Sport before cash

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Sir, I read your final Modern Times in the September issue with mixed emotions. Simon Taylor and I are of a similar age, and probably saw our first motor race at round about the same time.

In Simon’s days at the helm of Autosport, I was one of the many who supplied reports and photos of the club scene of 1969-71. Via links with the Birmingham Post, I got passes to two British GPs, and loved every moment of them.

Weekends were hectic, and then I went back to an office job till the next weekend. Then the young lady who’d accompanied me, from Croft to Snetterton via Lydden, became my wife. Home and family followed and I stopped attending events.

In 1995, as a special 50th birthday present, my family bought tickets for the British GP. The event was a huge disappointment. Then, via a curious sequence of events, I found myself back at Shelsley Walsh where I rediscovered, as Simon put it, “Events where the sport is more important than the business”.

More recently, I had the chance to go trackside once again. I revisited circuits I hadn’t been to for 30 years: Cadwell, still wonderful and laid-back; Silverstone, full of fences and locked gates; Brands Hatch, still a little bit officious; Oulton, still great and a welcoming press office.

Sadly, I wasn’t impressed with the preponderance of one-make races. Call me old-fashioned, but I like variety in a race. And that clinched it: from now on it will be places like Shelsley for me.

During the mid-’50s, a Lagonda-owning friend of my father came to visit. I recall talking to him about racing. He was, “Not interested any longer. Not what it used to be.” As a child, I couldn’t understand what he meant. But now, of course I’m of the same mind.

Mike Dodman, Bromsgrove, Worcs

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