We love those crazy Yanks. It was their strong post-war Dollar that created a glut of British sports car manufacturers in the 50s and 60s and, thanks to the lovely dry climates of most southern states, we can now import them all back without the terminal rust problems that killed off most the ones that stayed home. But not all of them. A surprising number of great British sports cars have left the New World in one final blaze of glory and entered automotive Valhalla at one of the world’s greatest automotive spectacles: the legend that is the 24-Hours of Le Mons.
Motorsport with a sense of humour is a rare and wonderful thing. If you don’t already know, Le Mons is a long distance endurance race for sub $500 jalopies created by the American motoring journalist Jay Lamm. Like with all banger rallies half the fun is in sourcing and prep’ing the car, badly applying paint and stickers, and finding that perfect fancy dress costume. In an effort to stand out from the ranks of American iron and insipid Japanese sport cars a range of British roadsters have met their makers in the 20 or so events held across North America each year. Here’s our tribute to just a few of those plucky little Brits:
Le Mons teams are positively encouraged to bribe officials with booze, cash or any other nefarious goodies. Failure to adhere to the limited number of safety rules will result in public humiliation of some way, dished out by the wheel of misfortune. Penalties include the ‘Marcel Marceau’ where, dressed as a French mime, the driver has to act out their driving offence to onlookers. The ‘West Virginian Homesteader’ has to put his car on axle stands, sit on cheap garden furniture and eat high calorie snacks. Perhaps the most disturbing is the ‘Mothers Day’ penalty where rule-breakers are forced to eat an entire meatloaf, while a lady in a grey wig explains why you are not her favourite son. Are you reading this Bernie?
There are no appeals, as the rule book says “whiners are not eligible to compete. If you believe that you might be a whiner, please check with a domestic partner, guardian, or health-care professional before getting the rest of your team kicked the hell out of the race.”
In process of writing Café Roadster and MotorPunk over the last five years we’ve been incredibly lucky to drive some amazing machines, meet many truly inspiring character and drive some of Europe’s most iconic ribbons of tarmac and historic race circuits. However, if there was one single motorsport we have to do before we die, it would have to be, without a hint of hesitation, the brilliantly bonkers 24-Hours of Le Mons. Want to know more? Check out the Le Mons website.