A Croft original

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Sir,

We were sad to read about the passing of Jim Crawford. He might have been forgotten elsewhere, but certainly not with long-time Croft regulars. For us, what was most memorable was that meeting in June 1981 when Jim left his greatest mark with the faithful at the North Yorkshire circuit

It was to be the last year of the track in its original incarnation, and we were miserably ticking off meetings before the gates closed for good in October.

Tony Dean had held the circuit record since ’73 in a F5000 Chevron. When lain MacLaren shaved the time to set a lap of the hallowed Tarmac at just over one minute in his McLaren M26, we thought it would stand for all time.

Not so. Enter Jim Crawford.

He arrived with the Plygrange Formula Two Toleman TG280 and set about the lap record in practice. Ever seen a ground-effect car opposite lock through the old chicane? Crawford could do that

We stood at Tower Bend for the Libre race. It was gloriously sunny and the conditions were just right. No-one ever before had taken Tower like Jim did that afternoon; the Toleman seemed to be guided by an unseen hand – he didn’t appear to lift off.

Jim won, lapped the field almost twice, and broke the one-minute barrier that we thought had been insurmountable. At the final meeting, the gates closed, and though Jim wasn’t there, the honour of the outright lap record on the old circuit stayed with him forever.

So, you see, his exploits have never been forgotten, for they are in the hearts and minds of the Croft brigade. We’re sorry he has gone, but we’re glad we were there with him at his best.

We are, Yours etc,

Paul and Michael Vickers, Redcar

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