Ken Gregory: 1926-2013
Ken Gregory, who has died aged 87, had a huge effect on motor racing during the 1950 and ’60s, and arguably beyond. Team manager, constructor, circuit director, club manager, race organiser – he inhabited all these titles, but it was as Stirling Moss’s manager that he wielded most influence. Drivers had used managers before, but the symbiosis between Moss and Gregory grew to a new level, with Gregory lining up drive after drive for Stirling’s insatiable ambition, while Moss left negotiations, car choice and travel arrangements to Gregory, making them arguably the first professional driver and manager. Gregory also created the first fully sponsored racing team, altering the sport’s landscape.
Through helping an RAC friend look after the 1949 British GP, Gregory quickly became secretary of the 500 Club where he clicked with Moss and his father Alfred, taking on more and more of The Boy’s affairs, arranging Kieft, HWM and Jaguar drives, then buying a Maserati 250F. It was Gregory who got Moss into the Mercedes and later Maserati and Vanwall teams, while also taking on Peter Collins, becoming a director of Brands Hatch, managing the BRSCC and running the Nassau Speed Week, not to mention two flying schools. With Alfred Moss he set up the British Racing Partnership in 1957, providing Cooper F2 and BRM F1 drives for Stirling and other drivers, Gregory doing the deal that for 1960 turned it into Yeoman Credit Racing and brought full sponsorship into Formula 1. He also relaunched an ailing magazine as Cars & Car Conversions, adding publishing to his portfolio, and with Moss Sr opened Britain’s first hamburger joint, claiming invention of the word ‘beefburger’. At the same time he wrote Behind the Scenes of Motor Racing, vividly describing his early years with Moss.
Overseeing his team, as it switched to UDT Laystall and back to BRP, helped Gregory to cope with the aftermath of Moss’s career-ending accident in 1962; although there had been plenty of friction between them, the crash had immense personal impact, and it was Gregory who dealt with the huge press and public demands afterwards.
BRP built its own cars for 1963-64, plus an Indianapolis version, but after being refused FOCA membership it withered financially and Gregory turned to his parallel interest, aviation, building a major air charter service that transported the likes of Sinatra and The Beatles. After his fortune vanished in the 1970s banking crisis, he retired to Spain but retained his incisive mind to the end, updating his book in electronic form in 2012. Gordon Cruickshank
His name might not mean much to the wider world, but Philippe Favre was an immensely capable racing driver with a friendly, engaging manner. The Swiss died in a skiing accident on December 6, just short of his 52nd birthday.
Favre came to Britain in 1985 and soon established himself as a Formula Ford front-runner, going on to finish second in the following season’s RAC FF1600 series (and also finishing as runner-up in the Festival, after an epic duel with Roland Ratzenberger).
After two seasons (and one win) in British F3, he took pole position on his FIA F3000 debut at Silverstone in 1989 and finished the race in second place, behind Thomas Danielsson. Lack of sponsorship subsequently compromised his single-seater career, but he went on to race sports cars with distinction, representing Kremer Honda, Lister and Venturi, among others.
As one of the leading drivers from the 1-litre Formula 3 era of the late 1960s, Bev Bond’s life went full circle when he returned to racing at the age of 70 in the burgeoning 1-litre F3 revival series. Sadly, he died from cancer aged 75 while planning another season of racing in 2014.
The product of a speedway riding family, Bond was born in London and rose through Formula 3 to race for Gold Leaf Team Lotus in a Lotus 59 in 1970. He famously won the 1970 British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park after starting from the back of the grid and was third in the British F3 Championship in both 1969 and 1971.
By now in his early 30s, his racing career ended in the mid-70s after competing in Formula Atlantic with Harry Stiller.
After 35 years away the sport, Bond rekindled his interest as the rebirth of 1-litre F3 took off over the past four years and was fortunate enough to race his Gold Leaf Lotus 59, now owned by Jim Chapman. He also worked with the 1-litre Historic F3 Racing Association and first suggested the successful revival of the Nations’ Cup race.