I deeply resent Mike Lawrence’s remarks in your June issue concerning Masten Gregory, typically recounting the same anecdotes, not being too specific. Can he substantiate his allegations? The pejorative expression “habitual drug user” is a serious one which unfortunately can no longer instigate an accusation of calumny. If he’s specifying that particular 1958 race at Silverstone, did he talk to Gregory that day, interview him, to come to that assumption? I was only a young boy but that Trophy meeting was the first time I obtained Gregory’s autograph.
I don’t recall him floating in the air — just his two magnificent drives in the Lister and the then-outdated 250F Maserati 2511. I could believe reports coming from Gregory’s former co-drivers: I wonder how his old buddy and lifelong friend Carroll Shelby or Lawrence’s recent interviewee Sir John Whitmore, who remarked on Masten’s extraordinary concentration, would respond to these allegations? Nor should one forget his Alfa Romeo co-driver, Toine Hezemans, who wrote recently of Masten’s speed and determination: “To me he was the most unbelievable person I ever met” I believe, too, his ex-team mates Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham, who saw fit to enter him for Indianapolis
But I do not, I’m afraid, believe Mr Lawrence. And yes, I do know that Wilkie Wilkinson of Ecurie Ecosse once wondered if Gregory was taking some sort of pills, and that he was also questioned on the matter by RAC stewards — once.
The last time I saw Masten race was in the 1969 Osterreichring 1000 Kilometres, going very quickly in a Porsche 908, having won the inaugural race a fortnight earlier. You don’t last that long at that level if you have “habitually ingested drugs”, whatever the era.
I AM, YOURS, ETC
Chris Thomas, Stockport, Cheshire