When technical regulations changed at the end of 1992, British racer Barry Squibb needed a new car. At that point he was racing the original Xtrac Escort but like the Group B cars that were being swept aside, that car would not be eligible in 1993.
The Ford Escort RS Cosworth was a popular choice for many, and it is the direction that Squibb took. But his car would be different from any other put together in that first flush of Group A-based machines. After selling his old car to Xtrac founder Mike Endean, Squibb chose to update the theme.
Like the original car the chassis for Squibb’s new car was put together by Gartrac and powered by a Cosworth YB from Mountune. Others in the field would, like Squibb, use an Xtrac transmission system, but here, to all purposes, was a 1993 interpretation of the original Xtrac.
Built for the European Rallycross Championship, Squibb gave the car its debut outing in a British championship event at Lydden before heading for the first round of the Euro series at Horn-Fuglau in Austria (the opening round of the 1993 championship at Lydden having been cancelled).
Squibb continued to use the car until he retired from racing at the end of 1998, the last couple of seasons seeing him predominantly racing in the UK. The Escort was then idle for a couple of years before being bought by John Haffey who had it rebuilt by Tony Bardy. Haffey had his first event in the car at Anglesey in August 2001 and spent the next 18 months consistently among the fastest in the British championship, winning events but not the title.
At the end of 2002 Haffey took another break from racing and the car was immediately bought by Helmut Holfeld. Dublin-based Irishman Holfeld returned to regular competition with the Escort having previously raced the ex-Will Gollop/G-Tech Peugeot 306, another of our Great Rallycross Cars.
Holfeld used the car for a handful of years before it changed hands once again at the start of 2007. On 4 February, always an auspicious date in rallycross, Derrick Jobb started his first event in the car at Mondello Park.
Ulsterman Jobb still owns the car and while his own DJM preparation company is largely responsible for its upkeep, there is still a link with Tony Bardy Motorsport who ran the car for both Haffey and Holfeld.Having raced the car in British and Irish championships, Jobb now uses it in Retro Rallycross.
The evolution of the car is clear to see and easy to trace. From it’s original appearance in 1993 and ’94 when it looked pretty much like an Escort Cosworth, and when sponsorship from Scalextric meant that you too could race the car at home. Squibb repanelled the car for the 1995 season and it’s outward appearance has changed little since. The 1996 facelift body panels – the addition of some vents and ducts aside – still essentially what the car wears to this day.« Previous Post Next Post »