On Sunday September 2nd, Fred, Simon and Jamie, three “die hard Porsche fans” organized for the fourth time, if I am not mistaken, the annual “Porsche’s at the Castle” event in Hedingham. The Hedingham Castle was built in 1140 by Aubrey de Vere and is now maintained by one of his descendants Jason Lindsay. Jason, a very pleasant and accessible man who, although he is a lord, rolled up his sleeves to shake the event in the right direction.
At the evening of Saturday September 1st, there was a gala dinner in the presence of racing legend Vic Elford. A gala dinner for which we hadn’t registered. Unfortunately it seems, because many attendees have confirmed it to us over and over again: we missed out on a very fun and informative evening. Vic has, in his very own loose style, depicted his career in flavours and colours, first with the Porsch 911’s and later on with the prototypes. Gladly, on Sunday evening I had the chance to chat with him, we had a nice conversation about his first 911 experiences. For example the one with him begging AFN (the importer back then) for a car. He told them he needed the car to take part in a Rally Cross race the very next day. Apparently AFN did not realise what Rally Cross really meant because they gave Vic a 911 demo car on loan. On Monday morning Vic returned to the garage with a battered and damaged car. Vic was given a serious scolding until it became clear that, thanks to the media coverage of the race, there was a sudden flood of 911 orders being placed. Probably that’s how the marketing phrase “you race and win on Sunday and you sell on Monday” found its origin.
On Sunday, nine o’clock in the morning, we arrived at the entrance of the stately driveway to the castle. Left and right of the driveway already a lot older Porsches parked on beautifully cropped lawns. On the left side the “long hood” 911’s, the 356’s and 912’s on the right. Further back towards the pond, the inviting stands of different vendors. Plenty of UK companies working with classic Porsche’s, by near or far, were present. As were sellers of parts, magazines, artwork and books.
Beyond the barrier, on the left about halfway up the driveway, was the stand of Porsche Classic (we couldn’t do without it) together with the stand of the Porsche Club Great Britain. In front of both stands were the newer RS’s, ranging from 993 up to the GT 3 RS 4.0. Further to the left the organizing committee provided the visitors with a real “William Tell” contest. A local archery club had installed several arrow targets and with expert explanation of “professional amateurs” you could get started as an archer. Just a little higher on the mountain on the right side the more recent (but still historic) manor of Jason Lindsay, which is used for receptions, weddings, etc. In the courtyard, the organization had created a beautiful setting of Vic Elford racing cars. Such as his 911 ex Rally Cross car, a 908, the 917 long tail Martini, brought together with an F2 (of which I am not sure that Vic ever drove it). Moreover, there was a 934/5 to admire, recently restored by Kremer for a customer. The restoration of this car already described in detail by Classic Porsche UK (a series of articles written by editor in chief Keith Seume).
Finally there it was, at the left of the manor, across what must have been the drawbridge in the Medieval Ages: the imposing Hedingham Castle. The setting for the celebration of 40 years RS. It was the intention of the organizing committee to gather at least 40 RS cars (Touring, lights, RSH and/or RSR). Personally we never got round to counting them, but they were many. Some people mentioned 43, others counted 50. One thing is for sure: it added up to a great success. Magical to see so much 1973 Carrera RS’s together in their different colours: Tangerine, Chartreuse, Aubergine, Mint Green, Signal yellow, light yellow, Ivory, Black, and of course the white with red, blue and green stripes and coloured Carrera wheels. On the owners side different nationalities were represented. Of course, the vast majority of the existing RS owners were from the UK, but others came down from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and even a delegation from Sweden had descended to celebrate the 40 years together.
Besides these RS’s in Touring, Light and RSH (one model present), there were also a number RSR’s on show. In this selection of 1973 RSR’s certainly the Samson Kremer car and the yellow Brumos car (which in 1973 won Sebring with Gregg, Haywood and Helmer) were the most famous racing beasts. Also a Signal Yellow RSR, at that time owned by the Mexican JC Bolanos, a light yellow RSR and a beautiful light blue (Gulf colour) looked stunning. Obviously, the 1973 RS and RSR 3.0 shouldn’t be lacking. In addition to the Le Mans registered Toblerone Swiss RSR, there was also the RS 3.0 in which Nick Faure showed his famous drifting style in the British championship back then. For an anecdote, Nick Faure who was a master in taking corners “sideways” using a self-made technique for bringing the car back into position after an almost 90° drift, just by letting go of the steering wheel and catching it back when the wheels were straight. He who feels like this is a technique to master better be sure to have a lot of space.
At noon, the organization had a “run up the hill” in store for all participants. First, the RS’s went down the mountain behind the pace car (a Fiat 500 equipped for the occasion with a “follow me” sign). After a big U-turn on a field that served as a parking lot, one by one the cars went back on the hill. Between rows of spectators with neck hairs all straight. Thereafter, the exercise got repeated once more, this time with all RSR’s present. Given the deeper sound, the open outlet of the racing cars and owners letting themselves go, again an unforgettable moment. The sound, the smell, the power…
The rest of the day we spent among the most beautiful street and race cars that Porsche ever built. The RS meeting being of course the icing on the cake. I suppose no one could remain unmoved by the sight of so many “Duck tails” sitting side by side. What the theme for the next meeting in 2013 will be, we do not know yet, but it will definitely be worth the visit. Hedingham is only 400 km away from Antwerp (divided by the intermediate channel crossing of course). Besides, for a real Porsche enthusiast, distance is never a limiting factor.
See you there, Hedingham Castle next year.
Photogallery added here