Competition Representatives

(Continued from the April issue)

Freddie Bothamley of Automotive Products

F. Bothamley, the Competition Manager of Automotive Products  Co., Ltd. (Lockheed brakes, Borg and Beck clutches. etc.) has been interested in racing from his earliest days, and as a schoolboy was a frequent spectator at car and motor-cycle meetings. Made his first real contact with the Sport during his student days with the Daimler Co. before the war; did very well at his studies  and looked like developing into a back-room boffin, with emphasis on engine design and research, when the war came and changed all that.

With a military background the inevitable happened and he got into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, serving through the North African and Italian campaigns with the rank of Captain. Had some interesting adventures and was badly knocked about in Italy at one time. After the war, he tried to resume his previous line and eventually became Chief Designer to Douglas motor-cycles, then a research engineer with the Rover Co., concentrating on petrol injection and supercharging.  He picked up the threads of the racing game again, and acted in a consultant capacity on several projects, notably some of the early five-hundreds.

But the desert was still in his blood and he could not settle down in civilian life, so 1949 saw him abroad again in the Moslem world which had a peculiar fascination for him. For two years or so he travelled widely and had many colourful adventures, mainly in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf areas, after which, he says, “he had the sand out, of his system,” and returned to Europe.

After a bout of Continental sight-seeing he decided to settle down and joined his present company, becoming deputy head of the Research and Development Department and having a hand in the evolution of several new projects. Had retained his keen interest in racing through it all and had the opportunity to take his present job when Paul Burden (the previous Competition Manager) was asked recently to undertake important work for the company in connection with transmissions. Freddie points out that he has now happily combined his life-long hobby with his professional activities.

Is aged 36, single (says he hasn’t had time to be otherwise) and several technical qualifications such as A.M.I.Mech.E.   Hobbies work and more work, but if there is no motor sport going on you might find him mixed up with rugby football, or even the theatre. Drinks, smokes, and has all the saving graces, being known to a wide circle of friends if only for his repertoire of rugger songs. etc. Drives anything that comes to hand and has owned a variety of cars, but for his own personal amusement prefers open cars with a Vintage flavour. His present car is a 1936 PB M.G.


Guy Edwards of MobilOil

Mr. Guy Edwards of the Vacuum Oil Co.. Ltd. writes:

“It was in 1937 that I joined the Vacuum Oil Company direct from school and it was not long before found myself mixed up in the company’s competition activities. Perhaps this was an obvious move by the staff department because even as a small boy in short trousers I had been in the company of racing types  — my father, H. N. Edwards, had for several years been the Secretary of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and was at that time organising the racing on what was then the new Crystal Palace circuit.  Consequently I already knew my way around a race paddock and had had the opportunity of seeing things from within that holy of holies, the control office.

“The beginning of the 1939 season saw me  looking after the company’s interests at our permanent office on the old Brooklands track, but by the time that fateful September came along, I was in khaki and away from the more pleasant ways of life. It was not long before I was soldiering with the Eighth Army in North Africa and making my business the operation of transport on surfaces far divorced from those of race tracks. After demob in 1946, however, I was soon back with the company and following a pleasant year of picking up the threads with my predecessor, Mr. A. E. Perkins, I took over the responsibility of Competitions Manager at the end of the 1947 season. “Since that date the job has taken me to all the leading tracks of the United Kingdom both in the car and motor-cycle racing fields and in addition I have visited many Continental tracks where I have had the pleasure of  co-operating with Socony-Vacuum Associate Companies upon race servicing matters. Competitions representation does not end with racing, however, for there are many spheres of the company’s business in which the Competitions Department has an interest. Amongst these are the preparation of films and close liaison with manufacturers, upon “special exhibits” and, perhaps, the most unusual in the latter category has been my most recent trip — a journey to Scandinavia and up into the territory of the Arctic Circle with last month’s Equator to the Arctic drive by Austin. 

“And the car I drive myself ? An Austin A40.”


L.M. Harris of Andre

Mr. L. M. Harris, of Andre (Components), Ltd., writes:

“The Andre Company was officially formed in 1913 and was originally associated with the introduction of the Light Car  into this country, which possibly some readers will remember was the Marlborough, which was produced with success until the outbreak of World War I. Production was resumed in the early 1920s and it was raced at Brooklands and on other tracks by the late Mr. T. B. Andre, Parry Thomas, and a host of other famous drivers of that age.

“When the manufacture of the Marlborough car ceased, the introduction and manufacture of the Hartford shock-absorber was commenced. Some of the early users of this famous shock-absorber were household names in the motor-racing world during the early 1920s. To mention a few—the late Sir Henry Segrave, the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, and the late Count Zoborowski.

“I had the pleasure of being associated with the company in 1927 as an apprentice, and have spent my entire working life with them. I was closely associated with T. B. Andre, the late Vernon A. Trier, and my father, the late W. L. Harris, in the formation of the original group of the Silentbloc Companies.

“In 1936 it was decided to form a separate company which today is known as Andre (Components). Ltd. This company was formed primarily for the manufacture of the well-known Hartford shock-absorber, and various other allied engineering products associated with the motor industry.

” My company has always been very closely associated with every aspect of motor racing, and I am pleased to say that, in the past have have achieved many notable successes, including the, records of the late Sir Malcolm Campbell and the late John Cobb.

“I personally attend as many motor-racing events as is possible, and in 1953 1 am looking forward to many bigger and better successes for my company in the field of motor racing. I would mention that at the moment I am driving a Ford Zephyr.”


The Lodge Team

Lodge announce that the teamwork of the Competitions Department continues to grow from strength to strength and is now better than ever, and the team, for the fifth year running, remains unchanged, as follows : Mr. Guilio Ramponi, Mr. Peter Jones, and Mr. Norman Hooton.

Mr. Bernard Hopps, the Chairman of the company, is still intensely interested in racing, and has indeed designed all the Lodge range of racing plugs, assisted by the Chief Designer, Mr. Max Bland, who, incidentally, in his spare time, enters for a few races at Silverstone.

Mr. Guilio Ramponi is particularly well known in the motor-racing field for his past long list of successes as a racing driver; successes which include first place in 1928-29 in the Mille Miglia, and in 1930 in the Le Mans 24-hour race. In addition he has won the 1929 six-hours Grand Prix of Rome race, the six-hours Brooklands in 1928 and 1929, the double 12-hours endurance race in 1928 and the Belgian 24-hours race in 1929.

During other periods of his career he has been 16 years with Alfa Romeo, mechanic and part-time co-driver to Antonio Ascari, mechanic to Nuvolari, chief-in-charge of the Scuderia Ferrari team, manager of Whitney Straight team and chief mechanic to Dick Seaman.

Since 1936, Mr. Ramponi has resided mostly in England specialising in tuning high-efficiency engines. He runs his own garage business in London for this purpose and has been retained by Lodge Plugs Competitions Department since 1947. He drives a pre-war Lancia.

Mr. Peter Jones, originally trained at the B.T.H., joined Lodge Plugs Competitions Department in 1949. Intensely interested in motor racing since early youth, he now attends all events throughout the United Kingdom, besides coping with the day-to-day details and correspondence on racing matters at Rugby. His car is a Rover 12.

Mr. Norman Hooton specialising at motor-cycle events throughout Europe is almost as well known for his past prowess as a trials and scrambles rider as Mr. Ramponi is in the car field. His array of cups and medals won in these events is impressive indeed.


Bob Rhodes of Vigzol

Mr. Bob Rhodes, of the Vigzol Oil Company, writes:

“I joined the company in 1926, and I have always been greatly interested in competition motoring, being an active member of the British Motor-Cycle and Light Car Club immediately after World War I.

“When, in the late ‘twenties, my company embarked on motor-cycle racing, I took charge of this. Our first venture was the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race where we used a team of Rudge-Whitworth motor-cycles. We did not take part in any more racing until after World War Il.

“As most readers of Motor Sport  will know, hill-climb contests became extremely popular in the years immediately following World War II. My company have had many successes since the war in hill-climbs, competition work, rallies and motor racing generally, and among our notable successes was the Monte Carlo Rally of 1952, when Sydney Allard came in first with a car of his own name.

“Drivers who have been associated with us since the war are Reg Parnell, Stirling Moss, Peter Walker, Lance Macklin, George Abecassis and Piero Taruffi, only to mention a few.

“This year, although we are taking an active part in motor racing, we are not taking such a big interest as in previous years. It is interesting to note that for the past five years we were closely associated with the B.R.M. project.

“With the 1953 motor-racing season just getting into full swing, I trust that British motor racing will have a successful year and I hope to see some of our racing drivers leading the way in the Grand Prix on the Continent.

“I have had various motor cars during the past 30 years and am still a keen Bentley fan.”