Lotus Elan

Date of Elan racing debut?

PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:42 pm

In "another place" there is a thread about the racing debut of the Elan. The consensus over there is that it was Kevin Keegan (presumably not the curly-mopped footballer) at Brands Hatch on April15th 1963.

Is anyone aware of an earlier date?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:06 pm

Interesting. Cant find anything earlier than Snetterton, 5 May 63 Stanley Sears Trophy meeting, when Leslie Fryer, J Herbert ,Barry Wood, Mike Costin, John Lepp and Kevin Keegan were all entered in Elans. Cant find a record of a race at Brands in April.

15 April would be a very early Elan, very early!

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:35 pm

A fellow on the other forum has a programme from the event! Also he says that three Elans were entered at Snetterton on 28th April 1963.

So maybe the Easter meeting on 15th April is the one!

Prog for sale here: too rich for me!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BRANDS-HATCH-15-Apr-1963-BRSCC-MOTOR-RACE-MEETING-Official-Programme-/360863143534

Thanks.
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PostPost by: SJ Lambert » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:05 am

There'd be a Motor Sports Club with an archive or a library around the traps where you could consult that programme?
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PostPost by: RIB » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:29 pm

Pete,

Some time ago I searched through my copies of Autosport from early 1963 to find the first reference to a Lotus Elan being raced. The earliest reference I found was in the 29th March edition stating that an Elan was entered for the Snetterton International on the 30th March. The report of the race in the Autosport of the 5th April does not mention an Elan racing.

The 19th April edition refers to Kevin Keegan racing his Elan at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday, the 15th April. The 24th May edition includes a letter from Kevin Keegan of Panshanger Airfield, Hertford, referring to the cost of racing and suggesting prize money. He stated that his Elan was an expensive piece of machinery and ?was the first of its kind to race in this country.?

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:12 pm

Thanks for taking the time to look it up Ian.

I'll research the Snetterton angle.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:23 pm

Was Panshangar being used by Lotus/Chapman in 1963? If so, did Keegan have a Lotus connection other than being an early customer?

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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:09 am

Right, back home after a weekend away.

To answer my own question, yes, Lotus were at Panshagar by 1963 (a service workshop).

Co-located there were Keegan Aviation Ltd. 'TD 'Mike' Keegan had left the RAF as a flight engineer at the end of WWII to become one of the most successful airline entrepreneurs that Great Britain, if not Europe, has ever known. He helped to pioneer mass air transport and at one point operated Europe?s largest all cargo airliner.' In fact, the companies were Trans Meridian Air Cargo and subsequently BAF. They operated from Luton and Southend at various times, as well as Panshangar. I wonder if Chapman bought his planes from Mike Keegan?

Now, Mike Keegan was father of Rupert, well known1970s playboy F1 racer (currently making an interesting looking F1 documentary, see http://www.madeitoutalive.com/). However, Rupert was born in 1955, so too young to be driving Elans in 1963, clearly. As an aside, I cant find any reference to Rupert having raced any type of Lotus.

Was Kevin an elder brother, or some other relative of Mike? Obviously some family connection there.

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PostPost by: Old English White » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:45 pm

Mallory Park,
15 Apr 1963 BRSCC NATIONAL MOTOR RACE MEETING Official Programme:
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:56 pm

Any Elans entered in that meeting, Christian?

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:29 pm

trw99 wrote:Any Elans entered in that meeting, Christian?

Tim

You need to click on the second picture Tim, Lotus Elan entered by L Fryer
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:40 pm

Thank you, dear.

So, two debut races on the same day.

Seems LC Fryer had a history of entering races but then DNA. So, did he compete at Mallory on 15 Apr? Did Keegan at Brands come to that?

Leslie Fryer was an entrant in the 5 May Snetterton race, as above, so clearly he and Keegan were 'early adopters'!

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:24 pm

K. Keegan was actually the reserve in the race at Brands Hatch (car 116). He came third in the race.
Car 103 was a Lotus Elan entered by B. Kemp (driver C.A.C Hodgson), this did not start.

The plot thickens... The Brands Hatch race was Race 12 on the card, due to start at 17:05, so... did Fryer start? As Fryer was in Race 1 at Mallory? If so, it looks like he is da man!

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PostPost by: batfish » Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:39 pm

Robinshaw and Ross Lotus Elan book includes a photograph with the title '' the first Elan ever to appear at Silverstone in April 1963''. car number 83 but no date given.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:55 pm

batfish wrote:Robinshaw and Ross Lotus Elan book includes a photograph with the title '' the first Elan ever to appear at Silverstone in April 1963''. car number 83 but no date given.

Andy

6th April was a bike meeting and 29th the VSCC- anyone got info on other meetingsthat month?

The car in the photo is road-registered AMK919A, a North London registration- unsurprisingly that number is no longer in use!.
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