Ray Storey gives an account of the fascinating visit to the Wessex Section by Jon Dooley on the 12th November
The Wessex section were lucky enough to be graced by a visit from Jon Dooley for their November meeting, and with everyone sat suitably charged with refreshments, Jon gave a fascinating slide show covering his history and involvement with Alfa Romeo from the 60’s through to today. His racing history and involvement in Alfa Romeo Touring cars through the 70’s and 80’s was fascinating, and Jon regaled us all with thoroughly entertaining stories and snippets of information about the cars, sponsors and competitors, some of which is probably best left unprinted!
How so much was achieved with so little finance is not only a credit to all who were involved in that era but, also testament to the cars which were so well sorted in the first place, and ripe for being turned into full blooded race cars. That said, the transaxle GTV did result in many challenges and a lengthy development with some interesting mechanical failures, and if you ever get the chance do ask Jon about exploding transaxle gearboxes with lumps of heavy toothed metal revolving at silly speeds cutting the car up around him like a knife through butter. Needless to say, many modern racers would not get into the cockpit of a vehicle with those sort of know risks nowadays.
Also if you get the chance, find out how a 5 year old Alfa Sud brought out of retirement and threatening to win the BTCC season one year ended up being displayed on the Alfa Romeo stand at that years Motor Show, not that it looked like a 5 year old model by the time Alfa had finished with it. Heaven forbid! Jon finished the evening with an in car video from this years Goodwood Revival showing Emmanuel Pirro driving a classic racing Alfa, which had us all on the edge of our seats and can only be described as a drive which will be talked about for years to come. Simply awesome. We could have spent all night there listening to Jon’s stories but alas we all had to go home so, our thanks go to Jon for making the journey down to visit us and grace us with his presence, and long may he continue to race and be such a positive force for the club.