You were there...



Our second showcase of readers’ photographs takes us from Aintree and Brands to Dundrod and Monza via three lensmen

Michael Pitts of Chippenham sent us 21 images covering the period 1952-58. He caught the racing bug at Goodwood, but soon widened his motorsport horizons — including a trip to Monza for the 1954 Italian Grand Prix.

He took his faithful Agfa — “with which I was delighted” — everywhere with him, and although he never possessed an official photographer’s pass, such was the proximity of the on-track action in those days, a grandstand seat was exactly that.

However, if that was insufficient, the “odd trespass” wasn’t out of the question!

* * *

Glyn Jones was one of those lucky motorsport fans who managed to find a way to become involved full-time in his passion. As an 18-year-old marshal at Silverstone in 1968 he met Martin Birrane (now boss of Lola Cars), thereby beginning a 17-year spell of helping to run his cars.

Atfirst it was the ex-Roy Pierpoint Ford Falcon, but Birrane’s Crowne Racing team grew and, with Glyn by now team manager, won the European 2-litre sportscar title with Chris Craft in 1973. “I had a wonderful time with Martin, he gave me opportunities I never dreamed of,” says Glyn. “He nurtured me from a green mechanic into a professional team manager, and we remain friends today.”

When the saloons were a support race to F1, Glyn’s mechanic’s pass gave him the chance to sneak along the pitlane and take close-ups ofthe superstars of the day, such as this group of F1 hotshots (left); Andretti, Chris Amon, Ronnie Peterson, Mike Beuttler and Jean-Pierre Beltoise.

“This is my favourite picture — the antidote to today’s smoked-glass motorhomes. Such a scene is inconceivable in today’s F1.” Glyn also remained a keen race spectator. “I’d be out somewhere nearly every weekend. But I don’t have that many photos — I sometimes wish I’d put my camera in my tool box more often, but I’d be so busy, you forget these things.”

* * *

Tommy Clapham attended the 1950 Tourist Trophy at Dundrod — partly as a 21st birthday treat, and partly as an official hanger-on of the works MG team.

“At that time I was friendly with Ted Lund, who was a works MG driver,” explains Tommy. “Also in the MG team for that race was George Phillips, the well-known Autosport photographer, and Dick Jacobs. John Thornley was the team manager.

“A friend and I were there for practice and the race. The weather was foul and there were some less-than-jovial faces in the pits. It poured down and everyone was soaked. In fact, George Phillips borrowed some dry clothes from us to travel home in!

“We travelled back by boat that night through a heavy Irish Sea storm. Never again will I go to Ireland by boat!”

Still, at least Tommy had got to see the drive that put Stirling Moss on the international map, using Tommy Wisdom’s Jaguar XK120 to score the first of his seven TT victories.