Neil Fletcher Racing

The Big Bangs

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Click on any of the images below for a larger photo.

hit_1.jpg (42774 bytes) The first little off with the Mexico JIJ 9975 was fairly minor, we ran wide on a hairpin on the Mourne Rally and caught a tree stump just behind the drivers front wheel, it pushed the outer and inner sill in against the roll cage, we also broke a halfshaft.
hit_2a.jpg (53306 bytes) Now they get more serious, in early 91 while doing a night rally I came round a right hander far too fast and went up a bank.
hit_2b.jpg (47592 bytes) The car fell back down onto the drivers side and we had to climb out the navigators door.
hit_2c.jpg (49767 bytes) The underneath of the car was tight against the hedge and the two of us had to slide it, on it's side, away from the hedge before we could roll it onto it's wheels.
hit_2d.jpg (44951 bytes) The TCA etc in the navigators side had taken a bit of a beating as well.
hit_3a.jpg (58034 bytes) My next big one about six months later was the navigators side again but with more bodywork damage.
hit_3b.jpg (53587 bytes) The strut top mount took a hard hit and needed strengthened up.
hit_4a.jpg (50937 bytes) Another night and we - sorry I, cut a left hander too tight, caught a tree root with the drivers front wheel and......
hit_4b.jpg (40127 bytes) Cannoned into a telegraph pole damaging the wing, front panel and bonnet. The funny bit was that the headlight and indicator were both pushed back by the pole but remained undamaged. 
hit_5a.jpg (61302 bytes) The BDA saga, it blew again, note the oil round the wing. This engine was very fast but also fragile, we returned to crossflow power.
hit_6a.jpg (49600 bytes) There is an old saying that a good driver, if he's going to crash, puts her off navigator's side first. This is the second time in a row that I've hit the driver's side, maybe it's time to give up. No Way..
hit_6b.jpg (26263 bytes) It's not very clear in the photo above but this gives you a better idea what happens when you go up a bank and catch the top of a concrete gate post with the wheel. We actually tied the TCA forward with a tie down strap and finished the rally.
hit_7a.jpg (67682 bytes) I was crashing so often at this time that I decided our shell wouldn't last much longer so I started to prepare another shell. Five years later I still haven't needed to use it. Yet...
hit_8a.jpg (53239 bytes) On the Easter Stages section of the Circuit of Ireland Rally I came over a blind brow far too fast into a 90 left, I ripped the handbrake on to try and make the turn but slid sideways into a laneway clipping the bank. I've been told that this accident is on the April or May 94 edition of the Acceleration Video Series but I've yet to check it out.
hit_9a.jpg (71742 bytes) Our faithful crossflow let go in a big way at a Sprint at Kirkistown Racetrack after over 10 years of sterling service. It was raced in a Stock Car before I got it, I suppose you couldn't expect a standard bottom end to pull 7500 RPM for ever.
hit_9b.jpg (61892 bytes) It certainly made a real mess, one part of the crank punched a hole in the side of the sump and destroyed a brand new starter motor, another bit hit the cam - at least the head was OK.
hit_10a.jpg (58902 bytes) The driver's side again, I'm really losing my touch, in actual fact it was all four corners but I only seem to have photos of these two. This was my scariest ever crash, it happened at Cairncastle Hillclimb. I approached a fast left hander flat in fifth gear, when I hit the brakes the throttle seemed to jam open.
hit_10b.jpg (51691 bytes) As the car spun round over 90 degrees the driver's front corner smashed into a dry stone bank on my left, she spun on until she was going backwards and the driver's rear corner hit the same stone bank. That rear wheel then dropped into a hole and the car spun a further 90 degrees, now going up the road sideways, left hand side first. The left rear corner then hit a post and spun the car on round again until the left front corner hit the same bank, she now came to rest about 50 yards after the first thump. All this took place on a 14 foot wide road and the only thing keeping me from going over the edge of the mountain was this stone bank I kept hitting. Scary or what... 
hit_11a.jpg (62365 bytes) The head gasket blows again.
hit_11b.jpg (44074 bytes) Well really it was both of them, for that story see Havoc Stories, Article No6
hit_12a.jpg (50653 bytes) We broke this halfshaft in Dungannon, I don't think I had broken a halfshaft for no apparent reason in over 12 years since I rallied the Black Big Wing Escort. 
hit_13a.jpg (46214 bytes) This one went a few weeks later in a rally round Enniskillen, I had come out of a junction on full power and there was just a sudden bang, luckily the brake disc and caliper stopped the wheel from flying off and doing real damage.
Olympus Photos 2010 458.JPG (142841 bytes) Another broken halfshaft sometime later left the the LSD end plate looking a bit battered. By now begun to suspect that my bad crash at Cairncastle may have bent the axle. For various reasons I decided to replace it with a Baby Atlas. See Havoc Stories, Article No9.

That just about brings us up to date with most of the crashes, smashes etc that I've had. We are now rebuilding this car and you can read all about it in The Rebuild.

 

I hope this page won't need updated for a while!

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