On leaving school Bert Ray started work with Jack Knight Developments Ltd and during his ten years there spent some time developing the first gearbox built specifically for a rear engined racing car. He then went on to work for Brabhams where he and Denny Hulme (later to go on and win the 1967 World Championship) shared the mechanics' duties - "he used to be the welder and also used to drive the truck".
In 1968 Bert then left to set up Ray Race initially carrying out work for the many racing car firms in the south London area, particularly Pallisers.
Highlights of the '70s
In 1971 Ray began producing complete FFs and in the following year American Jas Patterson raced a Ray Steele 72F at the first ever Formula Ford Festival run at Snetterton in October. Stephen South, a former British kart champion, was 1973's big find and he won 5 races finishing 3rd in the Wella for Men championship and 4th in the BOC series in his black and gold Ray 73F with inboard rear brakes and side mounted radiators. 1974 brought South 11 wins and 2nd in the BOC championship in his '74 model Ray. The 1974 Ray all in price ready to run started at £2,050 depending on engine choice.
In January 1976 Ray advertised in Autosport the following models for sale - FF76 (FF), FF276 (FF2000), F376 (F3) and FA76 (Atlantic).
For the remainder of the '70s Ray reverted to FF1600 and FF2000s while also being Crossle's agent in London. A new model design was brought out in 1979.
The early '80s were a successful period for the Ray FF1600s - Trevor Stiles won the Marchant & Cox championship in 1980 and John Oxborrow took it the following year. In 1981 Tony Sinclair (Bert's nephew) finished second driving a Ray in the Pre '74 series and in 1982 Andy Ackerley won the Championship of Brands and his Ray was used a base for a model by Arney & Taylor.
Meanwhile, Bert Ray had visited South Africa to supervise the delivery and assembly of the 1st 82F chassis where it qualified on pole in Kyalami plus the first inboard suspension FF1600 was shipped to German RayRace agent AGM Tuning for Helmut Mundas.
A new FF2000 was announced at the '83 Festival and in '84 Chris Ringrose, run by Rob Creswell Racing Services, won the Championship of Brands for the 3rd year running for Ray FF1600s.
1985 saw 3 German run FF2000s running in the EFDA Euroseries and Tim Harvey was the winner of a Ray 85F in the Triple C "Take a Ray" competion from over 1300 entries - one of their most popular competitions ever.
The '88 car was new "from the ground up" with Andy Charsley winning the two final FF1600 rounds and Martin Brown taking several FVee races. 1989 saw the start of Formula Renault with Ray running a works team as well as continuing to build FF1600s and FVees.
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Highlights of the '90s
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