Letters from readers, August 2002

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A Silverstone thank-you

Sir,

The recent statement by Max Mosley, President of the FIA, returning the $5 million bond to Octagon on the basis of the work at Silverstone being completed in time for the British Grand Prix, I am sure was greeted with relief and enthusiasm.

The BRDC, with our partners in Octagon and the MSA, thank all those who responded so positively to the threat that, if certain guarantees were not given, the FIA World Motorsports Council would withdraw the British Grand Prix’s standing as a world championship event. Much work was done to encourage the people and organisations who stood behind the plans that were already in place to improve the road network and car-parking facilities in and around Silverstone.

Prime Minister Tony Blair gave his support, as did the Department of Culture, Media and Sport through the office of Tessa Jowell and Richard Caborn. The Minister for Transport, John Spellar, responded energetically. We thank, too, our local MPs.

There were many more people involved, such as the chairmen and chief executives of both South Northamptonshire and Aylesbury Vale councils, and the chief constables and their heads of traffics from Thames Valley and Northamptonshire.

We thank Costain, Fitzpatrick and all the other contractors for finishing a difficult job on time. We thank the motor clubs and Formula One Supporters’ Association and, naturally, Octagon, who put up the $5 million bond.

The reaction I received from all the people and organisations I telephoned or wrote to was totally supportive and enthusiastic.

The British Grand Prix is an important part of the economy, the Motorsports industry and, of course, above all our sport. We have much more to do to defend and promote Silverstone, the British Grand Prix and our sport at every level. We are, however, moving in the right direction.

I am, Yours etc, Jackie Stewart, BRDC President

Why the change?

Sir,

I write in response to Mr Andrew Coe’s letter last month concerning the eligibility rule change for the 2002 Veteran Car Run.

Having been involved in this event since 1967, and been a regular driver of a 1900 Darracq since 1977,1 wrote to him in May, giving reasons for my disapproval of the rule change. I subsequently received a reply from Andrew Neill, the manager of classic and historic events for the IMS.

It is apparent from my correspondence, and other correspondence in the motoring press, that the MSA is ignorant of the significance of this 70-year-old event and arrogant in its seemingly unilateral choice of 1906 for the cut-off date for entries. The article by Bill Boddy in your July issue gave a well-reasoned argument as to why the entry cut-off should remain at 1904 and also pointed a finger at the commercial greed of the MSA for altering the eligibility date.

Mr Coe claims there has been full consultation and agreement with interested parties, but this is very much in dispute, and the degree of discussion seems to vary depending on which party you talk to. What is not in dispute are the many letters objecting to the rule change and not one supporting it. Also, all the editorials I have seen in the motoring press have condemned the change. So much for Mr Coe’s statement that “early indications are that the change has been enthusiastically received by early car owners”.

I, along with some 100 past entrants, will be boycotting the event this year, and I hope owners of 1905 and 1906 Edwardian cars may be persuad-to refrain from entering.

I am, Yours etc, Paul Pickvance, West Lavant, West Sussex

F3 results needed

Sir,

Jam writing a book on British F3, 1971-90, and I am in need of a large amount official results.

The book will be a driver-by-driver account of the formula in these years, and I need information on all starters, finishers, non-qualifiers and non-starters from more than 100 races. Some of these events were run abroad: at Zolder (1977), Monaco (’75), Monza (75), Paul Ricard (71 and ’73), Magny-Cours (71) and Anderstorp (’72 and ’75). But even the early British race results are frustratingly fragmentary for the first 10 years of the era in question.

If anybody can help with information on the British and/or foreign events do please contact me at 21 North Hill, Dadford, Nr Buckinghamshire, Bucks, MK18 5LF. Tel: 01280 816687.

I am, Yours etc, Jonathan Blackwell, Bucks

Salooney tunes

Sir,

Your article on Tony Sugden’s Skoda 13ORS supersaloon (Warhorses, July issue) struck a chord with me. My admiration for the man and that car is as expansive as your article was well-written and put together.

The combination of Tony and his Skoda is often the highlight these days of a Northern Sports and Saloon car race at Croft on a Saturday afternoon. The circuit’s organisers think the feature of these weekends is the big event on the Sunday. Not for us special saloon die-hards it’s not. Oh the sight of that Skoda as it whooshes around the circuit with all of the others in its wake.

We Croft regulars think back to the great days of the Superloon’ circus, and in particular May 1977 when they came to the circuit. There were enough of them to fill the grid, ranging from Colin Hawker’s DFVW (a VW1500 fastback based on the Brabham BT33/De Cadenet Le Mans car), Arthur Collier’s Skoda-Chevy, Mick Hill in the famous VW BeetleChevy, Tony Strawson in Hill’s former car, the Capri-Lola 8.1-litre Chevy, to John Pope’s Vauxhall Magnum with a 5.3 V8 Aston Martin engine.

Trouble was, in those days of the old circuit layout, Croft was long straights joined by tightish corners. The `superloons’ went like rockets up the straights but tiptoed around the corners. It had rained before the race and was, therefore, ideal conditions for a nimble car piloted by a driver with local knowledge.

Step forward Doug Niven in the beautiful Border Reivers Ford Escort 2.0 Special Saloon. He showed the muscle cars how to do it, and the `superloons’ went away with their tails between their legs.

Great Days!

We are, Yours etc, Paul and Michael Vickers, Cleveland

Seeing is believing?

Sir,

The article on the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix (June) was very interesting. I was at Mosport that day. Back then, the only way to keep track of the race was to keep a lap chart; there were no electronic scoreboards or large television screens, and the public address system was either unintelligible or drowned out by beautiful engine noise.

We always sat at corner five, called Moss Corner, and we were right behind where the photograph shown on page 71 was taken. That corner was the farthest from the pits and our lap chart showed Emerson Fittipaldi as the victor. We felt vindicated when we heard that Lotus challenged the result — maybe they should have used our lap chart as evidence!

I am, Yours etc, Dave Walker, Alberta, Canada

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