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A HERO welcome awaits at the fitting Race Retro

HERO Race Retro collaboration produces sixth Retro Classic Rally with show start and finish

A HERO welcome awaits at the fitting Race Retro

A HERO welcome awaits at the fitting Race Retro

HERO, the world’s leading classic rally car company comprising ERA, is a great fit when linked with the UK’s most prominent action-packed classic car show, Race Retro.

From superb show exhibits to live action, Race Retro at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire on Feb 22-24, is the ideal platform for HERO and ERA to meet and talk to an audience that are considered to be the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable classic car audience in the UK.

Together, HERO events and Race Retro put on a classic rally tour starting and finishing at the show!

18,000 -20,000 enthusiasts are expected at the Warwickshire Show ground over the course of the three days, many of whom will be welcomed to the distinctive HERO stand in the famous green colours, this year with a classic Alfa Romeo Montreal as the centre piece. Situated in Hall 3 (stand 450) close to the main live interview stage, the HERO stand is easy to find but expects to be very busy.

The HERO stand will be a hive activity over the course of Race Retro, a hub for hospitality and events, the most famous of which will be the Ecurie Cod Fillet pre-lunch meeting on Friday when the cream of former rally navigators and drivers will gather on the stand.

Organised by former champion rally navigator Mike Broad, in the past luminaries who have gathered under the HERO banner include Jimmy McRae, Paddy Hopkirk, Terry Harryman, Stuart Turner, Nicky Grist and Tony Mason. Illustrious names such as 1981 world champion pairing of Ari Vatanen and David Richards, now the Chairman of Motorsport UK, have also been seen in the green of the HERO stand. Friday 22nd could well turn out to be another rally enthusiast’s ‘spotters guide to the world of rallying’, as the great and good assemble.

Ecurie Cod Fillet was started by John Hopwood and Triumph rally driver Roy Fidler, a fish merchant by trade in 1955, hence the name. It became a very exclusive ‘invite only’ rally club as winners of Motoring News Rally events and then RAC Rallies were invited to join. As it slowly expanded their membership, other winners were invited into the ECF, including Stig Blomqvist, Hannu Mikkola and current WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala. For many, the significance of the club was their famous navigator members, such as John Brown and legend Don Barrow who invented the Poti, a navigational aid used on night events.

As classic rallying became more popular, many Ecurie Cod Fillet members graduated to becoming either competitors or marshals on classic rallies. Some still work on HERO events today.

On Saturday there are no less than four consecutive HERO navigational seminars happening at the show which will cover how to get started in classic rallying with basic navigation, right through to brushing up navigational skills at the highest level. As is HERO’s way, they are keen to continue paving the way to all forms of competitive classic rally enjoyment, with all areas catered for. 106 trainees are expected, around 70 on each seminar but there are still a few places left. Some of the attendees at the seminars will be taking part in the their very first classic car rally tour the next day, straight from the classroom to the real thing.

All the cars will be lined up on public display before the 10.00am Sunday start. The 40 competitors will take a 130 mile route following tulip instructions around a glorious Oxfordshire route finishing back at Stoneleigh Park at approximately 3.00pm. It is hoped some may even get the taste and decide to try their hand in the HERO Novice trial on May 10th.

Whether it’s just a thought to compete or their very first rally, entrants and spectators alike will enjoy watching the oldest car in the event, a 1928 Model A Ford entered by Oscar Phillips, due to lead the cars away from the line.

One of the successful features of HERO is the Arrive and Drive fleet of classic rally cars which are available to hire for events, when customers can literally arrive and everything is ready to go. It suits enthusiasts who don’t own their own rally cars or just want to run selected events. As if there wasn’t enough for the HERO staff to do at the show they will also be running a selection of Arrive and Drive rally cars for people to sample on site. This was popular when it was first introduced last year but for 2019 there are already 120 pre booked drives. It is still possible to book online but visitors can also book on the day on the HERO stand for any available slots.

On Saturday and Sunday the 23rd /24th February, Race Retro will host its famous live rally stages when the fabulous Group B cars from the eighties will entertain. The noise alone will be a major attraction.

Race Retro has grown in stature and popularity, it has become an important collaboration for HERO and the ERA as Operations Director Brian Whyte points out. “It is a great opportunity for people to really engage with us and talk to our own enthusiastic, genuine staff, about our cars, events and services. We find there is always a great rapport with the visitors at this show because they are the real fans, followers and enthusiasts whose knowledge always astounds me. In turn I think they really enjoy the interaction with the HERO team which is why we welcome them all to our stand, it’s also part of the reason why Race Retro is such a great fit for us.”

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