Another chapter in our series for amateur motor racing photographs contributed by our readers, from their own archives. This month’s selection takes us to Reims and Aintree
“One of the first sounds I ever heard was J-P Wimille’s Alfetta” says MIchel Mathieu. His family lived at Gueux, on the old Reims circuit and would picnic in the garden as the cars streaked past. His father saw every meeting from 1926-69, and told of seeing Silver Arrows drivers stop at the village store during practice to buy Cognac and of watching Caracciola hit the wall, making a hole that wasn’t fixed for 30 years.
Michel’s first memory of the track is seeing Mike Hawthorn’s Ferrari spin off at the Gueux bypass during the 1954 French GP. He began taking photographs in the sixties; these are from the 1962 non-championship Reims GP meet wiwth Formula Junior heats.
* * *
If the first race you ever saw happened to be Stirling Moss’s famous victory over J-M Fangio in the 1955 GP at Aintree, the chances are that you were instantly hooked on motor racing.
That’s what happened to Norman Hayes a Motor Sport reader since the fifties. Aintree was his nearest track, and over the years he attended and photographed many meetings there, progressing from a Box Brownie to a folding Kodak. “I collected my first drivers’ autographs at the International 200 meeting at Aintree — Ireland, Surtees, Flockhart and Salvadori all signed the programme which I still have.
“One thing noticeable in the photographs is the closeness of the spectators to the cars and drivers. You could have a chat with any of the stars and they would willingly sign any number of autographs. What chance do you have today of even seeing any of the grand prix drivers, never mind trying to get their autographs?”
* * *
“These photographs have never been seen before,” says Ross Ainscow of Anglesey, because they have been hidden away in my schoolbag for 40 years.
We’re back at the ‘Liverpool Goodwood’ where horses and racing cars shared the facilities. Once again the amateur viewfinder takes a different view to the professional, grabbing the surprisingly mundane transport of a local hero. “No helicopter or Ferrari supercar for our Stirling — a Triumph Herald no less.
“In 1961 I had snapped Giancarlo Baghetti. In 1962 I took the picture along; he remembered me and signed it. No English or Italian spoken, just gestures of invisible cameras. My hero for ever.”
We need your photos
Do you have photographs from races or rallies gone by tucked away in a drawer at home? If the answer is yes and you feel you have some interesting anecdotes to go with them we’d love to hear from you (see postal address on page 4). We suggest that where possible you keep hold of the negatives and send prints to us — and we of course undertake to look after your treasured items and return them safely after use.