The weekend of August 31st/September 1st saw a wonderful collection of Abarths gathered at the famous Donington circuit.
Enthusiasts of the Abarth marque came from different countries in Europe and indeed as far afield as South Africa and the USA.
The following entrants and cars participated in the event :-
Aumeller 3000 SP
Small 2000 SP
Molitor S/A 2000
Lynes S/A 1300
Moerenhout 1000 SP
Gementi FORMULIA ITALIA
Malmberg FORMULIA ITALIA
Argles 124 CSA
Eglington 124 CSA
Broomhall 124 CSA
Parker 131 VOLUMEX
Smith 2200 ALLEMANO
Goodman DOUBLE BUBBLE
Lanham 850 OT
Van Ling 1000 TC
Franklin 1000 TC
Perryer 1000 TC
Galli 850 TC
Lloyd 850 TC
Vipond 695 SS
On the Saturday the Abarths had plenty of opportunity to drive without restriction on the Donington circuit and it was a great sight to see such a variety of Abarth cars in action. On the Sunday a rather pedestrian demonstration was organised behind a pace car that seemed to be stuck in 1st gear! It was a shame that in particular the sports racing cars were consigned to over-heating rather than the sort of speeds that they were capable of! Three Abarth World Meeting entrants entered the Sports and GT race on Sunday 1st September. Tony Berni led the 1300 Class in his 1000TCR until forced to pit with a plug lead problem rejoining the race to finish second to a fleet Jeremy Anstead driving his beautifully prepared X19 (by Geoff Anstead of Radbourne Racing fame).
Colin Pool enjoyed a titanic battle with a Chevron B19, eventually finishing a close second.
The social aspect of the meeting was deemed to be most enjoyable with around 150 people sitting down to lunch on both days and a Gala dinner on the Saturday night.
The Guests of Honour at the meeting were Sergio Limone, (head of Fiat Competitions Department) Giorgio Pianta, (former Abarth test driver and development engineer and the Baldi brothers (famed Abarth engineers).
Giorgio Pianta spoke with great eloquence in both English and Italian. Perhaps the most saleant point made in his speech was how impressed he was at the level of enthusiasm and knowledge of the Abarth marque in Great Britain.
Giorgio Pianta also agreed to present concours prizes to the winners who were as follows:-
Car of the meeting : Leo Aumuller - Abarth 3000 V8 Sports Racing Car.
Best mid engine Sports Racing Car : Colin Pool - Osella Abarth PA2
Best rear engine Sports Racing Car : Lincoln Small - Fiat Abarth 2000 SP
Second best rear engine Sports Racing Car : Guy Moerenhout - Fiat Abarth 1000SP
Best 500 based Car : Mike Kason - Fiat Giannini 650 Group 2 (not an Abarth but still the best 500 based car!)
Best 600 based Car : Galli - Fiat Abarth 850TC
Best 850 based Car : John Kearle - Fiat Abarth 1000OTR
Best Fiat Twin-Cam based Car : Giles Broomhall - Fiat Abarth 124 Rally Spider
The concours prizes were sponsored by Middle Barton Garage, Holtmann & Niedergerke, the well known German classic Fiat specialist and Berni Motori, the well known Italian classic Abarth specialist.
Special mention must be made of a number of Abarth luminaries from the past who also participated in the Abarth World meeting, notably Lincoln Small, John Anstead and Geoff Anstead who as Radbourne Racing were the Abarth importers in the 60's and 70's.
together with Charles Gunther who raced a white 850TC in the mid 60's. The car was prepared by Radbourne Racing and Charles claims to be the first person to win a race in the UK in an Abarth!
The Abarth Club of Great Britain would like to thank all of the competitiors, some of whom travelled a great distance, for supporting the inaugural UK World Abarth meeting. In particular it was wonderful to see a team from Italy and of course the Aumuller and Molitor families who travelled from Southern Germany for the event.
Judge and Cheryl Parker came all the way from Richmond, Virginia. Judge drove the Middle Barton Garage 131 Volumetrico with verve! It was also great to see Dave and Maddie Bienz from Cape Town, South Africa who were responsible for the sunshine that was enjoyed all weekend!
Every entrant deserved a prize as all the cars were very well presented and we were fortunate to have such a good mix of different models of Abarths.
No doubt many who were at Donington in 2002 will meet again at various venues in Europe in 2003.
Special thanks must be extended to Sue Castle-Miller and all the staff at Middle Barton Garage who ably supported the Chairman (Tony Castle-Miller) as he dealt with what sometimes appeared to be impossible administrative problems. We all look forward to not organising another event for some time!!!