The day I beat...



he clay I beat.. AYRTON SENNA

FRANK BRADLEY: FF2000, Snetterton, July 4,1982

I think it was the only race that Ayrton didn’t win in ’82. He had a non-finish at Hockenheim that year but I was the only driver who actually beat him. The track was wet but I had gambled on slicks. I got them changed on the grid just before [clerk of the course] Sid Offord had time to go off on one, which he usually did with me.

The first five laps were pretty hairy. Just keeping it on the black stuff was an effort, but the track was drying. The next five laps it got better, then it really came back to me. Towards the end, I was absolutely flying. I needed to be as I had to make up a lap. Then I came up to the back of Calvin Fish’s Van Diemen — we were all in RF82s — which was second. As usual, he tried to drive me off the road. I got past him and then went after Ayrton.

It was neck-and-neck, but his tyres were spent: I got past him on the last lap (above). After the race, I told him I’d been lucky. He said: “No, you were the best today.” That meant a lot to me.

I’ve been racing since 1969 and met a lot of the stars. What was really great about Ayrton was that he would still stop and say hello, even when he’d gone on to better things. He would tell me that I was too bloody old to be playing in Formula Ford! 12 1 MotorSport I Dec 2004 I