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PAUL S

Nice shot of Mike Smith and Carls car behind?

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That's Mike O'Brien behind Smithy and it would be qualifying for the 1989 Birmingham street race.

I think Smithy went out of the race early on and as I remember O'Brien did not qualify. It was another race where there were more cars entered than there were positions on the grid.

Birmingham was probably my favourite track, we had qualified there in 1988 but the BTCC did not get their race as one of the Formula 3000 cars had crashed and the driver, Russell Spence I think, refused to get out of the car and was trying to get the raced stopped so he could re-start. Anyway, with all that going on they ran out of time and had to re-open the roads so we did not get our race!!!

1989 Birmingham story:

One of my sponsors, Evans Halshaw, had their main Ford showroom right on the start/finish straight, that weekend they had 300 guests watching the race, so quite a bit of pressure on me particularly as 5 Sierras were not going to make it on to the grid.

I went out in qualifying to warm the car up for a couple of laps got a 'banker' lap time , I think about P5. Came back into the pits to put my qualifying tyres on and go for a time. Blasted it out of the pits, lost control and stuffed it into the Armco. What a f.....g  w....r, I could not believe I did something so brainless, I limped back to the pits but my steering was all to cock. With not enough time to fix the car, I sat there watching the screen as I was demoted down the order. Luckily when the session finished I had still set a good enough time to start 8th or 9th I think. The race was a bit of a non event I think I finished around 9th or 10th, pretty shit really, but I loved Birmingham.

I think one of the best bits of RS500 film is the Harvey/Rouse/Bristow scrap that went out on air. You really got a sense of the immense speed of those cars. They had to weld down the manhole covers because the RS500's coming down from the Mosque were doing 160ish and we were sucking them up when we went over the top of them at that speed.

The other great thing was as we came round by the multi-story car park which was a 2nd gear corner, as we booted it and got over-steer  I could lean on the Armco with the rear of the car to keep it  straight, this caused some fantastic sparks!! But wasn't great for the paintwork, I remember Roger (Dowson) saying to me when I came in after the race, 'you've been playing silly buggers again Jerry', no I haven't I said , Roger said we've been watching all the sparks and pointed to the big screen opposite the pits. Well and truly caught!!

Jerry 

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You manage to turn a simple picture into a story to make us simle

so pleased you visit on here Jerry

BTW , i was stood next to the rob gravett 1990 car last week  8)

Its been found and is coming back to england very soon

Paul

[/quote

Paul that is brilliant news! Iv always wondered where it disappeared too, look forward to more info about its return.

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Hi Paul, CONFIRMED :)

Great photo, have not seen that one before, is it just new or been around for some time??

Hi Jerry, You are correct, it is Mike O'Brien behind the wheel, but not his normal RS500.

The car number gives it away, Robin Donovan ran with no. 18, Mike O'Brien ran with no. 17 and Dave Pinkney was no. 16

I had heard that Mike O'Brien used the Blue Hawk car later in the year when Robin Donovan had left TDR, Apparently being the newer car ( the 3rd built) it was the better handling car. (I would love to know what was different? do you know anything about these TDR cars Jerry??)

Mike also shared this car at Donnington , the race with co-drivers

Cheers, Carl

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Great Carl  8) it appeared a few days ago on pistonheads regarding an article about road racing returning to the UK, its not a shot I had seen before either so thought I should drop a copy onto here.

Well thats two of them in the shot found, someone now just needs to unearth Jerry's one  :)

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Sorry Chaps, been away for a few days.

Carl I couldn't give you full specs on the TDR cars what I do remember it that they weren't that well built, a bit scruffy really. As far as I am aware they used 'rally' type suspension ( similar to Karl Jone's car), it was cheaper and more obtainable. These cars were never competitive with the front running cars except when Tim (Harvey) did the Brands race in 1988 when the car was run on, shall we say fuel that was a little potent!!! Enabling the car to run much higher boost without detonating. I was 3rd in that race and was following Tim and my eyes were streaming from the fumes from his car!  It would probably never be admitted now but it is a fact.

Pinkney, O'Brien & Donovan were trying to compete in Class A with a very limited budget. There was just no way you could even be in with a chance with those cars then unless you were throwing serious money at it. To give you an idea, the Oulton Park weekend, which was the opening round of 1989, I blew 3 engines up at 15k a shot, that's serious money now let alone 27 years ago. During either qualifying or practice I put a rod through the side going down towards the shell hairpin, oil was thrown all over the turbo which instantly caused a fire, by the time we got the fire out the car had sustained massive damage under the bonnet and to the paintwork at the front of the car. Roger and the boys worked all night and the following morning you would not even have known that there had been anything wrong, I went on to finish 3rd in the race. My point is that these were big money operations we had 8 guys working on the car at race weekends and 5 were full time. You just could not run an RS500 at that time on the cheap. Remember we did not have the reliability with the engines that you guys get now and we were only running 500hp-ish, these were very much experimental times, the cars broke regularly and they were massively expensive to run.

Terry Drury was a good chap and a real character,he had built some winning engines for me in 1987 in Prod Saloons and Group N, but his BTCC campaign was not a success.

The trail I think has gone cold as to the whereabouts of my BTCC car, I have one more lead to follow up but I fear it may have been broken up some years ago. With you guys and other people I know who seem to know everything about these cars, know one has any idea what happened to it. In the meantime it may be worth trying to buy my old press/pr car that a picture appeared on here of last year, so I guess one of you has an idea where that is.

   

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It's a shame nobody seems to know what happend to your car, somebody some where must know what happend to it!

On the other hand your old press car would be a great car to buy and turn into a replica of your race car, there are plenty of people around and parts to make that happen these days.

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