The explosion in the UK for racing Minis at grass roots level ,usually the first competition car for so many led to a National 850cc Championship for 1966. Bob Fox was the inaugural Champion and retained it for 1967 on his career path to the British Saloon Championship. A troublesome season in 1970 led Bob to focus on top line special saloon racing with modified Minis. In 1972 he did the incredible double of being the class winner in both the national BARC ( Forward Trust ) and BRSCC ( Hepolite ) Championships. Normally racers chose to persue one or the other such is the committment needed but Bob pulled off both in his Wesley Engineering Mini Clubman. The BRSCC
( MCD ) class title being retained in 1973.
Today Bob is very much a legend for grass roots Mini racing ,had the National Championship named after him as long ago as 1968 and is still guest of honour at awards for todays Mini racing generation.
MINI 850cc KING :
Bob Fox won the inaugural National 850cc Mini Championship ,known as the Mini Se7enFormula in 1966 and retained his title in 1967 beating the tire-squeeling hoards as the Mini explosion took off and became a regular sight at every UK circuit. 12 wins were recorded in 1967. Autosport reflected 'before his unfortunate Mallory Park crash Bob Fox had already assured himself of the Mini Se7en Championship'. It was a nasty crash too after a front wheel collapsed coming into Gerards ,Bob hit the bank and was partially impaled by the steering column.
For 1968 TEAC ( Thames Estuary Auto Club ) expanded the Mini7 Championship to 3 classes such was the demand. Bob made it three 850cc titles ,with fellow rising Mini stars Terry Harmer winning the 1000cc and Geoff Wood the 1300cc titles. This was ahead of the national expansion to 1000cc ( known as Mini Miglia ) in 1970.
Bob Fox ( on left ) with fellow Mini 7 racers Graham Elwell and Mike Smith at Silverstone 1967.
Below - Read about the Mini Se7en seasons and Bob's Championship wins in these Mini 7 Racing Archive publications available from www.mini7.co.uk for £6 per copy plus postage.
1968 saw Bob step out into open special saloon races for the first time. Still using the 850cc unit Autosport described 'Bob Fox's very fast Mini' at Silverstone in one of his 10 class wins that season where he also took the TEAC Mini 7 850 class.
For 1969 a new 1293cc car and a challenge in the top BRSCC Redex championship in particular pitted Bob with the cream of special saloon racing. Gerry Marshall ,Martin Birrane ,George Whitehead and in his 1300 class the likes of Harry Ratcliffe
( Vita ) ,Rob Mason ,Richard Longman
( Downton ) and Pete Hawthorne. Some of the Minis were now able to hit 110 bhp.
6 class wins were acheived along the season.
Behind Tony Sugden at Cadwell in a BRSS-NW Troy Tires round,one of 4 'club' races that season.
The step up to the Group 2 British Saloon Championship was a tough season for Bob with only 2 finishes from 8 races. It was a mixture of bad luck ,poor grip and non of the Minis could live with the Broadspeed Escort 1.3 of John Fitzpatrick. 4 Club races id bring 4 finishes however. The car was advertised from September and the season cut short.
Bob returned from Group 2 back to special saloons and focused on the 1300cc class of the BRSCC Hepolite Glacer Championship , one of the big 2 national series. After 3 rounds he actually led outright until Les Nash in the 1000cc class romped away. Despite 14 class podiums Bob had to settle for class runner-up ( third outright ) to rival Geoff Wood in the British Vita Mini.
The late season saw the car fitted with both a Clubman front end and more importantly a wicked Lotus Twin-Cam 1300cc conversion by Paul Ivey ready for a big challenge for 1972.
Bob's finest season winning his class 16 times in the green and orange Twin-Cam Clubman taking the 1300cc class in BOTH the big national series. The BARC Forward Trust class was won 21 points to Longman and Shaw's 16 ,taking 4th overall.
Autosport reporting'The Paul Ivey twin-cam in Bob Fox's Mini is clearly now potent and reliable and this Midlands combination comfotably won the 1300 class'. At Mallory the class lap record of 39.4 was equalled in July.
Bob's 1974 season was a little late starting and engine failure at Brands in May meant he didnt really get going until June. Thereafter mostly concentartiong on the 20-round BRSCC Simoniz Championship with half the season gone he finished a creditable 3rd in the 1300 class with 3 class wins and two 2nds. Finishing behind the Motospeed Mini pair of Paul and Greg Taft. Car described as green/orange with Wesley 1293cc engine.
1975 seems to be his winding down season for special saloons.
Photo : Mallory Park the great leveller...here Fox ( 9 ) and Heaney ( 10 ) mix it with 2 big bangers round the hairpin on a non-championship race on May 27th. Tony Rosen ( Mustang ) and Malcolm Stevens' newly aquired Falcon provide the heavy metal . The Minis dead-heated at the flag for 6th.
Still using the twin-cam engine Bob retained the BRSCC class title in 1973 known as the MCD championship as it was between Hepolite and Simoniz sponsorship deals that season. 6 class wins were recorded during the season.
results to be added