Early November 2014 saw the sad passing of John Homewood , a man who is probably best remembered for being practically unbeatable around Brands Hatch in the 1-litre class in his Imp special Saloon.
However there was alot more to John than just winning at Brands. Strictly an amateur racer as John ran his Farm in Charing ,Kent and balanced this with his racing exploits , especially around the busy Harvest time. Not suprisingly he favoured the two local tracks of Brands Hatch and Lydden.
John did branch out further afield when contesting the BARC Forward Trust Championships 1975-77 and set new class records across the country at Brands Club , Oulton Park GP , Mallory Park , Donington Park , Silverstone , Snetterton , Thruxton and Lydden to show he wasnt just a Kent circuit specialist.
His eye for great set up and design with all things Imps was a major factor in his success and he created the design for the Davrian-based Imp racer.
Early Years :
Started Autocrossing in his road car , Imp Californian , in 1967 and into Rallycrossing having aquired an ex-Peter Harper 998cc Imp. His first season of circuit racing was 1971 mostly at Lydden in the Imp.
The Kent Messenger Champion :
With Brands Hatch becoming one of the busiest circuits in the country the local Thames Estuary Auto Club ran a Special Saloon championship for 1000cc cars there. It was often added to race day programes when the BARC or BRSCC Championship races came to Kent. The TEAC Championship was sponsored by the newspaper the Kent Messenger and John and Ray Calcutt both benefitted from sponsorship from the series sponsor. Homewood gained a new Imp for the first season , 1972 , and with 7 wins took the title. He was just warming up for 1973 saw 21 wins in total to retain the title. His Imp was by now tuned by John`s engine-tuner Ian Carter to give 119bhp at 7500 rpm all from just 998cc. In 1974 John made it 3 titles running with another 18 wins and with other championships now on the schedule took a very impressive 31 wins in the 1975 season to complete his 4th Kent Messenger domination. His Imp had to be replaced during this time after he hit dropped oil at Paddock Hill bend and rolled onto its roof. A photo of the damged car posted on a forum shows his attention to safety in fitting a roll bar almost certainly enabled him to walk away . John left the championship for 1976 although he did return to win the finale in November after racing in other series`.
New Championships and new Imp :
John also contested some rounds of the BARC Foward Trust gaining a class win at Silversone in 1975 , repeating this a year later. After leaving the Kent Messenger John`s main challenge was the BRSCC Hitachi 1000cc Special Saloons which was clinched in 1977 with a comfortable class win and more points than the 850cc class winner. The Imp was replaced at the end of August that year by the new car he`d designed , the Davrian-based wide bodied Imp. The 2 cars taking John to 21 wins in 1977. John also competed in at least 5 rounds of the Forward Trust that year taking 3rd overall at Snetterton .At the christmas race Autosport noted John took his 70th win at the Brands Hatch circuit.
1978 was his final year in special saloons and Autosport reported of his withdrawl from the BRDC Brush Fusegear 1000 championship. This was `in protest of those who persistently break the rules of the sport with inpunity` and his results expunged from the records. Strong stuff. The article went on to credit John...`Homewood has been the most succesful Imp driver in club racing for many years and although his cars have often been advanced , they have been meticulousy prepared within the regulations`.
John`s record remains an IMP-ressive one indeed and he will be fondly remembered by the special saloon fraternity.
The Davrian Imp was designed by Homewood and Adrian Evans in 1976 using a Davrian floorpan and wide-bodied plastic Imp body. The project was co-commissioned by David Hall that both would have one car each and the cost of making the body moulds recouped by selling copies to customers. Nicknamed `The Plastic Pig` the new car sat 4 inches lower than his normal Imp racer and could take a larger engine if needed. After 18 months of build the car debuted at the end of August 1977 and helped consolidate Homewoods lead in the Hitachi Championship.
Acknowledgments include Autosport and the excellent `Impmeister` article on Imp4forever , see link below :
1948 - 2014
name : JOHN HOMEWOOD
birthdate : 1948
based : CHARING , KENT
profession : FARMER
career highlights :
Kent Messenger Champion :
1972 , 1973 , 1974 + 1975
Hitachi 1000 Champion : 1977
At least 70 wins at Brands Hatch