Oulton Park, Gold Cup, 1970, my first Formula One race ‘on the inside’. I found myself on the empty pit counter next to Ken Tyrrell and team, trying to qualify their March 701, after the new Tyrrell-Ford had expired on its first lap of practice. World champion Stewart brought in the March as the rain turned from drizzle to deluge.
A few minutes later John Surtees and Graham Hill walked up so I found myself sat next to three world champions. The atmosphere was good humoured, at the expense of world champion motorcyclists; Mike Hailwood’s Lola T190/Epstein-Cuthbert was cheered through Deer Leap, a ball of bellowing water. The sheer fury of his battle with the wayward short-chassis Lola was epic and worthy of a champion.
Suddenly, Ken Tyrrell arrived; Dunlop wanted some new wet-weather tyres to be tested in the heavy rain. And to my surprise Stewart refused point-blank to do so.
While Tyrrell proceeded to admonish his star driver like a wayward child, Surtees and Hill, now at a safe distance, collapsed into fits of schoolboy giggles. They had clearly seen it all before. Subdued and chastened, the world champion climbed back into the March, and with the new ‘wets’ fitted, he completed one lap, climbed out and walked away from an incandescent Tyrrell.
Ken Tyrrell, a no-nonsense bloke. Stewart, a first-lap phenomenon with feet of clay. Dunlop took their money elsewhere.
I am, Yours etc,
Brian W Horshall, Leeds, Yorkshire