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Jerry Mahony

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Hi jerry, the kaliber car was a genuine sierra cosworth, with rs500 bumper/spoiler, full roll cage, but engine was completely standard, was only just over 20000 miles from new.

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I put some pictures up, basically because I am just about coming to the end of what I have that you guys may find interesting. A lot of the remaining pictures I have are similar to previous ones, but I am assuming because they are ‘period’ shots that they may still be of interest.

Today's pictures are varied, firstly a black and white of the 89 car at Silverstone. The second picture is of the T/saloon with Laurence driving at Oulton Park, can't really remember much about the race except that we did win. The third picture is the production Saloon in the paddock at Castle Coombe 1987, just about ready to go out and line up on the grid, you will notice that Laurence's car is behind and Smithy's behind him, Robb is the car in front that you can just see the back of. That would have been about my 5th race and I still had a black novice's cross on the back of the car, this used to rev up a lot of the established field whom I regularly beat! I was also on my second shell by then having totalled the car at Silverstone in my 3rd race, last lap, last corner going for second place.....it didn't work and I ended up in the sleepers with one very dead car! The final picture is another black and white shot of the 89 car from Silverstone. 

I'm struggling for stories at the moment, I know there is still a lot there buried deep, but if anyone wants to ask me any questions it may help jog my memory and pull some things of interest to the surface.

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Hi Jerry,

Love your pic's and stories,

In one of them you mentioned that the TDR cars were shed,s, were they under funded? bad drivers? to many cars in one team to handle?. They seem to go OK in the 1988 BTCC year with Tim Harvey only. Was Terry Drury a good engineer?  He seemed to have a good career as a driver previously.

The reason I ask is I own the Robin Donovan Blue Hawk TDR RS500, ( I will not be offended whatever you say about it!!! Its still a Group A RS500 Racer!!!) I am slowly restoring it (it had a hard life as a Rally Cross car afterwards)  I want to balance keeping it original and reliable, so I do not want to be blowing to many turbos??

Great to hear all your stories from that great era.

Cheers Carl  

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Hi Carl

Perhaps describing the Drury cars as ‘sheds’ was a little hard but compared to the main front running cars they were not in the same league. In fairness Donovan, Pinkney & O’Brien did not have proper budgets and Terry (Drury) was doing the best he could on the money available. Tim drove one of the cars in 88 and again it was not competitive except at Brands when he was second and the car was run on ‘rocket fuel’ for that event so they could run mega boost without detonating the engine. I’m not speaking out of turn here, Tim went past me to take second a lap or two from the end and the car was like a missile that day, he admitted afterwards that they had put ‘trick’ fuel in it to try and get a result. Tim was young and rightly was really reckoned by the establishment as an up and coming star, which he was, but the Drury car never really did him any favours. In my opinion Tim was the quickest driver out there during 88/89/90. When he did get a really good car in 1990 he still had to contend with Dunlop tyres, if you had put Tim in a Trakstar car with those Yoko's know one would have beaten him, Robb would never ever agree with that but its a fact. Actually to qualify that statement there was in my opinion one guy who was quicker than Tim and that was Steve Soper, he was actually the quickest and in opinion is one of the greatest all time Touring Car drivers.  

As far as I am aware the Drury cars were put together with a lot of rally parts, but they were also very messy and agricultural to look at, especially under the bonnet. As I have said before the Rouse, Goode and our car were really turned out like show cars and were absolutely immaculate, that theme ran through all the top teams, they were more like F1 teams in presentation and standard of preparation. The same can be said for Prodrive who ran Sytner and Smiths BMW’s in 88, again F1 standards.

I had a bit to do with Terry Drury in 1987 as he built my original production saloon engines and in fairness to him we did not have that many that blew up (they  were all letting go when the Cosworth first started racing in 1987). He built my 1987 Willhire 24 hour engine that very nearly won, Robb beat us by 29 seconds after 24 hours of racing! That engine certainly held together for 24 hours. Remember  this was only three months after the first time they raced when the engines were blowing up in a 15 lap sprint race. Terry also started building the engines for the Firestone cars in 89, but our engine blew in the 88 Willhire 24 hour race which we were leading at the time, when Roger Dowson (who was absolutely furious that the engine had let go) stripped the engine he found one of the pistons was actually the wrong type, so the team moved to Mountune who built the engines for the remainder of the campaign. Terry was really silly because commercially the Firestone deal was a great one for him and he could have got a lot of spin-offs from it, but he made a bad decision and lost the deal.

One incident involving those Drury BTCC cars always stays in my mind and that was at Oulton Park in 89, first round of the Championship and during one of the qualifying sessions I remember passing Dave Pinkney between Druids and Lodge, his car had packed up and he was trying desperately to push it back to the Pits before the end of the session,  I passed him about three times before he finally collapsed on the grass totally exhausted, I’m not sure even if he qualified the car for that event.  I mean they were still building the cars the night before qualifying and they were nowhere near ready. Don’t get me wrong, I would never knock a tryer, but the level of the BTCC then and the budget required to run one of the RS500’s was just mind blowing and in some ways a bottomless pit.  That weekend alone in 1989 I blew 3 engines at £15k a piece that was £45K, well you could buy a small house for that then. You have to remember it does not sound that much now, but we are talking nearly 30 years ago. The cars chassis and engines were being developed weekly and you just needed so much money to keep on top of it, as I have said before we were usually testing 3 times a week, you couldn't run an engine for more than 6 hours ( if it lasted that long) without a rebuild, we kept 3 spare engines in the truck and one obviously in the car and the Drury cars along with Karl Jones just did not have the resources or budgets to compete at that level.

I think Carl the fact that you even own an RS500 race car from that period is fantastic, if the Donovan car of 89 was in fact the Harvey car of 88 then you have a car was some significant provenance, because for sure it got 1 second place at Brands, I’m not sure it achieved much else that year but the Harvey connection, if it is that car is significant and will only help its value in years to come.

 

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Hi Jerry,

More fantastic stories!!!! Thank you!

My Donovan TDR RS500 was the last to be built, for 1989 season.

Mike O'Brien got the Harvey RS500, It then became the Nigel Mustill Thundersaloon RS500, maybe you raced against it in the thundersaloons??

My RS500 had more success after BTCC, it won the European Group A Rally Cross Championship in 1991 and 92 with Kenneth Hansen.

Cheers Carl 

 

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I have found some pictures taken at Donington on May 15th 1988 which not only was a round of the BTCC but also happened to be my 33rd Birthday. Unbeknown  to me the chaps had organised a massive cake to be baked in the shape of a Sierra (use your imagination please!) and this was presented to me on the grid, by Robb, Mike and 5 times Le Mans winner Derek Bell, it was a real cake. At the time some bright spark suggested that they should give me the bumps, with the end result that Robb pulled his back out! Albeit that I was somewhat lighter than I am now, I was still quite heavy and it became a bit of a workout for the guys to actually administer all 33 bumps, especially with the crowd in the background shouting out how unfit they were!  The cake was subsequently taken to Nottingham Hospital where I presented it to the kids in the children’s ward, I spent  the morning there with the kids some of whom were very ill. This whole charade was filmed by the BBC, including the bumps, but alas was yet another casualty of the cutting room floor when the end of season video was made. I suppose it was a publicity stunt really, I think Smithy was behind it, ever keen to promote the series, which he was massively good at and never really got any recognition for. It was another example of how friendly we all were, there was always some prank or stunt going on.

At that time Robb was driving the ex Pete Hall car, a deal I helped broker for him. The money to fund the drive came from Shell who were very keen on Robb and were a big financial supporter of him through his career. You will see he is wearing a Shell Gemini  race suit. I do believe that it was his Shell  contacts that got him the drive in the DJR car at Bathurst in 1988.

You will also notice from the pictures that I have not got my race suit on, I always used to take it off after I got out of the car and put ‘civvies’ on, albeit an embroidered Team shirt. The other guys used to laugh at me because I had three race suits and would always put on a clean (non sweaty) one every time I went out in the car and certainly did not follow the normal practice of strutting round the paddock in a racing suit. This caught on in 89 when Dave Brody made reference to this in his infamous TV rant with reference to ‘jumped-up Group N turkeys strutting round the paddock in their race suits with their fancy motorhomes’. I took comfort from the fact that I did not do any strutting round the paddock even if I did have a fancy motorhome!! There were less strutting BTCC drivers after that !

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Great stories as always Jerry

 

I  and others cant thank you enough for telling them and showing us these great and unseen pictures .

You have talked about a book or maybee even a short film telling these tales , and i personally think it would be fantastic .

When i chat with anyone who uses this website the conversation always turns to your threads and how great they are for us users and how special it is that we get to see and hear the tales

Its a shame we dont get other drivers from the days to join in ( imagine the banter )

Thanks again

 

 

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Yes some cake, now you know why I'm 20 stone!

The Donington event that the cake was given I am pretty sure was the event that Win Percy and Alan Grice appeared with the Skyline. Win was a great driver who mostly raced abroad in the late 80's a bit like Steve Soper, and Alan Grice was a larger than life character that seem to emanate from down under. I have a feeling that they had done Bathurst together, may have even won it. But that Nissan really put the cat among the pigeons, again it did not have the grunt of the RS500 but it handled really well. There is some quite good footage of it at Donington in that two driver race (we blew up, again!!). Ultimately it ate its rear tyres as I think it was running on Dunlops, but certainly raised a few eyebrows on the day.

I thank you for your messages of encouragement it is nice to know that so many of you  appreciate my memories from the racing days. Out of respect to my long suffering wife I could never write a book, because you only get the family rated stories on here, but  some of the funniest and outrageous stories are the X rated ones that sadly I could never put on here.

Strangely as I write this on the 14th May we are on the eve of my 61st birthday, some 29 years after those pictures were taken and I can remember it like yesterday, but it would appear that my memory may be a little selective. Here’s another related story to amuse you.

Back in 1989 a few of us thought it would be a good idea to buy Karts to train on in the week, six of us as I remember, Robb G, Tim H, Laurence B, Vic L, Robbie Stirling (sports car driver) and Me. Anyway I was tasked with buying these Karts, we had decided to buy new identical 100 National Formula Karts and Tim suggested I should visit a shop/manufacturer called Dartford Karting. I drove down to Dartford one day  and found this 'shop', it was like a little corner sweet shop but full of Karting goodies. I was in there for about 5 minutes before the guy asked me if I needed some help to which I replied, yes, I would like 6 chassis, 12 engines, 72 wheels with slicks and 16 wheels with wets, 6 stands and so it went on this long list of stuff. The guy stopped me midway and asked me if I was taking the p.ss? I explained to him the situation, he obviously thought I was completely mad, but once I gave him a cheque in payment he seemed to cheer up a bit and take things a bit more seriously. I organised for him to take all the completed Karts to Tilbury kart track two weeks later where we would take delivery of them and he with a couple of his guys would help us to run the engines in, as they were two strokes they had to be run in carefully with various mixture adjustments over an hour and a half..

When I had ordered all the chassis I had specified different colours I remember mine was red, Tim’s was blue,Vic’s was white, and then I’m not sure who had what colour but I know there was a black one and a green one and a yellow one. We ran these machines in at Tilbury that day and then proceeded to race each other, you can only imagine the shenanigan’s that went on.

There are two or three amusing stories that I can tell you about these Karts that were played with on a weekly basis, but one is as follows.

Tim Harvey who was an ex-karter and from our prospective was obviously the guy to beat in these karts. The karts were all identical and ran on identical controlled tyres. I could just about hold on to the back of Tim if I got behind him but could not get past him. After running these things a few times Tim thought we should enter a proper race with them, I for one was not that keen on it, but the next thing I knew Tim had entered 4 of us for the next race meeting at Tilbury. We did not have the correct RAC racing licence for Karts, but in view of the level of the licence’s we had the RAC gave us dispensation to run.

The word soon got round the Karting fraternity that these BTCC boys were going to do a race. I could see we were going to be in for it to the extent that I had a big target embroidered on the back of one of my race suits that I was going to wear on the day. Having been forced into doing this race, I announced to the others that if I was going to do the race I was going to do it properly and that meant taking my race truck, awning and motorhome along with my full BTCC race crew! The other guys thought that was a great idea and followed suit, so not only did the Arquati race artic arrive, but also the Labatts one, Vic Lee’s artic and John's who ran Robbie’s sports car. The team’s arrived at Tilbury really early in morning and set up, the only problem was with all our equipment, trucks and motorhomes in the paddock there was not any room for anyone else. It really, really, p.ssed off a lot of people, but we all thought it was hilarious. By this time I had bought another couple of engines and spare chassis etc which was set up for the wet.

We went out for the first heat and the other karters were all over us like a rash, everyone was determined to beat these jumped up Touring Car guys. In the first race I was half way up the grid and the races were rolling starts as the karts were fixed drive. I managed to jump the start really well and got up to about third and was immediately black flagged, which I ignored! On the back straight a lap later someone came alongside me and punted me straight off, I rocketed across the damp grass at full speed and hit a fence with the kart wrapping itself round one of the posts. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, I thought it was hilarious but at the same time I had really bashed my shoulder and was in real pain. My mechanics ran over and lifted my kart up and took it back to the pits, it appeared to be bent like a banana. As I still had another heat to try and qualify for the final I told my mechanics to just take the engine off put it on the new chassis, and then put the bent chassis complete in the rubbish skip, it was done as a wind-up, but boy did it make people mad, nobody saw the funny side of my disposable Kart philosophy!

Tim had done quite well in the 1st heat which did not go down well and it seemed that we were just making ourselves more unpopular by our lunatic behaviour. The Karters could not believe that we had just thrown out a complete chassis. I had my new chassis taken to the grid for my second heat, my shoulder was still painful but bearable. Tim and Vic were both well up the grid. So to the second rolling start, I stayed in position this time and once the flag dropped and I got to the first corner I knew I had a major problem, as I turned into the corner and braced myself against the wheel the pain in my shoulder was horrendous. I pulled into the pits and got out of the Kart, my racing was finished for the day. Tim went on to finish 3rd I think in the final and maintained the honour of the BTCC boys. For my part I went to the hospital on the way home and was x-rayed where it appeared I had broken my shoulder !

The postscript to this was that I had been more seriously injured in a tiny 100cc Kart than I had ever been in any of the proper high speed racing cars I raced, serves me right I here you say. Well we were never invited back to do another Kart race, Motoring News if I remember correctly did a piece on it that week which was abit of a blast.

We continued with the Karts through the season and winter of 89/90. There are some really funny stories that happened with these wizzers. Including a midnight race on the road that involved a few of us! But that’s for another time. Sorry haven't got any pictures of the karts.

 

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Fantastic story Jerry

 

Its great to hear you fellas all got along so well and had time for what is now known as " Team building " , I call it arsing about , lol

With the 30th birthday of the rs500 next year i hope to do some very special things for the owners ( special displays etc ) and you must come along ,,, and i wont take no for an answer .

 

Happy Birthday for tmorrow Jerry , Have a great day

 

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Hi Chaps

61, it just sounds so old, well I did get really drunk and had a great day with family and some friends, just about got over the hangover now. Thanks for your well wishes.

To anwser your question yes I guess we were all quite close although one or two did not get on, Smithy and Tim and Robb and Tim, but I think that was just a bit of needle, as I have said on here before Tim was the quickest driver out of the younger drivers and certainly quicker than Robb and Smithy so there was always a little needle between them. I think with Tim and Smithy it went way back, certainly before I was around. Certainly I used to organise a lot of the 'shindigs' or get together's. We used to regularly frequent each others houses for lunch etc, most of the wives got on OK as well. But don't let that deceive you we were aggressively competitive on the track when racing.

Paul if you are organising something for next year get the date and venue set and I will make sure I come along and I am sure I will be able to bring a couple of the chaps with me, the key is to get the date set early and let me know and I bully the others into coming!

Sorry but I am really struggling on photos now, I have just about posted all the RS500 ones these are about the last of them now. There are a couple of black and whites taken at Silverstone in the 89 car and the third one must be a round 1, 88 picture holding a bottle of Kaliber....horrible non alcoholic stuff. There is also a couple of shots from 2001 when I used to drive the BTCC Safety Car with Vicky Butler Henderson taken at Oulton Park, that was an Audi RS4 and was seriously quick.

I will see if there is anything else lying around.

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Sounds like the perfect birthday jerry, family & friends, i have 2 young children, and sadly can't remember the last time a drop of alcohol past my lips!!! I reckon i would be fast asleep within an hour after one pint now!!! :'(

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Hi Andy

The first shot is Oulton Park, I guess round 2 in 88, probably the first lap or two, as I got past Laurance on lap 2 or 3 at Lodge, you can see from this picture that his car is under-steering wide, he had a problem getting heat into his tyres on the warm-up lap, if you remember he spun off at Silverstone round 1. You really had to work the Pirelli's on the warm up lap to get heat into them, he got on top of this after this race. It was also damp that day and then subsequently rained and we were all on slicks (nightmare). Peter Hall frightened himself so much in that race that he gave up racing his RS500 after that and Robb took it over for a few races ( a deal brokered by me). Pete Hall was 50 then and quite a good friend of mine ( it was Pete who talked me into entering the BTCC at the end of 1987). Ironically Tim Harvey, who raced a Rover in the BTCC in 1987, tried to talk me out of entering the BTCC saying I wasn't experienced enough to handle setting up a BTCC car with all the variables. He was right to a certain extent, but  I learnt quickly!

The second picture is taken at Thruxton again I think early 88, I'm not sure what happened to Laurance in that race but I know I finished  3rd. Thruxton was another 'big balls' circuit in an RS500, they were just so fast round the back of the circuit and if you were 'on it' they moved around a lot. Thruxton was my favourite circuit and I had set a new lap record there in my Firestone car a couple of weeks before the BTCC race. But the Firestone car at Thruxton in no way prepared me for the out and out speed of the RS500 round there, particularly the bucking bronco ride that the Dunlop cross ply tyres that I was running then, gave you. I remember after the first 3 laps I did in the RS500 I came in to the pits and said to Dowson F.....g  H..l  that's madness! Of course I did get over my initial shock at the high speeds and every race became a tyre preservation exercise, go to hard at the start and your front left tyre would overheat and blow, caused by the excessive under-steer all the cars had round the back of the circuit. I think the radials (Pirelli's) gave a better ride but had the same overheating problems. The Rouse 'kit cars' particularly had this problem because of their skate board like suspension. Steve Soper won the race on Pirellis without a tyre change as the Egganberger chassis was easier on its tyres.

 

 

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Hi Paul

Yes, this is a picture taken at the 88 TT hence the number. I have written about this race on the site somewhere before so don't want to repeat myself. It was a great race won by AR but only after DJR broke down having blown everyone else into the weeds!

Incidentally I was sitting at home last weekend watching the TV when my mobile rang, it was an old friend of mine (Dave Coyne) who was driving Andy’s Cam Shipping RS500 at the Silverstone Classic. Dave usually drove single seaters back in the day rather than saloons and was mighty quick, he still is by all accounts! Dave races historic’s now with a lot of success and wanted to ask me some questions about how the RS500 should handle and feel. I think they had a misfire during qualifying and as I did not hear anymore, assumed that he did not finish the race. It also gave me a chance to have a chat to Andy whom I have talked to on this site.

Dave was actually in the 1987 or 88 TT driving an M3, I’m not sure if he finished or not, my memory of him during qualifying in the wet (87???) is coming round Copse and seeing him firmly imbedded in the gravel! He was blindingly fast then but crazy. I still won’t get in a road car with him!!! He frightens the life out of me. I remember he was racing me home very late one night from The Pantiles ( a club in Bagshot)  he was in a Saab Turbo and I was in my RS500, he overtook me going into the Jolly Farmer roundabout on the way to Camberley, I recall thinking at the time how impressed I was that he could carry so much speed into the roundabout, he did get round but was on his roof when he came out the other side! He wasn’t hurt but the car was totalled.  

Another time we were testing at Silverstone on a really cold day in February, I was in the RS500 and Dave was testing a Formula 3000 car (F2). At the end of the day I jumped into the Jet Ranger to fly home, as I was approaching the Chilterns over Long Crendon I ran into a snow blizzard, a big no, no in a helicopter. I did an emergency landing in a field that was full of sheep, the farmer was not impressed! I called Dave who was driving back and he came and collected me in a Merc 2.3 16valve, he terrified me all the way back home, I was definitely 10 years older when he dropped me off. I picked the Jet Ranger up 4 days later after the snow had cleared, the sheep seemed none the worse for the experience, unlike me after my ride with Coyne!

 

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On 30 April 2016 at 11:59 AM, Jerry Mahony said:

 

Great to see you still have an RS500 from way back then Jerry. Great old picture too, I saw it and thought a recognised the plate, grabbed an old Ford Sierra book to check, but I was a digit out.

My old man worked for Ford between 85-90, was on the first Sierra cosworth technican training course in 86, named 'RS1', and all he specialised in was the cosworth and rs500 cosworth.

He told me many tales of stolen cars, glad yours is still in safe hands! 

Andy...

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On 19/01/2017 at 10:14 PM, E3 APC said:

Great to see you still have an RS500 from way back then Jerry. Great old picture too, I saw it and thought a recognised the plate, grabbed an old Ford Sierra book to check, but I was a digit out.

My old man worked for Ford between 85-90, was on the first Sierra cosworth technican training course in 86, named 'RS1', and all he specialised in was the cosworth and rs500 cosworth.

He told me many tales of stolen cars, glad yours is still in safe hands! 

Andy...

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Hi Andy

I actually caught two guys trying to take my RS500 in the middle of the night. I was staying in the Travelodge in the Service Area on the M5 near Birmingham, can't remember the name. I very nearly didn't stay there because I was worried about the car being nicked but I managed to park it close(ish) to my bedroom window. Sure enough come 2-30 am I heard the alarm going off and jumped out of bed, I looked out of the window and saw the drivers door was open and the bonnet was up. I ran out of the room in my nightshirt.....yes nightshirt!!! and ran down the corridor to the front door, which you normally pushed to open, but un-be known to me they locked it at midnight, so instead of the door opening I bounced of it and landed in a heap, I jumped up twisted the lock and let myself outside, I ran out into the car park and over towards the car, I could hear the engine cranking over. One of the idiots looked up and heard me shouting and running towards them, he was on his toes but the second guy continued to crank the engine which would not fire, for reasons I will go into in a moment. Anyway I got to the car and got hold of this 'Asian' gentleman who seemed to be more frightened than me ! As I grabbed hold of him I glanced in the car and could not believe the state of it, all the plastic steering column cover was broken as was the steering lock, I froze in horror and the P.ki managed to wriggle out of my grip and escaped. I could not believe the damage these two idiots had done to my car, all the wiring was ripped out from the alarm under the bonnet which they had managed to disable,but they could not get the car going as whenever I left that car anywhere I would always open the tailgate, unscrew the thumb screw that secures the trim panel on the inside of the rear panel and behind there is a snap connector,if you undo the snap connector it stops the power to the fuel pump and that was the easiest way to stop your car from being nicked.

Someone called the Police and they arrived within 15 minutes (it was faster then) they seemed amused that I was standing in the car park in a nightshirt and bare feet, I could not get back in the Travelodge because the door had swung shut and locked itself. Anyway once I had got back in the Travelodge I called Brooklyn Ford they had an all night recovery service who came and took the car away on a transporter an hour later. Brooklyn Ford ran Chris Hodgetts RS500 in the BTCC, they dropped me up a loan car off in the morning and did a fantastic job repairing my car and delivered it back to Silverstone 4 days later as good as new. 

That is the one and only time I had the RS 500 (nearly) nicked and I was amazed just how much damage they had done to the car in just 2 or 3 minutes, I was one of the lucky ones.

Jerry

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Yes sorry, can't be very helpful with this one. I was trying to identify the circuit by the surface but no go, what I can say is that it is definitely 1988 and after round 3 as my new open face helmet is on the roof. There is someone standing at the back of the car but I can't see who that is either. Note aluminium strut brace and roll cage, the shell was twisting towards the end of the season, cracking 3 windscreens, even though it was seam welded. Not sure those extra vents where the side lights should have been were legal either !!!!  

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