Retro racers make a comeback.jpg

Retro racers make a comeback

The Algarve Resident’s Liz Griffiths caught up with Sir Stirling Moss and Algarve resident John Sheldon for a chat about the weekend’s racing fun at the Algarve Motor Park.

The excitement was palpable surrounding the build up to the Sir Stirling Moss Trophy Cup on October 17 at the Algarve Historic Festival.

For the first time, Sir Stirling Moss competed in a race on the new track in celebration of his 80th birthday.

“I am really looking forward to the race. I have done a few laps of the track and it really is terrific. There are some difficult parts of the track, including a couple of very steep hills, which won’t be made any easier by the sun getting lower,” Sir Stirling Moss said before the big event.

The Sir Stirling Moss Trophy Cup saw Sir Stirling competing in the two-hour long race with co-driver Roger Earl.

“I will be competing in my Osca FS327, which is a really beautiful car to drive. There are cars that are lighter and faster but the advantage of the Osca is that throughout the long race the car won’t need to be re-fuelled.”

In 1962, a serious crash resulted in Sir Stirling being unconscious for a month and he was forced to retire.

“I competed in my first professional race in 1947 and during my professional career I was competing in 52 races a year.

“Professional drivers now are only competing in around 17 races a year and I really do think the sportsmanship has gone from the sport. Formula One is a business now anyway, not a sport.”

Another driver competing last weekend was John Sheldon, an Algarve resident since 1997, who since retiring from his dentistry practice in England has been able to make more time for his love of motor racing.

“I travel around the world competing in races but I really do think this track is one of the best I have competed on. It is truly up there with the greats,” John Sheldon said.

With help from his team, which included Steve Whittell and Richard Campbell, John competed in two races in a red Chevron La Monde car at the Algarve Historic Festival, which included the Masters Touring 1970s race, where John came in fourth place, and the Formula 1 Pre-1966 race.

“I think we are so lucky to have the race track on our door step,” he said.