Nor do I single out the Giulia as the sole provider of this kind of experience. On the contrary, having watched and spoken to my co-competitors from the Historic Racing Drivers Club racing a delightfully random assortment of Morrises, Austins, Rileys, Hillmans, Fords and so on, it’s quite clear that all you really need is a nicely balanced car with no grip.
In the event our already considerable driving pleasure was augmented further by rain, requiring drivers to spend almost all 45 minutes the race lasted steering to the left on a track populated largely by right hand corners. Though Redgate, the Old Hairpin, Macleans and Coppice we’d all aim our noses into the apex, then frantically steer the other way to catch now flailing tails, then power on and drift through, feeling like Jochen Rindt but at half the speed, hooting with laughter. For sheer, simple fun, it gets no better than that.
Actually the Alfa is one of the more expensive cars at the affordable end of the grid. If you bought one of the HRDC’s little Academy Austin A35s – probably £15,000 in ready to race form – I reckon you’d have almost as much fun in a car that won’t depreciate much and all for the price of a new Ford Fiesta. And the bloke was wrong about not winning anything: there are always class honours to fight for and on Monday I won mine and have the pot to prove it. So there.
Why this now? Because I believe there are so many people out there whose only regret if they tried affordable historic motor sport would be that they didn’t do it sooner. And maybe you’re one of them. The cars are great to drive, their drivers always good company. Driving standards are generally if not uniformly good and a race weekend always provides you with something to look forward too however grim the intervening week might be. In short racing old cars is the most fun a certain sort of person can have. Frankly and so long as it was properly prepared and went sideways, I’d race a Unigate-sponsored historic milk float.