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The Need For Speed

Sierra projectGerry Speechley started his engineering career studying Engineering Technology at college from the age of 16 and went on to study Aeronautical Engineering and Design at Loughborough University in the UK. Whilst at Loughborough, Gerry got the need for speed and produced his own turbocharger kit for his Honda CB750 motorcycle using a Holset turbo from a lorry! Huge, unmanageable power gains ensued and the speed bug was caught.

This project was followed by a normally aspirated, highly tuned Honda CB900F for which Gerry built a monoshock suspension conversion on the rear frame, unheard of at the time on a road motorcycle but which has since been developed and is now used on almost all factory sportsbikes. At this time, Gerry was authorized by Russ Collins, the current World Record holder, as the European distributor and installer of his performance products.

The power and technology required in drag racing brought Gerry back to turbocharging and in 1983 he built a turbocharged and nitrous oxide injected Honda CBX1000 and he started racing in the street class in the UK. After running 6 consecutive 9 second runs, a whole second faster than his nearest rival, Gerry was banned from the class, so in 1984 Gerry entered his road ridden and legal motorcycle into the Unlimited Competition Bike class and at the 1984 World Finals at Santa Pod, UK, was beaten by Rod Pallant’s nitro methane burning, supercharged 1200cc Kawasaki Top Fuel bike “LA Hooker” in the final.

Later that year he entered and won the classic Brighton Speed Trials at his first attempt, with the only faster vehicle on the day being a current Formula 1 Grand Prix car, and he then broke the track record at the Weston-Super-Mare speed trials on his first run beating a factory Formula 1 Suzuki in the process to the absolute delight of the crowd. With a family on its way, Gerry stopped his racing commitments and bought a sensible 1300cc Ford Escort in 1986 for his young family, which he then proceeded to race tune with pistons, cams and carbs etc until he finally realized what he was doing, again, and sold it for a Ford 1600cc convertible, which he then promptly turbocharged six months later!

Resigned to the fact that absolutely nothing could be left stock, a turbocharged, nitrous oxide injected 2900cc Ford Sierra was to follow in the touring car style and this was probably the first car in the UK to sport vinyl graphics over the bodywork so popular today. Gerry finally swapped Fords for BMW’s and after tuning a 3.8 BMW M5, he found tuning and custom parts difficult to source for his E31 8-Series so whilst manufacturing his own parts for his car, he received requests from the BMW community to supply these and similar parts, and following two features in the most prestigious BMW magazines in the UK, PhoenixMotorsport was formed in an attempt to satisfy this demand.

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