The Spa Classic has become a fixed value in the classic scene. Martin Philippo promised his spouse a romantic weekend and took her camping next to the legendary circuit.
The sound of the silence surrounding us is unreal. An early bird starts singing. Soon the song of this single bird surges into a gigantic choir. We hear a woodpecker knocking against a tree, the scratching sound of a pheasant in the distance. Then the silence is brutally disturbed by the characteristic noise of an Alfa Romeo twin cam engine. Shaken we look at each other, where are we? The next moment we realise we’ve put up camp at one of the Spa Francorchamps Circuit’s parking lots. The most beautiful circuit in Europe but one. The sun breaks through the clouds, dissolving the morning dew with its initial warmth. Forming magical clouds of mist around the characteristic Hotel Eau Rouge and the surrounding hills. It remembers us of enchanted castles in the adventure novels we read as kids.
The spell will last all day. The fog disappears, what remains is the magical track in the hills. Eau Rouge, Raidillon, La Source, The Busstop, Les Combes. Height differences of dozens of meters and a total length of 7 kilometers. Where Juan Manuel Fangio won the first Formula One race on Alfa Romeo. Where today the Spa Classic 2017 is on the agenda. The Spa Classic is a grand feast attracting thousands of visitors. Not just for the races, but also because a grand number of classic car clubs gather at Spa and Malmedy for the weekend. Whoever scouts the grounds will always find something to his or her liking. A posh Aston Martin, a collection of TVR’s like I’ve never seen before, a club of British Triumphs, as well as the pre-war participants of the Beforty Rally 2017, finishing at Spa Classic. Many a rare classic shows up here at Spa. Even the parking lot is worth visiting. Where else will you find a McLaren parked next to a humble Renault? Or a BMW 507 that looks brand new? The campers next to the grounds made the right choice. They can stay put and simply watch all the goodies pass by their comfy seats. The most outrageous cars start to look common in these circumstances. And there is more. Bonhams displays the cars they will auction, pert young ladies distribute free candy floss. They look as if they stepped straight out of a fairytale.
Of course the races are the cherry on the cake. This is where the heroes of yesteryear roar around the track. We enjoy the difference in engine sounds. The heavy thunder of the America V8’s versus the high pitched whine of the high revving Italian thoroughbreds. The programme is complete, from the tiny Formula V cars to the magical Group C-race cars that have raced Le Mans not even that long ago. The Trofeo Nastro, displaying the highlights of Italian racing heritage, like the Maserati T61 Birdcage, take their spin. Just like the touring cars from the sixties, who have their endurance race in the evening hours. Here we see names of the likes of Oliver Bryant, who recently won at Goodwood. For a moment there seems to be no end to the magic. Alas, everything must come to an end, so at the end of the day we return to our own vehicle to travel back home. The Beatles playing on the radio, The Magical Mystery Tour. There is no such thing as coincidence.