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The story so far......

Rolls Royces the ultimate road machine?  Debateable.  Rolls Royces the ultimate Banger?  Without question!  In fact so few Rolls Royces have found their way onto the Banger racing scene that it is possible to track all of the cars that have appeared so far (ie 15/12/98).

The first car to appear was the Silver Shadow of No 167 John Chambers of the "Bad Boys" at the "Mad March TV Tear Up" on March 12th 1995 at the Angmering track near Worthing.  The appearance formed the basis of a Discovery TV programme which I believe still has the occasional showing.  According to "BLITZ!" magazine the car was spotted in a breakers yard and took a great deal of work to prepare for its swansong.  No pictures of this one I'm afraid so if you can help fill the gap please let me know!

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It was to be another two and a half years until the next Rolls Royce appearance at Firecracker V1 at Arena Essex to be precise.  This time it was No 196 John Hendy driving a beautifully prepared Silver Shadow which - not surprisingly - stole the show during the pre-meeting parade.  It didn't last very long once the racing started though!  This car is shown in the photographs above.  The car returned to Arena for Firecracker VII in November 1998 as a source for spare parts for John Hendy's second Rolls Royce racer.  The picture on the far - right shows the wrecked motor from the previous year.
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John Hendy wasn't the only Rolls Royce racer at Firecracker VII.   He was joined by three other cars (No 754 Dave Nicholls, No 600 Lee Wells and No 760 Terry Roberts) bringing the running total of cars raced to six and to start the day's racing the first all Rolls Royce race was held!  This was a pretty tame affair with the two cars using Ford transplants being well outpaced.  Fittingly it was John Hendy who won the race from the Suicide Squad's Dave Nicholls.  This meeting attracted considerable TV interest.  Not only did it feature on L!VE TV's regular weekly programme "Bangers and Smash" but also on BBC2's "Top Gear".  Top Gear's Vicki Butler-Henderson actually drove car No 760 in the Roll Royce race finishing in fourth place.  The "Top Gear" programme on 10 December featured the Firecracker meeting and the in-car commentary [/description] of Vicki Butler-Henderson makes quite entertaining reading!
"My choice of car for today is this Roll Royce.  But its a Rolls Royce with a slight difference because basically it's a Ford Granada.  Its a 2.8 V6 Granada engine and running gear and it is the noisiest Rolls Royce I have ever been in.  There is no power steering and there aren't even any windows.  What am I doing here?.  [Finally my moment arrives, the extra special all Roller race.  These four are Silver Shadows but I'm in one of the two with Ford workings inside which are pitted against two genuine Rollers.  My car may not have the chrome of the Real McCoy but its certainly got the attitude.]  Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Oh I just got hit!   Oh my God!  Oh no!  I'm in last!  I don't believe it!   What a disaster!  The brakes are so spongy, the handling's all over.  Ohhh!   I definitely wouldn't take this out on a run down a supermarket because you'd hardly get round the first bend of the roundabout.  Its all over the shop!  Oh two laps to go!  I just want it to end!  Jolly good fun.  Excellent wheeze.  Never do it again thanks very much!"  

Wallpaper with a touch of class!

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My reaction - and I suspect along with most others who saw the TV programme - was "Wasn't a pity she didn't drive it in the real race with more than 30 other competitors!"

The real action took place in the meeting proper when all of the Rolls Royces came in for very close attention from fellow competitors.  It was John Hendy who performed best, dishing out as good as he got, as shown in the pictures below.  

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The seventh Rolls Royce to appear on the race tracks was the No 16 car of Kevin Scott at the 1998 Spedeworth Banger Championship of the World meeting on 15 November 1998 - see pictures pictures left and below.  After partaking in the Best Presented Car Award Scotty lost control early-on in his heat ending up stuck on the centre.  Surprisingly he did not appear again.

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A few weeks after the meeting Dave Smith (Chair of the South West Banger Racing Club) explained what had transpired on the night.  It seems that having lost control and ending up stuck on the grass in his heat Scotty returned to the pits.  At this point he was approached by a Belgian Rolls Royce dealer who purchased the car there and then for display in his showroom!

The final pictures were taken at Birmingham Wheels on 8th November.   I was told that this particular car was due to be prepared for the Christmas 1998 meeting at Mildenhall.  The rather obvious point to make is that there seemed an awful lot missing and that a tremendous amount of work would be needed to get the car ready.  I thought a nice touch was the grass growing in the boot!  In fact this car did race at Mildenhall on 27th December. roll228-1.JPG (4601 bytes) roll229-1.JPG (4011 bytes)

 

As always your comments, suggestions and contributions would be most welcome!  Email: david.carter6@virgin.net

 

 

Facts & Figures (at 15/12/98)

First Rolls Royce racer: No 167 'Bad Boy' John Chambers on 12th March 1995 at Angmering.

Total No of Rolls Royces raced: seven

Tracks where Rolls Royces have been raced: Angmering, Arena and Wimbledon

Most Rolls Royces raced at at one track: five - Arena

Most Rolls Royces raced at one meeting: four - Arena

First Rolls Royce only race: Arena, 1st November 1998

Most Rolls Royces raced by one driver: John Hendy (two)

First (and only) lady Rolls Royce banger driver: Vicki Butler-Henderson

 

Sources:

Dave Smith email to the ONElist Discussion Group on Rogers UK Oval Racing Site (see Links page)

BLITZ! Issue No 6

L!VE TV's Bangers and Smash programme transmitted on 8/12/98

BBC2 Top Gear programme transmitted on 10/12/98

 

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