Our sport is littered with missed opportunities. Just look, for instance, at this particular issue of your favourite read. Aside from the fact that it features Chris Amon — and five other drivers with the talent to be F1 world champion, but without the title — we have Chris Irwin. An F1 star in the making during the mid 1960s, his career was ended by a freakish sportscar crash at the Nuirburgring. And then there is Manfred von Brauchitsch, the last of the truly great pre-war GP drivers, who has sadly died at the grand age of 97. He was nicknamed ‘Unlucky Bird’ by his fans eight years before Amon was even born.
There’s more. In 1961, Stirling Moss was a few miles from his second Targa Florio victory when his Porsche RS ground to a halt. Eleven years later a tiny ‘kit car’ made in the north-east of England stunned the British rally establishment. Unfortunately for the potentially great Clan Crusader, a change in taxation law floored its creators at their most vulnerable time. But at least their car got its 15 Minutes of Fame; Cyril Kieft’s GP contender took almost 50 years before it hit the tack.
Not every opportunity slips through the grasp, though. Yes, Britain passed over the chance to host the Gordon Bennett Trophy in 1903, but this allowed Ireland to step into the breach and begin its love affair with the sport. And crucially, thanks to Max Mosley’s browbeating, modernFormula One has begun to put its house in order.
Which reminds me, Motor Sport needs to grab some opportunities, too:
The first of these gives us great pleasure. Although he does not want a big fuss made of it, we cannot let this editorial pass without congratulating Bill Boddy upon reaching his 90th birthday. It is not overstating the case if we say that he is the bedrock upon which this magazine has long been based. Thank you, WB.
The second does not give us so much pleasure. After three years of stylish writing and dedication (a 180-mile round trip each day), several good headlines (and lots of dreadful ones), David Malsher is leaving us. We could say that he is going onwards and upwards, but he is joining Autosport! What we can say, however, is good luck in your new role and thank you, David.
And finally, we would like to hand you an opportunity. Ever wanted to ask Sir Stirling Moss about a particular race or car? Always wondered why journalists always ask him the wrong questions? Well, now’s your chance to put that right, because he’s agreed to sit in our Hot Seat and answer your questions. Send them to us by mail, fax or e-mail (see pages 8 and 18 for details) and we’ll make sure he gets them. The same goes for Dan Gurney and Derek Bell — and hopefully a few more greats whose arms we can twist.
We hope to launch this series in the May issue, but will only be able to do so with your help…