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Shaking off the winter chill

7 February 2018

This is the time of year when budding race drivers start to climb out of their winter hibernation, shake off the cobwebs and take stock of how and what they are going to race this season. Some will have been industrious during the closed season and will have been working on their cars, but others will have put that day off until the weather changes and the cold garage is not so intimidating. No matter what, though, as the sun shines through the winter chill, now is the time to do something.

A kick start to this are the two exhibitions that are definitely worth attending in February. One of the Historic Motorsport International show in London’s ExCel (15-18 February) and then just a week later, the longer established Race Retro (23-25 February) at the National Agricultural Centre in Stoneleigh.

At first glance, the two exhibitions might seem to be in competition with each other, but having attended both, they are two quite different events and both are definitely worth visiting. Historic Motorsport International is much more about looking at beautiful and interesting racing cars.

However, one of the centrepieces will be The International Guild of Specialist Engineers Pavilion that is hosting companies Crosthwaite and Gardner, the Haynes Motor Museum, Renaissance Classics, Tandler Precision and Classic Performance Engineering among others.

Other companies exhibiting at the show include Cosworth, Dunlop, JE Pistons and the Crosslé Car Company.

Race Retro tends to be more practical and is a little more about finding parts for your car. Of course, the show has plenty of vehicles on display, including a celebration of the 40 The Anniversary of Formula 1’s ground-effects era while the Audi Sport Quattro S1 and Ford Cosworth RS500 are being honoured.

One of the most exciting elements of the show, though, is the Live Rally Stage which celebrates Rallying’s past with a stunning selection of cars brought together by Rallying with Group B. This year sees around 120 Group A, B and C cars take to the stage.

What is encouraging about both events is that the organisers have spotted that historic racers need a show to themselves, and not just something that is tagged onto a classic car show. Both have their own identity and fulfill a need, whether you are a competitor, a supplier, a spectator or just simply an enthusiast.

February used to be such a dull month, but now it’s lively and buzzing and gets the adrenaline going, already for the season ahead to start in earnest.

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