Rare front-en­gined Mer­lyn’s race re­turn at Croft

Route set for new USA chal­lenge

Motor Sport News - - Historics -

A Mer­lyn Mk2 front-en­gined For­mula Ju­nior raced for the first time since 1961 when John Sykes took a dou­ble class win at Croft.

The Mer­lyn Mk2 was built for For­mula Ju­nior but was over­taken by the move to rearengined de­signs and only five were ever built. Two went to Zam­bia and dis­ap­peared and two went to the USA and were later be­lieved to have been de­stroyed.

The car now owned by Mer­lyn en­thu­si­ast Sykes was des­tined for the US but the or­der was can­celled and the chas­sis sat in stor­age at Mer­lyn’s Colch­ester base un­til Sykes bought it and com­mis­sioned Mer­lyn to re­store the car.

“It was the first time a Mk2 has raced as a his­toric For­mula Ju­nior,” said Sykes, who was elated to be top front-en­gined car in both races in what was only in­tended as a shake­down for the Good­wood Re­vival. An all-new route in the south­ern states of Amer­ica will fea­ture in the 2018 Tran­sAmer­ica Chal­lenge from the En­durance Rally As­so­ci­a­tion.

From a start in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 27, the rally will cover 12 states and 5000 miles be­fore fin­ish­ing in Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton three weeks later on June 17.

The route has been put to­gether by ERA Di­rec­tor and for­mer WRC co-driver Fred Gal­lagher with the sup­port of Amer­i­can his­toric rally guru Steve Mck­elvie.

It will take his­toric ral­ly­ing into new ter­ri­tory.

“Not only will the route take in the best of the beau­ti­ful south but also a fan­tas­tic range of gravel trails and for­est reg­u­lar­i­ties as we head to­wards the west,” said Gal­lagher.

He also has a Jor­dan 194 Sykes took two vic­to­ries

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