Tour Britannia-RICHARD LLOYD 1945-2008
Alec Poole remembers with affection his old friend, Richard Lloyd who died so tragically last weekend :-When we first discussed our idea of staging Tour Britannia with Richard Lloyd, he was extremely enthusiastic. He recalled the story how he was unable to compete in the original Tour of Britain and instead got James Hunt to drive his Camaro and go on to win the event. When he said, "Right, consider me in for Tour Britannia. I will either find the original car or build a replica", we realised that not only was he serious but that others would react in the same way.As our hero couldn't find anything reasonable in the UK, he bought a Z28 on E-bay from the States. A basket case was duly unloaded from a container some four weeks later, but, undaunted and with time running out, Richard proceeded to make one car out of three donor vehicles.The result was that Richard missed our Welcome Dinner on the first evening and did not arrive until after midnight with his entrant, Alan Rivers. He said that he had encountered a few 'teething problems' along the way with his new car which had never before turned a wheel. It was a little embarrassing for the organisers that, as Paddy Hopkirk was flagging off the starters at 6:30 am the following morning, the intrepid pair and their Camaro were getting scrutineered in the short queue to the Start Arch five minutes before they were due off.Their day didn't exactly go like clockwork and everyone assumed that, as their technical problems escalated, they must have given up the unequal struggle and packed it in. There was certainly no sign of them by the time dinner was finishing in our HQ hotel that evening. Everyone, that is, except Richard's wife, the lovely Philippa. She was helping us as one of our Liaison Ladies. She obviously knew Richard's tenacity better than we did and put a couple of plates of food and a few bottles of wine to one side.Most of the others had gone to bed when a couple of guys wandered into the hotel looking like coal miners who had just finished their shift. It was only when we noticed that underneath all the dirt were a brace of old Seventies Nomex did it dawn on us who they were. When they had consumed a few drinks, our conversation turned to plans to recover the Camaro from wherever it had been abandoned but these were rejected in the most robust terms. We were told in no uncertain fashion that the Camaro was in Parc Fermé and was in tiptop condition ready for the morrow !Their problems on day two were actually worse than those on day one. However this is when Richard's secret weapon came good - his black book. Goodness only knows how he rounded up people and places to get the thing rebuilt every time it stopped, but he did. Needless to say there was no sign of them that night and all assumed they had by now given up the unequal struggle. There were stories doing the rounds of them being seen going the wrong way on a low loader and so on. That is all except Philippa who had put the usual sustenance to one side. Needless to say our two Miners turned up around midnight again.Day three was more of the same except whenever anyone saw them, all pleaded with Richard to give up and pack it in. All such pleas were firmly rejected. Not only did they finish Tour Britannia, but Richard had a steely glint in his eye. He announced that they had plans for a new engine with double the power for the following year as he wanted to get his own back on this Camaro and teach it a lesson.What a star. What an inspiration to others. We will miss him greatly.As a miniscule gesture to Richard, we are going to put the number 66, his Tour Britannia race number, to one side and not issue it again.