MatraSport Forum

Each model => Bagheera => Topic started by: andyowl on June 02, 2011, 11:45:58 pm

Title: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on June 02, 2011, 11:45:58 pm
Baggy crashed – May 30th 2011 at Crystal Palace

Oh Dear!

I crashed Baggy Joe into the Armco safety fence just after the Finish line at the Crystal Palace Sprint on Monday this week. I was unhurt but the front of Baggy Joe is quite damaged but very repairable.

This was my first visit to Crystal Palace and the two practice runs on the track went very well. It seems to suit the Bagheera's road holding and power system very well.

On P1 we were faster than my Gordini friend Tony Gomis in his Marcardier CAN-AM racer! I don't think he was really trying but I enjoyed the moment of glory!

P2 was not as quick as P1 but I was trying other gear change points and alternative racing lines though the corners. The first Timed run "T1" felt really quick and the time over the finish line was the fastest yet. But 20m after the finish line, with the track turning gradually to the right, and with my brain in neutral, I found that the two left hand wheels were on the earth and not on the tarmac. In a moment the car was spinning and the front contacted the Armco safety fence. We were going sideways at the time and all the impact was along the front of the car. The car was flung backwards into the bushes on the other side of the track and everything stopped! Red flags came out to say there had been an accident and the safety teams went into action.

The pictures attached show some of the damage. There are many more pictures to come and my hope is to tell the story and record the progress of the reconstruction. Baggy Joe will run again!

But just for the moment I must praise the marshals who were very quickly by my side telling me very loudly "NOT TO MOVE ANYTHING - especially my head"! I obeyed and after about 30 seconds he said "now move your head VERY SLOWLY to make sure it is still attached". It was still attached and it was then OK to take my helmet off. But this time the Ambulance and rescue truck had arrived and they were trying and find the front tow hook. It had been mangled in the impact and the wheels were on full left steering. The bumper had been pushed back onto the tyres and we needed to remove the broken GRP wreckage.

The Ambulance staff wanted me to come into their vehicle and be "checked over" while I was more interested in helping the rescue team remove the nose cone to give access to the crushed bumper. As I was heaving vigorously at the broken ends of the bumper I heard one Ambulance man say “I don’t think he needs checking over!” He sounded disappointed!

On the marshal’s instructions I started the engine and drove slowly out of the hedge but there was water leaking from the area of the radiator and I stopped again. They hooked Baggy onto the tow rope and we set off, very slowly, back along the race track to the trailer park.

As we emerged from the wooded finish line area into the main arena, where a large number of spectators were watching, they started to cheer and clap their hands. I waved out of the driver’s window and they cheered louder! All the way back to the trailer park there were cheers and somebody said loudly “Well done Mate, at least you were trying”. It was as though I had won my class, although possibly better! Brilliant!

The rescue team loaded Baggy Joe onto the trailer and my new friend “Liz” arrived on foot to inspect the wreckage (and me)! We set off back to the Paddock to reassure our other friends that there was no cause for alarm. Roy Gillard and Chris House came over to see what happens when a Bagheera crashes and were satisfied that I had survived and in “relatively” good spirits. “Spirits” are what I needed but the large “Gin and Tonic” had to wait until I had driven home! Graham Pryme and many others friends made a fuss of me and I felt very much part of the Matra Team, not to mention my adoption into French Car Society (I have also joined “Club Alpine Renault” to get invitations to their events as well as belonging already to the Renault Classic Car Club due to Charlie’s Renault R4L vehicle).

So a day that could have resulted in serious damage to both Baggy Joe and myself ended so much better than it might have done. I continue to “Count my Blessings”. There will never be another “Charlie” for me but Liz (a couple of years younger than me and a widow for the last 13 years) has given me a new perspective on life and I can now contemplate a life without Charlie, something I would not have believed possible a few months ago. Baggy Joe will be restored and further modified with a larger blower and, hopefully, a Limited Slip Differential. More of these plans later. The driver needs modifying to improve his skills too!

Andy Owler
Baggy Joe, 1592cc with a Shorrock Supercharger
Also restoring a 1973 Fiat 126 for AutoSolo competitions

Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: GP on June 03, 2011, 06:44:23 am
The main thing is that you are O.K. Andy and will live to fight another day.
A speedy recovery to Baggy Joe and see you back out again shortly.



Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on June 03, 2011, 09:11:43 am
More pictures of damaged Baggy Joe, but this time resized to be less indigestible!

You can see that the metal in front of the suspension mounting points has folded in upon itself absorbing the impact. The right side looks particularly hard to straighten out as it is folded so tightly.

The damage also reveals that there was significant corrosion in between surfaces not visible normally.

Maybe better to cut it all out and make new sections? Alternatively I still have the scrap Baggy Jubillee and it may be possible to remove the entire front section from that and fit it to Baggy Joe. Comment?

I assume that new sections are not available?

Making this area stronger, at first sight, seems desirable but that may mean that "next time" the damage will be pushed further back into the structure and perhaps damage the suspension or the cabin itself. NOT a good idea!

It is amazing that the headlight glass was not broken. The right side light/indicator and right side auxiliary lamp are broken.

Counting Blessings!


Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on June 03, 2011, 09:18:00 am
Pictures 11 onwards...

Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on June 03, 2011, 09:40:40 am
Crystal Palace results examined...

Of my particular friends at Crystal Palace the following may be of interest..

Graham Pryme, Talbot-Matra Murena 2.2, 41.10sec (30th overall)
Tony Gomis, Marcardier CAN-AM, 1598cc Renault-Gordini, 41.50sec (35th) 
Patrick Bridger, Renault 8 Gordini, 1296cc Gordini, 42.53 (49th)
Simon Gamblen, Renault Alpine GTA GT V6, 2849cc, 43.17 (56th)
Andy Owler, Matra-Simca Bagheera 1592cc Supercharged, 45.12 (68th)
Michel Deldon*, Alfa Romeo Guilia Ti Super 1570cc, 47.28 (77th)

* Michel is the organiser of the Etretat Hill Climb near Le Havre, France
There were 93 competitors.

Well done Graham!!!!!


Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: Spyros on June 03, 2011, 12:11:00 pm

I just want to remmember the good news.
You are starting to recover from the loss of Charlie and has found a new partner in life
You escaped without damage
Baggy Joe can and will be repaired.


Most of these parts still exist
The only really difficult part to get by, will be the metal part directing the air to the radiator.

I still have 2 spares, not perfect but sanded, galvanised and primed.
You can have one of them (the only difficulty will be to ship it)

Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on June 03, 2011, 12:38:54 pm
Dear Spyros and Graham,

Thanks for your good wishes!

Thank you Spyros for the information about parts. My priority is to get the Fiat 126 ready to compete in an AutoSolo on July 10th when Liz has agreed to "Dual Drive" with me. I have some hopes that she will also drive Baggy Joe in competition before the end of the year! Another Matra Enthusiast to enroll!

Some time ago she had ordered the new Audi RS3 (0-62mph in <5sec) but is still waiting for manufacture to start. Lack of Japanese paint is the excuse for the delay, but she is an enthusiastic driver - a very good start!

The next Baggy Joe entry is at the end of August at Etretat so I have a little time to plan the reconstruction.

Thanks again.


Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: Matra_Hans on June 03, 2011, 06:03:47 pm
Dear Baggy Joe, Get well soon!

Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on June 03, 2011, 09:24:35 pm
I have been contacted by Seth Kennedy who was one of the photographers standing near the finish line on Monday. He has sent me some great shots and kindly given me permission to use them here and the Matra Mag.

They are "before and after" the event as he had just moved away from my impact point as several other drivers had come around the corner "a bit too eagerly". Smart chap!

I didn't realise just how close it was to the finish line! Destroying the timing equipment makes anyone instantly "Bum of the Month"! I'm the one in the dark overalls and grey hair.

Thanks to Seth, and Suffolk Pete who gave him my email address, here they are...


Title: Re: Bagheera crashed
Post by: andyowl on August 15, 2011, 07:32:48 pm
Well after a long pause with no reports on the repair of Baggy Joe, I am today starting a new topic "Bagheera Repaired".

See you there!