Cobras in Modsports

Everyone loves Cobras and 1970 was the year of the Cobra in Modsports. They had started to appear in `production sports` races in 1969 after final production reached almost 1000 cars after years of top level racing in world sports cars famously taking on Ferrari. Most were badged as AC`s and only 89 as Shelby`s ,cars with COB as a prefix were Shelbys as 2 featured here have.
Between the 3 cars in Modsports they won 26 races outright and won the big class in each of the 3 main championships giving real opposition to the dominance of the Jaguar E type brigade.

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Shaun Jackson / Mike Smith

Car : SHELBY COBRA

Engine : FORD V8 4727cc
Reg : `GPG 4C`
Chassis : HEM-6
Drivers :
SHAUN JACKSON ( 1970 )
MIKE SMITH ( 1971-72 )

Cobra

see the 1960s history of the car on RacingSportsCars website :

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HISTORY :

Originaly owned and entered by C.T.Atkins in UK sports cars races in 1964 .Chris Amon was 3rd overall in the red car in the 3 hour Sports/GT race at Snetterton and Roy Salvadori in the Goodwood TT.
Then the car was owned and run by Graham Warner of`the Chequered Flag Garage` in Chiswich and painted black and white Raced by Roger Mac and others during the 1965/66 seasons. At the Ilford 500 at Brands Hatch in May 1966 the team entered 2 Cobras `HEM-6`( this car) for Roy Pike and Chris Irwin which retired but the 7-litre sister car (CSX3006) driven by Piper and Bondurant won outright.
In 1967 it was bought for £1800 and entered by Wendy Hamblin in club events. In September 1968 she competed at the Brighton speed trials in the ladies handicap class ( 7 ) winning the class and Keith Hamblin in the Sports Racing/GT class ( 14 )
By 1969 it was back in red and owned by Bill Harding and his driver Shaun Jackson made a name for himself at club level that year. A win in the Mallory Park boxing day Production sports car race was the last of the era before the car lead the way in the new Modsport era for 1970.
MODSPORTS :
Shaun Jackson had very succesful 1970 Modsport season winning the big class in the major series BARC`s `Chevron Oils/Fred Dixon`championship and finished 2nd overall , just 6 points behind 1150cc class winner John Gould. Jackson competed in 13 rounds ,winning 5 outright and his class 6 times in all plus another 6 times class runner-up. Besides that Jackson raced 9 races in the rival MCD `STP`championship winning his class 3 times ( 2 outright wins ) and a further 4 more class and overall runner-ups ,usually to Richard Taft`s version. 29 races in all during a busy season recording fastest race lap 13 times.
At the end of the season HEM-6 was moved on again and bought by the Smith brothers ,who also bought the Taft Cobra. The two brothers made for a fine sight racing against each other but it did take both cars out of the national scene to some extent as they tended to concentrate at races at Croft. Mike Smith taking 12 class wins in 1971 + 1972.
Today the car is still raced in historic events in the UK and very much in Shaun Jackson era livery.
Now an appreciating classic car the body has been slightly toned down to accomodate the narrower tires and the 2 distinctive vent holes originally drilled below the headlamps have gone in keeping with FIA Historic car rules. As long ago as December 1995 the car went to auction at Brooks valued between £150k to £180k. The car has become a familiar sight at historic events and one incident of note was that former grand prix driver Gerhard Beger crashed the car at the 2011 Goodwood revival meeting.
The car since returned to the track and is usually raced by Grahame and Oliver Bryant.

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For the 1971 Modsport season the Smith brothers had swooped to purchase both the Jackson Cobra and the Taft version. Here Mike in the ex-Jackson car leads Vic in the ex-Taft car through the chicane at Croft.

Richard Taft / Vic Smith

Car : SHELBY COBRA mk2

Engine : FORD V8 4727cc
Reg : `EAB 778B` `RT1942`
Chassis : COB6046
Drivers :
RICHARD TAFT ( 1970 )
VIC SMITH ( 1971-72 )

Taft

Originaly supplied new to Lord Lichfield as a maroon road car in december 1964. Next owner was Richard Taft who modified the car for racing. He fitted a personalised number plate ,wide whell arches to take the 15inch Pearce mag alloy wheels. Also its distinctive twin nostril air intakes below the Cobras mouth. Taft had a succesful season winning the big class of the MCD STP Modsport championship in 1970 with 6 class wins ,three of which were outright during the whole season.
For 1971 the car was sold to Vic Smith ,brother of Mike who had just bought the Jackson Cobra. Then it was raced by David Shone until damaged at Silverstone. Sold to John Irving in 1975 who rebuilt the car with more standard bodywork and a 430bhp 5-litre V8.
Then the car was sold to the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 1981 who later gave the car as a gift to Prince Michael of Kent. Then onto William Loughran in 1995 and then onto Hans-Dieter Klein.

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Ian Richardson

Car : SHELBY COBRA

Engine : CHEVROLET V8 5300cc
Reg : unregistered
Chassis : COB6127
Driver : IAN RICHARDSON ( 1970 )

Richardson

Ian Richardson is best remembered for his engineering firm at Ampthill specialising in the tuning of US big V8s up his retirement in 2012. His Chevrolet Corvair was particulary rapid around Silverstone in the mid-70s.
Earlier Richardson had bought the last AC 289 Cobra chassis built by the factory before production ended at the end of 1968. Like the other Cobras featured a wider body was created as the tires grew bigger. One man difference was that Richardson fitted one of his 5.3 Chevrolet V8 engines instead of the usual Ford.
Richardson also had a good 1970 Modsport season winning his class 13 times,10 of which were outright. He won at least 7 times at Silverstone during the season ,some coming in Nottingham SCC`S `Dick Protheroe` rounds of which he was overall class winner in giving all 3 Cobras a clean sweep of class wins over the 3 main Modsport championships. He already had the lap record on the Silverstone GP track from May 1969 and added the Club circuit record in 1970 ( see below )

By November 1970 the Hill Garage at Apthill advertised Richardson`s car for sale for £3500 complete. The advert stating Richardson had won 14 out of 16 races that season ,a remarkable success rate. The car had also set new Modsport lap records at 4 circuits.
CROFT - 1m16.8 ( 82.03 mph ) 20/09/70
SILVERSTONE CLUB - 1m 02.2 ( 93.07 mph ) 02/08/70 + 17/10/70
SILVERSTONE GP - 1m 45.4 ( 99.97 mph ) 18/10/69
SNETTERTON - 1m 42.0 ( 95.65 mph ) 09/08/70 + 11/10/70

plus Chevron Oils R14 at Thruxton Oct 11th in a Jaguar E borrowed from John Burbidge 3rd overall ( 2nd in class ).

note : some of the Nothern Modsport Championship had only 2 classes due to smaller grids at some races.

1 more class win ( not outright ) to add as 10 outright plus 3 extra class wins listed in Autosports 1970 wins list.

DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
AUG 16th BRANDS HATCH G PRIX JACKSON 1 min 55.8
DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
SEP 6th BRANDS HATCH JACKSON 56.0
OCT 25th BRANDS HATCH JACKSON 56.2
NOV 1st BRANDS HATCH JACKSON 56.0
NOV 15th BRANDS HATCH JACKSON 55.4
NOV 30th BRANDS HATCH JACKSON 62.6
DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
APR 5th SILVERSTONE JACKSON 1 min 5.4
JUN 1st SILVERSTONE RICHARDSON 1 min 3.4 RECORD
JUL 5th SILVERSTONE RICHARDSON 1 min 4.0
AUG 2nd SILVERSTONE RICHARDSON 1 min 2.2 RECORD
SEP 5th SILVERSTONE RICHARDSON 1 min 4.2
SEP 28th SILVERSTONE JACKSON 1 min 4.8
OCT 19th SILVERSTONE RICHARDSON 1 min 2.2 RECORD
DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
MAY 3rd MALLORY PARK TAFT 53.8
JUL 26th MALLORY PARK JACKSON 52.0 RECORD
DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
MAY 3rd CASTLE COMBE JACKSON 1 min 12.4
JUL 11th CASTLE COMBE JACKSON 1 min 10.6
DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
JUN 14th THRUXTON RICHARDSON 1 min 30.8
DATE CIRCUIT DRIVER TIME
SEP 20th CROFT RICHARDSON 1 min 16.8 R

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