Around and about, July 1972

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Comment on the Racing and Club Scene
New Competition Chief at Ford

Following the promotion of Stuart Turner to Managing Director of Ford’s Advanced Vehicle Operations, Ford have appointed Peter Ashcroft as Competitions Manager. Ashcroft has been involved in motor racing since 1950 when he started racing a Cooper 500. He later joined Gilby Engineering, playing an important part in the building and development of their sports and Formula One cars, and had also gained a reputation as an engine man.

He joined the Ford competitions department in 1962 and has worked there ever since except for a brief period with the Peter Sellers racing team. Latterly he has been chief engine engineer at Boreharn and has been responsible for the development and preparation of many engines, including the World Cup-winning 1,850-c.c. push-rod units and the German V6 engines used to such good effect in the racing Capris.

McGovern Leads Again

Bill McGovern, the Irish-born Londoner who runs a furniture shop, is going all out for a hat trick in the British Touring Car Championship—now known as the Wiggins Teape Paperchase ’72. At the half-way mark McGovern’s George Bevan prepared Sunbeam Imp is in the lead of the competition having won the 1-litre class in all five of the rounds to date. Thus he has a maximum of 45 points, well clear of the joint second place men, Dave Matthews and Frank Gardner, who both have 36 points. Matthews, who drives the Melton Racing/Broadspeed Escort RS, was unbeaten in his class (1,300-2,000 c.c.) until he crashed at Crystal Palace. The experienced Australian Gardner, who is now concentrating solely on saloon-car racing, drives a Chevrolet Camaro entered by SCA Freight, the big European haulage firm. Gardner has won three out of five rounds but has fierce competition from Brian Muir’s Wiggins Teape-sponsored works-backed Capri RS. Muir is at present fifth in the overall Championship behind Jonathan Buncombe who leads the 1,000-1,300-c.c. category with a Longman prepared Cooper Mini.

This well-run and promoted Championship now takes a break before the sixth round, which will be a supporting event to the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

F2 Sponsor for McLaren

The works Formula Two McLaren which the Colnbrook team have been running this year for Jody Scheckter is now being sponsored by Impact B.S. Holdings Ltd. Impact are a growing company with varying interests centred mainly around the garage industry. Their tie-up has already proved fruitful for, just after the sponsorship was announced, Scheckter scored a superb win at Crystal Palace.

Pit Stops

* Phil Read, the 33-year-old motor-cycle racer and now No. 2 to Agostini in the MV Agusta team, recently tried his hand at four wheels. Following a chance remark to Ken Tyrrell at a social function, the Surrey timber merchant arranged for Read to try an Elden Formula Ford car at Brands Hatch on a general practice day. Read found he had to use completely different lines round the corners but, after some instruction from Gerry Birrell, he was soon lapping respectably fast. But at present Read says he is far too busy on two wheels to think of racing cars.

* News has come recently regarding Marcos Ltd. Following a major reorganisation the firm lives on but has moved to a smaller factory. The firm will shortly announce a new Mk. IV version of the Minimarcos while the future of all other models awaits clarification of the kit car’s position under Value Added Tax. Any further information regarding Marcos is available from Jem Marsh at 037-382 2465.

* Former Clubman’s Champion and Formula Three racer Tim Goss has opened the Tim Goss Timing Centre to specialise in retailing stopwatches, and other timing equipment for the motor sporting enthusiast and competitor. The timing centre is at 29/31 Euston Road, London, NW1 (Tel.: 01-837 2610).

* Kleber-Colombes, the French tyre firm now marketing in the UK, are offering to provide film evenings for motor clubs. The programme will include two films, a 22-mm. film of the 1972 Monte Carlo Rally and a shorter film showing the testing of Kleber tyres at the banked Miramas track which is now owned by the company. The clubs will also receive from Kleber a trophy for presentation to the person who has made the most outstanding contribution to the club during the past year. Club secretaries should contact their local tyre distributors who will arrange the event in collaboration with Kleber.

* The two remaining vacancies of the new GPDA eight-man Board of Directors have now been filled. The two members are Jochen Mass, the works March F2 and F3 driver, and safety clothing expert James Bottomley. The GPDA is now open to all holders of International racing licences.

* After a rather difficult period with an unreliable secretary the Monoposto Racing Club has appointed a new man to the job. He is Tony Parsfield, who can be contacted at “Tonjea” Hilltop Manor, Wrothant, Kent (Tel.: Fairseat 822168).

* The British-designed Melmag fabricated racing car wheel has won the manufacturers, Magnesium Elektron Ltd., an award from the USA Magnesium Association. The wheel now used on such cars as Fittipaldi’s Lotus 72 is 30% lighter than a comparable cast wheel and its application is expected to expand outside motor racing.