ROVING REPORT: Memories of Circuits Des Ramparts in Angouleme
By Ben Stephens
I have been rather enjoying Robin and Michelle’s new newsletter. It’s been a welcome break from the monotony of the news, and dreaming of ownership of some of the amazing cars they have for sale has been a very welcome distraction.
When Michelle asked me to write something about events I have been to recently, I realised I really had to cast my mind back to 2019! What an amazing and very French year I had as both driver and passenger in some wonderful cars. Highlights were the Circuits Des Ramparts in Angouleme, driving my 1934 Triumph to Monte Carlo, an amazing unplanned two weeks in the Upper Normandy Region with a dear friend and her 1927 Delage, the Beforty Rally in the Pas-de-Calais region and particularly the Vintage Revival event at Montlhery.
For those who don’t know the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhery, it is a motor racing circuit south of Paris, opened in 1924. It has a 33 degree banked oval and a road racing circuit. The first race was the 1925 French Grand Prix.
Unusually, unlike many banked circuits, the original banking survives and is driveable, although, now not possible to actually race. The banking is very steep and provides quite a spectacle even now seeing large pre-war cars high on the banked oval.
The Vintage-Revival attracts around 300 cars, and is held every two years. It's very pre-war centric, and a lot of weird and wonderful machines turn up, many with large exhausts, very little in way of body and engines that would embarrass a diesel train. The variety of cars, from Alfa Romeos and Bugattis to tiny cycle cars, is really a site to behold.
A wonderful autojumble is also present, with lots of stalls to rummage through with rare, unusual, strange and often (unless to that select few) unidentifiable parts.
I would highly recommend visiting the event, although don’t expect anything as grand as the Goodwood Revival or the vast scale of Classic Le-Man, but think more a group of likeminded eccentrics with pre-war cars playing on a wonderfully historic and evocative circuit.
So – One to ‘Look Forward’ to. Taking place 7th and 8th of May 2022.