Episode 27            1993

1992 wasn’t one of the better years in BriSCA stock car racing, and in fact I’d go so far as saying, it was the least enjoyable year since 1965 when I’d started going regularly.

I’d drastically reduced the number of meetings I attended and there was nothing on the horizon to indicate that 1993 would be any better .

Unfortunately UK stock car racing has a long history of ‘shooting it’s self in the foot’, with political disputes, caused by the stubborn attitudes of both drivers and promoters . The winter of 92/93 was no different and as a result the BriSCA F1 season was late in starting.

I was still a big fan of the Milton Keynes Ice Hockey team and many of my winter weekends were spent at the ‘Bladerunner’ in MK, cheering them on.

For the past year or so the Classic American Car scene was a part of the Young family life and we’d been attending shows with our 1977 Chrysler Cordoba. It was starting to get a bit scruffy, and the time was rapidly approaching for us to replace it.1993a

On Jan 27 we did something a bit different . January 16 was my dads birthday and we’d acquired tickets for the Tottenham Hotspur versus Ipswich Town Football match. We took dad for a night out at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane ground in North London , where the ‘Town’ beat the ‘Spurs’ 2-0.

Brafield’s season opener was scheduled for March 7, but because of an F1 drivers dispute, only the F2 stock cars turned up. The final was won by John Thompson (701) of Doncaster. There were still no F1’s in action a week later when we attended the Boston opener. Once again it was the F2’s that were topping the bill, with Steve Maidlow (855) of Newark taking the final.

Brafield’s second meeting of the year, was once again without F1’s and it was Hertfordshire’s (152) Mick Sworder, who was the F2 final. winner.

Luckily for us, while this disruption was going on at the races, there was still plenty of ice hockey taking place, and on April 17 , we went to watch the MK Kings play in Peterborough .

On April 25 the American Car Club had a show at the Santa Pod Raceway, in Bedfordshire and we went along with the Cordoba. My Buddy, Dave Ramswell, was there with his 1968 Camaro and he won the best car of the show award. I’d started looking around for something else, and while at the show, I spotted a nice 77 Ford Mustang that a local dealer had taken along.

May 1 was the start of the May Day ‘bank holiday’ weekend . On Saturday it was the Coventry opener and the F1 stock cars were back in action after their two month ‘shut down’. Kettering driver Murray Harrison (97) was the final winner that night.

The next day we traveled up to the Boston Stadium where Peter Falding (33) was the winner.

On the holiday Monday we took the Cordoba along to Stockwood Park in Luton for a classic car show. 1993b

The following week ( Saturday May 8 ) , turned out be our last show with the Cordoba, when we attended a charity show at a school in Harpendon ( Herts).

The 1977 Ford Mustang I’d seen at Santa Pod , had caught my interest and in the morning of that Harpendon show, I’d been to Rod Eady’s American Car Sales in Burton Latimer (Northants) to put down a deposit.

The next weekend (May 16) we had our final road trip in the Cordoba , when we attended Arena Essex for a Veteran Stock Car Association reunion. 1993c

Two days later, Dave Ramswell accompanied me to Eady’s where I parted company with the Cordoba and took possession of the Mustang.

The next weekend was the whitsun bank holiday so we took the ‘Muzzy’ along to Brafield, where Frankie Wainman JR was the winner .

This also happened to be a ‘bank holiday’ weekend, and on the Monday we used the ‘Muzzy’ as one of the support vehicles for a charity bike ride that our local pub was organizing.

Since moving to Cranfield ‘The Swan’ had become our local hostelry and the Landlord and Landlady, Harry and Glenda Williams had become personal friends. ( Harry had previously worked in the music industry, as road manager for the rock band ‘The Who’ , and had retired to run a pub.) Glenda’s brother was also an American car fan and he joined us to escort the charity bike ride, in his Corvette Stingray.1993e

On Wednesday 2 June we took off for a short caravaning holiday in Kent. We spent a few days on a site at Deal, where we took advantage of a cheap day trip to Calais, France that one of the national newspapers were offering.

We were back home by Saturday in time to attend the BriSCA F1 races at Coventry on June 5. Steve Hodgeson (172) was the winner that night.

The following week (12 June) it was the F1 British Championships at Long Eaton, and we were there to see Paul Harrison ( son of Willie) take the win.

On the weekend of June 18/19 it was the AAC Summer Nationals at the Billing Aquadrome, and we were there on Saturday with our ‘Muzzy’.

We didn’t stay for the full weekend, because on Sunday (June 19) it was the VSCA ( Veteran Stock Car Association) reunion at nearby Brafield and we didn’t like missing this one. The F1 race was won by Frankie Wainman JR while John Mickel (4) of Cambridge won the F2 Final.

1993 was the second year running that I hadn’t bothered to renew my BriSCA F1 License and my # 67 had been reissued . 1993fRacing at Brafield this year was John Bowser (67), from Leicestershire, who was one of (7) Phil Bicknell’s crew.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a life long fan of the Beach Boys, and on June 27 we went along to see them in concert once again at the Birmingham N.E.C.

During the summer we were sharing our time between family stuff, racing and American Car Shows.

We were at Coventry on July 3 to see Peter Falding take a win, and ‘showing’ the ‘Muzzy’ at the Hollowell Steam Rally the next day ( Sunday July 4)1993g 1993h

We liked the ‘American Scene’ and when our local USAF base at Chicksands had an open day on Saturday July 10, we went along for it.

Next day it was the F1’s at Brafield, where our old friend, and veteran racer Andy Webb (247) won the Final.

BriSCA F1 racing was definitely going through a bad spell, so we were picking and choosing the tracks we attended.

Boston was still one of the most entertaining tracks in the country and on July 18 we were there to see Andy Hodgson (272) take a win.

We had a local car show at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes on (July 1) and we were back at USAF Chicksands for a ‘car boot sale’ on Saturday July 7, before heading off to the nights races at Coventry. This was another win for Peter Falding .

1993iWe took the ‘Muzzy’ along to nearby Woburn Abbey (Bedfordshire) on Aug 15 for a car show , before getting ready for an extra special summer vacation we had planned .

This year we were going to miss the 1993 Long Track World Final at Baarlo ( held on Aug 22 and won by Ron Kroonder ) because we had other plans.

At the beginning of 1992 we been paid a visit by Pat’s Auntie Lotte and Uncle Klaas from Canada, and they’d invited us to go over there and visit them.

We’d saved hard, and on the morning of Tuesday Aug 24 we had flights booked out of London’s Gatwick Airport bound for Toronto.

We arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Airport  at 4-30 pm ET where Klaas and Lotte were there to meet us. Soon after landing, we were in Klaas’s Pontiac 6000 and on our way to their home in Combermere, Ontario .1993j

Once in Combermere we met Pat’s cousins Brian and Terry.1993l

Our plan was to spend a few days with the family before doing the ‘tourist thing’ back in Toronto.

Wednesday was our first full day in Ontario and we were taken for a drive into Algonquin Park where we saw our first moose.

The Staal family’s business , The Valley Cottage Raising and Moving LTD specialized in moving and relocating buildings from one place to another and this was a busy time of year. 1993m 1993n

This meant, that work had to continue during our visit, so on Thursday and Friday, I joined Klaas and Brian at sites in Petawawa and Madawaska, while Pat and Carla spent time with Lotte.

While in Combermere, one of the Staal family friends we met, was a local policeman called Ronald McDonald. He owned a couple of classic vehicles, one of which was a Ford Model T Truck.1993k He took me for a ride around the lanes in it.

At the weekend we went for a trip in to Ottawa, the nations Capitol, where we saw the houses of Parliament, and got pictures taken with a ‘Mountie’. I really really liked Ottawa and it has to be one of the nicest capitols in this world.1993o

On Sunday it was time to head back to Toronto for the second part of our vacation.

For the drive back down , we took two cars. Terry was attending a college in the city and was returning to his ‘digs’, so I joined him in his Dodge Aries ‘K’ car , while the others went in the Pontiac.

On the way there we stopped by at Whitby, where we visited Cullen Gardens and the Canadian Motor Museum.

We needed accommodation for the Toronto chapter of our holiday, so Terry had booked us into a Travel Lodge on the 401, at Markham Rd, Scarborough. This would be our base until the end of the week and our return flight on Friday. We needed transport, so we rented a Chevy Cavalier to get us around.1993p

Our first priority while staying in the Toronto area, was to visit Niagara Falls and we did this on Monday Aug 30. While we were there , we did all the tourist things including a trip on the world famous ‘Maid of the Mist’.1993q
With Niagara Falls being a border point into the USA , we couldn’t resist the chance to visit another country. We drove over ‘The Peace Bridge’ into Niagara Falls, New York where to spend a couple of hours before returning to Canada.1993r Little did I know, this would be the first of many trips to the USA in years to come.

On Tuesday we spent the day  with Terry at Canada’s Wonderland ( a theme park), Wednesday at the Toronto Science Center, and Thursday we visited the Skydome and the CN Tower.

Thursday was also our final night in Canada and I remember a lively Karaoke night on the hotel terrace of the ‘Smoking Crow’ bar. I must have had plenty to drink that night , because I ended up losing my ‘karaoke virginity’ when I got up and sung the beach boy classic, ‘Little Deuce Coupe’.

On Friday, after returning the rental car we got a taxi to the airport for our overnight flight back to England.

After a 30 minute stop over in Belfast, we arrived at Gatwick at 11-30 am.

While we were away, our car had been parked in nearby Horley, so once that was picked up, the drive back to Bedfordshire began.

It was now Saturday Sept 4, and happened to be BriSCA F1 World Final night at Coventry. We had arrived home in Cranfield from our holiday at 2-30 pm and soon after that, our Dutch friends Willem and Anne Boschma arrived at the door. Just an hour or so after returning home, we were back on the road again heading for Coventry.

We had Grandstand seats booked for this special night, where Peter Falding won another ‘gold’ . 1993tAs well as the usual Dutch contingent, the overseas representation included New Zealand’s Kevin Free and Rick Standridge of Illinois. USA.1993u 1993v

The next day it was the traditional ‘day after the World Final’ meeting at Brafield, where Frankie Wainman JR was the winner.

Since acquiring the ‘Muzzy’ we’d joined the Mustang Owners Club of the UK and on Sept 12 they were holding their annual show and shine in St Albans , Hertfordshire. 1993wIt was a wet a miserable day, but we came away with a trophy for the best in the ‘Series 2’ category .

Just two days later and less than two weeks after returning from Canada, Carla was rushed in to hospital with appendicitis. She was kept in for a couple of days while her appendix were removed .

On Sept 19 it was Brafield again where Bill Batten won in the F2’s while Wainman Jr got another win in the F1’s .

On Sept 25 it was the BriSCA  F2 World Final held on the shale at the Crewe Stadium in Cheshire. Crewe was a great track and the thought of F2’s holding their premier race their guaranteed a full house. 1993xIt was an ‘electric’ night as Lincolnshire’s Ian King (804) took the Gold. 1993y

Also on display that night was the UK Sprint Car of Vince O’Connor. I didn’t know Vince at the time, but met up with him many years later while on holiday in Florida.1993z
As we moved into October, it was Coventry on Saturday 2 for yet another Wainman JR  win.

The next day I did something a bit different. Jason Pursey, the son of my old ‘Beds and Herts Stock Car Club’ buddy Glyn (175) was living just around the corner from us in Cranfield. He’d taken up the budget V8 stock car division of ‘Hot Stox’ and was doing pretty well. He was racing at Brafield on Sunday Oct 3 and he asked me if I’d go along and help him in the pits. 1993bbI did so, and I’m pleased to say he came away with two heats and Final win.1993aa

I was back at Brafield again on Oct 17 for the BriSCA F2’s where veteran driver Andy Morris (753) was the winner.

We had really enjoyed our trip to Canada, and came home very impressed with the country, and the way Klaas and Lotte had made a new life there after relocating from the Netherlands.

With things in England looking pretty gloomy at this time, we thought Canada would be good for us too and decided to look into the possibility of emigrating.

We made enquiries to CANADA HOUSE in London and on Oct 27 , I took a day off work to go there and pick up the relevant information

We soon found out that entry requirements into the country were done on a points basis, which were determined by such things as age, work qualifications and whether you could speak French or not.

All though the odds were stacked against us, we decided to give it a try. To gain more points I tried to improve my ‘school boy’ French by listening to language tapes at work, while driving my truck.

I was at Coventry again on Nov 6 to see Andy Smith (391) , (son of Stuart) take wins in his Heat and Final.

A week later ( Nov 14) I attended the last ever race meeting to be held at the Boston Stadium. It had been under threat for a few years and the land had finally been sold to make way for a supermarket. 1993ccWinner of that historic ‘last meeting’ was West Midlander, Barry Heath (343) from Walsall.

My Grandfather who’s home was within walking distance of the Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich, sadly passed away on November 10 and his funeral was on November 17. This would be the closing chapter surrounding this house, in Parliament Rd,  that I remember walking to the races from when I was a small kid.

Our winter months were once again spent watching our local Ice Hockey team, the MK Kings.

We’d kept our emigration application a secret , with only close friends and family knowing about it.

Our Trans-Atlantic holiday meant us missing out on our usual summer trip to the Netherlands, so we made plans to see in the ‘ New Year ‘ over  there.

On December 30 we took the ferry over from Harwich to the Hook of Holland to spend a few days with our friends Willem and Anne in Friesland.

They’d recently moved from Nijland to Hommerts, and before heading up to their new place, we spent the last day of 1993 exploring Amsterdam.