Letters, December 2019


I really enjoyed Mat Oxley’s article on Honda’s GP bikes of the sixties in the November issue. I remember attending the 1967 Canadian Grand Prix (Yes, Canada had a round of the world championship back then…) at Mosport and witnessing Mike Hailwood winning on his 250 six.

The scintillating sound of that motorcycle upshifting as he exited Moss corner and blasted up the Andretti straightaway is something that I will never forget. At one point on a clear track in early qualifying he was alone on the course and you could hear the Honda all the way around.

Years later at the 1999 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Honda was celebrating its 50th anniversary and brought over its multi-cylinder racing bikes from the Collection Hall. Once again the RC166 was the star. I recall the mechanics firing it up in the Goodwood paddock to warm it. Nobby Clark, Honda’s ace mechanic, once stated that starting the bike was literally “like an A-bomb going off”. The sound of the blipping Honda was absolutely stunning and by the time they shut it down the crowd of hundreds who had gathered around erupted in great appreciative applause.

What a wonderful, glamorous motorcycle.

Bill Wilcox, Ontario, Canada

Peter Spiers (below) has a point. How many others spotted this incredible creation last month?
Peter Spiers (below) has a point. How many others spotted this incredible creation last month?

I really enjoyed the ‘you were There’ feature that was a part of this month’s issue [November].

I enjoyed the rudimentary engineering, the primitive aerodynamics, the lack of driver safety and the queue of eager fans.

The cars aren’t bad, but I’m actually talking about the Mini-based ice cream van that features in the background of the image on page 167 [above]. Yikes!

I enjoy the mag every month. Keep up the great work.

Peter Spiers, Watford

Shortly after the launch of  the Land Rover Discovery, c.1990, Motor Sport published an article by Alan Clark MP describing his journeys from Saltwood near Dover to his estate near Tongue in the Highlands.

He used to say the time taken was almost the same whether he used his Porsche, Bentley or Discovery. While the first two usually attracted some police attention and also needed frequent refuelling, for the 700-mile journey, the Discovery needed only one brief fuel stop.

It would be interesting to speculate how much longer this particular trip would take in an electric vehicle?

Clark said his target time was usually 12 hours. This could easily double even if recharging went smoothly.

John Bilton, Salisbury

In 1996 I took my 13-year-old son to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. During the lunchbreak a collection of supercars were to be driven up the hill by celebrity drivers, accompanied by people with deeper pockets than ours who had been successful in an auction for rides in the passenger seats.

We headed for the start line to get a good view of the cars and drivers and watched the first few depart before an Aston Martin V8 Coupé approached with Stirling Moss at the wheel, instantly recognised by my well-tutored son.

Stopping on the line, Stirling looked around him and to his right saw my son and I, watching fathers’ hero. Mr. Motor Racing nodded at me and then towards my son, beckoning him over and opening the drivers’ door. My son was gone in a flash. Stirling shakes his hand and helps him get in the back and belted up, with big grins and with a thumbs up from The Man the clutch dropped and they were smartly away.

They eventually returned, and my son was dropped off by Stirling, parting with another handshake… it was priceless. I suspect this couldn’t happen today without a Risk Assessment and Indemnity Waiver

By way of our eternal thanks, many happy returns on your 90th Sir Stirling. You are one of a kind.

Andy Clifford, llanwrda

I was fascinated to see my uncle F. E. Elgood in his Bentley in the Parting Shot in the November issue of Motor Sport.

My father had very fond memories of the times he spent with his brother at Brooklands and would often be his riding mechanic whilst testing.

I attach an image from 1938 [below]. The first of him was taken on 15th October and the second from the Race Card of that day.

My uncle in the same month was awarded the Baddeley Trophy, which I still have in my possession, for achieving 110.30 miles in one hour.

Tony Elgood, Beckenham

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