JD Classics were pleased to sponsor a new event to the historic racing calendar; Bernina Granturismo. Originally ran in the 1920s and 30s, the event’s revival was created by a group of local classic car enthusiasts with the hope of recreating the hill climb event which originally took place in period. Revived this year to celebrate sports and racing cars built up to the early 1980s, a variety of over 40 cars ran in its first modern edition taking in the 5.6 kilometre run along the Bernina pass from La Rosa and up to the Bernina Hospiz. Among the 40 cars taking part, JD Classics entered six cars; 1952 Jaguar C-Type, 1954 Cooper T33, 1967 Ford GT40, 1950 Jaguar XK120, 1972 Datsun 240Z and 1975 ex-Works Ford Escort RS1800.
Arriving in the San Moritz area on Friday morning, the JD Classics drivers began the usual routine of signing on, scrutineering and technical briefs. All competing drivers enjoyed a welcome dinner at a local restaurant and with access via chairlift only, the team were looking forward to tackling the mountainous terrain that the Bernina Granturismo had in store when racing got underway from Saturday.
Despite the weather being dry and fine at the hotel, another 2000 feet up at the Bernina Pass the weather was anything but with rain and mist hanging in the air for Saturday morning’s two practice runs. With all six JD cars completing both practice runs successfully, the drivers were starting to become aware of just how treacherous the terrain was with many corners much tighter than they initially seemed when turning in to them. By Saturday afternoon and with the team having checked over all competing cars, they prepared for their first competitive run up the famous Bernina hill climb. With the weather conditions continually deteriorating, both runs went well for the team with the C-Type of Chris Ward in particular running 2nd fastest in the first run and fastest of the entire field in the second and the Jaguar XK120 of Alex Newman running first in Class E.
As Sunday morning dawned so came the snow which initially delayed the start of the first run, however with conditions failing to improve as the morning went on the decision was taken to cancel Sunday’s competition with final positioning determined from Saturday’s results. With that in mind, all six cars performed consistently in the inclement weather conditions and on challenging terrain with the ex-Fangio C-Type second overall and the Cooper T33 of Derek Hood fifth overall. The Datsun 240Z of Steve Riedling finished second in Class H1 whilst the MK2 Escort of Phil Mouser finished the weekend in first place overall within the Regularity field. A fantastic performance for the JD Classics team in the inaugural modern edition of the Bernina Granturismo.