The Story
Tribute to the Kiwi Outlaw

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Barry Butterworth began his speedway career in 1956 racing TQs at the age of 17 and by the late 60's he was a household name in both Auckland and Sydney as a star midget driver. Barry became known driving offenhauser and chevy II-powered cars in the 60's and early 70's and in the late 70's and early 80's he ran VW-powered midgets and became a cult hero to a whole new generation of fans. He became a top sprintcar star during the 80's as well as speedway promoter. In the early 90's, suffering the debilitating effects of emphysema, he went back to driving midgets and died in 1993 at only 54 years of age. The speedway career of Barry B is followed here with the aid of twenty six original paintings especially prepared for this story. Read on – and relive the life and times of an old-school, hard charging, quintessential Saturday Night Warrior who mixed it with the best and often won.

The Early Days
Son of Suzette and Len Butterworth, Barry began a career as an apprentice jockey at the age of 16. It was a natural progression since Len was a prominent Auckland horse owner and trainer. Barry rode several winners at provincial meetings but after a number of bad falls he was not fit to ride and ready to find something new to do. One Saturday night during this period he, and a few mates, went down to Western Springs Speedway and Barry was immediately taken with the idea of  riding a speedway motorcycle. However, his dad was less than impressed with this idea and Barry was soon "persuaded" to try TQ midget racing instead. He began driving the ex-Fred Parkinson TQ (#40) at 17 years old in the 1956-57 season. For the 1957-58  season he purchased Johnny Missen's TQ (# 18) and drove this through the 58-59 season as well. Barry became a top-line TQ driver and backmarker at Western Springs. He was first in the North Island TQ Championship in 1959. For the 1959-60 season Barry, having left home and being newly married, decided to pursue his initial Speedway ambition and raced a solo motorcycle. However, it was not his forte at all, and after an unsuccessful season, which included many falls, Barry gave the idea away. Towards the end of that season he was back on four wheels in a borrowed TQ and finished third in the Auckland Championship. He then purchased the ex-Ray Armstrong TQ, which he renumbered as #81, and during 1960-61 he raced it with considerable success at Kihikihi speedway.
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Barry began racing TQs at the age of 17 in 1956. For the 1957-58 season he purchased the ex-Johnny Missen TQ #18 and over the next two seasons he became a top line driver.
Barry in his first midget – the ex Hogan V8-60. In the car, he won the midget feature on the first, second and fourth nights in 1961-62 season at Western Springs.
The 60s

For the 1961-62 season back at Western Springs, Barry purchased the ex-Ron Hogan V8-60 midget (#7). He was sensational from the start winning the midget feature race at the first, second and fourth meetings! He was soon a backmarker and was chosen in the NZ team (along with Ian Holden, Ross Goonan and Lloyd Nutt) to face a group of imported Aussie cars and drivers. He capped off his first season in midgets by finishing third in the 1961-62 NZ Midget Championship behind Ian Holden and Lloyd Nutt.

At the end of the season Barry decided to upgrade and purchased the ex-Lloyd Nutt car #2. He renumbered it #7, painted it red and it became the Mintex V8-60. Barry was immediately competitive but early in the 1962-63 season, while trying to make a bold outside pass at Western Springs, he executed a wild series of flips before coming to rest upside down. In those days there were no roll bars, let alone cages, and after he was extricated from the car he was taken to hospital where he stayed for several days with head and neck injuries. After an enforced layoff of a number of weeks, he bounced back to drive well for the NZ team against an Australian side. Towards the end of the season he won the 1963 Waiwakaiho Midget Championship in New Plymouth. For the next season Barry installed a converted overhead valve V8-60 motor in the Mintex #7, but it was plagued by motor troubles from the beginning. For much of the season he switched to the ex-Stud Beasley McGee Holden, which proved much more reliable than the V8-60. He won a feature in the Holden and then finished second to Ian Holden in the Auckland Midget Championship. In the mean time, Barry had located an offenhauser motor, purchased it from a drag racer, and installed it between the chassis rails of #7. Second night out in the Mintex Offy he sensationally won the 1963-64 NZ Midget Championship (two wins and a second placing) from V8-60-mounted icons Ian Holden and Ross Goonan (second equal). It was the changing of the guard for the midget division at Western Springs – the young pretender had become NZ Champion. That season he also won the 1964 Waiwakaiho Midget Championship.

With new chassis rails, some new panels and a new red and white paint scheme, the Mintex Offenhauser was shipped to Australia for a four-month campaign. Before leaving for Australia, Barry drove a couple of nights at Western Springs in a V8-60 powered car (the ex-Ray Revell car fitted with a V8-60). Unfortunately, a radiator hose burst on the second night inflicting nasty burns to both of his legs. That put him out of racing for a few weeks and although he had been advised to take a much longer break, Barry was determined to race in Australia. First night out at Rowley Park he won the South Australian Speedcar Championship (despite having to be lifted in and out of the car). He also won races in Perth but his trips to the Sydney Royale and the Brisbane Exhibition tracks were punctuated by motor troubles including a cracked head. Back in Auckland for the last night of the 1964-65 season at the Springs, Barry drove a holden-powered midget owned by Lionel Fussell and Bill Cartwright. He drove like a man possessed and won everything. Messers Fussell and Cartwright liked what they saw and decided to buy Barry a "real car" for the next season.

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Driving the ex-Lloyd Nutt Mintex, V8-60. Barry was lucky to escape with only a few nights in hospital after flipping the car wildly at the Springs in the 1962-63 season. He fitted an Offy motor in the car and won the 1963-64 NZ Midget Championship.
Barry B was almost unbeatable in the 1965-66 season driving the Fussell and Cartwright Offenhauser. He was 1965-66 NZ Midget Champion. The car was immaculately prepared by Bob Leikis.

In the off-season Fussell and Cartwright purchased the Rothmans Offenhauser from Merv Neil. The car was a Kurtis Kraft chassis brought into NZ by American Lowell Sachs in the 1962-63 season with V8-60 power. The car had then been owned and run by Barry Handlin and then Merv Neil. During the 1964-65 season, Neil purchased an offenhauser motor off Bob Tattersall (a spare brought in with the Hollywood Spring and Axle car #54). The car was repainted pearl white and a stainless steel #7 was placed over a painted NZ flag on the tail. The car was beautifully prepared by ace mechanic Bob Leikis (who had helped Barry since his TQ days and had travelled with him to Australia). The car was always presented in spotless condition and the crew were in spotless white overalls. Barry had a new tracksuit and a new grey helmet with a black peak. In the pits they were known as the "pretty ones"! Barry was almost unbeatable in the car and first night out he was, in fact, unbeaten winning the midget handicap, Indian File, Invitation and Feature races (all from the backmark). Barry competed in 14 of the 15 meetings at Western Springs and won 8 feature races and was placed second another 3 times. Barry taking the chequered flag, right arm raised high in the air, became one of the abiding images of the 1965-66 season at Western Springs. He trounced Australians Blair Shepherd and Bill Goode as well as Bob Tattersall. He won the 1965-66 NZ Midget Championship with two wins and a second place. At the end of the season they took the car to Sydney but a snapped crankshaft again sidelined Barry. He drove the Johnny Peers Repco Holden in Sydney and the Laurie Seidl Repco Holden at the Brisbane Exhibition ground for the international meetings (along with Ron Ross, Bob Tattersall and Sherman Cleveland). With limited racing success, Barry returned to Auckland.

But there was unfinished business and in late 1966, Barry returned to Sydney and procured the drive in the iconic Linklater Holden. He turned in some good drives but after putting it in the fence, was offered the ride in the orange-red coloured Chevy II #91 owned by Johnny Peers. It was the middle of the swinging 60s and Barry was about to make Australasian speedway rock'n roll-big time. The car was originally brought to Australia by Bus Brosenne, buick-powered, and it was Johnny Peers who fitted it with a Chevy II motor he sourced from Johnny Stewart. The car was quick, and so was Barry, and so began a wild and colourful ride for Butterworth and the car. He was very, very competitive in the Chevy II but wild and aggressive with it and was disqualified for rough driving almost immediately! In Australia, Barry became known as "Buttercrunch", "Crunchie" and "the fiery kiwi". He defeated offy-mounted Johnny Stewart 2-0 in a match race series at the Royal with Stewart later describing Barry as one of the wildest but toughest speedcar drivers he had ever raced against. Barry then took the car across the Tasman for the international series at Auckland's Western Springs which included Americans Bob "two-gun" Tattersall and USAC Champion Mike McGreevy along with offy-mounted Queenslanders Bill Goode, Blair Shepherd and Ron Wanless. He was, in fact, scheduled to drive the F&C Offy in Auckland but didn't front for the first meeting so the drive was given to veteran "the maestro" Ian Holden. The Chevy II was known as the "Midland Motors Chevy II" in NZ and Barry took over 10.9 seconds off the 15 lap record in the first feature race he started in. He defeated Ian Holden 2-1 in a match race series but inevitably was relegated and disqualified for "over-vigorous driving" on numerous occasions. Pit announcer, Stan Hurst, dubbed him "Bad Boy Barry Butterworth" and the nick name stuck. He copped a few shunts from other drivers, as well, and on one memorable occasion after being spun he kept the Chevy II on the track in gear and demanded to be restarted. The race was red flagged and promoter Harley Arthur arrived on the scene with a tow truck to remove Mr Butterworth and car from the track! In the 30 lap "World Championship", won by Tattersall, Barry was involved in an early bingle and got a flat front tyre. That didn't stop him, and he carried on charging regardless until he, Ian Holden and Ron Wanless came together half way down the back straight. Wando jumped a wheel and his car was launched high into the night sky before hitting a light pole. The car fortunately came back down on all four and Wanless emerged relatively unscathed. The race had been red flagged and Barry arrived back on track with his old V860 midget (the ex-Mintex V8-60 now owned by Garry Roberts) and decided to restart! Much to his consternation, the officials said, "no way"!

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Barry was at his most controversial when, in 1966-67, he drove the Johnny Peers Chevy II. Disqualifications for rough driving came thick and fast. Nevertheless, he defeated Offy-mounted icons Johnny Stewart and Ian Holden in match race series.
In 1967-68 Barry procured the coveted ride in the Mackay Offy in Sydney. It was re-numbered as #7 especially for Barry!

The two Yanks and the Kiwi arrived in Sydney and more controversy followed. During a torrid duel with Bob Tattersall, Tatts rode Barry's outside rear wheel and side-swiped the fence before regaining control. Buttercrunch was immediately shown the black flag but characteristically didn't see it and kept racing! The race was red flagged and Barry, of course, was the last to stop! Both Butterworth and Johnny Peers protested vigorously over the disqualification and in the meantime one hundred, or so, spectators climbed the safety fence and staged a sit-down protest on the track in support of the Kiwi. The small number of police present were at a loss to know how they were going to persuade the protesters to get back over the fence. Barry was finally allowed to restart from the rear of the field after a plea from him over the PA for the fans to "please go back over the fence" fell on deaf ears! After vacating the Chevy II toward the end of the season, Barry got a ride in the Ed Dark-owned little Berco Holden (#65) for the end of the Royale season and the beginning of the 1967 winter season at Westmead before he returned to NZ.

It was spring 1967, in Auckland, when Barry received a call from Don Mackay asking him to drive one of his offenhausers in Sydney. It was a coveted drive and Barry readily agreed. Mackay had two offenhausers and Ray Oram drove the other. Ray was also an ex-jockey and the two got on well together travelling interstate to several big meetings. For the first few meetings at the Royale, Barry was very aggressive, biffing and barging his way through the field without winning many events. Then he won two features in a row before copping a fine for fencing "scarem" Sid Middlemass. He was then suspended for 3 weeks after tangling with "lead foot" Len Brock. This resulted in him missing the NSW title races. Throughout the season, Barry was fast and competitive gaining many placings but few wins. A run of mechanical failures (unusual for the Mackay team) cost him wins in several of the seasons classic races. By the seasons end, Mackay wasn't happy with the lack of wins and Barry was unhappy with the lack of reliability. The inevitable split happened and Barry was without a ride. He had a few drives in the Eric Morton-owned Vauxhall Vagabond and the Ron Ward Peuguot before taking the plunge and purchasing the Johnny Peers Chevy II. He painted the car black, renumbered it #27 and obtained sponsorship from Capitol Motors (his employer). The car was initially fast but became less reliable and competitive over time. He rolled the car in spectacular fashion at Liverpool after tangling with Wayne Fisher. Photographs of the shunt appeared in many Australasian newspapers of the time. The caption normally said "proof that Kiwis really can fly"! Barry escaped with superficial facial abrasions but it took many long hours to straighten the car and get it back on the track. Johnny Stewart won the Peter Warren-Falcon winter point score series at Liverpool. Barry was well in contention for most of the series and eventually finished third. He had a disappointing start to the summer series at the Royale with a run of mechanical outs. He then won three feature races in quick succession. Barry suffered bad burns to both legs when the Chevy II caught fire. A fuel leak was dropping fuel on his legs and flames were spewing from the motor bay. The car was honkin and Barry drove three laps after being given the black flag (because his car was on fire)! When he finally stopped he was transported to an ambulance and taken to hospital. A few weeks later Barry was back racing although he stayed in the car between races as the pain and discomfort of getting in and out of the car were too much - even for him! Barry took the car across the Tasman for the International meetings at Western Springs. He aquitted himself well finishing third in the Austalasian Championship and second in the World 30 laps Championship (after racing to the front first but then being overtaken by Bob Tattersall). After the World Championships race, Barry felt disappointed by the lack of competiveness of the Chevy II. He remarked on the PA system that he "would have to give the old girl a good going over when he got back to Sydney". After much cheering from the crowd, he added "Oh no I didn't mean that, I meant the car!" Barry was always entertaining without really trying! On his return to Sydney, engine troubles sidelined his racing effort.

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The car reverted back to the traditional Mackay #76 towards the end of the season. Although highly competitive the big wins were few and far between and Barry and Don Mackay split leaving Barry temporarily without a drive.
In 1968 Barry purchased the Chevy II from Johnny Peers. He renumbered it #27 and it became the Capitol Motors Chevy II. He was involved in a spectacular flip in the car at Liverpool after he tangled with Wayne Fisher.

For the 1969-70 season the Capitol Motors Chevy II was painted in white livery but it turned out to be one of his least successful seasons in a midget car. Back in Auckland for the International events the car was less than competitive. Towards the end of the season, Barry fitted a new Chevy II motor to the car and won a couple of features at Liverpool and the Sydney Royale. To make things more interesting, he had sponsorship from the Golden Orchid Strip Club and one night got the girls down as his pit crew! It was certainly a photo opportunity that didn't go a begging! Barry purchased an ugly-looking supermodified and it was initially fitted with a big block Chrysler Hemi. His appearances were, however, infrequent and the car was a real handful. It was dubbed "Dracula" or "The Beast".

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The 70s

In late 1970 Barry purchased an Offenhauser midget from Blair Shepherd. The car was an Edmunds two bar chassis that had been imported from USA by Shepherd and in which he won the 1969-70 Craven Filter National Speedcar Drivers Championship. The black-coloured car ran as Q99 for several seasons and carried #1 on the tail in 1970. Barry painted it white and numbered it #26. Brother Max took over the controls of the #27 Chevy II. The 1970-71 season was his most successful while living in Australia. He finished in third spot in both the South Australian and NSW rounds of the Craven Filter Series. Barry competed in Auckland at the International events finishing second to Bob Morgan in the Australasian Championship and was then involved in one of his "legendary" moments in the World 30 Lap World Championship. Barry was cutting his way through the field, closely followed by America visitor, Johnny Parsons junior. Parsons spun Barry off onto the infield where his car stalled and he stayed for several laps fuming. Barry persuaded some crew and a push truck to restart him and (not surprisingly) he came back onto the track immediately behind Parsons! He was given the black flag each lap but kept going until he had spun Parsons with both cars coming to a stop on-track. The race was red flagged and Barry disqualified. The parochial crowd started chanting "we want Barry" while Barry vented his feelings to officials and then on the PA system – but all to no avail. He watched the rest of the race from the infield. But it was great entertainment for the crowd! Back at Liverpool, Barry won the Daily Mirror sponsored event, the Jeff Freeman Memorial and the NSW Championships.

With the Eastern States Racing Association (ESRA) unable to agree terms with either the Sydney Showgrounds or Liverpool the speedcars were temporarily sidelined for the beginning of the 1971-72 season. Barry decided to return to NZ and arrived back at the Springs for the third meeting. He won the feature first night back in the Phoenix Motors Offy and was very quick and not as rough as a few years before. His driving had matured but this keen reflexes and amazing will to win were still obvious. Trevor Morris in the Jim Beam Chevy II (prepared by Bob Leikis) was his main opposition and they were about evenly matched. Dave Strickland and Les Scott were the Yank visitors and Scott got the surprise of his life when he won one of the feature races. He was a quarter of a lap behind Barry and Ron Wanless when on the last lap Wando decided to force an inside pass on Barry. Barry turned hard left and the two cars locked together - Wando slowly pushed him half way up the straight allowing Scott past. Scott later admitted he had never seen anything like that before! At the end of the season Barry returned to Sydney and had a few outings in his supermodified. During the winter he shipped it back to Auckland. For the 1972-73 season Barry ran both the Offy and the modified at Western Springs. The Offy had new red numbers (#26) on the tail and nose and was known as the Radio i/Tradin'Post Offenhauser. Trevor Morris was ever improving and the Jim Beam Chevy II and looked to have the legs on the Offy. In the international events Barry was still more than competitive with "Morrisey" because his hard driving style made him quicker through the traffic. Barry won the Champion of Champions and Australasian Championships and was third in the World 30 Lap Championship (behind Morris and Ron Mackay). Down at Ruapuna Park, Barry won his third New Zealand Midget Car Championship but the win was slightly hollow as Trevor Morris didn't front. Barry was spectacular and hard-driving in the supermodified. On one memorable occasion, the tie rod broke half way down the front straight and the car turned right at full throttle straight through the wooden fence  and into the commentary box! Bill Mudgway wasn't phased but his co-commentator, Nerida Nicholls, never set foot in the booth again! From then on, she read the commercials from the sound booth high up above the track on the front straight. Towards the end of the season Barry won the Auckland Supermodified Championships.

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In 1970 Barry purchased the Edmunds Offenhauser from Blair Shepherd and renumbered it #26. He showed an immediate resurgence of form. He returned to Auckland to live in late 1971 and brought the Offy with him.
During 1970 Barry ran an ugly-looking supermodified, dubbed "Dracula," at Liverpool Raceway as #3.
During the winter of 1973, Barry travelled to the USA with the idea of driving supermodifieds at West Capital Raceway in Sacremento. The track was the hotbed of supermodified racing on the East Coast featuring such drivers as Wally Baker, Mike Wasina, Larry Burton and Garry Patterson. Barry procured a drive in car #40 which was owned by Tommy Boltinghouse but first night out he didn't qualify and when another driver tried the car the motor seized. The cars were really heavy and with no power steering, Barry initially found them difficult to drive. The racing was the roughest and toughest he had ever encountered but predictably Barry became quite accustomed to it. He improved immensely and gained more placings and heat wins. Toward the end of the season he won a feature – the first non-American to do so. To bring in the spectators the Promoter staged a match race series. The "Hostile Hippy" Garry Patterson (a previous down-under visitor) was top dog and reigning match race champion. Patterson was, in fact, an off-track friend of Barry and had originally introduced him to Boltinghouse. Barry was pitted against Patterson and lost the first race but won the second. In the third Barry was in the lead on the last lap when Patterson barged him into the fence and then went on to win. Barry managed to extricate #40 from the fence and on Patterson's victory lap he returned the favour by shunting him into the fence. It was vintage Buttercrunch and the crowd, of course, loved it! The promoter then wisely decided to end the match race series before someone got seriously hurt.
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At West Capital Raceway, Sacramento, Barry drove the Tommy Boltinghouse-owned supermodified #40 with considerable success.
Barry brought the supermodified "Dracula" (renumbered as #26) to Auckland for the 1972-73 season. He was highly competitive and won the Auckland Supermodified Championship.

Barry returned from the USA for the 1973-74 season with many spare parts for his offy motor. The Edmunds Offy carried # 1 as current NZ Champion and was known as the Doug Cook Offenhauser. After a slow start to the season Barry managed to win three features in a row and during the International series he finished second in the Bob Tattersall Memorial feature and third in both the Australasian Championship and the Champion of Champions point-scores. He capped off the International series with a win in the World 30 Laps Championship in an ailing car with "miraculous" Mel Kenyon, from Lebanon Indiana, in the Mackay Offy a very close second. Barry was wearing plastic bags over both legs since the main engine bearings were shot and oil was being spewed up into the cockpit and then onto the following cars and track. By the end of the 30 laps the car was slowing, and smoking, and Barry had the inside front wheel hiking over the grass verge and wouldn't move. Kenyon tried everything, but didn't get past. At the end of the race, a torch shone in the oil tank by crew chief, Mac McGee, revealed only a few centimeters left in the bottom. On the public address system Mel congratulated Barry on his great driving in a "sick race car". Due to motor troubles, Barry didn't qualify for the NZ Championships. The motor dropped a rod while he was leading the qualifying heat and then the season was almost over. He finished second to a very young, Holden-powered, Ted Tracey in the Tappenden Motors 20 Lap feature with the offy spluttering and smoking and making no impression.

During the off-season Barry got back into the trucking industry and the offy did not get the attention it so urgently required. As a result, Barry slipped into semi-retirement for the 1974-75 season. Peter Bruin, ex-McLaren f1 mechanic, had built up a new VW-powered midget which was initially driven by Brent Holden. However, the Western Springs Promotion persuaded Bruin to offer Barry the drive. The motor had teething problems and unfortunately wasn't competitive with the VW-powered cars brought in for the international meetings by Mel Kenyon and A J Foyt. The problems were slowly ironed out and the motor converted from carburetion to fuel injection. Towards the end of the season, Barry finished second to Trevor Morris in the NZ Midget Car Championship at Palmerston North (after a runoff) and won the Auckland midget title.

For the 1975-76 season, Barry ran the Bruin VW at the first meeting before the car was sold. He drove several other cars during the season (including the Mazda rotary-powered car owned by Max) with little success. It was the middle of the psychodelic 70s and midget buffs were wondering if they were hallucinating when the gentle throb of the V8-60 and the higher-pitched, solid sound of the injected holden motors became rapidly replaced by the dull thud of the horizontally opposed VW. Successful businessman, and well-known motor racing fan/sponsor, Danny Lendich purchased an Edmunds Autocraft VW off Mel Kenyon at the end of his 75-76 Australasian tour and engaged Barry to drive it. It was the beginning of an extremely successful 6-year partnership and Barry was instantly very, very fast. With a top car and an owner willing to bankroll a top-class operation, Barry developed a win or crash attitude to his driving which was exceptionally spectacular and very successful. He appealed to a whole new generation of fans who called him "Barry B". His end of season form was great winning the Auckland Midget Car Championship and the Tappenden 50 lap Championship.

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Barry won the 1972-73 NZ Midget Championship in the Edmunds Offenhauser and carried #1 on the tail of the Doug Cook Offy for the 1973-74 season.
For the 1974-75 season Barry was offered the drive in the newly-built Peter Bruin VW. He won the Auckland Midget Car Championship and was second in the New Zealand Championship to Trevor Morris.

Predictably, Barry dominated the midget car division at Western Springs during the 1976-77 season. He won 9 midget features, the NZ Midget Car Grand Prix and the Tappenden National 30 lap Championship. He also won the Auckland Midget Car Championship but was a very disappointing fourth in the NZ Championships (won by Ted Tracey). International visitors included Larry Rice, Johnny Rutherford, Johnny Fenton and Ron Mackay. Rice and Barry were pretty well matched throughout the meetings. Rice won the World 30 Laps Championship and Barry settled for third behind Fenton. During the season, Barry made his first appearance driving a sprintcar. The ex-Willy Kay wingless sprintcar had been purchased by Rick Marmont and Bob Underwood and Barry drove it in the supermodified races throughout the season. Toward the end of the season he finished second to Harry Pearson in the NZ Supermodified Championship and won the Auckland Championship.

Barry began the 1977-78 season at the Springs in the Lendich dub by winning two features which put him in good form for the upcoming international events. Just before Christmas 1977, Barry's closest rival, Trevor Morris, was killed in a road car smash so Keith Watson joined Barry and Ted Tracey in the NZ team. The inclusion of Watson was controversial since Barry's brother Max had been going great guns in his Mazda-powered midget. The USA team was exceptionately strong (Sleepy Tripp, Larry Rice and Mel Kenyon) and won the test series comfortably. Barry was the pick of the Kiwis but NZ couldn't win a test even when they brought Max in to replace Watson. Towards the end of the season, Barry finished third in the NZ Championships held at Ruapuna Park. Barry was head and shoulders above the other competitors winning two heats relatively easily. However, in the other heat he scored a DNF due to magneto failure after he drove through a pond of water on the pole line on the Town bend. Ted Tracey won his second NZ title and, for a while, Barry was not a happy man. Barry won the Auckland Midget Championship and also won the Auckland Sprintcar Championship on the same night. The ex-Kay sprintcar had been completely rebuilt over the previous winter and it took a few outings to get the car competitive again. However, after that, his duels with Roger Bertram were a highlight throughout the 77-78 season.

For the 1978-79 season (the 50th Anniversary of Speedway at Western Springs) the sprintcar had been sold so Barry was only driving the Lendich midget, albeit with a new Autocraft motor installed. By this time, most of the A-grade field were running VWs and starting off the backmark, as Barry did, it was going to be difficult to pick up places, let alone wins. Barry demanded greater appearance money and eventually he prevailed. Throughout the international series Ron "sleepy" Tripp and "rapid" Rich Vogler dominated proceedings while the other Yank (Bobby Olivero) was less competitive. The Australian team consisted of Wanless, Fenton and Noel Bradford. Over the test series NZ (Ted Tracey, Keith Watson and Barry as captain) won from the USA and Australia third. The NZ team performance was certainly helped by the fact that both Tracey and Watson had spent part of the previous winter driving in the USA. Over the season, Barry finished first equal in the Coca Cola Grand National Series and won the Auckland Midget Championship He also finished second to his nemesis Ted Tracey in the NZ Championship.

At the end of the season, the Lendich Edmunds Autocraft was freighted to the USA and Barry followed. Barry, at the age of 40, had decided to compete in the premier midget car competition in the USA – the USAC Championship. The series is run over all types of tracks, from one fifth of a mile to a full mile and on both paved and dirt surfaces. Naturally, Barry was most competitive on the short dirt tracks. The highlight of the tour was his win at Indiana's Haubstadt Tri-State Speedway where he won the 40 lap USAC feature race. He was the first non-American to win a USAC midget feature. Over the season Barry finished a creditable 14th in the USAC Championship and also took out the coveted USAC Rookie of the Year award.

Barry and the Lendich VW returned to NZ for the 1979-80 season and controversy immediately surrounded them. The Speedway Control Board passed a ruling that the first three placegetters in the NZ Champs had to carry the corresponding place numbers for the following season. Barry was, therefore, expected to carry # 2. Barry insisted his number was # 21 and refused to change it. Before the international events Barry was granted an interim high court injunction against the Control Board which allowed him to race with # 21! It was vintage Barry – how dare the authorities think they could dictate to him what number he should carry! Barry was in good form after a season in the States and won the feature first night out in extremely forceful style. For the international events, the USA team was Sleepy Trip, Mel Kenyon and Rich Vogler and the Aussies were Garry Rush, Wanless and Fenton. The NZ team won with Barry dominating proceedings leading the team (Barry, Owen Shaw and Ted Tracey) to victory. Then all hell broke loose again. The local Auckland drivers wanted a greater share of the prize money and decided to "strike" and not participate in qualifying for the 50 lap International Classic Race. The drivers got what they wanted but were not allowed to an additional qualifying session. As a result, only 3 local drivers competed in the "Classic" and it became a farce. To make matters worse, the event was televised and, to rub salt in the wound, Barry provided the expert commentary! Because of his involvement, Barry was told his contract with the Western Springs promotion was terminated and he then raced at Bay Park Speedway and at Waikaraka Park. He sat out the NZ Midget Champs but then Western Springs Promoter, George Turvitt, and Barry came to an agreement and Barry returned to racing at the Springs. In fact, George and Barry always remained friends. Barry finished second in the Auckland Championships (to brother Max now driving the ex-Bruin # 14 VW) and also won the Coca Cola Grand National Series.

During the off-season Barry and the Lendich dub returned to the USA to race the USAC circuit again. Barry was competitive at times but not spectacular and he didn't win a feature. At the end of his 2-month sojourn, the midget was sold in the USA and a new Lloyd Shores-built sprintcar was shipped back to NZ.

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From 1976 to 1979 Barry drove the ex-Kenyon Edmunds Autocraft VW owned by Danny Lendich. Barry drove the car on the USAC circuit in 1979 and 1980 and was USAC Rookie of the Year in 1979.
For the 1980-81 and 81-82 seasons Danny Lendich purchased a new LTC Autocraft VW for Barry to drive. While driving the car, Barry badly broke his arm in a wild crash on the front straight at Western Springs.
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The 80s

Barry returned to the Springs for the 1980-81 season to drive a new LTC Autocraft VW midget (# 21) that Danny Lendich had purchased. Barry flipped the car during the running of the first round of the Coca Cola Grand National Series but quick work in the pits got the car repaired and he went out and won the feature. Barry was top individual points scorer for the NZ team (Barry, Max and Owen Shaw) in the international test series against USA and Australia although they lost to USA (Tripp, Vogler and Olivero) by a slim margin. Barry had bad luck in the major midget events including the NZ Champs at Te Marua where a broken crankcase put paid to his challenge. After the motor was repaired he was exceptionately fast at a couple of meetings at Western Springs before misjudging an outside pass and jumping a wheel causing the car to roll in spectacular fashion. Speedway Control Board Steward, Harry Thompson, rather inadvisedly, suggested to Barry he had been running too hard. Barry, full of adrenalin after the roll, and having a distinct dislike for authority, told him to mind his own business. A verbal altercation ensued and Barry was suspended for 3 weeks for verbal abuse of an official! That was the end of his midget season at Western Springs.

However that is less than half the story of the 80-81 season. Indeed, as the 80s began there was a change taking place in NZ Speedway. The dominant midget car division began to give way to the awesome and spectacular winged sprintcars. Barry was in the forefront of this change when he brought back his first Lloyd Shores-built sprintcar from the States. Throughout the season Barry was doing double duty running the sprintcar as well as the midget. The car was known as the Mercury Motors Outlaw sprintcar and Barry was pretty much unbeatable. He was awe-inspiring and won 21 of his 23 starts at Western Springs (starting on a handicap of 400m). He won the New Zealand Sprintcar Championship, held at Te Marua, relatively easily. Barry then took the car to Parramatta City Raceway and aquitted himself well, being highly competitive with the Aussie hotshoes. Later that year, the Lendich LTC was freighted to the USA for another campaign. Barry picked and chose his events and gained abundant placings without winning any big events.

Barry and the Lendich LTC were back in Auckland for the beginning of the 1981-82 season. In the feature on the third night, Barry was involved in a very spectacular crash on the front straight. Barry was rim riding when he caught a wheel and the car was thrown into a violent series of end-for-enders against the safety fence. He was extracated from the car and admitted to hospital with a broken arm. The injury put him out of racing for a month but he came back (arm in a cast and on pain killers) to captain the NZ team (Barry, Max and Ted Tracey) to a win in the international series. Max was highly competitive and Barry and Max drove as a formidable team against the visitors and even (especially) Ted Tracey! On the second night Barry was top point scorer but Tripp took out the 50 lap Classic. Barry finished second to Owen Shaw in the NZ Champs at Ruapuna and won the Coca Cola Grand National series by a considerable margin. For the last few nights of the season Barry wheeled out the sprintcar and won the NZ Sprintcar Grand Prix.

Barry decided not to travel to the USA during the winter and he inexplicably split with Danny Lendich. It was a sad end to a great partnership. Lendich had bankrolled a highly professional outfit for 6 years providing Barry with equipment equal to anything the American visitors could bring with them. He had encouraged Barry to take the car to the USA and supported him through his many battles with officialdom. He even supported Barry in his wish to go it alone. Of course Danny Lendich has continued to run a top flight midget car team to the present day. In Barry's mind the LTC VW was not the best combination and he commissioned Ray Alach to build him a coil spring chassised car (# 21) powered by a V4 Chev (a V8 Chev sawn in half). The car was competitive and he won the Levis International Grand Prix pointscore event and was chosen in the NZ team, along with Ted Tracey and Maurice Cowling against Tripp (now in the Lendich dub), Kenyon and Stan Fox for USA and Keith Mann, Geoff Pilgrim and Rex Hodgson for Australia. Motor troubles sidelined the V4 in the first test but Barry bounced back to finish third in the World 30 Lap Championship (from the Tracey and Tripp) and second in the 50 Lap Classic to Tripp. He was taken out of Bob Tattersall Memorial feature by a hard charging Ted Tracey resulting in a heated altercation on the infield with Ted. He took the car to Ruapuna Park but the motor cried enough and blew. The crew, and helpers, spent a busy week sawing another V8 Chev in half and rebuilding the motor. Back in the North Island he finished a disappointing fourth in the NZ Champs at Kihikihi. The sprintcar, now sponsored by Autex, also got a run throughout the season. He raced the car at Ruapuna and generally had the upper hand on Christchurch hotshoe Roger Gleeson. In fact, he won two feature races and the NZ Sprintcar Grand Prix. Later, Barry finished a disappointing fourth in the NZ Sprintcar Champs at Te Marua. During the off-season Barry spent a couple of weeks in the USA purchasing "go-faster" parts for the V4 motor. The crew also built up a new Gennetten chassis which was based on a sprintcar design and characteristically very sturdy. The V4 was installed and Barry was ready for the 1983-84 season in a new # 21. Unfortunately, Barry encountered a string of mechanical failures and wasn't chosen for the NZ team. Nevertheless, Max was a top-liner in the Ken Mullins VW # 22 and he did make the team. It was a lean year for Barry with a second in a feature and a fourth in the annual 50 Lap Classic being the best he could do. Ted Tracey was the standout NZ driver of the season. Barry replaced the V4 with a VW for the NZ Champs, held at the Springs, but even then didn't qualify for the event. In the midget, he was also involved in another one of his well-known stoushes with Speedway New Zealand officials. Before the start of a race, Barry stopped to have a tyre blown up and was immediately excluded. During an "on-track strike" at the start-finish line Barry had a heated argument with officials. He was handed a $50 fine which he predictably refused to pay. He arrived on the grid the next week and was told he couldn't start until he paid the fine. Another heated argument ensued resulting in Barry receiving a six-week suspension! The suspension was later withdrawn but relations between him and Speedway New Zealand officials certainly remained "strained", to say the least.

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Barry purchased a Lloyd Shores-built Sprintcar in the USA in 1980 and shipped it back to New Zealand. The car was first raced as the Mercury Motors Outlaw Sprintcar. He won the NZ Sprintcar Championship in 1980-81 in the car.
For the 1982-83 season Barry decided to go it alone and commissioned Ray Alach to build a new midget with a coil-spring chassis and V4 Chev motor.

His form in the Autex sprintcar was considerably better than in the midget. He won several heat races and a feature before having a massive "coming together" with Kevin McGreal resulting in the crew having to work over Christmas to repair the damage. Down at Ruapuna he finished second in the 83-84 New Zealand Sprintcar Championship to Roger Gleeson (in the Gambler-Donovan). Barry's spectacular drive from the back of the pack to win the second heat was vintage Buttercrunch and still remembered by fans. However Gleeson won the third heat and won the title by a narrow margin. Back in Auckland towards the end of the season, Barry was in dominating form in the sprintcar. Over Easter, 1984, Barry fulfilled a long-held ambition when he promoted a Speedway event. A track was prepared at the Kumeu Agriculture and Horticulture Society grounds by Kaipara Excavators (Bruce Drinkrow) and, much to the annoyance of Speedway New Zealand, the event was sanctioned by the Motorsport Association of New Zealand (MANZ). The meeting was successful in attracting about 10,000 spectators and Barry competed in both the midget and the sprintcar (and won events in both classes).

Over the winter Barry returned to the USA and purchased another Lloyd Shores-built sprintcar. He campaigned the car around Indiana mainly in non-winged events. He won heat races and was a regular starter in feature races, albeit from well back in the pack. He also raced at the famed Eldora high banks track but didn't make the feature. He learned a lot about professional sprintcar racing and returned to NZ a more experienced driver. The sprintcar was shipped back to NZ and rebuilt ready for the 1984-85 season. The car was painted black with gold numbers (#21) and lettering and had a large "Snooper" sign on the side of the wing. It looked awesome and went the same way. His early season form was spectacular and he was certainly the dominant force in the sprintcar division at the Springs. Unfortunately, he blew the alloy block motor in a big way twice but was still competitive in a rebuilt "bitza" motor.

The car was shipped to Australia with high hopes of a successful assault on the Aussie sprintcar scene (sprintcars were, by then, the dominant division in Australian speedway). Barry had to lease a motor and it wasn't a top-line mill. As a result Barry raced at Parramatta, Warrnambool and Melbourne without great success. On his return to NZ he was black-flagged in the first race of the NZ Champs after he lost a muffler. After affecting repairs, Barry was out to make a point in the second heat. He geared the motor down, and with the motor revving hard, raced from the back of the field to first place in just over a lap - then the inevitable happened and the motor blew to smithereens! Even so, the audience was left in no doubt who the fastest driver was!

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The car became the Autex "Snooper" Chev. In this livery, Barry finished second to local hot shoe Roger Gleason in the 1983-84 NZ Sprintcar Championship held at Ruapuna Speedway.
For the 1983-84 season he replaced the coil-over chassis with a stronger Gennetten Chassis. He ran the V4 in the car before replacing it with a VW power plant. Barry raced the Gennettton VW in the first speedway event he promoted at the Kumeu Agriculture and Horticulture Society grounds during Easter, 1984.

Barry was dispondent with speedway racing and, in particular, with the way he perceived he had been treated by Speedway New Zealand officials. He decided to relocate to Darwin as promoter of Northline Speedway. Although moderately successful as promoter, Barry was not happy there either and moved back to Sydney at the end of the Darwin season. He purchased a JSR chassised sprintcar but soon replaced it with a Ray Alach-built Gambler chassis and transferred the running gear. The car was in white livery and carried #12. He raced it with moderate success. Barry also raced the Kevin Higgins-owned Chevy II midget (#30) at Liverpool (now back as a dirt track). He was extremely competitive gaining several wins and lap records.

He returned to Auckland for the 1986-87 season, with the sprintcar following. Barry made a guest appearances at Western Springs and at Ruapuna in borrowed sprintcars. For the NZ Champs Barry had the Ray Alach Gambler (now in red livery and numbered #21) ready for competition. He was second on points after two races but in the third he was involved in a crash, while trying to make an outside pass, and that put him out of contention. A quick trip across the Tasman saw him race the Higgins Chevy II at a couple of meetings at Parramatta. At Easter Barry promoted another "Outlaw" event at Kumeu. All competitors received a six-week suspension from Speedway New Zealand and this certainly concentrated Barry's mind. Soon after, he and Brian Tracey founded the Circle Track Racing Association (CTRA) which was directly affiliated with MANZ. Throughout the period of CTRA events, it was always made clear that these were "outlaw" events and that Mr B. Butterworth was chief and star outlaw! Brian organised a series of mid-week meetings in the 1987-88 season at Waikaraka Park Speedway. Barry drove the Alach sprintcar as well as a Chevy II midget owned by Ray Alach. He scored several feature wins in the sprintcar. Other notable "outlaws" included Ted Tracey, Max Butterworth and Brett Horrobin. Barry was also instrumental in building a new third-mile high banked speedway at Meremere. He, again, had considerable help from Bruce Drinkrow. After a couple of shakedown meetings, the 1988 CTRA Easter Nationals were successfully held at Meremere. During the winter Barry went about improving spectator facilities at the track and meetings between CTRA and Speedway New Zealand reached a compromise whereby drivers could race on tracks sanctioned by both bodies.

For the 1988-89 season, Meremere hosted overseas sprintcar drivers including Australian Johnny Walsh and a young American hotshoe by the name of Jeff Gordon. Barry raced the Alach Gambler throughout the season at Meremere and had the misfortune of crashing the car heavily when the steering arm broke. It took several weeks for him to recover from the resulting back injuries. He also won a sprintcar feature at Western Springs and the NZ Sprintcar Grand Prix at Kikikihi. Barry went on two forays to Ellesmere speedway in the sprintcar and made a one-off appearance at the Sydney Royale in the ex-Higgins Chevy II midget. He gave up his promotional rights to Meremere in 1990.

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On his trip to USA in 1984 Barry purchased a second Shores Sprintcar. He raced it in the US before shipping it back to New Zealand. He campaigned the car in Australia for several months.
While in racing in Australia in 1986 Barry raced a Ray Alach-built Gambler sprintcar at Liverpool and then shipped it back to New Zealand. He raced it in many of the "Outlaw" events as well as at Western Springs.
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The end of the line

With his health deteriorating, due to the debilitating effects of emphysema, Barry was fully aware of the prognosis and chose to keep racing a midget at Western Springs. For the 1990-91 season at the Springs Barry drove the red and white Ray Bull-owned VW midget (# 79). He took out a few heat races and even won a feature. He finished eighth in NZ Champs at Kikikhi and second to Mike Harker in the North Island Championship run at Bay Park. For the 1991-92 and 92-93 seasons Barry drove sporadically for his long-time friend Ken Mullins in his black VW midget # 22. Barry often started off the front and would lead for a few laps before tiring. He sometimes had to pull off gasping for breath. For the many Barry B fans it was a bitter-sweet spectacle. It was great he could still fulfil his passion of driving but so sad to see the great driver struggle so much.

Throughout the late 80s and early 90s Barry carried on his trucking business (with increasing help from son Dale). On November 9th 1993 Barry collapsed while loading his Kenworth truck and passed away in North Shore Hospital at only 54 years of age. The funeral was fittingly held on the infield of Western Springs Stadium on Friday 12th of November with the restored Fussell and Cartwright Offenhauser in pride of place next to the casket. Speakers included Bill Mudgway, George Turvitt and Pat Johnson. The service ended with the Jim Reeves standard "Adios Amigo" and this was also played over the sound of the motors during the four-abreast salute to the crowd before the running of the Barry Butterworth Memorial race at the Springs.

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Barry drove the Higgins Chevy II midget in Sydney with great success during 1986. He also drove the car on several one-off appearances in Sydney in the ensuing years.
During the 1990-91 season Barry ran the Ray Bull-owned VW-powered midget #79. He won a feature at Western Springs and finished eighth in the NZ Championship held at Bay Park.
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The stories

Legends become larger than life and there are countless stories about Barry B. Most are based on fact but have undoubtedly become embellished over the years. Here are three that demonstrate Barry's amazing will-to-win and uncompromising on-track persona.

Barry drove the Ken Mullins-owned VW-powered #22 during 1991-92 and part of the 1992-93 seasons. He was, however, suffering from the debilitating effects of the latter stages of emphysema and would often tire after only a few laps.

On Barry's first trip to Australia with the Mintex Offenhauser, he was driving with severely burnt legs after a V8-60 he was driving in Auckland burst a radiator hose. His legs were still heavily bandaged. It was an old car and Barry had noticed that the dog box between his legs was heating up as it couldn't take the torque of the offy motor. As it became overworked it became hotter and hotter. He had entered the 50 Lap World Championship in Brisbane and was worried his legs might get burnt again – so he wrapped the dog box in old oily rags. As the race progressed, Barry got into the lead but the rags started to smoke and eventually caught fire. While Barry was trying to put them out he was black flagged because his car was on fire! However, since he was leading the race, and there were only 4 or 5 laps to go, he ignored the black flag and kept racing. Officials red flagged the race and, of course, the Mintex Offy was the last car to stop! After the rags were put out, Barry was taken to hospital to have his legs redressed. The moral of the story – no sane driver would stop when in the lead of a midget car race!

While in Auckland for the international events in the late 60s, the Capitol Motors Chevy II was a bit sluggish and not fully competitive. When some local driver got a good lead the legendary American Bob "two gun" Tattersall had a habit of hunting them down and then waving to them as he went by. This was like a red rag to a bull to the highly competitive Barry Butterworth and after once suffering this fate he repaid the compliment in full. On the slow-down lap, after the chequered flag, he caught up with Tatts who was slowly circulating on the outside of the track. Barry punted the Chevy II sideways on full wheel-spin and filled Tatts cockpit with dirt – and waved as he went past! A bewildered Bob Tattersall arrived back in the pits covered from head to foot in Western Springs dirt! The moral of the story – don't ever let another competitor think he has got the better of you!

On one of the first meetings after Barry had begun driving the Lendich Edmunds VW, he was racing in a round of the King of the Springs Series. Trevor Morris in the Bob Leikis-prepared Chevy II was still the leading driver. In the final heat Barry was off grid 15 and Trevor off grid one. It was one of those classic Barry B drives and he sliced through the field and caught Trevor as they took the white flag. As they went into Pine Tree Bend Morris drove around the outside of Barry and was back in the lead down the back straight. Going into Town Bend for the last time, Barry was desperate to win and went for a slide job on Trevor who was still up on the cushion. Barry came across the front of Trevor as they entered the front straight and Barry had his foot firmly planted. The dub's right rear jumped the cushion up onto the concrete cycle track. The car was trying to turn left and Barry went down the front straight on an angle almost facing the infield. He was still flat-out and won the race but as he lifted after the chequered flag, the car, on opposite lock, turned right – he corrected and it turned left again. The tail of the VW was lurching from side to side as Barry fought to regain control. Trevor Morris, thundering down the front straight behind Barry, had to brake very hard to avoid hitting the Lendich VW. After the race, Trevor stepped out of his car in the pits and walked down to Barry. The conversation reputedly went something like this: Trevor: "you'r mad mate, you'r mad, I couldn't stop, I could have hit you, we could have crashed, I couldn't stop". Barry looked up at him and, allegedly, replied "don't be such a girl" and then turned and walked away! The moral of the story – an outlaw driver never backs-off before the chequered flag!

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What made the legend?
A young Barry Butterworth in the late 60's. He was already a household name in both Auckland and Sydney.

Barry wasn't a professional driver in the sense of Bob Tattersall, Mel Kenyon, Sleepy Tripp or Larry Rice. On his night he could beat any of them but, on average, they would probably beat him more times than he'd beat them. His driving style was almost brutal and lacked the finesse of someone like Mel Kenyon. His sojourns to the US showed him to be competitive, especially on the short dirt bull rings. Smooth and consistent driving is required to win the USAC championship. Smooth and consistent wasn't Barry's style! Barry was an old school hard charger – the quintessential Saturday Night Warrior who could mix it with the best. He was hugely talented, aggressive, impatient, hard-charging with razor sharp reflexes and an extraordinary will-to-win.

He asked for no quarter and gave none. His driving skills were honed in the 60s when the top drivers started from the back of a 10-20 car field. He could be unbelievably fast getting through the field (even quicker than Bob Tattersall) showing great anticipation, a forceful style and often very little patience. In the late 60s some considered him rough but by the 70s his driving had matured and although contact with other cars was routine, they were only tapped or lent-on enough for Barry to pass. In the 80s his style was very much all or nothing – he developed a win or crash attitude to his driving and the crowd lapped it up! He was always fiercely competitive and didn't give up until the chequered flag. His incredible passion for speedway was amply demonstrated in the 1991-92 and 92-93 seasons, when suffering the latter stages of emphysema, he drove the Mullins VW whenever he could.

Barry could look ordinary, he could look good and on some nights, or races, he was just awesome. The spectacle of Crunchie coming off the back of a 15 car field, cutting the field to pieces, and winning with ease was like nothing else you would see on a speedway track. His aggressive driving style resulted in half the crowd loving him, and following his every move, and the other half hating him. He was a show by himself and that attracted large numbers of spectators to the speedway. Promoters recognized this and he often received more appearance money than the other drivers. His small wirey stature, and quietly spoken demeanour, belied his legendary on-track status. Indeed, in the pits he kept himself to himself and hardly spoke to anyone other than his crew. Today's drivers spend a significant amount of time, off-track, satisfying their sponsor's needs. Barry never really bothered – he was a spectacle and drawcard by himself and therefore the sponsors got great publicity and plenty of exposure!

Barry had little respect for authority and his battles with officialdom were legendary and occurred throughout his driving career. They often stemmed from his aggressive driving style and tended to be self-perpetuating. That is, after he had abused officials, they were always likely to be watching him more closely than the other drivers. But that was part of Barry's makeup. He considered some "jumped up idiot, poking his nose in where it wasn't wanted", and telling him how to drive deserved an appropriate response! And most officials approaching him got an appropriate response! Some officials took it in their stride while others, usually the more officious ones, objected and dished out an appropriate penalty. In the 80's, Barry considered himself an outlaw and a "bad guy" in a sea of "nice guys"! It was part of what made Barry a crowd favourite. He put on a great show without even trying. There was no need to shout the odds, like Garry Patterson or Ron Wanless. Just being Barry Butterworth was controversial enough!

Starting from 1980, when he first wheeled out the "Mercury Motors Outlaw Sprintcar", Barry liked the label of "outlaw". He promoted himself as the "original outlaw" for the Waikaraka Park CTRA events and the Meremere track staged the "Outlaw Nationals". Nevertheless, originally, "outlaw" drivers were those who chose not to race in USAC sanctioned events. They typically either towed their sprintcar back and forth across the US choosing the highest paying unsanctioned events or just drove to events and raced for car owners willing to hire them. For the most part they were loners who travelled by themselves, had few possessions and lived (and died) to race a sprintcar. Barry wasn't really like that. For Barry's first trip to Australia he travelled with his wife Joan and mechanic Bob Leikis. He travelled to Sacramento to race at West Capital Raceway with his second wife Troy. On his trips to the US, racing the Lendich dub, he travelled with Troy and their two young sons Brendan and Dale and when that marriage broke up in the mid 80's he fought for custody of his two children. In 1992 Barry married his partner of several years, Joy. So he wasn't a lone wolf who travelled the lonely interstate highways looking for a high-paying race. He had three long-term partners and three children (Floyd, Brendan and Dale as well as three step children). Barry was certainly anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, stubborn and when pushed by authority he could undoubtedly be somewhat unreasonable! Nevertheless, he bitterly fought the Western Springs Promotion but always remained friends with George Turvitt. He had enormous respect for those close to him; for example Bob Leikis or Mac McGee. Like all of us, Barry was a mixture of things. He was fond of a beer – particularly Lion Red! For much of his life he smoked incessantly and he was seldom seen in the pits without a cigarette. Unfortunately, as a result, emphysema took his life prematurely.

In today's world, where a professional attitude to driving is required, where smooth, consistent, fast driving pays dividends, where time trialling is so important and where the faster cars start from the front, how would Barry have fared? We can only speculate. But in yesterday's world, where the fastest cars started at the back of the pack, and a forceful style was required to get to the front, he had few peers. He was the biggest drawcard in New Zealand speedway. The colourful career of Barry Butterworth, as a racer's racer, through the 60s, 70s and 80s will undoubtedly always be inextricably linked with the history of Australasian speedway.


(The above story relies heavily on the account of Barry's life in the landmark book "One Tough Dude" by Allan Batt plus the fond memories of the writer who was, from an early age, a great fan of the driving exploits of Barry B)