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The Player's No. 6 Autocross series


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#1 David Beard

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 22:01

Prompted by some stuff that came up in the Lotus Elan rally car thread…

I have fond recollections of the Players No.6 autocross series in the late sixties in the UK (I understand autocross is something different in the States). Autocross got somewhat superseded by Rallycross after a while, which was a pity. The No.6 events were well presented, with a couple of No. 6 liveried “S” engined Mokes at each event for someone of note to drive. The series can only have lasted for two or three years, but it certainly captured my imagination as a spectator at the time. It was well covered by Motoring News, if I recall correctly….which in those days was a paper of grown-up quality

The following scans are from a programme I still have from one of the No. 6 events, held near Chinnor in Oxfordshire. I can’t really recall it: I remember more clearly one held at Stokenchurch near High Wycombe, in the field that used to be the car park at the motor cycle grass track events more usually held there.

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Does any one else have memories of these events?

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#2 bill moffat

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 22:29

This stretches the memory but I went to one of the Players events somewhere near my home town of Cardiff. I remember the Mokes with their hefty roll bars arriving on a flat-bed lorry. I thought they were "Twinnies" David..but maybe not.

Local garagiste Norman Harvey was a bit of a property developer I seem to remember and did well buying up areas of the old Cardiff/Penarth dockland.

The car I remember most was a near-standard Austin 1800 driven by ex BMC works driver Geoff Mabbs, hopelessly uncompetitive but it appealed in some strange way.

So what is the relevance of the (Lotus) 47"F" designation ?

#3 David Beard

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 22:34

Originally posted by bill moffat

So what is the relevance of the (Lotus) 47"F" designation ?

Furry?
(I think this was the car with the strange stubble finish mentioned in the Elan thread)

#4 RS2000

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 22:34

Was recently attempting to explain to a new generation in one motor club exactly how big autocross once was in UK. It was really when I moved to one of the UK regions that started 4 cars together that I realised its days were numbered. Autocross is not dead but it hardly registers now.
Rallycross has never been on anything approaching the same scale and it is autograss that killed it (along with changing farming methods that leave only part of September available to many of those seeking to resurect autocross). Together with the restricted level of road rallying since 1988(essential as that may have been), the concurrent rapid decline of autocross may well mean that motorsport sanctioned by the UK national FIA-recognised body, the MSA, is now a minority of UK motorsport. (If you add the cruise and drifting practicioners to NASA and non-NASA autograss plus tarmac and shale oval racing, it is a very small minority). That is a pretty major change that few of those who spend their time thinking about elitist retro events at Goodwood etc or saving Shelsley Walsh seem to comprehend. Ignore it and grass roots motorsport is dead here. Tarmac speed venues are lost (North Weald now under threat)(still no hill climb venue in the entire south east quarter of England). We dont realise what we had and what we have lost. The Players No 6 series gave autocross extra stature. Its not just the good old days of club-level autocross that are gone - MSA motorsport itself is at risk and they fiddle with prestige projects/venues while Rome burns.

#5 Bonde

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 22:40

Not the Player's No. 6 series, so somewhat OT I suppose, but I do remember attending an autocross meeting in Belgium ca. 1974. The course had some fairly steep gradients - I guess the course was normally used for motocross - so comming onto the gradients at the wrong attitude almost invariably meant 'car on roof'. There was no tarmac, of course.

The thing I remember most about it was the amusing entry of 'old bangers' - Renault Dauphines and suchlike - and a number of interesting home-brewed specials. The one that particularly caught my imagination then (I was ca. 14) was based on an old rear-engined BMW 700.

Now...I wonder if my brother or myself still have some photos of that event somewhere...

Isn't, or wasn't, UK 'Autograss' something along the same lines?

The next rage seemed to be 'Pop-Croos' for 2CVs - I'm sure that decimated the population of old 'Deuces' somewhat...

#6 David Lawson

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 22:40

I have very fond memories of Autocross events at Scotts Hall Farm in Canewdon which is a small village about 3 or 4 miles from Southend on Sea in Essex. I could cycle to the track in a matter of minutes, in subsequent years I got there on a Lambretta and in my first Mini.

Events were held there for several years and it did form part of the Players No 6 championship in 1969, I can't recall if it was also a championship round in other years.

Here's a photograph I took there in 1969

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The farm and this particular field is unchanged to this day. Did anyone else from the forum spectate at this venue?

David

#7 RS2000

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 23:02

I have pictures of the Barry Lee Escort GT at an autocross I went to in Essex in 68 and the name Canewdon does ring a bell.
The Belgian version has its own name (something terre or terre something?) but it never featured much in reports I saw when rallying in Belgium in mid 80s.
UK autograss is faster and uses flat ovals and is frighteningly high tech in many of its classes - which is why our complacent MSA should be afraid...very afraid.

#8 David Beard

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 23:19

Lovely photo, David L. Is that a Simca up against the Minis?

I can’t be sure, but I think I took these snaps at the Player’s No.6 at Stokenchurch I mentioned earlier. No idea who the drivers are, unfortunately.

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#9 Graham Gauld

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 07:56

This thread on the Players No6 Autocross Championship brought back many memories as I set up and organised the Players No6 Scottish Autocross Championship those many years ago.
My favourite memory of all is an argument I had with Players when I suggested that the first round in March should take place on a site at Muir of Ord north of Inverness in the real wilds of Scotland. Players felt that going to the middle of nowhere was pointless for their promitional activities but my argument was that if you want people to attend an event do not organise them in large conurbations because there are too many events held there, go to somewhere that is never in the limelight and people will come from far and wide. Eventually they reluctantly agreed but it was clear that my job was on the line if it did not work out.
As it turned out it snowed and yet around 5,000 spectators turned up which was about 3,000 more than at that year's final on a sunny day on the outskirts of Glasgow.
The Muir of Ord fixture also provided a problem for one of our wilder competitors, Geoff Rosenbloom who was a pilot with Loganair and ran a Porsche-engined Beach Buggy. One day a few days before the event he phoned to say that he had persuaded Loganair that he should put some air miles on to their brand new Shorts Skyvan which was a kind of flying furniture van with seats. The plane had not been signed off to go into public service but Geoff had seven seats pulled out of it and as it had a rear loading platform the Beach Buggy was loaded into the back. This was too good a publicity thing to miss so I persuaded Malcolm Macdougal the motoring correspondent of the Daily Record ( Scotlands largest selling redtop) and a photographer to fly with Geoff, my son Lance who was 8 at the time, and myself to Inverness airport where a friend had a car and trailer to take the Beach Buggy to Muir of Ord.
Well, Geoff was a bit of a lad, but despite the cold weather forgot to switch on the wing edge anti-icing gear and as we flew over the Grampian Mountains and in sight of Inverness airport one of the two engines stopped dead. At this Geoff announced that he would have to circle on one engine until the propeller - it was a turbo-prop- on the dead engine stopped turning. He then said he would press the tit and if the engine fired up again he would go straight into Inverness airport in case it stopped again.
So we circled Inverness watching the fire engine and ambulance lining up at the end of the runway and when the engine fired up Geoff did his best impression of a Stuka pilot over a convoy and headed straight for the runway. Imagine our surprise when, about 300 yards from the apron a lilting highland voice came over the radio " Oh....and by the way there is a 40 mph cross wind" As a result the wind hit us about 20 feet off the ground and our "furniture van" hit the runway on the right hand wheel and then bounced down on the left hand wheel and we came to a dusty halt with the Beach Buggy pressing hard on the back of our seats.
We unloaded and headed for Muir of Ord. In Inverness McDougal and his photographer asked us to stop, they rented a car and announced they would drive back to Glasgow !
So what had happened ? A drop of water had frozen and stopped the fuel going into the engine which automatically switched it off. As we came down to warmer air the water melted and he was able to start up again. I can assure you he had the de-icing switched on half an hour before we left that night otherwise I wouldn't be here wasting your time writing this.

Graham Gauld

#10 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 09:46

Laurie (Lorry) Driver or Simon Taylor ?
Canewden was a place from which grew a company called Canewdwen Consultants, a group of (mainly) ex Ford engineers and draughtsmen that became big players in the contract design and draughting of new cars for Ford, Jaguar Porsche Mazda etc among others.

I remember Mabbs' landcrab, and I remember the Mokes -there were some top drivers involved in that series, I am sure Graham Hill or Jim Clark did one or two.
The ones I saw must have been around Glouceshire, Wiltshire or Oxfordshire, although I can't remember where.

#11 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 12:36

a Video called Mini Goes Racing features some footage from the Players 6 events....

#12 David Lawson

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 13:14

Yes David it is a Simca in my start line photograph at Canewdon. Later that day he rolled the car and I have a slide somewhere of the accident.

Huw, I didn't know that Canewdon spawned a racing consultancy but it's not surprising as Boreham and Ford Europe's base in Brentwood are both less than 20 miles away.

I forgot to mention that TEAC were based in Southend and as a member of the organising club for the rallycross championship that was partly responsible for the demise of autocross I became a regular spectator and occassional marshall at the superb events at Lydden Hill in the early 1970s.

This is a privateer rallycrossing his Anglia in 1972 which I photographed at Lydden, he came from Basildon again local to my home town, Southend on Sea.

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I'm sure a lot of people on this forum remember the quality of the entries for the rallycross with the likes of works Fords, British leyland, DAF, VW, SAAB wth drivers such as John Taylor, Rod Chapman, the Hathaway brothers, Jan de Rooy, Franz Wurz, Roger and Stan Clark all often shown the way home by apple farmer Huw Wheldon driving his private Mini in wellington boots.

Sorry to digress from the Players No6 thread.

David

#13 ian senior

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 14:05

Great thread, great pictures, great memories.

We had Autocross in Yorkshire at Eggborough. Most of the "circuit" was in an old sand quarry. The very nature of the surface (i.e. sand) made for some spectacular driving. I think the coffin-nail championship made it to Eggy at least once. Stan Clark was a Very Big Deal in those days, and he slid his Escort around beautifully on the loose surface. Must have been a family trait.

Like others, I can remember some oddball cars appearing. None more oddball than a slow and dangerous looking Renault Dauphine. There have been some unlikely competition cars over the years, but how anyone could expect such a device with its built in mega-oversteer to deliver the goods is beyond me. Still, it was good for a laugh and made a change from Anglias and Minis.

#14 RTH

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 18:10

Paul Kerridge's Europa was covered in VELVETEX a statically charged synthetic fibre attracted to the similar charged body covered in adhesive, - you cleaned it with a clothes brush - it was an alternative to the then fashionable vinyl roof.

#15 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 20:33

Jan de Rooy and Harry de Rooy, they were spectacular weren't they?
the two of them in their (?) powered Dafs using all sorts of tactics to stop the opposition getting ahead, IIRC ending up in some paddock punch ups.
Add to your list Jenson's Dad of course.

#16 RS2000

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 20:57

BDA powered DAFs (and did one car end up in Iceland??). Wasn't one of the DeRooy brothers killed in a road accident joining the A2 from the Lydden road?

#17 David Lawson

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 22:43

Huw and RS - Jan de Rooy was very spectacular and I always recall the sound of the twin cam BDA at maximum revs throughout the 3 lap races thanks to the CVT. Here's a photo I took at Lydden. I was at the meeting when the crash occurred as the teams left the circuit but I can't recall now if it was one of the de Rooys.

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de Rooy leading a VW and Rod Chapman.

I've found some more of my slides from Scotts Hall farm in 1969 and here is the Velvetex Lotus.

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Apologies for the very poor quality Box Brownie shot.

David

#18 glyn parham

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 23:15

Autocross - Sunny summer days spent watching the events organised by Maidstone & Mid Kent Motor Club whilst my parents beavered away on the results team.
The locations that I can remember being used were in Stockbury (near Maidstone), Colliers Green near Paddock Wood, Mote Park (in Maidstone, a mile from the town centre) and best of all, at The Great Danes Hotel which was used for several years and hosted annual rounds of the Players No6 championship. This would have been 1967-1970 era and I well remember some chap called Win Percy coming up from the west country and blowing all the local stars into the weeds, whatever happened to him?

John Taylor cut his teeth in autocross in a Volvo Amazon and was quick from his first events. Rod Chapman built on his autocross experience to do rather well in Rallycross as well. Nick Ramus used the same Sprite to go circuit racing before retiring from the sport to concentrate on his daughters show jumping career and I nver did find out what Barry Lee did :blush:

Fun days and many memories.

Was one of the De Rooy brothers killed on an early Paris-Dakar in a Daf truck? IIRC the casualty on the A2 at Lydden was another Dutch driver and his wife/girlfriend?

Glyn

#19 pierre

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 09:30

Re Velvetex Europa. It went from Kerridge to Ronnie Douglas, who extensively modified it! and then to Peter Foulkes.

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#20 sterling49

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 09:40

Originally posted by David Beard

It was well covered by Motoring News, if I recall correctly….which in those days was a paper of grown-up quality


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Spot on! I hardly ever glance at it now :lol:


Great picture of Rod Chapmans Cortina, gorgeous Minilites :clap:

#21 f1steveuk

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 10:34

Originally posted by David Lawson
Huw and RS - Jan de Rooy was very spectacular and I always recall the sound of the twin cam BDA at maximum revs throughout the 3 lap races thanks to the CVT. Here's a photo I took at Lydden. I was at the meeting when the crash occurred as the teams left the circuit but I can't recall now if it was one of the de Rooys.

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de Rooy leading a VW and Rod Chapman.



David


Is the VW Franz Wurz (Alex's dad) in the Peter Kiss Racing Porsche engined Beetle???

#22 sterling49

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 10:44

Originally posted by f1steveuk


Is the VW Franz Wurz (Alex's dad) in the Peter Kiss Racing Porsche engined Beetle???



I think it is Wurz, he had...shall we say, a pretty aggressive driving style, forceful comes to mind.........


Sterling

#23 f1steveuk

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 11:15

"Forceful", yes that would describe it!!! I think I can just see the lips painted on the "bonnet" (boot really), I always thought the car was completely green, but that's a bit like saying the de Rooy brothers cars always had undented panels!

I remember these cars from the Grandstand covered events from Lyden, but can't remember if they were part of the Players events?

#24 sterling49

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 11:28

I saw the de Rooy brothers often at Lydden, angelic springs to mind :rolleyes:

#25 f1steveuk

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 15:33

Did a bit of Googling (well the GP was dull, for a change!)

http://www.rallybugs.com/rallyx2.htm

Lots of VWs, and some piccies of Franz Wurz

#26 sterling49

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 15:50

Interesting site.....the Beetle in the 1970's gallery on the R.A.C. Rally, registration number EUU 440J, the 1302 S show on the Castle Howard stage was purchased by a friend of mine in early 1972, it then went on to compete in LCAMC and ASEMC road events for a few years.

The Wurz Beetle must have had regular visits to the bodyshop, but it was blindingly fast with the Porsche engine.....................


Sterling

#27 David Lawson

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 05:43

Originally posted by f1steveuk


Is the VW Franz Wurz (Alex's dad) in the Peter Kiss Racing Porsche engined Beetle???


I'm not sure but this incredibly grainy and scratched negative of mine is definitely of Wurz.

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I can't remember the year, possibly 1972 but it is Franz Wurz as I remember him in this livery

David

#28 picblanc

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 07:28

Originally posted by David Beard
Prompted by some stuff that came up in the Lotus Elan rally car thread…

I have fond recollections of the Players No.6 autocross series in the late sixties in the UK (I understand autocross is something different in the States). Autocross got somewhat superseded by Rallycross after a while, which was a pity. The No.6 events were well presented, with a couple of No. 6 liveried “S” engined Mokes at each event for someone of note to drive. The series can only have lasted for two or three years, but it certainly captured my imagination as a spectator at the time. It was well covered by Motoring News, if I recall correctly….which in those days was a paper of grown-up quality

The following scans are from a programme I still have from one of the No. 6 events, held near Chinnor in Oxfordshire. I can’t really recall it: I remember more clearly one held at Stokenchurch near High Wycombe, in the field that used to be the car park at the motor cycle grass track events more usually held there.

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Does any one else have memories of these events?


Back to the Players No6 Autocross series ;) :p

I went to one just North of Harlow in 1967/8 when a lad, there was a very good crowd and Davids programme brought the memories back, my programme got "chucked" out years ago (along with some now very valuable footy programmes, hindsight would be a wonderfull thing!!) :| : but I belive I have some photos/slides from it, I am searching for them.
The field is still there but for how long? with the proposed "Harlow North" coming!!!
Great thread/memories again!!
Graham.

#29 RTH

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 09:47

This is a recent picture of the Sebring Sprite from the above events now still owned by Frank Tiedeman who has, and still does sprint , hillclimb and race it . He has owned it for over 30 years.

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I remember going to one of these Autocross meetings in the early '70s at Hillingdon Middx.

#30 h4887

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 10:24

Originally posted by picblanc
[B]

I went to one just North of Harlow in 1967/8 B]

Would that have been Little Hallingbury? I remember going to a grasstrack event there probably in the late seventies

#31 picblanc

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:07

Originally posted by h4887


Would that have been Little Hallingbury? I remember going to a grasstrack event there probably in the late seventies


Hi Geoff, no it was just east of Gilston Park, between Harlow and sawbridgeworth.

#32 picblanc

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 17:20

Found the photos! not quite how I remember them : they were taken by my Dad 40 years a go!!! I cant belive that :eek:
Any way I hope you enjoy them, sadly you cant see much detail though, I have zoomed in on photoshop and you can see Lotus Cortina's, Anglia's, Mini's and some strange single seaters!
But they are interesting for the spectators cars I think to.
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All photos Copyrighted Graham Etheridge, racebikepics.

#33 sterling49

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 17:27

Great shots Graham, I find it just as interesting looking at the spectators cars......HA Viva, 100E, Mk 1 Cortina ( like my dad had in '65), a Commer Cob Van, MGB, Mini's,1100's, Zephyrs,A40, Beetle..... and not a Euro Box or Turbo Nutter in sight...Just brilliant! A great sight and atmosphere that we all remember :up:


Sterling

#34 RTH

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 18:11

They are really lovely unusual precious pictures because they show the crowd and their cars a real slice of social history .

#35 David Beard

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 18:30

Originally posted by sterling49
Great shots Graham, I find it just as interesting looking at the spectators cars......HA Viva, 100E, Mk 1 Cortina ( like my dad had in '65), a Commer Cob Van, MGB, Mini's,1100's, Zephyrs,A40, Beetle..... and not a Euro Box or Turbo Nutter in sight...Just brilliant! A great sight and atmosphere that we all remember :up:


Sterling



How could you miss out the Berkley!!!

#36 sterling49

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 18:45

Originally posted by David Beard



How could you miss out the Berkley!!!



or the 105E next to it, possibly because I am wallowing in nostalgia :smoking: A friend had a Berkley, I think it had a 650c.c. bike engine...it went like stink and sounded mental!!!!!

#37 picblanc

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 20:05

Originally posted by sterling49



or the 105E next to it, possibly because I am wallowing in nostalgia :smoking: A friend had a Berkley, I think it had a 650c.c. bike engine...it went like stink and sounded mental!!!!!


Thanks guys :D glad you enjoyed them, so thats what the little open top car with the "monster" steering wheel is, I thought one of you would know!! :up:

#38 RS2000

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 22:03

and the Mk1 Cortina carries all the registration letters (but not the numbers) of the Team Lotus 1965 race cars!

#39 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 12:54

Just to let this thread wander even further from its origin, where there no "Wheel Trim Taste Police" there that day picblanc?
The Berkeley had an Anzani engine didn't it? That steering wheel looks suspiciously like it started life in an AH Sprite. The pic also reminds me how sick I am that I had to sell my Morris Traveller recently. It reminded me of days like these.

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#40 f1steveuk

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 13:04

Huwdge, I think according to the Eagle comic cutaway drawing, it also ran on a BSA, but I am going from dim and distant memory. If only I were at home, I could go and look :rolleyes:

#41 picblanc

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 15:17

Originally posted by sterling49
Great shots Graham, I find it just as interesting looking at the spectators cars......HA Viva, 100E, Mk 1 Cortina ( like my dad had in '65), a Commer Cob Van, MGB, Mini's,1100's, Zephyrs,A40, Beetle..... and not a Euro Box or Turbo Nutter in sight...Just brilliant! A great sight and atmosphere that we all remember :up:


Sterling


There's a nice white Ford Capri there to!! :cool: well I think so any way!!

#42 David Beard

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 19:00

Originally posted by Huw Jadvantich
Just to let this thread wander even further from its origin, where there no "Wheel Trim Taste Police" there that day picblanc?
The Berkeley had an Anzani engine didn't it? That steering wheel looks suspiciously like it started life in an AH Sprite. The pic also reminds me how sick I am that I had to sell my Morris Traveller recently. It reminded me of days like these.


I thought the 2 sroke twin was an Excelsior and the 650 4 stroke a Royal Enfield. And the Bandit had a 105E. (all without Googling, mind)

#43 Mallory Dan

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 15:40

Red Trousers look interesting too....

#44 picblanc

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 16:54

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Red Trousers look interesting too....


I noticed her Dan (not at the time though! was only interested in football and playing run outs then!!) she'd be in her 60's now!!! :(

#45 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 19:25

A member in the Rochdale Owners Club has recently bought a Rochdale Olympic, FRU 12D, which was raced in the Players No6 Autocross Championship during the 1960s, by husband and wife team Keith and Jean Ross. We are interested in knowing more about this car, what year they won their class, and more about the Rosses. Some years ago the car was briefly in my ownership and two things I recall about it. The inner wheel arches had been greatly reinforced with steel plates bolted to the glassfibre to strengthen them, and the doors had small turn buckles. Apparent the Rosses had their racing numbers on sheets of plywood, so when one came in, they could easily swop the numbers over.

Any news gratefully received.

#46 RS2000

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 20:31

Where was it based when it competed? (it's a Dorset registration). The 2 clubs I vaguely recall as running AutoX then in that part of the world are defunct - but autox drivers such as Win Percy are still there.

#47 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 08:29

I'm sorry but I/we know little more although it did apparently win a class in the championship one year, presumably with Keith Ross driving.

#48 Turnersportscars

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 20:26

Originally posted by David Lawson
Huw and RS - Jan de Rooy was very spectacular and I always recall the sound of the twin cam BDA at maximum revs throughout the 3 lap races thanks to the CVT. Here's a photo I took at Lydden. I was at the meeting when the crash occurred as the teams left the circuit but I can't recall now if it was one of the de Rooys.

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de Rooy leading a VW and Rod Chapman.

I've found some more of my slides from Scotts Hall farm in 1969 and here is the Velvetex Lotus.

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Apologies for the very poor quality Box Brownie shot.

David


That is a great shot of a Turner! I wonder who the driver was??

#49 EDWARD FITZGERALD

EDWARD FITZGERALD
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Posted 08 June 2008 - 22:38

from the depths of Hot Car Magazine , IIRC Paul Kerridge was the europa driver , I dont think the turner guy ever got a mention .

#50 RogerFrench

RogerFrench
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Posted 09 June 2008 - 23:03

I remember Autocross in the 60s very well, having been an ANWCC autocross competitor until it got too expensive, and that in no small way was due to the No6 Championship coming along.

Anyone remember John(?) Bevan from Gloucester and the Naveb, his very clever Twink-powered special that just about cleaned up? Or, in the North West, "Baron Entwistle" in his reputedly works-supported and very fast TVR 1800? He also had what I think was a TVR-built 4WD special that wasn't, as I recall, quite so successful.

When Players got in, money became important, sponsorship essential, and the true amateur was kicked out. From the on, decline was inevitable.