Lincoln Waterman

Lincoln Waterman

The man who won a Bushy Park title with the oil on low.

Equipped with a Ford Escort GT – he bought it because “in those days cars were cheap, and Ford was a car I always liked” – Lincoln Waterman started doing hill sprints in 1969. The Escort, which ran under competition number 100, got steadily faster, and Waterman was among competitors in the first Chancery Lane dirt track race meeting in 1971.

He went on to race at Bushy Park – “one of the most demanding tracks in the region” – where he remembers his hardest competitors as the Vauxhall Vivas of Owen Deane and Mike Straughn, but he was a winner. He became even more of a threat when he bought English visitor Mike Crabtree’s Escort RS1600 after the November 1972 international; the first engine that went into this car was an old 1600cc ‘Kent’ engine out of a crashed Cortina and, once the road-holding problems had been sorted – he credits Mike Atwell and Bizzy Williams for spending a night “sorting it out” prior to going to Guyana – he was right on the pace.

His mechanics Phil Johnson and Elmer Davis rebuilt a BDA engine bought from Dave Brodie, which ended up in the Barclays Escort that won at the 1974 Easter Bank Holiday meet, which Waterman remembers as “my greatest moment” . . . but it was not a weekend without its complications.

This engine was rebuilt twice, first shortly after getting it from Brodie, then again right before the Easter meet, after it developed a problem traced to the rings during Saturday qualifying; that night, Lincoln woke up a certain Mr Alleyne at Federal Motor Spares to get the necessary parts, then Johnson rebuilt it overnight, before they spent much of Sunday driving round Bushy Park to run it in.

On race day, Waterman’s seat broke off its mountings and Mike Gill welded it back, then the oil pressure light came on halfway through the final Handicap. Even so, Waterman held off Mike Atwell in the Terrapin to win, and ended the day Champion Driver in what he described as “a car which had been raced so hard that all the bearings and rings had been destroyed and there was no oil pressure reading from the engine.”

The car, which held the class lap record at Bushy Park, was sold to a driver in Trinidad & Tobago, after which Waterman settled down to concentrate on family and business. While he still follows the sport closely, he wouldn’t get involved again, as he says “the cost of motor sport nowadays is crazy.”

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