My first race

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Fiat 1000 Abarth, Zolder, 1966 by Toine Hezemans

I’d just finished second in the World Karting Championship; third was a certain Ronnie Peterson. I ordered a Fiat 1000 Abarth TC and the thing was late, so! had to dash down to Turin to pick it up just before my first race at Zolder in the European Touring Car Championship. I knew it would be tight so I fitted the trailer with some Dunlop racing tyres and towed it behind my Iso Rivolta. I managed Turin to Zolder in nine hours, doing 120mph more or less all the way. When I arrived in the paddock in the middle of the night I hit the brakes and the Abarth came off the trailer and into the boot of the Iso. It split the radiator and! had to drag a friend out of bed to weld it up. I ended up finishing second, beating five factory cars, after a great battle with Paddy Hopkirk in a Mini. I did 20 events that year, including hillclimbs, and I think I won 15 of them.

…and my last race

Porsche 911 Carrera RS, Zandvoort, 1990

I hadn’t raced since the 1979 BMW Procar Championship and was running a team in the Porsche-Ferrari Challenge that was based in Holland. I’d bought three Porsche 911 Carrera RSs and thought I’d have a go around Zandvoort, without a helmet, just to see what they were like. When I came into the pits, my team told me my times were only a couple of seconds off the pace. I said, ‘No way, give me a helmet!’. I ended up doing the race and winning it in front of a Ferrari F40. My son Mike was third. GW