John Turpin

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of John Turpin. A regular competitor in the past at all of our local Speed events, Jonathan Williamson wrote the article below for Torbay Motor Club, and has kindly sent it to us for publication as well.

John Turpin

The sport of Speed Hillclimbing seems to attract an amazing number of wonderful eccentric characters. It is one of the delights of the sport, and John was definitely included in that number! There can’t ever have been many quiet, classical music-loving, orchid growing, wine-producing Hillclimb competitors before or since.

John was born in London in 1922, and studied for a degree in chemistry before the war. He enrolled in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, and until recently his family had no idea that he had served in Africa, Burma and Malaysia in bomb disposal, finishing the war as an acting Major in charge of a group of Japanese PoW’s in Kuala Lumpur clearing the Batu caves of Japanese bombs and ammunition. That probably explains how he could remain so unflappable through the relatively minor tribulations of motor sport! In the early 1950’s he went to Brazil as a chemist, married Dea and lived there until the political situation worsened, and they thought it best to return to the UK.

John had always been a petrol-head, buying high performance cars in Rio and when he arrived in Devon he became fascinated with competitive hill climbing.  It wasn’t long before he was entering competitions and doing well, winning many trophies as his trophy cabinet today bears witness.

John drove various cars in his Hillclimb career. He shared a Mallock with Mike Welch, then the proprietor of the Gearbox, and later, when I first knew him had a beautiful, and very quick Reliant Scimitar. However, he is probably best remembered in his beloved Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0

In standard form, as he bought it, it was a very fast road car, but after a few years John decided that he needed more power, so a visit to Josh Sadler at Autofarm in Oxfordshire resulted in a new (to him) mechanically injected 3 litre RS spec engine. This proved to be powerful enough for John to be booked at well in excess of the speed limit on his way back down the motorway to Bovey Tracey! He subsequently uprated it again to 3.2 litres for yet more power.

John would rarely eat anything during a day’s Hillclimb competition. We think he was vegetarian, but since we never saw him eat , we never knew for sure.

However, in the morning, usually after our first practice run, we usually had bacon butties on the go, and John would appear, sniffing the air, and saying how good they smelt. He never had one, but obviously enjoyed the aroma.

John put a great amount of trust in his Porsche’s rather basic rev limiter…….. At several venues his car could be heard stuttering against the rev limiter to save a gear change before the next corner.

On one occasion, he returned to the paddock after a practice run, complaining that after all the years that he had been competing there, he wasn’t able to go any faster. Trying to be helpful, I suggested that if he changed up a gear on the straight, he would go faster.

John duly tried this on the next run, approached the next corner much faster than he had ever done before, and hit the bank quite hard.

My name was mud!

John had quite a hard contact with one of the banks at Finlake Hillclimb at one point in his later years of competition. When the rescue team and doctor arrived they were quite concerned that he seemed a bit confused and disorientated. The motorsport doctor said that he should not compete again until he had been checked over by his own GP and passed fit.

John duly made the appointment and saw his GP. The conversation went something like –

“So, tell me exactly what happened?”

“Well, you see, I was competing at a Hillclimb, and I came into the corner quite fast, it was more slippery than I thought, and the car skidded and hit the bank”

“What sort of speed were you doing?”

“Oh, about 60 or 70 miles an hour”

“So, you were driving your Porsche in a competition, and hit a solid bank at 60 or 70 miles an hour, and the event Doctor thought you seemed disoriented and confused?”

“Yes”

“Well, I think if I hit a bank in my car at 60 or 70 miles an hour, I would be disoriented and confused as well. I don’t see any problem with you continuing to compete!”

John continued to compete until he was 78. He was a great enthusiast. He would travel to many different venues, down to Tregrehan in Cornwall, Wiscombe Park, Gurston Down, and nearer home Oddicombe and Finlake. He presented Torbay Motor Club with a trophy for each of the Spring and Autumn Oddicombe meetings for the best time in a road-going sports car, which he won several times himself.

John was an Honorary Life Member of Torbay Motor Club, and they held a special day for him in February 2016 that he really enjoyed. We looked through old photos, and he instantly knew where they were taken, whose the cars were, and the names off all the people in them.

Rest in Peace John, it was a delight to have known you.

 

Jonathan Williamson

Tregrehan June report & Newspaper write up

This year marks the 50th anniversary for Truro and District Motor Club’s Tregrehan Speed Hill Climb, held in the parkland of this lovely estate near St. Austell.

It was very fitting that fifty cars lined up each day to compete on this very technical course, with vehicles ranging from your relatively standard road car, to a modified Citroen 2CV and up to the race cars produced by OMS and Pilbeam. Once again, these events were rounds of the ASWMC Speed Hill climb Championship and the Cornish Speed Championship. They were also the opening rounds for the Truro Speed Academy, with five new competitors taking their first steps into competitive motorsport.

Saturday began with a damp track making for tricky conditions at the start. However, as the morning progressed a ‘dry’ line soon developed with the times taken improving with each run. Sunday was contested in drier conditions, with many personal best times being achieved.

Andrew Dinner, the current hill record holder, set the Fastest Time of the Day on both Saturday and Sunday in his Pilbeam MP85.

The June weekend also hosts the motorbike riders from The National Hill Climb Association as part of their annual championship, with around forty bikes and combinations competing each day.

The club would like to thank all the competitors, marshals and officials for contributing to a very successful weekend of motorsport, as well as all the spectators who came along to support the events.

David Richards CBE

Truro & District Motor club would like to extend their congratulations to the Honorary Club President Mr David Richards CBE on two counts.

  1. For a fantastic win at Le Mans 2017 Which saw the Aston Martin race car pull out all the stops to secure the win on the last lap of the 24hr race!
  2. In becoming the next MSA chairman.

 

Well done from all at TDMC!

http://www.astonmartin.com/en/racing/news/2017/06/18/aston-martin-racing-claim-24-hours-of-le-mans-victory

https://www.msauk.org/David-Richards-to-become-next-MSA-Chairman

SAVE UK MOTORSPORT

In the landmark ‘Vnuk’ case, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that the EU’s 2009 Motor Insurance Directive required insurance policies to cover all possible third-party accidents in all places and at all times. In some countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, governments had interpreted the law as meaning that it only applies to vehicles driven on public roads, however it is now clear that the judgment means that national laws must be changed to ensure that all mechanically propelled vehicles are insured for third-party losses regardless of type of use, in all places, at any time. This applies to everything from Formula One racing cars, to mobility scooters, to antique trams and everything in-between. Industry experts have already claimed that the risks associated with providing insurance cover to all motorised vehicles mean that they would be prohibitively expensive to insure, thus effectively outlawing all motorsport activities across the United Kingdom.

Please help support us and UK motorsport by signing the petition here http://www.fightvnuk.co.uk/

Content courtesy of the FightVNUK website petition

Classic & Sports Car Tour June 11th 2017 Report

From the feedback, we have had it seems once again the event proved to be an enjoyable day’s motoring by all. This year I did not compete as I was given the honour of filling Melody’s shoes as Secretary of the event. It was disappointing the entries were down this year, I had apologies from some previous entrants apparently our date this year clashed with many other events.

However, we had a good variation of vehicles with ages from 1956 to up to more modern versions. Pete again as Clerk of the Course did an interesting route and I received compliments on the route book he produced.  The start was at Padstow from the quay car park, signing on was held in the nearby Walkers restaurant. Tony did a good job multitasking, firstly checking the cars over before departure, then changing hats as navigator in a very nice Morgan.

First car away was our course car manned by Dave, Karen and Allen, in a very nice Focus ST with only 150 miles on the clock. Followed by Pete & Heather also out helping the course car with setting up and signage etc. This first section took entrants to the very picture postcard Port Gaverne. After I finished signing on I was able together with Nora to get to Port Gaverne to do the control, with us at this point were Roger & Kath with their trusty video camera. From here they went up to St Kitts Herbery manned by Chris & Joanna on route taking in a visit to Delabole slate quarry although not open there was an opportunity to use the viewing platform. From St Kitts, there was a stop at the RAF museum Davidstow. This is a very interesting museum run by a couple who do not charge admission but rely on donations, well deserves a visit. From what I can gather there was some confusion here as their competitor the War museum was being over enthusiastic and directed some entrants into his place.

The route then wound its way around to Jamaica Inn for teas & coffees, this control being manned by Melody & Henry, from here on to Pencarrow House. Here we assembled for the lunch break with pasties and cakes on the menu.   After a fine lunch, it was on to Portmellon manned by Chris & Joanna, after which there was a drive through the Caerhayes Castle grounds. It was then on through some more beautiful Cornish scenery to King Harry Ferry taking them across the water to finish at the National trust Trelissick House. Here we were treated to a Cornish cream tea (jam with cream on top!). Once the course closing car manned by Richard & Jeremy came in we started to work out who was voted best car in the event.

All entrants were given a voting slip to let them decide who they considered to be the best/most interesting car on the tour. This year the car obtaining the most votes was a glorious 1956 Jaguar XK140 Roadster driven by Simon Hendra and navigated by Vanessa Hendra. You do not need a classic car to do this event, we accept cars from year dot up to present day as long as they are road legal, taxed & insured etc. I’m sure in due course Roger will be putting the video of the event on line where you will be able to see the selection of cars that took part.  I had two favourites both Minis however if I had to choose it would have been the 1968 Mini Cooper S.

Thanks to all entrants and helpers, watch our website for next year’s Coast to Coast date.

 

Part 1:  https://youtu.be/jiulq_zmLSM

 

Part 2:  https://youtu.be/GNPhfKfqpjQ

 

 

 

 

 

Membership subscriptions for 2017 are now due

Remember to renew your membership subscriptions for 2017. These subscriptions help keep the club going and for a large number of events membership of an MSA approved motorclub is mandatory. Membership also allows you to help steer the club via the committee and attendance at the Annual General Meeting. Download a form under the membership tab above.

November issue of The Link – Truro & District Motor Club’s newsletter

Here is the November issue of The Link – Truro & District Motor Club’s newsletter.

 

Newsletter NOV 2016

 

This month includes:

 

St Mawes motorsport evening – report

Tregrehan hill climb 8-9 Oct – results

Christmas lunch & awards presentation 11 Dec

Getting started in motorsport – by Andrew Dinner

Autosolo news

Car quiz – results

Bloodhound evening – report

Greenpower – by John Collins

Primrose Rally 4-5 Feb

Guy Fawkes Slalom – by Wayne Grimshaw

Club Members Evening with Motorsport Stars

Truro and District Motor Club recently held an evening for its members at the St Mawes hotel hosted by Club President David Richards CBE raising money for The Cornwall Air Ambulance and Cornwall Urology Trust.

David Richards owner of the St Mawes hotel and CEO of Prodrive invited friends Ross Brawn OBE of Brawn GP and Ferrari and the person who masterminded Michael Schumacher’s six F1 world championship titles.  Also present was Jonathan Palmer owner of most of the English racing circuits such as Brands Hatch and Oulton Park and Snetterton, Steve Soper past British touring car champion and Mark Higgins British Rally Champion and stunt driver from the latest James Bond movie.

The evening started with a film show in the private St Mawes hotel cinema showing extracts from the guest’s lives including the year Ross Brawn won the F1 world championship with Jenson Button, the British touring car championship with Steve Soper alongside Jonathan Palmer in the Prodrive BMWs, plus and snippets from his F1 career. And extracts of Mark Higgins driving the Aston Martin DB10 in the last James Bond movie and his record breaking lap of the Isle of Man TT circuit in the Subaru Impreza at an average speed of 128.7 mph.

Following the film David Richard ‘interviewed’ each of the guests.  Ross Brawn spoke of his time with Ferrari and his F1 championship year running Brawn GP.  He went onto tell us of his hobby of fishing and of how he would like to see changes in F1 with new drivers having to drive for the lesser teams in their first year.

Steve Soper and Jonathan Palmer spoke of the British touring car championship and how it has changed over the years with cars becoming faster and changes in technology.

Mark Higgins spoke of his rally career and his part in the TV programme Top Gear and stunt driving for many of the high octane driving films.  In the last Bond film he drove the Aston Martin DB10 through the streets of Rome at speeds of up to 150mph.  He went onto describe his record breaking race around the Isle of Man TT circuit with speeds of up to 178mph and the problems of the car going broadside due to a brake lock up at 150mph at the bottom of hill at Greg-na-Baa.

The evening organised by Truro Motor Club was in order to raise money for two charities, the Cornwall Air Ambulance supported by David Richards and the St. Mawes Hotel and Cornwall Urology Trust the charity supported by Truro Motor Club over the last two years.  Along with what was placed in the collection buckets the club raised in excess of £700 for each charity.

The evening finished with Motor Club Vice Chairman Jeremy Thomas thanking all the guests for attending and awarding each honorary membership of the club.  David Richards invited each to enter the Motor Clubs Tregrehan hillclimb in 2017 and offered to invite more guests down next year for an even bigger evening of high profile motor sport guests.

Club Vice Chairman thanked the guests for giving club members such an excellent evening and presented them with a Motor Club cap, lapel badge and honorary membership to the club.

August edition of The Link – Truro & District Motor Club’s newsletter

Here is the August edition of The Link – Truro & District Motor Club’s newsletter.

 

The Link – AUGUST 2016

 

This month includes:

 

Tregrehan hill climb 8-9th Oct

Motorsport evening 15th Oct

Visit to Prodrive 29th Oct

Falmouth fire station event

Car recognition quiz 10th Nov

Steve Hunt memorial trophy

Portreath sprint cancelled

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Independence Day autotest

Crackington car trial

 

On behalf of Truro & District Motor Club committee

 

For previous editions see the archive: http://www.trurodmc.co.uk/the-link/

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