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photo: Leo Top

Zandvoort 1985: G. Masters finished 3rd

Greg Masters

The Classic Saloon Car Club (CSCC) Pre-65 Championship started in April 1983, and Greg Masters did each and every round, both 83 and 84. He was also on the committee of the organizers.

His Imp was nothing outrageous. Pre 65 rules require you race what is basically a standard car. So the Imp is restricted to a single Solex. It had lowered springs and adjustable dampers.

In 1983 he came 4th overal, and in 1984 he won. In 1986 he came 3rd.

March '84 at Silverstone, Masters' was the only Imp, though other Imps had been planned for the series. He won his class, but his most incredible experience was a race long battle with an enormous Ford Galaxie. The Galaxie would thunder away on the straights only to have the Imp nip round on the bends.

September '84 (at Mallory Park) it was already clear that he had secured the championship and he drove a fairly relaxed race. The only competition he got in that race was from a Morris Minor. There was one other blue/white Imp.
That season he won the Pre-65 Saloon Championship. But things were then the same as now: little attention for the lower classes, while the Lotus Cortinas (with twin Webers!) are fussed about. At the last race of the season (November; Brands Hatch), the commentator did mention Greg, stating that he had won the series with 82 points to date. He finished seventh overal.

1984 Pre-65 championship
DateCircuitRemarksIn classOverall
10 Mar Silverstone A fairly easy drive in this one; winning the class by 6 secs and set fastest lap in class.
7 Apr Silverstone In seven years of racing the hardest race I have ever had! A certain Ford Galaxie 500 (6.4 litres) was just faster than me on the straight, but much slower around the bends. Meanwhile Morris 1000 and Ford Anglia 1200 were getting away. Into the last lap (I was 3rd in class) I shut my eyes! and went for a gap that barely existed. I won the class by 0.6 seconds - Anglia and Minor dead-heated for second in class.
23 Apr Castle Come Another easy race; won the class by about half a lap, but just failed to beat my own lap record - that annoyed me!
7 May Oulton Park I won my class again, but only because a Lotus Cortina spun in front of the Morris Minor (driven by Patrick McCloy). I was driving at 10/10ths and he set the fastest lap: 1.7 secs faster than my fastest lap. I decided to see Andy Chesman about a new cylinder head after this scare.
27 May Mallory Park Disaster strikes! Fastest in class in practice, but was the victim of a first corner pile-up involving 4 Lotus Cortinas and 1 Hillman Imp. 3 Cortinas and Imp written off. I had smashed head-on into a stationary Cortina, who had spun at the head of the pack on a wet track. The impact was so severe that the gearbox casing broke!
I spent an evening in Leicester Royal Informary, having my head tested.
10 Jun Lydden Hill Credit here to friends Paul Blackmore and Rod Woodcock, who enabled me to go racing in a re-shelled car, 14 days after a write-off.
I was comfortably leading the class when in some confusion, I stopped after 9 laps, thinking that the race was over... it wasn't! Set fastest lap, though - a record.
14 Jul Cadwell Park I enjoyed this one. My first ever visit to this lovely Lincolnshire circuit and I was 6th fastest overall in practice. I was leading the class comfortably going onto the last lap, when a water pipe blew off the pump. I decided to go for a finish at a very reduced pace. I won the class, but destroyed the engine. A liner shifted in the block, the head gasket melted and the head was very warped... Back to Andy Chesman for some more bits! Set lap record as consolation.
12 Aug Snetterton Back to the usual business of trying to beat the Morris Minor and the Ford Anglia. It was a fairly hard race with the Minor and myself swapping the class lead. I'm pleased to say that I had class lead when the flag came out. I set a new lap record, too!
1 Sep Donington This one should have been fairly easy, since the circuit has a lot of high-speed corners - which is where the Imp has the greatest advantage. It was fairly easy: a class win and a new lap record.
15 Sep Silverstone I was beaten fairly and squarely here, not only by the Morris Minor, but also by the Anglia. However, 3rd in class secured the championship.
30 Sep Mallory Park Beaten again! Morris Minor cruised to victory while Hillman Imp spent race dicing with an Alfa Romeo. He took my lap record, too!
28 Oct Brands Hatch My greatest hour? In a wet race I pulverised all the class opposition and finished 6th overall out of 28 starters. Mind you, it's not easy driving an Imp in the wet - all the shortcomings in the handling department come to the force.

Winter '84-85 he attempted to sell his Imp (at the time he lived in Rugby), and he did not know if he wanted to continue racing Imps. But he did. In 1985 he still raced the Imp on occasions, although he did not have the time or money to pursue the championship in full.
In May he raced his Imp at Zandvoort.

Zandvoort, Historical Car Racing 18-19 May 1985
The rules were different for this race and the Imp was fitted with two Webers, a fast camshaft, an oil cooler, extra cooling unit, a Sport exhaust manifold and an electric fuel pump.
He had been very succesful in the tests, but blew a headgasket.
In the actual race, he started in position 8 (of about 24 cars). Immediately after the start, he overtook a Jaguar 420 and drew the attention of the commentator. While the enthusiastic commentator yelled: "Ladies and gentlemen, look what Greg Masters is doing now!", he overtook some Minors, A35s and Anglias in a corner. A few rounds later he finally got rid of the very fast Renault Gordini in the same tricky corner. Still four cars in front of him. Later on the leading Mustang had to drop out and a little while later a Lotus Cortina had to give up.
The little Imp was now hunting two big red Jaguars Mk 2. They were racing very well, going smoothly, but the Imp received the most attention from the commentator. Greg and his great little Imp finished 3rd overall and received a spontaneous applause from the public. The Imp's reputation in Holland was improved after that race.

He said he hoped to

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