You were there

Another chapter in our series for amateur motor racing photographs contributed by our readers, from their own archives. This month we take in Riverside, Ontario and a double dose of Mallory Park

Richard Hood was bitten by the motor racing bug at the age of 12 when he began cycling from his home in Leicester to Mallory Park. In later years he would try his hand at club racing, but as a teenager he was lucky enough to make a couple of key contacts who allowed him an early foothold in the sport. For a start, Richard was at school with a handy kart racer named Roger Williamson and remembers helping with the odd push-start. Family ties also gave him an insight: his cousin married Roger Mac, pictured below leading a pack away in his ex-Dick Protheroe Jaguar E-type. Then there was an unlikely link to Formula One through his slot-car racing hobby. Richard’s local club president was sometime F1 entrant Bob Gerard. A friend also happened to be the brother-in-law of Gerard’s protégé John Taylor, who became the first to average more than 100mph at Mallory in the Cooper pictured right. “I went to the French Grand Prix at Reims in 1966 just to spectate,” says Richard, “but I got roped-in to operate the signalling pit at Thillois hairpin for John.” Taylor finished sixth in his David Bridges Brabham-BRM, but crashed one month on at the Nürburgring. Sadly he died weeks later from his injuries.

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More from Mallory. This time it’s a hot and sunny Whitsun weekend in 1964. Alan Wakefield was there to take this snap of Jim Clark in relaxed mood, regaling friends with a story as an autograph hunter lurks over his shoulder. Clark had a typically busy weekend: he took a brace of wins at the Leicestershire circuit — a comfortable win driving a Lotus 30 in the Guards Trophy sportscar clash and a win in the main event of the day, the Grovewood trophy Formula Two race. He then dashed south to Crystal Palace for its Bank Holiday Meeting, in which he won the big touring car race at the wheel of a Cortina. The star of the weekend, however was a young Jochen Rindt. The unknown Austrian was fastest in practice at Mallory aboard his privateer Brabham, but dropped to the back of the field after making a poor start. He then sliced his way through the field to finish third. He too, then high-tailed it to Crystal Palace, where he again stunned the regulars by winning his F2 heat and final. A new star had been born.

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John West recently returned to the site of the classic Riverside track in California for old time’s sake. “The entire area is now covered with mass-produced homes and boxy shopping venues,” he sadly relates. But at least John has these photos of Can-Am and Formula A cars to help remind him of some great days from his youth. At the tender age of 14, John took along his trusty Yashica Penta J, a special gift from his father, to “photograph anything that could be captured with a 50mm lens in daylight, since I didn’t have a flash.” As the images show, track and paddock access weren’t much of an issue back then. He also remembers joining a friend to catch a Greyhound bus to watch the stock cars race at Ontario Motor Speedway, over two hours away — another track that has fallen victim to real estate.

We need your photos

Do you have photographs from races or rallies gone by tucked away in a drawer at home? If the answer is yes and you feel you have some interesting anecdotes to go with them we’d love to hear from you (see postal address on page 4). We suggest that where possible you keep hold of the negatives and send prints to us — and we of course undertake to look after your treasured items and return them safely after use.