Letters, April 1991

Opinions expressed are those of correspondents and not necessarily those of Motor Sport


First Ferrari win at Le Mans


The first Ferrari to win the 24 hour of Le Mans in 1949 was a type 166 MM, chassis 0008, driven by the pair Chinetti-Selsdon. It was the first V12 engine to win this race. The distance covered was 3178.3 km, at an average speed of 132.4 kph.

In 1954, the Ferrari 375 Plus covered 4061.2 km at a speed of 169.2 kph. In 1949, the 166 MM was privately entered by Lord Selsdon. Don’t you consider it as a win of ‘a works Ferrari’?

Pierre Godet,

Neuchatel, Switzerland.


The Things They Say — about Brooklands


On page 150 of the February issue there is a comment which may lead readers to suspect that the Brooklands Society Ltd is about to be wound-up. Our committee has no intention of taking such action, which would require extremely sound reasoning and the support of three quarters of members voting for such action in accordance with the Companies Acts.

The Society’s very successful work since 1967 to secure preservation orders on Brooklands Motor Course and other historic structures is by no means finished. The Society’s considerable membership and assets continue to grow and, by our constitution, will be made available to support the Brooklands Trust Ltd. The manner in which this will be arranged awaits the day when the Trust becomes financially viable which, despite the injection of £600,000 by Elmbridge Borough Council, has not yet occurred.

Details of this organisation may be obtained from The Brooklands Society Ltd, 38 Windmill Way, Reigate, Surrey RH2 OJA (Tel: 0737 241858)

The Brooklands Society Ltd, Weybridge, Surrey.


Lost Treasure


I am a professional archaeologist, but not a motoring historian. I wonder if Motor Sport or any readers can throw any light on a discovery I recently made whilst working with my metal detector near the old entrance road to Brooklands circuit? Some fifteen yards from the banking I received a reasonably strong reading and several inches below the surface I unearthed a small piece of metal, badly rusted, with jagged edqes as though it had been shattered. There was an inscription on the metal which I could just read after cleaning the surface: it reads LB 233?. Although there might be a fourth number, the metal is very corroded and I cannot tell. My brother-in-law, a lab technician at Balham College of Higher Education, has dated the metal to “some time from the early 1930s.” He is interested in cars and believes that I would be foolish not to undertake further investigation.

My detector has picked up strong signals across an area approximately 12 foot by 4 foot and I am seeking permission from the owners of the land to excavate the site. My feeling is, although I am only guessing, that a car may have crashed over the banking and what I have stumbled across are the forgotten remains.

I am hoping that you might be able to tell from the number what car it was. Obviously anything that had lain underground for so long would be in a sorry state, so can you tell me if that is the chassis number and if I rebuilt the car around it, would I be able to call it genuine?

Ernest Trotter,

Much Hadham, Hants.


Rally School Confusion


May I use your publication to clear up some public misconception which appears to be happening due to the adjacent addresses of the John Watson Performance Driving Centre based at Silverstone.

The Silverstone Rally School operates outside the confines of the Silverstone Circuit and has no connection whatsoever with the Silverstone Racing Circuit or the John Watson Performance Driving Centre or the John Watson Rally Centre as all of these companies operate within the boundaries of the Circuit.

Any persons attending a course at the John Watson Performance Driving Centre, including rally instruction, must pass through the main gates of the Circuit. Any signs to the ‘Silverstone Rally School’ situated at a farm entrance close by the main gates of the Circuit are nothing at all to do with our Circuit or Schools.

Finally, the John Watson Performance Driving Centre is, of course, only responsible for the operation of courses run within the Circuit complex and booked through its own offices on Tel: 0327 857177 Fax: 0327 858268.

Mick Linford, Operations Manager,

John Watson Performance Driving Centre.



I think it is high time to bring to a close the saga of Starkey v Silverstone Rally School with a clarification and an offer:

1. Until our move in May 1990 to the new permanent site opposite Silverstone Circuit our booking leaflets stated “all courses are held at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground”.

2. If for any reason a confirmation, with the promised location map, did not reach Mr Starkey we might have expected him to telephone to check his reservation and inquire for directions.

Although we cannot accept liability for Mr Starkey’s arrival at the wrong site last year we do accept that Mrs Starkey’s generous birthday gift went awry through no fault of her own.

I would thus via your columns like to invite Mr Starkey to a full day course here, including lunch with our compliments, an invitation which, despite the bitterness which is obviously felt, I sincerely hope he takes up.

D. Hardcastle,

Silverstone Rally School, Northants


H F S Morgan Memories


The article about the Exeter Trial and the reference to HSF Morgan jogged my memory. My father was riding mechanic for the Morgan team both before the First World War and in the Twenties. The “Governor”, as HFS was called, would somehow ascertain the precise route before the rally and he and my father would go and reconnoitre the weekend before the Rally. HFS was bent on getting FTD on all the hills and the task was to locate a stream or pond as near as possible before the start of the hill.

On the day of the rally, the drill was to go as fast as possible for the last two miles before the hill, hoping that there were no secret checks, stopping immediately prior to the hill. One of them would drain the radiator while the other bolted off to fill the can with ice cold water. They could then charge up the hill with a radiator full of cold water, on full throttle with impunity, unlike the competition with their hot engines!

Often my father paired with George Goodall who would be dropped off home after an event, George would then sprint with the car to his own home, totally forgetting the loss of balance affected by his passenger on left-hand bends. Time and time again my father would go off with George the following morning to extricate the upturned Morgan three-wheeler from ditch or field. . . . good old Douglas was always to hand.

Gerald D Firkins,

Harrow, Middx.


Bad Drivers Kill


Speed does not kill. Bad drivers do.

If we can preserve lives by enforcing limits on bad drivers who speed, then I’m all for them.

The problem is not “capable” drivers but “incapable” drivers.

D R Heath,