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Mike Keens


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#1 Big gee

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:16

Hello, i am trying to find some pictures of Mike Keens, i think he used to be my boss back in the early 80's, the Mike Keens i used to work for had a haulage company called Keens, and i remember he was into motor racing and somone said he used to be a racing driver.
I have done a search and it says he drove a ford Tecno at the Guards Trophy at Brands in September 1969.

Can anyone help please.

Many thanks, Gary.

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#2 Giraffe

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 16:25

Well no pick of Mike Keens, but here is a pic I took of his Tecno-Lucas 69 at the Oulton Park British Empire Trophy meeting in May, 1970.
Entered by W.Keens Ltd., Mike finished a highly creditable 6th in his beautifully prepared and quite rare in the UK Tecno, behind Bev Bond, James Hunt, Tony Trimmer, Carlos Pace and Richard Scott, and a place ahead of 7th finishing David Purley.

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By giraffe138

#3 super beaver

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 16:36

Hi Big Gee! Can't help with info on mike currently,but I was his mechanic in "69"/"70" and prepared the Tecno that Giraffe has posted. If I can tell you some "history" please ask!!

#4 neville mackay

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 19:06

I have a vague recollection of Mike Keens - presumably together with his Tecno - ending up in the startline grandstand at Brands circa 1970. Now that would be an interesting tale to hear about!

#5 neville mackay

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 19:17

And now the serious question. Can anysone explain why the Tecno - which was so successful in Europe in the hands of drivers like Ronnie Peterson, Jean Pierre Jaussaud and Francois Mazet - was so unpopular in England? Was it because of the strength of domestic companies such as Chevron and Brabham? Was it because of the hassle and expense of dealing with the factory in Bologna? Or did the handling characteristics of the short wheelbase chassis not suit British style circuits?

#6 Giraffe

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 21:56

Mike Keens was a perfectly adequate driver; consistent and skillful but no more than that, and yet his lovely Tecno propelled him to the sharp end of the 1 litre screamer F3 fields.
That nobody cottened on is unbelieveable considering the success the company enjoyed in Europe. Maybe Mike as a haulier had Italian connections and had less of a problem dealing with the Bologna based company than most would be equipped to do so?

#7 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 10:36

I think I remember Mike Keens for his shoulder length hair which seemed a bit extreme even by the standards of the time? And didn't he have a fairly hefty roll-over accident at Zandvoort, from which he emerged with apparently little worse than a shaking - only to feel progressively worse as the evening wore on back at his hotel. Eventually I think Andy Marriott and some of the other F3 circus of the time carted him off to hospital, where he was found to have sustained a ruptured spleen, and was in fact in quite a bad way. He survived, but it must have been a frightening experience. Unless, of course, that chap wasn't Mike Keens at all and my memory is muddled...

DCN

#8 Charles E Taylor

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 13:09

Mike Keens


Mikes father, Laurie was a racer from the late 50’s onwards. He ran a bulk haulage company.

Some detail can be found here.
http://forums.autosp...360#post3294360


Mike competed in F3 with Brabhams and the Tecno mentioned above.

These cars ware prepared by Auto-Speed Developments a small preparation company run by Roger Coltham based in Ashford, Kent.

Roger prepared quite a few 1000cc F3’s, Mostly British based but lots of continental visitors stopped by his shop on their way to and from Dover.

The company went on to become Lenham-Hurst Racing.



Oh, for something like the variety and competition from this era now!!!!. Real Racing.







Charlie.

#9 Giraffe

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 14:51

Posted Image
By giraffe138

Posted ImageBy giraffe138

When I took the photo of Mike Keen's W.Keens entered Tecno 69 at Oulton in 1970, Lenham-Hurst Racing were already well established, and entered cars at the same meeting, a Brabham BT28 for John Gillmeister(pictured here) and co-incidentally the only other Tecno on the entry list, another T69 for Hardy Hoheisel purportedly in company maroon and gold.(Hardy & the Tecno were a no-show). Now super beaver says that he was Mike's mechanic and prepared the Tecno, so it begs the question did super beaver work for Lenham Hurst?

Off topic, in the background of the pic featuring the Brabham being loaded is Marshal Ron Cantor whom I knew well at the time, and who introduced TNF'r Ian Smith-Diz to the sport; he was Assistant Chief Paddock Marshal at the last ever meeting in the Aintree Grand Prix Circuit, the Aintree 200 when Ian made his marshalling debut. Not only that, Ian informed me at the last TNF Northern meeting that Ron is still marshalling to this day!!!!

#10 super beaver

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 22:03

So many questions,---so little time!! A great pleasure to hear from so many fans of real racing--when sex was safe and racing dangerous!!!
Roger Coltham was the original force behind Auto speed Devs. and it eventually turned into Lenham-Hurst Racing. Roger had made several connections with the Continental brigade when he and Mike Keens raced in Europe, and consequently he became a base for some of the quicker Europeans that came to the U.K. for the occassional race. Notable amonst this lot was Francois Migault. J.P.Jarier,L.Noghes, and Fabrizio Noe.John Gillmeister also ran his BT28 from the L-H site in Harrietsham Kent. John and I joined forces in 1972 to form Glassfibre Mouldings and we made ALL sorts of bodywork for the sport most notably the March F2/3 for 73/74.John G. eventually went back to OZ in about1980.
As regards Mike's big startline accident I remember it very well as we had just finished rebuilding his car the night before and as Mike had qualified 6th with no shake down or testing ,I was well pleased!
As the flag dropped, (remember they used to do that!) Mike dropped the clutch and took off like the proverbial unfortunately quicker than the guy in front of him. The Tecno climbed the rear wheels of the car in front and suddenly the car became a rocket---a vertical rocket! It twisted over in mid air and descended on the roll bar. Unfortunately Mike's arm was flung out during the missile launch and got caught betwwen the roll bar and the road.
When the dust settled, I really feared the worst. His arm was broken but fortunately not badly.Mike's good luck I feel was largely due to the Tecno chassis which was VERY strong. Apart from scrapes on the bodywork ,I think we replaced one tube in the chassis and that was it.
We rebuilt the car and eventually we took it to Brazil with about 20 other F3's to race against the best from South America ----But as they say ----That is another story!

#11 F3Wrench

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 14:44

And in reply to Neville's question regarding the lack of Tecnos with British drivers...

I was once at the Paul Ricard circuit in Toulon (1970 I think..) and the late great Dave Walker got a ride in a Tecno during an unofficial practice to see how it compared with his Lotus. Dave was superb at setting up cars to get the very best out of them to suit different circuits (he had already tuned the chassis of Andy Sutcliffe's Lotus at Snetterton to improve it beyond belief), and he did like to have a go in every car he could; this was probably why he was so consistently quick, he knew what the opposition was like.

I think the Tecno belonged to Jaussaud or possibly Francois Migault, and after about 5 laps Dave came back into the pits shaking his head and said in his frank Aussie way "It's like a bl**dy go-kart, for the first couple of laps I changed lock fifteen times through the first corner!" My impression was that they were undoubtedly very twitchy (like a go-kart!) but at the same time quite predictable, and once you had got used to its handling were one of the fastest on the track, especially the tight ones. It also might have been a problem as you say about dealing with the Italian manufacturer, and as an aside, I never saw one do very well in the wet!

As Al Hebb will testify, Mike Keens did pretty well in Brazil as I recall and was up there with the best of them; mind you, I think he might have been distracted by the attention his very pretty wife was getting from the boss of the sponsoring TV company out there ;-) ....

#12 Big gee

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 17:54

Thanks everyone for all the replys on this, it is the same person confirmed by the mention of his farther Laurie and the company name W Keens, Mike took over the company from his farther, i remember Laurie used to sit out in the back office, i would love to get in touch with Mike and chat about old times, he was a real nice bloke to work for.
I hope he gets to here about all this talk about him and gets in touch.
Someone said about his hair being long, but when i knew him his hair was immaculate he was allways dressed very smart and allways wore a suit,( except on saturdays ) :lol: and he had a mustach.

Here is a picture of one of Mike's trucks from the 70's/80's notice the colour's are nearly the same as the picture of his car at the top of the post with the green and the orange.
Posted Image

Thanks again, Gary.

#13 Big gee

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 18:23

Still no word on Mike, the trail seems to have gone cold, does anyone know where he is these days.

Allen (super beaver) i sent you a PM, but i don't think you have red it yet.

#14 Big gee

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 18:39

Just bringing this back to the front again, still no word on Mike :confused:

#15 Alan Cox

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:47

Originally posted by F3Wrench
I was once at the Paul Ricard circuit in Toulon (1970 I think..) and the late great Dave Walker got a ride in a Tecno during an unofficial practice to see how it compared with his Lotus.


To quote the esteemed Roger Clark, "Are you sure?" I assumed that he is still with us, and running a boat charter business in Australia. Or have I missed something?

#16 Giraffe

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 09:47

Originally posted by Alan Cox

To quote the esteemed Roger Clark, "Are you sure?" I assumed that he is still with us, and running a boat charter business in Australia. Or have I missed something?


Yes, I thought that Dave was still alive and well, but I didn't like to say anything just incase I was tempting fate! :
IIRC, the biggest accident of Dave's career that nearly did for him and curtailed his driving career was coming out of the GRD factory gates in his BMW.........

#17 igfpennine

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 15:46

Hi Big Gee! Can't help with info on mike currently,but I was his mechanic in "69"/"70" and prepared the Tecno that Giraffe has posted. If I can tell you some "history" please ask!!

Hi Big Gee do you have any info on Mike Keeens Brabham bt21b ?


#18 Giraffe

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:50

Well no pick of Mike Keens, but here is a pic I took of his Tecno-Lucas 69 at the Oulton Park British Empire Trophy meeting in May, 1970.
Entered by W.Keens Ltd., Mike finished a highly creditable 6th in his beautifully prepared and quite rare in the UK Tecno, behind Bev Bond, James Hunt, Tony Trimmer, Carlos Pace and Richard Scott, and a place ahead of 7th finishing David Purley.


I'm reposting the photo of Mike's Tecno as I have received an e-mail from Howden Ganley who spotted this thread........

Posted Image
By giraffe138 at 2011-09-14

I just noticed that the Mike Keens thread has popped up again on TNF.

He was actually very good in F3 screamer days. Very nice bloke . Raced a BT21
Brabham for a time. He transported it on one of those VW flat beds with small
extensions to cope with the length of the race car.
He was a strong contender , and someone who could race seriously. Had long dark
hair ( didn't we all ? ) in those days and wore glasses ( I think ) I wonder where he is
now .


Howden


#19 Giraffe

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:46

An addendum to an e-mail from Howden....

I noted your post about Mike Keens - so what became of him ?

Howden




We seem to be no nearer to tracking Mike down........

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#20 richie

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 21:58

Thanks everyone for all the replys on this, it is the same person confirmed by the mention of his farther Laurie and the company name W Keens, Mike took over the company from his farther, i remember Laurie used to sit out in the back office, i would love to get in touch with Mike and chat about old times, he was a real nice bloke to work for.
I hope he gets to here about all this talk about him and gets in touch.
Someone said about his hair being long, but when i knew him his hair was immaculate he was allways dressed very smart and allways wore a suit,( except on saturdays ) :lol: and he had a mustach.

Here is a picture of one of Mike's trucks from the 70's/80's notice the colour's are nearly the same as the picture of his car at the top of the post with the green and the orange.
Posted Image

Thanks again, Gary.



I've been doing some research- does he have a middle name & what age would you put him at? His company was operating out of Ilford & Barking- any where else?

Edited by richie, 19 September 2011 - 22:00.


#21 richie

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 22:10

So many questions,---so little time!! A great pleasure to hear from so many fans of real racing--when sex was safe and racing dangerous!!!
Roger Coltham was the original force behind Auto speed Devs. and it eventually turned into Lenham-Hurst Racing. Roger had made several connections with the Continental brigade when he and Mike Keens raced in Europe, and consequently he became a base for some of the quicker Europeans that came to the U.K. for the occassional race. Notable amonst this lot was Francois Migault. J.P.Jarier,L.Noghes, and Fabrizio Noe.John Gillmeister also ran his BT28 from the L-H site in Harrietsham Kent. John and I joined forces in 1972 to form Glassfibre Mouldings and we made ALL sorts of bodywork for the sport most notably the March F2/3 for 73/74.John G. eventually went back to OZ in about1980.
As regards Mike's big startline accident I remember it very well as we had just finished rebuilding his car the night before and as Mike had qualified 6th with no shake down or testing ,I was well pleased!
As the flag dropped, (remember they used to do that!) Mike dropped the clutch and took off like the proverbial unfortunately quicker than the guy in front of him. The Tecno climbed the rear wheels of the car in front and suddenly the car became a rocket---a vertical rocket! It twisted over in mid air and descended on the roll bar. Unfortunately Mike's arm was flung out during the missile launch and got caught betwwen the roll bar and the road.
When the dust settled, I really feared the worst. His arm was broken but fortunately not badly.Mike's good luck I feel was largely due to the Tecno chassis which was VERY strong. Apart from scrapes on the bodywork ,I think we replaced one tube in the chassis and that was it.
We rebuilt the car and eventually we took it to Brazil with about 20 other F3's to race against the best from South America ----But as they say ----That is another story!


Graham Goodman also raced a Techo, 67 under Auto- Speed Developments