PAG logo

Google

Malta Classic October 2017

by

Niall McLoughlin

Hope everyone is enjoying the winter festivities, drinking, eating and sleeping too much (with a little vehicular tinker time thrown in too).

In early October, my wife and I travelled over to Malta for a bit of a holiday to relax. Early October seemed the perfect time as it was after the summer holidays, not too hot, but still lovely and warm (24-26C every day), and a bit quieter in general… Oh, and did I mention our holiday over there just happened to coincide with the Malta Classic? (wink wink)

Before I get shot down – the better half did know this when we booked the holiday. She loves the beach and the sea but I get bored easily, so the cars and the history of this wonderful island in the med seemed to be a brilliant best of both worlds!

For those of you who have never been to Malta, I can't recommend it enough. Although whatever you do, don't drive over there – the busses are cheap and go everywhere. It has the highest collision rate in Europe and virtually every car you see has battle scars, and the condition of the roads make a beaten up farm track in the UK look like the smooth drag strip at Santa-Pod Raceway. I couldn't help but think that the best car for the island would be a 2CV as you never need to go more than 50mph!

Anyway, back onto the subject – the Malta Classic.

The Malta Classic is an event that is hosted every year in early October. The event takes place over 4 days (Thursday-Sunday) and is made up of three main events, a concourse d'elegance, a hill climb, and a "grand prix". I'm not a big fan of "show and shine" events, so gave that a miss. Annoyingly the hill climb was cancelled due to a damaged road (lifted drain). This left us with the "grand prix" that runs on the Saturday and Sunday. It was relatively hard to follow the action precisely as there were quite a few red flags and stints of "other stuff going on". But from what I could gather, on the Saturday cars were sent out at intervals to do timed qualifying runs. Then on the Sunday they went out in groups of around 7 to 10 cars in their various categories to race.

The Grand prix is hosted in the ancient city of MDina, and runs out of the old citadel, down a twisty hill and off into the country, then loops back up a steep incline back to the start. The pit area is within the citadel walls. For fans of the Sky drama series "Game of Thrones", a lot of the scenes are filmed in MDina.

The cars competing varied massively, from an original GT40, right the way through to our humble old friend the 2CV, via classic Maserati race cars and tuned Minis. The track was tight and twisty, and in the true nature of racing and people pushing their cars to the limits (some more than others), there were some automotive casualties.

A couple of notable ones were an MGB GT V8 that lost it on the run up the hill and ploughed into the bank backwards. The driver was okay, but the whole car was bent up like a banana and the shell/chassis was well beyond repair.

A BRG Triumph TR6 spun and hit a stone wall pretty hard too, ripping off the rear wheel and suspension, passenger side door and passenger side rear wing.

A lovely little fiat 500 also came to a sorry end when the driver (who was 2 wheeling around most corners) rolled several times. It did have a cage though, and again the driver made a safe exit.

The 2 highlights for me though, were a pair of 2CVs that were owned by a father and daughter from the UK. One was a red and white Dolly, which although looked standard, had a whopping 2cv engine in it prepared by Pete Sparrow – I think the owner said it was 710cc (but don't quote me on that). It absolutely flew round the track and was slightly quicker than the BMW M3. The other 2cv was a nice blue early ripple-bonnet with suicide doors. This was running on a later chassis with a standard 602 motor and was rather more leisurely around the circuit.

It was a relatively informal event, which was nice as you could get close to the action and chat with the marshals. I am already looking to make the same visit next year! Visit href="www.maltaclassic.com" target="_blank">www.maltaclassic.com for more info.

I did hear a great little fact from one of the Ferrari drivers (although I can't say it's 100% true. He said that there are more Ferraris in Malta per head than in Italy!

All the Best, Niall.

Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars
Malta Classic Cars

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!