Jon didn’t appreciate the time I bled the brakes but forgot to wipe spilt brake fluid off the shoes. A sharp left turn going 100mph+ at Santa Pod’s top end was not his favourite experience!

About this time the class rules changed from engine capacity alone to an “engine capacity-to-weight” formula. The required weigh bridge ticket for the car reported 635lbs wet.

The rule change made us less competitive. Our light weight meant Jon could beat any one up to about 200 yards (“Jumpin’ Jon” rules OK!) but the extra power/torque of those 3.8 Jag engined cars usually took over at the top end of the strip despite their weight disadvantage (Two Ton Karmen?)

Snetterton 1975

At the end of 1974 the Comp Altered class rules changed again, this time allowing a 35% engine setback for the 1975 season. Easy I thought, have Allan Ing shorten the gearbox tail shaft and housing, move the engine mounts and cut a bigger hole in the firewall. Everything went well and I was soon back at the technical school adapting Lambretta wheels to the Ford front hubs to further lighten the front end. The previous widened Mini wheels had been really heavy with a big frontal cross section.

Snetterton 1975
After a mediocre season debut at Santa Pod on March 30th, poor man’s slicks (almost bald circuit racing tyres) were mounted on a pair of horribly crude (but effective) widened rear wheels to replace the old, stock, Cortina rear wheels. The photo above shows the reconfigured car and Jon doing his Jackie Stuart impression. After 35 years my wife still looks that good in checkered trousers and can still cook gourmet food on a tailgate.

It was now 1975 and a very difficult start to the year. Our second meet was at Snetterton with it’s virgin “on-tour” start line providing limited traction. Brian Taylor was the NDRC commentator and we got a lot of PA comment about the wheelies Jon was pulling with every gear shift. In fact things went so well that we left the car untouched until the April 20 Easter meeting at Santa Pod.

The Fateful Morning

The Fateful Morning,
April 20, 1975

Then it happened; Uncle Scrumble was running it’s best, I had the tire pressures dialed in, Jon had the handling down and the Pod’s start line was sticky. Jon dumped the clutch for the first run and remembers Stuart Bradbury, the starter, leaping out of the way as our little bucking bronco veered towards him! The resulting wheelstand was high enough for the back frame to hit the tarmac and push the front back down with a bang. Undeterred, Jon floored the gas and still did a 14 second run but things were not well with the chassis and front axle, both were badly bent. Jon looked at the damage and his first words were, “How about that for negative camber?”

<< < | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | > >>

This site is XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.0 validated