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#1 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 08:43

In the late 1960's, Roy Pike was probably the most successful driver in British Formula 3. Yet he didn't make it to a more senior class of racing. He had two F2 races for Roy Winkleman/Team Lotus in 1969, both at Hockenheim, In 1970 he drove a Leda in a few F5000 races His reputation included skills as a test and development driver. I haven't checked, but I can't remember a career ending accident. Any ideas why his career didn't progress? Did he retire or was his style so attuned to F3 that he couldn't adapt to other formulae?

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#2 Barry Lake

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 13:02

I am glad you asked the question Roger. Unfortunately I don't have the answer. But, like you, I have wondered why he didn't progress and why he disappeared so suddenly.

He was an American, and I believe he went back to the USA, but what he did, I don't know. He was a front runner (with The Chequered Flag Stable) throughout that mid-late-1960s era that I was fascinated by Formula 3.

While searching for info on Mo Nunn, I have noted that Pike drove a far wider range of cars than I had realised. I haven't been noting them, unfortunately, but I think I am right in including Ford GT40 and Porsche sports cars.

It was one of the many questions I wanted to ask Mo Nunn - particularly as he mentioned him when we were talking, but with limited time I had to focus on the subject.

#3 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 17:33

Roy was one of the favourites for the Monaco F3 race in 1965, which I was fortunate enough to see, live, from the front row of the grandstand on the S/F straight.

IIRC Roy was nudged into a barrier during his heat and never made the final.

About 3 seats to my left some friends of his were sitting. He came across from the pits to tell them about what happened. I could not hear what he was saying, but I grabbed my Dad's camera to take a close-up picture. I was in a state of great excitement that a REAL driver was standing so close to me - (I was quite young at the time!) and the result is..... a VERY blurred shot of Mr. Pike!

I remember that pretty little Gemini that he drove. He certainly seemed destined for higher things, but like those who have already posted, I have no idea why he seemed to fade away so quickly.

#4 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 18:06

It was a Chequered Flag entered Brabham, actually. Pike led his heat until the penultimate lap, when Bob Bondurant, who had finally got past Peter Revson, tangled with Pike and they both went off at the Hotel de Paris. Revson went on to win the heat and the final.

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 19:36

Add my name to those who wondered why he never made it.
I can however add that he is alive and well and still living in England (or was three or four years ago).

#6 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 22:25

I realise that Roy was driving a Brabham at Monaco, but didn't he drive a Gemini before that? Or am I thinking of someone else?

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 November 2001 - 22:50

Don't think he drove a Gemini Barry - Merlyns and Titans before the Brabham and then a Lotus.

#8 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 00:14

He drove a Junior Gemini in 1963. THe Titans were later, 1967-68

#9 Barry Lake

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 03:54

Originally posted by David McKinney
Add my name to those who wondered why he never made it.
I can however add that he is alive and well and still living in England (or was three or four years ago).


Let's take a vote.

Everyone who thinks David McKinney should take a "sicky" from work and go spend a day with Roy Pike, record his story and sell a version to Motor Sport, offer the long version to us, please raise their hand.

#10 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 08:05

I'll raise both.

#11 David McKinney

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 08:13

Would that life were so simple...
First I've got to remember who told me they knew him...

#12 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 08:42

My old and addled brain has a habit of linking things together. Sadly not always correctly! When I think of Roy Pike, the connection goes:
Roy Pike/Bill Moss Gemini.

If I hadn't sold my old programmes a couple of years ago, I would be able to refer back to see if my mind is playing tricks.

Was Bill Moss Roy's team-mate in the Gemini team in 1963? Anyone???

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 12:20

I thought that Moss drove for the Flag in 1962, but I could be wrong.

incidentally, one statement I came across in researching Nunn and Pike was "(Brian0 Hart's car was used during the latter part of the season (1963) as a testbed for Cosworth's formula 2 engine for 1964 and eventually 120 bhp was claimed for it, even in Formula Junior tune".

The 1964 F2 engine was of course the SCA which had an overhead camshaft, which wasn't allowed in F Junior. Does anybody know what was the cofiguration of Hart's engine?

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 13:03

Consider my hand raised!

'Fraid the brain cells are going Barry! Roy Pike was a works Merlyn FJ driver in 1963 - team-mate Jonathan Williams.

#15 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 15:25

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Consider my hand raised!

'Fraid the brain cells are going Barry! Roy Pike was a works Merlyn FJ driver in 1963 - team-mate Jonathan Williams.


I know that he drove some races in a Gemini that year, including Boxing Day 1962, and a race he won at Crystal Palace in September 1963. It is quite possible that he mixed the Gemini and Merlyn drives.

Muppet's comments are very interesting; it is quite possible that this may be the reason for his sudden dissapearance. However, there have been many drivers who showed pre-race tension, Phil Hill and James Hunt among the more successful.

#16 David McKinney

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 17:59

Originally posted by Barry Boor
When I think of Roy Pike, the connection goes:
Roy Pike/Bill Moss Gemini.
Was Bill Moss Roy's team-mate in the Gemini team in 1963? Anyone???

I think you're getting your Parkeses and Pikeses mixed up Barry;)
Bill Moss and Mike Parkes were the regular Chequered Flag Gemini drivers in 1961. In 1962 the usual team was Moss and Procter. Drivers in 1963, apart from Pike, included Syd Fox, Ross Greenville and Howden Ganley (the last two being New Zealanders:)
Pike got his 1963 Gemini drive after some good showings in Auspers the previous season.

#17 Gerr

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 19:54

Found this in and old bio: It was F3 that excited the young American and encouraged him about his future in auto racing. "F3 has done very well in providing a good training ground for young drivers like me,"said Pike"F2 is to expensive and competitive for youngsters--you never get any real recognition because you can drive really well and still finish 7th or 8th,unless you happen to break from the flag in the leading group."
"In F3 everyone has a pretty fair chance of winning and everyone gets the experience of leading a few cars,even the full field,occasionally. With that goes corresponding experience in reasoning and tactics. That this is a good school for young drivers is borne out,I think,in that somebody like Chris Irwin,my Flag teammate,in practice at Oulton Park and in his first F2 car,was able to make rather fast time in top company."
Seems that Pike thought highly of F3. In late 1966?,he was scheduled to test-drive the Parnell Team F1,2L Lotus-BRM,but he did not get the chance when Rob Slotemaker cracked it up.

#18 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 21:41

Thanks for that, David. It seems the old brain is further gone than I thought!

It appears I had all the elements, just didn't connect them properly.

Like the old Monty Python sketch, "Well, Sir ??????, you know all the words; now we've got to get them in the right order!"

#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 23:51

In at least some 1963 races, Pike's Gemini was entered by George Henrotte, an American. Was this separate from the Chequered Flag team?

Early on in this thread, Barry LAke noted some non-formula 3 cars raced by Roy Pike. to his list we should an add an AC Cobra, and possibly an Abarth 1000TC. According to the motor Racing Register, Pike co-drove the Abarth which finished 7th overall and first in class in the European Touring Car race at Snetterton on 15 august 1965. Frank de Jong's site says the same. Yet the Autosport report says that John Anstead drove alone. The race was 500kms, and some cars had one, others two, drivers.

I see also that Frank says Pike was British.

Barry, do you mean Morecambe and Wise?

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#20 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 06:12

In the July 1968 edition of Motor Racing there was an article on “the problems of filling those vacant F1 cockpits.”

Unfortunately the failure of Formula 2 to attract crowds in Britain (which has led to the drastic curtailment of the British F2 season), plus the very high cost of machinery, has tended to slow down the upward movement of drivers from the ranks of Formula 3. As a result, there are several drivers who are still engaged in Formula 3 who might reasonably have been expected to play a significant role in Formula 2 and who, had they done so, would have been high on the waiting list for a Formula 1 drive.

Roy Pike is one of these, and has already been close to a test drive for Eagle (an obvious choice in view of Dan Gurney’s preference for using American drivers in his cars).

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 06:38

Originally posted by Roger Clark
In at least some 1963 races, Pike's Gemini was entered by George Henrotte, an American. Was this separate from the Chequered Flag team?

The first Geminis were built and entered by the Chequered Flag team run by Graham Warner. It does ring a bell, now you mention it, that Henrotte ran the CF team in 1963. He had previously entered cars for other drivers in his own name. But I'd never heard he was American.

#22 TonyKaye

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 17:13

According to Cutter and Fendell, Roy Giles Pike was born in Pittsburgh in 1939 and raised in California. In 1959 he started driving in gymkhanas and autocross on the West Coast with an MG TD. The following year he progressed to racing proper. For 1961 he built his own BMC-powered Formula Junior car, with sufficient success to move to England. He continued in FJ with an Ausper T3. The rest of his career thru 1968 is given considerable detail in the book. He married Katherine Newman on December 11, 1965. When it became clear that he was not going to graduate to F 1, he returned to America in 1969 and drove a Leda in F 5000. That's as far as the book takes it.

#23 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 26 November 2001 - 03:56

The Motoring News review of the 1969 Formula 3 season has this to say about Roy Pike.

For so many years hailed as the "King of Formula 3," Roy Pike left the Titan marque for Gold Leaf-Team Lotus to drive F3, GT and occasional F2 in 1969. Sad to say, Pike is seemingly losing his touch, for although he was still fast, and persevered with the Lotus 59, the GLTL cars seemed to have a rough deal in engines. Until the end of the season, Pike was reluctant to take the risks and win the races from the rising-blood, his dislike for closely-packed dicing underlined by the fact that he was always firmly planted at the rear. However, his views on present day F3 racing go deeper than that. His best result was a close second to Ikuzawa at the Mallory International. GLTL team-mate Mo Nunn faired little better, his best event being a stirring battle with Wisell at the last Brands in October.

#24 Marcor

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Posted 27 November 2001 - 02:07

Roy Pike had the opportunity to start in Formula 1 in the 1969 Race of Champion at Brands Hatch. He had to drive the Brabham BT23B-3 Climax 4 but did not start as during the warm up lap the car had an oil leak.

Roy had good press in the French magazine. I've read the same story about his career in L'Automobile (born at Pittsbull, child at SF, started racing in 1959 ... and even the fact that Dan thought about him for an Eagle drive).

In 1965 Roy Pike won 7 F3 races: at Oulton-Park (x 2), Pau, Goodwood, Magny-Cours, Silverstone and Brands Hatch. His main rival Piers Courage won "only" 6 F3 races this season.

The French driver Jean-Pierre Jaussaud was also a good long-time F3 specialist and finally grew until F2 as he was runner-up of Mike Hailwood in the 1972 European Championship. But he never took part in a GP race (except an Aurora race at Nogaro in 1978).

#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 15:58

In February 1982 Motor Sport published and article looking back on the 1-litre Formula 3. It said of Roy Pike:

"Pike, considerd by many of his contemporaries as probably the most meticulous and talented of all the 1-litre F3 drivers. now lives in rural somerset and occupies his time with the painstaking restoration of old country houses. his friends confirm that he brings the same perfectionist approach to bear on this particular task as he did when he was in the cockpit of a racing car."

#26 Buford

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 05:55

Racing costs money. Somebody has to pay the bills. A lot of drivers run out of personal money or sugar daddies long before they run out of talent. Maybe that happened here.

#27 Frank de Jong

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 21:30

By coincidence, Eddie Guba's 1970 yearbook lists Pike as co-driver of the Glemser works Capri at the Brno round (DNF). Walton's book "Capri" lists all works races for the Capri, yet doesn't mention Pike.
Can anyone confirm that Pike drove the Capri?

#28 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 08:29

I have revived this thread in the hope that a newcomer to the forum may be able to provide some information.

#29 Ted Walker

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 08:49

Roy Pike visited my photo archive at Silverstone Historic Festival last year with his Friend Jeremy Hall the well known FIA Delegate. It was I think Roys first visit to a meeting since he hung up his helmet.

#30 Doug Nye

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 14:27

Roy Pike was rather tall to be a single-seater driver in period, but thin and light and very talented. He wore a black helmet a la Gurney and shone - as rightly related - in FJ and F3. But don't get completely funnelled into the single-seater driver category. Colonel Hoare poaired him with Piers Courage in the Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari GTB/C at Le Mans '66 and they promptly won the valuable GT Category. Paul Vestey bought the car for the following season, and in his first three outings won his class each time a World Championship level and earned back the cost of the car in prize and bonus money. Yes, that was possible then. PV later bought a Ferrari 275LM which Roy Pike co-drove with him in the Daytona 24-Hours, BOAC 1,000Kms etc. On their way down to Daytona, Roy amused himself by keeping PV awake in the driver's seat by tossing lighted firecrackers into his lap. Roy also drove PV's Porsche 911 once on his own at Brands Hatch. Rain threatened as he sat on the starting grid where apparently he asked the owner "Aw gee, what do I do if it starts to rain?" - to which Paul responded "Try going a little slower perhaps?". He thinks Roy gave up racing simply because he'd become disillusioned by it - slower drivers with more money were buying drives...

Incidentally PV later bought back the ex-Courage/Pike Le Mans category-winning GTB/C and we ran it in the inaugural Classic Adelaide Rally, in South Australia, five years ago. A terribly earnest Australian TV reporter made the mistake of asking him a serious question on the startline. The exchange went something like this: "Paul Vestey - you've come all the way from England with your beautiful Ferrari - now tell us - how do you prepare for the Classic Adelaide Rally?".

"Errmmm - well, in my case, I take two neurophens and lie down for an hour in a darkened room...".

I enjoyed that.

DCN

#31 charles r

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 21:47

What happened to him after his GLTL F3 drives?

Plus any photographs you may have would be appreciated.

#32 LOTI

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 08:08

Roy was at the festival of Speed in 2003 for the launch of Adam Cooper's book about Piers Courage. There is aphotograph of all the good old boyd standing round one of Piers's F3 cars. I have an idea that Luke said he was working at Croft but that was then......
Loti

#33 ianselva

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:55

Originally posted by David McKinney

The first Geminis were built and entered by the Chequered Flag team run by Graham Warner. It does ring a bell, now you mention it, that Henrotte ran the CF team in 1963. He had previously entered cars for other drivers in his own name. But I'd never heard he was American.

I thought I remembered George Henrotte running a garage near Brands sometime in the 60s.

#34 d j fox

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 19:26

The first time I saw Roy Pike race was at the 1962 Crystal Palace Whit Monday meeting where he drove an Ausper into third place in the 2nd Formula Junior heat. I remember being quite impressed with his press-on-style in what was an outdated car.
As mentioned above in 1963 he drove the Gemini which seemed to have been entered variously by Team Trophy Westmount/Team Gemini and then GA Henrotte. He won the early September Crystal Palace race.
Of note was the "Anglo European Challenge" race at Brands Hatch (14th September) . It was heavily promoted as the last major FJ race pitting the best of the UK against the best of Europe, but apart from Bruno Deserti in a Ron Harris Team Lotus Lotus 27, not many “foreigners” turned up. However, I remember it more for Pike crashing ( and breaking a leg?) and then the Gemini transporter ,on it's way to pick up the car, managed to wedge itself under the bridge that used to be at the exit of South Bank (or whatever it's called these days).
Thereafter I usually associate Roy with Charles Lucas –Lotus, Titans etc as well as his Le Mans and Vestey drives mentioned by DCN.
Equally I remember standing in the pouring rain all day at Brands on May 8th 1966 at the Ilford Films 500 (the pre cursor to the BOAC) where he drove the Chequered Flag 4.7 Cobra with Chris Irwin to a dnf (Piper/Bondurant won in the ‘Flags 7 litre monster).
He had great talent and whilst understandable, it was a real shame he gave it all up

#35 richie

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 20:25

I remember hearing from un an unknown source that Roy was a Property Developer in the West Country.

Can anyone expand on that?

#36 sterling49

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 20:55

Originally posted by d j fox
Thereafter I usually associate Roy with Charles Lucas –Lotus, Titans etc as well as his Le Mans and Vestey drives mentioned by DCN.
Equally I remember standing in the pouring rain all day at Brands on May 8th 1966 at the Ilford Films 500 (the pre cursor to the BOAC) where he drove the Chequered Flag 4.7 Cobra with Chris Irwin to a dnf (Piper/Bondurant won in the ‘Flags 7 litre monster).
He had great talent and whilst understandable, it was a real shame he gave it all up


My memories exactly, I walked around the track on May 8th and got absolutely soaked to the skin, but it was worth it, I seem to recall that he drove the Cobra quite often and very effectively, but also recall his great drives in the Charlie Lucas cars, were the Titans dark blue with a maroon stripe?

#37 Alan Cox

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 21:06

Yup, sterling, the Lucas cars were dark blue with the maroon stripe edged in white, and always looking immaculate.

#38 sterling49

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 21:14

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Yup, sterling, the Lucas cars were dark blue with the maroon stripe edged in white, and always looking immaculate.


Thanks for that Alan, memory working still.....just! Agreed, the cars were alway just absolutely pristine :up:

#39 Macca

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 21:14

Posted Image

Is this Roy in the Ron Harris Lotus 41 at Monaco in 1966?


Paul M

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#40 sterling49

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 21:25

Originally posted by Macca
Posted Image

Is this Roy in the Ron Harris Lotus 41 at Monaco in 1966?


Paul M


Looks like it Paul, these era cars are just so beautiful, they all have their engine covers on, which I don't believe was the case in later years? The green and yellow combination :clap: :clap: :clap:

Sterling

#41 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 21:49

Originally posted by Marcor
Roy Pike had the opportunity to start in Formula 1 in the 1969 Race of Champion at Brands Hatch. He had to drive the Brabham BT23B-3 Climax 4 but did not start as during the warm up lap the car had an oil leak.

Who owned BT23B-3 at the time?

My next question.
There is a suggestion that Roy Pike wrote off a F2 Brabham, BT30-2 while testing the car at Thruxton for Church Farm Racing in 1969. I don't think its true, anyone add anything to this for me? Or how can I ask the man himself?

http://www.oldracing...es/brabham/bt30

#42 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 23:22

You have to love this place...thread stops with DCN 24-Feb-02 and kicks off again 09-Jan-07 :up: