Recognition for racing drivers


Here in the United States we do not pretend to understand your honours system. In fact, we hadn't heard of it until you knighted the Beatles! However, as a member of the large United States automotive scene I can't understand how Colin Chapman of Lotus has failed to be rewarded for his amazing contribution to your export prestige over here, when Jim Clark and Jack Brabham have come home with the pieces of parchment or whatever they get. Is it because Chapman hit a cop? Jim Clark hit a Dutch cop much harder two years earlier!

If my memory serves me right, in 1965 Colin Chapman, who could have hired one of several drivers as good as Clark, won just about everything that could be won in single-seater racing, World Championship, Tasman Series, F.2 and F.3, plus Indianapolis, especially Indianapolis which had never ever been touched before by a British car and yet his cars won it, completely changed the design thinking of the United States racing world, and gave more of a boost to British automotive exports in one day than all the Prince Philip visits and British ballyhoo put together. Does Chapman have to lay his cloak in a puddle in front of Queen Elizabeth to get knighted or should he go get himself a guitar and sing us a few pop-songs?

Paramus, New Jersey. Fred Opert.

[Too true, too true! Before the war Malcolm Campbell and Henry de Hane Segrave were knighted for breaking the Land Speed Record for Britain. John Cobb, though he went to Eton, and Capt. George Eyston, were not. Since the war Moss, Brabham and Surtees have been awarded O.B.E.s, Donald Campbell a posthumous O.B.E. That, in the exacting world of mechanised speed, is about all. – ED.]