Not in court

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Many memories have been pouring out about the late, great Denis Jenkinson, that inimitable motoring writer who provided so many race reports for MOTOR SPORT and who was a ‘character’ to outstrip all ‘characters’. To illustrate this, one more anecdote. Before Rob Walker got into his stride and ran his highly effective team with Stirling Moss driving for him, his cars were not reliable and were apt to retire soon after starting. I suggested they might be termed ‘starting money specials’, a term Jenks used. Quite justifiably, this annoyed Rob, as it could imply that he was using racing with inferior cars just to collect start money. So MOTOR SPORT was sued for damages.

I went with Jenks to see the QC who was to represent us at the trial. He surprised a sceptical DSJ with his knowledge of motor racing, after saying that he had no interest in it; “I am here to try to win your case”, was his comment. The learned lawyer went on to explain that if the case went before a jury they would be likely to be impressed when Stirling Moss was called to give evidence for Rob Walker. “But if you do exactly as I advise”, the QC said to Jenks, “we may have a good chance. So, after you have taken the oath “. “I won’t be taking it,” said Jenks, “I’m an atheist.” The QC did his best to persuade him, to absolutely no avail. So he dismissed us and I had to go back and explain to MOTOR SPORT’s proprietor the situation. We had to settle out of court, with DSJ remaining quite unrepentant. A case of an interesting witness who was not in court.