2013 the Cooper has'nt bee out this year and still needs a new nose and an other work, hopefully we might get her out on the hilss next year.
2012 we have switched to the Revis 500, but David ran the 'Kenya' at a couple of hill climbs having a bit of an off at Prescott and collected a fence post, laddering the chassis and not doing the bodywork a great deal of good. The chassis has been squared up and the nose knocked out but it still looks a bit second hand and will need to be renewed eventually.
2011 season was a bit a season full of mechanicals, it seamed every race we broke something and with the build up of the Revis taking up all of our time in the panic to get to Goodwood the Cooper did not get the time it needed. But we had some fun, with a couple of good races and the wonderful Croft festival again.
2010 Season, a great year, car ran like a dream most of the season, think we may have bottomed our reliability issues right through to the last race in Portugal, when the fuel gremilins returned, first the fuel pump fell off, then in the race the fuel pump arm broke clean off. The pre 1949 trophy for a 2nd year.
The 2009 season started badly with a fairly hard off that involved going over the top of another car - not great! things improved when we returned later in the season, a great race at Cadwell in the pouring down rain - passing norton double knockers - not easy with a JAP. eventualy won the pre 1949 trophy.
trying to avoid the spinning Cousy at Mallory Park.
Well the 2008 season is over , mostly it has been ok - though we have destroyed an engine, over rev'ed and engine and broken a gear box. Mallory Park is becoming a posion circuit for us, having melted 2 pistons in 2 engines, destroyed a clutch, broken a gearbox and sufferd major fuel problems all in 2 years. The racing in France was great, lovely cicuit and some very close racing. At last I feel I'm just beginning to get on top of the car and am begining to get a tad quicker, fnishing 3rd of the pre '52 but a lowly =23rd in the overall standings.
9th August saw the Bo’ness hill climb revival meeting, the first time this hill climb has been run in 44 years. The weather was shocking and it was quite a suprise that the event wasn’t cancelled with major flooding arround the area in the days before. We were running the engine that had been damaged in France and the gearbox with the speedway clutch to lower the gear ratios, but still could have done with lower ratios! The hill climb was very short (but it is hoped to lengthen it for next year). This was the Kenyas 1st time back at Bo’ness in 60 years and the car was well recived and ran very well – just a shame the driver couldnt match the car – an attempted spin in the courtyard section was intresting to say the least, really strugging with grip. The flaot that was also repaired in France let us down again but Terry Wright with the Cooper mk8 running a supercharged V-twin lent us some gunge as a temp repair. In class we endded up 4th and 3rd of the Coopers with Terry Wrights mk8 1140cc V twin blown 1st with 23.75 secs. David Fyfe mk8 1100cc V-twin 2nd with 24.34 and the Kenya with 24.94 seconds which beat the other two 500s (Cooper and a Joe Potts) and a formula junior – quite pleasing.
24th July saw us up at 3.30am to head to France for a long weekend racing at Croix-en-Ternois about 60 miles south of Calais. The circuit is quite tight and twisting but suited 500’s to a T. Parctise again through up a problem, just after one lap the engine stopped – not good! I got the Cooper out of the way but out came the red flags and they recovered us back to the pits, spark plug lead ad fallen to bits – why can’t this happen when you run the car at home? Fixed the lead and back out to get in the laps before the end of qualifying. Race 1 Saturday from the line got away well and within a few laps started to learn the circuit and get quicker then out came the reds again Nigel Ashman had spun at the hairpin, as we slowed down to reform the grid the gengine went rough and started to miss so I pulled into the pit lane and the engine stopped – what felt like a lack of compression turned out to be big end bearing failure with resulting con rod and crank pin damage. Oh fun and fun – yet another engine change and this time in 30 degree tempratures, changed the engine and made it back out for race 2 – from the back of the grid I passed a few and caught up with Shirley Munroe and JJ in the Coulsey – what a great race we had, both the newer cars had me on handling on the twisty bits but I had the legs on both of them on the straight, the battle went on ‘till the Cousley let go, then I sprung a fuel leak so let Shirley by and nursed it home for 14th and my final upgrade signature – at last! Race 3 – Sunday. Not a great start struggling to find any grip caught up with the Emeryson after a couple of laps and had a great race with Marek, untill he lost gears then I was by myself for the rest but still struggling for grip and had a quick spin on to the grass but collected it all up and finished 12th – all good stuff.
4/5/6th July – The British Grand Prix – Silverstone, the BRDC invited us to bring the Kenya down for display at the 60th aniversary of the BGP at Silverstone, I would have loved to be able to do some demo laps but it was still good to see Lewis Hamilton in a league of his own in the wet.
21st June Brand Hatch – raining again, what is it about Brand Hatch? Car ran well in practise and at the start jumped 4 or 5 before padock bend, had a grat race with Hakan in the JBS could just hold him on the straight and got away a little bit through the twisty bits. Lost the engine sprocket and carrier, the engine chain jammed the final drive and spat me into the tyres – bit of a sudden stop, which on later investigation had dammaged the front chassis leg. A couple of laps later out came the red falgs when Shirley had a coming together with a formula V – at least she turned out to be ok after a couple of worring moments.
14th June – Barbon Hillclimb, 1st time out with the new norton cluch, had a few teething problems but got a 3rd in class.
26/27th April Anglsey – the weather was shocking, car ran ok in practise in the holding padock the carb fell off – not a great way to start a race but I got out through the pit lane and had a good race – fell off onto the grass once, but wasn’t the only one to do this. Race 2 on Sunday, the rain is worse car started well (finally have got over the difficult to start problems) was chasing down James Grey in the Comet but over reved the engine 2nd rather than 3rd, the piston cliped the valve and that was that – no compression.
Got new valve springs and a new valve, the springs are alot harder so maybe the old ones were to soft?
The end of March saw the start of the 2008 season, back at Mallory Park, we decided to run one of the spare engines with a Marelli Mag and later Amal carb to try and get around the melting piston problem. The event was so cold that we all struggled to get the methanol to burn in the engines. Out to practise and clutch failure - the clutch would not clear so 15 lap of clutch less gear changes. Unfortunatley this proved to be a problem that we could not fix before the race and resulted in a gearbox failure as a mainshaft pinion broke up on the line. Luckly I was lent a car for the 2nd race and was able to gain another signature towards the upgrade.
14/10/2007 Mallory Park - holed a piston in practise, so changed engine then did the same in the race - not maybe our best outcome to date! but it was a great day out with the end of season lunch before the race.
14-15 Jully was a double header race at Anglsey, engine would not turnover at all so we missed practise. Pulled engine tobits with Andrew Turner and found that the bottom end was siezed - not good, borrowed an engine off John Turner and was allowed to have a go at dinner time - this engine stopped as well - even worse! so Andrew and I built an engine out of Mine and John's engine - this ran great round the paddock but as we were to find not so well at race speed as it missed like mad - but we got yet another finish even if we were last!!
The Brands Hatch Iota Trophy race (30/6/2007) was a tad damp as you can see, having made practise as I left the track to return to the pits the sadle tank dumped a gallon or so of methanol all over me - a great start! much rushing arround in the paddock and with help the tank pipe unions were repaired and off we went for the race - and it was even damper, but great fun the can ran well, I even passsed a couple of other 500's, had a couple of slight moments sideways down the grass, and rounding Druids to find a Cooper sideways across the track! but no harm done and made the finish in 23rd from a start position of 39th (I think) slight miss from the engine towards the end of the race and still suffering from 4th kicking out of gear, oh yes the gearing is still to low, I was all over the back of another Cooper in the corners just for it to pull away on the straights, finally got it by braking very late on Coopers straight.
Well back to Cadwell for a second try this time with the VSCC (20/5/2007) with a new engine fitted, the engine only arrived on the Saturday morning but we got it fitted and went and reaced on the Sunday, sligh oil problem durring practise and a fuel issue resulted in a black flag. So I started from the back of the grid, flag dropped and I was away nearly into the back of the Keift ahead of me so had to dodge down the middle, heck this is easy, got the firts straight and everyone passed me and dissapeared , gearing is way to low. Spun the Cooper coming into the Mountain, but missed everything, tidied it all up and straight back onto the track to the applause of the marshals. Gearbox problem, keeps flicking out of top under load.
Well we made it to Cadwell Park on the 7/5/2007 for our first outing on a race track - great fun but got to know the recovery marshals quite well, we seem to have a magneto problem and then oilled a plug - but we did race for 7 or 8 miles and boy what great time.
At the first event out in public in the UK since the 1950's was at Barbon Hill climb but the Kenya failed before it even made it to the line, due to valve/pushrod problems and jumped timing. So having sorted the timing and thought we had cured the valve problem it was off to Prescott for the 60th anniversary of Cooper Cars. The 1st practise was in the wet (and my 1st time up a hill in the car!) all went well throught the tricky corners, nearly lost it at Pardon but loads of right hand lock and away we went. snicked through the esses and round semi-circle, BANG........ stopped with yards to go. When we got back to the padock the engine was pulled out with many helpers and stripped, we got it to run intime for our second timed run but to no avail 20 yards and the same problem. So back to the drawing board.
Well the bodywork is finished. Now just engine , rev counter, seats, wheels .....to sort.
We recently purchased a Cooper 500cc racecar, the car is a mk2, the 10th production Cooper to be made(the mk1 were the 2 prototype cars) powered by a single cylinder 500 J.A.P speedway engine, running on methanol. We hope to get the car finished for the beginning of next year (2006) which is the 60th aniversary of Cooper Cars ltd. the cars is now having new bodywork made.
Cooper Cars ltd. 500 race car chassis no.5/10/48 The Kenya Cooper.
The "Kenya Cooper" was the 10th of the 12 cars that made up the original batch of cooper racing cars to be built to be sold to customers, from a long conversation with David Beckett who raced the Cooper over 45 years ago, the car was painted a pale blue/grey when he bought it (he thinks this was the original colour as there was no other coloured paint below) the car was brush painted bright red by a friend of Davids who was using the Cooper while he was away from Kenya in the UK.
Unfortunatly most of the Keya Coopers history is unknown, The original batch of 12 cars were all sold and raced in the UK in 1948, at some time after that our Cooper found its way to Kenya. The car was raced by David Beckett in Kenya from 1959 -1961. David Beckett bought the car from Chris Bates out in Kenya (for 40 Kenyan shillings) before he returned to the UK he sold the car on to a R.A.F officer/pilot? in Nairobi (based at RAF Eastleigh?) The car then turned up in chassis/suspension form at Full Bore Motors in Peckham, London who had re-imported the car in or arround 1998.
So is the "MK2 Kenya Cooper" the ex-Stan Coldham 1948 race car? Stan Coldham is listed as being one of the original buyers of the first batch of cooper 500's his car is listed as being pale blue. Stan and his cooper appeared late in the 1948 season (now in question)which would tie to a late chassis numbered car and it is listed as being light blue. Stan Coldham sold his MK2 to Bill Whitehouse ( between 25 June - 9 July 1949).
The history below in bold is known in italics is possible only but not known.
- Chris Bates ? - 1959 (Kenya)
- David Beckett 1959 - 1961 (Kenya)
- ? RAF officer 1961 - ? (Fred Burdick ?)
- Full Bore Motors 1998 (re-imported)
- "Tim" Cameron 1998 - 2005
- Richard & Karen Bishop-Miller 2005 - todate
If you have any information that might help, even vauge stories do you know a RAF officer who raced a cooper in kenya? who did Chris Bates get the car from ? please get in touch - cheers Richard ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Right hand side view of engine bay.
Left hand side view of engine bay
view from above rear axle.
Cooper Mk II Specification
JAP 500cc 4B Speedway Engine producing 45 b.h.p. at 6,000 r.p.m. Total loss oil system by Pilgrim pump using seperate oil tank. B.T.H. magneto. Amal carburettor, gravity fed from 1 1/4 gallon tank mounted in streamlined head fairing. Transmission by chain to Burman four speed gearbox and muti-plate clutch then by chain to the centre of the rear axle and through universal joint half shafts to rear wheels.
Chassis of box section ladder frame braced with tubular cross members and steel hoop framework for attachement of the aluminium body. Independent suspension, front and rear, by transverse leaf springs and Burman steering box. Cooper designed cast electron wheels with integral brake drums. Lockheed hydraulic brakes with twin leading shoes on the front.
Wheelbase 7' 1". Front Track 4' 1". Rear Track 3' 11". Weight 520 lbs.
The Autocar April 1948