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Memories of a Giant

Memories of a Giant

One of my fondest recollections of the early Dunlop days was the chance to meet and work with the splendid Ian Norris. ...more> Perils of the Pitlane

Perils of the Pitlane

The pits at Le Mans or Spa are a cold, miserable place to be. They're also somewhat less than safe, especially if ...more> The Cat's Final Snarl

The Cat's Final Snarl

This was a day I'll always remember with a certain sadness. The Broadspeed ETC Jaguar V12C was undeniably fast, but ...more>
Derek Freathy with XK120

A Lifetime of Competition

I've spent considerably more than half my life involved with - and frequently stressing about - those dark grey things that come between a car and an expensive trip to the Armco. It all began in the early seventies when I joined Dunlop Competitions department, then under the direction of the legendary Dick Jeffries. As Car Racing Manager I quickly learned that a tyre always has sufficient tread left to reach the scene of the accident. The trick was to try to ensure the finish line arrived before that happened.

Dunlop pulled out of Formula One in 1970, and it fell to me to carve out territory in one-make formulae like Formula Ford, and to secure clear leadership in saloon and sports car racing. It was a salutary lesson. Instead of the unlimited budgets of F1, we were dealing with real money that had to be earned by real people. The challenge was to deliver maximum performance at a price people could afford.

Martini Porsche in pitsThose were mad years, dashing from circuit to circuit. Most weekends would find me lying on freezing, damp concrete with a temperature probe in my hand and the fundamental orifice of a Martini Porsche in my ears. In the week I'd be in a pretty similar situation but, as we'd be tyre testing, I could enjoy the luxury of usually being in Britain and less likely to have another car running over my legs.

Throughout these years, Dunlop had continued to make a small number of vintage tyres each year - far too small, as I was constantly reminded at circuits throughout Europe. I learned a great deal about vintage and classic racing cars and their unique demands.

By 1981 I'd been punished for my persistence by being given the responsibility for all of Dunlop's competition involvement, bringing me into contact with one of the few sports less sane than car race and rally - motorcycle racing. It makes up for it by being even more fun.

I left Dunlop in 1987 to set up Concours Tyres.

So here we are today. The cars for which I provided tyres in the seventies are themselves classics, and I'm showing a certain vintage patina myself. I'm no longer eager (or possibly able) to spend 36 hours in the pits at Spa, fuelled by adrenalin and Belgian fries. I believe that competition tyres need hands-on support, and I'm not in a position these days to spend every weekend at race circuits. So I've decided to discontinue supplying tyres - which I don't feel I can support adequately - and focus on tubes - which I most definitely can.

This web site shows you my range of tubes and rim bands. Every one of them is backed by my personal experience, and I'm here to share that experience with you. By limiting my range I've got the time to talk to you, to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years and to help you get the best performance from the best products on the market.

If you want to know what that can do for you, pick up the phone and dial the number below.

Derek Freathy, 2015

Call us on +44 (0)1386 701001