1966 Unett on wing small aircraft
   

The Imp Site

Bernard Unett

22 July 1936 (Wolvey, Warwickshire) - 2000

Rootes made the mistake of asking Des O'Dell to run a touring car program. O'Dell decided that the roundy stuff was such a simple thing to do, he didn't need a highly paid driver: his friend and team head-mechanic, Frenchman Bernard Unett could do the job just as well - and the mechanic turned a triple British touring car Champ! The touring car world was turned upside down by Rootes and their rally improvisor director.
The opposition was shocked when in the pits they where lifting the cars having to pump the trolley jacks, only to witness Des O'Dell to come out with a compressor bottle to have his car sitting on 4 pneumatic stands within split seconds! Yes, this is an invention by Rootes' rally director!
[source]

1966

1966 Club Racing Championships:

The Westover Saloon Car Championship was a 12-event championship for 'Free Formula' saloon cars. Running at Brands Hatch, it was a season-long battle between cars and drivers from all over the country.
Driving an Alan Fraser 1-liter Hillman Imp, Bernard Unett won the 1966 championship (1st overall) with 41 points - 2nd in the up-to-1,000 cc class: Ray Calcutt, another of the Alan Fraser Imp Team (4th overal); 3rd in class: Roger Nathan, Hillman Imp.
It had been a closely fought championship: final result was undecided until the last race. If Brian Cox had won the 1300 cc class, he would have been outright champion, winning by a single point from Unett. Cox built and prepared his own car. Due to timing trouble, the car never moved off the line at the start.

Unett's Highlights:   March 20th
April 11th
May 29th
August 7th
September 18th  
October 2nd
October 16th
November 27th
December 27th
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st  
70.2 mph average
74.6 mph lap record
78.7 mph fastest lap
72.5 mph fastest lap
72.9 mph average
77.7 mph average
75.1 mph fastest lap
71.9 mph average
71.5 mph average

Bernard Unett, Westover Saloon Car Champion 1966
Westover Saloon Car Championship 1966: Bernard Unett

Alan Fraser looking pleased    
   

Nick Brittan wrote (December 1966):

BERNARD UNETT has been the busiest driver on the team; Alan Fraser even had to charter a plane for him so that he could be at two meetings in one day! Flying around the country really paid off, because he collected two class wins in two championships. [...]

The month really started at Montlhéry, about 20 miles south of Paris, when Ray Calcutt and I drove a pair of Imps against the top continental opposition. Part of Montlhéry circuit consists of the old piste de vitesse which is banked so much that it isn't possible to walk up it from the bottom edge to the lip.
The main opposition was obviously going to come from the fantastically fast Fiat Abarths driven by their works drivers Guichet and Ortner. Their speed down the straights was fantastic; on the banked section they must have been at least ten miles an hour quicker than we were. And that's a lot.

In the race I managed to get a fairly lively start and held them off for the first 4 laps. On the fast bits they would come past, but through the tight, twisty bits and the artificial chicanes I found I could run past them and outbrake them.

In doing this, I think I must have overworked my brakes; by the 4th lap I found I wasn't stopping too well. As I slowed down, Ray took up the challenge but there wasn't very much we could do about that extra ten miles an hour that they had.
Finally my brakes went out completely and I had a couple of disturbing sorties up escape roads. Ray finished 3rd behind the two Abarths and I limped home 5th.

One thing we did learn from it all was the strength of the opposition; this was important because next year we hope to do more meetings on the Continent.

In team order

The next meeting was a qualifier for the Westover Championship on the Grand Prix circuit at Brands. Ray and Bernard were entered in the Imps and they finished very neatly in team order to take 1st and 2nd place. Roger Nathan made it an all Rootes 'do' by bringing his blue-and-yellow Imp into 3rd place.

Auto News, the new weekly newspaper which provides lively race reports, set up a radar speed trap out on the fastest part of the circuit near Hawthorn Bend. Both the Fraser cars were timed at just over 100 m.p.h. - which for a one-litre car is really shifting.

The next weekend was the 'flying double'. Bernard was due to appear at Brands for the Westover in the Imp and at Snetterton in the Tiger for the final of the Autosport. He started off at Snetterton and, after practice, he was due to fly to Brands in a chartered plane. Fog made the plane late so, nothing-daunted, Bernard, along with Leslie Sherley-Price and Alan Fraser, jumped into a car and made it down to Brands by road.

Bernard practiced late for the saloon event and as a result had to start off the back of the grid. He put up a fantastic drive.
There were 18 starters and, having started last, he was up into 9th place by the first lap, 6th by the second and gradually he worked his way up until he lay second to Ray Calcutt who, at this stage, was holding a comfortable lead.
Ray moved over and let Bernard through on the last lap so that he could collect maximum points in the championship. The standing, as I write, is that Bernard is leading the class and is within striking distance of the overall title with only two meetings to go - so he needed all the points he could muster.

The plane had landed at Brands while the race was on and, immediately after the racing, Bernard and Alan hopped aboard and were up at Snetterton forty minutes later in good time for the final of the Autosport. In this race Bernard finished 2nd to Brian Muir's Willment Cobra to secure the championship title for the big class.

 

BARC International Motor Show 200:
Brands Hatch International Circuit, Kent 30 Oct. 1966
Ray Calcutt, driving a 998 Hillman Imp, entered by Alan Fraser Racing Team (Grp A), competition no. 74 - DNF the first heat because of oil. The second heat he finished 3rd in class, behind team mate Bernard Unett.


Heat 1
Pos Pos in class # Team / Entrant
Car- Engine
Drivers, Nationality Engine
vol. (cc)
Engine
Type
Group
Distance,
time
Fastest lap
Reason out
 
1
71 Team Broadspeed
Ford Anglia
John Fitzpatrick, GB 997 L4
A
10 laps, 19.23,2
1.53,0
 
 
2
75 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Bernard Unett, GB 998 L4
A
10 laps, 19.30,0    
 
3
73 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Nick Brittan, GB 998 L4
A
10 laps, 20.07,4    
 
80 H. Wilton
Austin Mini Cooper S 970
Liane Engeman, NL 999 L4
A
     
DNF
1
72 Team Broadspeed
Ford Anglia
Anita Taylor, GB 997 L4
A
    Accident
DNF
74 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Ray Calcutt, GB 998 L4
A
    Oil

Heat 2
Pos Pos in class # Team / Entrant
Car- Engine
Drivers, Nationality Engine
vol. (cc)
Engine
Type
Group Distance,
time
Fastest lap Reason out
  1 71 Team Broadspeed
Ford Anglia
John Fitzpatrick, GB 997 L4 A 10 laps, 19.25,0    
  2 75 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Bernard Unett, GB
998 L4 A 10 laps, 19.30,2    
  3 73 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Ray Calcutt, GB
(Nick Brittan, GB)
998 L4 A 10 laps, 20.17,6    
DNF   80 H. Wilton
Austin Mini Cooper S 970
Liane Engeman, NL 999 L4 A     Accident

Aggregate result
Pos Pos in class # Team / Entrant
Car- Engine
Drivers, Nationality Engine
vol. (cc)
Engine
Type
Group Distance,
time
Fastest lap Reason out
  1 71 Team Broadspeed
Ford Anglia
John Fitzpatrick, GB 997 L4 A 20 laps, 38.48,2    
  2 75 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Bernard Unett, GB 998 L4 A 20 laps, 39.00,2    
  3 73 Alan Fraser Racing Team
Hillman Imp
Ray Calcutt, GB
Nick Brittan, GB
998 L4 A 20 laps, 40.35,0    

    Bernard Unett 1967
 Brands Hatch March 1967, Race of the Champions

1967

Edward Lewis Trophy

For 1967 Bernard Unett and Tony Lanfranchi drove the regular team cars , with Ray Calcutt backing up on occasion. Again they were up against the Anglias, which were said to have 130 bhp, but which didn't handle as well as Imps. At the end of the 1967 season, the 1-litre British Touring Car Championship was won by an Anglia, Bernard Unett 2nd and Tony Lanfranchi 3rd. But the battle had been so very close. During the race the Imps and the Anglias would swap places and seldom was there more than two seconds at the finish.

Unett won at several of the high-profile flagship meetings, such as the Silverstone Martini event, May 1967 and most notably at the Silverstone British GP meeting, when his Imp lapped in 1 min. 53 sec.

Mallory Park, 14th May 1967
The saloon car entry was divided into under and over 1300 cc events, with both 15 lap races counting towards the British Saloon Championship.
The 1000 cc battle provided most of the excitement, for John Fitzpatrick had broken his diff in practice and started on the penultimate row of the grid. Tony Lanfranchi and Bernard Unett in the Fraser Imps, which are back on carburettors, were on second and third rows and led the class together as Fitz wormed his way up the field. When he caught them up on lap 6 they were side by side in front of him, but somehow going into the Esses on lap 8 he sandwiched himself between them. Next time round Unett and Fitz were side by side down Devils Elbow, with the Imp on the outside, but this gave the Imp the inside at Gerards and it wasn't until a lap later on the back straight that the Anglia got by and pulled away.
On the last lap Mike Young lost his 1300 Superspeed Anglia at Gerards, team mate Nick Britain had non started after breaking a con rod in practice and spun into the ditch. An unfortunate incident occurred on the slowing down lap at this point, when Steve Neal stopped to give Young a lift back to the pits. Lanfranchi came round the Gerards, swerved to avoid Neals open door, hit Tony Falls' Mini and spun to a halt, with the front of the Imp rather dinged.

20th May Silverstone, 1967
The best battle of the lot featured the Fraser Imps of Bernard Unett and Tony Lanfranchi and the Broadspeed Anglia of John Fitzpatric. These three were seldom in the same order two laps running and they were gobbling up several of the 1300 Minis as they tore round locked in combat.

    Martini 1967
20 May 1967, Martini Trophy, Silverstone (?)
   

Summer 1967 Press Release on behalf of the Alan Fraser Hillman Imp Racing Team:

Bernard Unett, 29, is a development engineer for the Ritz Group...


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Non-Imp info

1966 Club Racing Championships:
Autosport GT Championship: Bernard Unett in a Sunbeam Tiger won his class (Over 2000cc) and came 2nd overall, gathering 36 points.

1973 - Production Saloons (Britax) championship

1974 - Touring Cars (British) championship, Hillman Avenger GT

In 1974 Bernard Unett won the British Touring Car Championship in a CDT Hillman. In 1976 he did it again in a CDT Chrysler, which he repeated in 1977.

1974 RAC Castrol Anniversary British Saloon Car Championship:
Bernard Unett (entered by Chrysler Dealer Team) in a Hillman Avenger won overall.

CCC, 1976, May
National Group 1 saloons. Change in format is the addition at the bottom end of a new up-to-1300 class.
The new small class was totally wiped up by the excellent Avenger 1300 of Bernard Unett, who qualified 2½ seconds faster than the rest in practice. Bernard happily chugged around to a comfortable win, while the massed ranks of Alfas scrapped amongst themselves at the back of the field. However, more sorting of the Alfasud Ti's could see them worrying Mr. Unett eventually. The championship looks as though it could get quite interesting.

1976 - Touring Cars (British) Class C Bernard Unett, Chrysler Avenger GT

1976 RAC Keith Prowse British Saloon Car Championship:
Bernard Unett (entered by Chrysler Dealer Team) in a Chrysler Avenger GT won overall.

Total Economy Drive (Rally) 1977 in a Chrysler Alpine S; navigator: Colin Francis

1977 RAC Trientrol British Saloon Car Championship:
Bernard Unett (entered by Chrysler Dealer Team) in a Chrysler Avenger GT won overall.