Racing and Rhythm

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Racing and Rhythm

I felt an uncomfortable nostalgic pang as I read your fine ritrospectif on old Piers Courage lathe November issue, and can add little of any consequence — wtcept to mention that he did actually purchase a Merlyn Mk6 sports car in 1962. I think it had a 2-litre Climax engine, and its eventful (but unsuccessful) career began as it was to cam on when Piers and! drove down to the Merlyn shed near Colchester in his white Jaguar MkVII to collect the thing. He could scarcely contain his excitement as we rolled the shining new red machine onto the trailer and set off to conquer the world, but 100 yards down the road the whole tail section blew off and was shredded by a lorry. Although racing men are not meant to cry

there have to be occasional exceptions.

I believe the car was later sold to Robin McArthur, who continued to struggle manfully with it.

Piers’ friendship has proved to be irreplaceable and, in connection with M.L.’s article “All that Jazz” in the same issue, he also happened to be nuts about musicals in particular. His first reaction to the odd glass of sherbet was to drop on one knee and run through Al Jolson’s “Jazz Singer” routine, which could clear a restaurant quicker than a salmonella sandwich.

In the racing and rhythm section we must include the BRDC’s Honourable President, Gerald Lascelles, who is a considerable jazz aficionado, and! remember a long emotional evening with Mike Hailwood on the Yamaha (piano) in his house near Durban. He suggested that the affinity between good racing and good jazz — especially improvisation — was largely due to the fact that they both had to be “played” by the seat of the pants. Ripon CHARLES P. LUCAS