On March 16 there was a memorable happening in London, when representatives of every branch of British motor racing–from drivers, through constructors and team owners, all branches of the industry, race organisers and major clubs, to the Press; from Formula One right through the spectrum to Formula Ford–were invited to a reception by Her Majesty’s Government.
The assembly took place within the magnificent halls of Lancaster House in St James’s, and was hosted by the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minster of Trade and Industry, and by the Hon Colin Moynihan MP, Minister for Sport. A more complete gathering of notable people, past and present, covering every branch of The Sport, would be hard to imagine.
In a very warming and well-informed speech Clarke explained that the reception was the Government’s way of saying “thank you” to the close-knit and self-contained industry that is British motor sport. He expressed official admiration for the thriving industry which it represents, employing a vast number of people, turning over large finances, selling racing expertise worldwide, and carrying the British engineering name to an international audience.
He made it very clear that “the corridors of power” not only know what is going on in international motoring sport, but were very appreciative of the effect on the country’s standing of British engineering dominance at Indianapolis, Jaguar’s efforts in World Sportscar racing, and British strength in every type of Formula racing. In so many words he was saying: “We know what you have all been doing over the past years, we appreciate it, and we would like to say thank you”.
It was an occasion not to be missed by those fortunate enough to be invited to represent their branch of the sport.