Miscellany, December 1998

How pleasing it is to have stamps on one’s letters recalling Britain’s successes in the LSR field, with particular reference to these of the Campbells, although sad that Richard Nobel’s great participation, culminating in the present 722mph record with ThrustSSC is not depicted.

J C C Mayers won the first MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy in his Lester-MG. In 1952, with Pat Griffiths, he formed the Monkey Stable and won the team award in the Goodwood 9-hour race. The car they used is now owned by L D Jacobsen, and the reserve car and two of the 1955 cars have survived. After Mayers and Mike Keen were killed in 1955, driving Coopers, the Monkey Stable ended, but it was revived in 1996 by Jacobsen, Dick Duncan and Mike Cross and they had the 1952 Team Award at the Goodwood Revival.

It seems only the other day that we were congratulating Reg Nice on winning the Bert Hadley Memorial Championship in the series of contests run by the Pre-War A7 Club, with the support of the son of the famous 1930s Austin racing driver. Now Nice has won the 1998 Championship with his 1931 A7 Ulster, in the car he has used competitively since 1967. Runner-up was Steve White (A7 Gordon England Replica) in his first season, followed by Clive Neale’s A7 Swallow Special. Good on you, Reg.

Praise be in the highest to Michael Worthington Williams, who has been in America to receive the great honour of being elected the Friend of Automotive History Award for 1998, the highest accolade or this organisation.

At the VSCC Dudley Gahagan Memorial Speed Trials, exhausts rang out again at Brooklands. FTD: David Baldock (2-litre Alta) 13.22sec. Fastest vintage, Andrew Day’s 8-litre Bentley, 13.59sec. Quickest lady: Miss Jane Allison in her 1935 MG, 16.31sec. Best Edwardian car time, 21.85sec by Tarring’s 11’4-litre Napier. Fastest acro-engined monster: the Bentley-Napier of Chris Williams, 14.09sec.

Chat show hosts are apt to ask about embarrassing moments. I could confess to at least one. There was a well known American writer whose descriptions of cars and races were, I thought, embroidered with too much sensation, crunch and gore. Reviewing one of his books, I expressed this opinion. The result? A furious reprimand in which I was told that if! ever mentioned him again, his attorneys would take action. I promised not even to write his obituary. When he died under sad circumstances I felt honour-bound to keep my word. But it was a bad moment when his wife rang to say that she had hoped to see my obituary for her husband in MOTOR SPORT and why hadn’t it appeared?