“T-Bone Tommy” Graham to join Retro Rallycross!
August 23, 2013 by Leo Nulty
Former Irish Rallycross Champion Tommy Graham will make his Retro Rallycross debut this weekend at the iconic Lydden Hill circuit in Kent. The Prosperous based Sand and Gravel haulier has had a turbocharged Cosworth Turbo powered 350bhp Mk2 Escort built especially for the new series by McNeill Motorsport in Northern Ireland. “We bought the ex Con Carey Zakspeed car” said Tommy, “a car I always wanted back in the day. We had hoped to rebuilt it but it was unsavable. We started with a bare shell and built it up from there- but the rear wing and a few other bits are from the original Zakspeed! I did an MSA Rallysprint in Mondello as a shakedown last month and it is great fun to drive- but a bit of a handful!” The car has since been fitted with power steering by the McNeill Motorsport team and should be a little more manageable this weekend
Rallycross started as a sport specifically for Television- with the first event running at the Lydden Circuit in February 1967. The Ripla.co.uk Retro Rallycross series was set up last year to cater for older rally and rallycross cars, with Minis, Escorts, Beetles and Metro 6R4s all competing.
Shirley Gibson, organiser of the series explains: “Historic, Classic, call it what you will, it all points to the same thing, recalling and respecting the types of cars that got our sport underway all those years ago. Historic/Classic racing has proven to be successful in other forms of Motorsport in recent years, and the time has never been better to see the return of the special cars that appeared on our television screens on a Saturday afternoon.
In an era that saw sport dominated by Football and Horse racing, ITN’s World of Sport Programme offered regular slots to Wrestling, Scrambling and Rallycross. I can remember how we would be lined up on the start line waiting for the Television Director to give us the thumbs up, an indication that the 13.45 steeplechase race at Aintree had finished, it was time to start our engines and get the Rallycross heats underway. Live television for those of us taking part was often confusing, sometimes frustrating, but always exciting. And for the spectators at home, Saturday afternoons were well worth staying in for!”
We will report on Tommy’s progress over the weekend- meanwhile we hope the series regulars know that he did not earn his nickname because the is fond of the odd steak!