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London to Cape Town record - 50th anniversary


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#1 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 15:54

Happy New Year everyone!

This is just to let you know that it was on January 6th, 1963 that my dad, Eric Jackson, and Ken Chambers set off from Pall Mall in London to begin their attempt to break the London to Cape Town record. Here's a photograph of them just before they set off.

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I've written a quick blog post too and I hope to be adding one daily for the next two weeks.Here's the link.

Here's my dad saying goodbye to my mum outside the RAC Headquarters - awwww :)

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 16:03

Did the route go through Nairobi?
If so, did the Cortina break the existing Nairobi - Cape Town record held by (I think) John Manussis

#3 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 16:13

Yes, they did. They car had a scheduled stop at Hughes of Nairobi, the Ford Dealership. It was owned by Peter Hughes who was himself a rally driver with several successes in Fords. (I believe he won the East African Safari in a Cortina. My dad says that their couldn't have completed the trip without the help they received from Hughes - the car was in a very bad way by that time. I'm not sure when they arrived there but I'll check my dad's old passport and see if that gives any clues.

#4 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 16:19

Hi again D-Type,

I checked the passport and other info and all I can tell you is that they entered Kenya on January 16th, according to the passport stamp. They arrived in Cape Town just before midnight on January 19th. Can you let me know more about the Manussis record? I'm always interested in African driving records. Thanks!

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 17:18

It was owned by Peter Hughes who was himself a rally driver with several successes in Fords. (I believe he won the East African Safari in a Cortina.

(A bit OT, I'm afraid) but I only found out from ReWind's most recent update to the 'Gone, but not forgotten ...' thread that Peter Hughes had died last September.

http://www.classican...eter-hughes-rip



#6 D-Type

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 17:32

I know two-fifths of next to nothing about African long distance records which was why I asked. Some were officially timed and some were, well, shall we say unofficial.

From a Roger Barnard's Safari Rally - the First 40 years I have:

In 1936 a road race of nearly 3,000 miles was organised from Nairobi to Johannesburg. The winner was C L 'Fairy' Engelbrecht who became a regular competitor in the Coronation Safari two decades later. The challenge of this journey, and the longer 'Narobi to Cape Town' and 'Cape to Cairo' routes, was taken up by a number of motorists, some of whom set unofficial 'records' for the fastest times.
....
Eric Cecil and Frank Marek set an unofficial record, in a Skoda [!], for the journey from Nairobi to Cape Town and back in 1950. Nairobi was about to be granted its City Charter and Cecil took letters of greeting from the Mayor of Nairobi, Richard Woodley, to the mayors of cities along the route, picking up the replies on the return journey.
Cecil's cousins, Neil and Donald Vincent, resoundingly beat the 'record' in a well-organised attempt in a Vauxhall Velox (to be beaten, in turn, by Arthur Burton / Derek Shepherd - and finally by John Manussis and Peter Davies)


And that's as much as I know. I believe one of these 'records' was set using, of all cars, a Morris Minor.

All of the above drivers, except Frank Marek, later featured strongly in the results of the Safari.

Peter Hughes was the son of John Hughes, an Irishman who had set up Hughes Ltd with the stated ambition of putting "A Ford on every farm". His best Safari performance was winning the 1964 event but his other results included a couple of class wins - all in Ford cars, naturally.

Edited by D-Type, 07 January 2013 - 15:45.


#7 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 17:51

Thank you for the information Tim, sad though it is. I don't think my dad is aware of this - he and Peter Hughes were good pals back in the sixties. There's a photograph of them together in my dad's book - I'll find it and post it here. My dad says that he always referred to Peter as 'the Reverend' because of his beliefs. I'll send the information from the link to England for him to read.

#8 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 17:53

And thanks D-Type! I'll try to find out more about the Nairobi - Cape Town trips. I didn't know about the Irish connection either. Love this forum :)

#9 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 18:05

By the way, in the article Tim posted, it says:

Hughes was also reputed to have driven a Cortina down the Cortina bobsleigh run with the likes of Sir John Whitmore and other contemporaries in a celebration publicity stunt.


This was true. Here's an article about it. There's an old Ford video at the end of the article. Looks like a lot of fun!





#10 Jackie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 20:06

Left to right:
Eric Jackson, Ken Chambers, Peter Hughes.

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This photograph was taken at Hughes of Nairobi in late 1963 during the round the world trip.

#11 arttidesco

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 23:16

Just finished reading Petrol in my Blood, a fine read it was too. Congrats to you and Eric on putting it together.

#12 AAGR

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:31

Left to right:
Eric Jackson, Ken Chambers, Peter Hughes.

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This photograph was taken at Hughes of Nairobi in late 1963 during the round the world trip.


Sorry, I don't believe that is Peter Hughes - he simply didn't look like that. But who is it ? Sorry, I'm not that clever ....

AAGR

#13 D-Type

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:41

Sorry, I don't believe that is Peter Hughes - he simply didn't look like that. But who is it ? Sorry, I'm not that clever ....

AAGR


Having looked at the photos in Roger Barnard's Safari Rally - The first forty years, I have to agree.

#14 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:16

Sorry, I don't believe that is Peter Hughes - he simply didn't look like that. But who is it ? Sorry, I'm not that clever ....

AAGR


I knew Peter well and don't believe it's him either.

Great book though, Jackie!

Fred

#15 GeoffR

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:24

Just finished it also, one of the best reads in a long, long time. Trying doing some of those things today!!

#16 GeoffR

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:33

Sorry, I don't believe that is Peter Hughes - he simply didn't look like that. But who is it ? Sorry, I'm not that clever ....

The picture in the book isn't as clear as this one, but when you look at it closely, it would appear that whoever it is has pissed Eric & Ken off significantly? (eyes)?

#17 sterling49

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 15:23

Off thread, apols but I couldn't resist, I am re reading a Motoring news from March 1972 and your pop finished 2nd to Roger on the Seven Dales Rally, great days of rallying !

Edited by sterling49, 09 January 2013 - 12:51.


#18 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:05

Just finished reading Petrol in my Blood, a fine read it was too. Congrats to you and Eric on putting it together.


Thank you so much!


#19 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:06

Just finished it also, one of the best reads in a long, long time. Trying doing some of those things today!!


I'm so glad you enjoyed it, GeoffR. Thank you!


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#20 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:08

Of thread, apols but I couldn't resist, I am re reading a Motoring news from March 1972 and your pop finished 2nd to Roger on the Seven Dales Rally, great days of rallying !


They were indeed! But if I remember correctly, my dad did win the Seven Dales in a previous year :)

#21 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:10

Now to try to solve the Peter Hughes mystery... I'll see if I can find the original photograph in my HUGE collection!

I forgot to post yesterday's blog post and here is today's. :)

#22 Tim Murray

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:16

But if I remember correctly, my dad did win the Seven Dales in a previous year :)

Yes indeed - in the previous year (1971) and also in 1962.

#23 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:49

Thank you Tim! By the early seventies my dad was approaching fifty years old - no wonder they called him 'the great-granddaddy of rallying'! I'm still looking through my photograph collection to find the original of the one above. But I found this.

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I see what you mean...



#24 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 17:34

Well, I found the original and written on the back was .... nothing at all! The photograph is in the book but not captioned so the mystery remains. (I mean, the mystery of why I thought it was Peter Hughes!)

As you can tell the photograph above was taken at the Salute of Champions in Cortina d'Amprezzo in 1965. Here's another. Who do you recognise Only two of them for me!

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#25 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 21:49

Gilbert Staepelaere hunched down in the middle is one of the more obscure.....

Fred

#26 RS2000

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 22:38

Have always struggled with other versions of that photo to identify many. Some who were there are missing from the photo? Bosse Lungfeldt is one who, like Gilbert Staepelaere, may not be too familiar to some these days. (Alan Mann insists in the new Tony Dron AM biography that he was never known as Bo)
I think the Cortina is AVW199B, David Seigle-Morris' 1964 loan car (and not one of those damaged on the bob run) that appears in other photos.

Mention of the Seven Dales above reminds me I inadvertently commented to Jackie today, in connection with a separate matter, that Eric Jackson "won" the 1968 Dales, rather than "did" the 68 Dales (well, at least it was another of the Yorkshire maffia who won it that year!).

#27 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 22:53

Tony Dron's book is fabulous but he has got it wrong about Ljungfeldt. Bo was his given name and Bosse is the familiar, rather than shortened, version of that. A bit like John and Johnny.

Fred

#28 Jackie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 22:59

Mention of the Seven Dales above reminds me I inadvertently commented to Jackie today, in connection with a separate matter, that Eric Jackson "won" the 1968 Dales, rather than "did" the 68 Dales (well, at least it was another of the Yorkshire maffia who won it that year!).


Jack Tordoff :)


#29 Jackie

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 22:49

Today's installment.

Interesting note: My dad told me when he called today that he's had several interesting phone conversations recently with Philip Young who is making the record attempt (but upside down) next month. I'd love to tell you more but my phone's batteries conked out!

#30 Catalina Park

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:55

Well, I found the original and written on the back was .... nothing at all! The photograph is in the book but not captioned so the mystery remains. (I mean, the mystery of why I thought it was Peter Hughes!)

As you can tell the photograph above was taken at the Salute of Champions in Cortina d'Amprezzo in 1965. Here's another. Who do you recognise Only two of them for me!

Posted Image

I think it may be Harry Firth, third from left.


#31 AAGR

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 15:50

Never forget that Eric Jackson's 'Finest Hour' (quite unsung at the time) was that he offered up his own car's cylinder head to keep Roger Clark's crippled Lotus-Cortina in contention to win the London-Sydney Marathon of 1968. No-one compelled him to do it, but he apparently just offered. A wonderful gesture and it might, just might, have worked.

This is not a secondhand 'I read it in a magazine' comment, by the way - I knew Roger very well, and he always said he could not believe what was being done for him ....

AAGR


#32 RS2000

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 16:31

That's certainly not the way EJ remembers it in his book!
EJ's contention that his own car was a better bet for overall victory at that particular point seems entirely credible, given the known weaknesses of the Lotus Cortina, including it's "English" axle that subsequently "did for" R. Clark.
Maybe Clark genuinely thought that but EJ's existing opinion of Henry Taylor seems to have been re-inforced by that event. (How would you already feel if Ford's Comps Manager had previously virtually accused you of theft of a shell you'd bought from him to enable you to win the RAC Rally Championship and for which he'd signed a receipt himself?)

Edited by RS2000, 10 January 2013 - 16:32.


#33 Jackie

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 17:49

AAGR, I'd love to think that my dad gave up the cylinder head out of the goodness of his heart, but RS2000 is right, it was Henry Taylor's decision. My dad is one of the nicest blokes you could ever wish to meet but when it came to motorsport, he was in it to win.

He told me that he didn't argue though because of the team but to this day, he claims that he had a better chance than Roger.

But I'm certainly not doubting what you say AAGR. My dad still refers to Roger as 'a great bloke' and it's very possible that he gives the credit to my dad rather than Henry Taylor.

There are quite a few stories in the book that set the record straight :)

#34 Jackie

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 17:54

I might have posted about this before...

My dad is quite a little fella and he tells me that one of Roger's party tricks was to sit my dad on his knee, nod my dad's head up and down saying "gottle of geer, gottle of geer." :)

That's not what he was doing in this photograph but you can see why it worked!

Posted Image

#35 D-Type

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 18:48

Never forget that Eric Jackson's 'Finest Hour' (quite unsung at the time) was that he offered up his own car's cylinder head to keep Roger Clark's crippled Lotus-Cortina in contention to win the London-Sydney Marathon of 1968. No-one compelled him to do it, but he apparently just offered. A wonderful gesture and it might, just might, have worked.

This is not a secondhand 'I read it in a magazine' comment, by the way - I knew Roger very well, and he always said he could not believe what was being done for him ....

AAGR



That's certainly not the way EJ remembers it in his book!
EJ's contention that his own car was a better bet for overall victory at that particular point seems entirely credible, given the known weaknesses of the Lotus Cortina, including it's "English" axle that subsequently "did for" R. Clark.
Maybe Clark genuinely thought that but EJ's existing opinion of Henry Taylor seems to have been re-inforced by that event. (How would you already feel if Ford's Comps Manager had previously virtually accused you of theft of a shell you'd bought from him to enable you to win the RAC Rally Championship and for which he'd signed a receipt himself?)



AAGR, I'd love to think that my dad gave up the cylinder head out of the goodness of his heart, but RS2000 is right, it was Henry Taylor's decision. My dad is one of the nicest blokes you could ever wish to meet but when it came to motorsport, he was in it to win.

He told me that he didn't argue though because of the team but to this day, he claims that he had a better chance than Roger.

But I'm certainly not doubting what you say AAGR. My dad still refers to Roger as 'a great bloke' and it's very possible that he gives the credit to my dad rather than Henry Taylor.

There are quite a few stories in the book that set the record straight :)


I suppose that Eric Jackson could have said "No" to Henry Taylor's request, but ...

#36 RS2000

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 19:20

I suppose that Eric Jackson could have said "No" to Henry Taylor's request, but ...


It seems he just put it behind him and moved on. Contrast that with the conduct of one C. McRae when faced with a major team orders situation, petulantly kicking dustbins and having to be seriously counselled by his father. The difference between someone (EJ)experienced in life before he got to the top in rallying and someone (like so many current racing drivers too) who had no real experience of life beyond motorsport.

Difficult to actually say no when it's not your car. With the book's editor on here, I'm not about to post a lot of extracts concerning Henry Taylor but suffice it to say there is one priceless quote from EJ and a further one that perfectly fits the term: "damning someone with faint praise"!


#37 Hieronymus

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 20:20

As you can tell the photograph above was taken at the Salute of Champions in Cortina d'Amprezzo in 1965. Here's another. Who do you recognise Only two of them for me!

Posted Image


Chap on extreme left in back row is Koos Swanepoel. South African Saloon Car champion in 1964. He was present in Cortina d'Ampezzo in '65.

#38 Jackie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:15

It seems he just put it behind him and moved on. Contrast that with the conduct of one C. McRae when faced with a major team orders situation, petulantly kicking dustbins and having to be seriously counselled by his father. The difference between someone (EJ)experienced in life before he got to the top in rallying and someone (like so many current racing drivers too) who had no real experience of life beyond motorsport.

Difficult to actually say no when it's not your car. With the book's editor on here, I'm not about to post a lot of extracts concerning Henry Taylor but suffice it to say there is one priceless quote from EJ and a further one that perfectly fits the term: "damning someone with faint praise"!


:)


#39 Jackie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:20

Well, allowing for the fact that this forum is on UK time and I'm in Florida, it was fifty years ago today that my dad and Ken Chambers arrived in Cape Town. If you don't know whether or not they broke the record, this gives the game away:

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What I love is the part of the book that goes some way towards explaining the chaos when they arrived in Cape Town.

“I yanked the steering wheel to the left. Ken yelled at me ‘Watch out! Don’t drive into that bloody great hole…’ It was too late. The road ahead had been dug up and of course, there were no warning signs. I landed the poor old Cortina in a water-filled hole. It was going no further that night. Ken leaned over and jammed his hand onto the horn to get attention. He gave me a look and congratulated me on my driving. ‘Jacko’ he said ‘You stupid pillock.’”



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#40 arttidesco

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:34

Well, allowing for the fact that this forum is on UK time and I'm in Florida, it was fifty years ago today that my dad and Ken Chambers arrived in Cape Town. If you don't know whether or not they broke the record, this gives the game away:

Posted Image

What I love is the part of the book that goes some way towards explaining the chaos when they arrived in Cape Town.

“I yanked the steering wheel to the left. Ken yelled at me ‘Watch out! Don’t drive into that bloody great hole…’ It was too late. The road ahead had been dug up and of course, there were no warning signs. I landed the poor old Cortina in a water-filled hole. It was going no further that night. Ken leaned over and jammed his hand onto the horn to get attention. He gave me a look and congratulated me on my driving. ‘Jacko’ he said ‘You stupid pillock.’”


Which I suppose goes to show a sense of humour gets you everywhere, happy 50th Anniversary on your London Cape Town record Eric & Ken :clap:

#41 lclclc

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 23:09

i came back onto this site to give some sad news .Ken Chambers son Ian ,who i got in contact with Jackie a few years back in relation to this book, has sadly died.his funeral is tomorrow.i have sent a private message to Jackie but not sure if she comes on here that often so thought i'd post it here too as someone else could let her know.thanks Martin.