Reading about Colin Elstrop in the article about the MGB in the Le Mans Legends race, I was reminded of a practical joke he once endured.
I was an unknowing accomplice.
My competition career concluded in 1996 after a fairly typical time of five years or so for a club racer. It was ended by my perennial struggles to fund it.
I hadn’t given up hope, however, and kept looking for opportunities to continue. One plan was to contest the Vauxhall Vectra Scholarship, the prize on offer being a fully funded drive in the 1998 Vectra Challenge.
Lacking match practice, I rang around to get track time at a racing school and the only circuit that could accommodate me was Croft, which unknown to me at the time was the venue for the final stages of the Scholarship.
The track manager at that time was Simon Rheinberg, who explained that there were no track/school days scheduled, although he would make the circuit available for my exclusive use for the price of a school session complete with car and instructor.
On the appointed day Simon took me to meet my instructor, Colin Elstrop. Smiling mischievously, Simon made the introductions and Colin’s face showed a look of muted surprise. Simon had neglected to tell him that following an accident at work I have only one arm…
Colin swiftly regained his composure and we proceeded with a number of sessions that blew the cobwebs away. I booked another session with Colin as I progressed in the Scholarship and, with his expert help and guidance, I got through to the semi-final stage. That, though, really was the end of my racing. I met Colin some years later at Castle Combe, where I was an official and we had a laugh about our first meeting. I’m glad to learn he’s still racing.
Don Craig, Abbeydale, Gloucester