Episode # 26 1992 RETRO REPORT
As 1991 came to and end, the Young family moved into a brand new home in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, which we named ‘The Stocks’ . It was on a new development and our house was one of the first to be finished , so for the first few months of 1992 we were basically living in the middle of a building site with an unpaved road. It was in a nice area and we knew that the inconvenience would be worth it, once the plots were completed.
I was still working as a driver for ICELAND out of their cold store in Wolverton, the other side of Milton Keynes. It was a bit further to travel to work each day, so I continued to use my Yamaha motor cycle, which cost a lot less for fuel than the Chrysler.
In recent years we’d traveled with Derek to most of the Coventry meetings in his Austin Maxi. Derek had become noted as stock car racing’s number one collector of rare programs and other racing artifacts.
On January 29 we had two overseas visitors to our home in Cranfield, that unknown to us at the time, would change the paths of our lives.
Let me digress . Pat’s late mother, Anjte, was originally from the Eindhoven area of the Netherlands and during the liberation of the country in WW2 she met her husband John Minifie , (Pat’s late father) who was a British soldier. After the war, they were married and moved to the Poole/Bournemouth area of England. Anjte’s sister who’s name was Charlotte, (Pat’s auntie ‘Lotte’) also moved away from the Netherlands after the war, when she and her husband Klaas Staal decided to emigrate to Canada.
Up until this point, ‘Lotte’ and Klaas hadn’t been back to Europe, and in January of 1992 they paid us a visit.
They flew in to Amsterdam from Toronto, then after a few days in the Netherlands came over to England via the Olau Line Ferry from Vlissingen.
They were sailing on an over night boat and arriving early in the morning of January 29, at Sheerness in Kent. I took a day off from work so we could meet them. We left Cranfield at 4-00am in the morning so we could be in Sheerness for the ships arrival. I remember it being treacherous drive down there, as we encountered thick fog for all of the journey. It was the same for the trip home.
They stayed at our house for a day or two, before traveling down to Somerset to see Pat’s sister in Yeovil.
As you’d expect , our visitors, suggested we should visit them in Canada some time, and we assured them, it would be one of our goals.
We had another sad event happen in February when our pet cat ‘Ginger’ died . He’d been the family pet since before Carla was born.
I didn’t like the direction that BriSCA F1 racing was going, and we’d found other interests.
This was the first year since 1974 that I did not renew my racing license. I’d held the # 67 in BriSCA F1 for eighteen years and decided not to keep it any longer.
Regardless of these facts, we were at the season opener at Brafield opener on March 8 to see Frankie Wainman JR (515) take the win. Then on March 21, I was at Long Eaton where Peter Falding (33) was the winner.
A new track opened up at Bolton in Lancashire for BriSCA F1 on March 29, but my interest was waning and I never made the effort to attend. In the past, a ‘first ever’ meeting would have been a must.
It was the season opener at Coventry on April 4 , and before seeing John Lund take the win , we visited an American Car show at the Rex Centre in nearby Birmingham.
It would be a full month before our next race meeting, when once again we’d be at Coventry (Saturday May 2) . It was refreshing to see a different winner that night, when Leicestershire’s Rob Pearce (175) took the checkers.
The next day we traveled to Boston for the Sunday evening meeting where Wainman JR was the winner then on May 9, I was at Long Eaton where Peter Falding took another win.
Carla was still doing her Karate, and on the weekend of May 30 she had a competition in Watford, Hertfordshire. I’m pleased to say that on that day she won a bronze medal for free fighting.
We were back at Coventry again on June 6 for the BSCDA Championship, an annual classic, only second in importance to the BriSCA F1 World Final. This provided yet another win for Wainman JR.
On the weekend of 12/13/14 June it was the AAC Summer Nationals at the Billing Aquadrome and once again we were there with our Cordoba . Even though it was close to home, we still took our caravan and camped the weekend .
The following week it was the VSCA reunion meeting at Brafield, and it was Bert Finnikin (55) who took the final that day. With it being the annual reunion many of our ‘old crowd’ made the effort to attend, so after the races we went for a supper at the ‘Three Fishes’, a local pub renowned for it’s ‘real ale’.
Just to show how much my interest was waning, I chose to miss the Coventry meeting on July 4, which is something I would never have contemplated in the past. That day we had our Cordoba on show at my sister Anne’s school Fete in Hockliffe, Bedfordshire. She was a teacher there and we took it along as an attraction. We filled the interior with balloons and you had to guess ‘how many balloons in the yank car’ to win a prize.
On July 19 we were at Brafield to see Nigel Whorton win the Final, but chose to miss Coventry again on Aug 1. We did a ‘Yank Car’ cruise night in Milton Keynes instead.
As we went into August, it was the time for our family camping holiday and this year we’d decided to base ourselves in Germany. We left Cranfield on Monday Aug 17 for our usual Dover to Ostende ferry and on Tuesday we were at a campsite in Westende in Belgium.
Our destination for this holiday was the Rhine Valley, where Pat and I had visited back in 1980. Once in Germany our first stop was at a campsite at Rodenkirchen where we able to take a short train ride into the City of Cologne. On Friday we moved on further down the Rhine Valley to a site at Bad Honnef . While there we took a ride up the steep hillside on the Drachenfelsbahn rack and pinion railway at Konigswinter. Check this out.
After spending our first week on the Rhine we traveled back towards Liblarer to a site we had stayed on in 1989, so we could visit the Phantasialand theme park once again. From here we moved on to Baarlo in the Netherlands for the Long Track World Final that was being held on Aug 30.
As usual there were plenty of British drivers taking part, that included John Lund (53) Peter Falsing (33), Frankie Wainman JR (515), Paul Harrison (2), Nigel Whorton (422) ,Jayne Bean (309), Chris Elwell (501), Paul Higgins (229), Mike James (417), Andy Webb (247) Andy Hodgson (172) Lisa Harter (24) .
Heavy rain fell during the afternoon and on a wet track, it was once again Yorkshire’s Peter Falding who took the win.
Since my first visit to Baarlo back in the 1970’s , the ‘World Long Track’ race had always been an event I enjoyed and looked forward to, but even this was starting to loose some of it’s appeal for me. There were a lot more British fans making the trip and with them, came a few ‘nerds’. For the first time ever I spotted a fan walking around the pits with a big flag draped around his body and chanting “England” , just like the kind of mentality you expect from football fans.
To make things worse ! I had camera problems on this holiday, when it accidentally opened up and exposed the film which resulted in all records of this trip being lost. The only surviving picture was the final one on the roll, ( of Pat and Carla at Baarlo) which is included with this report ,
The week after we returned from our holidays, we chose to miss, the BriSCA F2 World Final at Skegness (6 Sept) where Rob Speak retained his Gold Roof.
One week later on 18 Sept, we were at the Odsal Stadium in Bradford for the BriSCA F1 World Final where John Lund also managed to retain his gold. As usual there were plenty of overseas representatives, which included a New Zealand driver with the Dutch sounding name of Frank Van Vroon Hoven (NZ24). The New Zealand connection continued to blossom and you could expect to see at least two Kiwi’s in the World Final. During the winter months some of our UK drivers would go over there to race. In February of 1992 , Stuart Smith and Jayne Bean were there, and my New Zealand media friend Mike Magyar had been keeping me up to date, with pics.
Also making it on the World Final grid for the first time was my old friend, and former Beds & Herts Stock Car Club driver, Lionel Shaw (362) from Luton. He’d acquired the former Ray Tyldesley (85) car and was having his most successful year.
The 1992 Spedeworth Superstox World Final had been held in July at the Ballymena Raceway in Northern Ireland, and was won by local driver Ian McKnight
It was pretty obvious I was losing interest in BriSCA F1 , with the same guys doing all the winning, and the cars getting too ‘classy’ looking. It just wasn’t the ‘fun’ sport it used to be, but out of habit, I still kept attending, which I guess was mainly for the social side.
On Sept 27 there was an American Car Rally at the Drayton Manor Park , near Tamworth but the Cordoba was starting to get a bit scruffy so went up in the Cavalier just to look around. We’d made a few friends in the AAC and a couple of them, Dave and Carol Ramswell from Milton Keynes were there with their 1968 Chevy Camaro.
They became quite good friends and we also accompanied them to a special ‘Oldies Disco Night’ at our nearby USAF base at Chicksands ( Sandy , Beds). There was a display of old American cars out side the hall and Dave’s Camaro was on show. Also there was my VSCA friend Pete Tucker, and as both of us weren’t driving that night I remember consuming quite a bit of beer and having a lot of fun. That was the first time I tried Michelob, and I got quite attached to it for a while .
We closed our racing year by seeing Steve Hodgson win at Coventry on Oct 6, Nigel Whorton at Brafield on Oct 4 and Des Chandler (213) the season closer at Coventry on Nov 7. After all the predictable ‘same name’ wins of the year it was refreshing to see Des Chandler (213) of Hinckley in Leicestershire take the victory at Coventry.
We ended our year, as we started it, by spending our winter weekends following the MK Kings Ice Hockey Club