Just to introduce myself, I was a Service patrol 24 years ago based at 130 St Albans Road Watford and covered an area from Maple Cross to Teddington and everything inbetween (M40-M4 M25)
I was the youngest ever RAC patrol at 19yrs and my Chief Superintendent was Gerry Badrick.
My first patrol van was a lovely Transit registration A708XOJ it was a great working van and was regularly polished in my downtime.. I managed to keep her looking very presentable which gave it a longer life out on the road but was eventually replaced with a Sherpa 200.. Registration D300MON.
That thing used to wake the dead when I was on earlies lol.
Most common problem with the Sherpa was the heavy Band3 radio mounted on the centre console snapping the brackets and you ended up with the whole assembly across your feet (bit scary when your driving).. also had countless "U bolts" snapped as a result of the amount of towing work it did.
Have many many great stories from the days as a patrol
I once had a Rolls Royce with 2 very smartly dressed members on the M4 at Slough on their way to an event with no drive which I towed into the VIP enclosure at the Windsor Racecourse.. very surreal as back then it was unheard of towing a Roll Royce.. unhitched the member and out came the picnic hamper and the offer of some cheese and wine... which I had to refuse of course.
My worst experience was getting shot in the back from an air rifle in Heston.. I retreated into my van and then the little blighter shot at the windscreen and cracked it.. at which point I removed myself from the area the Police were called but never heard the outcome.
I did my residential training at the Maypole centre in Birmingham and stayed at a nice hotel on the Hagley Road (1987) it was a great sight to see 6 plus RAC vans in convoy going to the venue everyday..
Some of the more frequent breakdowns I worked on were Ford Escorts MK3's with dodgy VV carburettors or failed ignition amps... countless LRA101's fitted.. and the countless UCB400 regulators fitted.
Most awkward job was those fiddly Ducellier points fitted to the Renaults and Peugeots 104's.. as a temporary roadside repair I used to scotch lock a condersor inline and send them on their way with a recommendation to get it done ASAP... only to get the same job some months later with my temp repair still visible lol...
Always had a stock of Stromberg and VV diaphragms and had a van full of Commercial Ignition parts.
Just wondering if anyone knows if the following RAC people are still around?
Nick Hester, Danny Aldridge, Robert Hammond, Gary Bargh.
Since leaving the RAC 24 years ago I have been working at Heathrow Airport for a major international airline as a GSE mechanic covering everything from 80v baggage tractors to 70 ton Douglas tractors and state of the art towbarless aircraft tractors..
Anyway I have applied to return to the RAC as a patrol after my long break and completed the online test and had a call last week informing me that I have been put through to the next stage very excited..
Have spent the past 2 weeks constantly studying to bring myself up to date on the modern technology used in vehicles today.. lots of late nights on the iPad.
Here is a picture of my 2nd Patrol van.
My current breakdown vehicle... its almost older than me lol
Some of the old equipment I work on.
Here is some of the new equipment that we maintain with our new owner.
Last one is my service/breakdown van along with 2x TBL280's