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Pete Kerr


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 22:54

I hear that former March and Shadow (and so many other teams) chief mechanic Pete Kerr has passed away. If true - very, very sad news.

DCN

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#2 Gary C

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 23:21

Oh dear, this sad news. I spent a very pleasant morning interviewing Pete about 3 years ago. I still have the tapes and they are fascinating listening.

#3 FLB

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 02:27

Any relation to Phil Kerr, the former Brabham and McLaren man?

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 06:24

Originally posted by FLB
Any relation to Phil Kerr, the former Brabham and McLaren man?

Both hailed ffrom New Zealand but I'm pretty sure they were unrelated

#5 f1lass

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 20:36

taken from www.grandprix.com:

Peter Kerr has died at the age of 73. Kerr was a New Zealander who arrived in Britain in 1964 and worked as the chief mechanic with Roy Winkelmann Racing in Formula 2. In this role he got to know Jochen Rindt well and through him became friendly with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. He later moved on to the March F1 team as the team's very first employee where he worked for Max Mosley, as mechanic to the likes of Ronnie Peterson and Niki Lauda. He then moved on to Shadow and ultimately to Arrows where he stayed until his retirement, working in research and development and know to all as "the professor of mechanics". In his later days he worked with Ecclestone on the development of Formula 1 pass technology.

Kerr's funeral will take place on May 15 at 2pm at the Crown Hill Crematorium in Milton Keynes.

Another link to the past gone. :( May he rest in peace :cry:

Carole

#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 11:08

It sounds as if poor Pete developed a rapidly progressing condition to which the National Health Service was incapable of reacting with anything approaching adequate speed. I guess any treatment might have been unable to cope, but with the involvement of Jackie Stewart and the BRDC at least Pete received some speedy help towards the end - it just proved too late. I have received the following from Howden Ganley:

Unfortunately it is all too true. He passed away in the early hours of
May 1st. His funeral will be at Crownhill Crematorium , near MK, on May
15th at 2pm. He started having trouble a few months ago, but it didn't seem too serious but
then I got an e-mail about a month ago, and when we spoke he said he only had a few weeks to live. Lymphoma.

I find it hard to believe that I have lost my Best friend ( Judy ) and one of my oldest friends ( Pete ) over a period of five days !

Pete prepped my father's car at one time, so I have known him since I was a teenager. He was also part of the Motordrome Racing Team, which I am sure you have heard of. When Pete first came over to England he and I and Johnny Muller shared a house in Maidenhead.

One of the nicest guys one could ever meet, and one of the finest mechanics I have ever encountered. A real Chief Mechanic. He has quite a large piece in my book." The Book ".

(some of which I have read and for TNFers it will be A MUST).

DCN

#7 Dennis Marwood

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 07:59

The last time I spoke to Pete was a week before he died, I am so glad I made that call, he joked about having his 3 sisters arriving and how he was going to handle them like giving them Chinese burns as he used to give them in his childhood days

He was planning to return to NZ , and we were looking forward to that. Now we have the memories, the first one I will mention is the last GP Meeting at Ardmore in Jan 1962 when Stirling Moss won the NZ GP, and Pete and I won the under 1500cc Saloon race that morning.

His quick thinking enabled us to modify my Humber 80 in just one and a half months, to beat all the other Humber 80’s a Wosley 1.5 with cross flow Derrington head and 2 webers, and both the British Leyland prototype ‘S’ Mini Coopers that Bruce McLaren and Ron Flockhart drove. He kept telling me how tyres would work better with wider rims, so we widened the steel 15 inch rims one inch, fitted some used Dunlop racing tyres off Jim Palmer’s Lotus 11, he fabricated a manifold to take 2 x 1 3/4 inch SU carbies and got a cam from UK and it all worked!

That was when we were part of the Motordrome Racing Team, and the last memorable occasion was in Feb 2003 ,41 years on, when we managed to have a reunion of that team.

Ross and Paula Greenville had us at their Puerta del Sol golfing retreat in Mount Maunganui for the weekend with all 4 drivers Ross, Howden Ganley,with wife Judy, (who sadly lost her battle just a day before Pete)Brian Innes and myself with wife Jill all in attendance as well as the sponsor Ivan Segedin AND the 2 main mechanics, Pete and John Muller.

What a neat, clever and humble person to have known, I always thought of Pete as being indestructible and in a way he is still with us.

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 22:24

No
(see earlier posts)

#9 275 GTB-4

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 08:07

Originally posted by Dennis Marwood
The last time I spoke to Pete was a week before he died, I am so glad I made that call, he joked about having his 3 sisters arriving and how he was going to handle them like giving them Chinese burns as he used to give them in his childhood days

He was planning to return to NZ , and we were looking forward to that. Now we have the memories, the first one I will mention is the last GP Meeting at Ardmore in Jan 1962 when Stirling Moss won the NZ GP, and Pete and I won the under 1500cc Saloon race that morning.

His quick thinking enabled us to modify my Humber 80 in just one and a half months, to beat all the other Humber 80’s a Wosley 1.5 with cross flow Derrington head and 2 webers, and both the British Leyland prototype ‘S’ Mini Coopers that Bruce McLaren and Ron Flockhart drove. He kept telling me how tyres would work better with wider rims, so we widened the steel 15 inch rims one inch, fitted some used Dunlop racing tyres off Jim Palmer’s Lotus 11, he fabricated a manifold to take 2 x 1 3/4 inch SU carbies and got a cam from UK and it all worked!

That was when we were part of the Motordrome Racing Team, and the last memorable occasion was in Feb 2003 ,41 years on, when we managed to have a reunion of that team.

Ross and Paula Greenville had us at their Puerta del Sol golfing retreat in Mount Maunganui for the weekend with all 4 drivers Ross, Howden Ganley,with wife Judy, (who sadly lost her battle just a day before Pete)Brian Innes and myself with wife Jill all in attendance as well as the sponsor Ivan Segedin AND the 2 main mechanics, Pete and John Muller.

What a neat, clever and humble person to have known, I always thought of Pete as being indestructible and in a way he is still with us.


Dennis...just a tiny correction....the Cooper S first appeared in 1963. Much has been written about Flockhart having "the first Mini Cooper in Australia", not an S, so it would make sense if the Cooper race cars referred to, with McLaren and Flockhart, were 997cc Cooper Minis, not S-types.

Welcome to the forum by the way....fantastic to see yet another personality who was there, and doing that, in the period :up:

#10 David McKinney

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 09:04

Probably not the place to get into this sort of argument, but 275 is right
McLaren's 1962 car was an early 997. It was a year later that he ran the prototype S

And may I endorse the welcome to Dennis, and hope that he will contribute to happier threads from time to time in the future

#11 Dennis Marwood

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 21:35

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4


Dennis...just a tiny correction....the Cooper S first appeared in 1963. Much has been written about Flockhart having "the first Mini Cooper in Australia", not an S, so it would make sense if the Cooper race cars referred to, with McLaren and Flockhart, were 997cc Cooper Minis, not S-types.

Welcome to the forum by the way....fantastic to see yet another personality who was there, and doing that, in the period :up:


Many thanks for that welcome 275, I know these 2 Mini's were correctly refered to as 997 Cooper Mini's, however the rumour was that British leyland already had the plan to siamease the bores and produce the 'S' type and these 2 cars were sent down under for prototype testing of that idea. I stand to be corrected and would like to see that question answered, I am new to this forum participation so maybe there is another way to get the answer?

Dennis

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 22:10

Do you not think you might be mixing the 1962 and 1963 cars?
Having said that, I do remember there was supposed to be something 'special' about the earlier ones
On the other hand, wasn't 1963 the first year of the S?

#13 275 GTB-4

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 02:03

Originally posted by Dennis Marwood


Many thanks for that welcome 275, I know these 2 Mini's were correctly refered to as 997 Cooper Mini's, however the rumour was that British leyland already had the plan to siamease the bores and produce the 'S' type and these 2 cars were sent down under for prototype testing of that idea. I stand to be corrected and would like to see that question answered, I am new to this forum participation so maybe there is another way to get the answer?

Dennis


Hi Dennis....yes welcome to the nuthouse...I have just been wrestling with a Mini gearbox putting a taller diff in so that the revs are kept to a moderately respectable level on the highway.

Craig Watson writes a very good magazine called The Mini Experience, recently, he has been discussing the McLaren/Flockhart cars and about Skinny Manton (Monaro Motors) who may have bought the Flockhart car (this was reported by Bill Tuckey in SCW Dec 1970 as "the first Cooper in the country")....another opinion is that the car was returned to the UK.

http://www.autofan.com.au/

One theory is that they were evaluation cars, "Cooperised" possible at Surbiton and using current FJ thinking and taken out to 996cc....still with 850 style grilles and English sliding window bodies. According to a fella (who I think posts here also) the chrome script on the boot read "Cooper Mini".

The 997 Mini Cooper was released in the UK in Sept 1961 and in Nov 1962 in Australia.

The 1071 Cooper S was released in the UK in Apr 1963 but only ever privately imported downunder.

#14 Catalina Park

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 08:16

Originally posted by Dennis Marwood


Many thanks for that welcome 275, I know these 2 Mini's were correctly refered to as 997 Cooper Mini's, however the rumour was that British leyland already had the plan to siamease the bores and produce the 'S' type and these 2 cars were sent down under for prototype testing of that idea. I stand to be corrected and would like to see that question answered, I am new to this forum participation so maybe there is another way to get the answer?

Dennis

I doubt that British Leyland had anything to do with it. :cool: This was well before BMC was cursed by British Leyland.

#15 briggsy

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 13:02

Petes funeral last week was attended by approximately 200 people.
Not unexpected as he was one of the worlds best mechanics and his ever smiling face made him popular with everyone he met.
I was fortunate to start my profesional motor racing career working with Pete and Dewar Thomas another brilliant mechanic from New Zealand. Being the first English person working for the Winkelmann Team I was given a daily education on their country and lesons on how to pronounce the Maori town names.Very soon i had picked up the accent and people still ask me when I came to the UK.
He will be missed by me more than I thought.
As Bernies wreath stated, To a real friend.

#16 ian senior

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 13:30

Originally posted by Catalina Park
I doubt that British Leyland had anything to do with it. :cool: This was well before BMC was cursed by British Leyland.


But after Nuffield was cursed by BMC....

#17 Michael Clark

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:37

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for Pete and Marcia Kerr in Hamilton. It was a wonderful occasion with many notable drivers present including Chris Amon, Jimmy Palmer, Graeme Lawrence, Bryan Innes, Bill Stone, Dennis Marwood and Roly Levis - plus mechanics John Muller, John Martin and Ray Stone.

Tributes were read from Alan Rees and Tony Southgate, amongst others while Howden Ganley was mentioned often, and and part of a tribute penned by Doug Nye was read out.

Lots of stories were told from the Winklemann Racing Team days, with their workshop under the bowling alley, to his R&D work right up to retirement. Parts of Howden's eulogy for Pete's wide Marcia, who died in the late 90's, was also read.

Their ashes were laid to rest and then we retired to a cafe where photo albums could be viewed. Various posters had been hung up to mark the equation - I walked in with the first of the drivers mentioned above and almost immediately came a 'Good Lord - where did they find that?' when he spotted a large poster of a 6.9-litre Ferrari...

A wonderful event that has now brought closure for the respective families almost 2 years to the day since Pete died suddenly.