The man himself with his trademark cheeky grin.
Barry in the office about to commence work circa 1974.
My mate Malcolm seems to know pretty much everybody in the racing world, I guess that comes from having been in and around it since way back in the 1960's. Going to any of the events at the big circuits is always fun as he can always spot somebody interesting to talk to and it's easy to get a really good look at the cars as you wander in and out of the various garages.
At the Grimsthorpe Castle Lombard classic rally this year he bumped in to an old friend - multiple championship winner Barry Lee. Barry's career is the subject of legend with over 1400 career wins to his name. According to Wikipedia He started as a jockey, and then a speedway rider for Hackney and then moved into autocross, rallying and rallycross. His greatest successes were in short oval hot rod racing where he won four world titles. After retiring from short oval racing Barry moved into raid rallying, making three attempts (1987-1989) at the Paris - Dakar rally with Ted Toleman. In 1994 he won the inaugural Eurocar V6 Saloon Car Championship. He successfully defended the title in 1995 before moving into the new V8 Championship in 1996. Barry has also competed in the British saloon car championship and the British Truck Racing Championship. He's a local lad, he was born in Wisbech, which is about 10 miles from Boston, Lincolnshire.
He's 79 now but still spritely and sharp minded, he hadn't seen Malc for some time and when they met it was just old buddies having a laugh as if they had never been apart. Barry leapt (I should point out here that his nickname was Leapy, so you see what I did there) at the chance of driving Malc's Renault 5 turbo, Malc was happy to be passenger for a change. I didn't see the timings and the Renault is an absolute pig to drive so I don't suppose his first go in it produced an earth shattering time. It was great to see two stalwarts of the sport enjoying themselves though. The commentator had a chat with them at the start line, Malc was none too chuffed when Barry explained that their combined age was 160 as Malc tells people he is 65. He's been 65 for 15 years now.
It was at that meeting that Malc had the idea of Barry coming to do a talk, Malc owns Boston Bowl bowling alley so the venue was already decided. Barry was enthusiastic about the idea and so were the public as the tickets sold fast. I think it's fair to say that the attendees got great value for money, with a good part of the evening being opened up for questions and answers. He had the room in fits of laughter several times. He's a good old fashioned no nonsense sort of bloke, foul mouthed at times, funny at times, serious at times but entertaining all the time. He's written a couple of books, he had a number of copies of his latest one available for sale. They sold like hot cakes and everybody that bought one had the chance to get it signed. It's called The Other Side of Winning, well worth a read it is available from Barry's website - www.barrylee.co.uk, he also has a listing for it on ebay.
I think everybody that was there will agree that he is an incredible talent in the car and out, a great orator that is fun to listen to and his experience in the racing world is second to none. Food was available at the event, I had a delicious burger and chips, there was a licensed bar as well, which is always a bonus.
The next event will be on Wednesday, January 31st 2024 at 19:30 when Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood of sidecar racing fame will be coming down to talk about their incredible career. Steve has two British titles to his name, Ryan has 3, this year they were 3rd in the world championships. That should be a great evening too, I am really looking forward to that one.