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October 2019

The ‘birthday’ of OTW is always a time for reflection, accompanied by a degree of amazement that, even after fourteen years, enough material comes along to continue publication. Indeed, it has been something of a vintage year on many fronts. The ‘discoveries’ keep coming and keep on surprising us. It has been thin on the hydro front for a while, but then along comes a named and instantly recognisable flash steamer from the 30s with an impeccable history, and a true ‘sleeper’ as there was no hint of its existence until it appeared for sale. An exquisitely built 10cc car and engine that was a tour de force of engineering but with no history and then GE Jackson’s car that he raced around 1949/50 when secretary of the MCA. This car has a racing record, contemporary description and details of its origins, as well as a photo of Jackson with the car, perfect provenance. The winning 2.5cc car from the 1987 European Championships turned up in Switzerland and several cars from Manfred Pfefferle’s extensive collection have also come onto the market. Roger Phillips used his Vector CF electric car to set a new world’s fastest for tethered cars at 357kph and news of a huge investment in time and money spent on the complete renovation and relaying of the track at Whittier Narrows in the US.

Inevitably there have been loses, the sad deaths of competitors, organisers and suppliers and long term illnesses that have brought an end to far too many racing careers. Always a cause for concern when venues are lost to model activities, as there are all too few facilities as it is, but it does appear that the proposed car track at the BMFA Buckminster facility is going to happen. (See 'Steve Betney' below for the latest) The ending of publication of the Retro Club newsletter after seventy issues left a big void, and we must thank Peter Hill for all his efforts over the years as it was the newsletter that sowed the seeds for the creation of OTW and by association, our own racing careers. That particular avenue was something that was entirely unintended and unanticipated at the outset, but travelling to meetings just to watch soon translated into joining in and competing and two very steep learning curves. That a British tethered car record would have been broken along the way would never have entered our thoughts at any stage, but that is the effect that cars, boats and the wonderful people involved can have.

The website and our own racing owes almost everything to those that have contributed, helped and been so generous with their time, so we offer our thanks to all those who have supported us in any way, sometimes on specific projects or one off items, others for continued assistance. Far too many to name individually, but acknowledgements on each article, photo or piece of information shows the depth of support we have enjoyed, which is very much appreciated.

As an aside, there is the inevitable amount of junk mail that arrives in the site’s inbox because any sort of filter would stop the genuine first time contacts that are so valuable and just to prove a point, an email arrived from India from a Doctor who had acquired one of Fred Westmoreland's engines, now well over 100 years old. Of the less desirable ones, the bank and BT scams are easy to spot for obvious reason and the offer of services and products easily weeded out. The latest and somewhat amusing ones, given the nature of the site, are those that are offering the services of ‘local lonely housewives’ although not couched in quite those terms and ladies with quite explicit needs, again not printable. Recently though there have been a few of the blackmail variety, ‘you have been caught doing very naughty things’ or ‘we know of some very nasty predilections you have’, which might just con some unsuspecting private person, but a website devoted to tethered cars and boats? Perhaps it is the word ‘tether’ that triggers the emails? Still a bit of an adventure opening an email from an unknown source though, even if the subject is recognisable, will it be a scam, or something much more valuable to us?

The Album from Gavle continues with a lovely postscript on facebook from Danielle Duran who posted a photo of herself on the podium along with Leif Astrom, Mr Popov, Rolf Hagel and Gualtiero Picco.

The Photo continues the theme in a way as it is a well-known hydro from the 40s, is still in existence and the photo was part of a valuable package of material that arrived from a first time contact. We also had another photo taken at the same time that compliments the first, but this came from an entirely different source and some years apart, most curious?

A bit further afield for the Pitbox and the first of three tethered cars that we know of, owned and raced by the late Georg Fausch, all similar in concept yet very different in detail. There is also a connection to the current Album as this car was present at that meeting.

If there has to be an end of season regatta, then the weather at Kingsbury Water Park was as perfect as it gets. Interesting action on the water with a very long standing record under real threat, an aged A2 that has been renovated and completed three perfect runs and four competitors with their best runs of the season. It may well have also been the 'swansong' for one of the most fearsome IC boats ever to be attached to a line?

East Anglia is the driest area of the country, and nowhere is this more obvious than at Althorne Lake. After several seasons of having to run with a second and higher launching platform due to the water levels, gradual depletion of the lake meant that had to come out three seasons ago. Now the water is down to the level of the lower platform, not seen since 2007, requiring that to also be removed and the pylon lowered as well. This did allow the September regatta to go ahead and we thank Norman Lara for photos and Sonia Collins for results.

Steve Betney has been keeping us up to date on the progress of the proposed tethered car track at Buckminster. After a few false starts and a degree of uncertainty it is now good news all round as the digger moved in last week as Steve's very detailed report reveals. Although a sizeable sum has already been raised, there is a great deal more infrastructure and equipment needed before the circle can be used and Steve continues to appeal for donations to enable the track to be in operation for the 2020 season. Thanks to Steve and all those involved for their enthusiasm and hard work that is making this all possible. OTW supports the venture wholeheartedly and has created a new page to accommodate this.

After the hectic International event at Gt Carlton last month, it was back to the normal,  more relaxed, track day for September, except, the cars were not aware of  this as they were running faster than ever before. Not only were the motors singing merrily, but the cars were also skipping about in a quite alarming manner, not always with happy results. Also offered everyone the opportunity to inspect the car and offer congratulations to Oliver Monk who broke Steve Turley's seven year old Class 4 record in Basel over the August bank Holiday weekend.

Another good turnout at the September hydro regatta at Victoria Park. Remarkable that the Victoria Club has just celebrated its 115th anniversary and has been the venue for hydroplane racing all that time, first running free on the large 'bathing lake', later tethered when speeds increased and then restricted to just the small boating lake when the entire pool was divided into three in 1937. Thanks to Norman Lara for providing results, photos and reports from these regattas and the only venue now where the public can see hydros in action.

Empty Spaces: One from each side of the Atlantic at the beginning of the month, and another sad loss at the end. Adrian Duncan had mentioned on his site just how ill Mike Patience was, which in itself was something of a shock, and hardly had this news sunk in before we were informed of his passing. A superb engineer and a great authority on models in general and certain makes in particular. We only met him at swapmeets and had the occasional phone call, but he came up with some lovely items, one of which was an early OTW restoration project. Our condolences go to Miles and the family. Another long time enthusiast lost last month was Paul Rossiter from Kent. We never met him yet were well aware of his extensive collecting activities via other correspondents, the odd email and his regular appearances as a buyer and seller on eBay as well as adverts in many national and international magazines.

Ted Maciag, Long time tether car enthusiast, passed away at home in Sharpes, Florida on August 24th, 2019. Ted had been in declining health for some time and passed away just 61 days short of his 80th birthday.

Born in California in 1939, he spent many years in El Paso before moving to California where he worked in the RV industry, worked for Garald Frymire and worked in the space industry. After retiring Ted moved to Clearwater, Florida for a number of years and then ultimately settled in Sharpes, Florida. Ted produced Model Race Car News for a number of years. Ted had raced tether cars on the El Paso track, Whittier Narrows, Anderson, Indiana and Cedar Creek track on Long Island as well as Sweden, Germany, Poland, Russia, France and Italy. The A.M.R.C.A. has lost a true friend ! Thanks to J.Phil Macdonald for this appreciation.

We met Ted Maciag at Basel in 2013 and shared a table each day where he would regale us with tales of tethered car racing, engine building, and anecdotes way beyond the realms of the model world.  By the time we met him his penchant for jumping out of aeroplanes had done him no good and pain was an intrinsic part of his day, yet he kept digging in his bag and bringing out interesting items and artefacts as well as preparing his Kapusikov car. Needless to say, he had the beating of the sole British Class 1 entry that weekend. Another of the great 'names' that is no more.

Unfortunate news last season was that due to continuing ill health Paul Windross, the British flash steam record holder was retiring from the sport and that his fearsome boat was for sale. Now we hear that after an equally long period of poor health, Ian Berne who held the record on numerous occasions has recovered sufficiently to return to running a steamer, but having sold his own boats has solved the problem by buying Paul's record holder.  It was Paul's regret that despite all his hard work over recent seasons he missed out on the first 130mph run with a steamer by just 0.67mph. Viewers on youtube may have seen Paul returning to Elvington, the scene of many previous motor cycle records, an getting his leg over a bike yet again although slightly slower than previous runs.

Seemingly the last sunny and hot day of the year at Old Warden for the final model event of the season. Lots of traders with untold numbers of engines and other items on offer. From discussions it would appear that there is going to have to be a seriously downward trend in expectations if significant trading is to be enjoyed again. The collecting world is currently awash with engines for sale, with many more likely to appear in the short term, very much a buyers market it would seem?

September 2019

Thanks to all those who commented on the question raised at the end of last month’s Pylon and some waxed lyrical on the subject. The consensus was that it can never be justified if profit is the motive, yet circumstances still lead to items being scrapped, which can have the unintended consequence of enhancing the value or rarity of what is left. There is also a less sinister but nonetheless equally frustrating and annoying scenario where items are destroyed purely in order to stop anyone else having or benefiting them or the technology such as carried out by Honda and Ferrari for many years. We have seen examples of this closer to home unfortunately, where entire collections were destroyed, by the express instruction of the owner, not for any financial reason but to deny anyone else the ownership or use of the equipment.

In these cases though a substantial loss can be incurred and could prove to have legal consequences if an estate is involved. Even worse was a local news item that showed a large collection of engines being cut up so that they could not be sold on, difficult to understand the logic here? This does of course presuppose that they would be a ready market for said items or collection, but sometimes the sad fact has to be faced that there is now far too much ‘stuff’ out there but those are not the cases that we are considering. In the commercial world, artists have a penchant for destroying their works, whilst factories, manufacturers and designers have an established practice of smashing moulds, jigs, dies etc after a limited run of the item has been produced and we are not talking of those companies that advertise in the colour supplements each week. The certificate of authenticity that they all promote is worthless, as is the item usually. On the local antiques ‘phone in’ a lady was enquiring as to the value of the figurine she had bought from such a company for around £120. ‘How much was the postage’ the expert asked and on the reply of £5.99 said that sadly that was probably more than the item was worth.

An even more devious variation of the theme we are discussing is the subtle buying up of whatever example of a particular item that appears and then squirreling them away secretly, either to create a false market or provide exclusivity for the person ‘with the barn somewhere’. Mind you, it is always amusing in these circumstances to see the ‘biter bit’ when boasting that he had ‘the only one ever made’ only to have the two people he was addressing pointing out that they too each had ‘the only one ever made’. Transpired that there were at least a dozen of these ‘unique’ items. It is a dangerous game to play and has cost some absolute fortunes in the past.

The new Album this month is series of photos from 1978 and the European Championships held in Gavle, Sweden. We are grateful to Justin Cookson, David Giles  and Eric Offen who passed us large packages of car related material during their ‘clearouts’. Lots of fascinating information, memorabilia and photos that we will continue to publish.

Seldom is anything really new, more often it has just been forgotten about, and this was the case with the ‘bungee’ for launching hydroplanes, supposedly brought back from Bulgaria in the 70s, except it had been in use back in the early 1950s at Fleet Pond.

Earlier this year we were contacted by someone who was clearing out his garage and rediscovered a number of his father's tethered cars. The Pitbox item is the first part of this fascinating ‘garage find’ that had its origins in the late 1940s and happily avoided the skip.

After a hard day's hydroplane racing dear Doug Willey would ask 'would you like a story or a saga'? Inevitably it was the saga that got the vote, at which point he would keep us enthralled for hours with tales, all in his delightfully broad accent. Most of them had the basics in fact, but like any true raconteur, 'it was the way he told them' that made the evenings so enjoyable. Our trip to the Midlands for the August regatta at Kingsbury Water Park was something of a saga yet we came out of it with our sense of humour still intact, just.

We have mentioned this before, but it is a sign of the times that both the fastest waterscrew and airscrew boats at the recent World Hydro Championships were electric powered. Norman and Angela kindly posted photos, results and comments on each days activities on Facebook and have now distilled these into a report on the event at Pazardzhik in Bulgaria. Sadly, the British returned with a considerable amount of scrap in the boat boxes although Steve Poyser did record his best run ever in A1. Somewhat puzzling to all there was the relatively poor performance of the IC classes, fuel, oil and atmospheric conditions all being considered possible culprits, or was it the famous 'sticky water'?

Unfortunately, there is something of a theme developing over meetings at Althorne Lake. Yet again the planned event had to be cancelled as gales hit most of southern England creating chaos all round and causing huge numbers of events, large and small, to be called off. The only people that seemed to be happy were the Americas Cup style catamarans at Cowes that were reaching over 55mph with equally spectacular and expensive upsets along the way. Almost unbelievable how many meetings have fallen victim to wind conditions in the last two seasons. Prospects are somewhat better at present for the two day St Albans and International Regatta at Kingsbury over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Given that the wind had not abated much in a week it was a pleasant surprise to find that the scheduled hydro event at Victoria Park could go ahead. Norman Lara has put together a list of runners and speeds achieved and also pointed out that Victoria is an ideal location for interested parties to 'have a go' with a tethered hydro. Also good to see a couple of vintage boats in action and the first run for an electric boat for a while. Rumour has it that a very quick A1E is due to make a debut this month. Embarrassing if it beats the IC boats as the Smolnikovs have a habit of doing?

Steve Betney has kindly pointed out that the Retro Club page and track day reports are not easily found other than from the Update or Pylon pages. This does happen occasionally as we see all the pages as a list, rather than a website so miss out these subtleties of access. We have added links to the tethered car Racing Page and the main Car List so the Retro Club can now be found in four different locations. 

Auction antics: A while ago we were sent a link to an auction in California of a large tethered car collection. It had not originated from anyone that we knew of, so were intrigued, especially as many of the cars looked like reproductions or heavily customised versions of original cars. The results of the sale beggar belief and there seems no logical explanation for the prices realised. There can be no rationale for a volume production car making over ten times what it could be had for from eBay during the same period. The only explanation can be that they were being sold into a market that was not inhabited by tethered car enthusiasts and that the prospective purchasers had no real idea of the value of what they were bidding on. Perhaps a severe dose of auction fever overtook a group with (very) deep pockets? Previous experience has shown that the chickens come home to roost when attempts are made to sell the items on. One of our regular contributors did question 'where this leaves the tethered car market' and we would suggest exactly where it was, as those in the know will shake their heads in amazement and those that paid these exorbitant amounts will be looking at a heavy dose of negative equity in due course. The mind really does boggle at times. 

Unbelievable, August bank Holiday weekend in Britain and it is sunny and hot, very hot, breaking records on consecutive day. Excellent news for OTW that was embarking on a triple header, Friday to Gt Carlton for a track day and Kingsbury for the St Alban's Speed meeting on the following day and the International Regatta on the Sunday. What an incredible day it turned out to be in Lincolnshire with the biggest attendance ever, including a group from Italy, and the most amazing array of rare and historic tethered car items ever seen together. Add that to a mini swap meet and there is the recipe for an unforgettable day. The meeting at Kingsbury was very much a case of 'what might have been for many' and personal success for four competitors who topped the results lists each day. Not a happy weekend for some though with broken boats, damaged motors and engines that just refused to run consistently or continuously.

Commiseration to Roger Phillips who posted pictures of his Vector CF car that shows what happen when  an electric model goes wrong and the disastrous result of a couple of hundred amps not going where they should, a very expensive barbeque. The same meeting was a triumph for Roland Bendell who broke the American record with a composite car that he designed and built himself and has developed over the last few years. 337k is impressive for any 10 and especially for this car that we first saw in Basel back in 2015, a great deal of lateral thinking and engineering involved along the way.

August 2019

A chance conversation with an enthusiast from the other side of the world brought us back to the thorny subject of engines being separated from cars and boats for whatever reason. It was understandable in the past when engine breakages occurred, chassis or cars became outdated or things were taken apart and spread around workshops, never to be reunited. Although, through a bit of knowledge and a lot of luck, some of these earlier separations have been reversed, one of the great joys of what we do. A well-respected car and engine man sheepishly admitted to having sold on some vital parts of an important engine that he owned, not realising what they were, until several years on that is. Through to when collecting really took off, cars and boats were almost valueless, yet engines were already appreciating, leading to more separation. A member of the modelling press recalled Dooling Arrows being bought for a tenner, the engines taken out and then the cars scrapped, ouch.

It was not this aspect that our friend was referring to though; it was the thoroughly unsavoury act of holding to ransom owners of one piece of the item by those that were in possession of other important bits. We have seen some examples of this on ebay and the even more unpleasant behaviour of dismantling a complete unit and offering the parts as separate lots. The suspicion is that someone unscrupulous enough to do this in the first place will also ensure that the bidding is rigged sufficiently to get a monster profit? What to do though if, by good fortune, you find that you have a hull, car, engine, or part thereof and discover someone else with the missing elements? The only sure thing is that you cannot both have the complete original so several scenarios can ensue. If it appears for sale or the owner is happy to sell, then a deal can be arranged. Sometimes one party might even realise the importance of the item and donate it or sell at a much-reduced price. It may be possible to arrange a two or three way deal so that all the parts can be put back together. But what happens when one of the parties involved is fully aware of the importance of what they have and how badly it is needed and then proceeds to squeeze until the proverbial pips squeak, either to make a large amount of money or force you into selling your bit to them, at which point, roles are reversed. Our friend quoted two examples where the asking price ran into tens of thousands of dollars for the original part, both sides well aware what the finished engine would be worth. When do you say no, and then does ‘bloody mindedness’ make sure you keep your bit so that the person that tried to hold you to ransom does not make a killing either.

The final, and to our mind totally unacceptable, ploy was to lend the builder the part so that they could take patterns from it to finish their project, but then it would have to be smashed so that the engine could never again exist in original condition. In trying to reunite original parts, we have seen the very best and some of the worst human traits displayed, happily, almost always the former. This brings us to the final question, is it ever right to destroy significant historic items to preserve the rarity and value of those that remain?

Pitbox this month is a bit special as it is that rarest of cars, one that can be identified and its origins, owner and racing history traced and documented.

The mention of Jozsef Peto and his six championship wins in succession last month piqued interest as to whether anyone else had equalled this achievement? Amongst those who have managed five are Jan-Erik Falk and Boris Afanasiev. Remarkably, Afanasiev and Kapusikov between them wracked up fifteen consecutive 1.5cc titles and two world championships from 1987 to 2001. As to whether anyone had beaten Peto, the record of Lembit Vaher is unsurpassed. He had seven consecutive wins from 2009, but an unprecedented achievement in doing the 'double' at the very same meetings winning both 1.5 and 2.5 classes on each occasion. Add in the World Championship and that was eight double titles consecutively. By our rough count Lembit and Jan-Erik are way ahead in individual wins with well over forty between them. Fred Kirschner has compiled a complete list of winners for the RGS website.

A couple of updates by courtesy of Peter Hill, who points out that the photo of Dick Cooper's vintage hydro last month was almost certainly taken at Old Ford and at its fastest, 88+mph, was fitted with a McCoy motor. The mystery Pitbox hydro he believes came from one of the North East clubs, possibly South Shields. Thanks to Peter for keeping an eye out for these errors or incorrect information. In our defence, in each case the information was passed to us with the photographs. As we have found just this last month, even primary sources, as they are termed, can be wrong, but remain so until new information is forthcoming, even if it takes sixty plus years. What prompted this, well, Steve Betney kindly passed on an article by a local historical group about the Derby Club track at Raynesway. Contemporary reports in Model Cars stated that the Club lost its track to a road widening scheme in 1951, yet ten years later, there is the track still in existence as the OS map shows. The suggestion in the article was that it may have been noise that caused the problems or was it that the track was left in isolation and no longer useable?

Bitten to death, frustrated and for one unfortunate, somewhat wet. Not only exceptionally high water at Kingsbury for the July regatta, but ravenous bugs and with three notable exceptions, engines that refused to play. Those that did come away smiling were Tony Collins having christened a new boat with two good runs, Ron Hankins with a perfect record of six starts and six successful runs and Bob Kirtley with his first run of the season but a blown boiler to show for it. For the rest, lots of head scratching, and not just from the hoards of hungry mossies.

Neither Julie or Alex on the local forecast gave any realistic hopes for the scheduled regatta at Althorne on the 14th and so it proved. The northerly winds that have been running down the east coast present the worst possible direction on the lake, leaving just a few hardy souls to risk their boats. Frustrating for all, but especially for all those headed out to Bulgaria chance to iron out any problems and get boats into top tune for the forthcoming World Championships. The water in the purpose built pond there is always absolutely flat but that does lead to 'sticky water' syndrome. Some believe that this a fallacy, yet flying boats, full sized hydroplanes and models have suffered from it for years. Getting 'unstuck' and 'over the hump' could prove very difficult and even impossible at times.

On our return from Hannover last year we had an extra box in the car. In the latest of his 'Ramblings' Oliver Monk update us on the progress with the contents of the 'box' as well as ventures into the realms of CAD and CAM. There are also timely reminders that running modern tethered cars can create a great deal of work between meetings. Thanks to Oliver for these continuing glimpses into his 'workshop' and the handy hints.

The weather fell apart somewhat over the final weekend of July, not only causing major disruption to the Tour de France and many other events but also making dodging the rain of prime importance at the European Tethered Car Championships in Pecs, Hungary. Videos were posted of all hands to the pump covering the track and photos of a very wet and miserable presentation. In between there was some very close racing and Ando Rohtmets coming within a whisker of beating Gualtiero Picco's ten year old Class 5 record.  The Eastern European nations dominated Class 1 with only Philipp Meier managing anywhere close to them, Rain Teder, Lembit Vaher and Andrii Yakimiv sharing the podium as last year. Class 2 did have a change in fortune with Lembit adding another Championship to his already impressive tally. Volodymyr Smolnikov moved up two places for the Silver and Gyoergi Bondor in third. Andrii Yakimiv added another Class 3 title to his CV with Mart Sepp making a welcome return in 2nd. After the comments about the age and experience of some running in 3b the winner was very definitely at the bottom edge of the age spectrum. Galaina Solovieva won by a massive 7kph, beating a certain Evgueni Soloviev into second. The similarity in names might give a clue as to her association with the sport? Toenu Sepp and Tiit Luman moved up one place each from last year in Class 4 with Anette Besang putting in the fastest run on day three to occupy the third step on the podium. The seven runs over 335kph on day one in Class 5 decided the finishing order with Ando the only person over 340kph. On day two he upped this to 344.110, just short of the 344.959 set by Picco in Sydney in 2009. Michel Duran in second and Peter Arlautzki in third were separated by just 0.4kph at over 338. Full results are now available on the speedmodelcar website.

July 2019

No matter how good a handle you feel you have on a manufacturer or a particular model, along will come a version or variation that is new to you to put the proverbial amongst the pigeons. Oh the joy these can bring to the dedicated collector when one turns up, or conversely the annoyance as you thought that you had ‘one of every size in every colour’, but now you don’t. Then comes the inevitable search, firstly to confirm that this was indeed a recognised variation and secondly, to find one. Then you discover, to your cost, that the red box is immeasurably more valuable than the blue, or that the two bolt head can command many times more than the three bolt. The value is not really the issue to us, just knowing what did exist in order to record and increase the combined knowledge. There are also the subtle differences or idiosyncrasies lurking to catch out the unwary like 1066 producing 4" tyres but with the same 6.00 x 16 wall marking as the much more common and smaller ones. The same company also had different logos at stages in their short existence, used several versions of labelling on the car and engine kit boxes as well as advertising things that do not seem to have existed, or did they? Even for this company, there are a bewildering number of alternatives of the same basic products. This appears to be where the obsession and compulsion begins to creep in and the pursuit of the unobtainable begins. Every motor made by ED, enough of a challenge. Every mark and variation, just about possible for one type, but impossible for the range. Include the more obscure like the Condor, just about, or the Fireball, yes, it did exist, and the task becomes all-consuming. It does concentrate the mind if the object of desire is a rarity, such as we discussed last month, but then there are the odd occasions when it just falls into your lap, and then you cannot quite believe your luck? Yes, the 1066 tethered hydroplane still evades us.

The Pitbox this month is something of a mystery. We know what it is, who owned it but have no other information other than what can be determined from photos. Even the son of the original owner has no further information.

Another manifestation of our favourite gripe, and we quote, 'a very rare and increasingly difficult to find vintage model diesel engine'. All very well, except that it happens to be a current production PAW?

Difficult to believe with all the rain that has been falling over the last few days that we enjoyed twelve days of hot and sunny weather on our annual 'spring tour' to Basel and Kapfenhardt. Something of a landmark for one of the OTW team with a first place and a new British record. The rain did relent though for the first regatta at Kingsbury. Three very happy competitors and a new class record into the bargain.

Sign of the times with the news from the US that Roger Phillips has set a new outright, American, record for tethered cars at 210mph or 337kph in new money. An achievement in itself, but this is the latest development of the Vector electric car, with carbon fibre construction that puts it within the Class 5 weight limit, unlike the previous incarnation. Still a bit to go to beat Picco's record but with the fastest tethered hydro in the world also electric, it shows where we are headed. Nothing quite replaces the sound of an IC motor winding up to peak rpm though.
Stop Press:
On 23rd June Roger and his Vector could lay claim to being the fastest tether car in the world with a quite incredible run at 222mph. Watching the youtube clip, the readout flashed up over 350kph, the final speed being 357kph. An amazing achievement for Roger and all the guys that helped in the design and building of the Vector CF. We seldom include photos in Pylon, but this landmark achievement deserves recognition.

Not quite so fast at the June Retro Club track day but a goodly turnout and several new cars making their debuts. Them as would start ran well with some new personal bests, but still, some of the motors refused to play, causing a great deal of frustration in some quarters. Oliver Monk updated all those attending on the current situation regarding the proposed car track at the BMFA facility at Buckminster. What an incredible investment in time and money in the States on the resurfacing and complete upgrade of the track at Whittier Narrows. It is great news to hear of investment in a track rather than news of one closing. Facebook has several posts on the amazing amount of work being done there.

Amongst all the car related material that arrived in a series of packages was a newspaper article from 1979 featuring the European Championship at Lyon. Sadly, the track is no longer in use so we reproduce the photos as a reminder of that excellent facility. We thrive on coincidences and this material also included a set of plans for Jozsef Peto's 5cc car. The Hungarians almost had a stranglehold  at the European Championships in the 2.5cc and 5cc classes for several years in the 60s and early 70s with Peto winning six on the trot from 68-73. Just a couple of days later, Michael Schmutz posted a photo of a set of framed drawings for the same car, but then the results from Pecs were posted, and there was Jozsef Peto competing, still with his number 48 car.