Tag Archives: Ray

Advancing Suspension – Petty Norton

Acknowledged Norton tuning expert Ray Petty, no known relationship to the Petty’s of Level Cross, NC, turned his attention to building a 500 Formula 3 car in late 1955.

Petty Norton, Oulton Park

The Petty Norton featured a space frame chassis and suspension with rocker arm actuated inboard coil springs and shock absorbers at the front and de Dion rear with a transverse leaf spring.

Petty Norton, Oulton Park

Powered by one of Ray’s tuned 497 cc / 30.3 cui Norton Motors Alan Cowley led on the cars debut at the Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting, until he spun into retirement.

Petty Norton, Castle Combe

Alan continued driving the Petty Norton through 1956, with Ray Petty taking over for the Brighton Speed Trials and Freddie Campbell for the Commander Yorke 100 mile race at Silverstone in September 1956.

Petty Norton, Nigel Challis, 500 F3, Oulton Park

The Petty Norton is not known to have competed in 1957, though why remains a mystery since when Jeremy Menzies took over the wheel in 1958 he recorded at least three “Junior” wins at Brands Hatch and a respectable 4th in the Commander Yorke 100 run in August 1958.

Petty Norton, Nigel Challis, BAC MSA Challenge, Castle Combe

Dave Lecoq driving the unique Petty Nroton won the Earl of March Trophy at Goodwood in 2005.

Petty Norton, Nigel Challis, BAC MSA Challenge, Castle Combe

Seen at the wheel at Oulton Park in 2013 and Castle Combe two weeks ago is present owner Nigel Challis.

Thanks for joining me on this “Advanced Suspension” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l pscho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1936 ERA. Don’t forget to come back now !


Flower Power – Lotus 51A

Conceived by Geoff Clarke, manager of the racing school at brands Hatch, Formula Ford was introduced in 1967 for novice drivers as a means of getting a start in racing at an affordable cost.

Lotus 51A, Prescott

The original Formula Ford cars were based on those used at the racing school but fitted with a stock 1500cc / 91.5 cui pre crossflow Ford Cortina GT motor in place of the much more expensive to maintain Formula 3 race tuned motors.

Lotus 51A, Prescott

Brands Hatch played host to the very first Formula Ford race on July 12th, 1967. The race was one by Ray Allen driving a Lotus 51 similar to the one featured in todays blog.

Lotus 51A, Prescott

The first batch of Lotus 51 frames, including Ray Allen’s car, were actually welded up as Lotus 31‘s for use in Formula 3 but were retrospectively given the Lotus 51 tag when built to Formula Ford spec.

Lotus 51A, Prescott

Differences between the Lotus 51 and later 51A, seen here at Prescott, were minimal. For example brackets for an oil reservoir were not required on many 51A’s, if they ran with wet sump motor’s.

Lotus 51A, Prescott

Of the estimated 251 Lotus 51’s built, one, known as the 51R and unofficially as the Flower Power Lotus, was built as a road legal car complete with lights and mud guards.

Today’s featured Lotus 51A is driven by hill climber Briony Serrell.

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


Dick Mayo Sprint – Castle Combe

Another weekend another hectic schedule, on Saturday I spent the day marshaling at Castle Combe for the Dick Mayo Sprint run by the Bristol Motor Club (BMC), returning a favour when Zoe Tooth of the BMC kindly sat took the passenger seat when I tried to defend my Cross Trophy some months ago.

I was paired up with Richard, a new BMC member, to look after the marshals post on the inside of Old Paddock Bend on what turned out to be a windy but mercifully mostly dry day. Since I was the senior marshal on the post with a novice and there was only two of us, there was no opportunity to ‘stand down’ and take any photo’s of the on track action. During the lunch break, after a delicious sweet and sour pork with rice and chips, I managed to make a quick tour of the paddock to take a few snaps with my mobile phone.

RAY GR095, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

Of the open wheelers only the Formula Ford spec #24 RAY GR095 of Paul Jevons was not covered against the elements, given that Pauls Ray was the only open wheeler running on treaded tyres, without any aerodynamic down force and probably the least horsepower it is perhaps not surprising he finished last in the F2 Racing Car Class.

Porsche 914/6, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

Porsche Club GB were present in force at the Dick Mayo Sprint the stand out example of the marque being the #59 Porsche 914/6 belonging to Wayne Eason running a 3 litre / 183 cui flat 6 in the 161 to 205 bhp class, despite what ought to be superior handling of it’s mid engine layout Wayne’s 914/6 was beaten by the two rear engine 911 variants running in his class.

Lotus 2-Eleven, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

Amongst many Caterham 7’s and Lotus Elise variations the whistling supercharged, Lotus 2-Eleven track day car of fellow Bristol Pegasus Motor Club (BPMC) member James Spear stood out out as a novelty, James came third in the 12 strong Road Going Specialist Production Cars Class behind a Noble and a Westfield (Caterhan 7 look a like).

GTD, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

Running in the same class and coming 5th, as James, was yet another fellow BPMC member Julian West in his #132 GTD manufactured by GT Developments in Poole Dorset and not to be confused with the Tornado TSC GT40 replicas which are built in Kidderminster.

Caterham Roadsport, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

The Gold Leaf Team Lotus tribute liveried #143 Caterham 7 Roadsport, above, of Chris Bennet came in 5th in the smaller capacity Road Going Specialist Production Cars Class.

Jaguar E-Type, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

Porsche Club GB member Paul Kenelly ran his 1962 #148 Jaguar E-type coupé in the largest engine capacity class of the four Roadgoing Series Production classes finishing with the 9th best time from 10 in his class.

Morgan 3 Wheeler, Dick Mayo Sprint, Castle Combe

Terry Graves driving a Gould managed to record fastest time of the day, as the final runners came out rain made the track so damp the last competitor manged a time that was a full minute and more slower than the best time of the day, ironically by the time Richard and I had put our extinguishers out on the track ready for collection and jumped in his Subaru and returned to the paddock the sun was out and the track was dry ! Above the Morgan 3 wheeler drew a lot of attention in the paddock as it arrived to be put on show for the following days BMC Family Clubs Day, which I will feature next Sunday.

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


Pro ET – Race Ventora

The Vauxhall Victor FD Series was built between 1967 – 1972 the Ventora ws launched in 1968 with a 3294 cc / 201 cui 6 cylinder motor replacing the standard Victor FD series 4 cylinder motor.

Race Ventora, Silverstone

This Race Ventora, seen here at the Silverstone Classic, is powered by a 468 cui / 7669 cc V8 and driven by Ray Walker Pro ET drag events.

Race Ventora, Silverstone

Pro ET races see drivers paint the elapsed time (dial in) they believe they can achieve on their back window’s races are then staged between cars of different performance levels with the release times staggered by the difference dial in times. So that each driver should, in theory, cross the finish line at the same time.

Race Ventora, Silverstone

If a driver jumps his release time he is out, known as a ‘Red Light’, if a driver beats his dial in he is out, known as a ‘Break Out’, unless both drivers beat their dial ins in which case the driver who beats his dial in by the least amount wins.

While I was looking for information on Ray’s car i came across some information on another Vauxhall Victor of the same FD type that goes by the name of Red Victor.

Red Victor has gone through three evolutions and in the process lays claim to being the world fastest street legal car with a 0-60mph time of 0.9 seconds !

This link takes you to a youtube clip of Red Victor 2 and this second link takes you to a fascinating thread on the building of Red Victor 3.

I’ve just finished watching Tony Stewart round out a tremendous victory at Homestead Miami over his championship rival Carl Edwards. Kudos to all the fans of the Big 14 what an achievement to win the Cup as an owner driver. Commiserations to Carl who has earned my admiration for the way he competed and handled his defeat having drawn with Tony on points and lost on tie braking victories. Can’t wait until the new season starts at Daytona in February.

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


You can’t go wrong with a Bristol under the bonnet – Lister Bristol

It’s a great pleasure to present another couple of photo’s today by Ed Arnaudin courtesy of his son Steve.

In 1954 Brian Lister produced an MG powered sports car at his Cambridge iron works for Archie Scott Brown to drive. Disappointed with the results on it’s debut Brian had a 6 cylinder 2 litre Bristol engine installed and Archie won his class next time out at a meeting supporting the 1954 British Grand Prix beating half a dozen more powerful C-type Jaguars.

For 1955 a handful Lister Bristol’s were built for customers and the vehicle pictured at Thompson CT is one of those cars, driven to a class win on 20th July 1958 by Ray Cuomo who raced a huge variety of interesting vehicles from the mid 50’s to mid 70’s.

The #132 in the back ground top picture is the Lester MG driven by F Stone and the #32 is an Alfa Romeo Veloce driven by R Anderson in a different race.

My thanks to Vince H and Terry O’Neil at The Nostalgia Forum for helping me with some of the background information and as ever to Ed and Steve Arnaudin for taking and furnishing these photographs.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Bristol powered edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, tomorrow I hope you will join me tomorrow for a look at an unusual Bristol 401.


Saturday Night Racer – #27 Ray Miles

Late in 1960 Ray Miles had a date that would alter the course of his life, his date Linda lived near Pleasantville Speedway in New Jersey, as Ray heard the roar of the track his curiosity was aroused and they ended up going there on their first date. Ray was hooked immediately and never missed a race after that and Linda soon decided her future lie elsewhere.

Working for a Ford dealer, Ray found a ride in the 6 cylinder #52 Plymouth Coupe owned by Pete Hearon of Goshen NJ, running at Vineland on Friday nights. Ray finished the 1962 season which he describes as a ‘learning experience’.

Vineland closed down at the end of 1962 so Ray headed back to Pleasantville known locally as P’ville and bought a ’39 Chevy Coupe for $400 from Harry McConnell. The car had a 4,277 cc / 261 cui 6 cylinder Chevy motor hooked up to a 1 ton International rear axle from a postal truck, as Ray says “nuttin’ fancy” .

Ray painted the car school bus yellow and put the #27 on. In 1966 Ray Bartling from the Sears Automotive Centre In Cardiff NJ where both Rays were working got involved with the #27 and became crew chief. The two Rays stuck together from 1966 through to 1975 when Ray hung up his helmet.

In 1967 P’ville was a NASCAR sanctioned track where Ray finished 3rd in points, 11th in the State of New Jersey.

Running on a tight budget if the team did not win enough money they would either make or borrow the parts needed to get to the next race. Eventually the chassis was replaced with a used one purchased from the legendary and much missed Tom Skinner this chassis was eventually fitted with a stock 5,276 cc / 322 cui Buick wrapped up with Rays original #27 Chevy Coupe body.

Towards the end of his driving career Ray drove several other vehicles including the Ed Browns #14 which Ray describes as a “fast mammy jammy!”

Today Ray has retired with his wife Suzy, and 5 Cats to Palm Springs where he has learned to play boogie woogie piano.

Keeping in touch with his racing buddies and keeping the memory of many others alive he started running the excellent Limited Sportsman Racers website where there is a wealth of information on the whole P’ville scene including the drivers, crews cars and some rare video footage. Look out for Bobby Isaacs doing a demonstration at P’ville in his #71 K&K; Insurance Dodge Charger Daytona with the 23 inch wing on the back !

Ray goes to reunions with his friends from P’ville at Harry Flemmings Pumpkin Run in Egg Harbour Township which comes highly recommended during the first weekend of November.

Slightly Off Topic

I’d like to wish David Piper who played an important role in the making of the film Le Mans subject of Sundays blog and in the building of the Ferrari 330 P4 # 0900 subject of yesterdays blog a belated Happy Birthday he turned 80 yesterday.

Hope you have enjoyed todays Saturday Night Racer blog and that you’ll join me tomorrow with another racer of a very different kind of vehicle based in New Jersey. Don’t forget to come back now !