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John N

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  1. First "Worlds" for me was Belle Vue 62 (also WF2 & 3). The first two were a bit of a puzzle for me, who the Hell was Fred Mitchell? The 38 was a rare visitor to the frozen North, BV .programmes would refer to the "Southern Specialists" and Fred was one of them evidently. 66 was a cracker for me only due to Ellis Ford and his charge from the back of the grid. Passing several cars per lap he would certainly have been around at the end but finished his race jammed under one of the Toon brothers cars on the front straight. Meanwhile the Southern Specialist was trundling round at the front, harried by Ron Rodgers. At the time I knew nowt about owt and could not fathom why Mr Rodgers, with the best car ever made for Belle Vue (at that time and IMHO of course) did not make the pass. Mr Mitchell had a mean rep and the 152 was of course in the picture. He could have gone round the Southern Shed, sorry specialist, but that could be risky (ref Coventry 64). He could have put the 38 away, get that one wrong and he would likely as not finish up on Hyde Road. Not the best final ever. BV69 was a a masterclass, that Smith and his big Chevrolet, too cocky by half and an obvious flash in the pan! Not my words but I did hear somebody say them on the night. BTW Smithy has qualified for the final tonight (Darts Masters).
  2. John N


    Reference the Bedford and Vauxhall name appearing in old programmes, the Bedford "S" Type petrol engine was an anglised version of the GMC 312 cubic inch straight six. It was the engine used in the fire engines we know as Green Godess. In 1963/64 Ken Carter from Chadderton used this motor and placed regularly at Belle Vue with it. At other tracks, Nelson springs to mind, it would have been more competitive, its lack of top end would not have mattered as much as it did round Belle Vue. After 1966 when I had the car I never saw another Bedford engine in use however. Another Bedford user allegedly was Willie Harrison in the dim and distant fifties, he had a Vauxhall 25 fitted with the Bedford piece and won at Sheffield with it. This tale was told to me when I stumped up £45 to buy the Carter car and I have seen it repeated elsewhere,must be true eh? On the Vauxhall front I believe Ian Barker, whose main claim to fame was acting as a launching ramp for Stuart Smith one night at BV, used a Vauxhall Cresta motor when times were hard, this would be late 60's.
  3. I like "senior member", much better than oldfart! As the man said, I was there from from 1960 on and do not remember Joan Collins ever popping up for the "all important draw" before the BV final. Wikipedia informs that the lady stepped out of the public eye after her marriage to Anthony Newley, a period which covered the 60's quite nicely. The actress who played Lucille Hewitt in Coronation Street is one lady who i do recall, mainly because Belle Vue stock cars were mentioned in one episode later as the worst way to spend a Bank Hoiiday (What a bitch!) and I think I looked more like JC than she did. Where memory fails intuition kicks in, I surmise some pretty singist of the day who was appearing at the "Golden Garter" might fit the frame. Anita Harris?
  4. Somebody will always have to set up shop and bang the the drum to attract an audience. That somebody is in it for a profit, Business is business. The people who deliver product which will provide a profit for whichever somebody is banging said drum (in this case the racing man) may be in it for profit or not. We may be past a time when the following will have any resonance within the current racing community, but it struck a chord with me. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better The credit belongs to the ;man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and come short; again and again who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions; and who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows at the end, triumph; who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly; so that his place will never be with those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat
  5. John N

    Banned Wheels?

    Given the precise minimum weights specified in the BSCDA statement, it seems more an edict to exclude a particular piece, rather than a general instruction. Nothing about wheels in there to upset the vendor though.
  6. John N

    Heritage Cars

    The last 20 years? Iron sheds with a useless wing thing on top that only a transponder can recognise. Nostalgia ain't what it was.
  7. The ambulance pictured on e-bay could well have the all singing all dancing rear suspension with the LD diff on a fixed mounting and some kind of De-Dion axle, a real find for right anorak. Anybody who has seen the "Salvage Hunter" series on tv may have glimpsed a very tidy LD in fhe background during one episode, the owner was one P Gilbert I think.
  8. John N

    shale brafield

    Brafield was the venue for a televised meeting in 1959 I think, which was transmitted live and may have been the first time the new concrete surface used was used. Older images would also suggest a paved surface, but speedway predates stock car racing, mayhap prior to 1954.
  9. John N

    LD Van on e bay ...

    LD chassis and mechanicals very durable, body frame and cladding less so, a recreation of a "Slough Shower" style Jag complete with OE steering box location and full Mini body would be fun.
  10. John N


    Totally off topic, apart from the ref to 4mm main rails and rob258's post. 4mm converts to 7/32 in old money, in 1970 the man Cronshaw used 3/16 wall tube (SIX/32) for main rails, that car must have been all crush zone! Any comment on the weight of the Potent Mix 396 Rob? The man himself told me 22.5 cwt but I bet that car never went near a weighbridge.
  11. sorry pardon should read "the DRIVER who forfeits". Smart telly, stupid typist
  12. How about an engine claimer rule? The deal is that the guys get together and decide how much an engine should cost to put together using generally available bits, discounting labour. The agreed cost is the price another driver must pay to claim your engine, less "accessories" which may include such items as carb, dizzy and dry sump oiling gear. This method of cost control favours the budget racer and the smart mechanic, in the states of North America the cash heavy do not mess with IMCA modified racing, and that is the level of sport BriSCA should aim at emulating. Any comparison with NASCAR is ridiculous. As a matter of record the claimer rule can also backfire, the who forfeits his super motor may just be a better driver.
  13. Thanks for your post Wrighty, it's hard to credit how well that fence worked, it looks inadequate to modern eyes. Perhaps a modernised version with a steel plate to stop wheels penetrating the structure is worth looking at. Immovable fences offer an easy fix for the track builder and for that reason alone they are here to stay most likely. Engineering some give into the F1 car is a practical idea if you accept that the cars will simply not allow massive hits due to the presence of the "crumple zone". To achieve anything you have concede that a car will receive some damage if you hit a solid wall, the new bumper will require replacement and perhaps the front suspension as well. There are a lot of skilled fabricators out there whose input could be sought to progress this (nominate Alan ex 358!). i think the sport needs to move on this in its own interest, given the H&S mentality which prevails today.
  14. is there anybody out there who can recall how Aycliffe set their fence up? In many cases a car could go in hard and slide along the wire rope until the speed reduced enough for the car to bounce back into traffic, somtimes undamaged, although I recall a roll bar being cut halfway through by the friction on one occasion (1979, and repaired with a welded patch). There was a hell of a lot of wire rope involved and it was possible to get well entangled if a car penetrated far enough hit the banked up earth behind behind the fence, which would render many bottles of the brown stuff undrinkable due to the resulting dust storm. Belle Vue went in for this style of barrier after using it at Rochdale, both tracks had a substantial secondary fence (concrete panels and wood). The fence rope seemed be free to slide in and out to a remarkable degree with the whole thing being controlled by a number of stupendous fence posts, there were a couple of gate posts at the Vue fabricated from two huge RSJ's and connecting steelwork.
  15. I take it that the point here is that a track as "long" as 470 yards allows the cars to attain sufficient speed to inhibit the braindead banger racing approach which evidently is deemed to be proper stock car racing?
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