John Taylor 30

North Driver Profile:
John Taylor
On each of its last two runnings, the British Stock Car Racing Sup­porters' Association's Jaguar Championship race has sprung something of a surprise, with John Turner (151) winning the 1976 event at Belle, and this year, John Taylor (150) taking the trophy after Dave Taylor (30) gashed a rear tyre when in the lead.
John is in his second season of racing after spending many years watching the sport from the terraces. He first saw stock car racing in the early sixties, at Belle Vue, since when he became hooked on the sport and visited most of the northern and Midland circuits, each time getting bitten a little harder. By day, John, a mar­ried man of six years standing, works for a large Ford dealership in the Davyhulme area of Manchester as a mechanic, but by night his interest changes from the Dagen­ham produced engine to the famous Coventry marque as he maintains the ab­solutely Stock 3.8 power unit in his car that was taken straight from a 1963 Mark 10 saloon and fitted into the chassis with no modifications at all.

His car is an ex-Mike Huddart model, running a Jaguar gear box, L.D. axles, suspension, and brakes, and drives through a locked differential. Main rails are 2in. x 2in. rectangular hollow section steel tube on which is mounted a Citroen body, giving an all up weight of about twenty-six hundredweight.

His first meeting was at his local track White City, which he nominates as his favourite circuit, in May 1976, since when he has appeared regularly at most of the Lancashire tracks, but it wasn't until Sep­tember of last year that he began to win a few places, although it was too late in the season for the few points he gained to make any difference to his roof colour which remained white until this season.

One thing he did gain, which couldn't be measured, was experience, and this was to stand him in good stead for the current season, when his fortunes took a definite upswing. White City's season be­gan on 19th March, and John celebrated the opening of the new season by scoring his first ever win, coming home ahead of George Rudd (241), Phil Smith (109) and Dave Fox (318), all with much more powerful engines, in the Consolation race. Two more placings, a heat third at Roch­dale's opening meeting of the season, and a heat fifth at Nelson a week later saw him end the first grading period of the year with eighteen points, lifting him straight up into the A grade section of the table.

Subsequently he dropped back to yel­low but he holds his place in this grade by virtue of the points he's scored not simply because he's once been blue and can't drop any lower because of his pre­vious higher grade. He had yet to gain a points scoring position in a final, just missing the bottom place by one position at White City on 10th September which, when you think of it, was a performance not to be sneezed at as, of the twenty-four qualifiers only one other, Reg Day (349), had the relatively low powered Jaguar en­gine under the bonnet, but hit the high spots at the same track on 1st October, when he came home sixth behind four Chevys and a Chrysler.

Talking to John you're left with one very distinct impression that he races be­cause he enjoys it. He openly admits that while campaigning with a Jaguar engine he's unlikely to get much in the way of re­wards but, if he can have fun, and pick up the odd point or two, then that's as much as he can expect.

Asked about his ambitions, he replied that he would like to gain more results but admitted that he would first have to change engines, swopping to at least a medium sized V8, but while Jaguar spares remained plentiful and relatively cheap, this was a move that he was reluctant to make.

There can be little doubt that John Taylor goes racing with the minimum of fuss and frills, with the help of his father, his brother Stephen, and Derek who used to handle spanners on the Ernie Hatton (236) car, they bring a well maintained car to the circuits, have their fun, and go home to prepare for the next meeting with­out the vast array of equipment that many drivers carry, keeping themselves pretty much to themselves.

John is typical of many of the lower grade northern drivers, drivers on whom the sport depends, who rarely hit the lime­light but are always there, playing a small but very vital role. As such, it's nice to record their moments of glory, and in my view, the Supporters' association has a worthy Jaguar Champion in John Taylor.

Finally, before closing, John asked us to publicly pass on his thanks to Chris Newsome who, knowing John 'had only a Corsair tow car, was standing by, ready and willing to provide a transporter to take him to Northampton if need be. In the end, John towed his stocker, and after a jour­ney like that I would think that his trophy was doubly welcome.