Race Retro 24 Feb 2018

We had a busy day today. Drove over to Stoneleigh Park near Coventry in the GT86 for Race Retro and then down to Silverstone for the tail end of  the Pomeroy Trophy meeting run by the Vintage Sports Car Club. It was nice to bump into a few people I know at Race Retro and we were surprised to see so many GT86s and BRZs in the car park.

Here are a few photos.

Race Retro

Good to see these in the flesh after featuring them on Gifts for Petrolheads.

I like an IPA and this Silverstone IPA wasn’t bad.

If you follow my other blog – postcards for petrolheads – you will know I’ve just found another car that uses these rear lights (see Three into One). If you know of any more, please let me know.

Silverstone – Pomeroy Trophy

I think this is a Ferrari 166 Inter of about 1949 with a body by Carrozzeria Touring. Rare eh? It’s great to see it being used and not in a museum this cold Saturday in February.

And here’s another rarity. I love Facel Vegas. I used to have a model of one as a little boy and used to study its lines and details in the Observer Book of Automobiles. What a car! Look at that windscreen! The lights! The grills!

I wonder whether he has a sticker that says ‘There are no Bugattis left in this van overnight’.



When I started this blog back in 2010 I had a small Canon Ixus camera that I took everywhere and it took some very good photos. I went through three generations of Ixus but then found that my phone camera was equally as good so started leaving it at home. The only issue with a phone camera (even one as good as my Galaxy S7) is that you can’t really take action shots because normally you are too far away (though I got an amazing sequence of photos of Wallace Menzies’ Shelsley crash in 2014 with an iPhone 5). So a couple of years ago Jacqui bought me a secondhand Canon EOS 450D digital SLR and a 55-250mm lens. I don’t always take it to events as taking photos of other people can distract from what I’m supposed to be doing there, like checking tyre pressures or fuel level or even getting my helmet on and having the engine warmed up ready for my run. However, yesterday I was not competing at Loton Park because it was a two day event and I was busy doing something else on the Saturday, and I went along with the camera to capture some action.

There are two types of action shots I like, ones that capture the essence of speed and movement and others that are frozen moments that reveal something out of the ordinary (things which people who aren’t enthusiasts probably don’t even notice). Here are my best efforts from yesterday.


This is quite a good panning shot of Richard Spedding in his GWR Raptor in that the background is blurred but the car is clear. It was taken on a preset programme designed for sports with a 1/800 sec exposure on f/5.6 with an ISO speed of 400.  I think this was lucky because normally my best panning shots are in shutter-priority mode with a 1/80 or 1/100 sec exposure.


This one of Nev Rollason in his Jamun Formula Ford was taken in shutter-priority mode with a 1/80 sec exposure, f/11 and an automatically set ISO speed of 200.  Setting the exposure at 1/80 is what I normally do for panning but it’s difficult getting a completely sharp car in the middle of the blur. This is almost sharp but not quite.


Graham Rose, Porsche 924.  This is at 1/80th but although the number 36 appears to be in focus, when you zoom in, the stickers on the front wing are clearly not.  When I achieve that, I’ll be happy.


Martyn Pike in his Escort. 1/100 sec. f10. ISO-200. Again, almost but not quite.


Sarah Bosworth braking hard for Fallow in her Elise, the front wheel almost locked up, the rear still rotating, a nice bit of blur from the pan. 1/100 sec. f9. ISO-200

The second type of photo I like is more static in nature but captures something so that you can forensically examine it. I take these with a very fast shutter speed with the camera on a pre-defined Sports mode. Here are a few of those from yesterday.

IMG_7355.JPGEric Morrey at the end of Cedar Straight, the back coming around to overtake the front. Actually this isn’t a fast shutter speed as I was all set up for panning but Eric decided to put on a show.IMG_7267.JPG Jason Mourant turning the front wheels of that Gould GR55 a little more than we are used to seeing at Museum. Now this is in Sports mode hence we don’t see any movement but we have captured the moment.  1/800 sec, f6.3 ISO-400.

IMG_7194.JPG Trevor Willis in the OMS. Again it is the angle of the front wheels which makes it interesting. Sports mode – 1/1600 sec, f6.3, ISO-400.


Front wheel drives raising a rear wheel are not an uncommon sight but this one of Rob Wilson going around Fallow is better than some I have taken in that you can see the motion of the front wheels in contrast to the static raised rear.  Panning on shutter-priority mode with 1/100 sec, f11, ISO-200.


If you sit under the tree at Fallow long enough someone will oblige by running wide. I’ve done it myself no end of times.  Here is Ed Hollier.  The photo isn’t good but the subject matter makes up for it.

And finally fourteen images I took with my finger firmly pressed on the shutter button with the ‘Continuous Shooting’ mode turned on, shutter priority mode set and the exposure set at 1/100 sec. They aren’t all good photos but are just what you need to create an animated gif. (Tt should be moving – if it’s not, then it’s your phone or browser or something).


I posted this (and some other photos) on the Unofficial Loton Park Facebook Group and people have been asking me how I made it. There are many ways to make an animated gif but the easiest way is to upload your images to an online service like http://gifmaker.me/ . It then does all the work and you can download a single image file which contains animation. You can’t upload it to FB but you can upload it somewhere else (like imgur.com) and put a link to it from FB. It’s Eric Morrey in his Imp. By the way, did you know you can search this blog? There’s a search box somewhere (dependng how you’re viewing it) – you’ll find loads of photos of Eric.

That’s all for now. Next big event is Saturday when my standard GT86 will have something done to it which will make it a little less standard and a little faster 😉

New Car.

Well, I have a new car! Sometimes I think that selling the Formula Ford and finding this has taken no time at all, and other times I think it’s been an age.  But before I reveal what I’ve bought, here are some of the cars I almost bought…


A Lancia Fulvia. It’s still for sale by the way from Targa Florio Classics http://www.targaflorioclassics.co.uk/


I also considered this Alfa from the same place.


And then there was the S2 Elise.  I chased a few of these.


And I was very keen on Westfields,  but dithered about and missed two very good cars.


I was quite keen on a VX220 but never actually had a test drive.


I went to see this nice little MR2. In fact we looked at a couple of these and I’d be much richer now if Id bought them (both).


And I considered getting another MX5, perhaps an 1800 Mk1 or even a Mk3 like TT.


After talking to Brian Marshall at MIRA I considered an old Porsche 944 and found this track day car on ebay. It’s still there.

saint goueno with alfa

And I contemplated getting another S2000 like Jacqui’s.   But in the end I bought…


Actually, I haven’t taken delivery yet so I’d better not tempt fate.

So is it a classic?  Well, it’s a modern classic.

Is it a roadgoing car? Yes, though we’ll be doing no holidays in it.

Is it ready to race? Yup sure is 🙂



Race Retro 2014

Had a good day at Race Retro in Coventry today…

Duncan Andrew's immaculate and super rare Elden Formula Ford. You don't see many historic FFs with inboard suspension.
Duncan Andrews’ immaculate and very rare Elden Formula Ford. You don’t see many historic FFs with inboard front suspension.
Renault 4CV
I like classic Renaults. This 4CV caught my eye but what I’m really after is its successor, the Dauphine.
D Reg Toyota.
D Reg Toyota. Who would have thought it would have survived.
Ford Capri
Big and Brash Capri.
Ferrari Rally Car.
Off-road Ferrari Rally Car. Why not?
Alfa Romeo
Terrible photo of the prettiest car in the show. Pure Style!
Another out of focus and too hastily taken photo of this 1961 Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale. If you want better photos, see this onyoutube.
1984 Mazda RX7
1984 Mazda RX7. The rotary under the bonnet looks tiny, but obviously needs some extra cooling.
Lotus Esprit
Lotus Europa with Esprit body, a Rover V8 and skis on the roof.  Just the thing for RallyCross.
Triumph GT6
Four Eyes
RaceRetro 2014
Eight Eyes
BMW Eyes

This is not hillclimbing

Photo courtesy of Rob MacDonald - http://www.robmacphotography.co.uk/ - showing me marshalling and a trials car climbing a hill but not hillclimbing.
Photo courtesy of Rob MacDonald showing me marshalling and a trials car climbing a hill but not hillclimbing.

Today I volunteered to marshal at a Sporting Trial organised by Hagley & District Light Car Club. I’ve never been to a trial before but this is what all my friends, who don’t know about motorsport, think I do when I say I go hillclimbing.  But no, trials are not about speed, they are about distance – how far up the course you can get without stopping and unlike hillclimbing, which is on tarmac, trials are off-road. It reminded me of my desert-driving days in the United Arab Emirates and Oman except there we could rock the car back and forth to get traction.  In trials you are penalised if you stop for more than three seconds and cannot go backwards at all.  If I had more money, I think I’d get myself a trials car for the winter when hillclimbing stops and get Jacqui to hang off the back, but the competitive cars cost more than my Formula Ford so maybe I’ll just marshal occasionally.  Here are some pics.  As you can see it was a marvellous day, fresh and sunny, and it was good to be outside.

Trials car going through streamScrutineering at the beginning of the day

A trials car

Trials cars in action on the hillside

Trial cars

Going back to the farm at the end of the day

A competitor runs out of traction

Autosport Racing Car Show


Today I went to the Autocar Racing Car Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and took heart from seeing this guy, below, painting. He’s finished his car as you can see and is now knocking out a picture for his lounge.   Everyone tells me I need to spray my Van Diemen but here’s proof that brush painting is the way to go.

Brush painting

Some of the fibreglass parts on myVan Diemen were quite badly damaged and I did wonder whether it was worth repairing them of whether I should buy new ones.  I hadn’t realised just how valuable little bits of old fibreglass bodywork can be.  After next season I’m going to sign them and stick  them on ebay.


Here’s a Ferrari.


More photos on Facebook at –


New Year’s Day at Shelsley Walsh

We had a walk up Shelsley this morning.  That hill is so steep! And my New Year’s resolution is to take the Van Diemen up it in 2014.  It’s on the HSA calendar twice – May 4th and September 20th but the May event coincides with an HSA two day event at Werrington in Cornwall so I’m a bit torn.  Will have to mull it over.

Shelsley Walsh New Year's Day 2014


Shelsley Walsh New Year's Day 2014


Shelsley Walsh New Year's Day 2014


Saint-Goueno 4th video

The Van Diemen is at Aldon Automotive to have its brakes looked at and I am supposed to be getting on with the bodywork but I’ve been distracted, first with my other blog Cars on Streets and now with putting together the fourth and final video from our visit to Saint Goueno hillclimb in France earlier in the year, and of course there’s Christmas.  Have a merry one!

Van Diemen at Aldon Automotive
Van Diemen at Aldon Automotive
A photo from my other blog 'Cars on Streets.'
A photo from my other blog ‘Cars on Streets.’

The fourth video from Saint-Goueno…  Now this may seem like a random selection of 78 clips clumsily put together, but in fact it was shot over two days and should show the course, bend by bend, in order, from start to finish. But then again, it is just a bunch of cars going round corners. Love it!

The other videos are here:

1. Saint Goueno (France) 1st Video 2013  (The paddock)

2. Saint-Goueno (France) second video.  (The road down to the start)

3. Saint-Goueno (France) 3rd video  (The start and a sleepy dog)

Stickers unstuck



Most of the Dulux and all of the stickers and fixings are off now and tomorrow I’ve got some special paint stripper arriving that won’t harm the fibreglass to get the last remaining bits off. Then it’s a case of rubbing down, repairing, priming and painting.  To save money I’m going to hand paint it again but this time will give myself more time and will rub down between coats.  No runs this time and no stickers next year and definitely no gorilla tape which was a right pain to remove.

Loton Park 10 and 11 August 2013

This weekend was two events – one on Saturday, one on Sunday (as opposed to a single event spread over the two days).

The weather was good on both days and I was hoping to break that elusive 60 second barrier, but it was not to be.  Once again I had gear selection problems which is boring to report, read and experience, so let’s move on.  Still, I had a good battle with Phil Perks from Preston in his Royale RP26.  We were both exceptionally evenly matched. For example look at these stats. On Saturday in the competition runs I went through the speed trap twice at 73mph and Phil went through once at 73 and once at 72. On the first competitive run on Saturday Phil got to Museum in 54.2 and I in 54.5 seconds.  On Sunday in the first run Phil recorded 76  mph and I 75 mph and in the second competitive run Phil was only one hundredth of second quicker than me to Cedar.  It was good fun trying to better our times and we were both sharing ideas and encouraging each other, so it felt only fair that Phil picked up the class win on the Saturday and I got it on the Sunday.

Here are some pics.

Phil Perks (Formula Ford 1600) and Mark Dalton (Formula Vauxhall Junior).
Phil Perks (Formula Ford 1600) and Mark Dalton (Formula Vauxhall Junior).
The two Formula Fords together in the paddock.
The two Formula Fords together in the paddock.
Mark Dalton again, in his Van Diemen.
Mark Dalton again, in his Van Diemen. Unfortunately Mark had to pack up on Sunday lunchtime as the car developed a fuel delivery problem.
Another Formula Ford - Les Buck in his Lotus 61, which he enters in the Classic pre-1971 class. Les's best time was 3 hundedths slower than mine and would have given him second in class in the Formula Ford class.
Another Formula Ford – Les Buck in his Lotus 61, which he enters in the Classic pre-1971 class. Les’s best time was 3 hundredths slower than mine and would have given him second in class in the Formula Ford class.
Alan Goodwin (who looks after my Van Diemen) in his Aldon, getting ready to go to the start line.
Alan Goodwin (who looks after my Van Diemen) in his Aldon, getting ready to go to the start line on Sunday.
An MGB on a summer's afternoon. The perfect place for a nap.
An MGB on a summer’s afternoon. The perfect place for a nap.
EB Debonair
I spotted this little car in the paddock and while looking over it, the owner came along and I asked for a photo. So this is John Edwards with a 1962 EB Debonair which he designed back in the early sixties and which is one of fifty-five his company, EB (Staffs), built.
Red, White and Blue – Jaguar E Type, Lotus Elite and Jaguar C Type (replica).

Time flies but then it stopped.

Last week we hired Curborough for an afternoon to let the boys have a go in the Van Diemen.  The weather was perfect and both Ollie and Sebbie (who at 16 doesn’t drive on the road yet) got the hang of things very quickly.  There was some crunching of gears but probably no more than when I started driving it.  However, we probably ran it for too long and after three hours (aghh! as I write it, I know it was too long, but on the day the time went so quickly!)  it stopped and would not restart.  At first I thought it was a loose wire behind the ignition switch but after messing about with it for the whole of the following day I decided it was beyond me and so took it to Aldon Automotive just down the road.

They had to have the starter motor reconditioned and then found both electrical and mechanical problems when they got it running. I haven’t had the final report yet (nor the car back), though know that Alan advises an engine rebuild as it is well down on power.  However, I’m hoping they can get it going well enough to compete this weekend at Loton where Oliver has his first competitive drive.

Saturday is an HSA event and I need the points and we are also entered on the Sunday.  Then the following weekend I am entered in two HSA events at Thoresby Park before returning to Loton on 29/30 September for a National A event and then on October 13th both boys are entered in the final HSA event of the year at Curborough. So we are quite committed at the moment with little time to have the car sorted properly. I just hope we can see it through to the end of the season and then have the car fully reconditioned over the winter.  I should have done all this when I had the Mazda!

L-R : Sebbie, Ollie and Jacqui in car.