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Vale Ray Allen


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#1 sstiel

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 20:05

As revealed elsewhere, Ray Allen, the winner of the Formula Ford race at Brands Hatch in July 1967 has died. A contributor to our colleagues Darren and Kev's book about Tom Pryce he went on to race in F5000 and in non-championship Formula One. Sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues.


Edited by sstiel, 15 May 2021 - 20:22.


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#2 Nick Planas

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 22:05

Sorry to hear this. Very sad news. RIP



#3 barrykm

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 05:46

RIP Ray.

 

A name from my Autosport reading days in the late 60s and 70s.



#4 MarkBisset

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 09:23

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My recollections of Ray Allen in far-away Australia were in a Formula Ford book I bought as a kid- he was an early front-runner. The shot above is in 1970

 

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A spin at the Mallory Hairpin in 1971- McLaren M10B Chev, while Mike Hailwood, Surtees TS8 goes around 


Edited by MarkBisset, 17 May 2021 - 09:25.


#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 09:38

A few years ago I went to one of the excellent series of talks put on by the indefatigable Rob Ford at Club Lotus Avon. Sitting quietly in the front row was someone I didn’t recognise. It was only when the guest speaker (Warwick Banks IIRC) told us he’d ‘brought a friend along, who some people may remember - Ray Allen’, that we twigged. He turned out to be a very modest and unassuming guy. I’m so sorry to learn of his death. Condolences to all his family and friends.

#6 68targa

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 10:04

I will always remember him as one of the F5000 'gang' that were around inthe UK, alongside Redman, Hailwood, Gardner, Ashley and others ... and for having  Pink Stamps sponsorship.

 

Very sorry to hear of this news  R.I.P.



#7 Sterzo

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 10:06

This is very sad, a link with history gone. A friend and I watched that first FF race from Paddock and agreed it would never catch on.



#8 Giraffe

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 12:44

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Ray pictured with Marcus Pye at the 50th anniversary of F5000 gathering in January 2019 at Autosport International.

Photo courtesy of James Hadfield.

#9 pete53

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 13:01

Sad news.

 

I was at that Brands meeting in July 1967 when Ray won that first proper Formula Ford race ( there had been a class for them at a single seater race at Snetterton a short while before).



#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 18 May 2021 - 11:39

The BRDC's tribute to Ray Allen...a driver I now regret I never knew.

 

We regret to inform Members that Ray Allen died last Saturday 15 May after a lengthy illness. He was elected as a Full Member in 1978.

 

Although Ray enjoyed success in Formula 5000, it was on 2 July 1967 that he wrote his name indelibly into the history of motor racing when at Brands Hatch he won very convincingly the first ever Formula Ford race and so set the wheels in motion for what is perceived by many to be the most popular and durable motor racing category ever conceived. Ray was driving a Lotus 51 entered by Motor Racing Stables where Formula Ford was conceived by its proprietor Geoff Clarke in conjunction with John Webb of Motor Circuit Developments as a more economical means of providing single-seater experience for customers of the Brands Hatch racing drivers’ school.

 

A few months earlier Ray had been one of those MRS customers after trying his hand at the School’s simulator at the BRSCC Racing Car Show at Olympia. After queuing for two hours, he had the last ‘drive’ of the day, recording a time faster than everyone else, including some Formula 1 drivers, with only Graham Hill being ahead of him. A month or so later, after paying £50 borrowed from his father and coming through the MRS tests at Brands Hatch with flying colours, Ray was on the grid for the Rochester Trophy in a Formula 3 Brabham BT15. After qualifying eighth among some of the top drivers of the time, Ray fluffed his start but then charged through the field to finish in sixth place. 

 

At the time Ray was serving with the Royal Engineers and about to be posted to Cyprus. Geoff Clarke was determined to have Ray as a full time driver for MRS and negotiated his release from the Army for the princely sum of £250 for which Ray always retained the receipt! In 1968, the first full season of Formula Ford, Ray was up against the more experienced Tim Schenken who won most of the races and the national championship with his Merlyn Mk 11 but Ray came to be recognised as the man to have on your side if you were developing a new Formula Ford car. By 1970 Ray was working with Bob King’s Racing Preparations, constructors of the first Royale single-seaters. The year began with a Formula Ford Torneio in Brazil won by a certain Emerson Fittipaldi with Ray third. They would meet again just three years later in Formula 1.

 

Ray spent the best part of 1970 dominating the Tarmac Formula F100 Championship in a Royale RP4, winning 12 of the 13 races. However, this John Webb-conceived sports car equivalent of Formula Ford never gained traction and faded away after a couple of years, having been a launch pad for the careers not only of Ray but also of Tom Pryce. In March 1971 Ray had his chance to race a Formula 1 car when John Webb agreed a deal with Frank Williams to run Ray in the non-championship Formula 1 Race of Champions. The March 701 which Frank made available was only 12 months old yet no longer at the cutting edge of F1. However, Ray made the most of the opportunity, on a circuit which he knew like the back of his hand and finished sixth ahead of former Lotus Grand Prix driver John Miles’s BRM P153. It was during this race that Ray became re-acquainted on track with his old sparring partner from his Formula Ford days, Emerson Fittipaldi, who was whistling along just ahead of him in the Lotus Type 56B turbine car until its rear suspension broke.

 

For the rest of 1971 Ray divided his time between two other John Webb initiatives - Formula Atlantic and Formula 5000.With the DJ Bond-entered Royale RP8, he won three rounds of the Yellow Pages Formula Atlantic Championship to finish fourth in the final standings, the title going to future Le Mans winner and F1 driver Vern Schuppan. In Formula 5000 Ray was run by Jackie Epstein’s Team Trojan in a McLaren M10B sponsored by S & H Pink Stamps which required not only the car but also its driver’s race suit and crash helmet to be ‘in the pink’. For a first season at this level Ray acquitted himself very well indeed finishing on the podium three times – at Monza, Snetterton and on the Brands Hatch GP circuit. He finished regularly in the points to be seventh in the final analysis. Ray also drove the McLaren in the Formula 5000 class of several of the then-popular non-championship F1 races but there were to be no more pukka F1 drives.

 

Jackie Epstein re-named his team Speed International Racing for 1972, retaining Ray as one of his drivers in a McLaren M18, a car which generally did not enjoy the same measure of success as its M10B predecessor. Ray finished third at Mallory Park, Nivelles in Belgium, and on the Brands Hatch GP circuit and his consistently points-scoring results earned him sixth in the European Formula 5000 Championship. In the combined F1/F5000 non-championship races Ray’s best result was sixth in the Oulton Park Gold Cup, second of the F5000s to Brian Redman’s outstanding new Chevron B24. Into 1973 Ray drove a Servis-sponsored Surtees TS8A in some early season races, taking third place at Mallory Park and, from the back of a 29-car grid, he came through to finish eighth overall and fourth of the F5000s in the Brands Hatch Race of Champions.

 

Ray then retired from race-driving but remained very much involved in the sport as senior instructor at Motor Racing Stables where he was highly regarded, and will be fondly remembered by, the many aspiring drivers as a congenial tutor who had shown how it was possible to progress from a simulator at a Racing Car Show to race in Formula 1 in just four years. In later years Ray was frequently to be seen at Formula 5000 and Formula Ford gatherings, usually with a big grin on his face or roaring with laughter as he met old friends and colleagues and recalled how it was in his day. The BRDC offers its most sincere condolences to Ray’s family and many friends in the sport. 

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 18 May 2021 - 11:39.


#11 MCS

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 14:44

The picture of the spinning Pink Stamps McLaren was the front cover of Autosport all those years ago, was it not?   Very strangely, Autocar also published a few pics from that season opening F5000 event at Mallory Park as well, but probably never provided another F5000 picture again!

 

Irrespective, sad to see the news about Ray Allen.  He won in Formula Ford, F100 and Formula Atlantic and was always at the right end of the field in F5000, despite never having the best machinery. 

 

Inevitability, he had some extraordinarily good stories and it saddens me that nobody seems to capture these reminisces.  I well remember a conversation with David McKinney, with us both becoming frustrated as to quite how to record these memories before it was too late.

 

RIP Ray Allen - a somewhat reluctant looking ShellSPORT jacketed attendee at the 1974 Racing Car Show on the Free Enterprise II, walking from Tower Bridge tube in the London gloom with the identically attired Tony Lanfranchi and Clive Santo...



#12 john aston

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 05:58

The first racing driver I ever spoke to - at the Racing Car Show in 1968 - Autospeed 68 was it ? I was just  16 , barely capable of operating a clutch correctly (on my illicit early efforts behind the wheel ) but Ray did a very good job of inducing me to sign up for a Jim Russell course. Such a good job that I had to make my excuses and leave ...