Richard, always a man of few words, here one of his recent Q&A sessions :-)
Richard , as the proud owner of the smart looking Ford Cortina mk2 can you tell us about the history of the car and how long have you been racing it?
The car started out as a 1968 Series One four door Super model and was originally built by Stu Blyth for Darren ‘Digger’ Barnes. I became the proud owner in 2012 and since then we’ve been undergoing various works to the car in order to keep it looking fresh, as well as keeping it competitive out on the raceway’.
With the Classic Modified looking to increase in numbers in the 2016 season how long have you been involved with the formula and where and when did your start your racing career?
‘I became involved in the formula soon after its inception in 2010, behind the scenes at first, helping one of the creators, Mark Tegerdine, with the PR side of things. I loved the look of this formula from day one and the vibe you get from it took me back to when I was a kid, hanging around the pits in between races listening to the banter between drivers. Prior to purchasing the car from Darren, I had never turned a wheel in any formula prior to this so it initially became a very steep learning curve for me!’
The amount of different types of cars being raced within the Classic Modified it seems that there is no outright top ”ranked” car on the track as we have had so many different race winners last season is there any reasons to why?
‘I would put that down to the specification of the cars being tightly controlled, and that they run standard Ford V6 power plants. This helps to keep the costs of the formula down so at the end of the day, the cars are evenly matched. It's down to an individual drivers skill (coupled with a bit of luck in some cases) to be first across the line. There’s a lot of talented drivers’ out there, some have been around the raceways a lot longer than others and you'll always pick up hints or tips on how to make your car that bit better.’
Classic Modified have a full 12 meeting race schedule here at Swaffham Raceway this year but I understand you are also promoting the formula at other events can you tell us a bit more on whats happening?
‘In between the meetings, we’ve been invited to various shows and rallies this year including Modified Nationals at the Peterborough Showground in May, Retrokings at Snetterton Circuit in September, plus a few local fetes and fairs. I’m also a member of the Mk2 Cortina Owners Club so there's a few dates I'd like to attend in their calendar too. This gives the public a chance to get up close to the retro racers and get more of an insight as to what the formula is all about.’
Behind the scene of the Classic Modifieds we understand there is a band of people who keep the formula alive and moving forwards , a few names and thanks would be nice to mention as without these guys your glory on the track would not happen
‘Personally, I’d like to thank all the other drivers in formula, both past and present, for making it the success that it is today, as without them, I would never of had the chance to get out there and have so much fun and laughter in a 48 year old car. In particular, Simon Fixter in car 81, who is our drivers’rep and is always there for help and advice if you should need it. Co-creator of the Classic Modifieds, Mark Tegerdine, has always been there to point you in the right direction. Finally my biggest supporter, my partner Gemma, who without her patience and encouragement, we wouldn't have got the car to as many meetings as we have over the last couple of years.’
Lastly the question every racers is asked – who is the driver you most admire and why ?
‘Hmmm, the $64,000 question – growing up I used to watch the Two Litre Saloon Stock Cars along with my parents, and I was a fan of Conrad ‘Big Fry’ Self in 636. He was a racer out on the track but knew how to have a laugh and would help anyone in the pits if he could.’
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Photography courtesy of Chris Baker