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Formula Ford Festival memories


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#1 Ian Smith - Diz

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 19:01

Mr Disc, your wish is my command.

Since the festival is remembered fondly by so many of us can we have a stand alone thread? I think it would be fitting if Ian Smith -Diz started it off.


Please confine your posts as below:
Proper Kent engined FF1600, not those pesky Zetec and Duratec things from the early 90s' onwards.

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#2 paulsenna1

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 19:21

The winners up to 2000...

1972 United Kingdom Ian Taylor
1973 United Kingdom Donald Macleod
1974 United Kingdom Richard Morgan
1975 United Kingdom Geoff Lees
1976 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly
1977 Brazil Chico Serra
1978 Republic of Ireland Michael Roe
1979 United Kingdom Donald Macleod
1980 Brazil Roberto Moreno
1981 Republic of Ireland Tommy Byrne
1982 United Kingdom Julian Bailey
1983 United Kingdom Andrew Gilbert-Scott
1984 Netherlands Gerrit van Kouwen
1985 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert
1986 Austria Roland Ratzenberger
1987 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine
1988 Italy Vincenzo Sospiri
1989 Brazil Niko Palhares
1990 United Kingdom Dave Coyne
1991 Belgium Marc Goossens
1992 Denmark Jan Magnussen
1993 Australia Russell Ingall
1994 Denmark Jason Watt
1995 United Kingdom Kevin McGarrity
1996 Australia Mark Webber
1997 Netherlands Jacky van der Ende
1998 United Kingdom Jenson Button
1999 Netherlands Ricardo van der Ende
2000 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson

Some went on to great success with the latest being Button winning the WDC. Others perhaps less so, with many 'if only...' stories. My favourites were Moreno, Byrne and Herbert.

#3 Giraffe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 19:22

I do think that Johnny Herbert's victory in 1985 in the Quest was quite astonishing, considering he took the back of the car off on the second lap of qualifying! After a rebuild and 3 laps in another session to qualify, a heat with a 10 second penalty in which he finished 6th, 4th place in the quarter final, second in the semi and then a flag to flag victory in the final! One of the most impressive of Festival wins. :up:

#4 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 19:26

Don't forget the first four Festivals were held at the home of Formula Ford, Snetterton ( despite what Brands might think! ) The 1988 final was the greatest of all.

#5 alansart

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 19:43

My photos from:

1984: http://www.alanraine...tival_1984.html

1985: http://www.alanraine...tival_1985.html

1986: http://www.alanraine...tival_1986.html

...and yes I know some are in the wrong year :)



#6 Simon Arron

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 19:58

I suspect, Ian, that you are about to trigger an avalanche of photos from Rainford P...

As a cub reporter, the thing I most used to enjoy about the Festival was that you didn’t have to trawl the circuit’s grimiest nooks looking for drivers. If you loitered in the Paddock Hill grandstand, they would all eventually come to you because they were just as keen to watch as everybody else. I used to appreciate the fact that Van Diemen, Royale et al would traditionally unveil the following year’s cars there, too, complete with outlandish claims about reduced weight, superior torsional stiffness, better suspension geometry and improved aerodynamics etc etc. Had any of that been accurate, a Formula Ford car would by now theoretically be capable of lapping Brands Hatch Indy in about 14 seconds…

There was always something special about heading south along the A20 on a crisp, autumnal morning, knowing the Festival was within reach. At one stage during the mid 1980s, this was usually preceded by tripping over Messrs Cox and Rainford, who could often be found on my living room floor at Festival time.

The ’86 weekend was memorable, because we got up at stupid o’clock to watch Nigel Mansell’s left-rear Goodyear explode, then consumed coffee and Weetabix before heading to Brands to watch Roland Ratzenberger fend off Philippe Favre. I enjoyed ’88, because I’d put Vincenzo Sospiri’s manager in touch with John Village the previous winter and so played an unwitting part in his subsequent success. And ’90 was great because Dave Coyne deserved to win at least one Festival. Five years later, at Hockenheim, I was sitting next to Jean-Christophe Boullion at a Sauber dinner and asked him about his Festival memories. He thumped the table and proceeded to explain why he thought Dave Coyne was a complete bastard because his defensive technique was far too ferocious…

My favourite, though, is probably 1982, simply because it was the first Festival I covered and I haven’t been to many better race meetings since.

Edited by Simon Arron, 22 October 2009 - 19:59.


#7 alansart

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 20:01

The ’86 weekend was memorable, because we got up at stupid o’clock to watch Nigel Mansell’s left-rear Goodyear explode, then consumed coffee and Weetabix before heading to Brands.



We had a TV in the Caravan in the Paddock :)

#8 Mallory Dan

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:33

SA, how come Sospiri had a 'Manager' in 1988? Thats when the rot set in then...

#9 petestenning

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:54

As Andrew said the first Festivals were at Snetterton on the original long circuit and they were all superb events i saw them all.

Maybe not got to the stage of the Irish invasions at that time but, which allways made the Brands events so enjoyable. Along with the at the time little known foriegn drivers many of who went on to drive sports cars .

Herbert s drive was a real fairy tale and as a marshall i was counting the cars in front of him every race willing him to the next stage. A trully deserving winner .


Pete

#10 Thundersport

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 13:10

1990 Coyne holding off Palhares for most the race in a car clearly not the quickest down the Brabham straight, every lap from where I was viewing from (the balcony on the timekeepers box) Palhares nosecone was tapping Coyne's rear wheel/gearbox! 1988 springs to mind with the "jump" start due to the sun, it was Higgins and???

#11 alansart

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 13:19

Julian Bailey and Maurizio Gugelmin in 1982 -

Betrand Gatchots huge shunt coming into Paddock (1986?). Brendan McFarlane has a good sequence of photos of it. Hopefully he'll post them if he ever comes back on here.

Most of all. The build up to the final. Slowly the atmosphere got more intense as the meetings went on. Fabulous :)

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 13:44

Betrand Gatchots huge shunt coming into Paddock (1986?).

That's certainly my most vivid Festival memory. I was on the bank at Paddock as he flew by me almost at eye-level - upside down :drunk:
My other memory, as mentioned already by many others, was the fantastic Johnny Herbert performance of 1985 :up:

Edited by David McKinney, 23 October 2009 - 13:45.


#13 Alan Cox

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 15:00

Betrand Gatchots huge shunt coming into Paddock (1986?). Brendan McFarlane has a good sequence of photos of it. Hopefully he'll post them if he ever comes back on here.

The aforementioned Rainford P also has a photo of Gachot bouncing along on his roll-over hoop, a copy of which I have (in case he has lost his own negative).

#14 Phil Rainford

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 17:38

Where to begin? :)

While I collect my thoughts here is a shot of Johnny Herbert on his epic drive from the back of the grid in his heat to the top step of the rostrum.....

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....while here is the Gachot shot. As I had no motordrive on my camera so I had one chance to frame an image. As the accident virtually started in Dover and ended at the bottom of Paddock Bend I should claim it was natural talent that ensured I was able to take this shot

But it was pure luck :blush:

Posted Image


PAR

#15 Simon Arron

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 19:13

Your geography was always suspect. It started in Lewisham and ended up in Dover...

#16 David Beard

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 19:23

....while here is the Gachot shot. As I had no motordrive on my camera so I had one chance to frame an image. As the accident virtually started in Dover and ended at the bottom of Paddock Bend I should claim it was natural talent that ensured I was able to take this shot

But it was pure luck :blush:

Posted Image


PAR


Luck or not...that's pretty good, Phil!



#17 alansart

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 20:27

Your geography was always suspect. It started in Lewisham and ended up in Dover...


I seem to remember a quote from Keke Rosberg after testing a Williams at Brands. "If I have a problem at Paddock in this car I'll end up in bloody Dartford"

Edited by alansart, 23 October 2009 - 20:27.


#18 Ian Smith - Diz

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 23:25

....while here is the Gachot shot. As I had no motordrive on my camera so I had one chance to frame an image. As the accident virtually started in Dover and ended at the bottom of Paddock Bend I should claim it was natural talent that ensured I was able to take this shot

Posted Image

PAR

I was told many years later, by a Brands person, that as Bert careered past the Grandstand into Paddock and beyond to wherever - Philip and Simon, stop squabbling and play nicely - the earth moved for a lot of people. Well if not the earth, at least the old scaffold pole mounted stand did as x thousand racegoers stood up and leaned forward to see what was happening. It was like the "big sway" in the old Kop when Liverpool scored yet another great goal [that's another topic that is rapidly becoming a thing of nostalgia]. :(
I was told that the whole structure moved forward about 18 inches. There but for the grace of God and all that.

This TNFr was in that stand - as he has been for all but two of the Brands Festivals. I'm just about to lookover my left shoulder at signed print 263 / 300 of Andrew Kitson's 2001 25 years of the Formula Ford Festival painting. It takes pride of place on my office wall and never a day goes by without me being reminded of "the Festival"


#19 Simon Hadfield

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 10:13

Some random recollections; the fantastic sense of anticipation as the season wound down and the event approached, the gathering of the great and good - seemingly all the F3 paddock was there and a fair amount of the F2 (F3000 whatever) and F1 as well. The people watching - seeing Jacky Ickx walk past deep in conversation with a very youthfull Thierry Boutsen. Getting personal tuition from Ross Cheever on wet and dry lines - and then in line to progress to the next round (in a Lotus 61) when taken out by an out of control Matt Aitken (twonk!). Standing with Marcus Pye as we watched Jenson ease Dan Weldon aside to win (and as an aside to then watch Jenson win the World Championship from a hotel room in Reims simply confirmed what we thought that afternoon).Going in 92 in the absolute certainty of seeing a Magnussen win (how did he never find the comfort zone in F1?)
The Festival represented all that was good in motorsport - sadly cocked up by the increasing number of one make bore-athons and the attendant self importance of the various promoters/sponsors.

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#20 Thundersport

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 10:28

Agree with Simon; Magnusson was the best Formula Ford driver I have seen in the last 25 years. The old scaffold Paddock Hill grandstand was fairly scary and I remember it "rocking" at Festival time with all the Irish at the back leaping around etc.......

#21 brakedisc

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 11:44

"The old scaffold Paddock Hill grandstand was fairly scary and I remember it "rocking" at Festival time with all the Irish at the back leaping around etc......."

Could that be down to certain teams nicking poles from the grandstand to make a temporary awning? :blush:




#22 Phil Rainford

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 13:38

Agree with Simon; Magnusson was the best Formula Ford driver I have seen in the last 25 years. The old scaffold Paddock Hill grandstand was fairly scary and I remember it "rocking" at Festival time with all the Irish at the back leaping around etc.......


This shot of a BBC FF2000 support race shows how full the Grandstand was at Festival time.....

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.....while another memory is when Bob Berridge managed to qualify for the Final in this Lotus :eek:

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I remember watching one of the races he was in from the inside of Paddock and while all the other cars would disappear out of sight as they plunged down the hill Bob’s head would remain in sight to give the illusion that he was driving around on his own……rather than being surrounded by a pack of squabbling FF1600s :)


PAR


#23 Thundersport

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 13:49

The first pic looks like it wasn't taken from where the base of the old scaffolding stand was.

#24 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 14:08

1988 springs to mind with the "jump" start due to the sun, it was Higgins and???

Jose Cordova


#25 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 14:14

I was told many years later, by a Brands person, that as Bert careered past the Grandstand into Paddock and beyond to wherever - Philip and Simon, stop squabbling and play nicely - the earth moved for a lot of people. Well if not the earth, at least the old scaffold pole mounted stand did as x thousand racegoers stood up and leaned forward to see what was happening. It was like the "big sway" in the old Kop when Liverpool scored yet another great goal [that's another topic that is rapidly becoming a thing of nostalgia]. :(
I was told that the whole structure moved forward about 18 inches. There but for the grace of God and all that.

This TNFr was in that stand - as he has been for all but two of the Brands Festivals. I'm just about to lookover my left shoulder at signed print 263 / 300 of Andrew Kitson's 2001 25 years of the Formula Ford Festival painting. It takes pride of place on my office wall and never a day goes by without me being reminded of "the Festival"


Thanks Diz! I too was in that stand that day and recall it 'rocking' on several occasions, but only at the Festivals. The rocking motion didn't help the hangover from the night before in the Kentagon! It was a pretty important meeting in those days, everyone in the business seemed to be there. With the BRDC Silverstone finals on the GP circuit usually pretty close to the festival aswell, a great
end to the season and brilliant racing.


#26 alansart

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 14:33

I think this may be the "rocking" grandstand.

Posted Image




#27 Phil Rainford

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 14:40

Thanks Diz! I too was in that stand that day and recall it 'rocking' on several occasions, but only at the Festivals. The rocking motion didn't help the hangover from the night before in the Kentagon! It was a pretty important meeting in those days, everyone in the business seemed to be there. With the BRDC Silverstone finals on the GP circuit usually pretty close to the festival aswell, a great
end to the season and brilliant racing.


One year Mr Arron and I managed to get on the roof of either the grandstand or press box.....

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....as this shot illustrates. The assembled press (Including Mr and Mrs Boothroyd) are about to scatter :eek:

I stood on the same bank at Paddock taking pictures in untimed warm up at the British GP in 1986. ....incredible.

However looking at the run off and protection for photographers and marshalls might think again now if I went back in time :)

PAR


#28 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 14:46

Everyone stood up in that stand at the start of each race or if there were incidents, which there were aplenty. A couple of shots from the back in 1983.

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#29 Thundersport

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 16:10

Alan yes that is the swaying structure......

#30 MCS

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 16:19

.....while another memory is when Bob Berridge managed to qualify for the Final in this Lotus :eek:
PAR


Was this the famed ex-Peter Harrington Lotus, I wonder?

(If that is indeed the case, then I'm not actually surprised).

Edited by MCS, 26 October 2009 - 16:20.


#31 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:55

Some more from the '83 Festival.

Winner Andrew Gilbert-Scott. He used a Lola all season but switched to a Reynard for the Festival.
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Here Andrew leads one of the races.
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Mauricio Sandro-Sala, Andy Middlehurst, John Pratt and Ross Cheever lead away - one of the quarter finals I think.
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Stand view through paddock
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The skid marks lead to future DTM star Manuel Reuter's crashed Abbey Farm Racing Royale.
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FF2000s at paddock
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The Kentagon - scene of the evenings entertainment, always a long night with it being dark so early!
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One of the reasons it is not so good today. Plenty of room for another 2 cars on the front row of this 2001 grid, one of the heats. Acres of space between them. Any wonder the racing is not as close?
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#32 alansart

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 10:35

Mauricio Sandro-Sala, Andy Middlehurst, John Pratt and Ross Cheever lead away - one of the quarter finals I think.
Posted Image


IIRC Sandro-Sala and Ross Cheever had a big coming together and ended up in the wall at Paddock.


#33 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 10:39

Yes they did, in the semi-final I think. Actually that might not be Middlehurst, although he was in the event. Thinking now it might be Antonio Albacete in the RF83. That's Paul Sleeman back in 7th, did wonders in his old Jamun (?). Another competitor that year in a Marlboro of Spain sponsored RF83 was future rally star Carlos Sainz.

Edited by Andrew Kitson, 27 October 2009 - 10:40.


#34 Mallory Dan

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 10:59

Agree re Sleeman, Andy, he was always quick in old cars. Wasn't he of Canadian origin?

#35 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:22

You could be right Dan.

Irishman Fionn Murray finished 2nd in 1990 in his works Fulmar Reynard. Poor Fionn, a lovely fellow, he was killed a few years ago in a flying accident, nice to hear his daughter Sascha has taken up karting.

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Here Fionn gets ready to race. The mechanic nearest is Colin Gigner who has looked after the title winning Classic FF2000 Van Diemen RF83 of Andy Huxtable in recent years and also Neil Fowler's historic FF2000 Reynard SF79 this year. The mechanic holding the Pepsi can is Bruce Russell. He's worked for everyone! Trevor van Rooyen 'Auriga' tuned motors in the Fulmar cars at this time. Trevor himself finished 3rd in the 1977 Festival, from winner Chico Serra and David Leslie. Bedford based SDC builders tended to follow their good friend Trevor around, sponsoring cars he was involved with, and Trevor built the famous engine 'Patch' in '77.

Posted Image

Edited by Andrew Kitson, 27 October 2009 - 11:24.


#36 alansart

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:41

Irishman Fionn Murray finished 2nd in 1990 in his works Fulmar Reynard. Poor Fionn, a lovely fellow, he was killed a few years ago in a flying accident.


I didn't know that. He was always very quick.

Edited by alansart, 27 October 2009 - 12:36.


#37 Nordic

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:59

Moreno, unstopable in 1980. one of the best wins I thought.

http://rupert8766.fo.../p11518451.html

http://rupert8766.fo.../p26545917.html

Peter Rogers, one of the best looking Duckhams cars

http://rupert8766.fo.../p14390241.html

http://rupert8766.fo.../p26545915.html

For some reason I never took alot of photos of the FF, maybe because it was always so frantic and I did not want to miss anything.

Chris Cresswell, always interested me as his dad was my history teacher!

http://rupert8766.fo.../p11518450.html

#38 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:04

Pete Rogers, another quick driver lost so young. His car was a Laser I think. The Van Diemen no.8 is Brands specialist Trevor Stiles.

#39 alansart

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:59

Pete Rogers, another quick driver lost so young. His car was a Laser I think. The Van Diemen no.8 is Brands specialist Trevor Stiles.


A good excuse to post these again.

Pete Rogers getting "Blundelled" at Druids in 85.

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Rogers being attacked in 86 by the much missed Paul Warwick.

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Edited by alansart, 27 October 2009 - 16:54.


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#40 alansart

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 13:16

This shot of a BBC FF2000 support race shows how full the Grandstand was at Festival time.....

Posted Image


I was obviously further down the hill :)

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#41 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 13:18

Is car no.3 Johnny Herbert?

#42 Kevan

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 13:35

Pete Rogers, another quick driver lost so young. His car was a Laser I think.


at Donington. 1987/8-ish? I have an awful feeling I was there that day, though thankfully at the opposite end of the track. Didn't he have a sister who raced FF1600 as well, I think she retired shortly after his accident?

Going back to the Festival, I didn't get to one until the early 90's just before the Zetec engines came in, so really missed the best of them- they really did go into a decline from the arrival of the Zetecs. I think my first was either Magnussen in '92, or Ingall in '93

#43 Thundersport

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 13:53

Pete Rodgers was "brake tested" by a Frenchman going in to Redgate and ran up and over his wheels in to the wall.

Edited by Thundersport, 27 October 2009 - 13:54.


#44 Simon Arron

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 14:07

Pete Rodgers getting "Blundelled" at Druids in 85.

Mark used a reinforced nosecone on his RF85 that weekend, specifically for the purpose of knocking people out of the way. He told me about it quite cheerfully a few years later. During one race he lifted Damon Hill's rear wheels clean off the ground for several consecutive laps at Druids, at which point the latter's engine speed would suddenly increase significantly. Damon said he became used to it after a while...


#45 alansart

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 14:10

Mark used a reinforced nosecone on his RF85 that weekend, specifically for the purpose of knocking people out of the way. He told me about it quite cheerfully a few years later. During one race he lifted Damon Hill's rear wheels clean off the ground for several consecutive laps at Druids, at which point the latter's engine speed would suddenly increase significantly. Damon said he became used to it after a while...


:wave:

Posted Image



#46 Mallory Dan

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 14:13

Mark used a reinforced nosecone on his RF85 that weekend, specifically for the purpose of knocking people out of the way. He told me about it quite cheerfully a few years later. During one race he lifted Damon Hill's rear wheels clean off the ground for several consecutive laps at Druids, at which point the latter's engine speed would suddenly increase significantly. Damon said he became used to it after a while...


I wonder if a certain German was watching Blundell's tactics against Damon...

#47 alansart

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 14:14

Didn't he have a sister who raced FF1600 as well, I think she retired shortly after his accident?


Lucy Rogers

Edited by alansart, 27 October 2009 - 14:15.


#48 Simon Arron

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 14:15

I wonder if a certain German was watching Blundell's tactics against Damon...

He did the Festival in '88. I think he tangled with Andrew Guye-Johnson.

#49 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 14:24

I think Mika Hakkinen did the Festival in 1988 too, in a Reynard.

#50 Phil Rainford

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 16:13

Is car no.3 Johnny Herbert?


I am sure it is........waits to get shot down in flames :)

While no 10 is John Alcorn .............again waits to get shot down


PAR