Thursday 14th May (PM)
The teams arrived at Holyhead at 4.30pm and headed to Trac Mon in Anglesey to complete the coastal circuit stage. The weather in Wales was dry, which made a welcome change from sliding around the circuits in Ireland that morning. The views surrounding the circuit were stunning and it made a pleasant end to an action packed day.
Incidentally Jeremy brought this car one year ago to the day – it has been fully rebuilt and today has raced in two countries on the same day!
Friday 15th May
The final day of the tour – and the teams set off early for the hour and a half journey back to Trac Mon to race on the International Circuit. Although this is an exciting circuit with breathtaking views the journey did seem a bit excessive considering they had been here the previous evening.
Following this they stopped at Nant Gwrheyren to complete the Hill Climb stage. The Hill Climb is set in an old granite quarry which starts from the sea and climbs over 500 feet in approximately half a mile. I got the impression that if they were to visit again they may like to have a couple of attempts at this section!
That afternoon they completed the final stages of the tour which consisted of a sprint at Llanbedr Airfield – which is the longest runway in Europe – and a blast around Glan y Gors Kart track.
At the end of the day the teams met back at St. George’s Hotel, Llandudno for their final supper and prize giving. Jeremy and Angelica picked up a first in class award and were delighted that the car had run without fault throughout the tour – a big thank you to Hardy Hall Restorations.
Finally a huge congratulations to all the competitors that took part, and thank you to the organisers of Tour Ireland – we look forward to next year.
Wednesday 13th PM
Once they had landed in Dublin the teams headed south to Wicklow Mountains to complete their four afternoon closed road stages.
By now Jeremy and Angelica had got into the swing of working together as a team and were slowly learning to trust each other’s judgments (brave Angelica)! The scenery was impressive and the stages wound through the marsh lands at the base of the mountains. However, it was reported that the roads were slightly more bumpy than it was first anticipated making it more challenging.
The teams stayed at the Powercourt Hotel in Enniskerry which hosted the main dinner of the event. You would have thought this would have meant a late night but I have been told that everyone was fairly sensible with the next day in mind.
Thursday 14th AM
The teams set off for Mondello Park at 7am this morning. They completed two races on the National Circuit in very wet and slippery conditions. When Jeremy rang Holdens earlier to report back he sounded relieved that he had managed to keep his car from following some of the others off the track!
After getting soaked through, the teams headed back to the ferry port in Dublin to catch the express ferry to Hollyhead in time for the afternoon stage.
It’s a positive start for Team Holden! After a hasty departure from Holden Vintage & Classic yesterday afternoon Jeremy & Angelica arrived in Llandudno just before the 6.00pm deadline for scrutineering.
At 7.30pm all competitors attended a mandatory briefing explaining the timing systems and stage layouts during the tour. After this they enjoyed a pre-event dinner at the St Georges Hotel, followed by an early night in preparation for the action packed following day.
Wednesday 13th May (AM)
The first two closed road stages of Tour Ireland started from Great Orme, Llandudno. Jeremy and Angelica were to arrive at the start for 8am. This is the first time they have teamed up as driver and navigator duo, with little time to practise the pressure was on.
After the first stage, reports back from Angelica suggest that there was definitely room for driver improvement – Jeremy obviously blames his lack of practice in the car!
However, he managed to redeem himself slightly in the second stage by gaining a 20 second time improvement – hopefully this will continue for the rest of the week.
After completing the first two stages they headed to the ferry port at Holyhead and caught the express ferry to Dublin. This afternoon they will complete four stages in the Wicklow Mountains just south of Dublin. We will let you know how they got on tomorrow…..
Jeremy’s model (The AHP 294B) features the original Ford 4.2 Litre V8 engine. It made its debut at the 1964 Geneva Rally, just three months after it was registered, where ‘Tiny’ Lewis and Barry Hughes took the controls and edged the car to victory. Heralded as the most campaigned of the seven Tiger models, highlights for this particular car include being driven by Maurice Gatsonides in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally, as well as by Peter Harper in the 1966 Monte. Other successes include a spell of endurance racing at the Zandvoort circuit, shattering Dutch National Records in three, six, 12 and 24 hour categories where it averaged a speed of 75.47mph over the course of 23 hours, despite regularly pulling into the pit lane to be topped up with water. The car so impressed Gatsonides that he christened it “Thunderbus”.
In 1965, AHP was forced to retire from the Alpine Rally when the car caught fire. A rear brake shoe failed and the resulting debris damaged the hydraulics sending a jet of highly flammable brake fluid onto a hot brake drum with inevitable results. In the ensuing blaze, all the fire extinguishers were used up to quell the flames and the resulting damage is part of the reason why the car was returned to the Competition Department at Rootes for a full rebuild.
Despite lying unused in the 70’s & 80’s and being prepared for classic rallying in the early 1990’s, a full (FIA spec) rebuild by HardyHall Restorations was needed. AHP is now in fine fettle and still retains many period competition features including the 288 limited slip diff, the long-range saddle tank fitted in the boot, quick-rack steering, the original works hardtop badged “1966 Marathon de la Route”, period Halda rally instruments and the fly-off handbrake specially made for Peter Harper to aid his cornering technique. Indeed all the interior trim is original, including the driver’s seat which was specially tailored to suit Peter Harper’s long-shanked frame. The car has undergone restoration and Jeremy is looking forward to competing in it at the Tour Britannia Race Series this month.