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First driven at Goodwood by Jon Goddard-Watts, founder of Screwfix Direct, in 1961, the original Bond Formula Junior was only driven twice in period by the Bond team. Over 55 years later, the car and its sister car will be challenging their Formula Junior rivals, including course record holder Jack Woodhouse in the Lotus 20/22, for the class win at the prestigious Droitwich motorsport event.
The Bond Formula Junior was first conceived in 1959 by Jon Goddard-Watts and Lawrie Bond, the chairman of Bond Cars Ltd. Although Bond Cars were most well known for their creation of the three-wheeled Bond Minicar, Lawrie’s first love was motorsport, and often used the profits from his commercial designs to fund his latest racing car projects. His earlier efforts, the 500cc Type-B and Type-C Bonds, competed in hill climbs and sprints but upon the formation of the new Formula Junior class, he decided to create a new kind of racing car that would prove to be well ahead of its time.
The prototype had a highly unconventional design and featured a stressed skin monocoque shell – two years before the Lotus 25 GP, which is often considered to be the earliest monocoque racing car. Unusually for a Formula Junior car, the Bond was also front-wheel drive and powered by a Cosworth-tuned Ford 105E engine and gearbox, inspiring a favourable first impression by the motorsport community.
Although its debut was eagerly awaited, the Bond Formula Junior failed to achieve any success in the hands of Goddard-Watts, who had also competed at Chateau Impney in period, and the car then languished unused at Bond’s Loxwood factory until the company folded in the mid-1960s. A second Bond Junior – Mark II – had been put into production, but was never completed.
The Mark I and the parts of Mark II were then sold to Chris Featherstone, who raced it throughout the late 1960s until it became badly damaged in an accident. It was then put into storage until 2000, when Chris was convinced to repair the car by the president of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association. Although Chris was able to repair the Bond, and competed in a Formula Junior race at Monaco, it was still very delicate and proved to be unreliable.
Jon Goddard-Watts then decided to seek out the car, and purchased it along with the parts of Mark II in 2008. Determined to see it given the opportunity it deserved in the 1960s, he entrusted Andrew Tart Motor Engineering to fully restore the Bond and breathe life into the Mark II car, putting it together for the first time.
Since then, the Bonds have become formidable opponents in the historic Formula Junior championships, driven by Andrew Tart and Mike Walker – who will both compete at Chateau Impney in just over a week!