Old friends at the Autosport Show
The Autosport Show is always a chance to bump into old friends of the Championship and this year there were a couple who visited us on the BRSCC stand who immediately spring to mind for different reasons – David Munro and Richard Harman.
I had started to delve into the archives to see more about David’s “career” but he saved me the trouble by sending an e-mail after the show which I am repeating in full here –
“Let me try to assist you with clarifying the history of my car(s). My first faltering attempts to race came in August 1986 at a very wet Mallory Park in a half completed Class E (as it was then) Alfasud. The 1976 shell came from a field in Staffordshire where it had probably housed chickens. My good friend Will Dick turned it into a race car for me and having done but one practice session at Mallory (there was no ARDS test then), I circulated cautiously on terrible Michelin TRX tyres in torrential rain. I loved it. Races at Snetterton and Oulton followed and I was hooked. The car evolved into a Class B runner (it was red/white/green) and Will worked wonders for no financial return. I had no budget and I destroyed engines at a rate of knots but I got quicker and by 1988 I was at least competent!
That car was sold to Michael Wade eventually and then, sadly, to Kevin Griffiths. I had gone on to race in the Firestone Production Saloon Championship for a couple of years. This was massively expensive and not much fun, so in 1990 I borrowed a front running Sud from David Litchfield (it was at that stage black – I later painted it blue) and did an Italian Inter-Marque race at Brands. I won the class and finished 2nd overall. So I bought the car and returned to the Alfa Champoionship in 1992. I had been let down by a sponsor (I was promised £5,000 but I only ever received £500) so I spent the year absolutely flat broke but I never finished lower than 3rd overall and loved every moment of the racing (with people like Tim Lewis, Alan Marshall and Ted Pearson).
The Sud was then sold to Pete Cate who ran it successfully for a time. It ended up in the capable hands of Steve Dymoke who used it for hillclimbing until it was destroyed in an accident about 4 years ago. I moved on to race in the BARC Westfield Championship for a couple of years before doing doing a few Clubman’s races (in 2005/2006 I think). I also acted as a spotter in both Pickup Trucks (we won) and Days of Thunders ASCAR Champinship (we were second).
I remain involved with motorsport as I am a permanent chairman of the MSC National Court, a post that I have held for several years and I am on my 30 something Alfa – I own a GTV Cup and a 156 V6. My son James is currently Karting and is much quicker and sharper than I ever was. He also owns a 156. Together we are going through one of those “where do we go from here?” moments – hence our appearance on the BRSCC stand at the weekend. I think that my day as a competitor may have passed and I am looking for other roles, but James is keen to progress”
We suggested that James in a renta’ Twin Spark Cup car might fit the bill with David having the occasional outing!
UPDATE: Gary Lucas posted some more photos of the car after reading this article.
I met David Munro at my first race at Oulton Park in 92. He was friendly and more than willing to help a newbie. Interesting to see I ended up with his car later on. I used it in Autoitalia before it went on to Kevin.
I was delighted to spot Richard Harman eye-ing Tom Hill’s 156 as I hadn’t seen him since a Race Retro Show a few years ago. He raced a Class D Production GTV6 with us between 1991 and 1994, finishing 4th in class during his first season against the likes of Clive Hodgkin (75), Will Winterson (33 1.7) and Chris Gladwin (GTV6). He improved on that in 1993 to finish 3rd with three class wins to his name, being beaten this time by Keith Fawdington (Sprint 1.7) and Ron Davidson’s 164 3 litre. His final class win came at Castle Combe in 1994.
However, it is Richard’s more recent accomplishments as a writer and motoring historian that have eclipsed his brief time in racing. His huge work on Briggs Cunningham and his cars was the result of seven years of conscientious research during which he traced the history of all the cars that Cunningham produced or, like his team Maseratis and Jaguars, raced. The result was two volumes (844 pages in total) with over 1500 Black & White and colour photographs.
This outstanding achievement was recognised in 2014 by its shortlisting for the Royal Automobile Club’s “Motoring Book of the Year” award. When you look at the other books on the longlist, you can’t help but be impressed. They full list was –
- Cunningham: The Passion, The Cars the Legacy by Richard Harman
- Ayrton Senna – All his Races by Tony Dodgins
- Group 2: The Genesis of World Rallying by John Davenport
- John Surtees: My Incredible Life on Two Wheels & Four by Mike Nicks
- Maserati: A Century of History by Gianni Cancellieri & Lorenzo Ramaciotti
- McRae; Just Colin by David Evans & Colin McMaster
The winner was the book about John Surtees and his lifetime in racing bikes and cars, the only rider/driver to achieve World Championships on both.
Giulietta (and MiTo!) gear up for TCR & TCR Series
The Romeo Ferraris developed TCR spec Giulietta has been back in action after a lengthy break. The prototype was seen testing recently at Mugello. Unfortunately it rained but the team was very satisfied with the performance of the car which they said exceeded their expectations, particularly the engine.
The Giulietta will appear in the revitalised Italian Championship which will include TCR and the less developed TCS cars, in addition to taking part in the International series. Of particular interest, though, is the entry of two Mitos in the TCS section by the Tecnodom team. This is an offshoot of a large company producing refrigerated display cabinets and has had considerable success racing Seats and Fiat Abarths in Italy. We shall be watching this with interest as there are some other well know Italian teams taking part, including JAS Motorsport with one of their Honda Civics.
Since our last Friday Fix, we’ve added 14 drivers to the 2016 line up.
James Browning returns in his brightly coloured 147 for his second season in the Twin Spark Cup
2015 was my first year in the championship, and loved every second
Richard Stevens will be racing his newly resprayed 145 in Cheshire Alfa colours again.
2015 being the first season I ever entered and the first racing I had ever done was such an amazing buzz that I have not slept since with excitement for 2016!
We always welcome new drivers to the championship and Mike Tydeman should be a contender having bought the 2014 championship winning 156 driven by James Bishop. Previously, Mike raced a Mk1 Fiesta in the Duckhams/Slick 50 Road Saloons during the mid 80’s.
Vincent Dubois returns in his Modified 156, fresh with a new Bacci Gearbox. Let the battle commence!
Our first Power Trophy competitor this year is Keith Waite in his familiar K&L Autos 75 3.0 which battled hard against Ray Foley at Donington last year.
Richard Ford brings his 146 back for another year after outings at Silverstone & Cadwell last season.
Roger McMahon will be back in his 147 Cup car in which he was part of the epic 5 car Modified battle at Cadwell Park last year. More of the same please!
Keeping it in the family, Barry McMahon joins Roger in his 156.
We also hope to see long-time championship competitor Chris Oxborough in his supercharged 75 3.0.
Josh Lambert returns in his TS Cup 147 and has already been testing at Brands Hatch ready for the new season.
It’s also great to see Andy Inman back to start his sixteenth consecutive season in the championship.
I’ll get the hang of it one of these days!
Andy Robinson is hoping to be more competitive in the Modified class without sacrificing the greater reliability he achieved last year in his 3.8 156.
Grove & Dean Motorsport’s Andy Hancock returns for more this year in his TS Cup 156 and looks to be mixing his Alfa Championship racing with another trip abroad and a mini endurance round.
Third year in Alfa Romeo Championship, looking forward to highlights of Zolder & Spa this year, as well as the Alfa/Twinspark Cup Birkett Race Meeting entry!
Finally, Simon Cresswell returns in his bright orange 156 last seen badly damaged at Croft. Hoping to see more podium finishes after a great 2nd place at Brands last year.