The picture of Tom Delaney and Willie Green commemorating Donington Park’s 70th anniversary, in the news pages of the May issue of Motor Sport, was lent added interest by WB’s article on the Irish international grand prix races in Phoenix Park, Dublin from 1929 to ’31.
Presumably, the Lea-Francis Hyper which Green was driving is the car which his father drove as part of the factory team and which Willie bought as a ‘barn find’ at a Brooks auction at Earls Court a few years ago.
Turning to WB’s piece, the picture of the 1929 Team Prize-winning drivers, on page 61, includes (second from right) a chap with a definite physical resemblance to ‘young Willie’. Could this be Green Snr, who was third in the Saorstát Cup and fifth in the Irish international grand prix?
Of course, one driver in the 1932 Saorstát Cup is still an active racing driver. The remarkable Tom Delaney, driving the self-same ex-Kaye Don ’28 TT-winning Lea-Francis, then in his first season of racing I believe, led away from the start. He is prominently portrayed doing so in Bob Montgomery’s very useful little album on these races (Dreolin Publications, 1999).
While I was attending Rockingham for its opening Historic Festival in 2001, I was chatting to Mr Delaney and mentioned this publication to him. He had not then seen the picture but instantly recalled his disappointment when his good start was negated by fuel pressure problems, which slowed him and eventually forced his retirement
It was as though he was recalling a race from the weekend before.
I am, Yours etc,
Chris Mason, Riccall, York