The Jutland Peninsular in Denmark is home to Aarhus the country’s oldest and 2nd largest city. The ‘City of Smiles’, as it is known, hosts a Classic Racing Festival every May. With the help of 650 workers the main roads around the Memorial park are transformed into a very fast but rather narrow 2.3 km race track in just ten days. Then 250 drivers and their teams descend on the town and three days of the finest cars are seen on and off track.
Every classic club in Denmark turns out with their prized machines to show and enjoy the spectacle, with 30,000 fans both young and old. I was lucky enough to be included in Titan Historic Racing Teams weekend and followed the all British line up as they went wheel to wheel with those across the North Sea. Aarhus is a 7th century city with a great ‘Café culture’ and noticeably quite a young population; it was busy but never crowded and only 20 minutes’ walk from the circuit.
Whilst I took the cheap Ryan Air flight from Stansted a fully loaded transporter brought Titans race cars over from Felixstowe port via the 18 hour ferry. The crowd appreciated the quality of the Grand Prix machines including a March 761 from 1976 (ex-Ronnie Peterson) and two F5000 cars; one being a Chevron B24, the only F5000 car to beat the F1 cars at the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in 1973, driven then by Peter Gethin. The 2nd F5000 is a Surtees TS11 that Sam Posey drove back in 1971, raced in the US and Australia powered by a Chevy V8. To compete in the smaller formula race events the team also took their Cooper T52 from 1960; this car was built for motorcycle champion Giacomo Agostini to race four wheels. Finally, in the saloon car pre 65 races they needed their Ford Mustang nicknamed ‘Casper’ to be on top form as this race had some of the best in Denmark entered, including HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark in his super-fast Lotus Cortina.
Drivers included team owner Greg Thornton 2013 FIA Historic Masters Champion, Calum Lockie a British GT race legend, ex F1 driver from the 1970’s Tony Trimmer and Bob Birrell, a man that has been racing cars for nearly fifty years enjoying his passion at his 93rd different circuit and was black flagged in his first ever race for wearing a tie! With sunshine forecast for the weekend everything was set for some great track action and we weren’t disappointed, at times I would say it became somewhat wild. Demonstration runs by F1 and Le Mans cars slotted into a race programme that included historic Formula Juniors, pre 71 and 76-80 saloons, as well as the motorbike powered Legends Cup machines and the Danish Thundersport Championship.
These DTC cars were a big attraction for the locals, V8 Chevy power in a space frame with an all enclosing fibre glass body in the shape of a Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro or a Dodge Challenger. This resulted in all action, fast door to door racing with the inevitable consequences and enough body work left track side to build another car. If you are a fan of the Goodwood Revival then take time to consider this event in next year’s schedule; at £60.00 for a three day pass, a cheap return flight and hotels should bring the whole trip into a £250 budget. Great value in a lovely country, real street racing and super friendly people; the Classic Race Aarhus goes down as one of the best I have visited.