Skoda 'Ladybird 14'
The Derek Walker-built ' Ladybird 14' Skoda
BUILT : During the winter of 1978/79 by Derek Walker
CLASSIFICATION : Special Saloon / Donington GT car
ENGINE : Cosworth FVD 1970cc ( 1979-81 ), Cosworth BDA 1498cc ( 1982-84 )
RACED BY : Derek Walker ( 1979-81 ), Tom Powell ( 1982-84 ), John Flack ( 1985-86 ), Harry Simpson ( 1986-90 ),
Barry Moignard ( 1990-date )
CURRENTLY : alive and well in the Channel Islands
NOTES : Following my informal interview with retired racer/car builder Derek Walker in 2016 I described him as 'Mr. Oulton Park' as he`d raced and won there so many times he`d lost count. Derek is so respected in those parts for not just being a winner there but having always raced in cars of his own construction, which he called 'Ladybirds'. Most were Clubmans cars but by the mid-1970s Derek was building up special saloons and by 'Ladybird #14' created his most successful one yet. This was a self-built chassis with Skoda coupe bodywork, suspension from a Chevron B8 and a Cosworth FVD 1970cc engine. Initially it had full sized side pods before it was revised for 1980 with the radiator moved into the front and more aero side pods fitted. It was that 1980 season Derek had most joy with 10 class wins and won the 2500cc class of the lucrative Donington GT Championship ( not outright as wrongly stated on some internet sites ). Derek had some fantastic duels with another Skoda-shod veteran Tony Sugden winning the class 39 points to 30 to take the class and the overall runner-up spot to Mick Hill.
His 2 record lap times at Oulton Park ( 61.7 secs ) and Mallory Park ( 46.9 ) in 1980 were even faster times than the over 2500cc cars. 1981 saw Derek the GT class runner-up to Walter Robertson`s version and after 3 successful seasons sold the yellow car on.
The car re-appeared in 1982 in the hands of Tom Powell, now with a Richardson 1498cc BDA for the competitive 1500cc class in both the Donington GT and BARC Wendy Wools saloons. 2 class wins noted were both a Mallory, a circuit which seems to have suited the car throughout. It was black and orange in 1983 but the interesting photo in the gallery is the Rich Craner one with the car in pure white and a slant bonnet, date as yet unknown.
John Flack, who like Powell had previously raced special saloon Minis had her next for 1985/86 before the car left circuit racing and headed for the hills with first Harry Simpson and then to current owner Barry Moignard in 1990.
The car was a regular competitor on the Bouley Bay hillclimb on Jersey and featured in Retro Cars magazine in July 2006. By then she was running a 3.5 Rover V8 unit and it seems the cars history wasn`t know to Barry at that point until 10 years later when Walker got in touch.
The car is still competed today by Barry`s daughter.