Time to go Dutch
Following Nigel Roebuck’s item in the January 2005 edition, I’d like to point out that though Zandvoort is no longer the track it was during its glory years much of it remains in use today. Certainly it has retained more of its character than many other tracks of the period.
Given the availability of cheap flights, the many comfortable hotels and restaurants of Amsterdam, and the ease with which the circuit may be accessed (via an excellent public transport system, for maximum relaxation), it is a surprise that it is not a more popular destination for British enthusiasts with a weekend to spare. It’s more than likely that such a weekend in Holland could be enjoyed rather more cheaply than a trip to many historic events based at home in Britain. While the publicised Thoroughbred Grand Prix round never materialised this year, a low-key historic club meeting did, and I count myself a happy spectator. Much of the facilities have been modernised, but there is still a great deal of character about the place. Viewing is excellent, especially if you are prepared, and able, to take to the dunes. Tarzan remains much as it was, approached from the longest straight. The smell of frites and mayonnaise remains also.
Having watched grand prix cars demonstrated at Zandvoort, I hope that the local organising club’s negotiations with residents allow a TGP round to be held there at the earliest opportunity — but I’m likely to return regardless of the outcome.
Andrew R Enderby,
Zands of time
I have always very much enjoyed Nigel Roebuck’s Legends, but I was disappointed with his Zandvoort story in the January issue.
It completely failed to mention, even briefly, the circuit’s early days and in particular the inaugural race in 1947 when some 20 BRDC members were invited to open the circuit. The BRDC was represented by, among others, Bob Gerard, Duncan Hamilton, George Abecassis, Tony Rolt, Prince Bira and Reg Parnell. I was fortunate enough to be working with one of the teams there.
It seems such a shame not to have mentioned the start, as well as the end almost 40 years later, of this fine circuit.
J N Powell,
I thoroughly enjoyed Simon Taylor’s Notebook on Boxing Day racing. He makes mention of the one surviving race at Mallory Park, but even that almost disappeared a few years ago. When I first started racing Caterhams five years ago, a group of us wanted some track action over winter and went testing one slushy December morning at Mallory.
This whetted our appetites, and the next year we entered the sports and saloon race on Boxing Day, dicing with everything from hatchbacks to classic Jags.
This continued for a few years before a disagreement between the motorcycle and car organisers meant there was to be no race in 2003. Worried at the thought of having to visit my relatives on Boxing Day, I approached BARC Midlands about running the race for the Caterham Graduates series. (Boxing Day has special prominence in Seven racing; Graham Hill won on the car’s first outing in 1958.) In an impossibly short time it was organised and 15 Sevens entered, along with a batch of single-seaters in another race. For 2004, the numbers were even better.
Boxing Day is reputedly Mallory’s second-biggest crowd of the year; long may it continue.
Reading your Track Test article on the Dunboyne circuit in Ireland brings back many memories of my youth. In the early 1960s, as a young motor racing-mad schoolboy, the highlight of my summer was to be taken to both the Dunboyne and Phoenix Park races by my older brother. I had the privilege of being probably the youngest marshal on the circuit and we were always in a prime spectating position in front of the main grandstand in the village.
Like John Watson, I was highly impressed by the speed that the cars were able to carry through the very fast left that led into the village. One of my most vivid memories is of Alec Poole two-wheeling his green Austin-Healey Sprite with great verve; I am not surprised that he rolled it!
The tradition of driving racing cars on public roads in Ireland is still maintained today by the hillclimbing fraternity, and the experience of driving a single-seater up the 2.2mile Ballyallaban hill through the middle of the Burren in County Clare is a unique experience, albeit not for the faint-hearted.
However when we folk in Ireland ‘catch up with the 21st century’ this too will pass!
Our thanks to Bill Boddy for his profile of Dudley Froy. Dudley was a much-loved fixture on the Tucson, Arizona racing scene from the 1950s, first as a promoter and founder of the local drivers’ and owners’ organisation and later as an official.
I got to know him in the late 1960s writing a story about him for the track programme and putting him in touch with the Brooklands Society, which invited him to its reunion. I doubt if many who knew Dudley in Arizona appreciated the magnitude of his motorsports involvement, but when he passed on he received a terrific write-up in the local newspaper.
He had a trove of wonderful tales about pre-war racing and the legendary personalities he knew, and loved to share them.
A racer to the core.
I am researching the life story of the British author Elleston Trevor (1920-95). I have been told that he trained as a racing driver prior to joining the RAF in 1939, and raced in the late ’40s and early ’50s. If any reader can throw any light on these areas my e-mail address is [email protected]
A small world
I have been reading Motor Sport since I was 12 and one of my great interests is classic racing cars.
I am writing about the Surtees TS5 mentioned in the November 2004 issue. This car, chassis 2, was raced in South Africa in the early 1970s, and a friend of our family (I used to call him Uncle Dave) was involved with it when it was raced by Spencer Shultz.
Dave handed me original photos and negatives from those years, and a large collection of Motor Sports. I’ve had some of the photographs restored from the original negatives and scanned them onto CD, but lost touch with Dave 24 years ago.
I sent some photos of the TS5 racing at Kyalami to Terry Hoyle Racing, the company restoring the car, as it needed to learn more of its history. Justin from Hoyle’s had the new owner, a South African, contact me. It was great to chat about the car and the fact that I had all the photos. But the best part of it all is that the new owner, Anthony, has traced Dave; he lives in the UK now so hopefully I will be able to get in touch again.
I would like to extend a word of thanks to Justin for getting Anthony to contact me, and to Anthony for tracking down my uncle. It certainly is a small world.
Randburg, South Africa
I am currently compiling a database of results of the British Sprint Championship. The results so far are displayed on the BMSA website, www.britishsprint.org.
I am having particular difficulty with the inaugural season (1970) when Patsy Burt won the title, and this is a request to your readers for information. I know that there are a lot of ex-competitors and spectators out there who read Motor Sport and they may well be able to help fill in some of the blanks.
My contact details are: [email protected] stephenrwilkinson.wanadoo.co.uk — tel: 01704 225267.