◾With JD Classics as sponsors, the event was run for the first time since the 1930s on the challenging Bernina Pass in Switzerland◾The team entered six cars: the ex-Fangio C-Type, Cooper T33, Ford GT40, Jaguar XK120, Datsun 240Z and an ex-Works Ford Escort
In the gorgeous surroundings of the Alps, JD Classics put in a strong performance at the historic racing calendar’s newest event – the revived Bernina Granturismo. With JD Classics as sponsors, it was the first time the event had been officially run since the 1930s, and JD Classics’ six entries all performed well, capped off by a second-place overall finish for the ex-Fangio C-Type and two class wins.
Celebrating sports and racing cars built up to the early 1980s, more than 40 cars took part in the event, which traced the old Bernina hillclimb route 5.6km from La Rosa up to the Bernina Hospiz. JD Classics arrived in San Moritz early Friday morning, accompanied by its six cars: the ex-Fangio C-Type, Cooper T33, Ford GT40, Jaguar XK120, Datsun 240Z and an ex-Works Ford Escort RS1800.
Saturday morning’s practice runs were wet and misty, but the JD Classics Competition Department all put in strong runs on the Bernina Pass, despite challenging conditions and a seriously demanding route. The team’s expert engineers then carried out their final checks of the cars just ahead of the first competitive runs on the Pass.
JD Classics’ resident racing driver, Chris Ward, continued his excellent form following two wins at Goodwood Revival and a win at Spa Francorchamps to put the ex-Fangio C-Type second-fastest on his first run. His second run was quicker still, putting the JD Classics car at the top of the leader board. Alex Newman, in JD Classics’ Jaguar XK120, also went fastest in Class E.
Sunday morning was due to bring with it the second round of competitive runs, but with heavy snowfall and conditions showing no signs of improving, the competition was called off. Final positioning was determined by the outcome of Saturday’s runs, granting the ex-Fangio C-Type a second-place overall finish, and the Cooper T33 of JD Classics’ MD Derek Hood, fifth place. There were strong performances in individual classes, too, with the team’s XK120 winning Class E, the Datsun 240Z of Steve Riedling second in Class H1 and the ex-Works Escort RS1800 taking first place overall in the Regularity field.