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Jim Gavin RIP


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#1 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 20:42

It’s being reported on Facebook that Jim Gavin, rally organiser and the man behind lawnmower racing, has died.

https://www.blmra.co.uk/howdiditstart

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#2 Bob Riebe

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 21:20

It’s being reported on Facebook that Jim Gavin, rally organiser and the man behind lawnmower racing, has died.

https://www.blmra.co.uk/howdiditstart

How it has changed, in the U.S. of A. , where , depending on what area of the U.S. you are in , top modified classes can 60 mph on a larger track and a few areas run 1/4-1/3 mile tracks.
I want head south some day and watch one of those top modified races.

#3 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 11:14

Just heard that Jim Gavin has passed away. He was one of the key organisers of 1970s long distance Marathons eg 1970 London- Mexico World Cup Rally, 1977 London-Sydney etc.

He was also the guy who started Lawn-Mower Racing !

Taken from the British Lawn mower Racing website:

"Jim was involved in motorsport for most of his life, mainly long-distance rallies.
In the early ‘70s, with the arrival of commercial sponsorship, all types of sport became more and more expensive, especially motorsport. Part of a small group, in the Cricketer’s Arms Pub, in Wisborough Green that thought of racing lawnmowers, but with no commercialism or cash prizes. The idea took off like wildfire and today it is more popular than ever, and it’s still possibly the world’s lowest-cost motorsport!

Jim sadly passed on January 10th 2022 after a long illness."

RIP JIm



#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 15:13

What must rank, surely, as a highlight of his stewardship of rallying:

 

Jim Gavin was in a troubled state of mind as he left Tamanrasset. He had clashed with his friend Henry Liddon, he had argued with the Algerians and he had been forced to spend a great deal of money on what he hoped would be a wasted mission. Additionally, he himself now had to face the unpleasant prospect of a slow drive through the Sahara at the onset of summer. But any doubts of the wisdom of his stand vanished as the two Land-Rovers approached the remains of Fort Serouenout.

It was two o'clock in the afternoon of the third day since the rally cars had set out on their long journey to the north. Gavin's party had seen no signs of life since leaving the settlement of Hirhafok and he was now sweeping the route towards the refuelling point at Fort Gardel, still 168 km away.

Fort Serouenout was a tiny relic from the Foreign Legion days of French colonisation. No more than a square of crumbling mud and stone, it stood out only by the symmetry of its design in a region of vast plains and worn hills.

Parked in front of the fort was a white car. And lying against one of the decaying walls, their bodies dappled by its shade, were three men.

Stirling Moss, Michael Taylor and Allan Sell had been there for two days. It would be an exaggeration to say they were near death, but not that they were in a desperate situation. The three men - who had given away five gallons of water at Tamanrasset - drank the last of their supply as the rescue vehicles drove into view. Allan Sell was unconscious. All were severely affected by the heat and the overwhelming loneliness of their location.

Their Mercedes-Benz 280E, already severely battered by the journey to Tamanrasset, had broken its shock absorbers through the Hoggar Mountains. The shaking had loosened the plates within the battery.

They had been stuck in sand several times. Each experience had been terrifying, for had the motor stalled while they dug they had no means of restarting. Believing they were the last car on the road added to their worry. Waiting for rescue on a sandhill had no appeal, so they halted when they reached the fort.

It was built on firm ground, where they could restart the car by pushing it in gear. They could have gone farther, but would almost certainly have bogged or broken down at some less hospitable place where their chances of survival were poorer.

Besides, they took some comfort from the fact that men had once lived here. A building, even an abandoned one, offered a sense of security in this inhuman land.

So they stopped at Fort Serouenout and waited for Jim Gavin. They knew he would come because he said he would.

 

A man of vision, and of principle too.



#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 05:46

Tributes to Jim had spread across three threads, so I’ve amalgamated them into one.

#6 RS2000

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 16:54

Peter Robinson's recent booklet "Rally Tales 5" covered the history of Supersport Engines. Jim Gavin and Rod Cooper were a true "clubman" orientated preparation firm which, despite its name, were the "go to" place for rally Cortinas in the days before Ford's Rallyesport parts sales sold the right bits to competitors.

One story not repeated so lately was that allegedly Jim discovered the posts holding the new parking meters around their Acton (very basic) workshop were the right diameter, if split in two, to fit around and strengthen Cortina front struts. The police were baffled to discover that someone had sawn off a lot of the posts overnight but not stolen the meters themselves containing the cash.



#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 22:29

That would seem to me to be a fruitless pursuit...

 

The original Cortina struts had the tube silver-soldered into the forging at the base, that was their weak point.



#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 04:28

Max Stahl knew Jim Gavin fairly well...

 

He'd like to know more details of his death, if possible.



#9 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 06:36

Jim and Mary Gavin moved back to Ireland in 2019, having lived in Sussex for the previous 49 years. They lived in Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland and Jim died at a hospice in nearby Newry. His funeral was last Thursday (13th). Here’s the announcement:

https://www.funeralt...mgavin477382189

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 06:43

Any details of date of birth (or age) etc?