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Longridge, then and now...


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#1 Simon Arron

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 08:43

Circumstance having pitched me towards the Ribble Valley last week, I thought I'd visit an old friend for the first time in 32 years...

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Johnny Hayes-Harlow, Ernie Blane and Dave Manners file onto the Quarry Straight, Longridge, as it looked in 1977...

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...and the Quarry Straight as it looks today, as part of Beacon Fell View holiday park (a posh term for 'caravan site').

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This was taken from the top of the rockface, as lined by spectators in the first photograph. The defunct circuit's entire width was contained within the area occupied by caravans on the lower tier.

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Tim Knight leads Richard Peacock and Steve Waudby into Quarry Bend, Longridge, during the summer of '77...

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...and an overhead view of (approximately) the same spot on January 21 2009.

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This is more or less where John Ravenscroft smacked his F1 Token into the rockface during a sprint meeting on March 20 1977. Unfortunately for him, I don't recall such warnings being in place back then... Longridge was as basic as a racetrack could possibly be, but I'll always remember it as a happy place. Reflections on a bygone curio form the basis of a column in this Wednesday's Motorsport News.

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#2 Stephen W

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 10:05

Originally posted by Simon Arron
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...and an overhead view of (approximately) the same spot on January 21 2009.


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A wide angle view of the same corner taken in 1977 :cool:

#3 speedman13

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 11:12

I competed at the first meeting in April 1971 and always enjoyed racing there but sadly only remember it as the place Tony Saville had his fatal accident.

#4 Ian Smith - Diz

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 13:51

Originally posted by Simon Arron
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Tim Knight leads Richard Peacock and Steve Waudby into Quarry Bend, Longridge, during the summer of '77...

I've pointed this thread to Richard Peacock and he thinks the photo was from 1976.
I await the race programme being scanned and posted to prove him wrong.

#5 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 14:08

I've no idea where this came from, but it has been in an old 'teenage years' scrapbook since 1973/74ish. A circuit guide over 4-5 pages showing all UK circuits. I assume the blue area is the paddock?
Apologies, it is a bit torn and dog eared.
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#6 MCS

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 15:08

Originally posted by Andrew Kitson
I assume the blue area is the paddock?


Yes it certainly was, Andrew. It really was a most unusual place. Quite unforgettable.

The first picture of Simon's shows the spectators stood at the edge of the rock looking down on the circuit - behind them was the paddock. Had you walked across the paddock and looked in the opposite direction you would have enjoyed a quite breathtaking view over Lancashire and the Ribble Valley.

#7 Tony Matthews

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 15:12

Looks a bit like a scale model of the Salzburgring!

#8 Simon Arron

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 16:49

Originally posted by Ian Smith - Diz
I've pointed this thread to Richard Peacock and he thinks the photo was from 1976.
I await the race programme being scanned and posted to prove him wrong.

Don't have the programme, but according to my files it was taken on July 3 1977. Richard has probably been hit on the head several times by assorted Eccleston brothers and his memory might not be what it was. Either that or my filing system is rubbish...

#9 IanG

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 21:03

Originally posted by Simon Arron
Circumstance having pitched me towards the Ribble Valley last week, I thought I'd visit an old friend for the first time in 32 years...


What a treat seeing pictures of Longridge circuit.
Not wanting to hijack this racing orientated thread; I just felt I should like to add some of my memories.
I was born and brought up within a stones throw of the place, and in an obtuse way it led me toward my first involvement with motor sport.
I, along with a few pals, were coming back from a local pub one Saturday night, using some of the local lanes on which there was no-one faster than me, in my dad's Vauxhall Viva HA. (1966-67) Suddenly my rear window was full of lights and a light blue Hillman Imp shot past as though I was going backwards. I was in total shock with the speed at which this maniac left us for dead, so much so that when we were again passed within a minute by some more nutters, I felt some more investigation was needed.
We Endeavoured to follow the lights of the cars that passed us and eventually arrived at Longridge Quarry, where the rally (for that was what somebody called it) was using the old quarry as a stage. The Imp it turned out was driven by Colin Malkin.
I was hooked on this "rallying" from that moment on, a sport that subsequently took me all over the World.
I have often wondered if I had not been curious to find out what was going on that night at Longridge Quarry, then I would have missed out on a whole career.
In later years the quarry was turned into the circuit, used for rallycross,sprints and of course racing. The end came when local residents complained about the noise.
Now where have we heard that story recently?

Ian Grindrod

#10 David Beard

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 21:44

Originally posted by IanG
Ian Grindrod


A name that makes me sad to recall how many copies of MN I have thrown away... from the time when it was actually worth keeping :(

A Longridge snap from 1977. The bloke driving the grossly understeering DAB kart no.57 should really have thrown away those wooden Continental slicks he had on the front, and bought some Goodyear Blue Streaks like he had on the back. But his wife had her eyes on a McLaren baby buggy...

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#11 elansprint72

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 22:50

Originally posted by IanG


What a treat seeing pictures of Longridge circuit.
Not wanting to hijack this racing orientated thread; I just felt I should like to add some of my memories.
I was born and brought up within a stones throw of the place, and in an obtuse way it led me toward my first involvement with motor sport.
I, along with a few pals, were coming back from a local pub one Saturday night, using some of the local lanes on which there was no-one faster than me, in my dad's Vauxhall Viva HA. (1966-67) Suddenly my rear window was full of lights and a light blue Hillman Imp shot past as though I was going backwards. I was in total shock with the speed at which this maniac left us for dead, so much so that when we were again passed within a minute by some more nutters, I felt some more investigation was needed.
We Endeavoured to follow the lights of the cars that passed us and eventually arrived at Longridge Quarry, where the rally (for that was what somebody called it) was using the old quarry as a stage. The Imp it turned out was driven by Colin Malkin.
I was hooked on this "rallying" from that moment on, a sport that subsequently took me all over the World.
I have often wondered if I had not been curious to find out what was going on that night at Longridge Quarry, then I would have missed out on a whole career.
In later years the quarry was turned into the circuit, used for rallycross,sprints and of course racing. The end came when local residents complained about the noise.
Now where have we heard that story recently?

Ian Grindrod

Ian,
You and the rest of these buggers are forcing me to go up into the loft to unearth my Longridge photos (this will be a stealth operation when the present Mrs T is out of the house, for obvious reasons). Apart from our shared Mullard experiences, my folks had a week-end cabin at Hurst Green, down the lane at the side of the Shireburn Arms. Small world, huh?

Back to the loft-I reckon there are perhaps 3-5k colour slides up there ; must invest in a decent scanner some day soon. :

Don't suppose it was Farnworth in that IMP?

Hopefully on my visit to the loft I will:
a) not stick my foot through the ceiling and
b) unearth the negatives from the concert which I covered for "Sounds" newspaper at the Free Trade Hall where Genesis played support band for Lindisfarne. :smoking:

#12 sterling49

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 22:55

Originally posted by David Beard
[B]

A name that makes me sad to recall how many copies of MN I have thrown away... from the time when it was actually worth keeping :(

My sentiments entirely, I wish I could have the '60s complete, especially to relive the classic days of MN Rounds :up: My media collection, is a constant source of speculation, loft, garage, skip.......... :eek:

#13 HistoricMustang

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 22:58

I believe the track is in this area.

Can any of the members narrow things down a bit?

Henry :wave:

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#14 Stephen W

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 11:25

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
I believe the track is in this area.

Can any of the members narrow things down a bit?

Henry :wave:

Posted Image


The circuit is located adjacent to the white rectangular building below the reservoir - this is the outside of Quarry Corner. Quarry Straight is tucked up below the cliff which is the dark green line.

I tried downloading the image but when I blew it up the quality just wasn't good enough.

:wave:

#15 IanG

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 18:41

Originally posted by sterling49


My sentiments entirely, I wish I could have the '60s complete, especially to relive the classic days of MN Rounds :up: My media collection, is a constant source of speculation, loft, garage, skip.......... :eek:


I have to confess that I now read "Motoring News" (That's what it will always be called in my eyes) in Asda as the wife does the shopping. By the time I have read the rallying content, she has probably had time enough to buy one bag of spuds! :lol:

Ian Grindrod

#16 sterling49

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 19:24

Originally posted by IanG


I have to confess that I now read "Motoring News" (That's what it will always be called in my eyes) in Asda as the wife does the shopping. By the time I have read the rallying content, she has probably had time enough to buy one bag of spuds! :lol:

Ian Grindrod


Snap, the only issue that I have purchased in many years is the Colin Memorial Issue :(

The old "Verglas" column was usually my 1st port of call :up:

#17 Simon Arron

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 19:26

Originally posted by IanG
I have to confess that I now read "Motoring News" (That's what it will always be called in my eyes) in Asda as the wife does the shopping. By the time I have read the rallying content, she has probably had time to buy one bag of spuds!

Ian

If you happen to be in Asda tomorrow, probe a little deeper into MN and ye shall find some Longridge whimsy... It might divert you until Mrs G reaches the cheese counter.

Cheers,
SA

#18 IanG

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 19:38

Originally posted by Simon Arron

Ian

If you happen to be in Asda tomorrow, probe a little deeper into MN and ye shall find some Longridge whimsy... It might divert you until Mrs G reaches the cheese counter.

Cheers,
SA


Many thanks Simon. I shall go hot foot to the Wallmart news stand first thing. Already warned the wife I may be some time.
On the question of the circuit diagrams posted on here, I seem to remember that when there was a Rallycross meeting at Longridge, the gravel part of the rallycross track was the then paddock area, but I am puzzled as to where their paddock then was.

Regards Ian

#19 David Beard

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 19:48

Originally posted by Simon Arron

Ian

If you happen to be in Asda tomorrow, probe a little deeper into MN and ye shall find some Longridge whimsy... It might divert you until Mrs G reaches the cheese counter.

Cheers,
SA


I think you might find an extra sale in Lancs here, too!

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#20 elansprint72

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 21:13

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OK, I have no idea who this tricycle driver is. :lol: Nick Whiting?

I'm in the process of scanning some Longridge shots and will post them on my website in due course, gallery will be called "Motor Sports Archive", catchy title huh? :(

#21 sterling49

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 21:18

I do not think that is Nick, his car was usually sponsored by the Kent Messenger Group. I could well be wrong though :blush:

#22 elansprint72

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 21:26

I think it was bright (Kermit) green, but I could easily be wrong, again!!!

#23 Simon Arron

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 22:06

Originally posted by IanG
I seem to remember that when there was a rallycross meeting at Longridge, the gravel part of the rallycross track was the then-paddock area, but I am puzzled as to where their paddock then was.


The rallycross track took cars away from Quarry Bend and down a gravel track that still appeared to be there when I visited last week. They then looped around a couple of buildings and bisected part of the 'normal' paddock before rejoining the circuit through a gap just before the rockface...

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Will Gollop demonstrates the art in his Triumph Toledo.

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I don't think the paddock was greatly affected - I have a feeling it was on the customary bed of muck and gravel, albeit moved back a few metres.

#24 sterling49

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 22:34

That looks like Rod Chapman's old Stormont Escort? Any idea about the rally RS behind? Tony Drummond maybe?

#25 Simon Arron

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:04

It does look like the ex-Chapman car, but I have to confess I have no idea about its provenance. This was a 1976 British Championship event - the opening round, on July 25 - and the driver, as the windscreen motif notes, is Ian Smith. It is listed in the programme as a 1.8 Escort and he finished third overall. The other cars pictured are the 2.0 Escort of winner Dave Fuell (#47) and the Mini of Tom Airey, who finished fourth.

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Second place fell to John Greasley, but this poor effort is the best image of his Porsche 914 I was able to capture.

#26 sterling49

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:49

Off course it is! I have seen both many times, Airey was indecently rapid in that Mini, look at the diameter of the wheels! Back to reading "How To Improve My Memory", if I could find where I have left it :smoking:

#27 Auroraf1

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 09:53

I see this thread has formed the basis of SA's latest editorial in Motorsport News.
Excellent it is too!

What next Simon? The balled of Mallory Dan and the Great Burger Caper? (See Northern England TNF gatherings thread).

#28 Stephen W

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:00

Some Rallycross shots from 1977

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Above: Dave Barnes in a 1300 Escort - note slot in windscreen.

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Above: Brian Betteridge (Beetle) - and yes that is snow on the ground!

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Above: Peter Lewis (MGB GT V8), Peter Futers (Mini) & Jerry Seal (Capri)

:wave:

#29 Mallory Dan

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 11:07

Originally posted by elansprint72
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OK, I have no idea who this tricycle driver is. :lol: Nick Whiting?

I'm in the process of scanning some Longridge shots and will post them on my website in due course, gallery will be called "Motor Sports Archive", catchy title huh? :(


No answer to this one men yet? As a guess, Terry King, or Norman Hodgson perhaps?

#30 elansprint72

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 13:36

I've got another shot of the Escort but that is even less of a clue.


Picked up a copy of whatever Motoring News calls itself these days; interesting nostalgic piece about the circuit by Simon but the paper has gone downhill since I stopped my subscription back in 1980.

#31 Simon Arron

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 16:58

Pete

If your recollections of greenness are correct, might the Escort driver be Brian Whiting?

#32 Phil Rainford

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 18:51

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Stephen W
[B]Some Rallycross shots from 1977

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Above: Brian Betteridge (Beetle) - and yes that is snow on the ground!

It became a lot deeper than that causing the meeting to be cancelled

Myself and Mr Arron became stranded .....where were the caravans when you needed one ;)

Kind regards

Phil

#33 elansprint72

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 19:24

Originally posted by Simon Arron
Pete

If your recollections of greenness are correct, might the Escort driver be Brian Whiting?


That's him!!!!!!!

#34 elansprint72

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 19:33

Look at the angle of dangle on these rascals! When the R5 was launched I was so impressed that I bought one, December 1973, brand-new, bright orange, 950cc, gear-change is the dashboard.
I've got some shots of them racing at Rufforth somewhere.


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This shot shows the magnificent spectator facilities! Despite that, I loved this little circuit.

#35 elansprint72

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 19:34

Posted Image

#36 elansprint72

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 19:45

Jon Fletcher, following someone (which was unusual). Even then you can see my attention was focused primarily on Elans. ;)

I saw Jon's car at the one-off Aintree Revival thing a few years ago, it looked to be in pretty good nick.
Posted Image

#37 Simon Arron

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 20:03

Originally posted by Phil Rainford
The snow became a lot deeper than that, causing the meeting to be cancelled. Myself and Mr Arron became stranded .....where were the caravans when you needed one?;)

Looking at the angle of the sun and the length of the grass, I reckon Steve's shots are from the Longton & DMC rallycross on Feb 27 1977. I'm sure the cancelled event was on Jan 1.

Phil and I were dropped off by a senior Arron and were due to be collected by Phil's dad - a Carlos Reutemann fan who drove a Morris Marina rather than a Ferrari 312 T2 - in the late afternoon. A lunchtime blizzard brought things to a halt, however, and as mobile phones were some years from invention we had to take shelter where we could.

The Longridge loos were never very warm at the best of times.

#38 Ian Smith - Diz

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 21:18

Originally posted by elansprint72
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Could the 51 car be BARC member Mike Donovan's [note apostrophe in the correct place] Midget, lubrication by Duckhams.


I know it wasn't posted as a question, but a bit of showing off never hurt anybody.

#39 elansprint72

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 22:13

"Could the 51 car be BARC member Mike Donovan's [note apostrophe in the correct place] Midget, lubrication by Duckhams.
I know it wasn't posted as a question, but a bit of showing off never hurt anybody".

OK Mr Smith, now for a really easy one: wtf is this?
Posted Image

As usual I don't know the answer but here are several clues:
He obviously started reading the aerodynamics book but tired after page 1.
When he fitted the front tyres the forecast was dry; then he listened to Red Rose Radio and fitted the rears.
It was bloody quick round Longridge; another shot from this Libre race shows him holding off Chris Meek's Escort and an F5000 car.
He was enjoying himself. :lol:

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#40 HistoricMustang

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 22:43

Originally posted by elansprint72
"Could the 51 car be BARC member Mike Donovan's [note apostrophe in the correct place] Midget, lubrication by Duckhams.
I know it wasn't posted as a question, but a bit of showing off never hurt anybody".

OK Mr Smith, now for a really easy one: wtf is this?
Posted Image

As usual I don't know the answer but here are several clues:
He obviously started reading the aerodynamics book but tired after page 1.
When he fitted the front tyres the forecast was dry; then he listened to Red Rose Radio and fitted the rears.
It was bloody quick round Longridge; another shot from this Libre race shows him holding off Chris Meek's Escort and an F5000 car.
He was enjoying himself. :lol:


Pete,
Horsepower (legal or not legal) overcomes a lot of issues.

I like it!

Henry :wave:

#41 Stephen W

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:43

Originally posted by Simon Arron

Looking at the angle of the sun and the length of the grass, I reckon Steve's shots are from the Longton & DMC rallycross on Feb 27 1977. I'm sure the cancelled event was on Jan 1.


Correcto mundo Mr A - who in their right mind would venture out onto the moors on New Years Day? :drunk:

#42 Mallory Dan

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:34

Originally posted by elansprint72


That's him!!!!!!!


Mr Hot-Clog wasn't he? Hope you 2 young chaps were careful in the Longridge loos, SA and Phil, never know what/who may have been lurking in there! I remember being at MP early March 75 for the FAt and G1 meeting. It p----d it down all day, I took refuge in an empty JPS kiosk, on the exit of Gerrards. Freezing but vaguely dry. Oh and it was the first ever 'proper' FF2000 race...

#43 Ian Smith - Diz

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 14:46

Originally posted by Mallory Dan


Mr Hot-Clog wasn't he? Hope you 2 young chaps were careful in the Longridge loos, SA and Phil, never know what/who may have been lurking in there! I remember being at MP early March 75 for the FAt and G1 meeting. It p----d it down all day, I took refuge in an empty JPS kiosk, on the exit of Gerrards. Freezing but vaguely dry. Oh and it was the first ever 'proper' FF2000 race...

Wasn't the first ever 'proper' FF2000 race held at Oulton?
IMO an invitation class counts as a race for that class. To explain my logic, imagine the organisers merging two races into one. The faster class obviously do the winning and the slower class do the 'making up of numbers bit'. Do you tell the top three in the slower class that their 15 laps of frantic racing, culminating in a 0.12sec blanket finish doesn't count as a race?

Sorry MD but I've taken my grumpy pills today.

#44 elansprint72

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 21:08

Originally posted by elansprint72
"Could the 51 car be BARC member Mike Donovan's [note apostrophe in the correct place] Midget, lubrication by Duckhams.
I know it wasn't posted as a question, but a bit of showing off never hurt anybody".

OK Mr Smith, now for a really easy one: wtf is this?
Posted Image

As usual I don't know the answer but here are several clues:
He obviously started reading the aerodynamics book but tired after page 1.
When he fitted the front tyres the forecast was dry; then he listened to Red Rose Radio and fitted the rears.
It was bloody quick round Longridge; another shot from this Libre race shows him holding off Chris Meek's Escort and an F5000 car.
He was enjoying himself. :lol:


Actually now I do know, because the driver's son has contacted me, sorry I was rude about it. :blush:
Obvious really: it is a Lotus 23B, no wonder it was so nippy.

#45 elansprint72

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 21:10

Chris Meek and unknown (by me, as usual) Capri.

Posted Image

#46 IanG

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 21:26

Originally posted by Simon Arron

Ian

If you happen to be in Asda tomorrow, probe a little deeper into MN and ye shall find some Longridge whimsy... It might divert you until Mrs G reaches the cheese counter.

Cheers,
SA


A nice piece by you in MN Simon. The cheese was great by the way.
Regards, Ian.

#47 elansprint72

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 20:33

By special request, another shot of the Lotus 23B (!), this time in mixed company.

Unfortunately this was a badly -framed shot, there is nothing more on the right.
:blush:
Posted Image

#48 Phil Rainford

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 20:39

Originally posted by elansprint72
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That was the beauty of Longridge ............even if these three cars were the only cars entered in the race, I bet it was a classic!!

Kind regards

Phil

#49 elansprint72

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 20:49

Yeah! Look how close Fletcher's nose is to that big tyre! :rotfl:

#50 MCS

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 21:39

That picture is insane.

I'm grateful I saw racing at Longridge, although I can still recall being regularly bewildered at the time.

(I can now remember why!)