Tag Archives: Vauxhall

Testing Testing – Castle Combe

On my day off yesterday I headed over to the Atwell Wilson Museum in Calne, and taking the scenic route I happened by Castle Combe where pre season testing was under way, I couldn’t resist the allure of the sight of racing cars in action so stopped off to see what was going on.

Vauxhall Tigra, Oliver Bull, Castle Combe,

About to leave the paddock above is 2015 Castle Combe Sports & GT Champion Oliver Bull in his Fleuertation Flowers of Bristol Vauxhall Tigra in preparation of his campaign to defend his title which starts at the Howard’s Day meeting on Easter Monday March the 28th.

Haggispeed Mk9b, Tony Harman, Castle Combe,

Bob Haggis Le Seur is believed to have built around seventeen cars which included a couple of Hillman Imps and most notably Haggispeed Clubmans cars the series of which went up to Mk 10, I believe the Mk9b above has been owned and driven by Tony Harman since 2001 in the HSCC Classic Clubmans series, the HSCC will be holding a two day meeting at Castle Combe on April 16/17.

Ferrari 360, TBC, Castle Combe,

Just as I started making my way round the track it started to rain and so many of the cars immediately headed for the pits including the unmarked Ferrari 360 above, the driver of which is unknown to me as is the series in which the car might run, if you know please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Ginetta G16, George Douglas, Castle Combe,

In his time Mobile Windscreens proprietor and HSCC Guards Trophy competitor George Douglas has run a variety of special saloons and GT’s with exotic chassis including a Hillman Imp, Skoda and Ginetta G12, above he is seen diving into the pits in his slick shod Ginetta G16 as the heavens open.

Van Diemen RF00, Roger Orgee, Castle Combe,

I’ll try not to snigger at all the shenanigans going on in Formula One at the moment with the drivers unanimously requesting some one take control, as I have been saying for along time Formula One could do worse than come up with a 600hp version of Formula Ford 1600 on similarly skinny all weather tyres, if it was really interested in entertaining spectators, above 2015 Castle Combe FF1600 Roger Orgee spray’s the cobwebs out of his championship winning Van Diemen RF00.

Peugeot 106 GTi, Geoffrey Ryall, Castle Combe,

Geoffrey Ryall appeared to be having great fun in his #29 Peugeot 106 GTi with which he competes in Class C of the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship.

Neil Harris, Nemesis Prototype, Castle Combe,

Seen setting sail for The Esses above is Castle Combe Sports Racing Series competitor Neil Harris in his #15 Nemesis Prototype.

Mini Miglia, Shayne Deegan, Castle Combe,

At the end of last year 2014 and 2015 Demon Tweeks 720 Stockhatch Championship winner Shayne Deegan switched from his Citroën Saxo to a Mini Miglia run by Peter Baldwin for the three race 50 Plate Triple Shoutout at Snetterton which he also won, Shayne who I believe is seen exploring the outer limits of Quarry above, won the #50 for 2016 the 50th Anniversary year of the Mini 7 club which runs the Mini Miglia Championship.

Reynard SF78, Graham Ridgeway, Castle Combe,

HSCC Formula 2000 competitor Graham Ridgeway is seen splashing towards Avon rise in his 1978 Reynard SF78, which he shares with Jennifer Ridgeway, above.

Nike Mk6, Peter Hannam, Castle Combe,

Back in the paddock Peter Hannam consults before adjust his shock absorbers on his 1970 Nike Mk 6 HSCC Formula Ford challenger for which he needed no tools beyond his fingers.

Wishing all GALPOT readers all the best for the 2016 Racing Season ahead, looks like my work schedule might allow me to kick my season off at the 24 Endurance race for Touring cars at Silverstone on April 2nd / 3rd.

Thanks for joining me on this “Testing Testing” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Triple London Championship Night – Wimbledon Stadium

Thanks to a recent fb friendship struck up by Ray Miles in Florida and Rob Hughes in Liverpool I was alerted to the Triple London Championship Night which ran at Wimbledon Stadium couple of weeks ago.

Ford Escort Mk2, Andy Steward, Classic Hot Rods, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Thanks to a soccer match in Chelsea I got snarled up in traffic and missed the first heats for the Junior Micra Stock Cars, Superstox and 2.0 Hot Rods, but made it just in time to catch the first heat for the beautifully turned out Pinto powered Classic Hot Rods which featured a great battle for the lead between the #198 Mk2 Ford Escort driven by Andy Steward and the #45 Austin A40 Countryman driven by Craig Boyd which went Andy’s way.

Superstox, London Championship, Wimbledon,

The Superstox action featured a bit more bumping and boring for which the cars are better equipped, unfortunately I arrived too late to get a programme and the only thing I can tell you is that the race was won by John Saunders, who also won the first heat and that the green #454 seen above finished 5th in heat to having finished 4th in Heat 1, if you know who the driver of the #454 is please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Nissan Micra,  Samuel Dobbs, Junior Micra Stock Cars, Wimbledon

Samuel Dobbs is seen above on his way to a win in the 2nd heat of the Junior Micra Stock Cars which with all their additional safety equipment and what appeared to be standard suspension have some interesting handling characteristics.

Vauxhall Tigra, Robert Gamble, 2.0 Hot Rod, London Championship, Wimbledon

Robert Gamble seen in his #133 Vauxhall Tigra above held on to win the 2nd Heat for the 2.0 Hot Rod’s from the #71 Citroën Saxo driven by Gordan Alexander.

Barry Lee, Kenny Ireland, Wimbledon Stadium

Four time Hot Road World Champion Barry “#351 Leapy” Lee, and Scottish Saloon Stocks, Superstox & Hot Rods champion Kenny Ireland are seen on a lap of honour above they were joined as guests of honour by 1976 World Champion George Polley and 1980 World Champion Mick ‘Duffy’ Collard.

Ford Anglia, John Bowring,  Classic Hot Rods, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Craig Boyd retired his Austin early in the 2nd Classic Hot Rods heat, leaving Andy Steward to an easy win once he had battled his way into the lead, the race featured a fantastic race long scrap between the Ford Anglia’s driven by #101 John Bowring, #924 Stuart Wright and #911, seen on the outside, driven by Harry Steward who crossed the finish in 6th, 7th and 8th places respectively.

Nissan Micra, Robbie Bruce, Junior Micra Stock Cars, Wimbledon

Repeating his heat one Junior Micra Stock Cars win in the final was Robbie Bruce seen above three wheeling his way around turn 2 aided by second place finisher #340 Will Blazer.

Citroén Saxo, Gordan Alexander, 2.0 Hot Rod, London Championship, Wimbledon

Gordan Alexander fought his way to the front to claim the 2.0 Hot Rod Final in his #71 Citroën Saxo the #565 driven by Dan Smith and the #39 driven by Rick Parnell who were both also pedaling Citroën Saxo’s.

Ford Escort RS2000 Mk2, Lee Wood, Wimbledon Stadium,

Lee Wood is seen above leading Mick ‘Duffy’ Collard during a demonstration run for the fans in their immaculate replica World Championship winning cars.

Ford Escort Mk2, Andy Steward, Classic Hot Rods, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Andy Steward retained his Classic Hot Rods London Championship title despite the best efforts of Craig Boyd in his repaired #45 Austin seen lifting an inside wheel above.

Jason Cooper, Superstox, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Jason Cooper is seen above taking the flag in the Superstox final at the end of an entertaining evening at Wimbledon Stadium which I hope to visit again before it is scheduled to be swallowed up by dreaded property developers.

My thanks to Ray Miles and Rob Hughes for giving me the heads up also to Rob for event programme details, to keep up with news on Classic Hot Rods follow Rob Hughes dedicated fb page linked here, news on Spedeworth events at Wimbledon and their other venues can be found on this link.

Thanks for joining me on this “Triple London Championship Night” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Legend Fires North West Stages – Blackpool & Fleetwood

Organised by members of the, Blackpool South Shore Motor Club, Chester Motor Club, Ecurie Royal Oak Motor Club, Fylde Motor Sports Club, Garstang and Preston Motor Club, High Moor Motor Club, Preston Motorsports Club, Stockport 061 Motor Club, Warrington & District Motor Club and Wallasey Motor Clubs the 17th Legend Fires North West Stages Rally ran over 75 miles of tarmac stages in and around Blackpool and Fleetwood for competitors in the Northern Tarmacadam championship, The ANWCC Stage Rally Championship, The ANCC Rally Championship, The SD34 Rally and the Formula1000 Championships on the first weekend of the month.

Legend Fires North West Stages, Legend Fires North West Stages, Stage 3 Fleetwood,Legend Fires North West Stages, ABP Fleetwood Docks Special Stages

I missed the first stage on Friday and after standing down at 9am on Saturday I negotiated over 200 miles of heavy rain and a closed section of Motorway to arrive in time to catch some of the action on the ABP Fleetwood Docks Special Stage, above the 6th place finishing #4 Proton S2000 driven by Andrew Fenwick with Andrew Roughead is being chased by the cheeky #48 Vauxhall Corsa crewed by Nick and A Constantine that finished 7th overall.

Ford Focus WRC, ABP Fleetwood Docks Special Stages

On their Stage 15 run through the Fleetwood Docks Tony Bardy and Neil Colman lost over a minute in their #1 Ford Forcus WRC with what appears to have been a puncture, above members of the team and public put their backs into lifting the car onto a jack, they finished the event 3rd overall despite the delay.

Ford Fiesta, Duncan Taylor, Steven Grayson, Legend Fires North West Stages, Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool Promenade,

Unofficial paint job of the event went to Duncan Taylor and Steven Grayson who’s UFO, Unicorn, Dinosaur bedecked #31 Fiesta came in 16th overall, if anyone can tell this old duffer what the paint job is about please chime in below.

MG Metro 6R4, Driver Unkown, Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool Promenade,

The MG Metro 6R4 above was part of a demonstration before the final Promenade stages opened, not sure who was driving it, again if you do please chime below.

Land Rover Wolf XD, John Hickinbotham, Scott Young, Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool Promenade,

Class L of the Rally was run for 4 Land Rover Wolf XD’s all crewed by members of various active military units, the Royal Air Force (RAF) #108 was crewed by John Hickinbotham and Scott Young who finished 3rd in class and 43rd overall.

Sunbeam Imp Sport, Alan Kitson, Ronald Aspinwall, Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool Promenade,

Oldest car in Class A by the best part of at least two if not three decades was the 1968 #68 Sunbeam Imp Sport crewed by Alan Kitson and Ronald Aspinwall who finished a highly respectable 2nd in class and 24th overall.

Subaru Impreza, Arron Newby Rob Fagg, Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool

The #5 Subaru Impreza driven by Arron Newby and Rob Fagg added plenty of colour to the event on it’s way to 2nd overall, but that was not enough…

Subaru Impreza WRC S11, Simon Bowen, Richard Robinson, Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool Promenade,

… to get ahead of the older Subaru Impreza WRC S11 driven by winners Simon Bowen and Richard Robinson seen above at one of the chicanes on the last but one Promenade Stage.

Legend Fires North West Stages, Blackpool Promenade

I added a few new snaps to my collection of abstract lights before it started raining just in time to drive the 200 miles home.

Thanks for joining me on this “Legend Fires North West Stages” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Trans Am Camaro. Don’t forget to come back now !


All Ages And Abilities – BPMC Auto Solo / Auto Test Aust Services

A couple of weeks after Le Jog visited Aust Services I went back to lend a hand with the timing for the Auto Test / Auto Solo event run by the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club that I would have entered myself, but I doubt my employers would have been amused seeing one of their marked SEAT Toledo TDi ambulances being thrown around with competitive abandon.

Ford Cortina, Gilmour, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

Among the 25 entries of all ages and levels of ability were Jayne & Andria Gilmour who were taking part in their very first motorsport event with their fabulously original 1980 2 litre / 122 cui Ford Cortina GL Mk V, while they had lot’s of fun they retired after a couple of runs for fear of damaging their pride and joy, but promised to come back with a more powerful Cortina they are building.

FIAT Panda, Thompson, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

Youngest competitor taking part was 14 year old Sam Thompson who again was on his first event and competing against his more experienced father Chris for class honours in his Mum’s Fiat Panda.

Toyota MR2, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

I’m not sure who was driving the Toyota MR2, the car made a lot of noise, but the driver was having too much fun doing donuts while trying to follow the route through the cones to be competitive.

Subaru Impreza, Benstock, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

Über rally marshal Mark Benstock used the opportunity to make a rare appearance behind the wheel of his 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX and promptly won the Autosolo Class C award, at the end of the event Mark kindly offered anyone interested the use of his car for a drive round the track, had I not been sodden in water proofs and wellies I might have been tempted to have had a go.

BMW 318 Ci SE, Payton, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

The 2002 BMW 318 Ci Se driven by the Payton’s provided much entertainment through out the afternoon, one wag commenting that the car needed wipers on the door window’s such was it’s side ways progress of the car with a noisy locked differential, Jack won class C of the Auto Test from Josh.

Mazda MX5, Welsh, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

The best times of the day were set by the Mazda MX5 driven by the Welsh brothers, with A Welsh being the quickest in the Auto Solo event.

Vauxhaul Viva, BPMC Auto Solo Auto Test. Aust Services

Finally I am not too sure who was driving this splendid farm find 1972 Vauxhall HC Viva, but the owner told me that since being put back on the road it has benefited from a boast in performance courtesy of a modern 2 litre / 122 cui 16 valve Vauxhall “Red Top” XE motor which in standard trim is good for 150hp nearly double the 77 hp available from the original HC Viva motor.

Thanks to everyone at the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club who made this a rainy day of affordable motorsport to remember, their next competitive event will be a 40th Anniversary Navigation exercise on Friday Feb 19th in Wales, see website linked above for details, or come along to the next club meeting at BAWA on Monday Feb 8th.

Thanks for joining me on this “All Ages And Abilities” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow, when I’ll be looking at another Daytona 24 hour challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !


Baby Bertha – Vauxhall Holden Repco Firenza

After disposing of “Old Nail” at the end of 1974 Bill Blydenstein received funding from Dealer Team Vauxhall to create a new Super Saloon based on a 4 door Vauxhall Ventora saloon shell and fitted with a 476 hp 5 litre / 302 cui Repco tuned Holden V8, Borg Warner T10 gearbox, Salisbury Power Lock differential, AP racing disc drakes, double wishbone suspension on the front with 12″ x 15″ slicks and de Dion rear suspension with 15″ x 15″ slicks.

Vauxhall Holden Repco Firenza, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Driver Gerry Marshall soon dubbed the car Big Bertha and won three of the six races he started in the beast before it shed some brake pads and ended up in the Silverstone crash barriers, it’s meticulously built shell beyond repair.

Vauxhall Holden Repco Firenza, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Vauxhall had second thoughts about offering a V8 Ventora to the public in light of the fuel crises, so Bill and DTV decided to build today’s featured Droop Snoot Firenza out of all the bits salvaged from the wrecked shell of Big Bertha.

Vauxhall Holden Repco Firenza, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

It was not long before the car became known as Baby Bertha and over the next three years Gerry raced the car in 40 events and won 37 of them, retired from 2 and was beaten only once by a cheeky little 270 hp Hillman Imp driven by Jonathon Buncombe that was built on a 1971 Chevron B19 sports car chassis and known as The Chimp, soon after it’s win The Chimp was effectively banned from Super Saloon events because of protests regarding it’s wheel base which was longer than the mandated standard Imp length.

Vauxhall Holden Repco Firenza, Piers Ward, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Paul Haywood-Halfpenny bought Baby Bertha in 1978 and had a disastrous season with it that he reckoned cost him £1,000 per lap, at a time when the average wage was only £5000.

Vauxhall Holden Repco Firenza, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In the 1980’s current owner Joe Ward bought Baby Bertha after Gerry Marshall, among others, had owned it and raced it one more time to a second place finish at Thruxton. Joe’s son Piers is seen at the wheel in the photo above at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Thanks for joining me on this “Baby Bertha” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Old Nail – Vauxhall Firenza

In May 1971 Vauxhall launched a two door coupé version of it’s Viva sedan known as the Firenza and the shell of today’s car started life as one of the prototype Firenza’s on which Vauxhall put through it’s paces to ensure the model met it’s performance and quality criteria.

Vauxhall Firenza, Donington Grand Prix Collection

After Vauxhall had finished with the car they rewarded Bill Blydenstein of Blydenstein Developments who with driver Gerry Marshall had campaigned a success Vauxhall Viva GT with the car and a funding deal which became known as Dealer Team Vauxhall.

01 Vauxhall Firenza_6158sc

Bill Blydenstein and Gerry Johnston prepared the car, which included lowering the front suspension and widening the wheel arches to incorporate wide slick racing tyres, for Gerry Marshall to drive in the 1972 BARC Forward Trust Championship which he promptly won outright.

Vauxhall Firenza, Race Retro,

In 1973 Vauxhall introduced the Firenza HP with its distinctive “droopsnoot” for which Bill Blydenstein claimed some of the credit.

Vauxhall Firenza, Gregor Marshall, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

“Old Nail” as Gerry Marshall dubbed her, was similarly modified and raced to two further Class Championship wins in the BARC Forward Trust Championships in 1973 and 1974 by which time Gerry had clocked up 62 race victories in the car.

Vauxhall Firenza, , Goodwood, Festival of Speed

Bill Dryden acquired Old Nail in 1975 and he drove the car to a further three race victories and a Championship Class win in the 1975 Scottish Saloon Car Championship.

The 250hp 2.3 litre motor fitted with Lotus twin cam heads seen in these photographs, has been in the car since 1973, Gerry’s son Gregor is seen driving the car at Goodwood Festival of Speed a couple of years ago.

Thanks for joining me on this “Old Nail” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Crumpled Cup Auto Solo – Rolls Royce Car Park Filton

On Sunday I headed down to Queen Square for the regular second Sunday of the month Avenue Drivers Club meeting only to find all access roads blocked by Bristol Half Marathon stewards one of whom apparently had no idea where Queen Square was, which made for an interesting point of departure for a conspiracy theory which I shall refrain from repeating here.

MCW Metrobus MkII, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Later at mid day I made my way over to the Rolls Royce Car Park at Filton for the Bristol Pegasus Motor Clubs first Crumpled Cup Autosolo. Upon reflection I wish I had stopped off longer at The Ark Bus, 1982 MCW Metrobus, a faith in motion project, to ask for some much needed devine intervention to help me to remember the three different routes through the 31 cones that were to make up the three timed tests of the event.

01 Crumpled Cup_5894sc

The Volkswagen Golf Mk IV Estate is not an obvious choice of vehicle for this type of event and certainly not when carrying more than half a tank of fuel, but I determined that I would have fun and that I did in spades despite the fact that of my nine runs, three times through each of the three routes I actually only managed to complete the course correctly on five occasions ! Fortunately this was still better than some so I did not come last in the front wheel drive class.

Honda Civic, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton,

Martyn Mitchell warned me that his Honda Civic would only be in contention for the slowest time of the day and perhaps next time he will join me by the bus in some requests for devine intervention on the memory front.

Citroen Saxo, George/Ashley Pope, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Father and son George and Ashley Pope shared their Citroën Saxo to take front wheel drive honours with Ashley only scoring two clean runs on the final test which ironically was the only test on which George scored only one clean run, George was the comfortable winner of the front wheel drive class and would have finished 3rd overall had the event been run as an open competition between all eight competitors.

Westfield SEiW, Andy Moss, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Struggling with the turning circle of his self built Westfield SEiW was club chairman Andy Moss.

Vauxhall VX220, Martyn Lidbury, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Despite having the smaller Lotus Elise size front tyres on his Vauxhall VX220 Martyn Lidbury also struggled with the turning circle of his car which otherwise made all the right noises as he drove it to third in class on his first event with the club.

Westfield SEiW, Ben Bishop, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Second in the rear wheel drive class was Ben Bishop in his Westfield SEiW with the second best score overall too.

Mazda MX5, Chris Buckley, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Lowest scores of the day were recorded by Chris Buckley in his supercharged Mazda MX5 who only scored maximum points on his very first run of the afternoon.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the event which I hope shall be the first of many to come, my thanks to Pete Goodman for getting permission from Rolls Royce to use the venue, to Alan Spencer for organising the event, to Tim Murray the events secretary and score keeper, marshals Ann Mitchell and Nick Woods and not least my fellow competitors who made the 4 hours of the competition fly by.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Crumpled Cup Auto Solo” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Mercury Monterey. Don’t forget to come back now !