As a female follower of a predominantly male sport, I would love to see a woman driver making a name for herself in the upper echelons of motor racing.
Having said that, I feel I must add my name to the long list of critics who have carped about Giovanna Amati’s accession to Grand Prix racing. Formula 1 should be reserved for the world’s fastest 26 drivers, not the richest 26.
After reading the letter from JM Heward in your March issue, I would advise your readers to bypass Guildford lest they should encounter him on the public highway.
A recent national newspaper article on police spy cameras suggested that plans were afoot to install such apparatus the length and breadth of the land. The intention, apparently, is to make speeding, and I quote, “as anti-social as drinking and driving”.
How ludicrous can you get?
Quite plainly, anyone who climbs into a car whilst intoxicated deserves to be caught and punished accordingly. Equally, somebody who raced past a junior school at 60 mph at four in the afternoon should also have their licence put through the nearest shredder.
What, however, is the harm in cruising at 90 mph on a motorway at three o’clock in the morning?
Nowadays, few cars are incapable of touring comfortably at such speeds. Yet if you are caught on an empty, three-or four-lane carriageway at that speed, the punishment is likely to be just as severe as that for travelling at 50 mph in a built-up area in the middle of the afternoon. Patently, the judicial system in this country is iniquitous when it comes to motoring offences, and the advent of further technology to assist the police seems to me likely to make the situation worse.
WB asserts in his otherwise thought-provoking new column (Boddy Language, April) that we should “rejoice” at the reliability of traffic lights in the UK. Pardon my cynicism, but having a couple of sets of efficient traffic signals somewhere in the middle of Wales is hardly grounds for making sweeping generalisations of this sort.
In London, it only takes a heavy rain shower or two to exaggerate the usual traffic chaos as sets of lights fizzle out all over the capital. Near my south London home, there is a set of lights in which the green bulbs have been inoperative for the past four months. Those who don’t know the area are quite often left sitting nervously at the front of the queue, unsure whether or not it’s safe to progress. Several near-misses have resulted, as those further back prepare to accelerate or when the unfortunate victim of inefficient technology finally realises the situation and gets away as the lights flick back to amber … I could ramble on with countless other tales of duff traffic lights in this great metropolis, but I know that you usually only reserve a page or two for readers’ letters.
With reference to WB’s suggestion last month that British traffic signals are reliable, I suggest that he spends a month or two camped out at busy junctions in London.
That should be enough to make him revise his opinions.
From my own experience of commuting to and from the city centre over the past I years or so, I can assure him that they are anything but reliable.
Has WB encountered a typical urban traffic situation in the past decade? From his conclusion that traffic lights in this country are reliable (Boddy Language, April), I presume not.
Who Does Hunt Think He Is?
Having watched the BBC’s coverage of the South African Grand Prix, I felt compelled to lift my pen to complain most strongly about James Hunt.
Who does he think he is?
This entire business of criticising Riccardo Patrese has simply gone on too long. Kyalami certainly was not the first time that the former World Champion one who used to turn up to formal dinners dressed in tee shirt and jeans, I seem to recall –has been vociferous in his condemnation of the Italian. What has Patrese done to justify such blistering attacks, apart from drive in F1 a lot longer than Hunt?
Hunt spent an inordinate amount of time spouting off about the man who, after all, was running in second place and thus supporting his teammate who was leading. And unless my ears deceived me, poor Murray Walker was virtually at war with him trying to play down his outrageous comments. This sort of thing might brighten up racing for some people, but it certainly doesn’t for me. It’s time Mr Hunt retired from commentating, just like he did from racing – partway through a season.
Well, I’ve given you a few months now, and I have to say that you win, hands down.
What am I talking about? Why, the new look you have introduced to Motor Sport! When I saw the January issue I was convinced that there was no way you could keep up the good work, but you have proved me wrong. The magazine now seems brighter, more focussed and much more informative.
I particularly liked the article on Al Teague. Having met him at Bonneville last year I can say that your story captured him perfectly. The NASCAR feature on Richard Petty highlighted this colourful yet modest personality. It strikes me that the burghers of Formula One could learn a great deal from those good of boys down South …
I must tell you how delighted I was to read last month of Steve Sydenham’s decision to give Racing for Britain another chance.
I hope that the venture will be set up on a sound commercial footing this time, and that a whole new generation of talented young British drivers will get the chance to progress through the junior formulae in properly-funded circumstances. I know that this wasn’t always the case in the days of the old RfB, but I’ve always been something of an optimist.
I wish those involved every success in getting the venture off the ground. Good luck to all of you.
I have every sympathy with the contents of John Strickland’s letter in the April edition of Motor Sport concerning speed and the use of police resources.
On a recent trip back from London on the M40, I saw five marked police patrol cars on the southbound side and one unmarked dark blue 4×4 Ford on the northbound lane. Could I ask therefore, since there is obviously no shortage of police on the roads of Somerset, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire that, at least 50 per cent of the resources be re-deployed back on the beat to police the streets.
I am still waiting to hear from the Warwickshire police as to what they propose to do concerning the entry to our property, smashing of the driver’s door glass by one or more mindless souls, the theft of the car (a new XR2 Ford) and the wreck that was found a week later, on its roof in a back street in Walsall, stripped of its wheels, exhaust, radio, trim, with all panels and glass damaged.
This new car was declared a write off after only one month of ownership.
The crime rate in car theft will most certainly continue to rise with such lop-sided policing.