Reg Bicknell

Reg Bicknell

Reg Bicknell was an entrepreneur from Southampton who built up a number of business' including Revis Automatics, managing amusement arcade machines, two pubs and the Revis Autos car dealer.

He became one of the most prolific and successful Formula 3 competitors, made all the more remarkable by the fact that much of this was achieved in a special, at a time when the production cars from Cooper, JBS and Kieft were dominant and one off cars were being steadily being squeezed from the scene.

Reg built his car, the Revis in 1951, with the help of fellow Southampton racer, John Habin. The car went through a considerable evolution though the years, Reg never being afraid to innovate. Three different engines, two types of rear suspension and a highly distinctive aerodynamic nose appeared through the years.

From the beginning, he showed ability at the wheel to compliment his engineering skills to chalk up some respectable results in his first year, in spite of only having a single cam Norton at the time: Brands Hatch 23rd September, Junior Championship heat, 4th and Brands Hatch 21st October, Open Challenge heat, 5th Junior Championship race, 6th.

Reg in the cockpit of the Revis. Photo courtesy Brian Trew.

Reg receives the 500 Club Trophy from the Marchioness of Camden.

For 1952, initially with a JAP and later a Manx Norton engine, he undertook a full season and quickly moved up from the junior races taking the 500 Club Trophy and the Autosport Trophy for non production cars at the end of the year:

Gosport 27th April, 2nd =,

Brands Hatch 18th May, 1st in Junior race heat, DNF in final,

Goodwood Whitsun 4th June International Trophy, 2nd in heat, 4th in final after battle with Don Parker,

Brands Hatch 22nd June, Junior race, 1st, handicap 1st,

Silverstone 28th June, 2nd to Charlie Headland,

Silverstone 19th July British Grand Prix, DNF,

Brands Hatch 4th August International Trophy heat, 3rd,

Silverstone 23rd August, Commander Yorke Trophy, DNF,

Silverstone 6th September, 2nd in race 2, 2nd on aggregate to Don Parker,

Goodwood 27th September, 3rd after setting joint fastest lap with Les Leston,

Brands Hatch 21st September, 3rd in Seniors heat,

Castle Combe 4th October, 1st in heat, DNF in final,

Silverstone 11th October, 2nd to Les Leston,

Brands Hatch 12th October, 2nd in Senior race heat, 2nd in final to Parker and ahead of Stuart Lewis-Evans.

Reg's efforts were recognised in this interview for Iota, published in December 1952

For 1953, somewhat at odds with his initial assertions in Iota, Reg adopted one of Mike Erskine's Starides alongside John Habin. He quickly became the fastest of the Staride drivers, regularly challenging for podiums. His results for the year include:.

Goodwood 7th April Earl of March Trophy, 2nd to Alan Brown and 0.4 ahead of Stirling Moss, Ibsley 18th April, 1st in heat, DNF in final after dicing with Leston for the lead, Brands Hatch 3rd May, 2nd in Senior race heat, 3rd in final behind Parker and Lewis-Evans, Silverstone 9th May International Trophy Meeting, 2nd to Parker after race long battle, Brands Hatch 24th May, 2nd in Open Challenge heat, DNF in final, 2nd in Senior race, 3rd in final, DNF in Coronation Trophy, Crystal Palace 25th May, 2nd to Moss and ahead of Lewis-Evans, Brands Hatch 14th June, 1st in Open Challenge heat, 1st in final, 1st in Senior race ahead of Les Leston, Crystal Palace 11th July, 1st in Elizabethan Trophy heat, DNF in final due to an accident in which he broke his shoulder and a marshal was killed, Brands Hatch 3rd August International Trophy Meeting, 1st in August Sprint heat, 3rd in final, 1st in International Trophy heat, DNF in final following collision, Silverstone 22nd August Commander Yorke Trophy, 1st in Non Production car race in the Revis, DNF in the Silverstone 100 after leading for much of the race, Crystal Palace 19th September Redex Trophy, 4th in heat, 6th in final, Goodwood  26th September, 3rd to Lewis-Evans by 0.2, Castle Combe 3rd October, 4th in heat, DNF in final, Brands Hatch 4th October, 4th in Senior race, 2nd in Open Challenge heat, Snetterton 17th October, 2nd in heat, 3rd in final to Bob Gerard and Keith Hall. Reg also drove a one off Tojeiro-MG is sports car races during '53 but does not seem to have enjoyed it and sold the car to Ormsby-Izzard-Davis at the end of the year.

For 1954 Reg reverted back to the Revis now with full aerodynamic bodywork on the front of the car and embarked on a busy and highly successful season:

Castle Combe 3rd April, 1st in heat of Ashmead Tankard, 1st in final ahead of Ivor Bueb (Ecurie Demi-Litre) and Stuart Lewis Evans, Goodwood 19th April Earl of March Trophy, 2nd to Les Leston and ahead of Don Parker, Brands Hatch 1st May, 1st in Senior race, 1st in Whitsun invitation "one again the battle was between the three maestros, Parker Bicknell and Lewis-Evans", Silverstone 15th May Daily Express Meeting, 8th following collision, Aintree 29th May Opening Meeting, DNF, Goodwood 7th June Whitsun Meeting, 1st and fastest lap, Crystal Palace 18th June, 1st in race 1 ahead of Keen, Bueb and Brandon, Brands Hatch 4th July, 1st in Open Challenge heat, 3rd in final, 3rd in Senior race to Parker and Lewis-Evans, Silverstone 17th July British Grand Prix, 2nd to Stirling Moss, Fairwood 24th July, 1st in heat, 2nd in final to Don Parker, Brands Hatch 2nd August Daily Telegraph Meeting, 3rd in Open Challenge heat, 3rd in International Challenge heat but did not figure in the final, Silverstone 21st August, 1st in Non Production car race, Crystal Palace 18th September Redex Trophy, 2nd in heat, 2nd in final to Bueb, Goodwood 25th September, 3rd in race 1 after dice with Parker and Moss, Brands Hatch 3rd October, 1st in Open Challenge heat.

By 1955, Reg was up against the latest Cooper Mk IX, driven by the very best drivers now including Jim Russell. Reg abandoned the the original car and still achieved many respectable placings but no wins:

Ibsley 30th April, DNF after a crash, Silverstone 7th May Daily Express International 50 Mile Race, 14th, Brands Hatch 29th May, 3rd in heat, Brands Hatch 12th June, 2nd in Senior heat, 5th in final behind Ken Tyrrell, Brands Hatch 10th July Sporting Record Trophy, 4th in heat, Aintree 16th July British Grand Prix, DNF, Crystal Palace 30th July, Senior race, DNF after a wheel came off, Brands Hatch 1st August Daily Telegraph Trophy, 2nd in heat, Oulton Park 27th August John Bull Trophy, 4th in heat, Brands Hatch 4th September Francis Beart Trophy, 2nd in heat, Castle Combe 1st October Avon Trophy, DNF, Brands Hatch 9th October Sporting Record Trophy, 1st in heat, 6th in final, Brands Hatch 26th December Yuletide Trophy, 2nd in second final

In early 1956, Reg put the original Revis up for sale but still took in a couple of races before moving on; Goodwood 2nd April Earl of March Trophy, 4th, Goodwood 21st May, 3rd to Jim Russell and Eric Fenning.

Reg also constructed a 1,500cc "sports car" based around the 500 but using a Hansa-Borgward four cylinder engine and five speed gearbox and went on to be a works sports car driver for Lotus in 1956, including finishing seventh overall, and winning the 1,100 cc class, at Le Mans with Emeryson driver, Peter Jopp.

Reg on the grid at Brands in '55 in Revis II

Our thanks to David St John for help with this profile. David runs a site dedicated to the music scene in Southampton

Please get in touch if you can tell us more of Reg's later life.