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Old 2 Feb 2015, 15:24 (Ref:3500143)   #1
MikeJAllen
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George Whitehead W.R.A.

I'm researching the Oulton Park Gold Cup meetings and came across George Whitehead of W.R.A. engineering and Ford Anglia fame. This is 1963 and he is entered in the sports car race in what I think is his own car, The W.R.A. Mk III Ford. Unfortunately the results sheets show he got as far as Knicker Brook before "accident" is recorded. He is entered under The Cheshire Racing Team which also begs the question why, when apparently W.R.A. Engineering is very much a southern based team...Harrow? Can anyone help out here? I can't find any photos (my dad might have one but unless I know what I'm looking for I wouldn't know it if I saw it!!) The Racing Sports Car site only has the MkII and MkIII identified and Beric Ewin, Max Ward and Norman Barlow as drivers. Was there a MkI?
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Old 17 Mar 2015, 16:35 (Ref:3516422)   #2
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I have just seen some cine film of the event and seen the car being towed back into the paddock. There looks to be nothing left of the front so perhaps that was the end of that and George went back to concentrating on providing engines etc for others.
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Old 18 Mar 2015, 08:45 (Ref:3516710)   #3
Mike Harte
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Mike Harte should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridMike Harte should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Not that this will help you much with your quest for more information on the WRA Mark III Ford, but George Whitehead used to have his workshop in either Marsh Lane or it's continuation in Honeypot Lane in Stanmore, Middx. He may well have had ties with Cheshire at some point in his life, but I believe that he used to live, may still do, in the same road as my late sister in Stanmore.

He was a good engineer, and I used to purchase specially engineered parts for my Anglia from him from time to time some 45 years ago!

It might well be that Gerry Taylor, a fellow Tenther on the forum, may be able to provide more information as I believe that he may well have had a closer working relationship with George. Maybe you should consider sending Gerry a PM.

Last edited by Mike Harte; 18 Mar 2015 at 08:50.
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Old 18 Mar 2015, 15:26 (Ref:3516848)   #4
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Thanks Mike, already in contact with Gerry. It begs the question "What is or was the Cheshire Racing Team?" I wonder if it was real or just a way of adhering to the regulations, like being a member of specific clubs..or even getting start money! :-)
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Old 18 Mar 2015, 16:22 (Ref:3516862)   #5
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Originally Posted by MikeJAllen View Post
Thanks Mike, already in contact with Gerry. It begs the question "What is or was the Cheshire Racing Team?" I wonder if it was real or just a way of adhering to the regulations, like being a member of specific clubs..or even getting start money! :-)
Cheshire Racing Team may have meant about as much as the name that we first used as an entrant, which was North West Racing. I just chose that name because most of my chums worked or lived around the North West of London. The name wasn't registered, or even listed anywhere official. And then after about a year, I changed it to Double R Racing to acknowledge my two main spanners, Ron and a name I can't remember now, but possibly Ralph. Having an entrant was the trendy thing to do back then, but didn't really mean much.

One driver had a number of different entrants which were supposedly his sponsors. The reality was that the backing came from a different source, but it was good PR to use a "front" to give some anonymousy, if that's a word.
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Old 19 Mar 2015, 16:07 (Ref:3517146)   #6
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Thanks Mike. Makes sense. Life was so much simpler then! North West Racing has also had me thinking and I was way off looking for a Lancs or Chesh connection!!
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Old 19 Mar 2015, 22:51 (Ref:3517294)   #7
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I seem to recall that Natalie Goodwin was involved with the Cheshire Racing Team.
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Old 20 Mar 2015, 13:28 (Ref:3517445)   #8
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Now that I can follow up. Thanks
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Old 25 Mar 2016, 20:32 (Ref:3627304)   #9
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Hello , not too sure if you are inetrested or not but I used to work for George many years ago but he had retired from car racing when I started at WRA Engineering in the early seventies through to the mid eighties. The business was at 486 Honeypoy Lane Stanmore in Harrow, at the time he was with his first wife living in Brookshill just north of Wealdstone.
He took up yachting late seventies, brought a 38 foot GRP racing/cruising hull and built the thing in his front garden, his wife and kids did not take to it so he bought a fully fledged 40 foot racing boat but an acrimonious divorce brought that to an end a few years later.
After the divorce he remarried and moved home to Gordon Avenue Stanmore
He later took to racing again around 1982, borrowed a car from a chap, who might of had the name "Mr. Cheshire" but not entirely sure too long ago now. It was a professionally built chassis and he raced in the Monoposto Club series in that for a couple of seasons before buliding a car from the ground up, their records show he won in 1984 but I think he won a couple of years later too. Tried to find some pictures online but failed, on one of the years the car won it was shown at the Racing Car show at Hammersmith, it was black, ground effect car with side pods entirely home built, I personally made many of the bespoke (Ford based) engine parts, including crankshafts from solid EN40B nitriding steel, con rods from blank forgings, gear driven camshaft conversions and numerous other unique engine and chassis parts, not to mention the suspension and aero parts he used to regularly knock off whilst racing.
He appoached me one day with a request to come up with a plan to make the car faster, any ideas considered, whilst enjoying a few beers over the wekend I had a few eurika moments and suggested a couple of things that he took on board and used to great effect. Firstly reduce weight, on the understanding that if you stalled the car on the start or went of into the bushes then the race was not worth running as it was only a few laps long, so, (we already used a tiny sintered bronze clutch about the size of a tea plate), machine off all the flywheel bigger than the clutch ( improves thottle response too) throw away the starter motor, wiring, huge battery, alternator, cables and switches etc and tow the car to start it on race day with a small battery to run the essential electrics. The second plan was far more cunning, the ground effect worked best when the skirts are close to the tarmac but regs dictated a certain minimum height on the grid checked by a man with a golf club like tool to run under the skirt on the grid so how to get round that?
Many diesel engines use a "progressively wound" valve spring where the coils are more cloesly wound on one end making it stiffer as it compresses, taking this idea we had some springs made the same so they are initially soft then get stiffer as they get shorter, along with some clever shock absorber work that I had nothing to do with and don't know how they achieved it, the upshot being if you approached the grid slow enough the ground effect was lost and the car lifted on its suspension and easily passed the on-grid check, as soon as the car got up to speed the ground effect sucked it down on the "soft" part of the spring and the skirts touched the tarmac, an ideal situation. The skirts were strips of PTFE with adjustment slots and way above the minimum height on the grid, by the end of the race they were worn away to almost nothing, he took several sets with him to every meeting needed a new set for every race to this day I am sure his competitors wondered how on earth we achieved it, in case you are wondereing the springs were covered with a shield made of old aluminium beer cans and out of sight
I did not get on with his new wife too well and left his employment after about 14 years, WRA ceased trading two years later, George started another business, Crankshafts UK, supplying reconditioned commercial vehicle crankshafts mainly for export, it was based just outside Alton Buckinghamshire , near the RAF base. Bumped into him many years later just before he closed that business and retired to live in Spain I believe. I have tried to find out if he is still with us but he must be well into later life now if you have any news please let me know, would also like a photo of the car if you know anyone who might have one.
Sorry for the protracted ramblimgs of a now fairly old man myself, too many beers on a Good Friday off work for a couple of days!!!
Regards,
Steve.
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Old 26 Mar 2016, 13:56 (Ref:3627535)   #10
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Welcome, Steve, to TenTenths and thanks for the PM.

Just to add, George raced his Anglia during the later part of the 60s, and we did battle from time to time. In fact, somebody just recently posted a YouTube of us at Brands, although if you didn't know the cars intimately you would be pushed to recognise them.

He was, from memory, a pretty good engineer and engine builder, and he used to supply us less capable fellows with specialised engine parts that he fabricated and kept on the shelf.

I wonder how Mike Allen got on with his enquiries? If you are still monitoring this, please let us know.
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Old 12 Apr 2016, 16:46 (Ref:3632136)   #11
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Mike
Not really got any further. I did find a piece of film with a VERY short clip of the Mk111 being brought back to the paddock at Oulton, it looked a write off. Other than that no. There are so many that are disappearing into the ether that any time I come across one I try and keep their name going somehow.
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Old 13 Apr 2016, 09:45 (Ref:3632270)   #12
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Old 13 Apr 2016, 10:00 (Ref:3632273)   #13
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Andy, what did you mean /IMG??
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Old 13 Apr 2016, 10:07 (Ref:3632275)   #14
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Apologies to all. Computing skills have diminished in the year since using this forum.
Forgotten how to post pictures. Must go on a course to learn how.
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Old 13 Apr 2016, 11:26 (Ref:3632294)   #15
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That's more like it, this is an article torn out of a magazine going to the tip. I have always liked the one off cars and this was one that interested me.



http://http://http://
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