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Autobiography SS4

Don Barrow Autobiography 1974 - 2000 Special Stage 4

Don Barrow & Barrie Whizzo Williams - Stratford 0n Avon
BMC Austin A35 - RAC - Golden 50 Rally - 1982


During the interim period, our family moved to Macclesfield in 1975 and I persevered in producing more Rally Navigation equipment. I also had a drive in John Hopwood's TR2 which started me off into Classic cars.

And so after a long rest I partnered 'Whizzo' on the RAC Golden Fifty Rally in his dear old Dad's immaculate Austin A35. I had managed to find my two old sets of Dunlop Rally overalls just to add to the atmosphere.


Don Barrow at the Start in Bordeaux
Triumph TR3a - Claret & Classics - 1987


I also competed on some French Regularity events namely the Claret & Classics, these Regularity Rallies timed to the second were all new to me and I certainly learnt a lot in a short time. And so the bug bit back, I started to compete on the odd Classic event.

On the Claret & Classic's, Tony Mason navigated me in my TR3a in 1987. And in 1988 I Navigated a local Macclesfield funeral director (just the man for Regularity? well you would have thought so) also in my TR3a and John Hopwood navigated me again in 1989.


Tony Mason & Barrow - Claret & Classics - 1987


This is a jem of a picture, we are all preparing to stay the night in a Novotel at Saumer, France, and where else could you find a famous celebrity baggage porter in the slim shape of Tony Mason.

L to R - Ian Charnock, Brian Wood, Tony Mason the 'Barrow Boy', Mike Street, Phil Simister & John Hopwood.


John Hopwood & Don Barrow
Triumph TR2 - Circuit of Ireland Retro Rally - 1989


I navigated John Hopwood on several Rallies in the late 1980's where we quickly established ourselves.


In the accompanying photo we are about to Start at 22.58hrs the Plot & Bash night section using Map Refences on the Circuit of Ireland Retro rally. This was a damn good thrash and we only lost a single minute on the very last section, finishing at about 03.00hrs - Some of the sections were quite tight and at one point going down a long steep hill, 'Hoppy' was complaining about his brakes were not holding, I said, "well use your bloody gearbox then" "Oh right then" was the reply ! - We then had to make our way to our Hotel (Bones O'Conner's I think) which we then discovered was only 90 miles away !! And with an 09.00hrs re-Start we just about had time for breakfast - This event and our car was featured in Autosport - I also navigated Peter Banham in a Triumph 2000 but I cannot remember what year it was - Think it might have been 1999

A Facebook comment by Robert Holmes
I remember you and Peter Banham in a Triumph 2000. I think the year was 1998. I didn't compete that year but my wife and I manned the IN control at the supper halt on Friday night prior to the night navigation test. I can remember telling my wife that the legendary Don Barrow had just clocked IN.


Mike Street & Don Barrow - 'Streetwise in Bordeaux'
Daimler SP 250 Dart - Claret & Classics - 1990


The following year in 1990 I Navigated Mike Street in his Daimler SP250. "Don't forget to bring your water proofs", he said. "What for" I asked? "my car does not have a hood" he replied. We covered about 1800 miles all told, nearly all of which was in torrential rain. My maps and Average Speed tables were in plastic sleeves which is OK until you have a speed change, which requires selecting another page in the tables. The weather was so damp that my chest started to suffer and to help solve the problem on the homeward journey, I stuffed the plastic sleeves under my jumper to eliminate the damp air penetrating into my chest.


Ron Gammons & Don Barrow - I even got my feet wet !
MGB - Targa Rusticana Rally - 1990


I also did two Targa Rusticana's 1990/1 with Ron Gammons, MGs, naturally.

Two Morecambe Illuminations 1990/1 with Bobby Parkes in a Riley 1.5, an Illuminations in Neil Wilson's Porsche 356.

In 1998 Peter Banham and I Rallied Henry Gastall's ex-works Triumph 2000 on the Circuit of Ireland Retro.




Trevor Fearn, Eric Jackson & Don Barrow
Ford MK3 Zephyr 6 - YWK 329
Monte Carlo Challenge Rally - 1991


At the Start of the 1991 Monte Challenge with Eric Jackson and Trevor Fearn, on the forecourt area of Edinburgh Castle.

Sporting Eric's famous 'Cats Whiskers' Spot light covers. We have just given them all a good feed and they are all raring to go.


Eric Jackson, Trevor Fearn & Don Barrow
Ford MK3 Zephyr 6 - YWK 329
Another bit of Eric's handy work
Monte Carlo Challenge Rally - 1991


Well almost !

Unfortunately we were seeded number 1 and as such, sometimes you have to endure the perils of the game.

This happened on a mountain road due to the extreme wind chill factor blowing across a junction from the right, the road at this point became a glacier and we skated into an oncoming vehicle, it was the coldest place I have ever experienced. We were very lucky to have a lift to the overnight stop in Aix-le-Bains by a Swedish Television crew, whom I managed to flag down at the scene.

As you can see, the Cats luckily survived !


Barrie Williams (Whizzo) & Don Barrow - Ecurie Cod Fillet Reunion
Nottingham - 1994


This was a surprise presentation by 'Whizzo' of a Trophy (although the cheque was nowhere to be seen!) I had won on the 1972 - Knowldale Car Club - Mini Miglia Rally, when we won the event in his road going Opel Manta. It appears that this was my 5th win on the Mini Miglia in a 10 year period.


However you can always count on Whizzo to bring Home the bacon, even if it's a few years late ! He'd even brought the original tissue paper which it had been wrapped in and stuffed it in my top pocket.


Mike Colledge & Don Barrow
Ford MK1 Cortina GT
Classic Tour of Wales Rally - 1998
3rd Overall


I also competed with Mike Colledge in his MK1 Cortina GT on the Tour of Wales, this was brilliant because Mike had not experienced finishing as high as 3rd on such a demanding event, I felt dead chuffed for him. We also did a couple of Welsh Retro events mainly centered around Eppynt and the forests. Great navigation events, but I hate it when they become nothing more than 'High Speed' treasure hunts, where you have to look for misplaced and mis-sited code boards amongst the clouds of dust in the forests. A recipe for disaster and a typical 'Tortoise and the Hare` situation.

We also won several 12 car events within our local 'Historic rally car Register' section and one of my original Motor Clubs, Knutsford & District MC.

Recently Nigel Raeburn of KDMC produced a nice little booklet promoting the Club and in there it showed a list of the past winners of 'The Navigator of the Year Awards' and low and behold in 1959 it was won by Don Barrow.


David Hack & Don Barrow on sheet ice
In his magnificent BMC Austin Healey 3000
Le Jog - 1999 - Bronze Medal Winners


With David Hack I successfully competed on three Le Jog's (Lands End to John O'Groats) Reliability Trials in 1995/6/9 in his magnificent Healey 3000. Whenever a fuel station loomed into view, David had to think of a decent excuse, close his eyes and drive straight past, gad it was a thirsty brute.

But what a pleasure to navigate and pressurise a skilled driver for more speed in such a powerful and agile car. A super 'Magic Carpet' indeed.

One year down in the West Country we were leading Paul Minassian in his Healey 3000, on a simple link up road section, David was driving on his own with one of my 'Glowlight' route card holders, needless to say both Co-drivers were resting. As we neared the crowded Time Control at a Village Inn, the two noisy Healey's overshot the junction into the Control and both the embarrassed Co-drivers were immediately put on 'Red Alert'. As I was alighting with my road book in the Control area, Paul Minassian shouted across to my driver, "you can't get the staff at any price these days" which caused great hilarity with the spectators. All good fun, providing you have time in hand. There's no way we would have dared to allow the drivers to navigate if the time schedules had been tighter, they are usually like boats without rudders !

Gill Barrow & Don Barrow - Ford MK1 Lotus Cortina
enjoying a visit to the Ash Tree Inn
Cauldon Low, Derbyshire - 2000


In the years 1997-8-9 - 2000, Gill and I organised a series of Scenic Tours for Classic Cars in and around the Peak District; where we are fortunate to have on our own door step the magnificent scenery of Derbyshire, allowing us to create some wonderful tours. Events like these encourage folk to bring out their Classic cars and also allow us to give our MK1 Lotus Cortina another airing.











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