Would you trust this man with your car, bike or anything mechanical?

The answer is, yes you should

Meet Jo White, the man who opened our eyes last year at Greve de Lecq while driving Paul Hardimanís

green Escort RS2000. This was a car that Jo had prepared and set up, including building the roll cage. He

took fastest time in his class first time out in the car that was essentially standard other than with his self

imposed tweaks. He is now extending his racing consultancy to Jersey as a result of several enquiries.

Jo was born in Somerset in the 1960ís surrounded by his fatherís interest in cars. His father used to hill

climb a Petty Jap in what is now regarded as the historic 500s and then moved on to vintage sports cars such

as HRGs and MGs in which he entered both hill climbs, classic trials and events such as Lands End and

Exeter with Jo as passenger/navigator.

Educated at Taunton school, Jo went on to study engineering at Somerset College of arts and technology.

He left college to join Reynard Racing cars where he rapidly rose to chief mechanic. He held responsibility

for sometimes up to six FF2000 cars ranging from 1979 to early 1980ís; the drivers included the likes of

David Leslie, Thomas Lauda, Frank Bradley etc and also ran the team for Chris Hackman (son of actor

Gene Hackman) in FF1600 for a season.

After Reynards, Jo became a mechanic in an Oxford garage. In the mid 1980ís he found his perfect job as a

race car fabricator/engineer for a Bicester company that provided fabrication services to most of the

Oxfordshire teams including Williams, Benetton, Jordan, March and TWR. He was also responsible for kit

car chassis development and production for the now defunct L Roadsters Ram Cobra and D type replicas.

Some of his projects included the prototype work on the unique Ram 4x 4 Cobra and the build from original

drawings of two genuine DB3S Aston Martins.

After repurchasing his Dadís original historic Petty 500, Jo began hill climbing competition life. After two

years of competing with the Petty he put his knowledge, skills and experience as a race car fabricator

/engineer into practice and designed and built his own marque of 500cc hill climb single seater called

Nemesis.

A new car was born after nine months of lunch breaks, evenings and weekends (Jo even slept at the factory

to save wasting time!). The car was competitive from day one and he had a lot of success in sprints and hill

climbs at most venues with both space frame and monococque versions (there was even an electric version

built for a Malaysian chap who broke the Malaysian electric land speed record!). Memorably, Jo also broke

the Pembrey class record in a sprint whilst running on only 3 of the 4-2 stroke cylinders. By the mid 1990ís

the Nemesis was revamped for circuit racing and won races immediately with a fast kart driver installed.

After the demise of the 500cc circuit racing Jo was asked to design and build a Formula Vee car that would

be driven by Callum Lockie. This car was once again quick out of the bag and unofficially lowered the F

Vee record during its maiden test outing at Pembrey, and was a race winner at its first meeting at Cadwell

Park.

Unfortunately, the above project got into difficulties because of its economically unsound funder and only

one of the intended six was ever built. Coupled with the disillusionment of being ripped off, and also

suffering from back problems, Jo had to succumb to a change in direction and took up employment as

maintenance engineer at Spax shock absorbers that originated in Jersey and had relocated to Bicester after

some years in Birmingham.

By the early 2000ís, and now a single parent, Jo decided to get back into motorsport so completed a

refresher engineering course (he found he could easily have been the teacher!). His friend Paul Hardiman in

efforts to get Jo back into motor sport racing, offered Jo a drive in his speed event car and, after a couple of

years mulling over this offer, Jo finally took up the challenge and was amazed to find he was still just as

competitive behind the wheel.

With the disease of racing now rooted back into his system, Jo gradually increased his events and to date has found Greve de Lecq the most challenging and dangerously exciting hill he has ever competed on; his only gripe in driving tin tops is that he canít see the front wheels as he does in open wheelers.

Jo is currently undertaking a new project that embraces greener motorsport and is a return to bike engined single seaters. The new car will debut sometime in 2010.

Photo: Paul Hardiman

The so-called green embracement of motorsport offers different avenues of exciting alternative fuel/power

source options and some of them will no doubt be adaptable to historic and classic vehicles. Joís

observations early this year whilst doing some project car work for Bugatti Guru Ivan Dutton confirmed that

going greener is not necessarily new, as most of the racing Bugattis are methanol fuelled.

Since December 2008 Jo started his own business in order to capitalise on his immense knowledge and

experience of motorsport - many services are offered by him or through the small network of talented

people that he knows. Having made so many friends in Jersey, he is keen to offer these services to the local

motorsport community and looks forward to seeing you all in August.

 

Jo White can be contacted by e-mail at info@vulcandezign.co.uk