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  • David Langford
    having one thing in common they were there to enjoy the unique social occasion as much as the competitive event My watercolour above shows one of the Nortons a Gus Kuhn Commando production racer a painting which was commissioned in the 1980s I cannot recall the rider s name but if it is you dear reader please let me know After a near collision with another rider at Beckett s hairpin I decided to paint motorsport subjects rather than take part and was commissioned to produce a painting which showed Colin Field on his Head of The River the pub at Folly Bridge Oxford sponsored Yamaha The picture was inspired directly by the OPAC experience and was subsequently on display in the lounge bar of the pub throughout the sponsorship years Colin Field 250 Yamaha closing in on my 500 Suzuki The photograph right illustrating the meeting was taken by an old friend and fellow student John Sturt It shows Oxford rider Colin Field 250 Yamaha closing in on my 500 Suzuki as we crossed the start and finish line We ended the race in the first four of the production class with only two 750 Nortons in front of us With both cars and motorcycles competing separately at the 1975 Silverstone meeting one car stood out from the rest It was a deceptively non standard Morris Minor which proved that the innovation of the engineering students knew no bounds If it were possible to shoehorn a V8 engine into a Morris Minor then they were the ones to try it OPAC founder Adrian Reynard also began his racing career on two wheels taking a number of motorcycle speed records at the Elvington sprint course with encouragement from another mutual acquaintance Denis Jenkinson Elvington is where TV star Richard Hammond

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/students_of_speed.html (2016-04-29)
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  • The Bluebird in Oxford
    reply came from Cyril Barrett reflecting on his own memory of sitting in the Bluebird Cyril explained that his friends visited the event on more than one occasion David E Langford illustrates his childhood memory This confirmed my recollections at least as the childhood memory of sitting in the most famous speedboat in the world certainly left a lasting impression In 1956 Donald Campbell was given further publicity when he was featured on the TV show This Is Your Life It was this TV exposure that certainly helped win his much needed sponsorship On the strength of this support Campbell made a new attempt on the water speed record on September 19 the same year at Coniston Water in the Lake District The conditions were perfect and preparations were put in place for the run Through the first kilometre his speed was 286mph nearly 50mph faster than he had ever gone before This brought doubts that the lake might not be long enough to allow sufficient distance at either end for Bluebird to slow down after reaching such a high speed His return run produced problems that were to give an insight into what may have caused the crash which killed him at Coniston in 1967 Riding through the wake created by the first run Campbell experienced dangerous instability in the craft Between 1956 and 1967 Bluebird barring modifications on a small scale remained the same basic machine The main differences in the outward appearance were the tail fin from a Folland Gnat Jet Trainer aircraft see illustrations and internally the Gnats Bristol Siddeley Orpheus jet engine January 4 1967 began with a gathering of press photographers and spectetors at Coniston Water waiting for Bluebird s new record attempt which was timed to coincide with the Daily Express Boat Show

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/bluebird.html (2016-04-29)
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  • Jim & Tony Pink
    his CR110 50cc Honda alongside international world championship leaders in the Isle of Man TT During the 1965 event he was seventh in the 50cc TT behind Swiss champion Luigi Taveri and New Zealander Hugh Anderson Both these men were world title holders in the 1960s In 1966 Jim took seventh place behind the works teams which included the East German Suzuki team champion Ernst Degner and in 1968 his best place of fifth earned him a TT replica It must be stressed that at the time the works 50cc racing bikes although technically the same size as a moped were capable of over 120mph when the riders made full use of the available 22 000 RPM and the seven 14 speed gearboxes To be able to stay with opposition like this was an achievement in itself but that is what riders of Jim Pinks calibre were doing The opposition in the shape of works machinery was formidable it has been stated before how the Japanese owed a debt to Italian genius in engineering but Honda went to extremes with the miniaturization process Luigi Taveris 50cc works Honda had a twin cylinder double overhead cam engine with four valves per cylinder At 25cc per pot the maximum revs were 22 000 rpm To put these dimensions into perspective an average family car engine is flat out at 6 000rpm Tony Pink started racing in 1967 on a Greeves Silverstone During his first test session at Brands Hatch a circuit that is difficult to get used to he was having a challenging time until an unofficial instructor overtook and signalled for him to follow in his wheel tracks The instructor was none other than John Hartle one of Britain s greatest riders Tony later raced in the Manx Grand Prix during

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/pink.html (2016-04-29)
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  • Victory For Jaguar - David Langford
    to this day and the achievements made by Jaguar are in the same league Jaguar s founder William Lyons began his career as a talented motorcycle racer and eventual builder of Swallow Sidecars from whence came the S S Jaguar logo on his first sports cars World War Two and the Nazi connotation put an end to the S S badge and the name Jaguar became a household name in its own right Jaguar s progression to the top of sports car racing came as no surprise to followers of the marque for whom Le Mans became an annual pilgrimage During the 1950s the Jaguar C type won first time out at Le Mans in 1951 and three more times after that initial win Victory went to the D Type from 1955 1957 inclusive and many boys of the 1950s era can remember playing with the Matchbox model of this famous green car with its tail fin on the back I ve still got mine after 50 years It was to be another 31 years before the Jaguar name would appear in association with a win at Le Mans and it was TWR Tom Walkinshaw s racing team who would achieve this honour In 1984 the team s headquarters were based at the Station Fields industrial estate on the left heading north out of Kidlington From this site the Jaguar operation would maintain an ever fearful presence for the opposition in the world of sports car racing The technical data was impressive a fabulous six litre Vi 2 engine kicking out 600 horse power at 7500 rpm producing a top speed in the region of 230mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans In 1988 with experienced drivers like Jan Lammers Johnny Dumfries and local hero from Kidlington Andy Wallace

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/jaguar.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Cecil Charles Sandford
    in local scramble and grass track events Road racing was not on his original agenda until Arthur supplied him with an MOV Velocette and later KSS and KT1 Vetocettes on which he was entered for the 350 junior TT Cecil still owns the MOV My photograph taken earlier this year shows him with the 250 MOV Velocette On the seat of the motorcycle are his two Isle of Man Tourist Trophies and Federation Internationale Motocycliste gold medals for winning the 125 and 250 World Championships The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy TT races have always been the ultimate challenge for any professional rider since the event began nearly 100 years ago in 1907 To learn the TT course Cecil took a few trips around the circuit on a tour bus followed by more practice on a road bike Racing the 250 Mondial During the race technical problems forced an early retirement However in the 1949 Manx Grand Prix he was fifth in the junior race In 1950 the British AJS Grand Prix team offered him a 350 works ride in the Ulster and Italian GPs alongside the first 500cc world champion Les Graham The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy TT races have always been the ultimate challenge for any professional rider since the event began nearly 100 years ago in 1907 To learn the TT course Cecil took a few trips around the circuit on a tour bus followed by more practice on a road bike 1952 brought Cecil Sandford his first works ride with MV on their 125cc machine and his first TT victory followed neatly by his own as well as MV s first championship by the end of the season Leo Graham a pragmatic ex RAF hero was umental in the management of the MV team He

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/motorsport/sandford.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • The Sheldonian
    a matter of expediency allowing the Divinity School to be used as a robing room for ceremonial occasions Gilbert Sheldon was the man who put up the first 1 000 and is thus remembered in the name He was variously Warden of All Souls Bishop of London Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of the University of Oxford and was quite marvellously for posterity persuaded that the university needed a secular building in which to hold its frequently raucous public ceremonies until now held in St Mary s There is a fine portrait of him by the sculptor and mason Edward Pierce in the Ashmolean It depicts a man in so great a perfection such a mechanical Head and so Philosophical a Mind as Thomas Hooke had ever known And Hooke perhaps the foremost experimental scientist of the century was a man not easily impressed At the time of his appointment as architect Wren was just an amateur albeit a brilliant scientist and Oxford s Savilian Professor of Astronomy His current work included investigation of the rings around Saturn and of the satellites of Jupiter The Sheldonian also functions as a concert hall in which guise it leaves much to be

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/other/sheldonian.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Swein Forkbeard at St Michaels' tower
    together with the lack of evidence of a major town might suggest that Oxford was simply a convenient Thames crossing for the local wool trade The city s oldest remaining building though speaks of a community of some substance The imposing tower of St Michael in Cornmarket dates from the 11th century a solid structure of four storeys built of coral rag from the local Cumnor Hills The stone is a tough one not greatly given to ornament but the function of St Michael s tower was many say defensive Viking assaults on England as on other parts of the world had begun towards the end of the 8th century and continued throughout the reign of Ethelred II The Unready between 978 and 1016 The tower being situated at the north gate of the city wall its church probably stood south of the tower so that people could enter in safety and take shelter if need be in the upper storeys Those less sure of the tower s defensive function point to the door leading to the outside of the wall maintaining that this was clearly an adjunct to the church for surely such an entryway would make nonsense of any claim to security Anyway they say were the worst of the Viking invasions not over by now It seems likely that by the time the tower was built Cnut son of Swein Forkbeard was on the throne But how long were Viking memories In 1002 King Ethelred having heard a rumour that the Danes planned to murder him and seize his kingdom ordered that on St Brice s Day November 13 all Danish men living in England should be killed By this time the vast majority of Danes in England were living perfectly peaceful and law abiding lives many

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/other/st_michaels_tower.htm (2016-04-29)
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  • Colonel Raymond ffennell
    and holidays for city children camps and training schemes for unemployed men at Pinkhill Lock and music scholarships at the Guildhall He was also instrumental together with such doughty figures as Sir Arthur Evans in the foundation of the Oxford Preservation Trust and made substantial gifts of land to the City of Oxford in exchange for promises that they would leave the historic parks and the floodplain unblemished with crass and thoughtless development His touch is everywhere A holy place then is pretty much what even the most irreligious of us feel walking in Wytham Woods today Since 1943 these woods described in The Times as traversed by broad rides some of them being the pack horse roads along the ridges which carried most of the traffic of medieval England have belonged to the University of Oxford part gifted part sold part bequeathed by ffennell The Times aware of the immensity and the obligations of such a gift points out that no comparable endowment had been added to the university since the Middle Ages Allowing for the passage of time and the effects of inflation one might argue that nor has it since And given the origins of the ffennell fortune might one wonder about the possibility of a ffennell scholarship for deserving South African students The Times sounded a significant warning that no one at this stage will seek to bind posterity It is sufficient that the University has acquired a colony so fortified that it is inviolable by the pressure of traffic and industry in which the life of learning and contemplation may be finding its best opportunities of enrichment for a thousand years to come The story of the bequest is a long and complicated one and ironically the good fortune of the university was due largely

    Original URL path: http://britishartists.co.uk/des_langford/articles/other/ffennell.htm (2016-04-29)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-23