Lunch with Tim Harvey

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Autumn 1983. An Alfasud Sprint hustles through the Northamptonshire B-roads with a Ford Fiesta XR2 several lengths in arrears. After a few miles, the Alfa driver jumps out at a T-junction and sprints to the car behind. “Excuse me,” he says, smiling broadly, “but I assume from the way you’re driving that you are going to Silverstone, too. Would you mind showing me the way?”

Such was my introduction to Tim Harvey. We’d been on the same road for the same reason – to attend the Austin Rover/Daily Express Scholarship final, him as a contender and me as one of the judges. Later that afternoon, just shy of his 22nd birthday, Harvey secured the prize – a funded season in the 1984 MG Metro Challenge. Having previously run a second-hand Formula Ford car from the back of a van, with his father and brother as mechanics, he was henceforth representing a manufacturer, the start of a journey that would lead to Le Mans, Macau and Bathurst, as well as one the most coveted titles in British motor sport.

To join the dots, Tim suggests we meet at The Bell in Hampton Poyle, a few miles north of Oxford. He orders a pint of Landlord bitter and a pheasant stroganoff and we step back to his formative years in 1960s Kent.

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