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What did really happen to Barry Reece?

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#1 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 07:53

After checking TNF, using the search BB function, I've found little informations about the fate of Barry Reece.
He suffered a horrific accident around 1984 (or 1983?) and never recovered from head injuries. He died on October 1989, after five years of a coma. I don't know anything more about him.

It seems to me very similar to the story of Jan Opperman, Rick Baldwin and some others drivers, who sustained great racing crashes, passing the rest of their lives under sofference. Sometime one recovers from huge accident, someone lives with great problems, but lives (think to Giancarlo Falappa for example).

Reading old Autosport magazines, I've found Barry Reece as a well known figure of special saloon races already in the 60s, he drove Minis and Imps.


#2 doc knutsen

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 12:44

Barry Reece crashed his Maguire Stilletto at Castle Combe in 1983 iirc, and suffered very serious head injuries. At the time, I raced a similar car (but a 998, Barry's being an 850, at least the last time I saw it). I spoke to dr David Enderby about the accident and its aftermath (my car was bought from my dear colleague, David, when he embarked on building his Karmann Ghia clone special saloon that used Tiga S2000 running gear and an Imp engine, later a 1300 BDH). According to David, who saw Barry some time after the accident, Barry was conscious and not in a in a state of coma, but had suffered permanent cerebral dysfunction and never recovered fully.

Certainly, special saloons in the mid Seventies and onwards could be dangerous beasts, as some of them were dramatically lightened with aluminium and fiberglass, with not everybody paying that much attention to the safety of the structure. Maguire's chassis, though, were properly engineered and well triangulated multi-tubular space frames, with proper seats and proper seatbelt anchoring strong points, seems ironic that Barry should suffer so badly in one of those.

#3 ReWind

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 18:57

I cannot answer the question in the title of this thread but I can show you what is written about Barry Reece in Mike Kettlewell’s 1981 „The Pace Motor Racing Directory“:

Area Manager of plant hire company, working in South Wales and the West of England. Born May 12, 1946, in Cardiff. Married to Jeanette. Two children, Claire and David. Member of BARC and BRSCC. Hobbies and interests: Rugby Union - what else for a Welshman?
Since his first race at Mallory Park in 1969, Barry has always raced a Mini and has now notched up over 50 class or outright wins. Many of these were gained in regional events near his South Wales home where he gained quite a reputation for his rapid handling of 850 cc special saloon cars. Successes included several class wins in the BRSCC South-Western Championships as well as two Welsh 850 Championships at Llandow, although he has moved further afield during recent years and 1980 was his best season to date.
Driving a Maguire Mini, Barry won the BARC Wendy Wools 1000 Special Saloon Car Championship outright and also took his class once again in the BRSCC SW series at Castle Combe. In all, he notched up 14 wins last season, usually with an engine built up by himself and his brother Philip, who helps enthusiastically as mechanic, although a further improvement came towards the end of the year when he acquired a short-stroke, eight-port head Arden motor: It made a helluva difference, admitted Barry. On our first outing at Croft, we suddenly lopped two seconds off the lap record!
Looking back on this very successful year, Barry recalled only one non-finish: We failed to score points in only one meeting – due to an engine blow-up at Croft when I selected first gear instead of third!

#4 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 19:07

I took this at Silverstone in 1980.

Posted Image

#5 ReWind

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 19:31

Another little bit of info - from AUTOSPORT, October 19, 1989, p. 19:

Former Wendy Wools special saloon champion Barry Reece died last Thursday. Barry is probably best remembered for a series of immaculate luridly-hued, Isis-backed Minis. He never fully recovered from the severe injuries which he sustained in a practice accident at Castle Combe in September 1983.

If that date is correct it should be easy to find info about the accident.

#6 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 10:12

Thank you all, gents!

I've found this site
(don't know how reliable), in which Barry Reece is listed as the driver of a Imp Californian who had an horrific accident at Snetterton (not at Castle Combe) with it in 1984 (late '83?).

#7 Pete Stowe

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:19

This horrendous accident was during practice at Castle Combe on 17 September 1983. According to Autosport, Reece’s Maguire Californian touched Ken Davies’ Davrian at the very fast Folly bend, with both cars then hitting the armco at high speed. Barry was reported to have sustained “multiple fractures of the legs, arm and chest, and head injuries”; Davies was also hospitalised “with less serious arm and back injuries” and Autosport commented that “both drivers were victims, it would appear, of an unavoidable racing accident in the heat of the moment.”

#8 MCS

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 14:45

For what it's worth (bugger all, probably), I always thought that Castle Combe was a dangerous circuit.

I didn't go often, but when I did I always saw something awful happen.

Can't imagine what it must have been like when the F5000s visited in the early 1970s...

From a statistical perspective it would be interesting to find out how many of the accidents that occurred resulted in serious damage; either to the car or, indeed, the driver.

Sorry to be so gloomy :rolleyes: , but the statistics may say something - assuming that they are correct in the first place of course.

#9 ghinzani

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 22:32

Agreed, without the chicanes it was a scarey place but that also was the attraction, you had to be brave but meausured. However some incidents there, like Ian Mcardells were possibly avoidable and could not just be put down to a "racing incident" as I recall.

#10 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:38

I raced at Combe in the 90s pre and post chicanes. Yes it was always an attention grabber(more so pre-chicanes) but that was part of the fun.

When I raced at Silverstone I found it so smooth and lacking in bumps or nearby barriers (start straight and Copse excepted) that the impression of speed (and the fun) was greatly reduced. At Combe you really felt you were motoring and getting the car set up to take the bumps and cambers was also part of the skill . At Silverstone it was simply a case of setting the car as stiff as possible and even at full tilt it only felt like a motorway cruise compared to Combe...

I had a shunt at Folly in wet practice in 97, it took my totally by surprise as even in the wet it was normally flat in my Rover 220 Turbo. luckily a slight chip to one front tooth was my only injury, but it inadvertantly led to meeting my ex-wife so, in the long term (divroce etc...), it was a horrendously expensive accident!

I can see how a special saloon going off at Folly could, in certain circumstances, have been very bad, there really wasn't a lot of metal in some of those Imps and Minis. They were more like motorised skateboards and bloody fast ones at that.

Simon Lewis
Transport Books

#11 clare reece-evans

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 12:12

Let me clear up any misunderstanding. My father had his horrific accident in castle combe during the practice session in september of 1983. He suffered multiple injuries to his legs and head and was in a coma for a number of weeks. It is true that these injuries left him severly dissabled but he never forgot how to drive. He did return home after numerous years of rehabilitation, But died in hospital unexpectedly on 13/10/89.
He is still my inspiration after all these years.

#12 2F-001

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 13:16

Thank you, Clare, for taking the trouble to post here; it must be rather odd to see complete strangers discussing the fate of your late father in open forum - althopugh I'm certain it is done with genuine interest and affection. I, for one, saw your Dad race (in a category of car that always captured my imagination and entertained me) although never knowingly met him.
It's warming to hear that he still has such a positive presence in your heart and soul (for want of a better word). Apologies if that came across sounding a little florid.

#13 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 14:36

Thank you Clare.
It is an honour for me to meet you and to read your words about your father.
Sometime our passion for motorsport is touching.

#14 phillip_reece

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 19:20