There is no doubt that 2004 has been a year of ups and downs for your favourite team. The highlight must be the Monaco Historique GP where a second place was achieved in the Huffaker which excelled itself. Goodwood was certainly disappointing with crashes and red flags in all directions – none were our fault thankfully. In between there was Snetterton where the team took home a full podium with an Elva win in the one hour race alongside a second and third place for the Lotus Junior.

Saddest part of the year however has been the last couple of months. In August my father fell ill and we pulled out of the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting – much to his annoyance I should add! Sadly he died peacefully the day before the Silverstone Finals HSCC meeting so the long awaited debut of the Surtees was cancelled.

I must pay tribute to my father who was a racer to his last. A former multiple Irish speedway champion he started me in motorsport as a youth and was a great supporter to our team. His last race event was the historic meeting at Phoenix Park last year where he watched two dominant wins for the Elva – something he greatly enjoyed. He was fascinated by the re-emergence of all the old cars and only regretted that he couldn’t take part himself.

So now that the 2004 season is over what about 2005? Chomping on the bit is the Surtees TS8 F5000 car which is raring to go. Simon Hadfield has made a few adjustments to the car after it’s rebuild and took it testing at Mallory Park where it proved to be a great – and pleasant – surprise. One of the early F5000 cars from 1971 the aerodynamics are a bit primitive and the wings mostly ornamental. Indeed as a works car the livery is the standard Surtees arrow and it must be the only car made where the front bodywork was designed to suit the paintwork! Despite this the car goes well, stops well and seemingly turns corners according to Simon. I can’t wait.

In the 1971 Rothmans Grand Prix of Ireland at Mondello Park the big boys in the F5000 cars were joined for the day by some local drivers in F2 and F Atlantic cars. All the regulars were there including Tommy Read and Ken Fildes. Ken was driving the unique works Crossle 19F which was run by his “patron” Luke Duffy. He raced this car for two years and it holds the distinction of being the first car to lap Aintree at more than 100mph. This actual car has now joined Ecurie Scalpel and has emerged from hibernation in Scotland. It won the HSCC historic championship twice in the mid ‘90’s driven by Arnie Black the current owner of Crossle Cars.

It is in beautiful condition and we hope to go testing as soon as possible. We also hope to get Ken Fildes back in the car as soon as a suitable event appears.

All in all therefore, 2005 looks like being a very special year for the team – two new cars to run alongside the old stagers. Come and join in the fun.

Of course I must also thank a few people at this time. Tyco Healthcare are our most loyal sponsors and will be back in 2005 – we would not be here without their help. Lister have also been valuable supporters and deserve thanks. A special mention must also go to Don Haldenby for still turning out beautifully prepared cars without complaint – they are the envy of the pitlane. For any new sponsors out there – you know it makes sense!!


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