Having read Modern Times in December’s Motor Sport, I truly believe the late 1960s and early ’70s to be the best years for motor racing spectators.
I was a regular at Oulton Park during that time, having been introduced by way of a friend’s father who helped in race control during the BRSCC events. I was engaged as a ‘runner’, taking all manner of information to competitors.
The highlight of those days were a couple of laps of the circuit in a dark green Jaguar, driven by Clerk of the Course, John Ellison. I vividly remember trying to peer out of the window while being pressed into the seat rounding Esso. For a 10-year-old boy it couldn’t get any better.
The Gold Cup was a fantastic day’s entertainment, with every race packed with entrants. The 1-litre F3 cars provided a train along the main straight where the leader reached Knickerbrook before the last man came over the crest. There was no ridiculous chicane at the end of the straight in those days, and three-abreast soon had to reduce to single file to negotiate the bend and onwards up Clay Hill.
The Gold Cup meeting was the first time I’d ever seen a ‘current’ F1 car, and the year the Ferraris came (1968?) was of great excitement to everyone.
I was amazed at how ‘rough around the edges’ they looked. After just watching practice for the race, though, you knew you were witnessing the very best drivers in the world because of the way they were still accelerating where the others were backing off or braking. Some of the drivers drove in sportscars and saloons too, and we used to pick heroes and villains of the day for some on-track misdemeanor.
This fondness for racing days gone by and, for me, one era in particular, is probably why many of us subscribe to MGIOR SPORT nowadays. It is the only publication to revisit those days with such accuracy.
I AM, YOURS ETC,
Nigel Dawson, Congleton, Cheshire