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#451 Gerald Swan

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 22:11

Hello Ted, another welcome from me.

Can I have your permission to reproduce your comments on the T460 on Lola's Heritage site? It's great to hear such good things about one of Lola's more forgotten models.

Gerald.

www.lolaheritage.co.uk

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#452 tedwentz

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 22:38

Gerald,
Please feel free to do so.
TW

#453 Rob Ryder

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:12

Originally posted by tedwentz
Russell had the biggest pucker factor of any piece of track that I can remember.
You built up a lot of speed coming out of Coram. Then there were the stacked armco barriers that defined the chicane and of course blocked the view of the exit. I'm sure SuperHen was quite thrilling to watch through there with that big Brian Hart wailing away.
We used to laugh about how the chicane was put there as a safety feature to slow cars up going past the pits.
If only they knew.

Welcome Ted, great to read your comments and experiences. :up:

What I really like is real drivers talking about 'Russell', 'Coram' etc and not bloody 'Turn 1', 'Turn 2' etc....
Rob

#454 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 17:20

Welcome Ted
Great to see you here. Like many of us, I saw you race many times
great days! I'm sure Friz the Whizz will join in again once he gets
back from holiday. I'll have to persuade Cyd to join in too.

Russell at Snett really is nothing like it was, as others have said.
The flow of the whole circuit is spoiled by this chicane, but today a
necessary evil as the bikers want it there and the circuit owners rely
on income from the 2-wheeled sport.

I saw Eddie Irvine take the proper old Russell absolutely flat in an F3000
in 1990, awesome. The rest of the circuit is exactly as was back in your
day racing there ( after it was cut in half) albeit with much larger run-off.
Coram has at least 100 yards of grass before the tyre wall now.

The quickest guys now testing World Series Renault get down in the
low 54s, with this tight chicane remember. The Aurora F1s used to do
58's if I remember correctly, with the 'flat' out Russell. Most catagories above
WSR do not test there anymore because of noise complaints but I'd love to
see what a contemporary GP2 or F1 car would do now! Down in the 45s or
lower I reckon.

#455 fines

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 17:32

Originally posted by Andrew Kitson
The quickest guys now testing World Series Renault get down in the
low 54s, with this tight chicane remember. The Aurora F1s used to do
58's if I remember correctly, with the 'flat' out Russell. Most catagories above
WSR do not test there anymore because of noise complaints but I'd love to
see what a contemporary GP2 or F1 car would do now! Down in the 45s or
lower I reckon.

Rupert Keegan did 56.53" in 1979 in the B&S Arrows, and 56.28" in practice. 45" is a tall order, mind you, you don't just substract the seconds, this is a short course!

#456 petefenelon

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 17:34

Originally posted by tedwentz
Thank you all for the kind words. It's nice to be remembered.


Ted, welcome and thanks for such a brilliantly recalled and detailed introduction.

#457 jadb1

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:04

Friends mint this issue, which hurts my English is very bad!


Posted Image


THAT THING WAS TRIPLEX XXX ???

#458 David McKinney

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 07:21

I hope I'm reading your question correctly, jadb1
In 1973 Triplex sponsorsed Colin Vandervell's March 73B in British F/Atlantic
I believe they were a British company specialising in safety-glass manufacture

#459 sat

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 07:33

I mean it was some art of automobile safety glass.

I was slower...

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#460 MCS

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 08:40

Hi Ted. Welcome to TNF !

And thanks for your immediate contribution. :up:

As you very well know you raced against some fairly useful drivers in Atlantic.
Tony Brise, Jim Crawford and Gunnar Nilsson immediately come to mind. Sadly, they are no longer with us of course.

Alan Jones, Dave Morgan, John Nicholson, Cyd Williams, Richard Scott and some chap by the name of Geoff Friswell - who keeps appearing here of all places :lol: - were others you fought against. Atlantic was certainly in it’s heyday then. Wonderful times.

I just wondered – like many here I’m sure - what your thoughts were, looking back after all these years?

Which races, which circuits, which drivers evoke the happiest memories ?

#461 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 08:56

Originally posted by fines

Rupert Keegan did 56.53" in 1979 in the B&S Arrows, and 56.28" in practice. 45" is a tall order, mind you, you don't just substract the seconds, this is a short course!

I think 45 would be easily achievable by a modern F1 car. Klaas Zwart did 54 in qualifying in Euroboss this year in a 1997 Benetton. He said to me afterwards with proper testing at the circuit beforehand plus getting his tyres properly warmed through ( backmarkers screwed his laps ) he'd do a 50. F1 lap records would easily be -10secs on Euroboss times at every circuit I would think, with much younger and more talented hungry drivers ( Hamilton) rather than 50 year old gentlemen drivers. The cornering speeds and acceleration of modern generation F1 cars are astonishing. Take Brands for example. More than 20 years ago at the last GP there, I'm pretty sure the pole time was a 1min 6 secs or something. OK, Graham Hill Bend is a little tighter now but Westfield has been eased to create more run off as has Dingle Dell. What would a modern car do now? I wish we could find out.

#462 jadb1

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 13:58

David McKinney,Sat


Friends many thanks for the reply

NO SPEAK ENGLISH USES OF SOFT TRANSLATOR GOOGLE!!!!

#463 David McKinney

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 14:55

Alejandro,
Prefiero utilizar http://babelfish.altavista.com/

#464 fines

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 17:37

Hey David, your Spanish is improving! :D But shouldn't the link read pez de babel? :lol:

#465 David McKinney

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 19:15

OK, but how do you do 'alta vista'?

#466 fines

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 21:27

In English? :p

#467 jadb1

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 00:45

AMIGO David

Thank you very much from today it use! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

#468 Mallory Dan

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:07

Originally posted by David McKinney
I hope I'm reading your question correctly, jadb1
In 1973 Triplex sponsorsed Colin Vandervell's March 73B in British F/Atlantic
I believe they were a British company specialising in safety-glass manufacture


Colin V also did F2 that year, 1973, in a March 732. Was this a different car to his FAt one, ie did he have both the 732 and 73B?

#469 Mallory Dan

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:08

Originally posted by tedwentz
Gerald,
Please feel free to do so.
TW


Ted, any comments on the T450 F2 Lola you raced occasionally that year, 1976?

#470 David McKinney

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 13:06

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Colin V also did F2 that year, 1973, in a March 732. Was this a different car to his FAt one, ie did he have both the 732 and 73B?

Different cars, I'm sure, even though the Brian Lewis Racing F2 car was 732/8 and the Triplex Atlantic car was 73B/8 :D

#471 tedwentz

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 14:28

Originally posted by MCS
Hi Ted. Welcome to TNF !

I just wondered – like many here I’m sure - what your thoughts were, looking back after all these years?

Which races, which circuits, which drivers evoke the happiest memories ?


I think that the first race that you ever win and take a chequered flag for the first time will always be a permanent imprint on your memory. There is just nothing like it. For me it happened at the first of my two required SCCA drivering schools at the eponymous Bridgehampton circuit on Long Island (New York) in my Merlyn Mk11A back in the summer of 1971. The SCCA assigns each student an instructor to watch over him and pass on as much experience as possible. My instructor was Jas Patterson who would come to England the following year and race F Atlantics. There was a 5 lap race for all for the students at then end of the two day school and to my utter amazement I won. That one event determined what I wanted to to from then on. It's one of those things you look back upon as a pivotal event in your life.

But my fondest memory was of running the international Formula two race at Thruxton in the spring of 1975. We were looking for a way to get the maximum publicity for our sponsor Wella and this important race was going to be televised on the national feed. What made this race possible for us was that the organizers decided to run the race in two heats. This played out perfectly for us because although our T360 was similar to an F2 car in its critical demensions it had the smaller fuel capacity of an F Atlantic. Just enough capacity as it turned out to run the much more powerful and thirsty F2 engine and be able to finish each individual heat. All we had to do was fit the latest FIA mandated crush structures to the sides of the car and of course install the Lucas injected BDG two liter F2 engine.

During the 1975 season our small team of Brian Mann and my brother Tim were based at Maurice Gomm's shop in Woking. Gomm's was a fascinating place to be. Talk about history and expertise. Mo's artisans with their years of Vickers aircraft and racing experience could fashion anything you could imagine out of metal. I remember them creating a Cooper Monaco body from scratch with only some grainy photographs for reference. Mo would circulate among his merry band making cups of tea and offering encouragement. At the time Ron Dennis had just returned from running a team on the continent and was putting together a quietly works supported team of March F2 cars in another section of Mo's shop. The very first thing that Ron did was build a complete set of shelves out of wood for holding all of the disassembled race car parts, and painting everything out in a glistening white. It looked like a hospital in there. In another section of Mo's shop Ron Tauranac was busily creating his first Ralt chassis. Mo's men were building the tub and it was a work of art. Every now and then Ron would come into our bay, tape measure in hand, and ask if we minded if he measured something on our Lola. Upstairs in a small drawing office Len Baily was working on mods for the Ford Escort rally car bodies that Mo's men were crafting in another section of the shop. How cool was that place!

When we told John Dunn of Swindon Engines our plan he enthusiastically threw all of his support behind it. Cosworth was tired of BMW's domination of F2 which had begun at Mallory Park two years earlier and wanted to get back in the fight. They had spent a lot of money developing the 2 litre BDG version of the 1600 Atlantic BDA. The BDG had a special cylinder block which was a completely reworked version of the 1600. The bores had to be completly machined out of the block and new sleeves oven brazed in place. This was a complex and expensive process and a lot of blocks had to be scraped, but it was necessary because F2 Rules required a stock road car engine block. John was a very clever chap and with Cosworth's encouragement did a lot of development work on the overlooked BDG until he was getting a reliable 295 BHP. We all reckoned that this was enough to be competitve with the 300 BHP BMWs and were pretty excited about our prospects. We all decided to call the engine the BDX.

Meanwhile Mo Gomm's men were crafting some side pods that we had "imagineered" and convinced Bob Marston at Lola to get drawn. They looked a bit like the triangular sides of the Brabham BT44. The whole project was very hush-hush and after we did some creative thinking with the fuel and electrical systems we had a running car. And run it did! We took the car down to Goodwood in early Spring for testing and it was a revelation. With nearly 50% more power and bags of smooth fuel injected torque the car was a rocket. The extra power negated the T360's inherent low speed understeer and the linearity of the Lucas injection made it so easy to power out of any turn with exactly the amount of power you wanted. Surprisingly it was a much easier car to drive than the Atlantic. As if by magic the car became transformed from an average F Atlantic chassis into a real F2 contender.
We couldn't wait for Thruxton.

#472 Cirrus

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 15:08

Gomm's was a fascinating place to be. Talk about history and expertise.



Unfortunately, Gomm Metal Developments is no more. They were unable to recover following the sad death of Frank Gomm earlier this year, and the company is now in liquidation.

I went past the other day, and the building is all closed up, but the (surprisingly freshly-repainted) 60's single seater on the building and the "G" logo on the gate give a hint as to the long history of the site, and its importance to UK motor racing down the years.

Edit - Sorry to add a note of gloom to Ted's (hopefully ongoing) story...

#473 tedwentz

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 16:43

I'm sorry to hear the Frank Gomm has passed.
Back when we were at Gomms Frank was a young man learning the trade. Mo was obviously very proud of him and would give him little projects to practice on. While we were building our F2 car we needed a new instrument panel to house the extra switches and gauges that the fuel injected engine needed. We had sourced some very high quality military-spec Rotax aircraft switches from a vendor out near Heathrow. They were silicone sealed and had gold contacts and were streets ahead of the standard Lucas offerings for reliability (don't ask how I know).
However they needed a perfectly made square hole for them to fit in the instrument panel. After a couple of goes Frank brought over a beautifully crafted alloy instrument panel. We used it on the car for the entire season.
After poor Roy James stuffed the car at Silverstone at the end of the year there weren't too many straight pieces left, but I managed to salvage that instrument panel. It now sits on my garage wall. Thank you Frank.

Oh, and when Ron Dennis saw those mil-spec switches he just had to get some for his cars.
We didn't worry too much about spying in those days :lol:

#474 Alan Cox

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 16:54

Originally posted by Ted Wentz
At the time Ron Dennis had just returned from running a team on the continent and was putting together a quietly works supported team of March F2 cars in another section of Mo's shop. The very first thing that Ron did was build a complete set of shelves out of wood for holding all of the disassembled race car parts, and painting everything out in a glistening white.

The BDG had a special cylinder block which was a completely reworked version of the 1600. The bores had to be completly machined out of the block and new sleeves oven brazed in place. This was a complex and expensive process and a lot of blocks had to be scraped, but it was necessary because F2 Rules required a stock road car engine block. John was a very clever chap and with Cosworth's encouragement did a lot of development work on the overlooked BDG until he was getting a reliable 295 BHP. We all reckoned that this was enough to be competitve with the 300 BHP BMWs and were pretty excited about our prospects. We all decided to call the engine the BDX.



Great memories, Ted. It's asides like this that make your, and Fris the Whizz's, posts on this Atlantic thread so fascinating. Are your recollections all off the top of your head, or did you keep notes? If it's the former, your memory has stood the test of time better then mine, as it was all over 30 years ago!

#475 tedwentz

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 19:01

No notes, just indelible memories.
Now if you ask me what happened this morning I might not remember that.

#476 philippe7

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:35

Posted Image

Ted, a very poor quality picture of mine that I posted on this thread a while ago, just to check if that race was one of your "indelible memories" ....where, when and who ? ( apart from yourself of course )

#477 picblanc

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:45

And as Philippe has posted one of his "golden oldies" here is one I posted earlier in the year, Val Musetti... and I presume you "lurking" :D in the awning next door!
Great to have you on here along with Frizz of course!
Posted Image
Photo copyrighted to Graham Etheridge, racebikepics.

#478 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 21:48

I know Val Musetti was a movie Stuntman what kind of driver was he? I remember visiting his mother's Italian Restaurant with Tom Pumpelly, Mike Wilds, James Hunt et al one year when we were at the Race Car Show.
Ted might even have been with us.

#479 tedwentz

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 22:46

The photo in the rain is the season opener for the JPS Championship at Brands in March of '74. It was my first Atlantic race I was really trying hard not to make a fool out of myself in the brand new 74B the wet. I'm pretty sure that's David Morgan in the 73B in front of me and of course it's Johnny Nick behind all going through Paddock Hill Bend. Richard Scott won the race in his one-off Patrick Head designed car. If memory serves, Morgan's car began to misfire towards the end of the race and I went by him to finish second.

Val Musetti was a pretty good driver and a great guy. I think he would've done a lot better but he was always underfunded and didn't get to do all of the races. His stuntman credentials included driving some of the Minis in the original Italian Job movie with Michael Caine. The photo looks to be taken in the paddock at Brands.

Great pictures - keep 'em coming :up:

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#480 Alan Cox

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 23:17

A compilation of previously posted photos, some of which have now disappeared and which you may be interested in seeing, Ted.

Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image

Does the last one show the Gomm-made sidepods?

#481 MCS

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:10

Originally posted by tedwentz
The photo in the rain is the season opener for the JPS Championship at Brands in March of '74. It was my first Atlantic race I was really trying hard not to make a fool out of myself in the brand new 74B the wet. I'm pretty sure that's David Morgan in the 73B in front of me and of course it's Johnny Nick behind all going through Paddock Hill Bend. Richard Scott won the race in his one-off Patrick Head designed car. If memory serves, Morgan's car began to misfire towards the end of the race and I went by him to finish second.


Forgive me, but I reckon it's Jas Patterson. (Try enlarging the image).;)

#482 ian senior

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:04

You can't put a price on the kind of stuff Ted has posted recently. Huge thanks and appreciation from me.

#483 tedwentz

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 13:28

Originally posted by Alan Cox

Does the last one show the Gomm-made sidepods?


Alan, that's them all right. This picture must be from the F2 race at Thruxton.

#484 tedwentz

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 13:32

Originally posted by MCS


Forgive me, but I reckon it's Jas Patterson. (Try enlarging the image).;)

No forgiveness needed, upon closer inspection I do believe that you are correct.

#485 tedwentz

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 14:08

OK, I did a little research to set the record straight. The wet race at Brands was apparently the second race in the JPS championship a week after Mallory Park. David Morgan was not entered in the race and my recollection of passing him with a misfire is way wrong. There was a misfiring car, it was Richard Scott's leading car, and I was closing on it because of that. Time ran out and he deservedly crossed the line first.
Mea culpa.
So much for "indelible memories".

#486 ian senior

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 14:21

Ted, do you mind if I ask you a really silly question, one that you were probably asked many times before when it happened?

When you won the Wella Formula Ford championship and attended the prize giving ceremony, did you REALLY have no idea that you were going to get a sponsored drive in Atlantic for the following season? The story was that it was completely unexpected. It's a great story, but is it true?

I did say it was a silly question.....

#487 Alan Cox

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 16:25

Originally posted by tedwentz
Alan, that's them all right. This picture must be from the F2 race at Thruxton.



Actually, Ted, it was from an Atlantic race at Mallory - you are on the Stebbe Straight with the lake in the background. It was from the same race that the pic of you heading Tony Brise in the Esses was taken.

#488 tedwentz

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 16:41

Toward the end of the Wella for Men Championship I got a distinct feeling that something was afoot and that Wella really wanted to participate in a different and significant way. Their PR people had been giving me a lot of attention and I was hoping that maybe a fully sponsored Formula Ford drive could be had if I won the championship. The Atlantic drive was a huge surprise.

#489 tedwentz

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 17:00

Originally posted by Alan Cox


Actually, Ted, it was from an Atlantic race at Mallory - you are on the Stebbe Straight with the lake in the background. It was from the same race that the pic of you heading Tony Brise in the Esses was taken.


That makes sense, because we left the pods on for a little while after Thruxton.

What an honor it was to race against Tony Brise. If he hadn't tragically perished in Graham Hill's Aztec I'm certain he would've eventually become a World Champion. His car control was superb and setup-wise he always knew how to get the most out of his racer. He was also a very clean driver, he didn't aggressively block the racing line. He would give way in a braking area if need be, but was usually able to get his position back quickly.
Tony had a lot of self confidence and always felt he would prevail in a fair fight and didn't have to resort to any baulking tactics.

#490 Alan Cox

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 17:20

So that other TNFers who weren't around during the 70s can put a face to the name, here is a pic of Ted from 1976, during the short-lived Indylantic experiment, plus some other photos of Ted's Lola from that season
Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image
Ted about to gobble up Derek Cook, while chased by Tony Rouff and Alo Lawler, and Tony Rouff with the much-campaigned Boxer with its own ground-effect skirts.

And two earlier Lola variants: Adrian Russell and Nick May
Posted Image Posted Image

#491 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 17:39

What a stud! Now that looks like a proper race driver! I remember when his was even longer, Wella must've sent a stylist over!

#492 Alan Cox

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 17:51

He was probably washing his hair in his new sponsor's product!!

#493 Chris Townsend

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 22:35

I think the Nick May Lola is Mike King in 1976 in the development car in which Ted finished off 1975 [after Roy James finished off his regular car]. Then driven by Tony Trimmer early 76, to King, then sold to Carl Liebich in the USA

Chris

#494 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:51

Ted, great memories of a fantastic era! You spoke of the sad loss of Tony, Graham and others in the plane crash.
Is it true your greatest escape was turning down the offer of a lift home in the Aztec as you had other arrangements?

#495 Alan Cox

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 08:00

Sorry, Chris, you are quite right - it is Mike King, not Nick May. See post 389 for a photo of Ted in the car, then painted black.

#496 tedwentz

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 13:20

Originally posted by Alan Cox
He was probably washing his hair in his new sponsor's product!!

It's too bad that that product didn't keep my hair from eventually falling out.
Sure wouldn't mind having it all now.;)

#497 Mallory Dan

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 13:26

Fantastic stuff chaps, best thing on here for ages IMHO! A couple of comments. First Alan, are those 75 Mallory pics from the June or August meeting? If the latter, I presume the Esses shot shows Ted leading Brise and Gunnar N, but who's behind? Looks like a March, Ray Mallock maybe? The Adrian Russell T450 is the first pic I've ever seen of this car, ex-Mallock F2 chassis I think.

And Ted, sorry to repeat an earlier question, but how was the T450 ATS car you used occasionally in 76, was it the bad lot it appeared to be??

#498 tedwentz

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 13:27

Originally posted by Chris Townsend
I think the Nick May Lola is Mike King in 1976 in the development car in which Ted finished off 1975 [after Roy James finished off his regular car]. Then driven by Tony Trimmer early 76, to King, then sold to Carl Liebich in the USA

Chris


The black car was the development car which we raced at Oulton Park. We hadn't intended to race the car, but with the loss of the white car we had no choice. Notice how narrow the track is and how steeply it's rolling down on the left front corner. Eric and Bob toned this characteristic back for the T460. I think that when the car was sold for the '76 season it was refitted with a more normal suspension. It looks like a wider track in the later photos.

#499 tedwentz

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 13:34

Originally posted by Andrew Kitson
Ted, great memories of a fantastic era! You spoke of the sad loss of Tony, Graham and others in the plane crash.
Is it true your greatest escape was turning down the offer of a lift home in the Aztec as you had other arrangements?


No, I've heard that rumour before and don't know where it came from, I wasn't anywhere near the continent when they left on that fateful flight.

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#500 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 13:56

Originally posted by tedwentz


No, I've heard that rumour before and don't know where it came from, I wasn't anywhere near the continent when they left on that fateful flight.

Thanks for the reply. I've heard it several times, wonder how it started?