I was pleased to find your article in last month’s issue on Chris Irwin, a driver who I felt possessed great potential, and yet about whom there seem to be few points of reference. Of course, your item goes some way to explaining the reason for this, given that Irwin’s whereabouts these days appear to be a mystery.
As a motor racing-mad child of the Sixties, the up-and-coming drivers such as Irwin, Piers Courage, Derek Bell and Brian Redman all had a particular fascination. The list of promising drivers is almost endless and, as we all know, some made it; some fell by the wayside due to financial constraints; some (prematurely or realistically) decided they would not make it; and, tragically, some were lost to us before reaching their prime.
I remember reading a little about Irwin’s accident at the time and also of the grave consequences. Even the specialist press, however, seemed to have little further to say after the report of the race weekend itself.
I do recall, however, a later TV programme on the subject of racing drivers’ wives in which Loti Irwin featured and, without being specific about the accident or its physical consequences, she referred to how Irwin seemed to have difficulty in recognising their children and expressed anger over his situation.
A family tragedy that, for those of us who miss a great deal about earlier eras of the sport, does at least highlight safety as the one area that has improved for the better.
I am, yours, etc
Mike Gardener, Cheltenham, Gloucs