry Greta.

Sadly the Integrale broke before I got my go, we are going to have a look at that today to see what is wrong, I think I know but until we get it in the air and have a proper look it's just guesswork. 

There were a lot of Escorts there, a cossy powered 6r4 replica, lots of minis and a very nice Audi Quattro, proper cars being driven properly by proper drivers. Some broke and there were a few interruptions as a result, it took us a while to sort the Integrale and racing had to stop until we managed to get it clear. One of the Escorts went off and set fire to the grass but I suspect the driver was a fireman because when he went to get back on track the spinning wheels covered the flames in dirt and the fire was soon out. I think that's proof that these cars are good for the environment, definitely a crisis averted there.

The day went on until about 4pm, it had been quite a warm day and a lot of the drivers had probably had enough by then, I think Malc must have done about a dozen runs by then. I think the highlight of his day was when he met an old mate - none other than Mr Barry "Leapy" Lee, who has over 1400 race wins to his name in various formats. I'm not so sure that he was quite so delighted when Barry announced while being interviewed that there was 160 year of experience in the car with both he and Malcolm being just under 80 years old. Malcolm has been telling people for many years that he is only 60 and that deception is now exposed. Either that or Barry is actually 100. Whatever he is, he's still bloody quick and considering he was driving a very skitty car for the first time he looked well in control.

I still have loads of videos and photos to go through, I need to get a much better mic for the camera, the inbuilt mic can't handle the volume levels in these cars. Watch this space.....


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