You were there

Another chapter in our series for amateur motor racing photographs contributed by our readers. This month’s selection takes us to Thruxton, Oulton Park, Aintree and the Isle of Man

Chris Beach never went to a race circuit without taking his camera after being inspired by the sights he saw at Oulton Park’s Gold Cup meeting in 1959. His shot of David Piper’s Lotus has a wonderful period feel and Chis is both amazed and satisfied that David is still out there racing in 2004. Grand Prix practice days at Silverstone and Brands Hatch — when entry was free! — were the source of many a favourite photo, although the shot below of Richie Ginther was actually taken at the Race of Champions, an event of course that gave Eagle its first Formula 1 win, with Dan Gurney triumphant. Shame his camera wasn’t handy when he spotted ‘Jenks’ getting a lift back to the Brands Hatch paddock aboard Phil Hill’s Chaparral 2F at the 1967 BOAC 500. It was at the 1968 British GP that Chris was one of the few present not craning to get a view of the Lotus team warming up, allowing him to capture Willie Southcott, Peter Berthon, Cyril Atkins and ‘Papa’ Rodriguez watching as his son Pedro clambers aboard his BRM. Drivers getting their hands dirty are rare now, but his 1969 shot shows Emerson Fittipaldi celebrating Easter Monday at Thruxton and that’s Richard Divila under the car checking its suspension.

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When was the last time that you saw a contemporary racing car designer behind the wheel of one of their cars? A long time ago one can be sure. But it wasn’t such a rare sight back in th 1960s, as Gordon Lang shows with his pair of shots that captured how BRM’s Tony Rudd and Lotus chief Colin Chapman weren’t afraid to hop into the cockpit. The first, taken at Silverstone in 1960, shows Rudd looking pensive in the BRM P48 with which Graham Hill was to lead until spinning off. The reason for his concern is that he was making his normal check of the cars’ magnetos and had just found one of Graham’s to be broken. The shot to the left, shows Chapman in Jim Clark’s Lotus 24 before the Scot raced to victory in the 1962 Aintree 200. Living far from the circuits in Whitley Bay meant long journeys with one being memorable for Gordon and his friends sharing an uncle’s fish delivery van, the smell of which stayed with them all weekend despite the use of numerous tins of air freshener.

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For sheer variety, Martin Emsley takes the prize with his unusual duo published here. The photograph to the right is a rare shot of John Watson at the wheel of a sportscar. It’s rarer still as it’s in a Porsche rather than a Jaguar, but rarer still as it’s on the Isle of Man before the Manx rally in 1984. He was employed to do some demo runs and apparently didn’t hold back even though the road was less than dry… Martin’s photo below shows the same event, but a different car and a different driver. Full marks for spotting that it’s Hannu Mikkola and his Audi Quattro that are at a standstill, but if you want to know what number his car was running before it pulled up on the second stage, you better ask Martin as the great man gave his permission for Martin to remove his door sticker, a much treasured keepsake.

We need your photos

Do you have photographs from races or rallies gone by tucked away in a drawer at home? If the answer is yes and you feel you have some interesting anecdotes to go with them we’d love to hear from you (see postal address on page 4). We suggest that where possible you keep hold of the negatives and send prints to us — and we of course undertake to look after your treasured items and return them safely after use.