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Friday, March 1, 2024

Skoda Particular Saloon star John Turner dies aged 81

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Turner grew to become synonymous with the Skoda throughout a Herculean 23-event season, together with within the mighty Tremendous Saloon class, in 1974.

The Dorset timber service provider’s quiet understated character was diametrically-opposed to the steely dedication with which he drove his automobiles.

As lynchpin of a powerful band of buddies who burned a lot midnight oil constructing a stream of winners in a workshop within the wooden yard, Turner’s outcomes converse for themselves.

He began racing a 1000cc Hillman Imp within the late Sixties and by 1970 was a troublesome man to beat in a vastly aggressive class. That 12 months he gained each the British Vehicle Racing Membership’s Osram-GEC and Manufacturers Hatch-based Atlantic Petroleum championships.

In 1971, with preparation assist from native motor engineer Richard Man of Marnhull, Turner graduated to the British Saloon Automobile Championship with a Group 2 Sunbeam Imp.

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Whereas Invoice McGovern dominated the 1000cc division, defending his general crown in George Bevan’s beautifully developed Imp, Turner was one among two drivers to grab a spherical win, at Silverstone the place the Irishman tripped up.

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Having notched up extra Particular Saloon victories at Thruxton and Fortress Combe, Turner then modified horses to Ford.

After a season within the ex-John Macdonald Anglia with its screaming 1000cc BRM System 2 engine, continued sponsorship from the Insurance coverage Advisory Service enabled his group – with good engineer Ted Howard a trump card – to construct an Escort with a two-litre Tasman V8 unit sourced from Sid Latter at BRM for 1973. It too gained races, however sadly was wrecked at Silverstone late within the 12 months.

An even bigger and faster ‘hybrid’ was required for the delivery of the Tremendous Saloon motion – promoted by Capri V8 legend Mick Hill and intrepid DAF V8 creator Tony Hazlewood – in 1974.

The indomitable Turner and his crew put their fertile minds collectively and, having recognized the one rear-engined manufacturing automobile with a workable wheelbase, set to work.

Marrying a metal Skoda shell with the mechanical underpinnings of a F5000 Leda was a stroke of genius. The primary of a sort, with its curvaceous wheel arches including to the gorgeous visible impact, the ‘Yellow Peril’ was an immediate crowd favorite.

Debuted at Snetterton, the place it non-started, and Mallory Park over an April weekend, it took a little bit of sorting however, as soon as niggles have been resolved, it was really a ‘Skod Missile’.

Following a breakthrough win fifth day trip at Fortress Combe in July, extra adopted at Oulton Park, Kirkistown, Knutstorp (Sweden), Manufacturers Hatch, Thruxton and Mallory Park.

9 outright victories, moist and dry, and a category win delighted Skoda GB and have been backed up with a string of lap information, Oulton’s at 98.61mph and Combe’s at 102.22mph.

Newly retired F1 and double Can-Am champion Denny Hulme even drove the Skoda at Manufacturers and was impressed.

However operating prices didn’t stack up towards the prize cash, thus Turner purchased the two-year-old F5000 Lola T330 that Lella Lombardi had raced all through 1974 for what proved his final season. A greatest end of fifth, within the class’s European swansong at Manufacturers, was his greatest end result.

Earlier within the season, although, Turner had achieved an ambition to race on the terrifyingly quick {old} Francorchamps circuit. Sharing Pete ‘Rhubarb’ Smith’s Chevron B23, they completed a class-winning tenth within the World Sportscar Championship spherical – a powerful achievement for privateers.

Turner is survived by son Richard and daughter Penny – youthful son Peter died in 2008 – second spouse Sue and households, to whom Autosport extends honest condolences.



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