Hawke Registry
Photo Collection of John Bicht
Page One

By the age of thirteen John Bicht wanted to race cars. He bought and devoured every sports car magazine available. If he had wanted to race oval tracks it might have been easier but he wanted road racing - particularly heading toward Formula One. Figuring out how to get into racing was hard in those days. There was little money and no source of serious information. He decided that since he would never have the money to afford to pay others to take care of his future race cars, he would have to learn to do it himself. Therefore, John started working as a mechanic.

He finally got a chance to own and race a couple of very out-classed cars with which he cut his teeth. He raced them at Marlboro, Maryland and Limerock, Connecticut. Then in 1970, he bought the Titan Mk6 from Fred Opert that Tony Trimmer had raced at Sebring. It was the first competitive car that he could sort of afford. John then set out for a nearly full season of SCCA Nationals. Once a few of the car’s limitations were improved, and he got back to the same track a second time, he got quite competitive – eventually winning the Summit Point National event.

The following year John bought one of three Lotus 69 FF to be imported to the U.S. He led many a race only to have small problems get in the way. He was planning to take this car to England and hoped to get some sort of support from Lotus Components (who used to build Lotus production race cars) but the company closed that fall. He sold the Lotus 69 and planned to buy the best used car he could find the following spring.

Formula Ford had become so popular by 1972 that there were no good cars available new or used when he arrived in England in the spring of that year. He needed everything, a car, a job, a tow car, a trailer, all of it. New cars weren’t available for months! In the end he felt he had to buy a Hawke DL9 even though he did not like the looks of it. Finding all the rest of his needs took months and a lot of mistakes. He started out with $6,000 and in months had nothing left, but he had all the stuff necessary including a job at Hawke as a welder. It didn’t pay much. He rented a bedroom with shared bath and kitchen and a straw mattress!

No one even bothered to tell John about the Firestone Torino tires he would need. As it turned out, everyone needed a minimum of three sets. The tread depth had a lot to do with speed. Nearly bald was the fastest in dry, and then progressively more tread was needed up to nearly full tread for “wet” tires. And it did rain A LOT! It took John all year to get the car running moderately well and get everything else in his life in place. The car needed lots of camber and toe-in to overcome the suspension geometry. For the most part, John ran in the top five or six in the main championship that British Oxygen sponsored. The racing was ferocious - hard and fast with lots of crashes. Not a bit like the SCCA.

There were races every weekend and sometimes two per weekend. While trying to make the DL9 go better he tested weekly, usually at Brands Hatch, usually 100 laps a day. He finished his career having driven more than 2,000 miles there. He learned a lot in 1972 by trying lots of different things and more so in 1973.

Throughout this time David Lazenby and John spoke quite a lot about everything from car design to the U.S. race car market. David and John spent the winter designing and testing the DL10.

They spent the first half of 1973 trying to fix all the wrong things on the DL10. By mid season the car was finally working well but John became aware that his “works” Scholar motor was less than it should have been. A friend loaned him a motor, but the crank broke after three laps. At the end of the year John had a good motor for the last race – the Formula Ford Festival at Snetterton. Lazenby finally saw that John was as good as he had been insisting for two years! John nearly won the race!

By this time John was managing the shop and assisting with a variety of chores, including looking at an existing Formula Two/Atlantic project and deciding it wasn’t a good design. 1974 dawned and within months John had argued with David and left the company. He has never been certain it was a good idea.

Several years later John built a revised Lotus 69 Formula Atlantic. His design skills continued to improve and he made this older car work properly after considerable changes to accommodate stickier tires and big wings. He didn’t have enough money for new tires so he bought F2 take-offs. It was years later – after he sold the car to a friend in the states – that he found out he motor had 10.5 to 1 compression instead of 12 to 1.

The photos on the next few pages are some of the photos that John and others took during this period. They are a real treasure. Enjoy!


The first time out on a test day at Limerock Park
with the ex-Trimmer Sebring Titan MkVI 1970.
(John bought the car from Opert having one race on it - Sebring)

The same day Limerock test day) and
car (ex-Trimmer Sebring Titan MkVI 1970) at the hairpin.
 
   

John at Brands Hatch in 1972 in Hawke DL9 entering
Paddock Bend.

John at Brands Hatch in 1972 in Hawke DL9 in
Bottom Bend.
   

Slightly further along at Brands Hatch,
John is passing Pato Nunez?

Just after the start of the Brands Hatch club race.
 
   

Before the start of a race at Brands Hatch, they are looking at
something leaking and are about ready to stop John from
being in the race. His wife talked them out of it.

John at a SCCA National race in U.S. with the
ex-Trimmer Titan MK VI. It could be at Nelson
Ledges or Summit Point.
   

At the same National, Bill Scott is to the right of the picture
in the lead, and Tom Reddy on the other side of him,
John is in 5th place.

Another photo at the same National.
 
 
   
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Please send comments (and thank yous..(ed)) to John Bicht at:
Email: versa@versalab.com

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