Tag Archives: Platt

Motors TV Live Race Day – Castle Combe

Last Bank Holiday Monday I popped over to Castle Combe for the Motors TV Live Race Day where the 750 motor club brought along the Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost series which was joined by the MSA British Superkart Championship, Aero Racing Morgan Challenge, Lancaster Insurance and three Castle Combe Championships for a busy 13 race schedule.

750MC Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost Championship, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

The first of two 750MC Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost Championship races took two starts to get underway and even then several competitors from the huge field found it difficult to stay on track on the opening laps above Steven Wells in the #7 Locost is seen having run out of track at the Bobbies Chicane trying to get back on course after passing the marshals post on the wrong side. The maneuver cost Steve who had been fifth twenty places of which he recovered nine for a 16th place finish. Locost race 1 was won by Alistair Garret who started from Pole and led every lap.

Wyatt, Barnard, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Mark Wyatt qualified on pole for the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship in Association with National Windscreens race and ended up leading every lap after challenges from Tony Hutchings driving an Audi TT and William di Claudio driving his Peugeot 106 GTi faded once Wyatt started lapping cars on lap 5. Wyatt driving the yellow #98 Vauxhall Astra is seen above lapping the #100 Vauxhall VXR Turbo of John Barnard.

O'Reily, Platt, British Superkart Championship, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Not sure how many decades it has been since I have seen any Kart racing but the two races on Monday reawoke my appreciation of these ballistic mostly 2 stroke projectiles that lapped Castle Combe 10 seconds faster than the previous saloon car race. Above James O’Reily who started 4th on the #13 PVP Viper Honda pulls off a brilliant winning last lap, last corner, move going round the outside of Paul Platt aboard the PVP Redspeed Honda going into Camp Corner in the first of two MSA British Superkart Championship races.

Siliconhoses Sports & GT Championship , Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Perry Waddams was a bit too keen to get the Castle Combe Sports & GT Championship supported by Siliconhoses.com race under way in his #77 Chevrolet LS3 powered TVR Tuscan Challenge, Perry is seen above relinquishing the lead, from a ninth place start to eventual winner Craig Flemming who started the race from second on the grid in his #5 Juno TR250 a couple of hundred yards after the start. Note Pole sitter Simon Tilling was swamped in the #23 Radical SR3T which had already fallen to fifth place.

Jones, Plant, Aero Racing Morgan Challenge, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Quarry was the place to be on the opening lap of the Aero Morgan Challenge race above pole sitter William Plant driving the #19 Morgan 4/4 is seen above after being inadvertently punted off by eventual winner Tom Jones driving the #67 Morgan Roadster. Plant made an entertaining recovery from 23rd to 3rd by the end of the 25 minuet race.

Lancaster Insurance MGOC Championship, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Pole sitter Lee Sullivan led the opening 3 laps of the first Lancaster Insurance MGOC Championship races driving the #68 MG ZR from the #77 MGF 160 of Robb Addison and #6 MG ZR 160 of John O’Brien but it was Ben Palmer driving the #12 MG ZR starting from 4th place who won the race starting from 4th on the grid after Sullivan dropped down the field on Lap 4. Above Sullivan leads the race on the opening lap through the Esses.

Startline Formula Ford 1600 Championship, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Race of the day was the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 Championship which saw the return of Ben Norton driving the #111 Spectrum 10b which he qualified on pole. Ben and Steven Jensen driving the #22 Spectrum 011b proceeded to romp away from the rest of the field while engaged in a thrilling dice that saw the lead swap many times. Ben eventually made the winning move seen above going into Tower Corner on the last lap, a nice way to mark becoming a father. Ben and Steven were unanimously voted drivers of the day for their thrilling performance.

750MC Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost Championship, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

The second 750MC Demon Tweeks / Yokohama Locost Championship was as entertaining as the first with Alistair Garret starting from 4th grabbing the lead which he then swapped with Richard Jenkins on several occasions with novice Tim Neat joining the fun. The race was eventually won by Jenkins who is seen above chasing Garret while being pursued by Neat through Bobbies Chicane.

Platt, PVP Redspeed Honda, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Toby Davis driving the #3 Anderson Viper Honda made a brilliant start from 5th on the grid to lead the opening 3 laps of the second of the MSA British Superkart Championship races before surrendering it to Race 1 winner James O’Reilly #13 PVP who then spent the next ten laps swapping the lead with Paul Platt driving the #1 PVP, the final result saw O’Reilly snatch the lead on the last lap of the last corner again to become the days first two time winner. Above Platt leads O’Reilly and Davis onto Westfield.

Martin Chivers, Rover MG ZR, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Once Tony Dolley retired from the lead of the non championship Saloon Car race Martin Chivers driving the #65 MG ZR pulled away from the remaining field to take his first victory at Castle Combe by over 8 seconds. Martin is seen above at Tower.

Plant, Parsons, Aero Racing Morgan Challenge, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

The second Aero Racing Morgan Challenge race saw William Plant making no mistakes starting from third on the grid William took the lead and was never headed eventually winning the race by over 4 seconds. William is seen above lapping the #45 Morgan 4/4 Sport of Tim Parsons.

Sullivan, Addison, Lancaster Insurance MGOC Championship, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

Like wise Lee Sullivan made no mistakes in the second Lancaster Insurance MGOC Championship race winning by 1.2 seconds from pole, Lee’s #68 MG ZR is seen above being chased through tower by the #77 MG F 160 of Robb Addison who retired after 5 laps were completed.

Craig Flemming, Juno TR250, Sports & GT, Motors TV Live Race Day, Castle Combe

The final, non championship, race of the day was for Sports and GT cars which Craig Flemming starting from pole won by 5 seconds from the Mallock driven by Adrian Hamilton. Craig is seen driving the #5 Juno TR250 above along the Hammerdown straight.

After a glorious day in the sun I went home with my appetite for motor racing satiated for one day at least. Full results of the day can be found on this link.

Thanks for joining me on this “Motors TV Live Race Day” 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 !

PS Earlier this week I was invited to write a for Motorsports Unplugged and you can read my first piece Fortune Favours Fernando and Ferrari on this link.


Definetly Not The Right One – Lotus Ford 80 #R1

Colin Chapman described the Lotus Ford 80 at it’s launch in the Kentagon at Brands Hatch in 1979 as the best looking Lotus he had ever built. Reigning World Champion Mario Andretti said it would make the Lotus Ford 79 with which he won the 1978 World Championship look like a London Bus.

Lotus Ford 80, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Unfortunately the car with the revolutionary venturi under the nose and a second under the rest of the body and with out the usual wings front and rear proved to be a bit of a handful with unpredictable handling once it started running on the track and it was only a matter of time before Colin Chapman and his engineers were removing the skirts that sealed the airflow beneath the nose and fitting conventional front wings to aid the aerodynamic poise and balance of the car.

Lotus Ford 80, Silverstone Classic

The whole point of the design was to make the Lotus 80 faster down the straights than the Lotus 79 by not having any wings fitted at all. However all was not lost at Brands Hatch, as seen in Sven Platts photo below, the car was only used as a spare, but in the next race the Spanish Grand Prix Mario Andretti qualified a respectable forth behind the two hitherto dominant Ligiers that were the most effective copies of the previous seasons Lotus 79 and the more powerful Ferrari 312 T4 of Gilles Villeneuve.

Lotus Ford 80, Race of Chapions, Brands Hatch

Patrick Depaillier won the Spanish Grand Prix in his Ligier from Carlos Reutemann, in the Lotus Teams older Lotus 79, who finished ahead of Mario in the Lotus 80. The Spanish Grand Prix turned out to be the highlight of the Lotus 80’s short life, at Monaco Mario could only qualify 13th and at the French GP where a heavily revised second Lotus 80 was tested Mario qualified 12th but he retired with suspension and brake issues from each of these races respectively.

Lotus Ford 80, Silverstone Classic

The final appearance of the Lotus 80 was at the British Grand Prix at Silvestone where I took the photograph below. Mario practised in the car but decided he was better off with his year old Lotus 79 which by now was swamped by new designs which emulated it and the more powerful, ultimately 1979 championship winning, Ferrari T4s.

Lotus Ford 80, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

I believe these photographs all show the same chassis namely Lotus Ford 80 R1 which today appears to be owned by Manfredo Rossi a member of the Martini Rossi family that sponsored team Lotus in 1979.

Lotus Ford 80, Silverstone Classic

Thanks for joining me on this “Definitely Not The Right One” 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 Adjustacar – Lotus Ford 77 #R2

Like the photo’s featured in the Ferrari T2 post a couple of months ago today’s photo’s come courtesy of my school friend Sven Platt and were taken at the 1976 British Grand Prix.

The 1976 Lotus 77 was a second attempt at replacing the Lotus 72 after the underwhelming Lotus 76 was abandoned in 1974. Like the 76 the 77 featured an extremely narrow chassis, but with Lotus 72 style side pods which extended back to the leading edge of the rear wheels for the radiators.

British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

Novel features for the Lotus 77 when it was first seen included air intakes that ran the length of the cockpit, in board brakes, that were mounted between a pencil thin chisel nose and the front wheels, and rocker arm suspension that was fully adjustable to meet the requirements of any track.

By the start of the European season non championship races the cockpit side air intakes for the motor were blanked off and replaced with a conventional airbox. The ‘adjustacar’ suspension proved difficult to set up but was retained, while by the Belgian GP the inboard front brakes were abandoned. At the Dutch Grand Prix an oil cooler was mounted in the nose to move some weight forward of the front axle line.

Lotus 77, Brands Hatch

At the start of the 1976 season drivers came and went like a game of musical chairs, Ronnie Peterson was the incumbent #1 driver and Mario Andretti returned for a one off guest drive, after a six year break in the second car. After qualifying 16th and retiring with accident damage Ronnie swapped places with new boy & countryman Gunnar Nilsson who had been scheduled to drive for the March team. Andretti returned to Vels Parnelli team just in time for it to fold after the 1976 US Grand Prix West. British Formula 5000 champion Bob Evans was given two Grand Prix races at Team Lotus while Nilsson made his Grand Prix debut in South Africa. After failing to qualify for the US GP West Evans was dropped from the team and after trying out the Wolf Williams FWO5 in a non championship race freshly out of work Mario Andretti signed on as the Lotus #1 driver !

After Andretti rejoined the team Nilsson scored a couple of thirds during his rookie year while Andretti went a little better scoring two thirds and winning the thrilling final race of the season run in a monsoon that decided the championship between Niki Lauda and James Hunt that should make a thrilling climax to Ron Howard’s current film project ‘Rush‘.

The three Lotus 77’s, never known as John Player Special II’s as the sponsors might have hoped, were retired from top line competition at the end of 1977, however that was not quite the end of the story as once again David Render, swapping his Lotus 76, and getting hold of Andretti’s Japanese GP chassis, #R1, and using it as an effective hillclimb and sprint machine.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Adjustacar’ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing last weekends Simply Italian event at the National Motor Museum in which a GALPOT regular won a prize ! Don’t forget to come back now !


Brazilian Spec ? – #44 Rays Toys Ford Capri 2.8i

During the summer of 1985 I had a temporary job sorting out magazine orders from libraries, all day long I was sat around a desk processing them with half a dozen co workers in Nottingham. Somewhere along the last week of May I got a message from my school friend Sven inviting me to join his pit crew for the Willhire 24 hour race at Snetterton. I managed to get the necessary time off work and so, belatedly, began my first hands on experience in motor racing.

Ford Capri 2.8i, Brand Hatch

My job was to keep the windscreen clean and keep the fuel tank full, the first bit was easy the second involved carrying two jerry cans full of fuel accross the entire length of the pit area, but such was my youth it really did not matter ! As I remember Sven, Ronnie and third driver Tony had a fairly trouble free race aside from a few fuel vaporization issues on a scorching hot weekened, to come in 19th place a mere 120 laps behind the leaders who drove a similar Ford Capri 2.8i. After the race I was both severely sun burned and deliriously exhausted I remember nothing about work the following week at all !

Ford Capri 2.8i, Brand Hatch

A couple of weeks later I got another call from Sven, as I did on many subsequent weekends that summer, so I found my self hitch hiking to meet Sven on Friday nights and then going off to the races on the Saturday for most rounds of the Uniroyal Production Car Championship, I didn’t have to do much at the shorter events as Ronnie’s Project 2 Motorsports had two mechanics in attendance so I’d do the time keeping.

The photo’s seen here were taken at Brands Hatch on a particularly miserable day in July, the only thing that kept me conscious was copious quantities of hot tea with tons of sugar, I suspect I might have been under dressed for the weather. Despite being the time keeper I have no recollection of exactly where Sven started or finished the race, I just remember being glad when it was all over and the car was packed up and ready to go with me in the relative warmth of the back of the towing van.

Ford Capri 2.8i, Brand Hatch

The #44 Rays Toys Ford Capri 2.8i was prepared to conform to Production Saloon Car Rules which meant that the car was fitted with a roll cage, kept all the interior trim, was fitted with road legal Yokohama tyres but strangely, for a production series, was allowed a free exhaust system, the 2800 cc 170 cui V6 motor, driving through an early 2.8i standard four speed gearbox, was in all respects a carefully assembled standard unit which Ronnie for reasons best known to himself always referred to as ‘Brazilian Spec’.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Brazilian Spec’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Life is More Important Than A Championship – Ferrari 312 T2 #028, #027 & #026

Today’s photographs come courtesy of another school friend Sven Platt who was lucky to see one of the most controversial British Grand Prix of all time at Brands Hatch in 1976.

The 1976 Grand Prix season was probably the most fascinating of all time, it had technical innovation in the form of a six wheel car, it had a dashing up and coming Englishman given a last minute chance in a top team, all trying to wrest the drivers and constructors title from the reigning champions Ferrari and “Super Rat” Niki Lauda, the first titles Ferrari had won since 1964. The track action was matched by some equally spectacular off track twists and turns that saw Ferrari and McLaren pressure all and sundry who stood in their way. To put into perspective the grandeur of the season Ron Howard famed for making films like Cocoon, Apollo 13 and The Da Vinci Code is currently shooting a film in England all about the 1976 Grand Prix Season called ‘Rush’ which will probably be released before the end of the year.

Niki Lauda started the 1976 season pretty much where he left the 1975 season off taking two straight wins and his team mate Clay Regazonni taking Ferrari’s third straight win of the season all with 1975 Ferrari 312 T’s. Then at the Spanish Grand Prix new rules were adopted mostly tightening up the maximum dimensions of the cars including the overall width. The big technological innovation was the six wheel Tyrrell driven by Patrick Depailler 3rd behind Niki Lauda and James Hunt, McLaren’s last minute signing at the start of the season, who was on his third pole position from four races.

James Hunt crossed the line first in his modestly revised McLaren M23 and Niki Lauda came in second with a more heavily revised 312 T2 still with the 180 degree V12 engine the same transverse gearbox but an all together slimmer model than it’s predecessor the 312 T. Then the fun and games really started when the M23 failed its post race technical inspection for being 1.8 cm less than an inch too wide. This saw James instantly disqualified elevating Niki Lauda to the top spot of the podium. McLaren immediately posted an appeal, and the circus moved on to Belgium and Monaco where Niki Lauda again triumphed both times form pole.

Pending a McLaren appeal Niki was now in an almost unassailable lead in the championship with 5 victories from six races and with Ferrari pending appeal on six for six. In Sweden however real technological innovation broke the Ferrari by taking it’s one, and only, win and an easy second place in the hands of Jody Scheckter who beat team mate Patrick Depailler driving the novelty six wheel Tyrrells since the two Tyrrells had three axles a piece in theory they locked out the three step between them !

Ferrari 312 T2, Brand Hatch, Sven Platt

However the six wheel Tyrrells were never to win, let alone dominate, a race again and at the French Grand Prix it was James Hunt who pending his Spanish appeal made his first win for McLaren official. The next race was the British Grand Prix where these photo’s were taken by my school friend Sven. On the opening corner of the opening lap of British Grand Prix Clay Regazzoni starting from 4th on the grid got the drop on Hunt starting second but in the process lost control clipping Lauda who was ahead of him and leaving James Hunt no place to go except to broadside Clay in the #2 Ferrari.

This collision brought out an immediate red flag Lauda’s car was undamaged, Clays car could take no further part and James car took a short cut back to the pits for hasty repairs. There was nearly a riot when James was initially refused permission to take the 2nd start but following a near riot the organisers saw sense and let the race go ahead with a full compliment of cars. James won the race from the second start with Lauda second. Immediately after the race followed more protests which saw Regazzoni disqualified for failing to start in the same car he qualified. Hunts win was also protested all the way to the FIA who would decide Hunts fate some months later.

Around this time the outcome of the Spanish GP was decided in favour of James Hunt after the the governing body of the FIA accepted McLaren’s argument that their car had only been too wide because the tyres when not moving buldged outwards by at least the amount of the infraction due to the absence of centrifugal force acting on them when measured and therefore the infraction was not deliberate and gave no advantage. Immediately after the Spanish GP McLaren narrowed the rear track of their cars to prevent any reoccurence of this problem.

So it was on to the German GP where this Niki Lauda fan had the questionable privilege of spectating as first Hunt beat Lauda to pole and then not more than half a mile away from me a thin column of smoke arose on the second lap where Niki Lauda who pitted on the opening lap for slick tyres had come to rest with his car ablaze after loosing control of it on a relatively simple part of the Nurburgring.

Ferrari 312 T2, Brand Hatch, Sven Platt

With the track blocked fellow drivers Guy Edwards, Harold Ertl, Brett Lunger and Art Mezairio were the only people in reach to release Niki from his burning car. Eventually a helicopter arrived and took Niki to hospital where he would be read the last rights by a priest before making an astounding come back just six weeks later.

Hunt won the restarted German Grand Prix and the Dutch Grand Prix in Niki’s absence with John Watson driving the Penske scoring the last Grand Prix victory until this day in an American entered car, at the intervening Austrian Grand Prix.

At the Italian Grand Prix Ferrari showed in strength with an unusual for the time three car team one car for Regazzoni which qualified 9th, a car for new signing Carlos Reutemann which qualified 7th and amazingly a car for Niki Lauda who’s head was still heavily rapped in bandages from the burns he had received 6 weeks earlier in Germany qualifying fastest of the Ferrari’s in 5th.

Further shenanigans came to ahead when Watson, Hunt and his team mate Jochen Mass had their Saturday qualifying times of 8th to 10th respectively disallowed due to fuel irregularities which rendered them out of the race until it was found that Otto Stupacher had already gone home and then Art Mezario and Guy Edwards had both withdrawn allowing Hunt, Mass and Watson back into the race at the back of the grid.

Ferrari 312 T2, Brand Hatch, Sven Platt

By the races end it mattered little neither Hunt nor Mass finished and Lauda made moved only 3 points further ahead of Hunt with a 4th place finish. Hunt was then disqualified from the British Grand Prix for an alleged push start away from the incident with Regazzoni on the opening lap. At the Canadian Grand Prix James lead from pole making up nine points on Niki who qualified sixth but could only finish out of the points in 8th.

Still 8 points behind Lauda going into the US Grand Prix East James won from pole again scoring nine more points but Niki managed to convert 5th on the grid to an unbelievable, considering he was still heavily wrapped in bandages, 3rd place and four points and so maintained a 3 point lead going into the final race of the season at Fuji in Japan.

Mario Andretti took pole in the single most improved design of the 1976 season the Lotus 77 with championship contenders Hunt and Lauda right behind him in 2nd and 3rd. Race day dawned monsoon like with mist and fog shrouding the track. Despite much debate and water running across the track the race went ahead with all drivers taking the start and Hunt leading the way from Andretti, at the end of the opening lap Niki with no eyelids decided his life was worth more than a title and pulled into the pits virtually handing James the title on the plate.

However as the track dried Hunt started to fall back and pitted with a puncture rejoining in 5th place with just two laps to go since Andretti had by now lapped the entire field. Hunt went storming off needing to over take at least two cars to level the points and take the title on a count back of wins 6-5 in favor of James, he pulled it off passing Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni who were struggling on the drying track with their worn wet tyres, James completely unaware of his position in the race or the Championship then passed Depailler in the six wheel Tyrrell to take third and win the title by a single point.

Ferrari 312 T2, Brand Hatch, Sven Platt

Ferrari won the constructors championship by nine points, having a more reliable car and having a higher scoring 2nd string driver in Regazzoni than Jochen Mass in the McLaren. So ended possibly the most storied season in Grand Prix racing, certainly so far as the author, who got up at 5am to watch the final race of the season on television is concerned.

In the first two photographs the #1 Ferrari is seen driven by Niki Lauda, during practice in the top photo without his name on the cokcpit side. This chassis 028 was brand new for the British Grand Prix, where Niki was eventually awarded the win. In the second photo Niki is seen leading Welshman Tom Pryce driving a Shadow whom Niki had just lapped. At the following race in Germany Niki so very nearly met his maker when he lost control of chassis 028 on lap 2 of the German Grand Prix, impact with the crash barrier knocked Niki’s helmet off while the car simultaneously burst into flames. #028 was never to be seen in public again.

Clay Regazzoni is seen in the third photo driving the #2 car chassis #027 which Clay used throughout the 1976 season from the Monaco Grand Prix onwards scoring two second place finishes in Holland and Italy. Clay damaged this car during the first corner fracas at the British Grand Prix and so took the restart in chassis #026 for which he would later be disqualified for not having used it to qualify for the race.

In the fourth and final photo Clay is seen prior to retirement, and eventual disqualification, battling with Gunnar Nilson in the #6 Lotus 77 at the entrance to the notorious off camber downhill Paddock Bend after the restart of the race. Chassis #026 was used by Niki Lauda early in the season with which he came 2nd in Spain and First in Monaco and third in Sweden, the car was then past over to Regazzoni who after damaging it at the British Grand Prix only used it as a spare car for practice there after in Germany and Holland before it was re prepared for Niki’s comeback in Italy and the remainder of the season scoring 4th in Italy and a 3rd place in the United States East.

My thanks to Sven Platt for the use of his photo’s.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Life Is More Important Than A Championship edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow, don’t forget to come back now !