Historic Motorsport: Prototype Chevron returns to the track

The only Chevron B4 sports-racing car in existence returned to action after an almost half-century gap at the latest Oulton Park's Gold Cup weekend

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The only Chevron B4 sports-racing car, first raced by Chevron founder Derek Bennett, returned to action at Oulton Park after 47 years away from the track.

The Chevron B4, now owned by Swedish Chevron collector Kent Abrahamsson, was a prototype for the later B6 and B8 designs, which were celebrated during the Gold Cup weekend.

Initially simply called a Chevron GT, the only B4 was built in 1966 and Bennett raced it from new, starting at Crystal Palace in August.

It was the first Chevron with a BMW engine and the first to race in the US when taken to Daytona in February 1967 for Peter Gethin, Roy Pike and Fred Opert. It later went to Le Mans in 1971 but failed to qualify and has not raced since that season.

‘It was in the south of England and the owner’s friend started to restore it. But the friend died, unfortunately, so the project stalled,’ Abrahamsson said. ‘The owner decided to sell it and I went straight there and bought it late last year.

‘We have restored the whole car. We were a little bit short of time to be ready for this race, but we really wanted to bring it to this event and it is a very special car,’ added Abrahamsson, who owns around 10 Chevrons including an example of all of the key sports-racing cars from the B1 from the early 1960s through to the B26 of the mid-1970s.

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Lockie stars in 8-litre March

Experienced all-rounder and former British GT champion Calum Lockie realised a long-held ambition when he raced a Can-Am car for the first time during the Oulton Park Gold Cup.

Lockie climbed aboard the monstrous 8-litre March 707 of Richard Dodkins for the pair of Pre ’80 Endurance races and mastered treacherous conditions to dominate Sunday’s race, giving the car a rare victory. He repeated the result in the dry on Monday.

‘I’ve known Richard Dodkins for a long time and I’ve always wanted to race this car. This weekend I finally got to do it. The first time I drove it was on Saturday morning in testing in torrential rain and it was very exciting!’

Lockie now hopes to get the chance to race the 800bhp ex-Helmut Kelleners car again next season.

Colmans make racing return

More than a year after their Chevron B8 was heavily damaged at Brands Hatch, father and son Hugh and Mark Colman returned to race in the Chevron B6/B8 50th anniversary meeting at Oulton Park.

In July 2017, Mark was at the wheel when the Chevron crashed heavily at Paddock Hill Bend. He suffered a leg injury in the accident.

The chassis of the B8 has since been extensively rebuilt and the car was finally completed on Friday afternoon. ‘The B8 race was always our target and we just made it,’ said Hugh.

Despite a detached oil pipe in testing, they finished ninth overall from 31st place on the grid in Sunday’s Guards Trophy race.

Seager needs co-driver

MG Midget driver Bob Seager has issued an urgent plea for a co-driver for the historic section of Rally Isle of Man, and could take a French speaker.

The Dorset-based driver has done the rally before but needs to urgently find a co-driver for the September 13-15 event.

‘As I speak reasonable French, if there was French or Belgian co-driver, male or female, any age, with the appropriate licence, wishing to experience this fantastic event, I would be only too pleased to do it with them. It needs to be someone of small to medium build; it is an MG Midget after all!’

Seager can be contacted via bobseager@btinternet.com.

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Hammond signs off racing career

Alec Hammond signed off his racing career by competing in the Chevron B6/B8 50th anniversary race at Oulton Park.

The prolific historic racer has been racing for 25 years, both in Europe and the US, and shared his Chevron B8 with Nigel Greensall in the special race. His B8 is now for sale.

‘My last race was going to be at Dijon last October, but I just had to do the Chevron anniversary race,’ he said.

Instead, Hammond will focus his motor sport on classic rallies in a 1964 Ford Mustang, and will contest the 27-day Rally Round Africa in October, co-driven by his wife Barbara.

Rare Sykes Jr race

Formula Junior racer Adam Sykes had only his second race in nine years at the Oulton Park Gold Cup when he borrowed the front-engined Merlyn Mk2 of his father John. Sykes Jr has his own Merlyn being prepared but borrowed the Mk2 to claim a podium finish while his father was away watching the Manx Grand Prix motorbike racing.

Stewart's showing

Historic FF2000 racer Jimmy Stewart took in one of his local championship rounds at the Oulton Park Gold Cup, just an eight-hour trek from his home north of Fort William in Scotland. Stewart, who runs a classic Jaguar exhaust manifold business races the ex-Scott Temple Crossle 33F and also hillclimbs a Jaguar in more local events.

Zandvoort Historic Formula 2 double-header

A 27-strong field of Historic Formula 2 cars will head to Zandvoort this weekend for a double-header at the Dutch track’s Historic Grand Prix. Frenchman Robert Simac (March 712M) could move closer to a sixth straight title ahead of the deciding double-header at Dijon in October. Matthew Watts (March 772P) rejoins the series and will be among the overall pacesetters.

Mitchell's repair round trip

Title contender Ben Mitchell got his Historic Formula Ford weekend at Oulton Park off to a bad start when he shunted his Merlyn Mk20 is heavy rain during testing on Saturday morning. He had to drive back to his parents’ base in the Cotswolds to borrow suspension parts from the family’s sister car to rebuild the damaged car before qualifying on Monday morning.

Three-figure Ulster gathering

A star-studded field of more than 100 cars will gather in Belfast this Saturday for the Déjà vu Ulster Rally retro event. The mix of rally and road cars will drive a range of famous Ulster special stages in a gentle tour. Heading the cars away will be Walter Rohrl (Porsche 911RS) and Paddy Hopkirk (Mini Cooper) while other notable entries include Dennis Biggerstaff (Metro 6R4).

Dodd misses Gold Cup

James Dodd missed the Oulton Park Gold Cup due to the imminent arrival of his third child. Dodd elected not to be away over the weekend contesting the Super Touring and Jaguar Classic Challenge races as his wife Amy was poised to go into labour. Instead, his father Grahame raced solo to fifth place in their E-type.

Cox races re-worked Merlyn

Historic Touring Car ace Dan Cox rejoined the Guards Trophy grid at Oulton Park on Sunday to share the Merlyn Mk4A of Michael Richings. The car was fresh from a re-work and Cox took up an invitation to race it for the first time. They finished fifth in class in the rain. ‘The car has been put together really nicely,’ said Cox, who once raced Richings’ Historic Formula Ford Alexis at Spa.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence

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