MatraSport Forum

Each model => Bagheera => Topic started by: andyowl on March 28, 2009, 10:43:27 am

Title: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on March 28, 2009, 10:43:27 am
A new thread for anyone entering Bagheeras in Motorsport (in the hope that others will take up the challenge!)

We did our first event last Sunday, March 22nd, in Aldershot, Hampshire. It was an "AutoSolo" organised by the Farnborough District Motor Club (FDMC), the first of 4 they will do this year. Because my "competition car" Baggy Joe is still not back from Custom Cages (see the other thread for an update on preparation) I was given permission to use "Charlie's" Baggy Grey, the righthand drive Bagheera S we bought new in 1978.

AutoSolos are intended for standard road cars and must be insured, tested and taxed for the road. Indeed they must come to the event on the road and not on a trailer. There  were 55 entrants in a wide variety of cars the oldest being Austin Healy Sprites, a new Ford Fiesta ST and a Toyota Celica dressed up as a WRC contender. There were Lotus 7s and Westfields, Renault Clio Sports and everything in between. They changed the rules this time maybe to allow the Bagheera into the "Historic" class. 1980 is now the "youngest" car in Historics. There is no sub-division in Historics and this puts 1275cc Sprites, 1442cc Bagheeras and MGBV8s all together.

The course is about 1.2km long on a level, tarmac, military parade ground where traffic cones mark out the route you must follow. Most upright cones have another smaller cone beside them showing which side of the cone you must pass. You get a chance to walk around the course and decide how to drive it. In a Bagheera this means deciding that you are not going to brake (ever) and where you may allow the engine to stop revving its heart out. I never got out of first gear and the handbrake is not required. There are no fancy spin turns or reversing to do so the strain on the car is much less than on "AutoTests".

Getting lost on the course means that you get a penalty and hitting a cone also earns another penalty. I got lost once (inadequate study by me of the course before the start) but I didn't hit any cones. This is bad news in one way as it showed that I was not trying hard enough! One BMW had the whole cone below the car at one point and we had a real struggle to get it out!

The weather was beautiful sunshine although with a cold wind, ideal motoring conditions!

The Results:- Overall I came 52nd out of 55 entrants beating a Clan Crusader (with a Hillman Imp Engine), a rather timid lady driving her husband's company car (A Vectra 1900cc Diesel!) and a 17year old in a Peugeot 106 who has not yet passed his driving test! Predictably I came 8th out of 8 in the Historic Class although in the fourth round I did come 6th beating a Midget and an MGB. 

See and go to March Solo results

Next time? You bet!! What will I do differently? I followed my reading of the rules and did not fit my "special" Yokohama tyres believing that "Historic" meant having suitably vintage tyres. In consequence not only were my tyres of an old design (XAS and XVS) but they were original (30+ years old, 155 /R13 wide spare wheels from two of our Baggys on the front - hard as nails but with lots of tread) and just legal XVS on the back equally old and hard on wider 13" rims. Lack of grip at the front made Baggy Grey go straight on in corners (chronic understeer!) and the only way to bring him back on track was to lift off the throttle and cause oversteer. Untidy and slow but great fun!

Getting very close to the cones, but not touching them seems to be a big benefit and this is how I beat the two MGs in the last round. Experience takes a while to acquire!

The next event I have entered is a "Sprint" on April 19th. A longer course, also on hard surfaces, but with fewer changes of direction. Average speeds will be higher but maybe Baggy's good roadholding will be a benefit. There is no "Historic" class in this event and I will be in with much more modern cars. All good experience.

Watch this space.


Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: Spyros on March 28, 2009, 01:50:51 pm
I presume the volume of the Bagheera didn't help

I enterred my X 1979 in this rally (
It is very difficult and I'm pissed of breaking my 1963 AH Sprite in it. Will see how it will go with the Bagheera .... if ... I managed to repair the charge. There is no excitation at the alternator. Noting at the regulator ..
Show us some pictures of your race  ;)

Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on March 28, 2009, 09:58:06 pm
These are pictures from the FDMC website showing the Bagheera in the AutoSolo.... (

I do not know how to add these pictures to this posting although I was able to print them at home.


Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on June 08, 2009, 09:33:58 am
Prescott Hillclimb May 2009

There are two photographers who have pictures of Baggy Joe at Prescott.

Look for car number 136 or 936 (myself and Philip respectivley although you cannot see the faces!)

I have just been told that there is a DVD showing my trip into the gravel traps! Should be worth getting!
See also the thread "Bagheera Roll cage wanted" for the full story.

Andy Owler

Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: Fred on June 09, 2009, 07:46:19 pm
I do not know how to add these pictures to this posting although I was able to print them at home.


Hi Andy, usually (on a PC running IE or in my case, Firefox, you right-click on the image and then left-click on 'View Image' from the drop-down menu, then you take the url from the address bar on your browser and host it here using the image tags - 2nd icon, bottom row in the 'Add BBC tags' section above the reply box).  hope that made sense!

I assume this is your good self and car ..  :)


url =

Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: Fred on June 09, 2009, 07:47:28 pm



Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on June 09, 2009, 08:36:32 pm
Thanks Fred! Much appreciated. I'll give it a try.

The dark grey Bagheera has been ours from new in 1978 and it is shown on an "AutoSolo". Driving around cones. My first outing. The car is not race prepared and was on very old hard tyres - like rocks!. I thought you had to have original type tyres and all I could find were very old XAS and XVS tyres. OK, stupid I know, but I was so keen to get there that I didn't ask the scrutineer in advance what I could use! This is our "every day" Bagheera.

The light grey car (in just primer) is our new competition car ("Baggy Joe") and this was at Prescott. The whole car is now being prepared for yellow paint the same colour as the headlight covers. More rubbing down tomorrow!

Today I got the charging system working - major relief. I found some notes in my writing that said I had stolen the voltage regulator for use in my son's Bagheera in Nov 2000 and that was why Baggy Joe would not charge. Doh! New reg fitted and now every thing works.


Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: Fred on June 09, 2009, 09:23:31 pm
There can't be many one-owner Bagheeras in the UK. :) 

I guess you changed the reg. to something more personal.  I recall that 1978 was the year when the 'S' registration mark changed to 'T' in Great Britain. 

Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on June 10, 2009, 12:11:10 am
You are right. There were no "OWL"  numbers in 1977/78. A friend saw this number on an old Ford Transit van in Covent Garden market and said the owner was retiring and wanting to sell it for whatever he could get. We offered him a fraction of what it would cost to hire a Luton Transit van for our forthcoming house move and did the deal. We still have the number on Grey Baggy and several other OWL numbers on other cars. So much easier to remember! The transit served us well with a replacement number until an elderley employee drove it down the wrong side of the Blackwell tunnel (the one with low headroom) and turned it into a pick-up truck!

We have recently purchased "BAG 889S" for our competition car which is at least the right suffix for the year of manufacture. With many of the events we plan to enter being age related e.g. "cars built before 1980", the correct suffix saves explaining why our 1977 car has a "V" suffix (which means 1983 - the year it was imported into the UK).


Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on July 16, 2009, 09:37:36 am
Bagheera on Youtube

We came 3rd in "Historics" see "Roll cage wanted" thread for more details.


Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on August 13, 2009, 07:40:12 am
The ETRETAT-BENOUVILLE HILL-CLIMB instructions came yesterday. We have been allocated race number 704 (if any of you should be spectating!)

There are 89 entrants of which 69 are GB, 17 Fr, plus NZ, D and B! No other Matras this year however so it will be down to us not to let the side down. There are two CGs and two Simcas but French cars are very poorly represented so I can understand why the organisers were so keen to have a Matra there.

It looks a very relaxed programme with two practice runs on Saturday and three competitive runs on Sunday. The Bugatti Club managed all that for over 150 cars on one day! Still, it is France in the Summer so it is bound to be relaxed!

The camping site, a field at the top of the Hill Climb course,  doubles as the Paddock so we should have plenty of company with lots to watch.  If my reading of the Michelin map is correct the field overlooks the sea and it should be a really spectacular venue.

Scrutineering and Administration takes place in front of the Etretat Town Hall on Saturday morning, all 89 cars in number order! This is maybe why it takes a long time!

I have ordered another windscreen sticker "Matra-Simca Bagheera S" together with two signs for the side windows with the names of the driver and co-driver as required by MSA rules for International Events. Well, you have to pose sometimes don't you? Let's hope they get the GB flag the right way up!

There are 31 classes! We are in the "CLASSE GRAND TOURISME SPECIALES" along with a Caterham, a Ginetta and a "Fisher Fury" whatever that is! They all have much bigger engines so I shall have many excuses for coming last!         

Getting excited!


Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: suffolkpete on August 13, 2009, 08:42:10 am
Sounds as if you're in the Kit Car class.  One of my colleagues has built a Fisher Fury.  It is a small open two-seater.  His car has a 1000cc bike engine, it weighs next to nothing and goes like stink!  If the one you're competing against has a bigger engine than the baggy then you will have a fight on your hands.  After those few words of encouragement  ;) good luck!

Title: Re: Bagheeras in Motorsport
Post by: andyowl on August 13, 2009, 07:32:29 pm
I would be dissapointed if the organiser thought a Bagheera was a kit car!

It was said the organisers would invent a class if it would allow someone who wanted to compete to take part!

Example: A class for retired Marine Engineers who wanted to drive 30 year old French cars for the first time in a French competition. That's probably it!

Thanks for the good wishes.