Liz Halliday enjoyed a hectic few days featuring two very different types of horsepower last week as she made her return to the race circuit and continued her British 3 Day Eventing season.
The week began with the California-born dual sportswoman attending the Silverstone Classic media day where she had a first opportunity to put her father’s 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Coda Tronca through its paces.
The car, a rare ‘cropped tailed’ version and one of just 29 ever made, will be raced by Liz at the Monza Coppa Intereuropa and the Silverstone Classic this summer. It has been expertly prepared by race car specialist John Danby Racing and ran perfectly throughout the day as well as attracting plenty of media interest.
The test, which took place on Silverstone’s Bridge Grand Prix Circuit, also marked Liz’s first return to a race track since contesting the 2008 American Le Mans Series season-finale at Laguna Seca in a Creation CA07 LMP1 prototype.
“The Alfa Romeo is very different to the last race car I drove!” said Liz. “It has smaller tyres and brakes, no downforce, much less power and it rolls around a lot more in the corners, but it was still a great car to drive and I really enjoyed it.
“The car hasn’t been run for about ten years and I haven’t ever driven it on track, but it was dialled in straight away and we had no problems at all, which shows what a great job all the guys at John Danby Racing have done. It looks stunning and is beautifully prepared and that’s what this car is all about. It’s a very special car for its period and it was a real honour to drive it.”
Halliday will make her race debut in the Alfa Romeo at Monza on 5-6 June, but is hoping to have another run in the car before then.
“We are hoping to have another test before the end of the month so that I can get a bit more seat time and so that we can also try a few different set up changes, etc. and I am confident that we will have a great car for Monza. Monza was one of my Dad’s favourite tracks, so it is really special for me to be driving his car there. Even though he can’t make the trip to be there with me, I will have him in my thoughts!
“I want to also say thank you to my sponsors Immunall, as not only are my horses using the products, but I am too! I was really struggling with jet lag before I tested the car, as I had just returned from the USA, but using the Immunall really helped to keep my energy levels up and my focus high. I can certainly recommend it to everyone who wants that extra edge!”
After making her return to the track, Liz headed to the Hambleden International Horse Trials where Vinnie (Vincenzo), a horse Liz competes on behalf of top equestrian vet Eamon McLaughlin, contested the CIC* event as part of his preparations for his CCI* debut at Houghton Hall at the end of May.
A strong dressage test was followed by one rail down, his first of the year, in the Show Jumping and a solid Cross Country run despite a stop at a particularly tricky bank combination.
The following day Liz gave her new horse, Dora (Fernhill Sea Breeze), her competition debut in an Intro level event at Keysoe and was delighted with a strong first showing.
“Vinnie has jumped double-clear rounds all year so I am not concerned at all,” Liz explained. “The rail down in the Show Jumping round was totally my fault and the Cross Country and Dressage tests were good preparation for him as they were both similar to what he’ll face at CCI* level. On Cross Country he just lost some momentum on a difficult bank with a ditch off the side, which caused him to stop, but he jumped the rest of the challenging course really well, so I am not concerned at all with his progress.”
“I’ve only had Dora for a few weeks so it was nice to give her a run out. We were just competing HC (non-competitively) for the day, but her Dressage score was good enough for the top five, she had just one rail down in the Show Jumping and was clear on the Cross Country course.
“Dora is very inexperienced but it was a great start and I am very pleased with her! I think she shows a lot of promise for the future and I look forward to the rest of the season.”
Liz is also in action this weekend at the International Horse Trials at Chatsworth, an event held in the grounds of the stunning Chatsworth House stately home in Derbyshire. Fox (Red Letter Day II) will compete in the CIC*** event and Vinnie will enter the Novice category, in what will be his last competition before Houghton CCI*.
For more information on Liz Halliday, please visit www.lizhalliday.com.