Photo gallery: Cars raced by Ayrton Senna and Sir Jack Sears steal the show at Watton motor rally

The Watton Classic Car event. Picture: Ian Burt The Watton Classic Car event. Picture: Ian Burt

Sunday, June 22, 2014
3:50 PM

A rally which showed the extraordinary wealth of motoring heritage residing in Norfolk’s driveways and garages – including two icons of the racing world – brought hundreds of enthusiasts to Watton.

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Ayrton Senna's 1986 Lotus Formula One Car. Picture: Ian BurtAyrton Senna's 1986 Lotus Formula One Car. Picture: Ian Burt

Ayrton Senna’s 1986 Formula One car and the Ford Galaxie in which Sir Jack Sears won the 1963 British Touring Car Championship were the major attractions at Sunday’s event.

About 120 automobiles joined the Sporting Car Club of Norfolk’s 85-mile midsummer classic car run, waved off from Watton by town mayor John Rogers before driving through the Stanta army training area and along country roads to Sandringham.

Another 80 remained on the High Street for the People’s Choice Car Show, in which the public were invited to vote for which car they would most like to have in their garage.

Of the 200 cars on show, about 80pc are kept in Norfolk – including the two star attractions.

Nick Adams is from the Classic Team Lotus base at Hethel, where the car driven to Grand Prix glory by racing legend Ayrton Senna is now kept.

He said: “This is the car which Senna drove when he won the Monaco and Detroit Grand Prix in 1986. It has enormous heritage value, and is worth about £1.75m for insurance purposes. Senna has achieved such legendary status, and so has anything connected with him.

“It is scary how many truly significant cars there are in such a small area. When I first came to Norfolk I stayed in Watton and there was a Ferrari 250 at a petrol station, and it was Sir Jack Sears filling it up! The heritage around here is absolutely amazing.”

Former touring car champion Sir Jack, 84, was also at the show, with the gleaming white 1963 Ford Galaxie which he keeps at his home in Ashill.

He said: “It is exactly the same car as it was then – the only thing that is missing is the roll-cage inside. It was originally built for the American Nascar championships, and it could do 190mph on those oval circuits. We didn’t have straights long enough for 190mph, but on the straights on the old Snetterton circuit I would be doing 155mph in this.”

Martin Newson, chairman of the Sporting Car Club of Norfolk, said: “This is our biggest event of the year. There are one or two people who come from some distance away, but about 80pc of the cars here are from Norfolk. You would be amazed how many classic cars there are here.”

Chris Edwards is chairman of the Watton Town Team, which organised the second annual event in association with the Sporting Car Club of Norfolk.

He said: “Classic cars are very popular and my remit as chair of Watton Town Team is to bring people in to visit the town, so it is a win/win for us. We have got a wonderful day, and we’ve got a lot of people in the town.”

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