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Famous Vee stories


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#1 Keir

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Posted 04 April 2000 - 23:53

As you may or may not know, ZippyD and I campaigned a Formula Vee in the States.
Ray tells us he has some Vee stories, so
let's see what's out there.
Then I can tell my Amon and Rindt, Vee tales.

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"I Was Born Ready"

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 00:03

Amon and Rindt were already into F2 and F1 before Formula Vee was invented, or at least before it spread out of the USA!
Anyway, I promised a story or two (and Barry has many, I'm sure), so try this one:
One rear-of-field competitors started putting the word around that the front runners were cheating. This was mid-70s, and the fields were very tight.
"They've got direct top gears," he claimed, "that's why we never get near them."
So the day came that the lads had their race at Amaroo Park, and then the cars were checked as they came off the track. Lo and behold, they found one with a direct top gear. The complainant's, which had just finished near the back of the field!

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Life and love are mixed with pain...

#3 Keir

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 01:39

Ray,
Amon and Rindt ran in the Formula Vee race at the mid 60's Nassau Speed Weeks.
Story to folow!!!!!

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"I Was Born Ready"

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 05:20

Do these celebrity races count? I don't count them... but they can be instructive!

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Life and love are mixed with pain...

#5 Keir

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 06:49

Ray,
Celeb races had yet to be invented, these were the real deal, as were the sports car races. No TV, no actors, just racers doing their thing.

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"I Was Born Ready"

#6 Keir

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 07:06

Speaking of helmet origins.
In his Formula Vee days, Niki Lauda spent so much time on his head, that he painted his helmet bright orange, so the marshalls could find him easier.

As for Rindt and Amon, they won the Vee races in consecutive years, I believe 64 & 65. Bruce McLaren was also along for the ride driving an identical car to Chris.
The Kiwis were not impressed with the power, or lack thereof, so the night before the race, some serious tweaking took place.
An amusing aspect of the Vee races was the mandatory pitstop, where the driver had to get out of the car and then back in. Chris proved lightfooted out of the car, as he was heavyfooted in the car. "Great Stuff".

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"I Was Born Ready"

#7 ZippyD

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 23:32

I wonder if there is any movie or video footage of these races? What a blast it must have been!!!!

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"Hugo, have you ever tried Ouzzo?"
"Madame I have tried everything."
"Well last night I had Ouzzo with some Greeks. Allot of Ouzzo."
"And what was you husband doing when all this Greek and Ouzzo business was going on?"
"The same thing he's always doing the night before a race; trying to sleep."

#8 Keir

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 23:39

I believe that ESPN did a "Legends" series
where the Nassau Speed Weeks were profiled, so the video does exist.

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"I Was Born Ready"

#9 ZippyD

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Posted 05 April 2000 - 23:46

Yeah, and we'll be dead and burried before ESPN gets around to showing the tape.

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"Hugo, have you ever tried Ouzzo?"
"Madame I have tried everything."
"Well last night I had Ouzzo with some Greeks. Allot of Ouzzo."
"And what was you husband doing when all this Greek and Ouzzo business was going on?"
"The same thing he's always doing the night before a race; trying to sleep."

#10 Dave Ware

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Posted 06 April 2000 - 22:46

Zippy, I did finally get around to reading your account of your adventure with the FV trailer that lost a wheel. Yes, that was one impressive display of driving. I was in awe just reading it! I'm sure if Stirling or Juan had been there they would have likewise been impressed!!

Dave

#11 ZippyD

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Posted 06 April 2000 - 23:33

Thanks Dave.
Just another day at the office for an under financed racing team. Keir will only give me credit for "Gonzales-like" driving that day not the "Fangio-like" that I think I deserve. Go figure.

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"Hugo, have you ever tried Ouzzo?"
"Madame I have tried everything."
"Well last night I had Ouzzo with some Greeks. Allot of Ouzzo."
"And what was you husband doing when all this Greek and Ouzzo business was going on?"
"The same thing he's always doing the night before a race; trying to sleep."

#12 Keir

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Posted 06 April 2000 - 23:59

I think think you were just trying to impress Susan that day!!!
In thinking back to the event, maybe you were more "Brooks" like.
Gonzales might have over done it!!!
It was a great save!!!!!!

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"I Was Born Ready"

#13 ZippyD

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Posted 07 April 2000 - 05:30

I think I can impress Suz in other ways rather than having the bloody wheel fall off the trailer(wink...wink...nudge...nudge...).
I won't settle for anything less than "Fangio like".

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"Hugo, have you ever tried Ouzzo?"
"Madame I have tried everything."
"Well last night I had Ouzzo with some Greeks. Allot of Ouzzo."
"And what was you husband doing when all this Greek and Ouzzo business was going on?"
"The same thing he's always doing the night before a race; trying to sleep."

#14 ZippyD

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Posted 07 April 2000 - 05:58

Another good story was the time we were going to Bridghampton in Long Island, NY. You have to remember we were towing the Vee with a 1977 Honda Civic. With the stock side mirrors you couldn't see anything but the Vee out the back of the car. Keir and I bought these huge side mirrors from 2 Guys(a Kmart like store) that attached to the fenders of the Civic. These mirrors were about the size of a garage door. They would vibrate like hell but you had a rough idea about what was going on behind you.
Well as we were buzzing along the Long Island expressway at about 6:00 am with little or no traffic on the road I went from the right lane to the left to pass a slower moving vehicle. After passing the car I checked the vibrating mirrors, saw that it was all clear and eased back into the right lane.
About 5 seconds later I see a vehicle driving on the grass to the right of us. This guy was bouncing all over the place on the bumpy dirt. Keir and I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. This guy now starts to yell and shake his fist at us as he tries to get his car onto the shoulder of the road. We figure he's nuts and try to ignore him. Then the flashing lights go on along with the siren. I forgot if he was a state trooper or a local but this guy was pissed. After we pulled our car over this cop almost leaps through the passenger window to get at me. Luckily Keir was kinda in the way as the cops arms were just a little too short to choke me. I tried to explain to the cop that I didn't see him and that I had no intention of killing him. He didn't believe I couldn't see him with the mirrors that were on the car. I tried to explain that they tended to vibrate abit and that could have prevented me from seeing him. At this point he goes over to the passenger side mirror, grabs it by the base and proceeds to move it back and forth about 5 inches. He shakes his head in disbelief, lets out an exasperated breath and says, "You boys sure you can make it to Bridghampton and back without killing anyone?" I assured him I would stay in the right lane as much as possible and try not to run anyone else off the road. He pointed and shook his finger one more time at us and said, "I'm gonna follow you a while. Take it easy and don't kill anyone." I drove at the speed limit in the right lane until the cop pulled away.
I think we had a good race at Bridghampton but don't remember. Keir?

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"Hugo, have you ever tried Ouzzo?"
"Madame I have tried everything."
"Well last night I had Ouzzo with some Greeks. Allot of Ouzzo."
"And what was you husband doing when all this Greek and Ouzzo business was going on?"
"The same thing he's always doing the night before a race; trying to sleep."

[This message has been edited by ZippyD (edited 04-07-2000).]

[This message has been edited by ZippyD (edited 04-07-2000).]

#15 Keir

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Posted 07 April 2000 - 06:09

Ah, The "Bridge",
Great old classic circuit.
That year I took a third place in the rain,
and with slicks on!!!!
I think I only went off course once and that was a bit of brain fade due to me changing down to third, one turn too early!!!
It was one of those "Oh Sh*t" moments.
"And Delaney is off into the dunes, no he's back on and trailing a rooster tail of sand"!!!!!

I still remember that cop's face - not a happy guy!!!

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"I Was Born Ready"

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 April 2000 - 13:33

I have been letting your down, haven't I?
Formula Vee started in Australia in late 1965 after a demonstration of a Formcar Vee at Warwick Farm at the July 25/August 8 meeting that year.
Now, most people are going to wonder about that... simply, the practice day of July 24 led into one of the wettest nights I've ever known, so the meeting was postponed a fortnight.
Greg Cusack, then a VW dealer in Canberra, was the driver of the car, and he just kept on spinning it in Creek Corner - a 180 degree hairpin at the end of the half-mile Hume Straight (which was entered flat as a maggott from Homestead Corner).
He put some money into getting Rennmax builder Bob Britton to design a chassis and body kit, and it was a great car - ultimately dominating NSW Vee racing until the mid-seventies and even longer.
Several of Australia's top drivers began their careers in these cars, called CB Vees originally (Cusack/Burr - Bruce Burr was Greg's mechanic those days), but whenever anyone who owned one wanted anything they were referred to Britto, so they all renamed them Rennmax Vees. Later Bob developed a Mk 2, with more modern details, but it still had to give best to the original.
Vees still run to a formula very close to the 1965 original here, still with the 1200 motor and box... cars doing most of the winning are Elfin New Generation clones, this particular Elfin having been the opposition to the Mk 2 Rennmax and being copied by many over the past quarter century.
Drivers progressing from Vees here include Bob Muir, who went F5000 racing in the States in the early seventies, and John Smith, one of our fastest drivers who didn't go overseas. And Larry Perkins, who graduated to FF and then went chasing rainbows in Europe to become the European F3 Champion.

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Life and love are mixed with pain...

[This message has been edited by Ray Bell (edited 04-07-2000).]

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 April 2000 - 17:49

Some of the strangest things have happened. When Vees were new, they were included with other Racing Cars in mixed races. Do you know just how fast a Brabham BT11a with a good 2.5-litre FPF Climax closes on a Vee?
Fortunately they didn't do this at Bathurst, where the downhill mile-and-an-eighth straight would have been inviting trouble.

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Life and love are mixed with pain...

#18 Keir

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Posted 07 April 2000 - 18:35

Ray,
Now you're talkin'!!!!

FORMULA VEE 4 EVER!!!!

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"I Was Born Ready"

#19 Keir

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 00:37

Reviving this thread as a forum for all you Vee drivers to post pics of your cars.

so, post away!!

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#20 petefenelon

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 13:42

The only British Vee story that comes to mind is that Brian Henton, on winning the British FVee championship, said he'd soon be World Champion..... never one known for his modesty, was Superhen.....;)

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 14:27

Originally posted by petefenelon
The only British Vee story that comes to mind is that Brian Henton, on winning the British FVee championship, said he'd soon be World Champion..... never one known for his modesty, was Superhen.....;)

As I remember it, he said he was going to win the FV championship - and did.
Then he said he would win the FSV championship - and did.
Then he said he'd win the F3 championhip - and did
That certainly impressed me :up:

#22 Keir

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 15:20

There are so many different kinds of Vees out there, it defies description.

When I was racing, in a single series, there were 12 different chassis.

I'd love to see a few pics of them all again!!

#23 Mallory Dan

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 17:54

David, I don't think Superhen won the FSV title did he ?

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 23:45

Originally posted by Keir
There are so many different kinds of Vees out there, it defies description.

When I was racing, in a single series, there were 12 different chassis.

I'd love to see a few pics of them all again!!


I should try to dredge up a pic of the Cee Bee Vee...

That was a nice car from day one, and it remained competitive almost forever. Damon Beck had one or three... he might post a pic of one of his?

Here in Australia we have just had (over the past few years, anyway...) a broadening of the Vee category to include 1600s and the like. I think the original 1200cc cars are being pushed into Historic racing.

There's bound to be someone (Damon again?) who can clarify this for us.

#25 Mac Lark

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 01:52

Chris Amon told me a great story about the Vee race he and Bruce McLaren did - 1965?

Chris had been there a day earlier and had determined one of the chassis' was marginally better than the other but that the inferior chassis had the better engine.

He arranged for a swap and just before the start advised Bruce what he'd done. Chris won handily while 2nd placed Bruce had to defend a swarm of Vee regulars.

In a letter back to his father, Bruce is said to have written : I think we've taught this young Amon a bit too well...

#26 Keir

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 14:23

.........and that story does appear in "Forza Amon" !!

Somewhere on the web, there used to be an article that appeared in Road & Track going over the whole Beach Vee saga including the Nassau race.

#27 MPea3

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 14:49

I only drove my Vee a few times, once at Road Atlanta, in a couple of parking lots checking it out, and on a public road late one night... but that's a different story. It was a nice but old Zink I picked up in the mid-80's with the idea of running some regional races. It had been updated with a small fuel cell in the floorplan just in front of the seat, and additional tubing coming down and forward from the roll cage. How I was EVER so stupid as to buy a car I could barely get in and out of I'll never know, as with my 6-4 240 pound frame, it was about a 3 minute agonizing process. I quickly became known as the "guy wearing the formula vee" to my friends. One day in the garage, one of these so called friends yelled "FIRE!" just after I had settled into place in the little car. I emerged form the vee in about 10 seconds, and my resulting injuries kept me out of work for 2 days. The little vee was sold not too long after that.

#28 Keir

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 14:59

You chose wisely when you bought the Zink, most Vees were not that roomy, maybe the early Caldwell D13's, but after that the "small profile" Vees began to take shape and you were better off if you were of compact dimentions!

#29 Pedro 917

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 18:07

Pedro competed also in the Nassau F Vee race in 1966, driving an ARM Beach? He was 9th. Does someone have a picture?

#30 rosemeyer

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 21:36

Keir here is a start go to photo gallery
I will continue to search.


* Formula Vee Racing Australia

#31 rosemeyer

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 21:49

That didn't work here is one on Formcar




www.vintage-vee.com

#32 rosemeyer

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 21:57

Not having much luck


www.angelfire.com/wi/sccacars

#33 Pedro 917

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 23:37

Two of my friends, Luc De Cock and Tom Calmeyn, competed in the 1976 Benelux Championship for FVees. They both drove a Kaimann. I have plenty of pictures from that year as I witnessed almost every race and will post some. They finished 5th and 7th in the Championship, Luc De Cock winning the opening race at Nivelles. Arie Lyendyk's father (Jaap) tuned their engines. It was a wonderful time and I have very fond memories of that particular season. The camaraderie amongst drivers and mechanics was fabulous.

Luc de Cock at Colmarberg (Luxemburg) :

Posted Image

Tom Calmeyn at Zandvoort :

Posted Image

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 04:08

Originally posted by rosemeyer
* Formula Vee Racing Australia


Is this the one you mean?

http://www.fvee.org....ery/photos.html

There's some good fields in there...

#35 rosemeyer

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 23:53

Thanks Ray that was it

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 00:14

Think practically nothing of it...

The Australian governing body, the CAMS, precluded Vees (along with a few other categories...) from having Australian title events. So the Vee Associations (there's one in each of the eastern states, IIRC) got together and decided to have a "National Challenge" each year.

Initially, these were held at Phillip Island. And they were great events, with representation from most of the five states at each meeting. Slipstreaming galore on the long straights, lots of passing and repassing, and some scientific driving to be in the right place at the right time to slipstream to the lead crossing the finish line.

When Phillip Island closed (1978?) the race began wandering over the countryside... each state took a turn at hosting it, I gather. It was still important to the Vee guys when I last saw it at Lakeside about seven years ago.

So now... anyone got pics of some of the Vee Nationals fields at Phillip Island?

#37 dbw

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 05:44

i never had too much to do with vees other than a run at a PCA autocross...it sure felt like the real thing to me!!!but my story is about one of the local racer/builders here in calif...one day i walked into another friends shop and he was finishing an elaborate fixture of some sort..i couldnt figure it out. he said "stop by ronnies shop later this week and he'll show you. so i did and there was ronnie amid a huge stack of vw single port intake manifolds...he inserted a large ball bearing ball into one end of the manifold,bolted the flange to the fixture and with a hydraulic pump and high pressure hydraulic oil forced the ball all the way thru the manifold tube! there were two piles of manifolds-one with an inside diameter that was perfectly broached by the ball and those that didn't quite make the cut...the best went on his car and the rest were sold to customers on a sliding scale of price=quality of id.... this is what happens in a spec class if you choose not to cheat...he didn't make the manifold id bigger...he just made it real consistant. lots of time and $$$ for the most minute "advantage".

#38 petefenelon

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 11:11

Originally posted by Pedro 917


Luc de Cock at Colmarberg (Luxemburg) :

Posted Image


Doesn't that belong on the "funny sponsors" thread?;)

#39 Pedro 917

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 11:57

I just knew that this was going to pop up!!

When he was driving in Super Vee the next year, there were two races in the UK and of course, he got quite some attention, the speaker even announced his name twice just to be sure everyone got the message...

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#40 Keir

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 14:49

Great pics, as usual!!

The required Vee madness in those fields downunder!! You could have a great dice for 30th place as well as 3rd!!

The Belgian Vee rules must differ a bit from what we use in the States?? We still have the standard V-dub front suspension and with it being quite a large mass of metal, it's great what the racers have done to minimise it!!

Keep those great pics coming!!

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 21:36

I suppose I should tell of the following that Ken Goodwin had...

Ken was a master at preparation, so he naturally did well in the racing. He had one of the aforementionede Cee Bee Vees, but like everyone else he was soon to call it a Rennmax because that's what it was. His was yellow with neat black striping.

Ken was always at the front of the field, and he wasn't as young as some of the others, so they had to conclude he knew what was required mechanically. Everyone carefully looked over his car to see what he tweaked to get the most out of it.

Aware of this, one day Ken turned out with a different exhaust system, and it was a demonstration par excellence of his preparation talents.

He had increased the pipe lengths dramatically, and to fit it all in there were perfect bends takiing those pipes all over the place... under and over and through every available orifice. Superbly made and then neatly chromed in the best Ken Goodwin tradition.

Of course he was a winner that weekend, so by the next time the Vees ran there were long sinuous exhaust pipes on all the top cars...

He'd done it just so others would copy him!

#42 Damon Beck

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 04:09

:wave: I'm baaaaaaaaack!

It's been an interesting 12 months - enough said!

Ken's Rennmax was, as Ray says, superbly prepared and presented. The exhaust system fiddling came about in 1968 - the main copycats were: John Phillips (he'd copy anything!); the Revells; Geoff Grimley; Terry Boom and various others. Peter Finlay only started in Vees at Bathurst Easter '68. I had my pipes chromed by Erol Richardson's dad (at the low budget nil cost) and that was as far as it went. That set of pipes lasted (with minor repairs) until 1973. The first meeting with them was, as I recall, Oran Park around May '68. After winning at Bathurst, Easter I qualified 3rd and reckoned I had a big chance. I had a problem on the grid which saw me wheeled off and having to start from the Marshalling Area. Ray - you'll remember why. I crossed the Start line as the field, led by Terry Quartly, was in the Esses. At the end of the first lap I was 25 seconds behind, in last place. The red mist had descended and I began carving through the field, finishing the ten laps in tenth (of about 22) and under 11 seconds behind the winner, the aforsaid Terry Quartly. I broke the existing lap record most laps, reducing it by a full second from 55.0 to 54.0 - Frank Kleinig said it was an impossible time and couldn't have been done. In the next meeting Ken lowered it to 53.8, an won. Ken's motivation and attention to preparation during the season rewarded him with the State Championship for 1968. Bernie Haehnle, who had been running a Formcar bough it from Ken in early '69 and won that Championship almost as he pleased.

It mightn't rival the Naked City, but there are many stories...........

More later.......... :blush:

#43 eldougo

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 05:45

:cool:

Damon...... It has been a long time i was wondering what had happened to you. :up:

#44 Damon Beck

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 07:09

:wave:
Reminds me of the time........ Catalina Park, January 1969, Robin Good, Neil Revell, Bernie Haehnle, Terry Boom - I have photos of all but Robin G. My trusty pit crew, Lunatic Les, Murray Muddleton. We were all young and foolish. The action continued all weekend. Finlay was about to get married to the lovely Gaye and bunked with us at O'Hara's House of Happy Harlotry. Haven't got a clue where we qualified - somewhere near the pointy end (mightabeen pole). The Katoomba Steam Laundry Formula Vee Australia Day Trophy race was over 15 laps, AIR, and 'twas a fierce competition. But I digress. After qualifying Beck, Les and Murray repaired to the Scenic Skyway's Revolving Restaurant for a capital luncheon and also to discuss strategy for the morrow. Fortunately for us there was fine ale available. The discussions soon became mildly less than coherent by mid afternoon, fuelled with fine ale so, lest we should doze in the Summer Heat, we took the Scenic Railway to the cool of the valley to walk and talk of great deeds to be done on-track on the morrow. As we rounded a substantial fern we were met by a person (male) whom we named Robin Good. His was ready for anything, wearing a steak knife in his fight sock. We knew this weekend was going to be something special.

I have to depart, so post any questions or comments you have. I shall return to the story (hopefully) tomorrow.

Farewell :blush:

#45 lanciaman

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:48

Anytime a gaggle of Vees got through the first turn of the first lap without running into one another, it was a "famous Vee story."

#46 Keir

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 14:32

Reminds me of the second day of the Northeast Nationals at Pocono. The first day saw one of the usual jumpstarting, latebraking, divetotheinsideatthelastsecond starts and the chief stewart wasn't going to have any of it for day two and summoned the entire Vee and F440 fields to further chastice and warn of dire straits if said overdoing occured again!

Me, being uninvolved, as I was only doing day two and paying no mind to the threats, was singled out by the stewart and told that I might just be guilty by association!!

Soooooooooo, there I was at the back of the grid, next to my pal Sam Ryan and as we both had problems in qualifing. At the start, both Sam and I got an early ESP flag and were up to the second row at the green. At the first turn, four Vee's collided and I slid around the inside of the logjam.

My car was like driving a brick through a windstorm and I suffered through a lack of clear aerodynamics, picked up one good tow and finished somewhere out of the top ten!! Oil smeared and weary, but I finished!! Sam had a recurance of engine problems and retired.

The Stewart of the meeting fined the colliding driver's, but Sam and I escaped with our wallets intact!!

#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 22:21

Once at Oran Park the whole field was black flagged...

Do you remember that incident, Damon?

And then, several years later, when there was only one or two drivers who had been in the class when that incident took place, the Clerk of the Course berated the field and told them they should remember that day (or something like that...).

#48 Bonde

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 13:28

After more than 4 years of effort, John Fabiszewski has finally manged to get Formula Vee recognized as an historical CAMS class - check out his website: http://www.historicveeaustralia.com/

#49 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
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Posted 02 February 2005 - 13:43

Does this mean that Bernie Haehnle will start winning again?

And Britto will have to make more chassis?

#50 Keir

Keir
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Posted 02 February 2005 - 14:58

VIVA VEE!!