JD Classics – one of the world’s leading classic car specialists – is celebrating its best ever Mille Miglia, in which it prepared, rallied and supported 11 separate entries. Ranging from an Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint Pininfarina to the company’s priceless ex-Fangio C-Type, the JD Classics entries represented the largest British team competing in the 2015 event.
And for the first time, JD Classics was a gold sponsor of the Mille Miglia – the only classic car specialist in the world to have such an association. As all of the Mille Miglia cars arrived at the Brescia Trade Centre for scrutineering, the JD Classics hospitality lounge opened its doors to all competing crews.
For months before the rally, JD Classics’ expert engineers and craftsmen were fettling and fine-tuning the cars, some of which were customer entries and some of which were JD Classics’ own. On the gruelling four-day event itself, a team of engineers was on-hand to get competitors back on the road, should anything go wrong.
And the team’s first challenge came during the first leg from Brescia to Rimini when the Alfa Romeo 1900C’s fuel pump failed. JD Classics’ engineers were quickly on the case, fitting a spare pump. But it soon became obvious that a faulty batch of manufactured pumps was to blame, as the spare began to fail, too. As the car arrived in Rimini, the JD Classics team spent the night adapting a fuel pump for the Alfa Romeo so it could tackle the tricky 13-hour route to Rome the following day and go on to complete the Mille Miglia without any further issues.
All of the team’s extensive preparations shone through as the cars ran smoothly throughout the third day of the Mille Miglia – the longest and most gruelling of the event. It was only as the cars approached their destination in Parma that the Aston Martin DB2/4’s fan belt broke after driving through a patch of gravel. With a quick repair from the team’s expert engineers, the Aston Martin was back on the road.
Run as a time trial rather than a race, the Mille Miglia drivers must hit specific checkpoints in specific locations or risk a penalty for arriving early or late. It was the ex-Fangio C-type, driven by JD Classics’ Chris Ward and expert navigator Andrew Elcomb that topped the leaderboards for the team. The pair came in 117th place out of more than 450 entries – an impressive feat considering many of the top 100 are time trial experts.
Finishing second for the Maldon-based team was JD Classics’ founder Derek Hood and the company’s Competition Department Manager Steve Riedling driving a Jaguar ex-factory Works Race MKVII. But in a race where nearly 20 per cent of competitors don’t make it to the finish, it’s an extremely impressive achievement for JD Classics to bring all of its 11 entries to Brescia safely.
JD Classics founder, Derek Hood, said: “This year’s Mille Miglia was our best ever; the scenery, the cars and the route were as spectacular as you’d expect from such a legendary event. I’m delighted that all 11 of our entries completed the event, and that’s thanks to the skills of our drivers, navigators and support team. Not to mention, the expert craftsmen and technicians back at our workshops in Maldon. We’re proud to be a partner of the event and we’re looking forward to the 2016 Mille Miglia already.”
JD Classics entries:
- Juan Manuel Fangio C-Type ’70 XVK’
- Jaguar XK120 ‘OVT 325’
- Jaguar XK120 ‘LXO 126’
- Jaguar XK120 ‘AEN 546’
- Jaguar XK120 ‘LXF 731’
- Jaguar XK120 ‘WXG 648’
- Jaguar MkVII ‘LHP 5’
- Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint Pininfarina ‘201 UYH’
- Alfa Romeo 1900C ‘WSU 590’
- Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupé ‘SGF 654’
- Lincoln Capri ‘6 TNT 386’