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Autobiography SS5

Don Barrow Photographical Autobiography 2001 2003 Special Stage 5


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


During the year 2000 I reluctantly resigned as the Life President of a local Motor Club that I had been involved with since it's inception in 1966. Simply because any long standing figure head, in any Motor Club, does at least expect to receive the respect of all members and their guests at any function, needless to say there is always a Mr Clever Devil and unfortunately the Motor Club in question was the biggest loser, because it's Life Vice President, John Knott OBE also resigned; the less said about the upsetting matter, the better.






The Joys of Rallying a BMC Mini Cooper
Who? - When? - Where? * Not Me!


Over the last few years I have enjoyed the company of both the Historic Rally Car Register's (HRCR) local group that meet in the Peover area and Knutsford & District Motor Club (KDMC), both based in Cheshire. Knutsford being my very first Motor Club that I joined way back in 1959. Both Clubs run social gatherings and have several highly competitive 12 car evening events which range from Scatters to Regularity Rallies, needless to say I usually get involved as a competitor on the maps. During November 2000 KDMC ran a Scatter which resulted in 1st Mike Colledge / Don Barrow, Ford Cortina GT, the following year in 2001, I teamed up with Graham Maxwell in his Fiat Punto and finished 2nd overall (must be slipping up). However the following year it was back to normal service with a convincing win with Chris Robinson, this was the hardest plotting event I have ever encountered - my KDMC bulletin report follows.





Chris Robinson & Don Barrow at the Start
Audlem - 2002


Copy KDMC Bulletin Report - Regularity 12 Car Rally - 22nd November - 2002 - This 2 hour event was reminiscent of, about a quarter of a 1960's Motoring News rally, where maximum pressure was placed on the competitors right from the word GO. Apart from the Start at Audlem and the Finish at Nantwich, all other Controls were Secret Timing points, with no let up whatsoever. Speed was regulated by constant changes especially around the Village areas. The fiendish route cleverly devised by Jolyon Robinson was issued a few days prior to the Friday night's event and was an indication of what was to be expected on maps 118 & 127, where we had 98 Map References to pre-plot. Plotting this accurately was, in itself a major feat, because the plots were so close together that if you encircled each MR and then pencilled in your route, you obliterated the road you were actually going to navigate along. Halfway through my first plot up, I decided to change tactics because we were also going to be given a list of SGW's (Stop at Give Ways) and also another list of average speed changes; there's no way I would have had any map left to read. I then erased all the circles just to leave a pencil dot at the MR's giving a clearer view of the job in hand. Make no mistake about this event, if it had just been a straightforward navigation run, it was certainly hard enough to catch out even the experienced navigator, let alone the addition of another plot and bash session to insert the 25 odd average speed changes, which ranged from 20 - 30mph. With little or no time to have a competitive pre-practice run before the Friday night event, we sorted out the navigational equipment and decided to make the best of the situation in hand. After setting up my Tripmeter on the measured mile, Chris Robinson and I parked up in the Start area to sign on, and then ventured across the road for a 'king size' portion of fish and chips. With our rumbling stomachs now contented, we were in pre-lift off mode and with 15 minutes to go, I was given a list of 43 SGW MR's. My secret here is to guess the already pre-plotted pencil dot MR and simply draw a small triangle around it, thus now indicating it is an SGW.





Don Barrow & Chris Robinson receiving the Winners plaudits from C of C Jolyon Robinson
Nantwich - 2002


Running at number 3, we were set off from the Start at 2 minute intervals by Alan Jolley and John Hopwood, who were also doubling up as the event Stewards. Once started, things were very hectic indeed, with 4 speed changes in the first 3 miles!! With apologies to Chris if he learnt a few more swear words en-route. Chris adapted himself very well at being able to run on his own at the required average, when called upon, while I was 'Plotting & Bashing', with more emphasis on the Bashing than Plotting! I dropped some mammoth timing errors, where we simply ran on pure and utter guesswork and were only too pleased to find an ever welcome Marshal, in order to get back on 'status quo'; so much so I automatically thought I had blown it. The devious route twisted and turned with junctions coming up thick and fast, so much so we thought we had disappeared up our own exhaust pipe on a couple of occasions. At times, progress was hindered by oncoming cars, where a LARGE match was required to light the 'blue touch' paper, needless to say Chris naturally obliged in fine style. With concentration at the highest level, you forget about the actual time and the distance covered and before you know it, you are at the Finish Control. Thank God! I arrived at the Finish in great trepidation, thinking that my timing errors had slid us down the finish order, because when you compete on Regularity Rallies, if you make a mistake it's like playing 'snakes and ladders' in that unless everyone else makes a similar mistake and slides down a 'snake' you cannot get back on 'par'. Therefore my conclusion indicates that there must have been some very heavy swearing indeed, in the other 6 cars. Sitting on the Finish line with a running stopwatch was the No 1 car of ever professional Nigel Raeburn and son Graham, where he reckoned we were near enough, the 4 minutes behind their finish time, this naturally bucked up my thoughts. Our thanks to the loyal band of ever willing Marshal's who manned the numerous Controls en-route, without them, there simply would be no Rallying, well done, have another helping of chips. That's of course if Bill Baguley had left any at all. The supper was most welcome it just settled very nicely on the pre-Start fish and chips together with a couple of gargles of lubricating chemic. I think I can say that everyone enjoyed themselves, even though they found it hard work. Make no mistake, events don't come much tougher and to finish like everyone did, without disgracing themselves, just shows the level of tenacity which rallying breeds. A well-executed rally, with no errors in the precise and accurate paperwork; a true mark of skill and dedication to the sport, well done Jolyon. And so without further ado, Jolyon announced the results in reverse order, which added to everyone's anticipation, and low and behold a few surprising results. Chris and I just managed to fluke a win by 1min 36 seconds in his Toyota Celica - with a bit of skill attached - of course.





The High Points of Marshalling
Don Barrow & Gill Barrow centre back
HRCR Classic Trophy - 2002


2002 saw Gill & I marshalling on several HRCR events called the beginners series based in both Belgium and France, these were very hectic long week-ends with early morning starts and late evening finishes, but all in all most enjoyable.

The major event of the series was the Classic Trophy which was a 5 day event in June, these were even longer days and longer distances between marshalling points. The rally finished in Laon, France where Jonathan Bowles took a picture of a group containing some of the 'beginners' competitors, namely Rob Lyall, Derek Skinner, Don Barrow Willy Cave, Dave Kirkham & Colin Francis OBE. Beginners indeed! the group have probably won more rallies between themselves than any other photographed group ever taken. The picture appears below.







And the Low Points
Not a competing car or shelter in sight
Gill Barrow & Don Barrow - France - 2002


The major event of the series was the Classic Trophy which was a 5 day event in June, these were even longer days and longer distances between marshalling points. The rally finished in Laon, France where Jonathan Bowles took a picture of a group containing some of the 'beginners' competitors, namely Rob Lyall, Derek Skinner, Don Barrow Willy Cave, Dave Kirkham & Colin Francis OBE. Beginners indeed! the group have probably won more rallies between themselves than any other photographed group ever taken. The picture appears below.







Rob Lyall, Derek Skinner, Don Barrow, Willy Cave, Dave Kirkham & Colin Francis OBE
Laon, France - 2002


As mentioned above, on one of our marshaling forays into Belgium and France, Jonathan Bowles of Continental Car Tours took a group photograph of Rob Lyall, Derek Skinner, Don Barrow, Willy Cave, Dave Kirkham & Colin Francis OBE. The photo encompassed many years of rally navigational experience and little did we know what the photographer had in mind. It turned out that some of us were invited to be the joint Clerks of the Course for the proposed charity event called the Donor Card GT, scheduled for October. This all came about, following an article in The Telegraph newspaper highlighting the plight of 28 year old Alice Martineau, who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis and was awaiting a multi organ transplant. Alice said that if more people carried donor cards, so many others would benefit.





Colin Francis OBE, Don Barrow, Willy Cave & Paddy Hopkirk
Gaydon, Motor Museum - 2003.


And so the event was created by Jonathan Bowles to raise the awareness about carrying a Donor Card. Based on Gaydon in Warwickshire the four of us were given a sector to produce a 30-35 mile touring route. The four routes each started and returned to Gaydon, were set out like a clover leaf thus giving entrants the chance to drive all the routes. Paddy Hopkirk was re-united with his famous Monte winning 'Works' Mini Cooper - 33 EJB, where he braved the mixed weather to flag off all 80 starters. Dave Shields of Devilgas, took pics of all cars both at the start and the water splash. The finish ended with a buffet in the high top observation tower where each crew received a finishers award. Simon Rossiter the HRCR Chairman and event Director, together with Joe Rayner of the Sporting Bears Motor Club very happily announced that approx £8500 had been raised for charity. This figure included the generous donation of £600 from Julia Dawson and Jacqueline Sutcliffe (wife of the late Mike Sutcliffe) who jointly organised a private charity luncheon to support the event. Bravo, ladies.





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


Copy KDMC Bulletin Report - Regularity 12 Car Rally - 19 April 2003. - Having decided last year that the pace on Scatter Rallies was a bit too hot for my liking, I decided not to get involved. However when I read about the Regularity event being produced by Peter Boyce, I thought that if I could find myself a Driver, I might become very enthusiastic about it. I just happened to mention to Henny Cate that I would love to compete on the event, and 'Hey Presto' the job was organised, although he reckoned he had never done a Regularity event in earnest before! However with a bit of my schooling using the Don Barrow system and a short mid week practise run we reckoned we were ready to go. With a good entry of eleven crews, Peter Boyce excelled himself by placing markers exactly at the Start and Finish points of the measured mile check. This is always very important, get this wrong and you can't expect to produce the goods. Route card 1 detailing, Black Spots, Give Way's etc, was available 20 minutes prior to your Start time, Route card 2 giving the vital M.Rs was just 5 minutes before the off. Beginners could claim their's much earlier, and by gosh they would need all the time they could get! I managed to plot up 80% before our due Start time, where arriving at Bill Baguleys Start Control we were awaiting a count down to the second; perhaps due to a misunderstanding, Bill simply said, right you can go now! I think we had probably fluffed a couple of seconds by not starting the Stopwatches before we had even started! However, taking advantage of the 1.5 miles of main road, I managed to complete the plot just before PC1, where Henny had managed to keep the car spot on time. When plotting frantically with precise Approaches and Departures and drawing in the route, it is so easy to make elementary mistakes by not choosing the shortest and correct route, this was evident between the Start and PC1, which if you didn't select the correct way, it would obviously produce a wrong section time. The idea of 2-minute intervals was a good idea, needless to say I don't think we saw another competitor before reaching the halfway at Snape Farm, where you could enjoy coffee and biscuits etc, with no time to spare, there were no takers. Here you had 15 minutes if you needed them (assuming you arrived on time) to complete your plotting. The second half just like the first was a fairly intricate route, requiring no wrong slotting or slip-ups and constant time keeping throughout, especially when the average speed changed six times between the numerous secret Timing Points. We had a good run, with good teamwork which produced a fairly uneventful run, however Henny did have to light the 'Blue Touch Paper' on a couple of occasions, much to his delight. Running at two-minute intervals and not seeing anyone else made it very difficult to judge your own performance. And needless to say it was a pleasant yet very satisfying feeling to find that we had achieved the best performance to win the 'Bottles of Bubbly'. The 71 mile route wound it's way from the Start at the 'Whippers' through the back lanes of Peover, turning South and skirting around Middlewich and Crewe to MC2 at Snape Farm. Then via Wheelock Heath, Hassall Green, Brereton Heath, Swettenham, Lower Withington, Over Peover and back to a welcome supper at the 'Whippers'. Co-incidentally the route encountered 71 coloured road junctions in the first half and 72 in the second half, which required navigating through to the finish where Peter B. and David Russell produced the eagerly awaited results. With such a quality field, it was a nice surprise to achieve a comfortable win. Make no mistake, this was a tough event to plot, assess which route to take and to time yourselves to the second. An event where you can gain loads of experience which you can put to good use on larger Rallies, a must for ALL interested in Road Rallying where it teaches you many different disciplines. The marshalling was up to its usual high standards, with numerous points manned and diligent timekeeping; on behalf of all the competitors, many thanks for your services.
This Regularity run, which was specifically organised and timed to the second and which no doubt took an enormous amount of time, skill and effort. Produced a faultless Rally, as Peter ably demonstrated, deserving a vote of thanks from all concerned. Don Barrow. - April 2003 - Henny Cate & Don Barrow - Rover 412 GSD





Pam Butterworth & Don Barrow
KDMC Regularity event - March 2003


March 2003 - KDMC Regularity event. Having struggled all night with a Tripmeter that was picking up interference which slowed the unit down, we were surprised to finish in a podium position, without disgracing ourselves. 3rd o/a Pam Butterworth & Don Barrow - Wolseley 1500.










As a thank you, I would like to list some of my high-speed chauffeurs who have always endeavoured to get the best possible result from the situation in hand. Neither will I single out the odd Drivers who have required outside assistance with the aid of a brush and shovel, in order to take their debris back Home.

The following list is compiled at random.

George Hulme, Geoff Whittaker (my cousin), Roger Fowler, Pam Haggie, Reg McBride, Terry McBride (Reg's son), Jim Bullough - Eulogy, Bill Harding, David Hulme, Pete Barrow, Frank Grange, Bob Rigby, Ron Wilson, Phil Simister, Derek Astle, David Cowan, Paul Malpass, Bill Small, Roy Kirkham, Geoff Haggie, Timo Makinen, Andrew Cowan, Roy Fidler, Ian Hall, Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams, Eric Jackson, Trevor Fearn, John Bloxham, John Sprinzel, Ian Harwood, John Hopwood, John Brown, John Hill, Ron Gammons, Arthur Hobson, Neil Wilson, Bobby Parkes, Peter Banham, David Hack, Mike Street, Mike Colledge, Peter Boyce, Cec Offley, Adam Wiseberg, Derek Oldham, Steve Colclough, Graham Maxwell, Angus Ashton, Colin Webb, Adrian Batson, Henny Cate, Chris Robinson, Shon Gosling, Pam Butterworth, Elgan Davies & Peter Harper.





The re-worked photographs are from my collection and are used with thanks to the following. Bob Rigby, Martin Holmes, Speedsport, Photojunior, Gill Barrow, Mike Tomlin, Peter Ward, John Hopwood, Mike Street, Nigel Raeburn, Jonathan Bowles, Simon Rossitter, Foster & Skeffington, Dave Shields of Devilgas, BMC, Rootes Group, Roger Willis, Mike Kempley, Alan Jolley, Castrol, Phil Hargreaves, DTV, Vicky Lincoln, Chris March, Bolton News, Peter Robinson of Photohistoric, Ted Walker of Ferret Fotographics, David Culley, Bolton Evening News, Mike Wood, Graham Raeburn, Cal Withers, Withers of Winsford, Graham Hibbert and many more and all are protected by their own © 1999 - Copyrights.

With special thanks to my late Mother & Father, Alice & George Barrow (Alice Barrow, George Barrow) who always encouraged me with my motorsport endeavours; little did they know, what was fully involved.





Unique gathering of British Rally Champions


British Rally Champions

Chatsworth Rally Show 2008

Out of all the above 23 BRC Champions 16 are ECF Members
Non ECF Members in Grey
Back Row L to R - David Higgins, Gwyndaf Evans, Guy Wilks, Phil Short, Phil Mills, Ari Vatanen & Chris Sclater

Middle Row L to R - Marko Ipatti, Don Barrow, Martin Holmes, David Richards, David Llewellin, Robert Reid, Mike Broad & Ian Grindrod.
Front Row L to R - John Bloxham, Roy Fidler, Russell Brookes, Jimmy McRae, Malcolm Wilson, Will Sparrow, Nigel Raeburn & Stig Blomqvist.







Footnote. :-

Although Motoring News created probably the best and most fiercely fought Rally Championships of the 1960's, under the guidance of the various 'Verglas' editors of the day, namely Stuart Turner, John Brown, Roger Willis, Gerraint Philips and others. Where they would have front page headlines and meticulous full page 'in sight' reports of the previous week ends Rally. The current editors of Motorsport News seem to be totally blind to these facts when compiling their weekly 'That was the week that was'. Rarely do you see any mention in either of their '30 years ago' or '40 years ago' write ups of those 'derring do' events which quite obviously accounted for the bulk of their sales.

Perhaps you never know ?