Letters from readers

Star letter

Real motor racing

Sir,

My company is organising a revival meeting at the old Vila Real circuit in the north of Portugal.

The event will be staged on October 16 and it will include, among other features, an exhibition of historic competition cars, including some laps over the original round-the-houses circuit which will be specially closed for the occasion. Several cars which took part in the races between 1931 and 73 will attend. Mario Cabral, the first Portuguese Formula One driver — and winner of the GT race at Vila Real in 1958 with a Mercedes 300SL — is the patron of the event.

Among other past winners of Vila Real are Stirling Moss, David Piper, Chris Craft, Mike de Udy, Claude Swietlick and Jorge de Bagration. They are also expected to attend.

If any readers of Motor Sport have raced at Vila Real or have a car which raced there, we would be pleased to hear from you, as we would like to reunite as many entrants and cars to again lap what was once considered one of the most challenging circuits in Europe.

Interested parties can contact us by e-mail at vila-real@iol.pt or via fax at +351 21 388 3077.

They can also write to the following address: Edicoes Vintage, R Infantaria 16, 121, 1dto, 1350-166 Lisboa, Portugal.

Adelino Dinis, Lisbon

******

Gregorian Chant

Sir,

I am currently writing a biography of my childhood hero Masten Gregory, and I am rather sad that he gets so little credit in your magazine. He was not even in your Top 100 Drivers list a couple of years ago.

hi the readers' letters the following month, Robert Edwards, author of the brilliant Archie and the Listers, was delighted with Archie's ranking but ended his letter with, "Where was Gregory in your list?"

Your more recent Top 20 Sportscar Drivers raised the same question.

This was a guy who managed to win many big sportscar events in the US before opening the trail to a wave of wonderful young Americans who came over in the 1950s. He won hands down against Archie — both in Listers at a very famous race at Silverstone — before winning the 1958 Spa Grand Prix where poor Archie had his fatal crash during what Paul Frère called, '\"Their frightening dogfight".

Gregory shone on every track, with bravery and skill. Apart from Spa, he won the 1961 1000Km at the Nürburgring, driving almost all the distance himself in a Camoradi Maserati Birdcage, beating the works Ferraris of Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez and Richie Ginther/Olivier Gendebien/Wolfgang von Trips. He won Le Mans, too, in a 250LM which had seen better days, driving 'pedal to the metal' all the way with Jochen Rindt You can also add other significant victories: 1957 Buenos Aires 1000Km, 1962 Mosport 200, etc.

Even though it's a well-known fact that Masten's personality was not always appreciated by some among the British racing world, his absence in your list came as a surprise to me, to say the least. He was not even mentioned in dispatches among unforgettable drivers such as Larrousse, Baldi, Holbert, Haywood and Gregg, or some single-seater aces who never really shone aboard sportscars (Collins and McLaren).

I will, of course, go on awaiting your magazine each month with great expectation, albeit now with a touch of suspicion about your 'too British' point of view.

Patrick Sinibaldi, Cap Ferrat, France

******

Slow on paper

Sir,

Reading your interesting piece on Danny Ongais in the June issue, I was reminded of the USAC races in England in 1978 when I met most of the drivers at Brands Hatch. Danny readily signed my programme but I recall it seemed to take him about a minute as his autograph was so intricate.

Compare that with Eddie Irvine's scribble at Goodwood when he must have 'signed' 40 times in the same time as Danny's one!

Tim Harrison, via E-mail