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News 2011: Bartrum Goes Back to His Ford Roots

January 23rd

Sampson the Dane

In 2011, the Motorbase Performance team will break new ground by running Ford Focuses in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. It will be the first time that the team has run Fords, having concentrated on German cars in recent seasons, but for team boss David Bartrum it is the latest chapter in a love story with the blue oval that goes back more than two decades.

Escort Cosworth

Back in the late 1980s, a youthful Bartrum made his racing debut in a Ford. Okay, a P100 Pickup wasn't entirely a state of the art racing machine, but that is what David first raced. "Ford is where my heritage is; I'm Ford through and through," he said.

Escort Cosworth

After cutting his racing teeth in the P100 Pickup series, David moved into the Uniroyal Production Saloon Championship in 1989 with a three-door Ford Sierra Cosworth. The logical step on from there was the Esso Group N Saloon Car Championship with a three-door Cosworth and then a Sapphire Cosworth. The Esso championship of the early 1990s was a fabulous series and superbly competitive, and the grid was like a preview of the current BTCC paddock. On the grid with Bartrum were drivers like Matt Neal, Mike Jordan and David Pinkney and the racing was tremendous.

David Bartrum

Back then, Bartrum's Fords ran in a striking red livery with gold wheels and that could be a pointer to the colour scheme of the Airwaves-backed Focuses when the 2011 BTCC season gets underway.

"Basically, I retired from driving in 1992," said Bartrum. But that retirement didn't last very long and over the next three years he raced with Andy and Gary Britnell in Sierra Cosworths and Escort Cosworths in Production Saloon racing, often taking the second seat in two driver races.


Then, for the 1998 season, David bought Gary's Escort Cosworth and contested the Ford Saloon Championship. He won 11 out of 14 races and clinched the overall title in style. "That was the end of my run of Fords, but the marque has always been very close to my heart. I can throw a stone at Dagenham from where we are and we're going back to working with Mountune, who built our engines back then. We're going full circle and going back to our heritage and I'm genuinely chuffed to be going back to Ford."

Sierra CosworthFinally, there is a canine update as Motorbase makes a return to running Fords. David's own Great Dane called Sampson, used to sit proudly at the entrance to the workshop. Even today, his image is on a sign outside the workshop door. David's first business, the Dane Motor Company, was named after his beloved Sampson, who was part of the company logo. He was something of a lucky charm for the team and his image became a well-known sight in the Cosworth days.

Even though dear old Sampson died in 1992, his memory lives on with the Motorbase team. The logo has been on every race car turned out by Motorbase and even appears on all the team's trucks, cars and vans. Now, with a move back to Ford for 2011 it will be entirely fitting for Sampson's image to be on the BTCC Focuses.