Tag Archives: Witney

Heavy Metal Classic – Standlake Arena

With a full entry of 228 National Bangers and the first date of the season the Heavy Metal Classic at Standlake Arena near Witney in Oxfordshire attracted a full stadium of spectators and almost full overflow car park despite the promise of heavy rain and just above freezing temperatures.

MG B GT, Amie Chandler, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

I confess my brain was so frozen I do not remember too many details of what went on though I do remember an interesting conversation regarding the machinations of Dr Jonathon Palmer’s empire based at Brands Hatch, above the #418 MG B GT was driven by Amie Chandler in the “Under 2 litre RWD Classics” class.

Ford Granada Estate, Pat McPhilimy, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Pat McPhilimy strikes a professional pose in his #42 Ford Granada Estate during the first race for the Unlimited Class.

Rolls Royce Corniche, Garry Webb, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

The Unlimited Class featured 2 Rolls Royces, above the rare Rolls Royce Corniche driven by Garry Webb is seen passing the #155 Ford Zodiac Mk IV driven by Robert Philips.

Ford Ka, Paul, Quinell, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Paul Quinell easily won the unofficial most trashed rear axle with both wheels still attached and rotating award in his #469 Ford Ka which ran in the Micro Banger Class.

Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Peter Dodge guides his BMC Farina, could be an Austin or Morris but is almost certainly not a Wolseley, past the wreck that comprises the #909 Triumph Toledo driven by Jamie “Mr Blobby” Duff and #183 Morris Marina Estate Jack Strudwick that has been rear ended by an unidentified competitor.

Morris Marina Van, Billy Bond, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Short on steering control but still making progress Billy Bond dips his #72 Morris Marina van in the infield mud above.

BMC Farina, James Dodge, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

James Dodge like Peter pedaling a BMC Farina engages in a bit of rim riding hoping he will not get T boned by the green #632 Ford Cortina driven by Kallum Reed.

Jaguar Mark X, Steven Hart, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

The #70 Jaguar Mark X driven by Steven Hart above in the Unlimited Class sports a deflector on the bonnet, how effective it was at either keeping the occupant dry or giving him improved vision is debatable.

Ford Granada, Randy Mulder, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

I’m pretty sure the winning car of the unlimited class was the #88 Ford Granada driven by Randy Mulder, though looking at the entry list I see there was a second #88 entered for Billy Page so I am now not quite so sure.

Either way after an entertaining afternoon getting rather wet and cold watching 228 Bangers slip and slide through the mud I headed back to the overflow car park and was pleased to get my Golf Estate out of the parking facility without the aid of a four wheel drive pickup truck that was standing by just in case.

Thanks for joining me on this “Heavy Metal Classic” 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 competitor. Don’t forget to come back now !


Son of Silent Sam – Lotus 56

The 1968 Lotus 56 picked up on the technology used by the STP-Paxton Turbocar “Silent Sam designed by Ken Wallis for the 1967 Indy 500 with which Parnelli Jones came within 8 miles of winning before a transmission bearing failure intervened.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Like the STP Paxton Turbocar the Lotus 56, was also bankrolled by STP’s Andy Granatelli, used four wheel drive transmission.

The Lotus 56Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

However the Lotus 56 rather than mounting the engine alongside the driver on a backbone chassis as had been the case with the STP Paxton Turbocar, Maurice Phillipe’s design had the motor conventionally mounted behind the driver in what was to become an influential wedge shaped vehicle.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Jim Clark was originally penciled in to drive the Lotus 56 but his death during a race in Germany in April ’68 meant British driver Mike Spence was called in to do the early testing of the Lotus 56, unfortunately Mike was killed during practice three weeks before the start of the Indy 500 after hitting the wall in turn one.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

After an accident with in older STP Paxton Turbo car Joe Leonard joined Graham Hill and Art Pollard in the remaining Lotus 56’s.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Despite running with an air restrictor plate mandated for 1968 Joe managed to qualify on pole for the ‘500’ thanks in part to the efficient aerodynamics and superior 4wd handling.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

The big advantage of using a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbo shaft motor, more familiarly seen in a variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, was reliability these motors are known to have a mean time between outages (MTBO) of 9000 hours !

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

The disadvantage of turbo shaft motor was eye watering fuel consumption which means turbine powered cars carry more weight and have to re fuel more often than cars powered by conventional piston motor’s.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

In the 1968 500 Graham Hill had an accident Art Pollard broke down while Joe Leonard was leading with a few laps to go when a fuel pump shaft failed meaning Granatelli came close but failed to win a cigar for the second year running.

Turbo shaft motors and four wheel drive were outlawed from the Champ Car circuit from 1969. The Lotus 56 design, in 56B specification, was subsequently sporadically used in Grand Prix races during 1971, but apart from phenomenal performance in the wet no overall advantage was found by using the combination of four wheel drive and turbine shaft propelled vehicles.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Son of Silent Sam’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !