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Jerry Mahony

Jerry Mahony Racing Pictures

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Hi Andy

CAM Shipping was a company that Laurence was involved with in the late 80's, he was a partner I believe, the company supplied rescue/supply ships for oil rigs in the North Sea. I am not sure if it is still going or not.

I have not seen/spoken to Laurance since 1993, we fell out in 1992, which was my fault not his. He was always a good friend to me and it is one of my biggest regrets from those years that we fell out. As far as I am aware he has not been around motorsport for years although he does keep up his BRDC membership.

I don't seem to have many pictures of Laurance or his car. The first picture here is again a 1987 shot Production saloons at Snetterton with me leading and Tim (Harvey) giving me a very hard time indeed, behind him is Laurance being chased hard by Smithy. The second picture is Laurance driving the T/saloon, not sure where that is. The third one is of Mike (Newman) and myself locked in battle, which was normal! Just lapping Dave Pinkney, his car was a bit of a 'shed' and run on a shoestring which just did not work with the RS500's of that era.

P.S. Like the ID picture by my name, well done Paul I presume?

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Yes Jerry  , I put the little picture up for you .

 

Do you still chat to Mike Newman ?

I have his number if you dont have it and would like to catch up ?

 

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Thanks for putting that picture up Paul.

Yes, I do have Mike's number but have not spoken to him for a few years now. I always find when I do speak to any of the guys from that era that we can just pick up from where we left off 30 odd years ago. I was speaking to a couple of the 'chaps' at Goodwood this year and it was just like we hadn't seen each other for a week not 20 or 30 years, we are all a bit older, greyer and in my case fatter, but are all just the same and laugh at the same things. As I have said before I don't really go to race meetings now, sort of reformed alcoholic, or gambler, terrified to expose myself to something that may start things off again. I suppose the best way to explain it is that when I stopped racing in 1992 I wanted to carry on and I struggled with that for a good few years. It took me many years to get over it and I felt that I had missed out on a lot, having put those demons to bed I try not to expose myself to anything that may awaken those feelings I used to get. This site is about as near to motorsport as I get now !

Now some more pictures, the first one is again at Silverstone with Jonesey in pursuit. The second picture I like because it's in black and white and is a good shot of the rear quarter of the 1989 car and shows how well we used to space for our sponsors compared to the 1988 car. The third one is a T/saloon shot this time being chased by a Starion and the 'Stars and Stripes' Manta, this could be quite a quick car at times but was not that reliable and I think did not always have quick peddlars driving it, but the my old mate Gerry Marshall (RIP) got in it  for a couple of races and really got it going !! 

The last picture is a 1989 shot and shows a Firestone sandwich, with the late Keith Odor in the car in the middle, in this race (not sure where) I was driving the Sapphire, which was pretty unusual as Mark usually drove it, unless it was Zandvort, I do remember racing it there once. Keith Odor was killed in a Nissan Touring car in the mid 90's, in Belgium I think. He was the only son of Jan Odor who was the founder of Janspeed in Salisbury, a well known tuning company in the 60's,70's and 80's. I remember going to Keith's funeral which was held in Salisbury Cathedral, where ironically he had been a choirboy a few years earlier. Keith was a quiet chap, not the usual loud extrovert racing type, he started racing like me in 1987 initially in a Peugeot 205GTI  and then moved on to a Cosworth in 1988/9, I did 3 or 4 long distance races with him I think in 1989 in the Janspeed Cosworth. He then moved on to the Nissan 4WD GTR's and went into touring cars with Nissan in 1990/1. He had a hell of a shunt at Donington in his Primera in one BTCC race where he went off onto the grass going down the Craner Curves and then cart-wheeled over the fence, it was a horrific accident that was well televised at the time, luckily he and know one else was hurt. I talked to him a few days after the accident to see if he was OK in his head, as he had had a couple of bad shunts before, he reckoned he was fine. But it was not long after that he had his fatal accident, so sad, as he had recently got married. 

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I'm going to put some more pictures up, but I think they are getting a bit same-ish and possibly a bit boring. I have another 50 or so that I have not put on here but they are very similar to the ones that are already posted on here. I can see a few people are looking at them,so one has to assume that you guys find them interesting.

Maybe I'll just dump everything I have on here, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. 

The first picture today is Laurence in the T/saloon, looks like Oulton and lights are on so he must be in a hurry, headlights were usually put on when we were lapping cars to warn them we were coming, there was a big speed differential between the classes, unlike today in the BTCC when they put their lights on to try and intimidate/distract the car in-front. The second picture is another of these black and white shots of the 89 car, I seem to have a few of these, looks like they were taken on the Silverstone GP circuit. The last picture is another one from round 5 Thruxton 1988, still sporting the damage from assisting Guy Edwards out of the way! Last picture, another Ford publicity shot, Silverstone again.

 

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Please keep the pictures and stories coming

Do you have any detailed pictures of the car Jerry?

Did your team do anything vastly different in setup to the rest of the teams? Any shots of the cars in service etc

 

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One thing that never seems to come up are build pictures of these special cars ,, dont suppose you have any of them Jerry

 

Plus engine bay shots are always great

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The pics are brilliant don't think anyone will get bored of these, keep them coming. Would be good if someone did a replica of your car, don't think iv seen one done, only the promotion car that popped up a few years back.

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Wow, that provoked some replies !

Unfortunately I don't really have any pictures of the car in the pits etc to hand, that's not saying there aren't any it's just they are tucked away somewhere, and yet to rear their head. 

Joe asks if my car was any different to the others in terms of set-up etc. Most of the 'Rouse' cars tended to be set up really stiffly and were hard on their tyres, we went a slightly different way and tended to set my car up a lot softer. The main reason being that it is better to make the suspension do the work and not the tyre, Andy tended to set his car up very stiff and the tyres, particularly the front left  would take a lot of punishment, if the bumps are being put through the tyre side wall rather than the suspension this will help to overheat the tyre. Sorry not teaching you guys how to suck eggs, but the tyres were not nearly as good then as they are now and overheating,chunking and graining was a normal problem. So we felt if we ran the car softer the tyres would last longer, which actually worked because in a lot of the races, particularly in 88 we came from midfield towards the end of the race and tended to end up in the top 3.

I always went well at Thruxton, which was really hard on the front left, we never had to pit for new tyres there, firstly because I was easy on them in the opening laps and secondly we always used a front left that was 6 months old and had been through one heat cycle, in other words just warmed up over a lap and then put away for a few months. This 'cured' tyre would last a lot longer than ones that had just been bedded in over the race weekend, particularly so with the Dunlop's.

The Eggenberger cars were also set up a lot softer than the Rouse cars, they did not have the power of Andy but if you watch the races where Andy is fighting Steve although Andy out-grunts him, his tyres normally overheat and Steve gets past him, Rudi's chassis was a lot more compliant than Andy's.

The other reason we ran our car softer was that  it tended to rain a lot during the races in those days and the car was more drivable if it was softer, especially if it rained just before the race, you would only have time to slacken off the roll bars, where as we would run softer springs which helped as well. Having said that we had about 10 different sets of springs, 3 different roll bars, each one with 3 adjusting points, then you had ride height, and in the case of the RS500 the rake of the car which made a big difference, there were also 4 different tyre compounds to choose from. So there were many variables to take into consideration, which was why you needed to do so much testing and why you had to be well funded. We tested at least twice a week, usually once at Silverstone and then once at the next circuit we were due to race at. This is where we gained significantly over our rivals as a lot of them did not have the budget to test. On the down side I was on my own, no team mate to bounce things off and in those days absolutely no data logging or in car timing, plus I was learning about a new car and how to set it up to get the best from it. Anyone can race a well set-up car, but to be able to set the car up so it is fast and does not destroy its tyres, which was easy on the RS500, was an art on its own. I was lucky that way I spent so much time driving that car in 88 that I learnt about it very quickly and chassis changes were usually translated to changes on the stop watch. We did have a period of doubt around June 88 as we had fallen right off the pace, but Andy's engine man assured us we had 'level 1' power so we were kind of chasing our backsides for a month or so and I began doubting myself. But all was revealed at the 88 Grand Prix meeting when Guy Edwards drove past me on the Hangar Straight going about 25mph quicker! Then we knew we were not getting the same power as Andy's other cars.

That problem just got much worse in 89. I wasn't going to say it on here but I think it needs to be out in the open rather than me talking in riddles the whole time.

Roger (Dowson) and I went to see Andy at his HQ in November 1988, we said we would only stay with him for our engines in 89 if he would guarantee that we would have the same power as his cars. Andy agreed to do this if we paid some money towards his development costs through the winter, we agreed on a sum, I think 15 or 20 grand was the figure that I paid him.

Two months later Laurance got his deal with Labatts and had a deal with Andy to run the two cars, but part of that deal was that he would not provide anyone else with level 1 engines. What Andy should have done is called me up and say the deal with him supplying my engines is off and given me my money back, but he did nothing. We went into the 89 season thinking we had level 1 power and were blown off from the start by everyone. There was much arguing and bitterness, but Andy's engine man was adamant we had level 1 power.

Laurance became a good friend of mine and a year later knowing the mental anguish I was going through told me about his deal with Andy with the Labatts cars and that I never stood a chance, he reckoned I was about 100hp down.

My deal had fallen apart with the BTCC M3 I was driving in 1990 and Laurance asked me to drive the Labatts car with him in the two driver race at Donington. I tested the car and knew instantly that it was a completely different beast to my RS500 that I had raced the year before, I was on Laurance and Tim's pace in this car, but for some reason we never did the race.  We kind of knew anyway because every other racing car I got in I was right on the pace. In 89 I had done the Willhire 24 hour race with Tim in the Firestone car and we were evenly matched in that.There were other things that went on as well that would serve no purpose in raking them up now. But suffice to say in the BTCC with the RS500 I was comprehensively f...ed.

I was terribly upset for many years over what had happened, but in the end you have to move on or just become a bitter and twisted old man. I always maintain Andy was one of the top drivers out there, world class, he would have beaten me anyway, because he was better. I am sure if he had known how it was going to impact my life he probably would not have made the same declension at that time as it was, it was just another commercial deal that he had the upper hand on. But for me it had massive implications, long term.

Over the past 25 years I have been told things and given information  that has made my hair curl regarding things that went on that I knew nothing of. One day maybe I will feel inclined to talk about that as well.

 

 

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Thanks for giving details on the setup and engine woes. Regarding the setup, if you watch video's from the era you can actually see the difference in the Rouse and Eggenberger cars. I have watched some of the Australian races over the last couple of months. And you clearly can see how hard the Rouse buillt cars are. The Moffat ANZ car from 87, Brocks 89 and 90 Sierra's. Andy ran his cars with a lot less rake then some of the other teams. Compare them with the Texaco cars from 87 or Moffats ANZ Eggenberger car and see for yourself. Such a big difference. According to the video's the Johnson cars are a lot softer too.

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Yes, Andy definitely liked his cars set up like that, he liked the cars to basically under-steer on turn-in and then balance the car by inducing throttle over-steer. You can't argue with this because his results speak for themselves but under-steer puts excessive heat in the tyres and then inducing over-steer with the throttle is heating the backs up as well. The thinking being that for a sprint race this makes the car faster. Obviously the Eggenberger cars did the WTC & ETC which were all long distance races so you could not really run your car as stiff as a board and hope to finish. 

The thing is you could set up Andys cars to be soft but a lot of it was what the driver preferred.The Aussies may have initially taken the set-up info from Andy but could have gone their own way at some point. I did not reaslly know anyone from over there at that time.

Now the DJ cars they ran on different tyres again, they were ran on Japanese  Dunlop's which I think were 18 inch and were a radial and far superior to the UK Dunlop's, that I ran. At that time my tyres were made at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham and we could'nt get the Japanese Dunlops, I think my tyres were 17's as well. They were certainly cross plys and not radials.

The best tyres by a million miles were the Yokohamas that Gravett and Smith ran in 89/90, these were light years ahead of anything else available in the UK. When Vic Lee set up his BMW team in 1990 he just went to Italy and bought a whole load of Yokohama's from Bigazzi, it was only Robb and Mike who told everyone else that they were not available to anyone in the UK and guess what? We were all stupid enough to bevel them, in reality anyone of us could have gone overseas and bought those tyres. We were all so gullible in those days! More sporting, or at least supposed to be.

Sorry, forgot to put some pictures up.

First one is 89 Silverstone and I guess number 2 is as well, the third picture is of the 87 car (prod saloon) this car was sold to Japan at the end of 1987. The fourth shot is of the last corner, last lap of round 5 at Thruxton, I had just got past Mike Newman and was trying to get past Karl on the run to the flag, but the track was damp and we were on slicks and I nearly put it in the wall, but got the car back together and just crossed the line to take third ahead of Mike, it got me an action replay on Grandstand (only one of the year in the series)!!!

 

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Hi Jerry,

You must have very good eyesight or you parked it there !  Rover 90 ?

The Johnson cars were definitely softer sprung than the Rouse, it must have been his personal preference or the Pirelli's trait, I would rather take the improved mechanical grip and tyre life, the problem I found with DJR1  was getting used to the understeer produced by the spool diff, especially somewhere like Oulton on turning into Lodge, you had to try and keep a little too much rear bias on the brakes to loosen the car, this is OK until you forget to re-adjust after a few laps of heavy fuel usage and end up locking the arse end !

Andy

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Hi Andy

Yes, spot on, Rover 90 or it could be a 110S if I am being a complete anorak. And no it wasn't mine, I'm not that old!

Diffs have moved on enormously in their technology since then, we could tighten them up but as you say the car would then push, the RS500 had a tendency to under-steer anyway so from our point of view we never knowingly induced under-steer. I preferred to set the RS500 up so that it turned-in well and then would snap into over-steer which I found more controllable, not ideal, but remember the RS500 in BTCC form from that era did not handle well, especially compared to the well balanced chassis of the M3 which was very progressive and superb to drive. As for rear brake bias that was a real problem if you had to much on the rear, watch the film of the Snetterton round in 88, I had a classic case of to much rear bias and you can see the result!! I was actually trying to adjust it in the car but the cable was just spinning so had to go in the pits to get it adjusted, I also put on slicks which got me a new lap record.

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Hi Jerry, Laurence's old car is typical of a rouse car took me ages to get it to handle especially as I entered a series ( ford saloon car championship) that had control tyres basically road legal tyres that with the stiff suspension were a scary ride ! Softened it off by about a third made all the difference = allowed the car with the camber to roll over through the corners to  achieve maximum grip        ( Dunlops ) but put Dunlop slicks on slightly stiffen it up & oh my word you have to be brave to believe that you can do some of the corners & "the wets " Jerry the grip from the modern wets is madness !! Lol  

& for you and all your fellow drivers from the day to be on the old style of rubber we're all Heros for sure !! 

regards Andy 

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Here are some more pictures, another black and white of the 89 car at Silverstone and the second one is another of those press shots on the grid at Silverstone. Third picture is a familiar pose of 'Mike Mike' and I locked in mortal combat. Note the numbers, I'm 2 and Mike was 3, this denoted our Championship finishing positions from 1988. Obviously Andy won Class A, but Mike and I had a season long battle to get the runner-up spot, this was not decided until the last race when I pipped him by a couple of points, but we did have some great battles, there was never any 'punting' either between us. Although we were usually in close proximity and with the RS500 being fairly unstable and scitterish it  was not hard just to touch the back of another car and send them off into the countryside. But Mike and I had a healthy respect for each other and although we had some very great races we never touched. Now with Smithy we played to a different set of rules! Probably because we had raced against each other in Production saloons the year before where contact was all to common. Smithy liked to play rough and I used to give him back as good as he gave me, but generally I thought the Group A cars were too fast to start playing silly games in. The fourth shot is of the T/saloon, it looks like at Oulton Park, lights on, so I must be in a hurry!

 

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I dont know why , but there is somthing real nice about the black and white pictures

 

I always thought Smithy got a lot of bad press for his driving style , but it seems he deserved it , lol

More great pictures Jerry , keep them coming

Paul

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Brakes, what are they?? Is that what the middle pedals for ? No wonder I kept falling off ! 

The RS500's were built more like show cars, I think Graham Goode started it in 87, his grey car was so immaculate that he set a standard that everyone else tried to keep to. Certainly my car was always immaculately turned out and had certain 'pretty boy' parts! Like the seat,steering wheel and dash were all colour coded red, the belts were red as well. The centres of the wheels as you say were painted white and were cleaned by a 'wheel boy' every time the car came back to the pits whether etsting or racing, bare in mind we had 8 sets of wheels, 3 of which would have had different types of wets on (full,semi and cut slicks). So it was a job in itself to keep the wheels clean take them to the tyre truck and get the relevant tyres mounted. On a test day we would probably use 5 or 6 sets of tyres even more if we were testing compounds.

For some reason I do not seem to have any under-bonnet shots of the 88 or 89 car which is a shame because next to GG's cars ours was certainly as good (excuse the pun). When the car had finished a test day or a race weekend it was always stripped right down, the suspension anyway and thoroughly cleaned, the car was as clean underneath as it was on top and even put the Rouse run cars to shame which were a little agricultural in some of their installations and fabrication. Roger Dowson (RIP) was a stickler for detail as am I and there were few who could produce such a pretty well built race care as well as Roger.

I remember looking at the DJR cars in the pits at the TT in 88 and thinking how crude they were in some areas, but crude or not they still blew the rest of us into the weeds! If you looked at the 3 TDR cars of 89 they were absolute sheds and performed accordingly.

The other thing to bare in mind was that I was sponsored by some high profile large companies who were putting a sizeable chunk of money into my racing budget, companies like this do not want to be associated with some spit and saw dust set-up, they want the team to reflect the profile of their own businesses. Hard to imagine now, but our team was better turned out than some of the poorly funded Formula 1 teams of the day, this had been pointed out on more than one occasion in the media. But it was all this that helped raise the profile of the BTCC at the time.

So today's pictures are on this theme showing the high level of professionalism and presentation that was required, excuse the BMW picture just another example.The last two shots are of posters that we had thousands printed and were given away to the crowd and very often signed by me.

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Jerry , I love to promo pictures

 

You kindly sent me a signed one that i have in my man cave , along with other rs500 pictures and memorabilia

 

 

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Great question Roy, but does demand a lengthy, controversial reply !

The BTCC through 1988 & 1989 had become massive due to it's TV exposure, there were manufacturers who wanted in but did not have a car that would be competitive so there was a move to change things to a 2 litre normally aspirated formula, there was a lot of opposition to this including a lot of the RS500 runners who had invested huge sums of money building cars and getting spares etc together.

With all the uproar the RAC Motorsport  Association set up a Touring Car Committee to investigate the future of the BTCC and the RS500 runners nominated  me as their spokesman. The committee was made up of 8 people, Jonathan Ashman ( RAC & FIA Rep) David Richards ( MD Prodrive and representing BMW)  Andy Rouse ( who was to draw up the new spec for 2 litre cars) The BTCC co-ordinator at that time who's name escapes me, Myself (representing RS500 independent entrants) Graham Robson representing Ford, Steve Rider ( consultant to TV coverage) and maybe a couple of others, I think there was someone from the tyre companies as well. The following paragraph covers basically what went over a period of 2 years as there was a meeting every month.

Right from the start there was a push to change the regulations to a 2 litre formula that would admit front wheel drive cars. At that time tyre technology was such that you could not put more than 300hp through the front wheels without the tyres shredding. I argued till I was blue in the face that you could not have Britains top saloon series with cars racing that only produced 300hp. My view was that it was complete nonsense as the cars in Group N/ Production Saloons would be more powerful as the Cosworths were running about 350hp at that time in Group N. This would make the BTCC a complete nonsense, not only that the cars would be boring to drive but would not be as spectacular to watch as the BTCC Group A regs. Steve Rider argued that if the cars were racing closely the fact that they were 4 seconds a lap slower would not show on the TV. 

Over a period of 18 months there was a move towards this 2 litre formula, Andy penned a technical spec for the cars, but was more keen to adopt a new V8 format, this was also dismissed.

It was agreed for the long term good of the series to adopt the new regs for 1990, but to run alongside the RS500's which would run for a final year. I was totally against the formula and still am. I know the series is popular and that there are a lot of manufacturers involved but I think the cars are boring to watch and the only way anyone gets past someone is the give them a nudge or some other foul. But you can't argue with the popularity of the series as it is now. From my point of view the top saloon formula should be a minimum of 500hp. The Australians agreed with me, because after a few years of running these 2 litre 'fart boxes' they went to a V8 formula and how good are they to watch ???!!

The question from Roy was why did I move to a BMW? Well, it was clear at the end of 1989 that the long term future of the series was to be 2 litre. I had fought against it for 18 months, but in the end was out voted, so to preserve my financial investment the RS500 and spares were sold and I went about building an M3 to the new regs. It was an F.....g disaster, not only was the car slow and boring (275HP) but our car broke down all the time, of the 7 races I did in 1990 I only finished 1 and that was last. I retired hurt and disillusioned from the BTCC in July 1990.

As everyone knows the series did get popular and brought about the Era of the super-tourers and big name international drivers, some of my friends and colleagues were getting paid massive six figure salaries.

Andy Rouse championed his man (Alan Gow) to head up the series in 1991,he still runs it now. Gow had been Peter Brocks team manager in Australia, but had been brought over by Andy to help promote/sell his Rouse Sport Cars. Andy Rouse himself benefited because he ran several factory teams under the new Regs and became a millionaire in his own right. David Richards and Prodrive also ran big budget factory teams.   

I had resigned from the RAC Touring Car Committee in 1990 and had scored an 'own' goal by my outspoken views against the new 2 litre formula. I was basically kept out and away from the series until I was yesterdays man, at which time know one listened to what I had to say anyway!

I did not get back involved in the BTCC until 2000, when Octagon took over the series and Alan Gow did not run it. The man at the helm then was Richard West who was Williams F1's ex Marketing Director, although not a 'motorsport' man he did listen to a few of us and was a breath of fresh air. He was fantastic at the PR and getting sponsors and I suppose I was one of his 'inner circle' at the time which irritated a few people! It was during this time that I also drove the safety Car for a couple of years amongst other things. But once Alan Gow came back I was out again! 

The BTCC was and still is a very political arena Alan Gow keeps his cronies close and if you are not one of those you don't get a look in commercially or otherwise.

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Paul

Love the 'man cave' and honoured that you have pictures of yours truly on the wall.

Friends have always considered it odd that I never have any of my racing pictures up at home, my man cave has pictures of Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart and Mike Hawthorn on the walls amongst others. I think it is that we revert to our childhood memories and heroes. I do have a trophy cabinet in there though (it is very small !).  

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