I read Cholmondeley Tapper’s book Amateur Racing Driver in my boyhood, and accordingly found your article on him (December issue) pleasantly nostalgic. It is gratifying that such a veteran amateur is still with us!
My copy of his delightful book has long-since disappeared, and it is rash to rely wholly on memory. However I believe that you may not have given the whole story of CT’s brush with Dr Farina at Deauville, in 1936, which culminated in the latter’s objection to CT starting the race with his Maserati “pulling to one side under heavy braking.” My recollection is that CT wanted to disconnect both front brakes and race on the rears only! If that is so, I wouldn’t blame Farina for objecting— and I have always felt a bit uncomfortable at CT’s emphasis on the “ironic” aspect of Farina’s subsequent race accident, in which Lehoux was killed. Amateurism should be made of kinder stuff!
Nino Farina was of course very much the professional works driver, and as such likely to be antipathetic to an unashamed amateur like CT. However he deserves credit for pioneering the “laid back” driving style, be it in Alfa, Maserati or Ferrari, and thereby inspiring B Bira and, more recently, Stirling Moss and the whole generation of post-1960 Grand Prix drivers. He was a leading runner for a score of years and, if I remember rightly, the first Campione del Mondo.
JACK MAURICE Northwood, Middlesex
In fact, what Cholmondeley Tapper wrote was that his mechanic Maurice and he finally succeeded in getting the brakes of three wheels working effectively, with the damaged drum changed from the front to the back wheel to diminish any tendency to “pull to one side.” VSCC racing men have no compunction against driving in events in which 4WB and rear only-braked cars run together, although I concede this is not, perhaps, quite the same. Yes, Dr Farina took the first Driver’s World Championship in 1950 with Alfa Romeo. WB