To my amazement I found myself mentioned in your Barrie Williams ‘In the Hot Seat’ feature (March), alongside such big names as Andy Rouse, Tom Walkinshaw and Win Percy. I could imagine readers around the world saying, “Nick who?”
At the Spa Top Hat one-hour race in September 2011 had the loan of one of Norman Grimshaw’s Cooper S Minis. Barrie was in the sister car. The first 20 minutes of the race were great fun, dicing with Norman right up to the pitstop. We came into the pits together and left together, only this time with Barrie driving the other car. We spent the next 40 minutes flat-out, changing places several times a lap. A highlight for me was going through Eau Rouge right foot flat to the floor, completely sideways with the two Minis only inches apart and never an exchange of paint (to Norman’s relief!).
The other highlight was climbing up the long straight, looking in the mirrors at Barrie inching alongside me. I looked across and there was ‘Whizzo’, with this huge grin from one side of his orange crash helmet to the other. He seemed to be telling me how he had managed to find the extra half-mph to pull alongside! I remember thinking, ‘Bloody hell, does the man ever give up?’. Then the decision: another tyre-killing round-the-outside at Les Combes: or drop in and learn something? The latter was definitely the right choice.
The final outcome was a battle of wills as to who got the inside line at the Bus Stop for the last time, and I am pleased to say true Swift grit won the corner. But we had both virtually stopped to make the bend, glanced at each other, laughed, then made a dash for the line for second and third overall.
You would have thought I had won the British Grand Prix by the way I sprayed the champagne on the podium. That race will live in my memory forever and I am hugely honoured that it will stay in Barnes too. Thanks for the lesson, ‘Whizzol
Nick Swift, Tenterden, Kent.