Tag Archives: Day

Figlio Del Vento – Mercedes Benz W198 300 SL Coupé #198 040 65 00279

Aged 18 John Surtees finished 6th aboard his Norton 500 on his debut in Grand Prix Motor cycle racing at the 1952 Ulster Grand Prix.

In 1955 John won his first and only 250 cc Grand Prix aboard an NSU at Ulster which helped secure a ride with MV Agusta with whom he would remain for the rest of his motorcycle racing career up until the end of 1960.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

Now focusing on the 350 and 500 classes John won his first World Championship in the 500 class in 1956, the year in which today’s featured Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé was built, with three wins from three starts.

1957 was not such a good year for the partnership netting just a single win in the 500cc Dutch Grand Prix, but they bounced back in 1958 and 1959 by sweeping all the Grand Prix races in 350cc and 500cc classes to give John 25 Grand Prix wins and four World Championship titles.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

In the final year of their partnership John, who by now was known as “figlio del vento” son of the wind, won two 350 cc Grand Prix and 5 500 cc Grand Prix to secure two more World Championship titles and became the first man to win the Senior Isle of Man TT three times in a row.

MV Agusta were reluctant to supply bikes for John to race in UK, when not Grand Prix racing, so he became involved with racing on four wheels making his debut in Formula Junior and then quickly progressing to Formula One making four Grand Prix appearances with team Lotus in 1960 that culminated with a second place finish behind Jack Brabham in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

With seven World Championships to his credit on two wheels John switched all of his attention to racing on four wheels from 1961 electing to decline an offer to be Jim Clark’s number two at Lotus in favour of a two year spell with Reg Parnell’s Yeomam Credit team which ran Climax powered Cooper T53’s in 1961 and Lola Mk4’s in 1962.

Two second places in Britain and Germany and 4th in the final Championship standings with the Lola aroused the attention of Enzo Ferrari who signed John for the 1963 season.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

John finished the 1963 season 4th in championship again, but this time with his first Grand Prix win on four wheels at the German Grand Prix.

In 1964 with the Ferrari 158 the team were resurgent with wins in Germany and Italy backed up by second place finishes in Holland, the USA and Mexico were enough for John to become the first and so far only man to win World Championships of two wheels and four.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

Lotus and BRM gained the upper hand again in 1965 when John finished the Championship in fifth behind Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and Brabham driver Dan Gurney.

Ferrari looked to be best prepared for the start of the 3-Litre era of Formula One and a win in Belgium looked to confirm John as the most likely candidate to win the title, but then a disagreement with Ferrari management at Le Mans saw John walk away from Marranello and into one of the only other 3 litre cars available the Cooper Maserati T81.

Over the remainder of the season John finished 2nd in Germany, 3rd in the USA and first in Mexico, finishing second in the Championship to Jack Brabham who became the first and so far only driver to win the World Formula One Championship in a car bearing his own name.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

During the second half of 1966 John drove a works supported Lola T70 in the Can Am Championship and became it’s inaugural champion with 3 race wins.

In 1967 started a two year spell with Honda in Formula One that brought John’s final Championship Formula One win at the 1967 Italian Grand Prix after John had introduced Lola’s Eric Broadley designed chassis to the team.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

John spent one year at BRM, with whom he finished a best third in the USA, in 1969 before turning the Surtees Racing Organisation, SRO, in Edenbridge in to a constructor of racing cars that in Formula 2, Formula 5000 and Formula One.

Fellow motor cycle world champion Mike Hailwood won the 1972 European Formula 2 Championship driving a Surtees TS10 in 1972, the same year that Gijs van Lennep drove a Surtees TS 11 in all but one round of the 1972 Rothmans European Formula 5000 Championship which he won.

The Championship highlight of the SRO challenge in Formula One, which lasted until 1978, was Mike Hailwood’s 2nd place finish in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix the year the team finished it’s all time high 5th in the constructors championship.

John also won the non Championship Gold Cup at Oulton Park driving a TS7 in 1970 and a TS9 in 1971, the following season the debut of the TS14 at Monza would be his final Grand Prix start before retiring, though he added a further Gold Cup win in 1981, when the race was run for historic cars, driving a Maserati 250F.

Today’s featured 1956 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé # 198 040 65 00279, originally sold to a customer in the USA, was bought by John in the early 1990’s and registered in the UK on the 23rd of June 1992, he kept it until 2008.

The car, seen at a recent Edenbridge Fun Day, was bought by it’s current owner at the Coy’s Techno Classica 2011 Auction for just north of half a million dollars.

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


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 !


Why Wear Anything Else – Citroën Xsara Coupé VTR 2.0i

In 1997 Citroën employed German super model Claudia Schiffer as the eye candy to attract potential customers to it’s new range of Xsara models, in the UK she used the strap line “why wear anything else ?” in the Xsara’s 1998 add campaign.

Citroën Xsara Coupé VTR 2.0i, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

The Xsara shares the same platform as the earlier Citroën ZX and Peugeot 306 models with the fully independent rear suspension tracing it’s origins back to the 1977 Peugeot 305.

Citroën Xsara Coupé VTR 2.0i, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

2000 saw the introduction of a face lifted Xsara with mildly altered body panels, a new steering wheel and a new wiring harness that came in for criticism when issues with unusable driver’s door window, central locking and interior lights became an issue due to the wiring being to thin.

Citroën Xsara Coupé VTR 2.0i, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

In 2003 the top spec 2 litre / 122 cui engine was down graded from 164 hp to only 135hp when the EU series engines replaced the more powerful XU series engines, perversely this was just around the time that Rally Driver Sebastian Loeb was coming of age with the visually similar but mechanically quite different Xsara T4 WRC on the World Rally Championship stage.

Citroën Xsara Coupé VTR 2.0i, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Sebastian won 28 World Rally Championship events outright with the Xsara T4 WRC model including five consecutive ADAC Deutschland Rally’s, he narrowly missed the 2003 World Rally Drivers championship while Citroën claimed the 2003 World Rally Manufacturers Championship, from 2004 – 2006 Sebastian drove Xsara T4 WRC’s to his first three World Rally Drivers Championships.

Today’s featured 2003 Citroën Xsara Coupé VTR 2.0i, seen at last years Castle Combe Rally Day, has had some body panels replaced and paintwork added to make it look like a 2003 – 2005 era works Xsara T4 WRC, the ad offering the car for sale advised potential customers that the engine output had been raised to 220hp.

Thanks for joining me on this “Why Wear Anything Else” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Blackpool for some rally illuminations. Don’t forget to come back now !


’69 Spoiler – Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

No sooner had Chevrolet announced the arrival of it’s Camaro model in 1967 to compete against Ford’s Mustang than racers in the USA were lining up to challenge the Mustang’s hegemony in the Trans Am series with the 302 cui / 5 litre Z/28 variant like the example seen here at a Silverstone Classic Press Day a couple of years ago.

Among those racing Z/28’s in 1967 way Bobby Brown whom records show raced a Penske Z/28 with George Wintersteen and Joe Welch in the 1967 Daytona 24 hours where they qualified 22nd but retired.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Bobby also raced a Robert Chevrolet entered Z/28 in the 1967 Sebring 4 Hour race in which he finished 6th from 9th on the grid.

Records show Bobby racing a Z/28 on two further occasions at Lime Rock in 1967 winning his class in a SCCA event in mid May.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Today’s featured car is believed to have been raced by Bobby in 1967 before being shipped to the UK in 1968 where Malcolm Wayne drove it in the British Saloon Car Championship the following season Mike Kearon did likewise.

In 1970 the car went to Bill Davis Racing where it was part of a two car stable that included a Z/28 built from scratch that was driven by Roy Pierrepont.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Adrian Chambers acquired the car in 1971 for his SCA Freight team that was joined midway through the season by Australian Frank Gardner who won two British Saloon Car Championship races with it.

Frank also raced the car in a couple of rounds of the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft 1972 finishing a best 2nd at Diepholz.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

After it was replaced in the SCA team by a second generation Camaro Frank had today’s featured car sent first to New Zealand and then to Australia where he raced it into 1973.

John Pollard appears to have been responsible for fitting the larger ’69 spec rear spoiler in preparation for his entry into Australian Super Sedan races somewhere around 1976.

Thanks for joining me on this “’69 Spoiler” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


A Power Of Difference – Ford Prefect 107E Pinto Farnham

In 1953 Ford introduced it’s Ford Anglia 100E and two years later an estate / wagon version known as the Squire with a body modified by Abbott of Farnham was offered that remained in production until 1959.

Ford Prefect Farnham, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

When I first saw today’s featured car at last year’s Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe I incorrectly identified it as a Squire.

Ford Prefect Farnham, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

In fact this car is a meticulously restored 1960 fourth generation 4 door Ford Prefect 107E of the type built from 1959 to 1961.

Ford Prefect Farnham, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

As the alloy wheels suggest this car had a few upgrades during it’s restoration which include replacing the 36 hp 997 cc / 61 cui 4 cylinder side valve motor with a more modern 2 litre / 122 cui Ford Pinto 4 cylinder and replacing the three speed gearbox with a 5 speed.

Ford Prefect Farnham, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

Additionally the restoration has included converting the 4 door saloon / sedan into an estate / wagon in a way that had me absolutely convinced it was an Abbott of Farnham body, when it is in fact a completely unique as no such body was ever built by Abbott.

Ford Prefect Farnham, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

When tested the 36hp 107E, sold with the strap line “with a power of difference from Ford”, reached 60mph from rest in 27.2 seconds and had a top speed of 73 mph, optional extras included a heater, windscreen washers, radio and leather upholstery.

Thanks for joining me on this “With A Power Of Difference” edition of “Gettin’ a little psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Windsor. Don’t forget to come back now !


Libre, Hillclimbing, Guernsey Bus – Chevron Cosworth B17C #F2-70-2

Alongside the production of nine Formula 3 Chevron B17 1 litre / 61 cui “Screamer” Formula 3 cars Chevron built 5 examples of the B17B powered by Vegatune Ford Twin Cam engines in 1598cc / 97.5 cui form for US based SCCA Formula B competitors and two B17C’s one with a 1598 cc / 91.5 cui Cosworth FVA engine to compete in Formula 2 and the other today’s featured chassis #F2-70-2 which was originally supplied to compete in Formula Libre events.

Chevron Cosworth B17C, Silverstone Classic, Press Day

Steve Thompson had the car fitted with a 1790 cc / 109.2 cui Cosworth FVC engine and is believed to have won at least 14 Formula Libre races with the car in 1970. The ownership trail then includes Frank Mumford and Alex Seldon, the latter is believed to have fitted the car with a 2 litre / 122 cui BDA in 1972, but neither owner is known to have competed with the car.

Chevron Cosworth B17C, Martin Bullock, Silverstone Classic, Press Day

In November 1972 Malcom Brown is believed to have raced the car at Brands Hatch and in April the following year Richard Leech drove the car in a Libre event as Castle Combe, Deryck Cook advertised the car for sale now powered by a Ford Twin Cam before Philip Sandwith in Guernsey bought it from Spencer Elton in Wiltshire.

Chevron Cosworth B17C, Martin Bullock, Silverstone Classic, Press Day

Philip competed in hill climb events from 1975 to 1978 with #F2-70-2 now fitted with a Holbay twin cam engine that helped him secure numerous class records, Guernsey Bus garage manager Mike le Cras ran the car at the Le Val des Terres hill climb in St Peter Port Guernsey in 1983.

Chevron Cosworth B17C, Martin Bullock, Silverstone Classic, Press Day

The ownership trail then leads to Australian Martin Bullock who is seen driving the car in these photographs at the Silverstone Classic press day in 2013, with a 1967 – 1971 Formula 2 spec Cosworth FVA fitted. More details on this car can be found on Allen Brown’s Old Racing Cars.com website.

Thanks for joining me on this “Libre, Hillclimbing, Guernsey Bus” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be revisiting Nottingham circa 1985. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ken’s Samaritan Karma – Ford Escort RS1800

When Ken Jones set off from Nottingham with his mates in his 1970 3 litre / 183 cui Ford Capri registration “EVO 281J” to spectate on the Lombard Esso Scottish Rally in June 1976 he could have had little idea how his Samaritan spirit would either enter rallying folklore or be rewarded.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Today’s featured Allied Polymer Group sponsored works Ford Escort RS1800 first came to the public’s attention in November 1975 when Timo Mäkinen and Henry Lydden over came several punctures and drove the car to victory on the RAC Lombard Rally to become the first driver and co driver pairing to win the Rally three times in a row.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

The following season LAR 801P was assigned to Finish young gun Ari Vatanen, seen at the wheel in these photographs taken at Castle Combe’s recent Rally Day, who despite crashing out of the 1975 RAC Rally was offered a shot at the 1976 British Rally Championship.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Ari and co driver Peter Bryant went into the 1976 Scottish rally on a high, having won the previous championship round the Western Mail International Welsh Rally a month earlier and were leading the Scottish at the start of stage 13, but only managed to roll out of the stage after the crown wheel and pinion in the differential broke, depriving the rear wheels of any drive from the engine.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

These parts were hitherto considered so reliable that no spares were carried by the Ford Team and rival manufacturer Opel’s service chief Robin Turvey recommended to Ford service chief Mick Jones that he look for a 3 litre Ford Capri which would have the necessary parts in the back axle to keep Ari in the Rally.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

With time ticking away innocent passer by Ken Brown was flagged down by Peter Bryant and kindly agreed to let Mick and and Ari along with Fords Competition manager Peter Ashcroft take the pieces they needed from his back axle of his 3 litre and fit them to the stricken Escort.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Ari and Peter set off with just enough time to remain in the rally, but with the rear axle ratio’s no longer optimised for the high rpm four cylinder BDA motor, they completed just four more stages before retiring from the event that was won by the RS1800 driven by Russell Brooks who finished ahead of another RS1800 driven by Roger Clark.

Ari and Peter went on to win the 1976 Manx International Rally which was enough for them to secure the British Rally Championship, Ari won the title again in 1980 with Dave Richards a year before the same duo won the 1981 World Rally Championship.

A couple of weeks ago I was at an event where Ford’s Mick Jones was one of the guests of honour and he recounted how after Ken Browns back axle was repaired the dealer had a mishap when trying to deliver the Capri back to Ken and so the damaged car was sent to the works competition department at Boreham for further repairs, when Boreham tried to deliver the car they too had a mishap and eventually it was decided to rewards Ken’s loyalty to the brand with a spanking new car.

Footage of Ken Brown’s 1971 Capri’s encounter with works Ford Rally team described above can be seen on this youtube link.

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