In a hot weekend of the end of June, Mont Ventoux was the stage of Ronde de Ventoux’s third edition, the historical recall of the famous uphill race which took place between 1902-1976, boasting of some names in the list of winners like Boillot, Divo, Caracciola, Stuck, Manzon, Trintignant, Scarfiotti, Herrmann and still many others. Organized by Peter Auto, this event saw a test edition in 2001, and since 2009 it had been officially reorganized every two years for the cars that had run this famous race or had special historic value, the list of which has been made by the same organizers.
This event is particularly appreciated for the stage in which it takes place: the Giant of Provence, as the French call Mont Ventoux, is one of the most striking mountain view in Europe, with special vegetation of various kinds, partly in the natural state, partly due to man’s artifice, and with Mistral that rends the air of its summit often at a speed higher than 160 km, leaving the summit practically bared.
Just like it happened for the legendary uphill race, the route used for this edition is the most difficult one, and it joins the characteristic village of Bedoin, at the foot of massif, to Col des Tempêtes, climbing for 21.6 km up to a height of 1.912m, alongside a landscape progressively and deeply changing by passing from the first vineyards to the thick of a forest of cedars, pines and beeches, up to the white heap of stones, parched by sun and often swept by Mistral, which characterize Col des Tempêtes and make them look like a moon landscape.
At the start of the race there were a good 75 crews, split into competition and regularity classes, with the common target to run the 50km race for five times, including a special practice on a road closed to traffic between St. Estève and Mont Ventoux summit, while the downhill drive towards Bédoin passed by the little medieval community of Malaucene. The queens of the event were Porsche 906 and 910, which from the first day have been fighting to win the category ‘competition’. Finally, it was Romain Rocher who imposed himself at the wheel of his 906, with a lead of 25 seconds over the Porsche 910 driven by Cochin: 20 seconds out of 25’s were of penalty for the delay at the time control at Saint Estève, one of the most characteristic places of the race, during a second passage. There was also a hard fight for pre’66 category, won by Dominique Guenat in the AC Cobra who had a life hard to hold back the Ford GT40 driven by Mason-Styrron. There were instead few entries among the cars dating 1966 and 1971, with the Malaviolles’ win at the wheel of a fantastic Chevrolet Camaro, easily handled on straights. On the contrary, another matter was the correction made on the general classification according to performance references, which greatly penalized the fastest cars, offering the win to Albert Otten at the wheel of a BMW 328.
We also need to point out the entered cars for the regularity category, above all the participation of the Talbot Lago Sport that in Pierre Levegh’s hand gained Pole Position at the Grand Prix of Monaco reserved for Sports cars, and at the wheel of the same car he raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1952 till two hours from the final, car is today’s property of a Spanish collector. The win for this category went to Baud-Billot in an Austin Healey 3000 with only 39”s lead over the Porsche 914 driven by Cleon-Aubin, in spite of 10s’ penalty.