Unaccustomed as I am to public displays of jingoistic, Britain-is-best trumpeting, it is difficult to leaf through very much of this magazine without concluding that the sport and its history we so love would indeed be a sorry shadow of its magnificent self were it not for the prolonged labours of so many from these shores.
It would, of course, be easy to construct the contents of the magazine to support this view but the truth is that’s just the way it happened. From such people as James Hunt, Murray Walker and Sir John Whitmore past places like Goodwood and Donington to cars as great as the Lotus and Caterham Seven, this issue is packed with reasons not simply to smile quietly about the past but also to be proud that the achievements continue to flow fast.
I toyed briefly with the idea of devoting this column to misty eyed reflections upon 1997 and the truly extraordinary year it has been for this magazine. But while I believe the contents of Motor Sport should continue to fulfil a largely retrospective brief, I am equally sure that those of us responsible for it finding its way into your home every month should continue to look only to its future.
I will, therefore, make this brief. In the months since April when we re-launched the magazine, it has been both praised and condemned, devoured with delight by readers who liked what we were trying to do just as surely as it was discarded with disgust by those who did not. We knew we could not please everyone and had to accept, long before showing the new magazine to its public that it would lose a few readers as a result. But we hoped and believed it would gain rather more and so it proved. In the last year new readers and lapsed readers alike have turned and returned to Motor Sport in their thousands. The result is that, for the first time in a generation, the vital signs of a magazine’s health its sales, subscriptions and revenue are once more heading rapidly in the right direction.
That this is good and even great news for the magazine is clear. However, as the bloke who has spent the last twelve months taking the credit for the other people’s work, I think I’ll give the back-slapping a miss for now. All I would say is that there are many people who have played invaluable parts in this especially the drivers, owners, dealers and clubs who have given freely their time, cars and facilities to Motor Sport over the last year. To them all I extend the sincere gratitude of us all working on the magazine while acknowledging that, without such support, we could never have come such a very long way in so few short months.
Final thanks goes to you, the readers. All of you who have joined, returned or chosen to stay with the fold have played a part in the resurgence of Motor Sport. Sitting here, it seems that wishing you a happy Christmas and successful New Year is a rather limp way of repaying your loyalty and faith in this magazine. So while I wish you all the best for the festive season, I think it perhaps more meaningful to promise that all our efforts will be redoubled during 1998 to continue to do justice to this great, unique title.