French historic rallies

Britain has a strong history of rallying but what is the position here?
I’m trying to find out about any historic/classic regularity road events (like HERO, Historic Rally Car Register etc in the UK).
All I’ve found on the net is info on tarmac stage rallies

Why not buy a copy of La Vie d’Auto. It carries all the latest news and information of what is to come… Covid has put the mockers on most things… but others are gradually coming back…

this is just an example…

I’m looking forward to the Tulip Rally in October… 2nd Tulpenrallye Home Edition 2021 - Tulpenrallye

this will be the 67th tulip rally

My Volvo was built for Frank Fennell and the '16 Tulip was one of the European events he contested, finishing 33rd that year, seeded 22nd.
It’s on my wish list, having co-driven for the manager of a Swedish semi works team on the 69/70 or 73 event. I still have the metal car plaque in the garage in Scotland so I’ll have to check the year next time I’m back.
Monte Historique, possibly in '23, is in the diary. Again I co-drove the team manager for two “real” Montes in the early 70s, starting from Glasgow one year and Sweden the next.
My father was supposed to be third member of a Jaguar team doing the Monte in '53 but I inconveniently was due around the same time so he withdrew. Luckily as the crew died in a crash in Lancashire on the way home.

Bordeaux & Tulip sounds interesting and less than an hour away - that would have been an ideal event to do.

Tulips not until October… is it too late for you to consider entering… or are they fully subscribed ???

The car’s back with the original builders in Lancs and I won’t get it till the start of September when we go back. However the Tulip entry seems to have been published.
I’d thought about just keeping it in the UK because I know little about the French etc events, apart from ones organised by the likes of ERA/Hero etc.
I’m also not sure how much of a hassle importing a '66 Amazon 132 modified car (roll cage, sump guard, boot mounted fuel tank, special suspension, Buttkereit engine etc) would be. It’s got a UK red V5 which mentions none of the mods and I don’t know if that would pass muster.
I’m also not sure if French insurers would like it - it’s £180 fully comp for rallies in the UK with agreed value etc.

Frank, well his firm, were our photographers for all company events and occasions. Lovely bloke. Is he still around? I hope so, I just sent him a note in LinkedIn.

The unstoppable Frank Fennell

Wed, Oct 30, 2002, 00:00

He loved cars long before he ever took a photograph. Hugh Oram talks to Frank Fennell about getting over a dreadful road accident - and about his fabulous car collection.

Frank Fennell, well-known Dublin commercial photographer and classic rallying enthusiast, is 95 per cent recovered from the horrific injuries he suffered during a rally in south-east France at the start of last year. He’s now right back into retro rallying, and says that what happened “hasn’t put me off in the slightest. The best way back is to compete successfully.”

The accident happened while he was taking part in the Monte Carlo classic challenge race in January 2001. During the previous week, the weather had been quite good, but on the morning the accident happened driving conditions in the mid-morning thaw were very difficult.

Driving at between 50 and 60mph, a car coming in the opposite direction collided head-on with Fennell’s car. The box full of skis on the roof of the other car burst open and some of the skis went through the windscreen of Fennell’s car, hitting him in the throat.

His navigator had minor injuries, but Frank Fennell was very badly injured. His voice box was damaged, he suffered facial injuries and broke both legs, an ankle and an arm.

He feels that he was lucky that the accident happened about 30 miles from Grenoble and that he was taken to a hospital there which had tremendous expertise in treating skiing injuries. He was kept unconscious for the first 12 days and, during this period, his wife Kay, like her husband a managing partner in Fennell Photography, made constant trips to the French city.

Eventually, he was brought home by air ambulance, for a further stay in St Vincent’s in Dublin. He doesn’t know exactly how many operations he had, because many of them were in France, but just says simply that “there’s a big file on them all”. Then followed physiotherapy and more recently, sessions in the gym at Kilternan, Co Dublin, twice a week.

Frank Fennell is almost casual about what happened: “Surgery is marvellous these days. They just put me together again.” Apart from a slight change in the tone of his voice, the crash hasn’t had any serious lasting effects. These days he jokes about whether there’s a pill to cure the rallying disease!

Fennell, who’s 55, has been in photography since 1964 - much later than his interest in motor sports. That all began when he was an avid collector of Dinky cars at school.

His father, Charles, was a well-known photojournalist, a rare breed in those days. Frank Fennell himself started his own studios in Lower Leeson Street in 1972. The firm moved to Upper Leeson Street 20 years ago and is now considered, according to the Fennell Photography website, the largest and most successful photographic agency in Ireland.

The year after he had started the business, he met his wife, Kay Healy, in Killarney during the 1973 Circuit of Ireland Rally. Her family in Tralee has a strong photographic tradition.

After Frank and Kay married in 1975, she left her job in a bank and came to work in the photographic firm. She’s been a driving force ever since and, according to Frank, a woman of great foresight.

Frank himself has been president on several occasions of the Irish Professional Photographers’ Association. The Fennell company now employs 18 people and recently invested around €400,000 in digital equipment.

On the rallying side, Frank Fennell began with standard driving, including for the Opel team here in the mid-1980s.Then he switched to classic rallying, taking part in retro events in Ireland, Britain and further afield.

He’s had quite a number of wins in the Monte Carlo Classic Rally, a win in the Alps Rally, a win in the Corsica Rally and quite a number of wins in Ireland and Britain.

His most exotic location was Macau, the former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong. Frank Keane’s company organised a 5K street race in the city for sporting journalists in the mid-1980s. He’s also been an active member of the Trials Drivers Club for 34 years.

Earlier this year, he won the classic Dutch Monte Carlo Rally with navigator Kevin Savage from Lancashire, who was in the crash last year. When they drove through Grenoble this time, conversation went quiet, understandably.

Fennell is due to take part in several rallies between now and February and, when I met him, he was just off to take part in the Ulster Automobile Club’s classic Circuit of Ireland rally. Fennell was its first winner in 1986 and went on to win several more times.

His current rallying car is a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SE fintail, which he says has good road holding, despite its size and is excellent for climbing Alpine passes. He’s so enthusiastic about this car that he even has a model of it in his office and has been surfing the net to try and find a similar model.

His car for everyday work is a Mercedes-Benz 320 estate.

Over the years, Fennell has driven all types of cars in road rallies, including Mercedes-Benz, Mini Cooper S series and different types of Volvo.

One car in particular stands out, a 1962 Sunbeam Rapier, assembled by Buckleys in Santry. He still has that car, along with about 30 others, stored at two locations. Other cars in his collection include a 1967 NSU TT, two NSU R80s with Wankel engines, two Mini Cooper S series, a Volvo Amazon, a Porsche 911, half a dozen DKWs, an Aston Martin DB4 and a 1955 Jaguar XK140 convertible. He has several cars for restoration, including an MG 1100, a Borgward Isabella, a Renault 16TX and a DKW Junior.

The Fennells have just moved into a new home on six acres in south county Dublin and one of his ambitions is to house his collection in one place and gather rallying memorabilia, which would be the start of a motor museum.

However, he says, rather wryly, their two adopted children, Isobel and Frankie, both seven, are not over-enthusiastic about the old cars at this stage - but it’s early days.

As for Frank Fennell himself, the accident hasn’t diminished his enthusiasm for cars and classic rallying. He acknowledges the dangers but compares the accident to having a fall from a horse. “You just get back on again.”

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Yes Frank’s still around but retired from the firm
Kevin Savage (mentioned in the article and his co-driver ) is a classic/historic specialist based in Carnforth.
The Volvo was built by Kevin for Frank from a bare shell a few years ago.
It was bought out of his collection/museum about a year ago by another Scot with the aim of using it for rallying. Unforeseen circumstances mean he can no longer go rallying so he’s had to sell it to me.
Kevin now has the car back for a check over before I collect it on the next trip over, end of August
I’d hoped to find an event in the uk during September but covid has played havoc with calendars, so what are available are either to close to us getting back or too close to our return end of September
My wife’s from the Wirral and the Tour of Cheshire appealed but that would mean cancelling a dr’s appointment here at the end of September and I’m not sure my dr would appreciate that :laughing:

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