Mick O'Dell, 1972, Silverstone, 850cc; #28
Mick O'Dell didn't start Racing until he was 31 and in only his 3rd full year of Racing he walked off with the Triplex Saloon Car Championship.
The Triplex Saloon Car Championship, by the way, was run in four classes:
There were ten rounds in the Championship, all at Silverstone on the Club circuit, except the final which was on the full GP circuit, and points were awarded on a 43-2-1 basis, with prize money for each round, so competition's fierce.
Working from the Chrysler/Simca dealership in Gt. Staughton, St. Neots, which he owns with brothers Jeremy (24) and Peter (22).
Mick started racing in 1969 with a Baggers Imp trade-in doing odd sprints. Development from therein on, with Jeremy thinking and Peter spannering, led to a dozen or so wins last year and an overall 2nd in class to Graham Janzen in the 850cc class of the Triplex Championship.
This season he decided to concentrate on the Triplex Championship for the 850 cc class, again with the Imp, although he never expected to win. The people he saw as the strongest competition in other classes were Mick Hill in the 5 litre Boss Crapi, Paul Gaymer in the 1300 cc Cooper and Terry McNally in the 1000 cc Angle Box. However, out of the series of 10 races, he won 9, including one in which he did the last 4 laps on a flat tyre.
The last race of all, the car let him down for the first time ever with petrol pump failure. All in all he did 16 races this year and won 14. The other one that he did not win, he came 2nd, and that was the first race of the season, when he was still running the car in.
The Imp is very much a hobby with Mick. It has never been out for testing or special practice, just taken to meetings and then back to the shop. This year he got two complete Hartwell engines, but he has done the whole season on just one, which has been stripped down once or twice to replace the bearings.
One thing Mick did admit was that he tended to bend valves through overrevving, "but only if the opposition gets a bit hot", and then they can usually straighten out the bent ones when they get home, and use them again !
The gearbox is fitted with Hartwell close ratio gears, straight cut for 3rd and 4th and standard 1st and 2nd and that's stood up to a season's racing too.
Mick did contemplate buying a Jack Knight gearbox and even went as far as contacting them, but their general lack of interest in making a sale put him off, so he didn't bother and now he's glad he saved the money.
Mick reckons his main advantage is that the car is ultra light with ally roof, floor and side panels, as well as the usual lightweight lids.
Mick didn't tell what tweaks he had done in the suspension tuning department.
As Motor Racing is so definitely a hobby with Mick, I asked about cost. With very few replacement parts needed this year, doing the whole season on the same set of Goodyears, apart from the one that got punctured, and discounting the hours put in by himself, by Jeremy on drawing boards, by Peter on spanners, and by Diane on lap boards, Mick reckons that he has made a reasonable profit.
He is REAL amateur and holding the Silverstone lap record for 850's at 1 minute 12.6 seconds - well done.
The end of the 1972 season.
4. Mick O'Dell 850 Imp / 1972. - p.43
Interviews with four amateur champions of British Motor Racing.
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Mick O'Dell (this file)
External links (Mick O'Dell = Mike Odell?)
File started: 28 July 2013
File version: 28 July 2013