name : ALASTAIR LYALL
birthdate : FEB 15th 1949
based : LOUGHBOROUGH
profession : MANAGING DIRECTOR of SWANCAR
Forever in the history books as the first driver to win a race at Donington since the war. Alastair Lyall moved into circuit racing aged 27 in 1976 after 3 years in Autocross. He aquired one of the now valuable ex-Alan Mann Escorts 'XOO 346F' which had come via Doug Niven ,Chris Meek ,the Wray brothers in Sheffield who used the engine and Stuart Turner of Manchester . Lyall raced with an FVC unit in 1976 and then a 1850cc BDE for '77 when performance was improved after the car had been prepared by Dick Wallinger and a rear spoiler fitted. Lyall's first win with the car was his most famous ,coming on May 29th when Donington reopened for car racing after 3 decades of closure. Helped by race favourite Doug Niven having gearbox issues Alastair promptly stroked the car home to the flag and history. It also meant another track the old Alan Mann cars had won at .
He won again at Mallory the following month too as the car started to get backing from Swancar of Swan Street ,Loughborough where Lyall would rise to become Managing Director. After a 3rd season the car went on to Tim Reed ?
Lyall reappeared in the new Donington GT with the Harry Vickers-built ex-Ellis Cowgate Elan which was a joint venture with Graham Goode. The 2-litre BDX powered car ran in the 2500cc class and was quite probably the fastest Elan in the country at the time. At the end of 1982 the Elan was sold to Richard Oliver ( himself a former ex-Alan Mann Escort racer ).
Lyall moved from modified racing and became the British F3 ( class B ) Champion in 1988. Moving to production 'tin tops' he became the New Zealand Group N Saloon Champion and into British Touring Cars with a BMW 318 ( 1991 ) and an M3 ( 1992 ). Lyall also became the Renault Clip Cup champion in 1993 and continued in a variety of cars until hanging his helmet up in 2004.
Racing returned to Donington Park on May 29th 1977.
Alastair Lyall was the winner of the first race , seen here heading Doug Niven and Doug Emms round Redgate .