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Autobiography SS3

Don Barrow Autobiography 1969 1973 Special Stage 3

Just a few of my spoils
Don Barrow holding the coveted 1969 Motoring News Trophy


1969 was a Mixed type of year, Jim had several Saturday weddings to attend which therefore reduced the number of events we could compete on. However I managed to team up with various other drivers in order to keep the MN points alive.

The wallpaper on the left in my dining room is covered with 1" to Mile Ordnance Survey Maps, quite a task as the maps were not all printed the same way on the paper, when you pasted the maps they would expand slightly in different ways, some would be wider, some would be longer.






Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
JB 222 - Westune MK1 Ford Lotus Cortina
1st - Welsh Marches - 1967


We often upset folk on Rallies especially at the Finish because we always Rallied in sports coat, collar & tie, but of course we occasionally got a bit of mud on our clothes, which was quickly removed with Jim's onboard clothes brush.

On the Icebreaker rally in North Wales with Ian Harwood running as car No-1 in his MK1 Escort Twin Cam we encountered a cattle truck on a narrow road, we had to reverse a fair distance to let it pass, needless to say we dropped 2 minutes. On the following Tuesday morning I read in the Daily Express that some cattle rustling had taken place on the Saturday night and the local police were seeking info. I telephoned Ian and he recalled the incident and remembered both the colour of the truck and its registration number. So I telephoned the police with the info and low and behold they traced and arrested the rustlers!





Jim Bullough & Don Barrow - Ford MK1 Escort Twin Cam
3rd - Welsh International Rally - 1967


The 1967 Welsh International Rally was always a good event. It ended up at Llandow with a 10 lap timed Stage, as well as counting Jim's laps I was also keeping tabs on Chris Sclater's laps too. When low and behold he went and did 11 laps, this mistake would elevate us up into 2nd overall. However the timekeeper only recorded the time at the completion of lap 10, thus not showing his 'wrong Stage time', needless to say I had to put money down and submit a protest. The Stewards, led by Jack Kemsley a senior RAC official, convened a meeting where the only outcome was that the Timekeeper got a sturdy reprimand for not doing his job correctly and that the results would stand as is. I was not best pleased, we were diddled out of 2nd place. Chris got off very lightly indeed.

Months later I found out that Chris was courting one of Jack's daughters ! - Whom he later married.





Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
Ford MK1 Escort Twin Cam - LWH 845F
2nd - Seven Dales Rally - 1969
Pic - Glyn Ward
Don Barrow's Photographical Autobiography Stage 3 Castrol Motoring News Rally Championship Motoring News Championship


Round 3 The Seven Dales Rally with JB was our first run and prior to this the Country had been covered in heavy snow. At the start of the week conditions were no better and I was imagining running in the first 3 cars on Elvington airfield, covered with 2-3 inches of snow. I telephoned Jim and asked him to contact the organisers to say that he would be on a tight schedule in making the Saturday morning start and could we run in the mid to late thirties. Sure enough this paid off, the airfields were just about driveable at speed by the time we arrived at number 37; this ploy enabled us to finish 2nd overall.

The organisers at the last minute decided that cars should carry side numbers and as they had made no provisions for the sale of these, folk had to resort to 'Tank Tape' and what a mess they looked.






Ian Harwood & Don Barrow - MK1 Escort TC
4th - Tour of Mull Rally - 1969
Ian Harwood & Don Barrow 1969 Tour of Mull Rally Castrol Motoring News Rally Championship Motoring News Championship



This is an epic story.

When the 1969 Motoring News qualifying championship fixture list was announced, a new event, the Mullard Tour of Mull appeared and I think we all thought 'where's that?'. Jim Bullough was unavailable he had a wedding to attend.
I had purchased the map in preparation, a quick look caused me to wonder how they were going to run a rally without resorting to a lot of grass tracks, l thought a good Autocross driver might be ideal. One night, some weeks later, l was attending a private meeting with Cal Wither's when the Tour of Mull cropped up in conversation. Cal immediately picked up on my suggestion of an Autocross driver saying: "Look no further, Ian Harwood is your man, he's the current National Autocross champion." So it was all arranged.
We drove there in two cars, one to leave on the mainland, because Ian had to be back at work on the Monday morning; he had pre-arranged to 'escape' on the 06:00 hrs morning newspaper boat. Arriving in Oban on Friday afternoon l discovered that the rally car had some problems with the alternator, spotlights and wiring system. The rally car (which was Ian's Autocross car - you don't need lights for that) was a basic home built 1300GT MkI Escort fitted with a home built powerful Twin Cam engine (powerful for the time) being 1760cc. A 1600 X/F block, crank and rods with a spacer plate made to build up the height of the front timing chain cover and water pump assembly, bored out to 85mm using Twin Cam pistons in order to give the 1760cc capacity and therefore more torque. Together with some hastily fitted Cibie lights and a map magnifier socket - but they didn't work. Ian and his mechanic friend planned to work on the car early on the Saturday morning, so l was left in our hotel with nothing to do, while other crews were out recceing.

GEORGE HILL HAD BEEN THERE ALL WEEK - There were rumours that the up-and-coming team of George Hill and Keith Wood in their British Vita Racing Mini on racing tyres had been there all week! If you want to win, you have to put in the effort. Just like me sat in the Hotel !
Mull in 1969 was a curious place, the map showed just one road ringing the whole island with the odd linking road. This was long before the council started to widen and upgrade certain parts of the road system. I would describe the whole island's extremely narrow road system as one long Abergwesyn - with the odd passing place - fabulous! The biggest difference was that Abergwesyn didn't have huge drops into the Atlantic Ocean. The road network around the Glen Gorm Castle area was all loose surface.
After hanging around while Ian worked on the car; around mid-afternoon John Vipond took pity on me and asked if l would like to see a very unique cattle grid that was part of a stage in the Castle grounds. So l jumped in the back of Peter Kirk's MkI Cortina GT.

THIS GRID BITES! - Arriving at the grid, l was staggered to see how it worked, it had 30" long metal spikes facing towards the oncoming cars and sticking up at 45 degrees from both sides; as you drove onto the grid they automatically criss-crossed and closed down. Peter had tried it at 25mph and it worked, so now he was going to try it at 40mph. But no one appeared to know how fast it could be taken. My alarm was heightened because if the spikes pierced the car floor with me sitting in the back, it could be 'curtains'. In the event it worked okay, but later on someone completely trashed the grid.
That was the only bit of recceing l'd done. Returning to the hotel at about 6pm, l found Ian who announced that their efforts were successful, we had lights! Obviously I was a little apprehensive prior to the start because I had not even sat in the car before, or even experienced Ian's driving, but my consternation was soon to be proved wrong.
We were flagged away at 22:41 hrs into the darkness and straight up to SS1... with no pacenotes whatsoever; we would have to rely on my precise map reading and bend calling through my newly designed prototype Don Barrow map magnifier. To my surprise we set some fantastic times - Mishnish Lochs second fastest, Loch Tuath clean, Griban fastest time. On Loch Scridain we set fastest time again, accompanied by a lot of alarming metallic noises coming from the rear of the car. A quick look revealed that a rear Bilstein shock absorber had burst through its turret top after crashing over the huge crests - one after the other - even so Ian still drove on 'max attack'. We pressed on with another good run on Glen More by cleaning the section.

SECOND OVERALL AT PETROL - At petrol we were lying second overall, 7.0 seconds behind George and Keith (Mini) and 16.00 seconds in front of Will Sparrow and Nigel Raeburn, who were using their own pacenotes in their super Arden powered Mini. To rectify our problem Ian simply removed both the rear shock absorbers to balance the handling and to safeguard any further damage. We were certainly giving both the Minis some serious competition and no doubt they were quite worried.
After petrol we carried on as before setting some fantastic times, made all the more hair-raising with no rear shock absorbers. On the long Loch Tuah 2 section a 'not as map' junction, which showed on the map as a slight left-hand bend into a slight right at T junction', in fact turned out to be 'dead-square left which Ian managed to scramble round and a dead-square right at T junction'. BANG! We hit the bridge parapet with the left front wheel hanging in fresh air and the rear wheels off the ground. I jumped down into the water, pushed the car from underneath, and regained the road with a fair amount of seconds lost! We were indeed fortunate not to lose more than just one Cibie and the left-hand headlamp.

SPECTATORS HIDING THE ARROW - George, Will, Ian and myself were neck and neck on Selective 7 which used the roughish Whites around the aforementioned 'spikey' cattle grid area. At one point l took the obvious correct route by turning right at a junction 50-yards before the second cattle grid which was thronged with spectators. However, after half-a-mile we were confronted with an ominous looking tall metal gate blocking the road with a displayed 'NO' board. In our haste to turn round we got stuck and lost five-and-a-half minutes, which dropped us down to fourth overall at the finish.
The incorrect road was not taped off (as it should have been), neither was there a NO board at the junction. l was absolutely livid that such a major mistake on the organisers part cost us so dearly, l filed a £5 protest. At the Stewards meeting the organisers stated that there was an official arrow pointing in the correct direction. "Oh no there wasn't", l said.
I was so adamant that the Stewards and l drove to the actual junction in the daylight, low and behold, there was a straight-on arrow nailed to one of the posts of the second cattle grid, which was 50-yards beyond the junction and had obviously been shielded (unintentionally?) by the throng of spectators. However, in the cold light of the morning and the absence of the many original spectators, the Stewards reached a conclusion that the evidence proved it was sufficiently arrowed and disallowed my protest. However they failed to agree with me that if any arrowed route information was given, that it should have been located before the junction.

FINAL RESULTS - The results of the first Tour of Mull were: 1st George Hill & Keith Wood 1.36 - 2nd Will Sparrow & Nigel Raeburn 2.22 - 3rd Frank Pierson & Colin Francis 5.30 - 4th Ian Harwood & Don Barrow 7.03. Take away the 5.30 and you can see why l was absolutely furious. Furthermore l think the star driver, in his home built autocross car, was without doubt 'Ian Harwood'.

Brian Molyneux in his Tour of Mull book commented about only ever having one protest in the history of the event and the person in question was never allowed to enter again. This was not the case as l competed again the following year (1970) with Jim Bullough in a British Vita Racing experimental 3-litre Capri - what a car! - finishing 5th overall.

John Sprinzel & Don Barrow - Datsun 1600 SSS
4th - Targa Rusticana Rally - 1969
John Sprinzel & Don Barrow 1969 Targa Rusticana Rally Castrol Motoring News Rally Championship Motoring News Championship



I navigated on the 1969 Targa Rusticana for John Sprinzel in his Darsun 1600 SSS, John was driving with his left hand still in a plaster cast due to a breakage, he drove extremely well under the circumstances - Jim Bullough was having to attend a wedding - I was attempting to win the MN Championship once again and needed some extra points. It was the last MN event of the year and was run on December 6/7th. The event was snowy and icy and although we had a good run up to the refuel halt. I had sounded out the scores of the opposition and we needed to improve on our current standing. So on departing from the re-start I casually mentioned to John that we could do with picking up the pace a bit, at which he was not too chuffed by saying, "You cheeky Ba***rd, I have been driving flat out since the start", all taken in good humour of course but at least I got the message across. We did improve and finished 4th overall, which unfortunately for me was 1 point off winning the MN Championship for 1969.

I competed on 15 of the 19 MN Rallies with 4 outright wins, one with John Bloxham, together with other National and International events navigating a variety of drivers that included Jim Bullough, Ian Harwood, John Bloxham and John Sprinzel. I lost out on winning the MN Championship again, by one point only !

Halfway through the year Jim's own Escort Twin Cam was re-shelled with a big winged body.



Don Barrow, John (Castrol) Seal
Nigel Raeburn & George Hill
Castrol House
2nd - Motoring News Championship 1969


Motoring News presentation, London. - L to R - Don Barrow, John Seal (Castrol), Nigel Raeburn, George Hill - all signing our 'Nineteen to the Dozen' books. It's author Eddie Green, was a true Rally enthusiast who followed the circus around the Countryside wherever the events took him. His book 'Nineteen to the Dozen' is now a sought after Motorsport collectors item and I am amazed at some of the prices asked. It gives a good reflection of what Rallying was all about in the 1960's, although it has a major mistake in naming Phil Simister as the winning Driver for 1964, when in fact it was my Driver, Reg McBride. I know because I Navigated for both of them and Phil was not the type to moan and groan, especially when it was to his advantage!

Sadly Eddie Green passed away in May 2003






Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
OWH 322H - Ford - Westune MK1 Escort Twin Cam
Brilliant Win in treacherous Wintery conditions
1st - Welsh Marches Rally - 1970
Castrol Motoring News Rally Championship Motoring News Championship


1970 saw another great year with Jim Bullough in his Westune Ford MK1 Escort Twin cam with many wins once again.

A lot of the Motoring News stories can be read in Peter Robinson's excellent series of books called 'Memory Lanes' which spotlights the era of Motoring News Rallies of which Jim and I feature in the results on a lot of the events.

Quote from Peter West - OWH 322H was built by me and Tony Taylor in a disused stable at Harwood Lodge, Bolton. When you add the magical skills of Don Barrow to the mix along with our record of reliability in that era, it was bound to produce something special. It certainly did. Jim was an exceptional pilot not the 'balls out' quickest but as the results always showed they were always well up there at the finish, furthermore Jim always looked after the hardware when ever possible by keeping out of trouble.





?? & Don Barrow & Jim Bullough
OWH 322H - MK1 Escort Twin Cam
4th - Fram Welsh International - 1970


Receiving our 4th overall awards at the finish in Cardiff of the 1970 Fram International Rally. We were ill prepared for this Rally, Jim was in the process of transferring stables from Westune to British Vita Racing and he turned up without a service crew and on Goodyear HR70 road tyres, not the best equipment for the numerous forest stages. But true to form we managed not to disgrace ourselves.







Roy Fidler & Don Barrow
YAW 1 - Ford - MK1 Escort Twin Cam
DNF - Scottish International - 1970
Mouseover Pic


There is a long story attached to this picture. Roy Fidler & Don Barrow were entered on the 1970 Scottish International rally in this MK1 Twin Cam by Withers of Winsford.

We set off for Glasgow on the Friday morning and had to collect a Trophy from Jim Bullough at Forton Services, where Jim informed us that a guy from Withers had just collected his Twin Cam engine which was to be fitted into our rally car back at Winsford, with Scrutineering taking place in the afternoon ! Roy not expecting the car to appear before the closing time arranged with the RAC scrutineer for an early Saturday morning slot.

After a fair few anxious phone calls the car eventually arrived at 07:30 hrs, our start time was something like 08:15 hrs. The scrutineer asked Roy to knock on his hotel room door when required. At which the answer was "what number are you" to be followed by a 'Passed' scrutineering slip emerging from underneath the door !

Well on inspecting the car it was fitted with road tyres on steel rims, we were informed that the Minilites with Dunlop SP44s were in another car and would not be here for at least an hour. Needless to say we started the event on the road tyres, after 2 stages we were greeted by the guy with the Minilites. Upon fitting they found they had only brought 12 Minilite nuts, so we did 2 stages with 3 nuts on each wheel while they managed to scrounge 4 from other service crews. We were also having brake problems and were stopped on a road section, when a smart young guy in a MK1 Cortina GT pulled up enquiring what our problem was. Within a couple of minutes he produced a workshop type hydraulic jack and had the wheels off and made some adjustments and he said he would see us at the end of the next stage. He serviced us after many stages, it turned out this heroic guy was non other than Dave Campion (Who later became a big name at Pro-Drive) having a weeks holiday following the rally.

Eventually we started setting some decent stage times when on a road section just prior to the Newcastleton stage, we pulled into a fuel station. There was a team of folk checking over the car, cleaning the rally numbers, registration plates, windows etc with two other guys checking the oil and water levels etc. Halfway through the stage the engine dropped onto 3 cylinders where at the finish, Ford's, Mick Jones, who listened to the engine reckoned it was a damaged valve. So we retired and went back to Glasgow to collect Roy's car. I drove the rally car with Roy following me down the M6 where I constantly checked the fuel gauge decreasing at an alarming rate, so much so it took three full tanks of fuel to reach Knutsford. I had been racking my thoughts as to why the engine was so thirsty and it felt like the engine was on full choke. I then began to wonder whether the guy who had checked the oil level had left his oily rag in the engine compartment. So on stopping for yet another full tank of fuel, I mention my thoughts to Roy. Low and behold Roy felt into each Weber carburetor trumpet and there in number 4 was a well and truly stuck oily rag !

Roy was gutted and said "I wish you had not told me that" - On removal it ran like a Twin Cam engine should and we both very embarrassingly returned the car to Winsford with our sorry tale.

Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
OWH 322H - British Vita Racing
3rd - Gremlin Rally - 1970
Magnifier Replacement Bulbs Spares Switches Lighting Units


The Gremlin rally - What an escapade - Jim was holidaying in France and was collected from Heathrow and driven to the start in Brecon. The BVRT guys dropped the rally car off with me in Wilmslow and due to Tony Fall not using the 1850 cc TC engine, we had it installed for the Gremlin and what a magic carpet it was too. I put it through scrutineering, signed on and started plotting the route. Jim arrived later and was talking with me when a marshal asked him to move the car forward. Jim was taken aback and asked, do we have to listen to that noise all night, it sure was noisy inside the car. Anyway on our way towards the first selective the conditions were treacherous, it was absolutely stair rodding it down. So I instructed Jim to hide in a side road and let Sparrow/Raeburn lead the way to the selective start. The selective was over the Abergwesen to Tregaron road, We set off one minute behind them and were catching them up quickly and then they seemed to get away from us only for us to catch right up to them and finished crossing the line together on the same time. I remember saying to Jim that Will had had a bad run over the selective, when in fact it was us that had a brilliant run. Unbeknown to me they had used a short cut through a small forest section that I had no idea existed. We carried on throughout the rally posting good times and leading by a great margin. With just three selectives to go over the Eppynt Ranges we set off and immediately heard a rumbling, grating noise from the rear of the car, we have a puncture was the cry and duly pulled over to change the wheel, on a quick inspection I could not find a punctured tyre, thus it must be a broken halfshaft. We plodded on at a much reduced pace of about 30 mph with the horrendous noise ringing in our ears and cars passing us left right and centre. We managed to complete all three selectives and arrive at the breakfast finish. Jim was whisked back to Heathrow and then flown back to France. While the BVRT guys were replacing the halfshaft I was watching the results and due to our huge lead that we had built up, we still managed to finish 3rd overall.




Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
VTF 480H - BVRT Ford MK1 Capri 3000
5th - Tour of Mull Rally - 1970 - Pic Mike Wood


The Tour of Mull - This picture of Jim Bullough and I both smiling is at Craignure Service, just after a very annoyed Ian Grindrod who was also competing challenged us and asked "who is out scouting for you tonight" I did not understand his pointed question and asked him to explain. And then he asked "how did you know that the Passage Check on the last Selective was unmanned" what Passage Check I asked? "the one on the old A849 road". At that, he demanded to see my maps and on inspection he was more mystified when he could not see my M.R. plot for the PC, then he asked to see my route card and pointed out to me that I had not ticked off the M.R. of the PC when plotting. "You Jammy Ba****ds, he said, "you forgot to plot the vital Map Reference and it's the only one that's not been manned all night", "You Jammy Ba****ds" and he departed muttering to himself.
Needless to say I was annoyed with myself, but we were both overjoyed at our stroke of luck and that is when Mike Wood must have taken this picture; when the results came out we even put up Ftd on the Glen More 1, Selective, because we obviously went a faster route along the new road.

That's what being called 'Lucky Jim' does for you.






Squadra Budino Nero
(Team Black Pudding)




Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
FTW 44H - Ford ex Works MK1 Escort Twin Cam
Plotting up at the start
2nd - Torbay Rally - 1970


Around October time a drastic situation arose when a major problem occurred on the previous week-end`s 'MN' event. We had already won the 1970 BTRDA Gold Star Championship, and needed another car for the coming week-end. BVRT British Vita Racing Team's Competition Manager Brian Gillibrand, managed to persuade Ford's Competition dept to part with an ex-works car (FTW 44H) which was residing in France. This was acquired and readied all within the week, still sporting it's BP green/yellow livery. The Motoring News Championship all hinged on the last Club event of the year, The Torbay Rally. If we could produce a win or a second position, the Championship would be ours again. And after some 200 miles of hectic motoring we secured our goal by a very convincing margin, thus winning the coveted Crown of the era. This being my 4th Motoring News Championship Win, within a ten-year period, I was over the moon. However we came unstuck on the RAC after clobbering a log pile and bending the rear axle casing. Jim commented at the time, that he couldn't drive the car properly because it was the wrong colour! He had it re-painted Blue and White for 1971 and robbed the car of its good looking originality.





MK1 Ex Works Ford Escort Twin Cam - BVRT British Vita Racing - Max Attack down in the West Country - The final Rally to Glory - In BP colours Castrol Motoring News Rally Championship Motoring News Championship
Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
FTW 44H - Ford ex Works MK1 Escort Twin Cam
'Super Car' - 'Super Driver' - 'Super Nav'
2nd - Torbay Rally - 1970



Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
Ford ex Works MK1 Escort Twin Cam
Max concentration - Reading off the map
Being extremely pressurised very hard from me
Check out our facial expressions



Jim Bullough & Don Barrow FTW 44H
Ford ex Works MK1 1850 Escort Twin Cam
Now painted White with Castrol Stripes
24th - Cilwendeg Rally 1971
Pic Ferret Fotographics


Cilwendeg Rally - We Won - But then we were demoted to 24th.

Running as number one, we were once again the mechanical hare for the night, warming the marshals up and losing time at each Time Control, here you can see Morley/Bryant are catching us up even though we have both dropped time on the road. Approaching the next Time Control I asked for a card with a time of 12.05, (Targa Timing Cards) (This is all hectic stuff) the marshal gave me a card and off we go, I immediately notice that the marshal (who assumed we were running on time) had given me a card with 12.01 on, Hells Bells, reverse back to the marshal quick. Morley/Bryant are now passing us, (unbeknown to us at this stage they also accepted a wrong time card) I eventually get another card and off we go again, only to find the marshal, instead of giving a new card had simply altered the card by crossing out the 12.01 and encircling the 12.05 time. Losing at least one extra minute we had to press on at a hectic pace. When the results came out we were posted as the winners with Morley/Bryant 2nd, but then the organisers noticed we both had altered time cards, I was fully aware of mine, however Morley/Bryant did not reverse back to the Time Control, so how they acquired an altered time card, is anyone's guess !! We entered into a protest, which the Stewards adamantly rejected, the regulations stated that no altered time cards would be entertained whatsoever, this I was fully aware of which prompted my earlier actions at the inept marshals Time Control. A senior official witnessed the time card fiasco and came over to us at the finish and offered to give evidence at our protest. But the Stewards rejected any third party interference and categorically stated that altered time cards were deemed as not visiting the control. Absolutely dejected and disgusted that a win had been taken away by poor marshalling, we left for home. Can you imagine our feelings when Thursdays Motoring News arrived only to find that Morley/Bryant had been declared the winners.

A touch of the Barrack Room lawyers, nod, nod, wink, wink.





Jim Bullough & Don Barrow FTW 44H
Ford ex Works MK1 1850 Escort Twin Cam
Now painted White with Castrol Stripes
4th - Welsh International Rally 1970


Main Time Control on the Welsh International, 1970, in Machynlleth - We have just had a longish road section into here, thus giving Jim a welcome break with me driving. We finished 4th overall which was a good result considering the numerous works entries.










1970 Motoring News Championship




1961 - 1973 Motoring News Championship Books
see Rally Books

Don Barrow - 1961 - 1965 Motoring News Championship - Memory Lanes 'The Beginning' by Peter Robinson



Judging by my looks
It looks as though I had a bad night


The 1970 MN Caption says - Jimmy Bullough & Don Barrow must be camera shy, for we have few pictures of them on file, taken outside their car, this was taken when they were using their Westune - Ford MK1 Lotus Cortina - JB 222. Barrow is wearing his inevitable tweed jacket.

No little wonder, they could never catch us !






Motoring News / Castrol Rally Championship presentation 1970
Standing from L to R - David Stephenson, Colin Francis & Rob Lawrence.
L to R - Chris Beynon, Frank Pierson, Jimmy Bullough, Don Barrow, Nigel Raeburn & Will Sparrow.


Motoring News / Castrol Rally Championship presentation 1970 at Castrol House, London.
Standing from L to R - David Stephenson, Colin Francis & Rob Lawrence.
L to R - Chris Beynon, Frank Pierson, Winners - Jimmy Bullough, Don Barrow, Nigel Raeburn & Will Sparrow.






Jim Bullough & Don Barrow
FTW 44H - Ford ex Works MK1 Escort Twin Cam
In BVRT Blue & White


1971, here again, this was another blank period of which I cannot remember much about, but I seem to remember that we were both getting a bit tired of trying to emulate our past performances. It was becoming so hard to win events and Championships. But it was even harder trying to achieve the same level of performance, of which we were expected to attain, time and time again. Jim slimmed down the number of events we competed on and our interest started to fade.

On the 1971 RAC Rally with our car in British Vita colours and motives, we were posing for a photo for Autosport on the RAC Rally when the photographer asked, "who's sign written your car" why? we asked, it stated across the top of both front wings, 'Prepaired by British Vita Racing', how embarrassing, what a spelling mistake! So every time we got out of the car Jim made a bee line to stand in front of the mis spelled word.

Towards the end of the year I was being tempted by Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams - whom I had successfully navigated for on several previous occasions - to join DTV (unpaid of course) in pioneering the, wait for it, Vauxhall 'Firenza'.

By this time I had managed to produce some moulds on my lathe and could successfully build my Don Barrow Light - Map Magnifier and they went on sale around this era in it's grey colour form for about £5.00.

I also did a couple of rallies with David Cowan in his Escort Twin Cam, the first rally we retired in Wales with a cam belt problem, the second was also a retirement on the Devils Own Rally in the Lake District with an inversion in a narrow lane. David's dad, Les lived just North of Manchester and so that I could recognise their house he said he would leave his car parked on the roadway, "just look out for the registration number LES 777" he said, well sure enough it was there. On driving in I could see the rally car LES 7 and when I was ringing the front door bell I caught sight of a MK1 Austin Healey Sprite with a registration plate, wait for it, MRS 777. Yes you have guessed it, Les was a right comedian.



Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams & Don Barrow
DTV Vauxhall Firenza - Isle of Man & Scottish International 1972
Whizzo's Personal Registration Number ?


1972 was a fraught year, my hair was beginning to turn grey, the whole set up at DTV was run on a shoestring and even finishes were hard to come by. Our entry on the Welsh International had to be cancelled on the morning of the event due to a technical problem. It turned out that the day before, the rally cars had been driven onto the workshop ramps while they re-painted the garage floor, guess what? the paint hadn't dried, so rather than 'bugger' the floor up, they scrubbed the entries! I also remember on the Scottish International that the bare floor pan under my feet started to split along the line of the chassis rail. This crack grew longer and wider as the event unfolded, filling the cockpit with clouds of dust, I kept asking for this to be welded at the service points, but to no avail. However I delivered a final ultimatum regarding this work, and hey presto, the work was scheduled for a lunch halt service. On climbing back into the car I surveyed the repair, which consisted of a length of tank tape run over the split, I ask you? On the Manx International (Pace Notes with 'Whizzo' 'Phew') we had to use the same 'make do` fuel gauge that we had used on the Scottish, which consisted of a garden cane as a 'dip-stick`. Needless to say we ran out of fuel at about 02.00hrs in the middle of a desolate stage. 'Whizzo' stood on the roof, shouting across the valley for petrol, 15 minutes later we were on our way. 'Whizzo' also mentioned about what he was going to do with the 'dip-stick` when he got back to Douglas! I totally agreed with him.

The RAC was another epic affair, having vigorously warmed up a set of racing tyres for the last 6 miles, prior to entering the Special Stage in Bradford sewage works, can you imagine my thoughts when there was a 30 minute delay on the start line! During this delay it also rained, so with a wet road on cold racers, away we sped. However as I had predicted, 'Whizzo' caused another 30 minute delay when he terminally assaulted a solid oak tree at a fair rate of knots. We were lucky not to have drowned to death in the previous day's outflow of the population of Bradford. Needless to say a near wasted year all round.




The life of Whizzo Williams in his hilarious book, written by Paul Lawrence

After you have read Whizzo's book you will probably agree that with me that - as Oscars are awarded to the most outstanding acting performances - if there ever was an annual Oscar award presented by the International Panel Beaters Association for the best performance in bending the most motor cars, Whizzo would probably have won several.

Dealer Team Vauxhall


Don Barrow & Whizzo Williams
celebrating an emphatic win
1st - Mini-Miglia Rally - 1972


The only highlight of the year was winning for the 5th time the Knowldale Car Clubs, Mini-Miglia Rally this time in 'Whizzo's road going (early type) Opel Manta, the organisers were sworn to secrecy because Whizzo didn't want his Father to find out. The event was a round in the Mexico Championship and we 'waltzed' away literally with an emphatic win. We were shown as Krebbs and Goldfinger on the entry list running at No 13 and nobody knew it was us until the first petrol halt when all was revealed.






Eric Jackson - Complete with kitchen sink - one of his many epic crossings of the Sahara desert.
En-route from Capetown to Southampton


1973 saw me teaming up with Eric Jackson of 'Round the World' fame in his MK1 BDA Escort, we won our first event the Mansfield & Sutton Observer Rally, a BTRDA Gold Star Stage Rally, sponsored by the Mansfield Observer, together with various other events. I was having a tough time in motivating myself for each event and needless to say I was finding it hard to live up to my usual standards. In a nutshell I wanted to finish Rallying, I simply hated Stage events and enough was enough.






Eric Jackson & Don Barrow
Ford MK1 BDA Escort - PHE 9G
1st - BTRDA Gold Star
Mansfield & Sutton Observer Rally - 1973


However our next event was the Chieftain Rally, another BTRDA Gold Star Championship Stage event which I was not looking forward to. In preparation I noticed on my old 1967 'MN' map, that on Salisbury Plain I had written 'Caution mud on Road' at a point aptly called 'Bulbarrow'. I thought this surely must be clear by now? Therefore I ignored my markings! We were running as the first car on the road on this rain soaked stage, a long straight of 2-3 miles into a long slight right (reading off the map) and over a long slight crest. As the crest came rapidly into sight, I was gripped with fear. The road was covered with about 9 inches of mud from a tank manoeuvre the night before and there were two, what looked like bicycle tyre tracks which the Clerk of the Course's car had made. We had been totally flat up to this point in a nicely set up drift, if Eric had lifted it would have increased the drift, if he had braked it would have been far worse. I knew this was going to be a big accident. God knows what he did, I am sure it would have been the right decision. The car apparently launched itself airborne and started to cartwheel end over end, everything flew off and out of the car, and I remember saying to myself 'push like hell with both my hands and my feet onto the dash and bulkhead' in order to keep my limbs inside the cockpit. It eventually landed the correct way up. Eric was in a bad way and fortunately a Doctor who saw the accident quickly arrived, he reckoned the car had somersaulted backwards some six to seven times. He assessed the situation and we carefully lifted Eric into the Doc's car, who then took him to the Stage Finish to await an ambulance. It turned out that he had two broken ribs and two crushed vertebrae. As for the poor 'motor' Nice one Eric, one of your best! I had been looking for a decent excuse to pack up Rallying and this was it! Much against my daughter's and son's ego's, they used to revel in the limelight of seeing a constant flow of competitive machinery in the driveway. I never did another Rally until 1986. It has got to be said that Rally Navigating has been the highlight of my life, a test of one's durability and great initiative to say the least.
Thank God for Roll Cages !



Eric Jackson & Don Barrow
Ford MK1 BDA Escort - PHE 9G
BTRDA - Chieftain Rally - 1973


Later I wrote to Eric's daughter Jackie Jackson who was documenting the accident and wrote - Jackie, to interject a mid section of your story, from after the accident to Eric entering hospital - Well after Eric was taken by car by a spectating Doctor who assessed the urgency for hospital treatment. I was simply left on my own in the middle of Salisbury Plain with a heap of scrap metal that was once a superb rally car, dressed in only my blue Dunlop racing overalls and wearing my crash hat, I kept it on because it was cold. So I started walking and immediately spotted a spectating car, I knocked on the car window and took them by surprise and I explained that I had just had a mammoth accident and that I needed to get to the end of the stage. Luckily they were locals and they took me via some minor cart tracks which skirted various firing ranges to arrive at the finish area. I immediately spotted Eric's black Granada that Kathy was driving and I opened the door to break the bad news, obviously she was very upset. I sat in the car, took my muddy shoes off and put them partly under the side of the car. Kathy then said that she had been there for about an hour and only five minutes ago an ambulance had arrived and collected somebody and set off with blue flashing lights and sirens etc. It then just dawned on her that it must have been Eric, and that they must have been parked up in separate vehicles only yards apart, if only she had known. We then set off to go to rally HQ to find which hospital Eric had been taken to, halfway there I discovered that I was not wearing my shoes ! Luckily I had a spare pair in my rally bag. I waited at rally HQ in Bath for Eric's men to arrive with their breakdown wagon from Barnsley from where I took them to the scene of the accident, we were met by some Army officials and taken to their HQ where they handed over all the collected parts and debris which had been gathered from the path of the high speed accident. I returned back to Bath with a guy who was a salesman at Eric's where we had a meal before setting off North and home. Suffering from concussion and the after effects of an accident I was not best pleased at being a passenger in a car with someone that was obviously out to try and impress me how fast he could drive, he had this little 1300 cc MK1 Ford Escort virtually stuck at 90 MPH all the way up the M5 and M6, I closed my eyes and nodded off to sleep. Thankfully I arrived home in one piece about 02:00 hrs on the Sunday morning. In the aftermath I found that I could not plot map references without incurring violent headaches and it must have been 2-3 years before I felt fully recovered.



GO to Part 4 - SS4