General items of interest relating to F1 stock cars
LEGO STOCK CARS
The latest offering from Eddie Collins aka Fast Eddie is the 217 Lee Fairhurst British Championship car. This is the third car in his series of Lego stock cars and it would make a great Christmas present for stock car fans young and old. The new car is pictured below and also alongside the other two cars previously issued. You can find Eddie's facebook page at BrisCA F1 Lego Stox.
F1 STOCK CAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
THE FOREIGN ENTRANTS
For almost 40 years foreign entrants from around the globe have given BriSCA's annual premier event an international flavour but it has not been without the odd moments of controversy leading to inevitable debate among the fans.
Despite all the drivers from overseas being experienced and successful in various racing formulas in their own countries, they generally have little time in which to become fully acclimatised to the rigours of full contact stock car racing in the UK.
The cars they drive here are normally loaned by existing drivers who provide not only the mechanical support but practical advice on set up and the driving techniques required at different tracks. Some overseas competitors try to arrive early in the UK to get as much practical racing experience as possible, while others do not have that luxury.
It is the contact element of UK stock car racing that is normally alien to all but the drivers from Holland and New Zealand, where contact is already a part of their racing, that makes the transition less than straightforward. Drivers from Holland transport their own, top spec cars to the UK and many have previous racing experience in the UK at European and past World Championships as well as ordinary race meetings.
For the UK fans it is always fascinating to see how quickly the overseas entrants, whose driving skills are not in doubt, adapt to our style of racing in the time they have available, and over the years there have been some exceptional drivers. The names of Josh Pelksy and Jamie Pfiffer from the USA, Neil McCord and Scott Miers from New Zealand and, of course, Ron Kroonder and Dave Schaap from Holland come readily to mind but many others have also given a good account of themselves.
Some fans see the foreign entrants as an unwelcome obstacle to their favourite home driver and there have been instances in the past where they have been involved in racing incidents that have influenced the outcome of the race (who can forget the 1998 World Final at Coventry and the coming together of NZ11 Stan Hickey and 53 John Lund) but it is surely the same for all drivers and, after all, one of the unique selling points of stock racing is its unpredictability.
When all is said and done there is little doubt that the presence of foreign drivers on the World Championship grid adds an element of authenticity to the term World Final as well as colour and spectacle, and a look at the statistics below will show that the World Title could well have gone to Holland on a couple of occasions. The Dutch in particular have gone from strength to strength and their stock cars can be more than a match for the UK cars both in terms of engineering and the way in which their drivers can take and dish out the use of the front bumper.
Long may they continue to entertain us at World Final meetings and other venues throughout the UK and if a UK driver can win the World Championship from the very back of the grid, who is to say that an overseas driver on row 3 can't win it!
FACTS RELATING TO OVERSEAS ENTRANTS IN WORLD FINALS
25 different drivers have finished in the top ten - 16 from Holland, 6 from New Zealand, 2 from South Africa and 1 from Germany
Best finish was in 2005 at Northampton when H007 Dave Schaap finished 2nd
The World Finals with most Overseas finishers in the top ten were 1995 at Hednesford (4th, 6th & 8th), 2003 at Coventry (7th, 8th & 10th) and 2010 at Coventry (4th, 7th & 10th)
6 different drivers have finished in the top six - 4 from Holland and 2 from New Zealand:
H217 Ron Kroonder: 1990 - 4th, 2002 - 6th, 2008 - 3rd, 2010 - 4th, 2012 - 6th
H15 Rien Rutjens: 1981 - 6th, 1986 - 5th
H007 Dave Schaap: 2005 - 2nd
H228 Joop Van Der Werff: 1995 - 6th
NZ39 Greg Johnston: 1992 - 6th
NZ1 Lyall Rumney: 1995 - 4th
TOP 10 MOST SUCCESSFUL OVERSEAS DRIVERS IN WORLD FINALS
(based on points awarded to top 10 finishers - 10 down to 1)
1) H217 Ron Kroonder - 32
2) H15 Rien Rutjens - 13
3) H10 Piet Keizer - 10
4) H007 Dave Schaap - 9
5) NZ1 Lyall Rumney - 7
H228 Joop Van Der Werff - 7
7) NZ39 Greg Johnston - 5
8) H8 Friedhelm Welters - 4
H240 Henk Jan Ronitz - 4
H35 Fred Hink - 4
MOST SUCCESSFUL COUNTRIES COMPETING AT WORLD FINALS
(again using the points awarded for top ten finishes)
1) Holland - 94
2) New Zealand - 21
3) South Africa - 4
4) Germany - 3
ALL TOP 10 WORLD FINAL FINISHES BY OVERSEAS DRIVERS
Coventry 1964 - SA100 P Rossouw 10th
White City Manchester 1976 - SA1 Harry Van Der Spuij 8th
White City Manchester 1979 - H15 Rien Rutjens 9th
Bradford 1981 - H15 Rien Rutjens 6th
Belle Vue 1984 - H10 Piet Keizer 8th & H17 Leon Cox 10th
Bradford 1985 - H8 Friedhelm Welters 8th
Coventry 1986 - H15 Rien Rutjens 5th
Belle Vue 1987 - H8 Friedhelm Welters 10th
Hednesford 1988 - H10 Piet Keizer 9th
Bradford 1990 - H217 Ron Kroonder 4th & H10 Piet Keizer 8th
Hednesford 1991 - H10 Piet Keizer 9th & H4 Rob Vischer 10th
Bradford 1992 - NZ39 Greg Johnston 6th
Hednesford 1995 - NZ1 Lyall Rumney 4th & H228 Joop Van Der Werff 6th & G31 Sabine Rode 8th
Coventry 1996 - H228 Joop Van Der Werff 9th
Bradford 1997 - NZ11 Stan Hickey 8th & H69 Minnie Meijer 10th
Coventry 2000 - NZ8 Scott Miers 9th
Hednesford 2001 - H27 Sjaak Valk 9th
Coventry 2002 - H217 Ron Kroonder 6th
Coventry 2003 - H240 Henk Jan Ronitz 7th & NZ7 Neil McCord 8th & NZ19 Kerry Remnant 10th
Northampton 2005 - H007 Dave Schaap 2nd & H32 Axel Nijs 9th
Ipswich 2008 - H217 Ron Kroonder 3rd
Kings Lynn 2009 - H29 Durk Greidanus 10th
Coventry 2010 - H217 Ron Kroonder 4th & H35 Frd Hink 7th & H414 Arnd Van Zwieten 10th
Northampton 2011 - H22 Louw Wobbes 9th
Skegness 2012 - H217 Ron Kroonder 6th
MOST APPEARANCES BY OVERSEAS DRIVERS AT WORLD FINALS AND THE COUNTRIES THEY REPRESENTED
H22 Louw Wobbes 17, H217 Ron Kroonder 16, H1 & H240 Henk Jan Ronitz 13, H77 Chris Bimmell 10, H6 Piet Keizer 9, H29 Dirk Greidanus 9, H15 Rien Rutjens 8 and H32 Axel Nijs 7
NZ7 & NZ23 Neil McCord 3, NZ8 Scott Miers 3, NZ75 Dave Tennant 3, NZ1 & NZ19 Warren McIntyre 3
SA1 & SA2 Harry Van Der Spuij 4, SA1 & SA7 Quintin Saayman 3
USA1 Rick Standridge 6, USA99 Jamie Pfiffer 2
G31 Sabine Rode 4
F00 & F1 Guy Curval 4
Aus43 Dean Hawkins 6
Can1 Dave Heaslip 1
BELOW IS A MODEL OF DUTCH SUPERSTAR H217 RON KROONDER'S CAR - THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OVERSEAS DRIVER TO HAVE COMPETED IN UK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
(Ron announced his retirement from racing at the end of the 2014 season)
37 Championships held between 1978 & 2015 -
1 on shale and 36 on tarmac
7 Drivers have been European Champion on more than one occasion:
53 John Lund, 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr & 33 Peter Falding
2 Paul Harrison, 318 Rob Speak, 250 Keith Chambers &
199 Mike Close, 84 Tom Harris
30 Most Successful Drivers in the European Championship based on Top 3 Finishes
1) 515 FrankieWainman Jnr, 2) 2 Paul Harrison, 3) 53 John Lund,
4) 33 Peter Falding,
5) 199 Mike Close, 6) 55 Bert Finnikin, 7) 304 Dave Mellor,
JNT 8) 318 Rob Speak, 4 Dan Johnson, 250 Keith Chambers,
391 Andy Smith, 84 Tom Harris
13) 259 Paul Hines, JNT 14) 197 Ryan Harrison, 190 Len Wolfenden,
JNT 16) 212 Frankie Wainman Snr, 217 Lee Fairhurst
JNT 18) 495 John Cayzer, 203 Dan Clarke, 464 Luke Davidson,
97 Murray Harrison,
417 Mike James, H217 Ron Kroonder,
322 James Neachell, 154 Brian Powles, 175 Glyn Pursey,
367 Ian Smith, 51 Nick Smith, 391 Stuart Smith Snr, 150 Mick Sworder
In the early 1980s, Scalextric introduced two Super Stox cars that they called Fenderbender and Stickshifter. At the time they were a revolutionary concept as the cars were designed to rotate through 360 degrees so they could change direction as well as slide through the corners. The idea was to cause the cars to collide and when they did, parts flew off on impact. Bonnets, number boards and exhaust mountings would fly off to great shrieks of enjoyment and satisfaction. Needless to say, the cars were influenced by stock car racing on the Spedeworth circuits, although there was a reference to banger racing in the publicity blurb that made no effort to make a clear distinction between both formulas in the eyes of the general public.
Over the years, examples of the Fenderbender and Stickshifter cars that survived the rigours of use usually did so missing vital parts that were either damaged beyond repair or just went missing. However, in 2012 Scalextric Car Restorations began offering replacement bonnets along with exhaust mouldings and number boards for those collectors wanting to buy the cars on eBay in various states of disrepair and restore them.
Below are pictures of both these models, from my collection of stock car nostalgia, and also a Fenderbender car that has a livery featuring sponsorship from the world of 'Only Fools and Horses'!
The Scalextric scale was 1:32 and this remains the preferred scale for the modern day version of Slotstox racing.
1:32 SLOTSTOX RACING
There are several slotstox clubs around the country and they can be found from a simple Google search. However, for me the Midland Slotstox Racing Association (MSRA) is arguably the oldest and most successful in the UK.
When the BrisCA F1 season closes down for the winter break, the replica stock cars commence racing on six lane slot tracks. Race meetings are held at the weekend between November and March, providing entertainment for stock car fans and their families and friends in a friendly but competitive environment.
Tracks are situated in Nuneaton, Coventry, Sileby in Leicestershire and Monks Kirby near Rugby.
All ages are welcome with a Minors Class for those aged 10 and under, a Junior Class for those racers aged 11-15 and the Seniors Class from age 16 upwards.
The racing is based on the usual F1 stock car race format with modern technology monitoring speed and laps completed during the fast and furious racing on the six lane tracks complete with chicanes to ensure contact between cars. There is a rule book, grading lists, championships, full blooded contact, Marshalls, Stewards, a commentator and plenty of friendly advice when required. You will also probably rub shoulders with current and former F1 & F2 stock car drivers.
Check out the MSRA website at www.midlandslotstox.co.uk to see an explanatory video, learn how the cars are constructed and read up on some of the club's historical data.
Below is a picture of a 1:32 replica slotstox of the 1969 Wildcat car of Stuart Smith Snr that was built for me by ex F1 driver and MSRA member 258 Rob Harrod with the paintwork refreshed in the Making Stox History paint shop:
Through my website I have sponsored Championship trophies over the last two seasons and in February 2015 managed to go along with my wife to make the presentations to the winners. Why not go along and watch? You can be assured of a friendly reception. The fixture list for season 2015/2016 will be available on the website in due course. New members are always welcome so why not give it a go? There are spare cars to borrow and if the bug bites, competitive new and second-hand cars, plus spares can be purchased.
The rule book is designed to maintain a level playing field (or race track if you prefer!), with scrutineering of all cars on race nights to make sure they continue to conform to the rules. This keeps the cost of racing under control and ensures everybody has a safe and enjoyable time.
Below is a picture of the modern day 1:32 Slotstox car alongside the old Scalextric Superstox cars to show the obvious differences:
1:24 SLOTCAR STOCKCARS IN NEW ZEALAND
I came across this bigger scale of Slotstox racing in 2014 while on a trip to New Zealand that incorporated the Individual World 240 cubic inch Championship at Rotorua and the Superstock Teams Championship at Palmerston North.
At the Robertson Holden Internatonal Speedway Stadium in Palmerston North, the Slotcar Stockcars New Zealand Club had set up a slot track and for a modest charge spectators could have a go and it was busy throughout the two days of the Teams Championship, especially with youngsters. I was able to purchase one of the slotstox cars that is featured on the 'Stock Cars in New Zealand' page on this website. As mentioned there the body of the car was all but destroyed on the journey back to the UK and I had to make a replacement by using the remains of the old one as a template. The car was then painted in the GB Lions livery.
Having always admired the NZ Tank Superstock cars, I ordered a slotstox version from Slotcar Stockcars in NZ and I was very pleased with the finished car of 8p Scott Meirs in the colours of the Palmerston Panthers Superstock Team. Scotty Meirs has represented New Zealand at three World Finals in the UK, finishing 9th in 2000 but failing to finish in 2009 and 2010. In New Zealand, Scott is the most successful driver the Teams Championship has ever seen with 10 titles to his name.
A picture of the Scott Meirs Superstock Tank car and the GB Lions Superstock car appears below:
For further information about Slotcar Stockcars in New Zealand go to their website using the following link: http://www.124thslots.co.nz where you will also get a link to their Facebook page full of interesting news and updates.
The poster prints pictured below of 515 Frankie Wainman Jnr and 84 Tom Harris were produced by Keith Davies from Dolgellau, Gwynedd and are a great credit to his skills as an artist:
DIE-CAST STOX MODELS
Husky was a brand name for a production of small die-cast toy vehicles introduced in 1964 to compete with Lesney's Matchbox cars, the market leaders at the time. They were manufactured by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd which also made larger Corgi Toys. The range was rebranded Corgi Juniors in 1970 and supplemented a range of Corgi Rockets that had been developed to race on track sets in 1969.
Among the various models in the Corgi Rockets series were two stock cars based on Superstox cars that raced on the Spedeworth circuits. They were the cars of British Champion Derek Fiske and 1967 World Champion Adrian 'Todd' Sweeney and, along with a Volvo P1800 tow car, trailer and a Jaguar Pace car, they were launched in 1970. Below are pictures of these items from my collection:
The Rockets cars were withdrawn by Mettoy at the end of 1971, after a year in production, as a result of losing a court case brought by the USA company Mattel over the production rights to associated track systems, and many of the Corgi Rockets range of cars are now hard to come by.
The shell on the Todd Sweeney car was later re-used by Corgi as a generic silver liveried Superstock car as pictured below:
With the increasing costs of UK based production and decreasing sales revenue limiting the funding available for product development, Corgi Toys were finally forced to call in the Official Receiver in 1983. This followed on from their competitors Dinky Toys ceasing to trade in 1980 and Lesney (Matchbox) who called it a day in 1982.
However, in the case of Corgi Toys, a management buy-out saw the company reformed as Corgi Toys Limited in early 1984. This company continued on a much smaller scale but although the workforce at the Welsh based manufacturing unit grew, competition from products being sourced and manufactured in China was fierce. Although they moved some of their own production to China and diversified into producing non-toy items, the management eventually sold the Corgi brand to Mattel in 1989.
The early Corgi stock car models continue to be sought after and eBay has extended what was a limited market place for would be collectors.
In 2009, Ed Creations Model Stock Cars launched a range of 1:62 scale die-cast BriSCA stock cars at pocket money prices that proved to be a great hit with younger (and older!) stock car fans. The initial range of 50 cars covered all the driver grades as can be seen from the examples in the picture below:
Six years on these die-cast cars continue to be very popular and helped by a young stock car fan from the North East, Matthew Hutchison, who developed a range of Stox Signs graphics that have done so much to enhance the original concept. See example below:
Never one to rest on his laurels, Matthew improved the Stox Signs range still further by producing sloping shale roof aerofoils as can be seen in the picture below:
Another item in the Ed Creations range is the towing vehicle and Stox Signs have livery graphics available in a variety of designs. The example below has the name of this website added:
Matthew and Stox Signs relish a challenge and the unusual wings on the 390 Stuart Smith Jnr and 53 John Lund shale cars are a credit to their patience and ingenuity:
One of Matthew's tributes to the heritage of BriSCA F1 stock car racing and to the most complete driver ever to grace the raceways, 'The Maestro & Wildcat' 391/1 Stuart Smith Senior and his 1969 World Championship winning car:
Ed Creations and Stox Signs can usually be found in Speed Square at Coventry stadium on the first Saturday of the month and at most Belle Vue meetings with their ranges of die-cast models on display for sale. For further information about Stox Signs check out their web page at www.stoxsigns.co.uk where you will find details of a new transporter truck being launched in 2015. See the pictures below for an example of this superb new item in the Stox Signs range in the colours of the current World Champion, 55 Craig Finnikin:
To conclude this feature are pictures of two 1:43 scale die-cast Ford V8 cars - a 1937 Ford V8 and a 1950 Ford V8 Pilot. These were typical of the stripped down road cars used at the birth of F1 stock car racing in 1954:
How far the sport has travelled in the last 60 years!
LEGO STOCK CARS
It's always a pleasure to be able to encourage the entrepreneurial talents of a young stock car enthusiast.
Eddie Collins aka 'Fast Eddie' from Yorkshire is not only a Mini Stox driver but a long-time Lego devotee who constructs replicas of various BriSCA F1 stock cars and even the coaches that transport the stock cars. Examples of his work can be seen on his Facebook page Brisca F1 Lego Stox - it is well worth a visit.
Recently, he has turned his attention to producing a limited run of F1 stock car Lego kits and so far has two cars available for sale. They can be seen in the picture below:
Each model is professionally presented in a robust cardboard box that contains the Lego pieces inside a sealed polythene bag and clear, pictorial building instructions. The finished car measures approximately 11cm x 5.5cm and 5.2cm tall. It looks the part and is a credit to Eddie's Lego building/designing skills.
Details of the cost and how to acquire one or both of the models can be found on Eddie's Facebook page - Brisca F1 Lego Stox.
I'm delighted to have these models as part of my extensive collection of F1 stock car memorabilia.