Tony Broster rants

A personalized recall of events from someone who had witnessed and participated in early Dulon racing history.  An entertaining and long account of events.  Tony is a great great guy and we are fortunate that he reached out for us.

 

 

Hi There,

my name is Tony Broster, & perhaps I can help a little with your Dulon site.

early 1969  I raced a new Titan FF & was friendly with Reg Thurley & Ian Taylor who drove the lighter LD 4s, there were several very close battles with Ian so close in fact that the bugger developed an amazing knack of breaking off my tyre valves with his wheels.

I can clearly recall threatening to hang a fist off Ians nose at Combe if he did it again, bless him he took himself off the track trying that day.

  ( yes in the 1970s we could do all that bad stuff to each other without MSA hearings & dodgy club steward problems )

  Ian went on to became  Dulon FF & later F3 champion in his Baty March he was an all round star driver, we remained pretty friendly & I worked for him part time instructing on the BMW days until around the time of his untimely death.

  I had visited the factory during 1968 several times looking & chatting about cars as you do, around Sept or early Oct during a visit with John Fenning the always food hungry Bill longley produced a 12' slab of model clay shaped like a squarish race car & announced that it would eventually be the soon to be all new Dulon1969 formula ford LD 9.

  Andy Duncan Bill Longley Fenning & I retired to the local Bicester Chinese restaurant as was usual & over Longleys 2nd & thankfully double final banana fritter & ice cream a deal was struck to fund the prototype kit of parts of the very first LD9 rolling chassis less instruments, & belts, that Fenning donated from his Willans company, & all this for the earth shattering sum of 509 pounds & sixteen shillings plus we had to build it & report any problems to the factory directly.

History relates that there were no build problems, it was dead straight forward & a credit to the Dulon teams design & fabrication.

  On the way back to Hampshire that fatefull evening Fenning suddenly announced "Bros you have to be Bl--dy bent to have bought that " (in those days bent meant stupid) we argued like two bitter old tarts all the way back to his home in Stockbridge Hants.

  Fenning & I had originally paid half each for our original Titan FF which whilst being beautifully over built was a vile twitchy swine to drive & only provided me with a couple of wins but several unscheduled trips into assorted ditches.

  Tony Trimmer one of the best drivers I have ever seen in anything from an F1 down & who should have gone all the way if he wasn't such a totally nice guy made a sister works Titan FF car fly,

but alas I was no Trimmer, pretty ok on my day but not a Trimmer or Ian taylor, they were special.

  I figured at the time that with proper factory help & plenty of Chinese restaurant evenings we would be able to make the new LD9 a somewhat easier car to drive & its a fact that the best way to Longleys heart was  through his stomach, as that always got his attention.

  NES,  Newbridg Engineering services produced a good strong engine & the wonderful Mike Endine he of later Extrac & tax exile fame bless him built my gear box at a knock down price, which consisted of several old used VW castings & some money & I had our new gearbox.

  The LD9 was great, straight off early in 1970 from the time it first turned a wheel a much easier forgiving car to drive than the Titan ever had been & I loved it, its only fault being the proximity of the margettes designed high cockpit side to ones gear change knuckles, & trust me it did hurt ! a teardrop hole was cut in the top cover & half a large king Edward potato was pushed through from the inside & fibre glassed over the domed skin into a hand clearance blister ( no more hurt knuckles ) but Les was less than amused at the fix.

later neatly incorporated by Les Margettes into the 1st MP 15 cars ( & very professionally done without a potato it must be said ) 1970 was a cheaters charter season engine wise, competition for sales of chassis & engines was amazing & the changing of camshafts for something a bit 'hotter " or in some instances "megga hot " was epidemic, there were so many questionable engines running that we ( stupidly ) early on took the high moral ground & removed the FF engine, on reflection perhaps we should have stayed in & done a bender like a lot of others that year as no one official seemed to want to check engines & make a stink.

John Fenning generously provided a great fresh 161 hp mk13 Brian Hart Lotus twin cam & a set of 8' & 10" Brabham rims, Wheeler dealer & my on & off buddy Bob Howlings sold us a good used set of YB11 Firestones for 50 quid ( in cash mate ! ) & winged about parting with them for the rest of the season if I managed to beat him, some pretty awful front & rear wings were fitted from somewhere & we went Libre racing for the season, funny as hell as we knew absolutely nothing about wings !

  1970 was a great libre year for the LD9, ( now the only ever I believe  LD9B ) you had the likes of a couple of old grand prix cars & the future Rothmans 5000 star Stevie Thompson, Bob Howlings, Graham Eden & several others in powerfull new F2 cars plus a group of half dozen of us poorer lower pond life including later Le Mans winner Vern Shuppen & my pal the flame haired maniac Spencer Elton in 1600 twin cam cars. There was also assorted F3s with the likes of future hard nut world champion Allan Jones & funny series clown Allan Joy competing plus the odd big sporty car.

  All us tiddlers prayed for wet or damp races which put us on more even terms with the F1s & F2s, my old mate Bob Howlings used to be absolutely livid if a twink , especially a ( poxy- his words ) converted FF finished in front of him, it was worth trying extra hard just to see Bob throw a toys out the pram wobbler in the paddock,& abuse you on the phone later in the week with his list of brilliantly funny excuses. 

1970 was a highly amusing & very sporting Libre season & the LD9B won a few rounds during the season I recall.   we were allowed to enjoy ourselves back then, It was permitted !!   Racing was not intense, 70s was a laugh, Vietnam, flower power, jefferson airplane, Chris Summers downing pints on the startline, Fennings 350 horse power GTO Pontiac, my mate Carl Jeanes earning 50 quid ( a fortune ) for running bare Ass naked in the Thruxton paddock.

  With John Webbs Formula Atlantic just being announced my mate Bev Bond ( later Lotus works F3 driver ) & I trudged off for the Brands first press introduction run that we would share alternate track sessions in.   To our amazement the old Dulon FF - twin cam blew away 2 future F1 stars including John Watson & a to be in the future Lotus world champion with proper 1600 BDA engined cars.

  Bev who was a blindingly quick driver when he forgot about his strangely & sometimes alarming nervous twitch caused some serious upset during his own track session & finally pitted the LD9 Dulon with a big silly grin having upstaged more than half of the cars that had appeared, lotsa lotsa fun for us both.

  1971 saw the car converted yet again, twink very sadly went back to John Fenning who I guess was feeling the financial pinch that month or something & a cheaper 1000cc Cossie MAE screamer was fitted.

  The LD9 B car was sold onto Swansea builder ?? Jen Jones who I recall arrived to view it with more kids than the pied piper of Hamlin but some very respectable "English green" folding money in a paper bag, we saw ken who was a super friendly guy doing very well at several races afterward, he sold the Dulon on a few years later & I only saw it once finally looking like a decent rebuild really would do it some good, the then present owner for some reason refused to believe it had been mine as by then the rather weak Dulon chassis plate had gone.   I wonder who has my old 01 FF car now , are you out there ?

  What can I say,  Dulon LD9, LD9B what a truly great car, built like a brick lavatory with the larger Americans market in mind, It never broke & never failed, easy to maintain & run & brilliant sensibly priced spares supply.   What great help & support we always received from the funny but caustic witted Andy Duncan, permanently hungry Bill Longley & Les Margettes at the Dulon factory,   great great guys all of you, & again 40 years on another big thank you.  Tony Broster.

                                   ****************************

  subsequently I bought , raced & managed a team with several other FF Dulons, If you want that story for your site & am not over bored by the above chassis 01 crap e-mail me here in Thailand, as theres some stuff you dont know about 1 off developments that took place with Dulons, that much I can guarantee, boring trivia or history  depends on ones viewpoint.

Bros.

  The car arrived in a sort of some bits every few days,  Dulons ace welder Bill ( not Longley ) finished welding up the chassis whilst I watched him, a quick powder coat up the road & we were able to return to Timsbury to start building.   Regular trips to Bicester soon produced enough to get it on its wheels