Thursday, 28 October 2010
MOTOR RACING EARLY '70s
In the early to mid '70s i helped out working in my spare time for local racing driver Peter Clark. Pete had won the Northern Saloon Car championship and was racing a Crossle Formula Ford, again in the Northern series. We would work on the car a couple of nights a week then go racing every fortnight or so through the season. We raced at Croft, Cadwell, Ingliston, Oulton Park and in the first year at Rufforth where the car and driver were almost totalled in a big accident.
In the early years he won the championship twice before making the step into Formula 3, although he was on top of his game with the FF car in F3 we were little fishes in a very big sea and really got nowhere before running out of funds and Pete decided his future lay in (Le Mans style) sports cars. This took us to the 1000ks at Brands and big meetings at Silverstone but again there wasnt much of the earlier success.
The Wisharts name on the car belonged to a Co.Durham garage and sponsor of Peters run by Stan Robinson who basically blew the business by pouring all the money into motor racing and a grand lifestyle (to us anyway). The garage went tits up and much of the racing stuff sold for peanuts at the liquidation sale.
Through the Wisharts connection Paddy and i got to service on the Avon Tour of Britain in 1974, this legendary event centred in Birmingham and included races and rally stages all over the country. All the major manufacturers had teams in it and we rubbed shoulders with Mike Batt and the Wombles and got hammered with Roger Clark every night. A mint event though i ended up in Birmingham hospital after hacksawing through my finger.
The hairy boys in the top photo are Dick Palmer now parts manager at a local Volvo dealership with me on the front wheel and Pete in the car. In the lower left photo L to R Kirsty, whereabouts unknown. Christine, later my wife who sadly died in 1991. Paddy, now has his own car service and repair business after a lifetime of being late for work and Betty, Petes wife, i heard she went back to live in her native Birmingham.
Pete Clark packed in racing in the late 70s and set up the highly successful CC Racing with Dave Cook, they built and raced the works Ford Capris in the British and Euro Touring Car championships and went on the be one of the Norths top Porsche specialists. Pete's passion by then was flying and he was a very successful aerobatics pilot before being killed performing at a show in the late 90s.