EVENT:// Classic Car event at Circuits des Remparts

1939 saw the first motor race take place round the streets of Angouleme, les Circuits des Remparts. Now in 2010 we celebrate the centenary of Alfa Romeo with the roar of the twin overhead camshaft engines reverberating through the streets of Angouleme once again. Along with Monaco and Pau, Angouleme is one of the last surviving great street circuits.

It has become a weekend for showing off cars, joining in the rally, entering the races, meeting friends, swapping tales, and all in all having a wonderful weekend in this beautiful region of France. 2010-09 Circuit des Remparts/NY3Q9940AR [small]Entrants and visitors come from all over Europe to be part of this special event.

Concours d’Elegance

Friday sees the arrival of competitors and visitors, taking over all available accommodation in the town. The streets and squares filled with exotic machinery, echoing through this ancient place.

The evening is always given over to the Concours d’Elegance, a spectacle where entrants display their beloved cars, appearing in period dress. From Renault to MG, Alfa Romeo to Berliet, everyone experiences a slice of history and glamour. All are winners.

2010-09 Circuit des Remparts/NY3Q9807AR [small]

Rallye international de Charente

Saturday morning, has hundreds of amazing cars gathering by the banks of the Charente River outside the new home of the Bande Designee. Teams study their maps in readiness for the tour of the lanes and sweeping countryside of the Charente Department. Around 300 cars like Bugattis, Ferraris, Delahayes, Cord, Aston Martins, from 1920 to the present day,  head out in convoy.

Maps are not really necessary, as you are greeted by the sight of local people at nearly every junction encouraging the cars and giving directions. The route is lined with young and old, enjoying the sounds and sights of this wonderful display of classic vehicles. Lunch was taken in Cognac and a further route guided everyone back to the finishing rostrum in the Champs de Mars in Angouleme.

2010-09 Circuit des Remparts/NY3Q9959AR [small]Saturday evening sees the restaurants and bars full as just about everyone spills into town to soak up the very special atmosphere. Cars are not left out as people parade through the streets in their much loved vehicles. A very special place to be in France, in September. Miss it if you dare!


Sunday morning practice wakes everyone up from 08:00 hours. A chance to see if all the pre-race preparation has come together, and for any new arrivals to the venue to get firsthand knowledge of this short, but very tricky little circuit which holds so much history.
2010-09 Circuit des Remparts/NY3Q1600AR [large]Driving around in the tire tracks of the famous, avoiding kerbs, barriers, handling the ever so tight hairpin corners and working out how and where to overtake. A few competitors did not make it through to their races due to the odd mishap, mechanical and directional. Most however, made it through safely.

2010-09 Circuit des Remparts/IMG_1320AR [small]A welcome lunch break to take in the buzz in town and then it is time to take your position on the Remparts, your seat in the grandstand to settle down for an entertaining afternoon in the hot sun.

Morgan V-Twin three-wheelers

Three wheeled Morgans dominated the first race, the Wimille Plateau. Fast, furious and brave action, close racing being the order of the day.

In between races the crowd was amused to see how the modern super cars have difficulty getting round the tight corners, with the nimble Renault 5 Turbo nipping past the Lamborghini and Dodge Viper! More glorious sounds. Throughout the town, vehicles were on display, and stalls were set up selling varieties of car related products. A pleasant place to wander around should the racing within earshot not be quite your thing!

The Pescarolo race saw Paul Conway make it third time lucky, as he steered and slid his thundering V8 Morgan between the barriers just keeping ahead of the fast charging Damien Kohler in the very quick Diva GT. Alfas, Minis, MGA and Jaguar made up the field as the two leaders weaved their way through to the chequered flag.

Panhards in the DB C. Deutsch - R. Bonnet race

A host of mainly blue DB Panhards then took to the streets, and with lots of three wheeled cornering, and a number not making it to the finish. All the same, a credit to the marquee and fascinating to see so many cars out racing.

Alfas made a welcome return to Angouleme and screamed their way amongst the tall buildings, as it pierced through the gaps between houses, their shrill and evocative sound thrilling the crowds. Celebrating their Centenary, Alfas could be seen all around the town.

The Tringnant race saw MGs, Rileys, Amilcars and the giant eleven litre Vauxhall of Tony Lees relive the early history of this event. Lots of opposite lock driving being a welcome sight from the current GP racing. Close racing and much overtaking as well.

Bugatti Grand Prix

The Bugatti race was robbed of a potentially titanic battle due to the non appearance of Martin Overington in his 35B. However Michael Hudson took up the reins and gave all watching a wonderful display in his similar car. Eighteen Bugattis is an awesome sight and sound, and brought out the rare 1933 type 59, last of the GP racers.
2010-09 Circuit des Remparts/IMG_1423AR [large]Monomills gave us an insight into Rene Bonnet’s 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s single seat Panhard and Citroen engine cars, a great sight and sound, being driven with so much enthusiasm.

The Larousse grid brought together tail happy GT racers, doing their best to slide their way round, avoiding contact with the all too close armco. Agile Alpines, powerful Porsches, mighty Minis, while the favorite Peerless and Warwick drifted to the delight of the crowd in the late summer sun.

A glorious array of eagerly awaited Historic GP and single seat cars took to the tarmac. Ferrari, Cooper, Talbot, Gordini returned to their old haunt, to take us back to those halcyon days in a magnificent show of wonderful machinery.

Grand Tourismo final

The finale brought out the top honours from the two GT races, but a problem with the leading Porsche early in the proceedings robbed us of a super final charge to the line, as it stopped suddenly on the exit from the last corner, all the fast following cars somehow managing to avoid the parked Porsche! This did not stop the remainder making the most of it, putting on a great display for the approving crowds, rounding off yet another wonderful weekend.

Positie Nr Coureur Auto Bouwjaar Ronden Tijd
1 35 BESSON Gérard ALPINE 1972 12 15:02:575
2 18 KOHLER Damien DIVA FORD 1964 12 15:09:921
3 37 SERVIES Jerome MORGAN 1969 12 15:13:464
4 11 PADMORE Keith MORRIS 1965 12 15:28:424
5 34 AUMONIER Laurent MARCOS 1965 12 15:29:709
6 4 GUYONNET-DUPERAT Henri PORSCHE 1968 12 15:40:508
7 20 MURSCHEL François ALFA ROMEO 1965 12 15:41:379
8 14 LANGIN Miguel PORSCHE   2 2:54:124

Time then to pack everything up for another year, head off of for a well earned meal, swap stories with new friends, and make a promise to return again next year.

See you here in September 2011.

Words and photography ©: Ian Wilson AutoGraphracing