77 years after the famous D-Day, the Normandy Beach Race 2021 arrives in Ouistreham-Riva Bella. The recipe is simple and inspired by what is done in Bonneville or Daytona. A beach and a 400-meters track for the runs. Add an area for participants only and the public ten meters away. What is there? Cars, motorcycles and side-cars, all dating from before 1947. Except for cars with flatheads authorized until 1953. But it is also an exhibition on the surrounding squares, making the city full of American collectibles.
From Bonneville to Ouistreham
For its 3rd edition, the Normandy Beach Race 2021 graces us with a superb car line-up. It is notably composed of two spectacular Belly Tanks. Originally created by speed freaks at the end of World War II, these machines had to be light and powerful. They were built for the salt lakes from parts that were abundant at the time: additional airplane tanks and v8’s. Here, the same filiation with the first vehicle named « Aerofilafon » (aero-full-speed in French) designed from a Lockheed P38 Lightning tank.* The second car is called « Golgoth 1 ». It is the dream of a hot rod enthusiast inspired by the previous edition, the Bonneville Speed Week and Goodwood. In less than a year, he realized his Belly Tank project. A Mirage-4 tank, a Celtaquatre chassis, powered by a Simca Marmon V8, his project is 100% made in France!
The rest of the field is composed of Hot Rods: American of course with many Ford v8 (model A, T, 32 and 33), an original Dodge Baquet (6 cyl. This one) from 1935. But also two French ones: a Bugatti type 35 (from England) and a Peugeot 201. Let’s note the appearance of a duo of monsters coming from Holland: a 1930 Nash V16 and a Volpi car powered by a 16-cylinder Cadillac. Finally, about thirty Buggies VW came on Sunday, in tribute to its creator Meyers Manx, who passed away a year ago. Some of their owners did not hesitate to face each other on some runs.
From Milwaukee to Hinckley
On the motorcycle side, there was no shortage of bikes: Indian, Norton ES2, Triumph, Harley Davidson (including a WLA that was nicknamed « Liberator » because it was ridden by soldiers liberating occupied Europe, even a Russian Ural also present. Their pilots were often gathered in gangs/clubs, recognizable by their clothing styles, jerseys of distinct colors. Regularly the sand is groomed to have the best possible acceleration, but inevitably ruts are formed. It is not uncommon to find competitors tanned a few meters from the start.
Sunset on this timeless journey
The atmosphere finishes to project the spectator in another universe. The organizers dressed in period costume and the visitors invited to do the same, the flag girls/starters. Tents, food trucks, vintage stores, including that of Lorenzo Eroticolor who designed the official posters. Concerts igniting the arena at nightfall. From dawn to dusk, the spectator follows the events in the middle of a breathtaking landscape. The setting sun offers absolutely unique shots and atmosphere.Now, excuse me, but it’s my turn to be inspired by Thibault, it’s time to experience the joys of hot-rodding myself. The questions that come to mind are: what about the next edition, as its success is exponential?
Need more fuel? See the review of Thise Airfield US Revival.