Much of what WB wrote in his lengthy footnote to my letter regarding the importance of Brooklands (MOTOR SPORT, September 1987), is a matter of a difference of opinion. I would, however like to pick him up on just two points.
He writes that Paul Sheldon “has no right to denigrate Brooklands”. Since when has an Englishman had “no right” to express an opinion? Why is Brooklands uniquely beyond criticism? Mr Sheldon’s opinion is anyway widely held and never more elegantly stated than in Graham Robson’s superb book, Motoring in the Thirties.
WB also asks what were the attendance figures at post-war airfield circuits. During the days of petrol rationing they were obviously not what they might have been but, by chance, above my letter was a photograph of Mike Hawthorn at Goodwood in 1952. The background is fuzzy but shows a very large crowd at this airfield circuit.
Perhaps WB had a few years earlier in mind. If so, I am sure he will not disagree with the author of the foreword to the MOTOR SPORT Racing Car Review 1950 (published 1949) who wrote: “Motor Racing is enjoying today a popularity which at one time would have been beyond the conception of this exciting and technically absorbing sport.”
The message is clear enough — Britain was enjoying an unprecedented enthusiasm for the sport which was then exclusively conducted on airfield circuits. The author of the piece was one William Boddy. He has the same initials as “WB”. Are they by any chance related?
MARK L WHEELER