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Rene Ligonnet Chevron B15


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#1 Giraffe

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:46

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By giraffe138
(Photo courtesy of Kevin (Hodge) Hodgkinson's new book "In the Mind's Eye" & featured on the Chevron Racing website).

Talking to Helen Bashford-Malkie at Donington last weekend, I learned that Chevron are currently undertaking the restoration of Frenchman Rene Ligonnet's F3 Chevron B15 in preparation for the Monaco Classic next year.
From what Helen tells me, he sounds like a real character, Formula 3 & Le Mans racer, ex- Foreign Legion and professional bullfighter! Possibly as many as three ex-wives and a 6 year old daughter whilst in his mid-70's, allegedly........ A story that seems to sum the chap up related to me by Helen, is that he once put the car off-track during a rather hectic race, and tumbled it down a hillside, eventually coming to rest wedged on it's side against a tree. The story goes that his rescuers found Rene still in the cockpit but clutching a flower that he had picked, apparently espousing "Life is Sweet"!!!.....
I have asked Helen if I can photograph the restoration as it progresses upto Monaco where Rene intends to bring his life story full-circle. I have completed my due diligence with a search, but there is relatively little about Rene on TNF; Steve Wilkinson posted a pic of him some time ago in a F3 Brabham during 1968, and there are a few credits here and there, but that's about it. Can anyone add anything to the story of this colourful character?

Edited by Giraffe, 13 May 2009 - 08:56.


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#2 Giraffe

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 16:13

http://www.formula2.net/F370_E14.htm

In researching the results of the 1970 Monaco F3 race on the Bev Bond thread in response to a query from historic F1 & F3 pilot, Marcus Mussa, I discovered that Rene Ligonnet had finished in a respectable 19th place in what can only be described as a stellar field. Bev at 70 years of age is hopeful of returning to the historic 1 litre formula after 35 years away from the sport, and is planning on being on the grid at Monaco next year alongside Rene Ligonnet who is also plotting a return. (Bev finished in third place there in 1970). I wonder how many other drivers from that incredible field are hoping to also make a nostalgic return to the Principality? I for one am hopeful of being there to witness the return of the 1 litre screamers!!! :up:

#3 Cirrus

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 18:22

I love 1 Litre F3 cars, and it's good to see that there are now enough of them to fill a grid at Monaco. Looking at the 1970 entry list, it certainly was a stellar field. One name that stood out for me (although he was a dna) was that of Ole Veijlund. He has been racing since the mid-sixties, and is still competitive in his FF2000 Reynard in the German Classic Formula Ford series, and a very nice guy as well.

It's a shame that the tyres they have to run on these days are so much smaller than they were in period. By the end of the formula, the cars has 10" wide, 22" diameter fronts, and 12" wide, 23" diameter rears - they just don't look right on small diameter tyres.

#4 ducatiracer

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 15:30

RENE "LE UNIQUE" LIGONNET.BORN PARIS 1937.
AFTER BEING EDUCATED AT COCKERMOUTH IN THE U/K,HE WAS CALLED UP FOR NATIONAL SERVICE WHILST IN ENGLAND TO ORIGINALLY JOIN THE W.R.E.N.S , MISTAKENLY TAKEN FOR A FEMALE.
ON RETURNING TO FRANCE HE JOINED THE PARATROOP DIVISION AS AN OFFICER IN THE LEGION.WHEN DEMOBBED HE TOOK UP ENDURANCE RACING IN RENAULT GORDINI,S
HE TOOK TO F3 MAINLY IN FRANCE IN ITS INFANCY , COMPETING ALONG WITH JASSAULD.PESCAROLO.CEVERT ET AL.ETC.
I BUILT HIS CHEVRON B15F3 CAR (F3.69.3) IN 1969 CONTESTING HIS 1st race IN THE U/K AT SNETTERTON WHEN HE RAN OUT OF FUEL.
THE CAR WAS THEN TAKEN BACK TO FRANCE WHERE HE RACED MAINLY IN HIS NATIVE COUNTRY.
UNFORTUNATELY THE 1st CHASSIS WAS WRITTEN OFF AFTER A COMING TOGETHER WITH THE LATE BERT HAWTHORNE SHORTLY AFTER MONACO IN 1969.
A 2nd CHASSIS WAS OBTAINED FROM BOLTON SOON AFTER.
HE RACED THE CAR IN 1970, MOSTLY AGAIN IN FRANCE AND ALSO IN THE MONZA LOTTERY (SETTING FASTEST LAP AT ONE OF THE EVENTS)
THE CAR WAS PUT AWAY AT THE END OF 1970 TO CONCENTRATE AGAIN ON ENDURANCE RACING.
BEST RESULT BEING A CLASS WIN AT LE-MANS IN 1972 CO DRIVING A LOLA F.V.C.WITH BARRIE SMITH,SPONSORED BY KODAK (FRANCE)
AS HELEN SAYS LIKE MANY OTHER CHARACTERS OF THAT PERIOD (MYSELF INCLUDED)HE SHOULD WRITE A BOOK.
HE ALSO TOOK UP FLYING & WORKED FOR "AIR FRANCE"ON LONG HAUL FLIGHTS TO THE FAR EAST WHERE HE MET HIS 3rd WIFE AN AIR STEWARDESS FROM VIETNAM.
HE ALSO HAS BEEN A FISHERMAN IN SPAIN & ENJOYS SCUBA DIVING TO THIS DAY.
WE RE-CONNECTED WHILST I WAS WRITING MY CHEVRON BOOK SOME 40 YEARS LATER.
AFTER FLYING OVER TO SEE ME LAST YEAR THE "MONACO" PROJECT BEGAN.
HOPEFULLY THE CAR WILL BE FINISHED FOR "BRANDS" IN JULY,THEN THE GOLD CUP AT OULTON.

ALL THIS IN PREPERATION FOR THE MONACO HISTORIC NEXT YEAR.
JUST 2 OLD TIMERS TRYING TO RELIVE THEIR YOUTH WHEN IT WAS ALL WINE,WOMEN & ROSEJOINTS
P.S. OLD AGE PENSIONS THESE DAYS DON'T GO FAR,ANY FINANCIAL HELP WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED!