and Drivers from the 1970s: "the modern age"
new additions are scattered randomly throughout the page.
Use "Edit-find" for your favourites, or just sit back and browse.
If you have a favourite snapshot or story, tell me: email@example.com
you stood on the terraces and cheered your heroes and booed your
villains in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, the passage of years
is naturally taking those drivers away. Until 2013 I occasionally
reported the death of stock car racers; but I don't want this living
historical website to become a list of obituaries. Besides, men
like Dougie Wardropper and Chick Woodroffe, to us, are still fighting
their cars and their rivals round the tarmac and shale up and down the
country in our memories. Let's leave them racing in peace without too many R.I.P. notices.
Wanted: if you were at Coventry in Sept/Oct 1975, did
you see or photograph the Dick Young accident that ripped both axles
off his car?
car racing has had a lot of farmers competing --- they know something
about hard work, dirty hands, bad weather, and sheer grit.
Heath family has been farming in Warwickshire for years, and nowadays
also sells their own design of big-time baling machines.
In the 1970's John Heath gave fans something to watch when he brought a Mick Noden car to the tracks, and was not afraid to use it:
In 1978, John Heath got a newer car and did this at Brafield!
John, #320, was from Shipton on Stour, Warwickshire. He raced from 1974 to 1981, and one of his
cars went to Doug Fisher #63, who remembers "It handled like a dream".
Then at Leicester he kept up his no-mercy style of driving.
Do you call the track BRISTOL or MENDIPS?
Regardless, here is a super hi-resolution scan of the 21st July 1974 meet :
Click this link for pdf file
Click this link for PDF of the 26th May 1975 Bank Holiday F1 meet (cover below).
Bill Bradley from Bolton:In
1971 Dirty Dennis Burdett-Coutts #380 returned from a five-year break,
bringing his 1964 Ken Freeman-built car unchanged. Here he
meets Bob Laurie's 98 car at Brafield.
From 1969 to 1975, Bill Bradley
raced his Jaguar-engined car at Belle Vue, a track he loved. His wife
Sue and son Mark were with him in the pits, and experienced stock-car
racing's unique camaraderie. Bills was a proud white-top on a
budget throughout his racing career --- but was nonetheless good
friends with stars like Stu Smith and Brian Wallace, with whom he
shared tows and coaches and sometimes stock cars. Bill built his
own cars and was well-respected. He died in 2014 and is fondly remembered by his family,
was a machine tool engineer. He became a qualified driving
instructor. He and his wife Sue owned a motor repair garage, and
later he turned his engineering skills to marine engineering, and they
also had a boat centre. Aside from building stock cars Bill also
built trailers and various towing components.
Direct quote from Sue: "Bill
was a rough, tough daredevil, but always ready to help his fellow
racers. I remember being at a race years after Bill had retired
from racing. He was browsing round the pits, catching up with old
friends, when a voice rang out: 'Bill Bradley! Haven't seen you in ages!' and the next minute he was being bear-hugged by ---- Stu Smith himself."
stock car racing --- where else in the world would you see a reigning
multiple world champion happily greeting a 'humble' white-top from
years before. That is real class.
Fred Skinner enjoying a cruise around Hednesford
2018 update: ========================================================
Thanks to Ann Skinner
for that photo and these:
was an HGV driver and plant operator from Studley, Warwickshire. He
raced stock cars for THIRTY YEARS from 1965 to 1996 --- tough!
Before Ann Skinner became Fred's partner (see above)
she was famous under the Aldridge clan's surname.
Below: laid-back Ann Aldridge ready to take on the tough guys:
Where do I place a man who raced in FOUR consecutive decades?
Johnny nicknamed "Gimpy" Goodhall
Goodhall was first licensed in 1962, and raced until his shocking fatal
accident at Coventry in 1995. His registered racing numbers were
(citing the invaluable Mike Greenwood book) 5, 30, 61, 200, 261, and 391.
Johnny was from Stony Stanton,
between Leicester and Hinckley (just right for the A5 and the M1 ---)
He worked for some time at Leicester's Unity Garage, with mates such as
John Rogers, John Bennett #46, Eddie Crisp #256, John Butterworth
#61 and 157, and a chap nicknamed "Stretch".
Gamble, JG's friend and rival, gave me the info and this terrific
portrait of the man everyone called a "character"; Johnny on the left,
and workmate John Rogers #60 in the car.
I'm not sure whether this was a 1970s photo, but anyway here is the whole uncropped photo:
August 2016 update
:Great action shot from the Nelson Classic meeting in August 1975: The driver of the 97 car is John Hill.
This is heat action, with Chissy chasing, and, John was proud
to come third after Chisholm. For two years before BriSCA,
John had learned the ropes the hard way in Mike Parker's HELL
July 2016 update
bought the car as a bare chassis from John Fotheringham (330)
and it was believed to be a Darkie Wright chassis. I built it
fitted a 400 Pontiac engine which I brought in the USA. The "Pan
Atlantic Company" on the bonnet was our own business established to
import secondhand V8s from the States. There were not too many people
racing the Pontiac engines then, but one was Rod Falding who gave me
some excellent advice on setting up my engine. The following year I bought an ex
Harry Smith (219) car but only did a couple of meetings with it.
1975, I raced at the northern tracks of that time (Nelson,
Rochdale, White City, Belle Vue, Bradford and Aycliffe) and got a
Yellow Grade before I returned to work in the Offshore Oil Industry and
did not have time to race any more.
At the same time, John's wife Anne
took the plunge and shared an old Sam Ostle car with John's spanner-man
Michael Simpson (300), for a few races. John didn't have time to
repair two cars, so off she went to night school and learned to weld!
More photos from the Burdett archive, and please feel free to identify drivers and cars. Thanks to several Facebook contributors. These were taken At Brafield in 1979/80/81:
- Dave Hodgson 272 from Mirfield and H-104 Dutch racer Lambert Keulen already setting up the steering for turn 3 at Brafield. (Dave Wilson recognized Lambert)
- White-top heaven: 171 is Alex Ferrada from Witney in a Wainman hire car; 230 Sam Seabrook from Hinckley; 337 Steve Bates from Bedworth; 117 is Rob Scriven; sharp eyes have seen 97 Murray Harrison; 477 is Graham Locke from Oldham.
- Up on a barrel goes 171 Alex Ferrada; Nuneaton's 73 Rob Cowley takes a break; 405 is George Hamstead from Thame; 330 Mick Greenwood from Blackburn; 96 in the fance is Peter Morris from Shepshed.
Below: #28 Bill Gill, down from Chapel-en-le-Frith:
- Dust storm as Ferrada rides a barrel and Harrison #97 turns into Turn 3.
- Dodgy cloud system darkens the sky as three white tops parade: local man Roy McLester 178 from Wellingboro', 411 Kevin Taylor from Harlow; and 418 Phil Bicknell
from Hinckley; --- but who's following up the rear?
It's 170 Glen Pursey, son of Glyn Pursey
But this winner is Mo Smith [ not 'Masters' as I'd first accidentally typed ] #51 from Aveley Essex:
May 2016 update
Big thanks to Cliff Burdett,
who with his late father Bill, has contributed many photos to this
Seventies section. Here are some classic cars shown at Leicester
Robbie Craig #62 from Chesterfield, raced for 17 years until 1992, using Chippie Weston's famous old number:
- Ray Scriven #110
put in even more years on the track, from 1966 till 2004, from his base
in Fairford. Ray's bumper looks spindly compared to Brafield's famous
- Rob Scriven #117, his car nicknamed "Mouse Trap". In the background is blue top Huddersfield's John Jebson 384.
- Glyndwr Pursey #175 on the grid beside Super Stu, and ahead of Lund and Wainman: good race in the offing!
- The famous --- and very long --- Pursey coach with the stock car inside.
- Same Brafield fence damage as Scriven, above, for Roy McLester #178 from Wellingborough.
- Tamworth's Malc Neachell, at Leicester; almost 20 years racing, and his sons and daughter would one day feature in GEARS AND TEARS.
Below: Daring Doug Cronshaw #396:
- Brian Whorton #408, all in red: must be related to his contemporary Staffs namesake Nigel Whorton 422?
- Okay, here's Nigel #422 in the Brafield pits, next to Derby Dave Mellor 304.
- Let's finish this list with one of the best-loved drivers in stock car racing. Willie Harrison #2, and a very happy ride-along lad, enjoy the Brafield crowd's cheers.
July 2015 update:
In 1970-71, Phil Cooke, a veteran spectator and 1970s hot rod driver, took these photos at Brafield:
Pat Driscoll on the hook while 30 Dave Taylor waits
Fabulous photo by Phil: 1970 gold top World Champ Jim Esau under attack by ex World Champion George Ansell --!
My thanks to Phil Cooke for these memories of early-70s Brafield.
Here is the popular farmer from Byfield, Bob Laurie
himself, photographed by the Coventry Evening Telegraph
ahead of the
1971 World Final at Brandon:
December 2014 update: I misplaced this photo for ages, and forgot who sent it. It is Ollie Martin 161 from Clitheroe on White City's shale. Photo by Les Cotton.
Below: Thanks to Steve Russell
for this image of his Mallory poster. Mallory Park experimented
with just two stock car meetings, both in 1970. I hear that
someone did the "normal" stock car thing of continuing on three wheels, cutting a
neat groove in Mallory's tarmac, and "that was it" for stock cars.
The only two Mallory meets to be put on: programme covers from Steve Russell:
To show we're a democratic bunch and don't mind who we let into
the stadium; the sharply dressed chap up there is, to give him his full
William Rudolph "Rollo" Michael Feilding, 11th Earl of Denbigh and 10th Earl of Desmond, a title created in 1622 by King James the 1st, so there. Yes, it's spelled 'Feilding'. He went to Eton, of course.
I saw him race a Lotus 7 at Silverstone in the early sixties. He died a millionaire at only 51, having raced
internationally as an
amateur Formula 3 and sports car competitor. "Rollo" had been an
advertising executive, a Rolls-Royce dealer, and had dabbled in
pop music, even promoting The Animals. Below are more formal portraits of Denbigh and his wife, Caroline, Countess of Denbigh:
and while we're on about toffs, that's 'Lord Alfred Hayes', 1928-2005, on the right. He trained with Steve Logan [under a real baronet --- Sir Atholl Oakley, wrestler and 8th Baronet of Shrewsbury],
earned a black belt in Judo, changed his name to "Judo" Al Hayes, and
fought Mike Marino and Doctor Death round England's wrestling halls.
Though Al wasn't really a Lord, he was famous for speaking in a perfect Oxford accent. November 2010: More nobility: Brandon loved celebrity, and the guest presenter at the 1971 World Final was the 8th Marquess of Hertford, [Eton, Grenadier Guards, etc],
usually to be found in the 115-room Ragley Hall, his 17th century
stately home and park near Stratford on Avon.
When Rochdale's "our lad" Doug
Cronshaw took the World Final, I'm sure Dougie used one of the correct forms to address the Marquess: 'My Lord', or 'Your Lordship', or 'Lord Hertford'. Me, I hope he said. "Ee lad, where's us trophy?"
Okay, now the cars and drivers:
September 2013: Northampton
fans did not see a lot of Northern racers, but here, thanks to
Brafield's track photographer Ken Godfrey of Rose Enterprises, are
some "likely lads" in action in 1975.
Warrington, Cheshire's Colin Taylor # 135:
Then three-wide with Yorks and Lancs warriors 190 Len Wolfenden, 179 Alan Barker, and 443 Barry Gomersall:
December 2012: Racer Steve Pringle's story
is fully told on the JUNIOR/F2 page, but he also built, with the help
of Terry Coell, a Jag powered SCOTA car #177 in 1976:
Parked at Steve's place of work. Here at home on the towing dolly, and with Steve's son in the foreground.
December 2011: Thanks to John Elliott, racer and mechanic of the old "Slough Brigade", here are four SCOTA cars. Stock Car Oval Track Association was a breakaway drivers' group formed in 1975, that raced F1 cars at mostly Southern and Dutch non-BriSCA tracks.
December 2011: Below, courtesy of John Elliott: Those
classic Ford Pop bodies were a blessing for racers who couldn't find a
Fiat Topolino. Here is #6 Derek Green in the pits with Darkie Wright, and two Evesham racers, #365 Graham Spring and #312 Ben Spiers.
- Bob Boddington's smart car with its aero wing.
- #88 Pete "Basher" Bashford, showing again that the Smithy-Wildcat model was the way to go.
- Help, please. #41 is Barry -----?. It's Barry Bye from Arlesey, Bedfordshire -- thanks Rick Young. In the background is Allan England's #24.
- Help again: #104 was Alan Casserley's number in BriSCA, and certainly he raced a lookalike car on BriSCA. Yes, it is Alan in the ex-Chisholm/ex-Woodroffe car, confirms Rick Y.
Where are these pits? Thanks, Rick Young: this is Harringay; yes, hard to believe, but the land drops away in the background, so you can't see the masses of North London terraced streets.
November 2011: F1's parade at Brafield in this photo from Russ Thomas. Car 148 is Pete Ross
from Stratford-upon-Avon, --- note the lack of protection
on the fence side of his car --- followed by Cyril Knowles #283 from Bulphan, in Essex. Russ remembers he had "Nice One, Cyril" painted on the back of his car, and older fans will remember "Nice one, Cyril"
as the Tottenham Hotspur chant in honour of that other Cyril Knowles,
the star football player and later manager. Want to sing along?
November 2011: ONE-TWO-THREE
-- You may want to join in with some of these race fans who are
either cheering or booing as two stars go at it and end up in
Brafield's unforgiving fence, right in front of Fred's Hot
Dogs. Photos from ex-racer Steve Harrison, taken by track photographer Arthur Whittam:
May 2012: Steve sends more of Willie Harrison #2 in action:
'The Slough Gang' September 2011: In
a few other places on this site you may see the Webb family cars, but
here is a neat collection showing Ron Webb's exploits, thanks to the
generous help of Graham Webb, son of Ron Webb #56.
Webb clan were based in Slough, where Bill Webb started the garage
business on the Bath Road. All three sons Eric, Ron and Pete
worked there. Ron was a professional panel beater/painter, and have a look at this car:
Ron Webb along with fibreglass wizard Bob Cottrell and Dick Elliot prepared the bodies of the fabulous racing Ford GT40's
for the John Wyer / Gulf team, one of which won the Le Mans 24 hour race iin 1968 and 1969, as well as the ferocious Wyer Porsche 917's. Not many blokes walk into their work yard and see an orange GT40, and a red GT40 with Ron Webb inspecting it.
In fact Ron's stock car used a V-8 engine from a Le mans Ford GT40, which his father Bill had rebored; "well balanced and revved like crazy" says
Dick Elliott the mechanic. Ron tried to get his hands on one of
the subsequent monster 7-litre Fords that also dominated Le Mans, but
no luck ---.
Down to business:
Below: opposite lock drift over the hill at the Clearways oval; the
monster chasing him looks like a 'Dalek' ---.
Webbs had racing in their blood. One weekend while Ron
was on holiday at Margate, Brands Hatch was running a race, which
was irresistible; so their mechanic Dick Elliot towed the stock car
from Slough, and Ron took the family to meet up at Brands, and won the
race! Ron and racing pal Barry Redman 151 later went into 4x4 trialling with V-8 Land
Rovers, and the Webb clan is mostly still in Slough, with various
nephews today racing F2s and bangers, so the tradition continues.
Pete Webb has retired to Spain, the home of British
stock car racers. Photos of Pete Webb #8 can be seen further
down the page. Ron Webb was earlier a speedway rider
in the late 1950's for the "California Poppies" team based at Longmoor
Speedway near Wokingham. Fifty years on, at the 2011 Poppies Reunion
meeting, veteran fans queued up for autographs---
- Hurry up, Ron: "Excuse me, but may I pass you?"
- A win at Snetterton; you can see how well engineered the car is, with a coil sprung front axle, and minimal windscreen. Ron won twice at Snetterton in 1970.
- A roll at Snetterton: before a packed grandstand Ron Webb does a scary flip, in front of 238 Les Mitchell, thanks to what mechanic Dick Elliott diagnosed as a locked left brake.
- All's well: as brother Pete Webb #8 slides past, Ron was to hop out unhurt [well, a few drops of battery acid!]
and wave at his family at that spot. Graham remembers sitting there
with his mum and sister who, busy colouring her book, glanced up and
said "Look, daddy's on his roof" and carried on colouring.
In the same shot we see #274 Dennis Driscoll, and #7
- Brands or Snetterton? Ron lines up beside 396 Doug Cronshaw at Mallory Park, say my resident experts; the breakdown truck gives it away.
December 2011: That
name on a car meant you were looking at a good 'un. John Elliott
as he is known nowadays, has sent a treasure trove of photos of his own and
the Webbs' racing, as well as other cars (which will appear elsewhere
on this site).
some credit to Dick as he was known then. First a dramatic shot
of his ex-Bob Cottrell SCOTA car, all-out at Lydden Hill, with Alan
England in the ditch behind:
Dick is also an expert model maker. "I
had many years building, racing and winning with 1/8th 3.5 cc glowplug
engined stockcars and hotrods, before helping to design, build, and
race the 1/6th scale 22cc two-stroke driven Topstox which still race
Now to get a sense of its actual size, see here.
Those are Junior Wainman's World colours, painted by a Wainman
mechanic. "TopStox" cars are 1/8th and 1/6th scale models with
radio control and 22cc and 27cc engines --- hot stuff, which you
can find on YouTube. Nowadays he is the proud owner/racer of this
ferocious 1/4 scale Edelbrock sprint car.
John "Dick" Elliott learn? His dad was Geoff Elliott
#135: see the "MORE SENIORS IN THE SIXTIES" page.
August 2011: Some of you will remember Doug Fisher who in the 1960s raced under #260, in Juniors under 646, and again in the 1970s under #63.
was a haulage contractor from West Drayton, Middx., whose first 260 car
was a Jag-motored Topolino body. Here's his later racer:
car came from John Heath 320, in need of repair. Andy, a
professional welder, handled the chassis work, and a machine shop
lightened and balanced a nice Ford 390 motor replacement, which Doug
says ran like a dream through all his racing. The car used a Jaguar
rear axle with a limited-slip diff, and the front brakes and hubs were
also Jag, on an LD axle. Doug reckons the original version of
this car may have been built by Terry Coell. "It handled like a dream on shale or wet tarmac"
says Doug --- but although he was 'placing', the sport's top guys were
too fast. Doug made a stab at upgrading, with a new John
Hillam chassis and body, but a hoped-for Chevy 454 motor put costs out
loved racing at Coventry, citing Charles
Ochiltree as the reason for its tip-top condition, and picks Alan Wardropper as the best car handler of that generation.
It was a Coventry meet when Doug benefited from that wonderful
"help-you-out" spirit. Towing towards Coventry, Doug's Jaguar tow
car blew up, but he was towed in by a helper, in time to unload and
race. There, Ted Pankhurst promptly offered to tow Doug's stock
car home afterwards, and another fan towed his dead Jag. As Doug
says, "in the early hours of Sunday morning when I got home, outside my workshop was my stock car --- an example of the way the Stockcar fraternity come together to help each other." He remembers Ted Pankhurst as being laid back, with big smile, and often a big cigar too. Doug was also on
good terms with Pat Willis, who helped him a lot, [as he did with other
young racers], and had worked for Pat at one time as an HGV1 driver and car mechanic
My thanks to Doug Fisher for this story, and a
request to anyone who may have a photo of Doug's #260 car, a self-built
Topolino with a Jag motor --- please get in touch with me and I
will pass you on to Doug.
February 2011: Which of these 18 tracks did you go to? This handy fixture list and track list cost you a whole 2p back in 1972. Thanks to Ron Knight.Ron Knight also sent this panorama of the Brandon pits.
Strictly speaking the date falls outside my site's Seventies
boundary, but, hey ---- On the banking to the right, a dedicated fan is
"colours". Thanks to eagle-eyed Lee Lawrence, the year is circa 1986. In
the mid-eighties the 490
number was Mark Taylor from Bacup, Lancs. On the extreme left,
number not visible, is #378 Wayne Handley from Leics., and next
right is #459, Cheltenham's Chris Paxford. The #347 in the
foreground is Andy Shaw from
Chesterfield, and the distant #52 is Rochdale's Craig Howarth.
[Thanks also to Rick and Russ for their assistance]
Also from Ron, a shot of the #1 man Smithy at Coventry. Like the one above, this photo is technically outside my official 1955-1975 'boundaries', but what the heck.
November 2010: The Cliff Burdett collection.
raced in the 80's and 90's --- Incarace stockrods (heat-and-final wins
and competed in the 1990 WF at Buxton) and saloon stocks (two
track championships), collecting 84 trophies along the way. For a
further 10 years Cliff did the spanners for a friend's stock rod,
National hot rod and Rebel cars. "Happy days and many memories." he says today. Here are twelve snapshots that Cliff took in 1979:
- Rod Falding 36 at
Leicester. A year later, his son Peter began a racing career that would
rack up FOUR world championships. Behind is #395 Mike Shirley from
- Mo Smith 51 [Brafield? Not sure about that building on the far side.] , July 2016 correction: This car was built by Rugby's Garry Tressler (#154 and 234).
- Ray 110 on track; behind him 384 is John Jebson down from Huddersfield
- Rob Scriven 117 is Ray's son.
- 130 is the Brian Powles-built car of Notts racer Brent Savage, at Brafield; in the background is the 111 car of Lee Wilson from Stapleford, Essex.
- Brian Tuplin 155 from Lincs. at Leicester. Brian's previous (1977) car had a flat roof, which correspondent and F2 racer Dave Chapman helped to build.
- Rob Pearce 281 from Leics. at Brafield, another "tough looking" car; behind it, Coventry driver Pete Bailey has a "For Sale" notice up.
- Chris Lloyd 284, another Leics driver, working his way down to the track at Leicester
- Below: 294 John Dowson from Durham, looking professional.
Thanks to Cliff Burdett for these.
- Mel Morris 444 from Wednesfield, parked at Coventry; also visible is the coach of "Mr. B", Ivan Braddock #99 from Macclesfield.
- Roger Warnes 497 hauled over from King's Lynn and is pitted at Leicester next to Northampton's Mo Masters #9.
Tony Allen 348
January 2011: Thanks to Ron Knight,
then with Brookes Garage of Northampton who did breakdown services at
Brafield, Long Eaton, and Coventry. Ron and his wife also ran the official Tony Allen Supporters Club.
Below: While Tony enjoys a moment of
fame, someone in the background is being red-flagged. "Hey, slow down, stop, the race is over ---" Ken Mason recognizes starter Roy Johnson with the flag.
May 2012: Steve Harrison sent this shot of Tony going for the high jump courtesy of 316 Ron "Skid" Skinner.
Here in August 1974 is the Tony Allen car in the pits, a bit blurred.
Brookes Garage also did fan club derbies, and here is their prize winning float at a Long Eaton event --- a lot of work went into this one.
From Kevin Crabtree down at Mendip Raceway, here's 348 Tony Allen first in the pits and then on the gas.
Check Tony's relaxed style as he opposite-locks the steering
wheel; notice how modern he was for those days 37 years ago --- securely harnessed seat and full-face helmet.
Harry Linney #278 from Loughton in Essex, raced under FIVE numbers between 1963 and 1976. In 1970 at Brands Hatch, Harry's VW Beetle bodied car challenges #342 Jumbo Tustin.
Dennis Irving #363 was from Castle Donington, Leics. Dennis raced between 1968 and 1973. Here on an unidentified track, Dennis drives a Ray Watkins-built special, a very attractive upright-cab design. The car went to Dick Sworder and then Alan Finnikinto Photo passed on to me by Kevin Crabtree.
Note: a Denis
Irving (one 'n') from Notts had raced as #485 in the early sixties, shown in
my MORE SENIORS section.
Regular visitors are familiar with my problem of covering stock car drivers by decade. Coventry racer Jim Potter, #146, had a BriSCA licence for THIRTY years from 1963 to 1994 ---- where do I put him on my website? Thanks to Rob Harrad of
Coventry, a lifelong fan and friend of Jim Potter, who has donated a
bundle of top quality photographs from the sixties and seventies, I
will now assemble everything Potter-related right here.
- In a wintry snow scene in about 1965, Jim has two cars loaded: an ex-Goodman car on the front, and an ex-Toon car on the back just in case ----
though I suppose the Toon car would come off first, making the Goodman
motor the 'spare'.
May as well show the lorry again
outside Jim's business premises in Coventry; nowadays it would be
called "eco-recycling-materials-logistics" or something fancy, but Jim was a
scrap man pure and simple! Today he wishes he still had that Bedford "J" model lorry.
Next, an unmistakable Darkie Wright special
that Jim got brand new, and which later went to Frank Bourne
--- a classic stock car. Unfortunately, it got a pasting,
shown in the next two photos --- aftermath 1, and aftermath 2. Rob Harrad would like to build a heritage replica of this car one day.
Here's the Copper Kettle car, and like most Jim Potter cars its immaculate
signwriting was done by Rob Harrad's father. Rob tells me it was
nicknamed The Copper Kettle because Jim, as a dealer in all metals, had
the body made entirely of copper and brass.
BriSCA declared it illegal because the body didn't
come from a road car, so Jim passed it on to Dennis Irving.
[a photo I have totally messed up, ruining the colour, and I can't seem to fix it. DK] Jim's famous Velvetex-finish car ----
do you remember the brief fashion for velvet finishes? There was a very
fuzzy Mini in Bristol in those years whose owner had the bad luck to
have a parking spot under a row of lime trees ---- get out the wire brush and "Vim"!
The famous Ron Skinner high dive at Brandon, showing #113 Peter Hill from B'ham zooming past. Another view thanks to ex-racer Steve Harrison for the scan. It
happened in July 1971.
Last of Rob Harrad's collection (two more pics from elsewhere to come) shows Jim Potter himself as
he is today, beside his proudly-owned 1945 US Navy Jeep in totally mint
and original condition. A happy man. Sincere thanks to Rob Harrad and Jim Potter
for these contributions.
Here's anotgher view from Brandon's 1971
WF programme showing John Piper with Brandon's unique and famous
"cop car" protecting Skinner's precarious position:
High on the Mendips --- sunny meetings in 1973 and 1974, when Kevin Crabtree was there to record it:
- Dave Taylor 30 always threw his low-slung Jaguar device round any bend.
- Les Mitchell waiting in the pits, chatting to his mechanic, Pete "Blondie" Barnett, who recently told me some background stories, and who likes to remember "the old days" before wings.
- Melvyn Bassey (Darkie W.'s son in law).
- Don Evans
squeeeeeezing into his 37 car.
popular 1970 World Champion Jim Esau passed away in 2009. At some time we've all known a tall
lanky chap just like Jim, always cheerful and inevitably called 'Tiny' or 'Lofty' ---- a very British character. Below, "Big Jim" with one of the best-looking stock cars ever built:
Kevin Crabtree, who sent these
photos, was himself an F2 racer in the South West in the 1970's
and the 1990's, and has also raced in the Heritage series in his Roy
Next a trio of less well-known racers that Kevin photographed at Brafield in 1975:
- From Warrington in Cheshire, Colin Taylor 135 hauled down to Northants --- Colin raced from 1972 to 1990.
- Gordon Paxford #439 was in just his second year of racing, from Cheltenham;
- Roy Hart 446
from Banbury was in his rookie year at this hard-'n'-fast track.
In 1976 at Brafield, in wet and dry conditions, Kevin photographed
"Royce Garton's Stock Car Storage" could be the name of this place: Kevin was visiting Roy Goodman in Feb 1972, and snapped these shots of cars stored on Garton's nearby property: Roger Hollingshead
from Grosby, Leics. was #344 in 1969-1970, so this had been
parked for a good while. Roger also raced in the 70's and
80's under 305 and 47. Then white-top Stuart Hardy #181, down from County Durham, raced from 1968 to 1974. Lastly, Roy's own F1, #163;
he was relentless, racing for many, many years in
BriSCA, in both formulas, and at the time this photo was taken Roy was
celebrating his third F2 National Points championship.Neill
Crookes raced in the sixties and seventies from his Sheffield base.
Here are four photos of him in action.
Five photos of Marian Palmowski and his 383 car In 1974, Marian's car had a Ford Anglia 105E roof, and used a monster 7.5 litre Oldsmobile V-8.
[see the "SENIORS IN THE SIXTIES" section for Marian's biography]
Thanks to Alan Butterworth,
whose local track was Belle Vue (where Alan starting spectating at age 6), for a bundle of early-1970's photographs.
photos Alan sent were taken at Rochdale, Hednesford, White City,
Wembley, Stoke, and one rare b/w snapshot from Lesieux, Normandy in
1966. I will distribute the photos among existing driver
shots --- but of course where there are several cars in view, I'll
have to flip a coin. My thanks to Alan for his kind donation.
In fact by coincidence Willie Harrison is right below on this page,
so ---- Willie # 2 waits it out at Hednesford while crews scrub off some track debris. Then, almost universally popular, Willie enjoys a victory lap at Stoke.
Ffrom Mike Winterton, a nice photo of # 2 Willie Harrison at Brandon.
For true "anoraks": in the
background you can see a Morris J ice-cream van, in the colours of D.
Di Mascio. Mike tells me there is a whole book published about the D. Di Mascio enterprise, and here is the very long and unusual book title:
D. Di Mascio's Delicious Ice Cream: D. Di Mascio of Coventry: An Ice Cream
Company of Repute, with an Interesting and Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans
Roger De Boer, Harvey Francis Pitcher, and Alan Wilkinson. Only
28 pages, available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mascios-Delicious-Ice-Cream-Interesting/dp/0954398211 H.F. Pitcher has also written a book about the Morris "J" van: http://www.jtypevan.com/merchandise/book/
And the website for the true Morris J van fanatic: http://www.jtypevan.com/current-scene/
Now all we need is a book about
Fred's Hot Dogs, or Paul The Anorak King of Brafield. In my part of
Northants it was Gallone's Ice Cream whose bell-ringing
vans visited every village. February 2010: [Next 8 Photos, Alan Butterworth]. Gordon
Smith was a hard charger out of Halifax, W. Yorkshire, in his brightly
painted 293 car. Gordon raced from 1970 to 1980, and here he really tosses the shale around at Rochdale, and here again at sunny Rochdale, on the straight. Another Rochdale photo shows Gordon lining up with Frankie Wainman 212 and Roger Spencer 315.
The blue-top car of Roger Spencer #315 from Newcastle-under-Lyme, parked in the pits at Stoke.
Nowadays Roger Spencer has switched to even heavier machinery --- he
operates steam locos on the Churnet Valley Railway, from
White City pits scene
in circa 1974, with Phil Smith 109, Roy Webb 331, and Ollie Martin 161.
Next, Ollie Martin hurtles towards the Rochdale fence, helped by
someone else's bumper. Dramatic shot caught by Alan Butterworth.
At a near-flooded Hednesford, Phil Hayhurst # 84 alongside Ron Rogers #152.
Phil from Cumbria re-registered and raced again in the 1980's.
Ron of course was a living Staffordshire legend, first hitting the
tracks in 1957, and fighting on for 27 (twenty-seven) hard years.
What other "physical" sport can boast such long-lived competitors?
Mike Whittaker [two t's] 444 was a Macclesfield driver, and here he waits
in the pits at White City. In the background are Halifax's John Stirk
65 (not his six-wheeler), and 367 John Thorpe from Rotherham:
Big motors caught on big in the 1970's --- here is Dick Sworder's powerplant,
in the Long Eaton pits. In the early sixties we had been impressed by
300 and 354 cu.in. Chryslers (5 to 6 litres) -- but by the mid-seventies a
427 was reckoned to be the weapon of choice, and many builders used 454 and
larger engines. But soon the sport's sharper minds realized that
for shale tracks, "torque monster" motors were irrelevant and even a handicap --- and
so began the trend of separate shale and tarmac motors, and even
separate shale and tarmac cars ---- a long, long way from the simple days when "the
bloke next door" would knock together a runner in his back
Also from Alan B., a shot of Roger Bowyer #92
in the White City pits --- I have unfortunately messed up the colour balance
on this photo. Roger raced in the seventies, and came back for
another stint in the 1980's, from his home in Congleton, Cheshire.
Thompson registered and raced under FOUR different numbers in the
seventies, eighties, and nineties. In this photo, running #188, the Macclesfield racer is trying out Hednesford's fast surface.
Here's Dave Fox #318,
the same wet Hednesford day. From Derbyshire, Dave started in this
rough 'n' tumble game in 1961, and in 1986 he was still racing.
September 2009: "Just starting out": Barry Redman #151 worked at the garage of ex-schoolmate Pete Webb's father, and here in the yard are Pete's and Barry's cars.
Pete Webb #8 is hidden in the cab of his, and the other chap
visible was "a chance bystander", as Barry took the photo. Have a look in the "More Senior / F1s" section, third photo, of the
Darkie Wright car parked at Brandon in 1966; Barry recognized himself
and Pete as youngsters beside the car. "Small world" said Barry.
December 2011 / January 2012:
- Barry Redman 151 at Brands Hatch in what looks like a Webb design car; photo from John Eliott.
- Barry's mini-bodied car in the Brands pits, next to the Pete Webb and Ron Webb motors [large file].
- Below, a terrific photo of Barry riding the 151 at Brands on a parade lap [large file]:
Webb's and Barry Redman's first cars are both shown below. Barry's was
the ex-Bill Judd 366 (Judd was a Van Den Oetelaar buddy), which had a huge 7-litre Caddy motor. When Ted
Pankhurst took it out for a shakedown at Ringwood, he declared it
"undriveable". The subsequent race photo below supports that. And to rub
it in, Barry's mate Pete Webb is about to fly past.
Later on, Barry
competed in off-roading with a 1955 Series I Land Rover powered by a
Rover V-8, [still in the family] and then for the last 20 years has
gone dead-serious with a hot-rodded Chev 327 motor in a Willys Jeep,
with which Barry has been the only Brit to win the European Jeepers
Jamboree, in France. He says the Jeep can really grab your
attention on wet tarmac ----!
Below is Pete Webb's first F1, and behind it George Ansell and Darkie Wright are chatting.
Brands Hatch in 1970: Barry Redman 151 leading 30 Dave
Taylor, 7 Darkie Wright, 6 Derek Green, 127 Jack Wilson, and 82 Chris
Balcombe-Beriff. Today Barry Redman is still in touch with his mates Ron and Pete Webb.
Terrific Rick Young photo of a crash at Mallory Park's
first ever stock-car meet. George Ansell #375 coming up on #12
Mal Semple who is busy rolling #144 Pete Shepherd. Pete Webb #8
is well out of the way. Kaboom
Webb #8 again, this time powering out of the corner at
Bates collection of mostly-1960's photos can be seen in the Sixties
section, but Russ also sent me these photos of his exploits in the
(mostly) 1970's. I shall be adding more background facts to these later.
Car 225 from the rear. Very tidy looking, from the front.
On the lorry. Russ at cadwell. Another Cadwell side-by-side race.
A tremendous and scary 'flyer' --- Russ was at Cadwell in 1965, lapping faster and faster on the "loop" by
delaying his braking point more and more. The motorcycle track was partitioned off by a fat tree trunk lying across it. Then the rain started, and
Russ's car skidded into and over the tree trunk, at probably
60mph, flew high, and luckily nose-dived rather than land on its roof ("which would have killed me" reckoned Russ).
The sheer mass of the engine absorbed much of the impact, and Russ
figured that if the rear springs had not been broken, he might have
been able to continue! The car was ex Ron Rogers, with a 390
cu.in. Oldsmobile motor, and unusual independent rear suspension.
Emergency repairs on the centre green.
"Flower Power" in all its colourful glory.
Oops, the flowers take a smack at the fence.
were two flower-power cars: Number One was an ex Jim
Potter box-section job with a 428 Ford, and Number Two was a pure
Russ Bates job, with a full-race Holman & Moody 427 V-8 (The company that built Daytona 500 NASCAR motors). Those race engines, without gearbox, cost as much as a new MGB sports car.
smiling Russ Bates enjoys the sunshine on a Brafield parade lap in
#225, the 'flower power' car. [Rick
From ex-F2 racer Andrew Hirst: Willie Harrison has the pleasure of following one of his own cars at Belle Vue (possibly Nelson?), Willie of course in #2 and Gordon Smith 293 in Willie's loaned car. Then at Brands Hatch, Ansell chases SuperStu.
A gaggle of Brands rivals, including Ken Keyte 323, (TWELVE drivers raced under 323); Ian Barker 53 ; the 307 car is either Mac Frankland or Alan Green; SuperStu in the lead; also visitor Harry van der Spaar SA2, and Gordon Perrin 266. [Thanks again to the VSCA's Phil Chance for some names]
Everyone has their favourite driver, and I'm pleased to acknowledge the great John Hillam, who for Martin Packer was "our Cleckheaton hero."
Thanks to Martin we can see some great shots of # 229, the
winged car with a seriously big motor, with which Hillam took on heavy
hitters like Powles, Smithy, Mellor, et al. John Hillam was "so near" to top honours on several occasions.
In no special order, we see:
Hillam "tapping" 16 Frank Bourne at Hednesford;
Hillam in clear air;
Lining up beside John Thorpe; look at John's face --- ready for some tough action!
Starting his slide on the inside of Powles;
Neck-and-neck with SuperStu;
A proper tangle,
with Hillam not in sight, but involving Smithy somehow slipping past ** the chaos
of 428 Pete Doran from Hinckley, 52, prob. Stephen Bird from Markyate (just poss. Mike Scothern from Sheffield),
78 Barry Goldsby in an old Leighton-based car, 230 Sam Seabrook from
Hinckley, and Bedford's Glyn Pursey 175 .
This phenomenon was mentioned in several of the Smithy obituaries,
and it applies in other sports.
Some elite competitors have a "sixth sense"
or intuition that tells them where to be in the next few seconds,
which nobody else knows. The very best race drivers
seem able to scoot past or duck trouble the instant it occurs, or even
before it happens, which can irritate their rivals. Me and my
mates used to shout "lucky devil" whenever Smithy did this, but it was
not luck. In the same way, the
best soccer and hockey players seem to appear in the perfect empty spot
just when the ball or puck arrives there; they can "read" the
game or the race in a way that ordinary folks can't.
Coming straight at you is #99, Ivan Braddock from Macclesfield, who raced from1973 to 1980, leading Knutsford's Harold Lomas #237, and 135 Colin Taylor from Warrington. (All those photos were from Hednesford.)
Here Hillam's 229 car runs in the wet at Hednesford. Lastly, what Martin (on the right) refers to as "the notorious Packer bros from Birmingham" in the Leicester pits, by the 154 car of Brian Powles.
Martin explains that the row of Morris Marina vans was stored
inventory of the Mann Egerton dealership.
brothers travelled everywhere for BriSCAS F1 / F2 races (Belle Vue / Bradford / Rochdale / Coventry / Hednesford / Leicester / Long
Eaton / Northampton / Newton Abbott / St.Austell), and National Hot Rods (Buxton / Crewe / Hednesford / Ipswich / Newton Abbott / Northampton / St.
Austell / Wimbledon / Wisbech.
Their busy spectating schedule meant that they also inevitably
witnessed some of BriSCA's rare and unpleasant accidents and
injuries. Martin also found time to write for Stock Car
September 2010: more of Big John Hillam --- from Kevin Crabtree comes this 1974 Hednesford action shot
of John setting the car into a perfect drift, o/s tire smoking, and inside left
wheel just cocked above the kerb. I asked Rick Young who the other two drivers were, and it took him only seconds
to identify Sam Ostle 351 in the lead, and Ian Ireland 267 following
Frank Bourne's #16,
a very distinctive car, lines up at Hednesford beside Dave Fox 318.
Frank was a Shropshire farmer who put in 16 years on the ovals;
the indefatigable Fox raced for 25 years. The same wet
day saw Bourne tangle with another red car --- Stuart "Bammy" Bamforth.
Mick Gamble raced from 1970 to 1972.
Here at Brafield is Mick #92,
battling #9 Mike Lewis. Mick's Jaguar-engined stocker later went to
the Taylor brothers of Warrington.
In 1970, Mick facing forwards at Brafield, then a classic face-about. The way those cars loved to "switch ends" made the crowd cheer [to my eyes today's high-tech cars look a bit too smooth and controlled --- not so many Ooohs and Aaahs from the terraces].
Again at Brafield, Mick Gamble mixes it with 351 Sam Ostle and 306 Mick "Noddy" Noden. That car was an ex-Haley Calvert Buick-powered piece. Later in 1972 Mick raced under # 117, with the ex-Brian Bennett Jag 3.8-powered car, which eventually went back to BB, but here it is all cleaned up for a sunny photograph.
Mick Gamble today is among the elite of Britain's
Ford V-8 Pilot community. Mick has published a book on the history of this short-lived but inspiring Dagenham-built sidevalve car.
Mick still has a few copies available of his unique book, which
explains and illustrates the history of the Pilot and also covers the
restoration scene today. It's a limited edition for serious
Pilot V-8 enthusiasts. Take a look at Mick Gamble's own mint condition Ford Pilot, below:
Ford Pilot fans can pass on queries to Mick via my e-mail or contact the Early Ford V-8 club: http://www.earlyfordv8.co.uk/
Rick Young comes this photo of Don
Evett #349 from Aylesbury. In the same years a Tony Evett #249 was also racing, which sounds
like a brother(?). Also, Pete
Guinchard #258, from London's Edgware, who after two yellow-top
seasons went red-top Star for two years. Pete also raced under 20 and
here at Brafield running a massive right front tire, kept up his
yellow and blue-top status throughout a long long career:
1967-2007. Howard is another Cheltenham driver, like Jumbo
Tustin. How do you absorb 40 years of bruises and skinned
knuckles and hammering-it-straight-again, when most sports heroes
are lucky to last 10 years? Even when his cars went modern with
aero wings, he kept his distinctive orange colour
scheme, and I once owned a decent artist's watercolour sketch
Rick Young come these four photos: First, Karl
Grossman #289, the car being Karl's one-time Jim Berg 471 Topolino,
here arriving at Brandon, with its rear end perched on a towing dolly [Karl worked for Oxford's Barry Hebborn, who had first inherited the Berg car].
Next is a panorama
of the 1972 re-opening of Lydden,
with Chick Woodroffe #1 ahead of Ted Janes #66. [Chick
always paraded like this, propped against the side of his car.] Another
shot of the cars on a rolling-start
lap at Lydden.
camera in 1970 caught two tough
red-tops elbowing each other through Brafield's turn two: 244
Jim Esau and 375 George Ansell.
August 2010: Here is Big Jim 244 again, leading
198 Roger Taylor, 16 Frank Bourne, and #2 Willie Harrison. Track not
certain --- probably Mendip.
Then a classic
car tangle involving Dick ['Rick'
Chris Pickup, and 230 Sam Seabrook (who
passed away at the end of 2006).
The great Mick Noden,
"Noddy", #306 from Rugby, passed away at the end of December
2007. Mick raced from 1963 to 1993. Mick had been at the
same school as Bob Laurie, and it was Laurie who introduced Noddy
to stock cars.
Mick Noden photographed by the Coventry Evening Telegraph ahead of the 1971 World Final:
racing is such a close fraternity that many of his friends and rivals
from 30 and 40 years ago attended his funeral. Here are
two action shots, courtesy of Mike Winterton:—- a happy Mick
at the work he loved best, powering out of Brafield's turn 2 with the
right rear rolling under. Bare arms, head down, eyes
fixed on the next target, and the summer sun is shining down on the world's
big, shaggy, well-loved "clown" of the tracks, Ron "SKID" Skinner, [here
as #316] on
a parade lap at Brafield. You knew there were going to be fun
and fireworks when The Pershore Giant came out to play.
Park in 1972. Rick Young passed on these photos. Mike Winterton has better eyes than me, and assures me we
can see in the first photo Dave Taylor and maybe Willie Harrison
Ansell and Stu Smith.
In the second one, photo-enhanced in 2011 thanks to Malcolm Brown, we ask what the heck's happening? Only 4 of 14 cars are on the official
track surface, but somewher in the melee Mike W. detects "a gold top Dave Chisholm (252)
at centre with I'm pretty sure, Ian Durham (311) in front of him and extreme
right looks like Mick Noden's (306) yellow and red motor. Extreme left is
probably grey and red Les Suckling (132)", while Malcolm B. reckons that Smithy is in the mix just above the spectator's head.
and now sponsor Alan Brooke #358 sent me these three photos. First
at Belle Vue, second at
Aycliffe. In the next one Alan is receiving some attention from Mike Lewis #9, and
if you look closely, Lewis is really trying hard to turn the nose of
his car right, maybe to correct a slide but maybe to twitch Alan's
rear end off-line: under
Alan Brooke raced in 1973
and 1974 at Belle Vue and Aycliffe. The car was ex-Vernon Parker
and ex-Doug Cronshaw, who had modified the roll cage and roof.
Its chassis "was bent as a banana" but had indestructible LD
axles. To start, Alan put in a 2.4 Jag motor and tranny (£5
total), then a 3.4 Jag, and finally a big Ford 383 V-8. The body
is more or less Austin A40. Sadly this new version's maiden
outing at Belle Vue's Boxing Day meet in 1975 ended with a rollover
that put Alan in hospital for weeks and a series of surgeries.
As he had just graduated from Salford University (mech. eng.), Alan
decided to hang up his helmet, and went on to a career in oil/gas/petrochemical
engineering. [All university engineers should be required to to set up and race a stock-car in order
to earn their degree ---]
You may know of
Alan's son "Si" Brooke (Simon) who today races the #92
F1 car. Their very smart team and transporter is sponsored
by Rotec Cycles of Berkshire who deal in top-flight bicycle equipment.
photos from Brafield in 1973, thanks to Mike Winterton's scanning/editing,
and to his father for the originals:
The "flower power" missile of Russ
Bates 225, (see another Bates
Farrington 259. Those steel hawsers and
buried steel girders added a little extra thrill (for the spectators, anyway) —- "health and safety" put
paid to that.
Thanks to Mike Winterton
who sent these scans from the 1977 (Brandon)
World Championship program. Here is the
cover, and some long-haired "villains" peering out of the driver lineup: Ten
Drivers, and the other ten. Lastly, the 1977 program's centre
with a brutal looking #81
car. Also, three Aycliffe photos, featuring an unusual
Willie Harrison running the SuperStu 'spare'(??) under
And lastly at Aycliffe #100
Tony Neal. (Rick Young
and Les Cotton, thanks.)
shot of the Tony Neal car,
photo] at Brafield. The Mini-bodied Jag-motored car in the background is Dave Peters #231 from Hatfield.
Ex-racer Nigel Harradine supplied this photo
of the Peters 231, showing the exhaust pipe from the Jag
motor tidily exiting from the petrol filler.
A big thanks to Elaine,
the daughter of flagman-starter ROY JOHNSON who officiated at Brafield
and Coventry in the 60's and 70's. These show Roy
and promoter Graham Guthrie with Miss Brafield; and Roy flagging-off a typical
Brafield two-car match race; and Roy
balancing on a bumper. [Rick
Young spots "east-ender"
Jack Wilson in #127, today an active VSCA member; and 245
is almost certainly "Shady" Andrews from Wollaston, Northants.
Old-timers will recall 245 as the great Alan Wardropper's
battle number] Let's take
our hats off to the entertaining and brave flag men, one
or two of whom suffered tragic accidents over the years.
thanks to Roy Johnson's daughter Anneka for reminding me that Roy, then
from Nottingham, also raced Seniors under #54, from 1963 to 1968. Roy
passed away in 1997.
You won't believe
this car is a 1971 Formula One stocker —-
Scotsman Jock Kenny # 345 from Inversneckie was promptly christened "Mad
Jock" by Brafield's Graham Guthrie. The 'un-beautiful' machine
here was basically a Ford 100E body bolted down over a US Ford chassis. Rick
Young, who provided the photo, reckons the front panel "looks like it came
from a washing machine".
The main thing is that Jock built and raced the monster, (based in
Wooton, nr Bedford) and thank heavens for that. Jock Kenny owned a
vehicle recovery company in nearby Millbrook. The #27 behind
is John Hickey from Accrington. [Track photographer]
George Ansell #375,
sitting in the sun, at which track? Chris Griffiths suggests Hednesford —- the
sleepers visible — in pre-concrete days.
Wright: First, posing chatting
to Les Suckling (from a World supplement), and then from the cover
of Hot Car in June 1969: he was a hero and a brilliant car builder [Thanks to Rick Young for passing them on.].
Darkie Wright started racing in 1957, continued through the sixties, and here in the early-mid seventies is Darkie's car #7 in the Hednesford pits, and then parked next to his son-in-law Melvyn Bassey 17, while Darkie tucks into a snack -- but where is this? Can anyone identify the place?
Tony Guest raced #112 — the date is actually 1993, but it's on my website because I approve
of cars that look like cars ---. Tony's car was a 1970's Fred Skinner
special, which Tony brought up to date with a 460 cu.in Ford running
a 'crash' box from a Ford Trader, and LD axles, and by extending
the chassis and raising the cab. Photo courtesy of Colin Herridge.
Anyone remember the North London Vincelli family? Danny #89,
Ted (Eddie) #284, and Roy Vincelli #286 were active in the 60's and 70's. Here's
a Rick Young snapshot of Danny #89
at Brafield. Danny's car is a Jaguar-motored piece with
Ford Pilot running gear, part-owned, and 'spannered' by Tony Guest. Tony
remembers that Ted lived right across the road from Harringay Stadium,
over a chip shop, and was known to drive his stock-car straight along the main street
and into the pits —.
burn up Mallory Park, a Leicestershire
road circuit normally home to more 'delicate' cars. Willie
Harrison is in his #2 ex-Leighton car, and Brian Tuplin is running
an ex-Toon car #155. [Rick Young
shot of Willie H. storming
up the hill at Mallory. [RY
Below: A classic
scene of a big-league crew in action:
Les Mitchell 238 has a burst tyres front and back, and
a caved-in bumper — but the oxy-acetylene is flaring, the guys are
busy, and Les will be back in combat in no time. [Photo
from Pete Schafer, courtesy of Paul Holden] Chris Griffiths identifies Leicester's track here. Les's mechanic Pete Barnett says they had to cut the entire front off the car!
Here is Les
the simpler days before NASA-designed aerfoils and professional
signwriting. Then, I'm guessing early 1970's, here
is Les stuffing SuperStu Smith, (at Brafield according to Phil Chance, March 2011). Les had a 500 cu.in Caddy under the hood in this car.
Thanks to Les
Cotton, (whose CD of BriSCA photos is a gem and well worth getting) includes thesetwo photos of Al Wilson's car being backed
in and pulled
in a back-alley setting worthy of Coronation Street. This is where
the lock-up was, about a mile from Hyde Road, so it needed
towing. Al himself lived a frustrating 200 yards from Hyde Road.
At one stage, Al parked the car at his grandmother's, which was so close to Belle Vue stadium that he could PUSH #162 to the pits!
Young took one look at the second photo and said stock-car racers
everywhere will recognize the chore: ramping the stocker up to
allow to a towing "dolly" or
"bogey whels" to go under it, so it could be towed (backwards) without
a trailer. Les's excellent CD of stock car photos: http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/mansell/25/
surely the only race track in the world that ran within
a few feet of people's houses. #204 is
either Rod Walker from Stone, or possibly Geoff Buck from Ashton-under-Lyne. Les Cotton tells me
that if you look at the nearest house in the occupied row, that's
where his buddy grew up, a chap who became a champion in Model Stock Car
racing. Just visible
in the shot is #92 Roger Bowyer from
of Bert or Charlie Finnikin #55 lining
up [number stuck on a car borrowed from normally-435-Bernard Poyser] ahead of Don Evans 37.
From same mag: #78 is the old
in the hands of Barry Goldsby, being missed by Bob Tanser. The
overturned #264 is Stuart Sillman from Banbury, and #439 is Gordon
Paxford from Northleach Glos. More
thanks to Rick Young for answering my questions about these
Nice portrait of Willie Harrison's
#2 car. Not the original Leighton car, this version was built by Tony Neal,
deliberately copying the famous shape of Willie's earlier ex-Leighton
pink 'un. This photograph shows the car at Belle Vue. Thanks
to John Lomax for the pic.
"Hot Car" magazine
was a good booster of stock-car racing, and this 1973 cover shows
us Brian Wignall #102 from Clitheroe,
Lancs lining up beside #30 Dave Taylor. (Thanks to Rick Young for the names, and identifying the track as
Chris Pickup's car
#50 sprays the dirt at Bradford;
love that whitewalled tyre. [Rick
The #321 car of the late Don
Round, who was the Treasurer of the Veterans
Stock Car Association. Don not only raced for 15 years 1973 to 1987 but
worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the sport. He also suffered under
the nickname of "One-Two-Three-Gone" by some announcers
because of his rather high crash-out rate (Chris Griffiths, and photo courtesy of Rick Young.) I had this photo wrongly labelled for years without noticing ---oops.
Thanks to Graham
Shaw for these four snapshots from circa 1970: First, at
Rochdale, Geoff Buck # 204 with
a problem. Next, two Belle Vue shots — a
crash showing # 88 (Reg Graham # 71 is slipping past in the
background); then a flag-bearing
winner : # 86 Mike Holt. Graham
Shaw mechanic'd for 154 Brian Powles and 391 Smiffy, with an occasional
hand for Mick Stecko 419 and Mike Close 199.
"Cronnie": Doug Cronshaw #396
February 2010: Doug Cronshaw with Roger Spencer # 315. Photo from Alan Butterworth.
February 2011: Before the famous championship "special" was the previous 396 Doug Cronshaw car in the Aycliffe pits. According to Kieron (on the left), this was a meticulous copy of the Ron Rogers's ex-Nev Hughes car. Cronshaw's bro-in-law Glyn is centre, and race-day mechanic Tony Foster [nicknamed Conky by the Cronshaws] on the right. [Bill Roberts track photo, courtesy of Kieron Tatlock]
"Cronshaw at Aycliffe".
For many fans, those three magic words conjure up a golden age of racing. Here Doug's
father, an engine genius (see the story below) is on radiator duty. [John Rigg photo.] Paul Wright
confirms it's Aycliffe, and remembers fondly the roofless gents, and
the long corrugated iron "shed" that acted as an amplifier for those
open exhaust V-8's.
One of Doug
Cronshaw 396's rare visits south to Brafield
was captured in 1973 by Edward Picken, who recalls watching
the legendary battles between Cronnie and Smithy in the northern "bullrings" in
the late sixties.
Below: A beautiful 2003 restoration / replica
of the Cronshaw 396 special
in its 1971 World winning colours; thanks to longtime fan Clive Weedon, who spotted
it and took this crystal clear photo of the (engine-less) car at Brafield
during the post-WF "World Masters" meeting.
Thanks to Kieron Tatlock
for the following insider information about the original "Cronshaw
had earlier sweated with Dougie in 1968 to create the Ron Rogers
'replica', and in the cold winter of 1969/70 they built the famous 396
in the unheated garage behind the Cronshaw house. Kieron had been
doing design sketches of Cronshaw's idea for his first "booted"
body, inspired by 1960's US 'supermodifieds', and figured they
could stay legal by using a Triumph Herald roof and a Standard 8
boot. Running gear was 'normal LD stuff' and the chassis was
fabricated from 4x2x1/4 steel.
The engine was a corker! It
was a 401 cu.in. Pontiac that ESSO's research workshops had been using
experimentally, and the lump arrived with tons of spares and parts,
Carter triple carbs, etc 'all in about six tea-chests'. Doug
Cronshaw Snr was a genius motor man, and he locked himself in the
office with all the specs and manuals and a regular supply of hot tea,
keeping ultra secret. Days later he emerged and they put together
one of the sport's fastest and strongest motors. Its first
(Brafield) race in 1970 ended in a roll-over, but its second race took
heat and final at Aycliffe, and success after success that year.
Next year, 1971, was rewarded with Doug's World Final.
on the terraces was that Rochdale rival Stu Smith and his father were
so furious at being beaten by his one-time mechanic that a ton of
Lawrence Smith money was put to work, bringing in the sport's first
monster new 454 Chevy's, ----- and a new era had begun.
has a fund of lively memories from those days, about the intense
Smith-Cronnie rivalry in driving and car construction, and which I am
NOT allowed to repeat here ---- ;-)
Trevor Chater recalls Stu's tweed-hatted father could be heard in the pits, telling
his son that "If you don't
beat Cronshaw this time I'll cut the car into
Below: Don Evans joins Les Mitchell 238 and Dave Taylor 30 in a
pile-up at Brafield. That #45 car is no beauty, but Alan Scothern from
Mickelover doesn't care --- he raced for more than 30 years.
probably 1972-ish, and track photographer Mick Kilby.
January 2011: Here's #45 again, in colour, on Brafield's back straight. [Ron Knight photo]
Rick Young: man at the wheel
Young as he was known when racing in the seventies and eighties, was one of the famous "Beds and Herts" gang, towing everywhere there
was a track at any time of day or night. Rick nowadays is a frequent
correspondent, journalist [regular column in SHORT CIRCUIT MAGAZINE in the UK] and track photographer. He is also a track-chaser and as of August 2010 had clocked up visits to 182 different race tracks.
Rick this website would be a lot poorer. More than once I've had an
e-mail from a fan or driver who has said
there anyone Rick Young doesn't know?'
Rick started off
on motorbikes in England [he gave me an unpublished snapshot showing a youthful Rocker Rick on his first Beezer Bantam].
He's been driving trucks for more than 30 years, and more than 30
different makes of truck have passed through his hands, ["Scania is the best."] in 14 countries and 19 US states. Rick
laughs that despite all this, if he wanted to ride a simple
motorcycle in Canada today he'd have to go and take a test.
A few lucky kids can say "My dad's a stock car racer." Carla Young could say it, here with dad at Brafield long ago; and one of Rick's favourite photos with his daughter at a sunny Swindon.
Leicester wreck was well photographed:
#50 misses a rolled Steve
Bird #52. At Oxford in 1975, Chris Pickup and
mech Mick Black watch Chris's
#50 being towed back to the pits. Nice car, though Rick reckoned it ugly.
Young was 'spark out' on a stretcher after this Brafield hit,
and off work for three weeks. Every driver gives the
same description: "It really rings your bell."
Brafield's brick-walled flowerbeds in the foreground, with some pruned
rose stems. "No thanks --- they may be pretty but I don't want
to ram a rose bed."
in 1975, when Dick Young joined in a Chris
Pickup / Sam Seabrook collision
Below, 1976, Dick Young # 67 giving
a helping hand to Sam Seabrook. In
the background Brian Chappell (Sileby, Leics.) is driving the ex-Trevor
Frost car, and Tony Saunders from Hinckley, Leics is receiving the
Seabrook bumper. Photo by a track photographer; thanks to Dick for
Rick Young burning up the Brands Hatch tarmac
in 1974. [Colin Casserly photo.] . Dick
had TWO F1's to choose from, ex-Chris Pickup cars, in the mid-1980's. The
one in the background is Jaguar-motored, and the front one, with
an Austin Allegro body, is Buick-motored.
Rick in the Brands Hatch pits: #67
"Run Baby Run". That's a Ford "Y" model body over a Jaguar motor. Rick
shared the car with Chris Pickup. On the far
right, in denim, is Dave Berresford (260), who is shown elsewhere on
this site in mid flight.
Here's a shot taken at Lydden
Hill in Kent. Rick Young and buddy Chris Pickup, not satisfied with matching cars, decide to friction-weld them together. Chris is the
man himself in 2004, Rick doing pace-car and reporting duties
at the wickedly fast Syracuse track in New York State. For British 1/4 mile oval fans: Syracuse is
a terrifying one-mile dirt oval, nicknamed "The Moody Mile". It is so fast that the World
of Outlaws sprint car drivers got together after Billy Pauch put in a qualifying lap
at 145mph average and announced "We don't need to be racing here any more
---" and those guys are known for their courage.
Here is Johnny
Goodhall, nicknamed "Gimpy", being interviewed by Keith Barber
at Keith's Long Eaton track. Photo
is 1977/1978, thanks to Paul Durham. Johnny was tragically killed at Brandon in what seemed
like a common enough racing incident: his car hit the fence
and rebounded onto the track, but it was hit hard. Fans are proud
of the safety record of BriSCA cars, drivers, and tracks, so it is a terrible shock when
things go wrong. It's also a shock because,
even in the midst of hard championship chasing, STOCK CAR RACING
IS FUN; so a death or serious
injury upsets fans perhaps more than it would in other motor
Here is John
Thorpe, #367, with novice markings, but
he quickly rose to red top. Brafield
photo, taken around 1974, courtesy
of Paul and Alyson Durham, visible at the fence along with Paul's family,
in the background. The Thorpe family run a trucking business from Rotherham.
From the Les
Cotton CD, here's John Thorpe again,
on one of the Northern shale ovals. Chris Griffiths identifies Bradford.
Sometimes the weather is awful:
cold, and wet, and muddy, but Chris Pickup,
in car #50, owned by Luton's Dave Kiff, was gonna race, regardless. It's a Fiat 600 body, with that popular Mercedes grille, and a Buick V-8 under
the hood. Brafield shot by Dick
Women can race and win amid the hurly-burly
of short-track combat. Jayne Bean qualified for two
World Finals. Three-men-and-a-dog, and her very own red-top racer: Jayne Bean was fast:
Jayne celebrating [I don't know the occasion or the track]
I'd be chuffed if I'd taken the photo below, but it was the lightning-fast track
photographer Dennis Mott [thanks Chris G.], and appeared in a supporters club magazine. Dave Berresford goes aerial at Brafield: I think the photo's background was 'faded' a bit to
highlight the car. The chap on the far left at the
fence is Jim Bashford, and right beside him is
his brother Pete Bashford from Dagenham who raced under #107 for ten
years. "Outside the bar, of course," said Phil Chance of the VSCA. Also, directly under the "Co" of Control, Susand and George Rimmer are recognized by Kingsley Thorneycroft.
Brian Powles had hard-'n'-fast cars with monster
motors, and was a master engine builder in the sport: Stu Smith's motors,
for instance. Rick Young photo of #154
Brian Powles. Derek Thornley has told me about Brian's early
a youngster Brian worked for Derek's neighbour Nev Hughes (#69)
at Nev's garage in West Bridgford, Notts. Hughes helped build
Brian's first car, a Junior which won at Long Eaton in 1960. Brian
came 2nd in the 1981 World at Bradford, retiring in 1982. He
also raced long-circuit "Thunder Saloons" for a couple of seasons. Brian
passed away in 2000, but his son Stuart campaigned an F1 stock-car. Graham
Shaw was mechanic for Brian. Chris G.
tells me this is the ex-Nev Hughes car, which at one time was
also raced by Doug Cronshaw.
November 2010: Optical Illusion:
Brian Powles and Willie Harrison tangle at Mallory Park in 1970. [photo courtesy of Stockcar Supporter magazine.]
Count the wheels and figure out
who each one belongs to. Has Willie's left rear just come off or is it
Brian's front right just behind Willie's bumper? Then whose is that wheel in the foreground?
Mick Gamble, who raced in the seventies, explains that there are three cars in the photo
--- the illusion comes from the 'foreshortening' caused by a
telephoto lens, and suggests Powles's car is white with a dark
bonnet, but that is probably Ron Rogers on the other side of
Powles. Rick Young backs
that up. Now you can see three cars and two bonnet sides with two exhaust manifolds ----.
The late great Brian Wallace, #
featured here in 1976, probably at Sheffield. Thanks to Brian's son Simon
Wallace [a BriSCA racer himself] for sending this photo. Here is another photo of Brian
Wallace lining up at Owlerton
Stadium, Sheffield, with John Hillam in the background [thanks
Les Cotton for identifying it]. Brian started racing in 1972 and shot up
to Star grade in 1974. The car had a big 454
Chevy motor, and was built for the 1976 season by #179 Alan
Barker. Brian owned a garage and dealership
in Farnworth, near Bolton, and was known as "The Farnworth
Flyer". His cars
were always immaculate. Racers
like Alan Wilson who bought equipment from Brian Wallace testify
that the quality was #1, brand-new motors, for instance. Tragically, we lost Brian in a jammed-throttle / fence
cable accident at Manchester's White City stadium in 1976. Fans recall the evening's remaining race being a dispirited drive-round, and many
had already started to load up their cars as a sign of respect, and spectators
were leaving the stadium in tears. Brian's car was later cut up. Thanks to Les and to Alan Wilson for the background to this. By the
way, builder and racer Alan Wilson was an early starter —- he won his first
stock-car race on his 16th birthday.
One person who was present that night, Joe Jopling, went on later to promote at Hartlepool,
and one of his first acts was to install FIVE-cable fences
on the bends.
A newspaper cutting about Brian W.'s son, Simon
Wallace, who entered F1 racing in 2005.
Les Suckling raced Jag-motored Seniors. Les Suckling # 132 in the Coventry pits in 1970. Just
behind you can see Bob Laurie's trailer.
Ian Ireland's red-top #267 snapped
in the Brands Hatch pits in 1969 by Rick Young. Next, an undated
magazine shot of Ian in full
launch mode thanks to a barrel and some rivals.
tartan on his car, Ian
the business, with Fred Skinner on the outside. Next, a photo of Ian becoming
World Champion under FISCA auspices at the Dutch long-track at
Baarlo in 1977, with Chick Woodroffe and a massive trophy. Lastly, Ian Ireland's gold-top in
the Wimbledon pits, 1977 or 78, courtesy of Rick Young. Thirty years on: Ian Ireland
in the pits at Rye House in 1998, with son Nigel checking it
all out. Was Ian Ireland
related to that other Scottish celebrity Innes Ireland, the Grand
Prix and Le Mans racer? "Only a distant relative" is the answer.
August 2010: If that photo of Fred's car reminded you of George Ansell's, you're
right, it was ex-Ansell. Here's Fred again in that bare-bones
special, track unknown, 1971.
I had my camera with me at Mendip Raceway in 1975 or early
1976, and snapped an unusual Ford Capri-bodied #
110 yellow-top, on the hook after wrecking a front wheel. It's
Ray Scriven from nearby Fairford, Gloucestershire. Ray's son (Rob,
#117) and grandson too were, at one time, all racing together. The car
had previously been a Dennis Driscoll (#274) special. Rick Young info.
Another shot of Ray Scriven, again in trouble at Mendip, heading
for the pits with a flat right-front. And a panoramic photo of Ray in mid-battle, heading
down Mendip's sloping backstretch.
is the Scriven car 110 neck-and-neck
with Danny Clarke 203 at Brafield. [BriSCA cd of Les Cotton.]
A colourful #
257, Bob Tanser, riding out to battle at Mendip
Raceway in early '76 or late '75. Bob
is driving one of several "Gertie" copies, this one built
Big Al Barker. Smith-style
cars were being built everywhere, and Warren Taylor #344 from Durham had yet another "Gertie" replica.
Gentleman John Stirk: innovator
Six wheels? Here's a 1977 fan magazine
cover showing John Stirk # 65 from Halifax,
trying out his innovative six-wheeler at Brafield: John Stirk
Another shot of the six-wheeler, to prove that all four
front wheels steered.
John #65, driving the Brymeat Pet Foods yellow-top, "only" four wheels this time. Probably at
Nelson, the all-action track. According to Andrew Hirst, an ex-F2 racer who
recalls that 'towing ambulances' had to park across the street,
and the stockers, loaded with spares and tools, had to be driven
across Carr Road under police guidance! When the July
fair came to town, cars had to be parked even further away
and driven right round the streets to enter the stadium. Photo
by 'Martin', from the Les Cotton BriSCA cd]
Chick Woodroffe, in the borrowed Chisholm car (You can see Chissy's #252 on the back surface of Chick's "1" roof plate) Here Chick is powering up the sloping Mendip straight towards the flag.
Chick Woodroffe #1, at
Mendip; beside him is Bob Tanser in a lightweight
Long shot of Chick coming sideways out
of turn 3 at Mendip, charging straight at the camera.
Casserly relates how Chick had borrowed it while Chisholm was out with
an injured back. This car was built by Doug Cronshaw #396 in
1972, with 454 Chev power, but Doug could not make it win, so it then
passed via Stu Smith for the 1972 season, then to
Chisholm. With Chisholm, the car won three consecutive
World Championships, '73-'74-'75. Then the car went to Alan Casserly (#'s
104 and 142) in 1980-81. It eventually
went to Mo Smith # 51.
Quite a car with quite a history — I watched it win the Harringay
World Final in 1973. Les Cotton pointed out some fine detail on this car. Dave Chisholm loved the
design so much he built a DUPLICATE CAR, and this is what
you're seeing here. Chisholm's original and the duplicate sometimes
appeared in the same races, just to keep fans on their toes.
Bless him, Chick
Woodroffe was well liked and is greatly missed. Here
he is at the first Wembley meeting in 1974.
In 1976, Les Cotton photographed the two Chisholm
cars, and deduces that the "duplicate" is the # 409
in the background. Well, I'll open that debate up: Oh-oh: it didn't take long —- two different
fans (one a racer at the time) have pointed out that this photo must have been taken at the
Brands Hatch Festival of Speed in 1976; George Ansell came
out of retirement, and Sugar Shergold (usually #304). The guy
in the hat, back to camera, is Chick Woodroffe.
February 2010: Dave Chisholm's gold-roof days -- in this case in the pits at White City. Then, Chissy again, under a sunny sky, throwing the 252 into a corner at Rochdale.Thanks to Alan Butterworth:
Wainman Senior and SuperStu Smith at Mendip, 1976. In front of them
is Dave Taylor #30, from Nazeing,
Essex — probably the last person to attain red-top status
with a 6-cylinder Jaguar engine, although here he may have
the 5.3 litre V-12 in it [thanks Philip Winterton for the info] running against 454
cubic inch Chevs. That requires great driving and building.
The Welsh Dragon: Glyn
Pursey #175 from Bedford, but of proud Welsh blood, 'look you, boyo'.
better shot of Glyn Pursey powering
up the sloping straight at Mendip, chasing #211 "Gypsy John" Aldridge
from Chipping Norton, and neck-and-neck with white-top #170 Keith
Harrison from Kidderminster; and again
on a clear track. You can just see the little Welsh dragon flag fluttering at the top
edge of the back. Glyn's sons Jason and Glen have also raced F1's in BriSCA.
Here below, Glyn Pursey waits for the track to clear on a wet Hednesford day. (photo Alan Butterworth)
Ian Russell (Higham Ferrers, Northants) driving
the 38 car here in 1975 at Mendip. Les Cotton has identified Ian's car as
one of two Stu Smith-built lightweight replicas of Stu's winning
1969 car. Smithy loaned this car to several drivers, including
#293 Gordon Smith, #396 Doug Cronshaw, and # SA1 S. African Harry
Van De Spuy. Thanks, Les.
Smith in the pits at Mendip, 1976.
Stu Smith and Alan barker at ---- White City? Long Eaton? Hartlepool? Belle Vue?
debates have raged over this photo. Carl Hesketh presented a strong argument for White City: the
scoreboard is a greyhound board — and Belle Vue didn't do the dogs; also,
the track appears to be tarmac, which White City used, whereas BV was
John Mercer sent me
a photo of the White City track which, although it has a dog track and dog lights, definitely looks
different from the photo above. Carl
also identifies Smiffy's rival there as Alan Barker driving the Smith
replica "Gertie". **
Baguley has since suggested the photo could be Long
Eaton --- the control tower had the same lower brick wall. Everyone seems to agree it ain't Belle Vue.
Graham Shaw (mechanic
for Brian Powles 154), says the photo must be 1977, the
year Alan B. drove Gertie; Graham also doubts the White City
theory, because WC was completely surrounded by grandstands and seating
except for the pits entrance. Graham's vote is also for Long
Eaton, which had trees close to the track. How about Hartlepool? Could be:
Edwards identifies those leaning track lights as identical to the
ones appearing in the definite Hartlepool photo that follows this..
I'm calling "Time gentlemen please": Joe Jopling raced at Hartlepool (#452), won at
Hartlepool, and promoted at Hartlepool too, so he knows ***** well
that the photo is HARTLEPOOL. The
track is gone, and the site up for sale.
Below: Four fast men tackle Hartlepool:
SuperStu photo: Smithy
Wings It. [A
1977 stock car calendar photo, thanks to Paul and
Smith was the sport's "next
step up": pure full time professionalism, and perhaps the man and the car
that helped create two categories of racer: the professional-money-dedication group
and the fun-part-time brigade. Sadly, in December 2010 we lost Stu Smith Snr.
Below: "Not fair!" is a common response when someone moves the game up a notch. They
said it in 1960 about the King/Brise #6 car, and they said it
in 2000 about Rob Speak's 318 mini-monster. Here is Smithy's monster motor in 1973. When a future
Wainman debuts a Galactic Warp Drive, instead of the everyday Stellar-Propulsion motors, our great grandchildren are going to yell "Not Fair."
Nigel Hardy #317 from Huddersfield, wonders how Alan Barker's Wildcat
#179 got up there. Les Cotton
identifies Al's car as the Smith-built "Gertie". ["We can tell by the horizontal chrome exhaust
pipes".] [track photographer Dennis Mott's 1977 photo at Aycliffe]
Behind them, Alastair Davison #115 from
County Durham slips by. Alastair
was one of the fourteen different drivers who have raced
under the #115 competition number.
January 2011: Ron Knight sent these two photos of Danny Clarke 203: first, Dan The Man in the pits. Then, in about 1981 Danny on Coventry's shale surface chasing (who?)
The cars became more "mid-engined" in the seventies. From Rothwell, Northants, Danny Clarke's #203 on the straight at Brafield.
Work at the Crossroads. Bill Harrison
287 smiles like a chimney sweep with his goggles off, despite that damaged axle; Bill was from Bolton, Lancs.