NZ Classic Driver
JIM RICHARDS ON BARRY PHILLIPS
I first came across Barry Phillips when I started racing my Anglia around 1965 when he owned Papakura Motors and his good mate Bruce McLean owned Papakura Wreckers. They were good mates of Murray Bunn, so I used to visit both premises regularly to gain all the tips on racing and enjoy the ‘social festivities’ that went on. Those guys were very helpful to me in the early days and early influences on my career. I also raced several races in the Anglia they were competing in but never actually raced against them as they were way ahead of me as shown by Barry winning the Group 2 New Zealand Saloon Car Championship.
I was involved with Barry off the track a bit through the Auckland Car Club and the New Zealand Racing Drivers’ Club, while my wife Fay was involved with The Dogbox Club doing fundraising for safety equipment, etc. She really enjoyed this period of racing, helping Barry’s wife Jeanette together with Kath Fahey and Margaret Boyle at various BBQs and functions.
My competing experience against Barry was in the 0–1000cc class of the New Zealand Saloon Car Championship driving Brian Patrick’s Hillman Imp mainly under Sidchrome colours. Over the few years I found the racing absolutely competitive, with Mini Cooper drivers such as Alan Boyle, Rod Collingwood, Reg Cook, Barry and myself hotly contesting some very heated battles. You could always rely on Barry to be fair. When you tried to go around or under him on braking, he gave you space but you had to work hard for it. The Minis had me a bit on straight-line speed but I could make up a bit on handling and won some races on the final drag to the finish line!
Probably the best race of this era was the final championship round at Pukekohe in 1972 when a huge battle between Barry, Rod, Reg and myself saw the crowd on their feet. We used the long circuit using the Elbow that saw some hairy out-braking going on. The race was so exciting I can’t even remember who won!
Barry was without doubt one of the most under-rated drivers I raced against as he never really got true credit for his ability and success. My opinion of him as a driver was well proven by his winning highly competitive saloon car championships in a Group 2 Lotus Cortina then an Ardenpowered 1-litre Mini-Cooper. I also admired Barry for his input with the NZRDC and the NZIGP Association as he put in a lot of work behind the scenes at MANZ conferences and of course The Dogbox Club. He is a well-deserved champion and a great mate whose contribution to motorsport will always have my respect.