John Parsons

Rally Driver, Trials Competitor and Organiser, John passed away on 20 May after a short illness. He was 79 years old.

A Motoring Tribute by Michael Leete.

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John at the start of the 2000 Allen Trial in his Westfield

I first met JP around 1970 at a Sporting Owner Drivers Club Trial at Brickhill, although I only really got to know him in the mid 80’s when I returned from my time living in the North East.  He was a keen member of the Dunstable based Sporting Owner Drivers Club, joining neighbouring Falcon when the SOD’s disbanded and I spent many happy hours listening to tales of his motoring exploits at club nights. My favourite was when he visited the TT and Florian Camathias needed a passenger for a couple of laps in practice. Ever the adventurer it was JP that stepped forward.

John started his working life working in various factories in the Luton and Dunstable area, including a long spell at the Commer Plant in Dunstable. He soon became interested in motorsport and started rallying a Mini, first in local events, working his way to the international ranks when he competed on the International Welsh Rally in 1972.

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JP in the SKF Avenger at Cheltenham Racecourse

By 1976 JP had become associated with Chrysler, driving a SKF sponsored, semi-works Avenger in which he competed in most of the home internationals and the Tour of Britain. The SKF sponsorship stopped after 1981 and John transferred his attention to servicing with Andy Dawsons Datsun team. When this closed JP managed to acquire a vast quantity of special wheels which subsequently graced many of his trials cars.

By now John had started a garage and stepped up his involvement with trials, both local SODC events and MCC trials. He was very proud of introducing the first UVA Fugitive to the sport, selling it to Dave Parry when he was stopped from wearing the crash helmet that he wore to stop hitting his head on the roll bar.

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John in his Buggy on the Great Hucklow Deviation on an Edinburgh Trial. JP was one of the team that created this route for the SODC Conquest Trial

After the Fugitive JP moved on to his V8 period, first with a Jago Samuri and then a Westfield. Next came a VW Buggy, the ex Graham Marshall car, bought from David Thompson when he acquired his Troll. John put a lot of work into this car, fitting a type 4 engine and his trademark Datsun wheels before changing its colour from tractor yellow to blue.

After campaigning this for many years John decided that wife Dot deserved a little more comfort on MCC events, selling the Buggy to Phil Potter and joining the ranks of X90 owners to compete in Class 0. He soon discovered the X90 didn’t have as much power as he wanted and fitted a Vitara engine, a massive job as the exhaust and all the ancillaries were reversed and he had to redesign the wiring loom.

John and Dot enjoyed the tranquility of the X90 but it wasn’t suitable for the local events so last year he re-acquired the buggy from Phil Potter. Never a lover of the Lands End, which he thought was too long JP’s last event was the 2019 Exeter.

The JP I will always remember, having fun with his Quad on a March Hare Working Party

John wasn’t just a competitor, he was also a hard working organiser. Locally he was the force behind SODC and Falcon Brickhill trials for many, many years. Along with the late Laurie Knight and Tom Goggin he ran the SODC Conquest Classic Trial in Derbyshire and together they opened up the notorious deviation left on Great Hucklow.

More recently he started Falcon’s March Hare Classic Trial with Mike Pearson. A Falcon Vice President he was also involved with the Milton Keynes and District Motor Club, marshalling on their 12 car rallies.

Outside of Motor Sport John liked travelling, especially to the USA where he loved Las Vegas and other exotic places taking in activities like diving when the opportunity occurred.

John died on 20 May after a short illness. He was 79 years old.

Rest in Peace JP, the sport and the world is a poorer place without you.

Murray Montgomery Smith

A well known competitor, Murray passed away on 13 March

A tribute by Pete Hart

One of Murray’s great loves was motorsport he raced, sprinted , hillclimbed even the odd PCT in his beloved Morgan +4, before starting his Classic Trialling career in the early eighties.

Frustrated that a sprint had been cancelled due to rain after he and his great friend David Parker had interrupted a holiday in North Wales to travel to Wiltshire for the event. They adjourned to a nearby Pub and decided to give Classic Trials a go, as at least they wouldn’t be cancelled so easily!! Firstly in the Morgan, mostly on MCC events.

Pete first met Murray a few years later, In the holding control for Darracott on the Lands End in 1989. Murray was in the Morgan and his passenger was David Parker. Dave had just bought a Marlin and came up the queue with Murray for a chat. Luckily the delay was a long one and that chat turned into a long term friendship. Murray’s Morgan which premiered his unique paint scheme, affectionately known as the Murray Mint special, had by this time a somewhat, “tired” chassis. He announced that he would compete in the Edinburgh and then change the chassis in time for the Exeter. He did it but the paint was still wet when they set of for the start. Shortly after it was badly damaged in a fire and the proper rebuild that followed marked the end of its serious trials life, although I believe it did once see the Hills in class 0.

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His mums old Morris 1000 was then put to the hills and a few one day events were added to his calendar.  A brief spell in a Volvo 343 and then in 2003 the Marlin that Dave had bought, found it’s way into the Montgomery-Smith garage. A Fiat twin cam engine was fitted and of course the infamous paint scheme was completed in 2005. Murray loved competing and always enjoyed events whatever the result. He had the knack of performing the perfect climb at the most unexpected moment.  His last section was to be Dudwood on the Edinburgh 2018 and I am delighted that he got to see the top for the first time.

A Great  Character and True friend. 

Dave Harvey

Dave passed away yesterday following a heart attack. He was 77.

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Dave was a well known driver in local trials in the Midlands and South East, passengered by his wife Audrey. He mostly drove rear engined cars. In recent years he campaigned his blue and white Imp but had also owned Skodas and the ex Mike Stephens VW 1302s. He will be sorely missed.