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Flying Soperman

Sir,

Your image of Steve Soper flying through Duffus Dip at Knockhill in 1994 (February issue) immediately flashed back the moment to me as if it were yesterday.

Having attended the BTCC races at Knockhill from the inaugural event in 1992 throughout the ’90s it brought back some great memories of both the weather and the racing. Knockhill top tip: even if it’s the middle of summer, best take a brolly and beanie!

The main thing I remember about Steve was his pinpoint placing of the car on the 130mph approach to Duffus. Every lap he would position the car inch perfectly on the midpoint of the outside white line at the first turn into Duffus before launching over the kerbs and into the dip itself. More than any other driver he illustrated metronomic precision, controlled aggression and speed throughout that sequence. A class act.

As the great basketball player Michael Jordan perfected ‘hang time’, the BTCC’s BMW boys put a spin on its automotive equivalent. Further along the lap at the now-named Glenvarigill chicane and Clark Corner both Steve and Jo Winkelhock monstered the kerbs. The inside wheels must have been 3-4ft in the air, especially in qualifying. Factor in their rivals with their own freestyle interpretations and the only word for it was ‘cool’.

Complementing the visual treat was the aural, hard-edged metallic induction noise of high-revving fours, bullet-like sequential shifts and the scrape of carbon-fibre undertrays on touchdown.

The experience left an indelible mark. Fast forward to the autumn of 2002 and I fulfilled one of my motoring milestones: I purchased a BMW E36 M3 EVO. I spent the next 18 months just ‘hanging around’.

As a seasoned subscriber, keep up the great work.

Stephen Kiernan,

Derbyshire

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