Private view: A 'you were there' special

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Mike Simpson was a 21-year-old photographic trainee when Kodak offered him a press pass for the 1967 British GP…

Some things happen by chance – and this was one such.  Kodak had two press passes available for the 1967 British Grand Prix, one for senior photographer Tony Maynard and another going spare. “I was aiming to become a photographer,” says Mike Simpson, “and at the time was working for Kodak’s lecture services department. We used to provide film strips to photographic clubs, to show members the kind of standards to which they should aspire. I was a keen racing fan and absolutely cock-a-hoop when I was given a chance to go trackside.” He used a Mamiya C33 camera and single, 80mm lens, loaned by friend – and future historic racer – Paul Castaldini.  

Afterwards he created a personal album – from which these images are taken – as a form of visual CV. He went on to carve a career as a photographer and, later, run his own multimedia business. “A few things stick in my mind from Silverstone,” he says. “There was a huge queue when we arrived and Tony was prone to impatience. After waiting a while, he followed a racing transporter along the wrong side of the road for about a mile and a half, which saved a bit of time. I also recall there being an absolutely fantastic buzz about the place, quite a contrast to the drivers’ apparent calmness.” 

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