Watch Charles Rainford hit the hill at Chateau Impney Hillclimb in the John Rhodes Mini Cooper S.
We had a cracking weekend at one of the UK’s best little events. In it’s 5th year the Chateau Impney Hillclimb had a lot to offer. The weekend was pleasantly relaxed with great camaraderie between competitors and a party atmosphere in campsite. A fantastic range of historic vehicles took to the hill from the Edwardian aero engined to prewar sports cars to Canam cars to the Mini Cooper S. We were invited to bring John Rhodes Mini Cooper S as part of the Mini 60th Anniversary celebrations. Charles Rainford was behind the wheel going quicker with every session. Hopefully we’ll get to go back next year.
We had the pleasure of running the John Rhodes Mini Cooper S at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed. John is 90 years old now and asked our Charles to drive it up the hill for him. The times got better with each run. His best time of 62.3 was in the Final Shootout on Sunday afternoon beating the Alan Mann Escort by a tenth of a second.
A chap named John Astill got in touch recently claiming that he had a photograph of John Rhodes Mini at Snetterton from 1966. He also said he had build specs from Special Tuning and various letters from Downton Engineering as well some photos of his old Mini’s from the 60’s. He asked if I’d like copies, which of course I did, and a few days later a large envelope arrived. This kind of information is vital in our industry as a historical reference. Thanks very much John, the pictures are great and the information is greatly appreciated.
John Rhodes, Mini racing legend, explains his driving style in this short clip from the late 1960’s. The cars were setup for chronic over-steer. By lifting off Rhodes could encourage the rear to slide before mashing the throttle and pulling out of the corner.
“One thing he used to ask for if he was driving one of our cars was that it had to have violent oversteer. We’d use the strongest bumpstops on the back so that as soon as you’d turned into a corner it sat straight on the bumpstops which would put you straight into oversteer which he loved.” – Harry Ratcliffe, British Vita Racing Team
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