Letters, November 2015

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Howden saved my career

It was a thrill to read Doug Nye’s recent words on Howden Ganley’s book.

After coming to England to race in F3, I found myself as an out-of-work racer after Marlboro Scandinavia withdrew its sponsorship. I was subsequently happy to accept Howden’s offer of a drive in the European Sports 2000 championship.

To work with him was a real pleasure, and gave me an insight into his deep understanding of racing and its technical aspects. Without his help, I doubt my career would have endured – or, indeed, have been so enjoyable.

Thorkild Thyrring, Copenhagen, Denmark

Where are they now?

Being a keen observer of Scarab race cars (and a close friend of Augie Pabst, who achieved fame in them), I read your article on the recently sold Scarab racers of Don Orosco. This acknowledged that one of the F1 cars is a replica, but I feel more explanation is in order.

While chassis 001 is original, Chuck Daigh crashed the second F1 car at Silverstone in 1961 – as mentioned. A good portion of that car was scrapped, but a new frame was built. This car was in the hands of Ali Lugo for many years, then went to the partnership of Jack Douglass and Barnaby Brokaw. Mr Douglass passed away about a year ago, and I believe the car is still in his estate. This is the car Mr Orosco replicated.

Reference was made to Orosco’s front-engined sports racer. Orosco owned the first front-engined sports racer for a number of years, but he sold it in the late 1990s to Rob Walton, who still owns it. Orosco then had a replica made and retained that.

To the best of my knowledge, Scarab ownership is presently as follows. Front-engined sports racers 1-3 are respectively in the hands of Rob Walton, John Mozart and the Revs Institute/Collier Museum. The rear-engined car is in the Augie Pabst collection. As for the front-engined single-seaters, number 1 was sold by Orosco at Goodwood, number 2 is with Barnaby Brokaw/Estate of Jack Douglass and Julian Bronson has number 3. Dan Cotter has the rear-engined Intercontinental Formula chassis.

Tom Schultz, Wisconsin, USA

Eyewitness accountAll roads lead to Rome

By leading at Rome and going on to win, Jenks maintained that a myth – “He who leads at Rome will never win the Mille Miglia” – had been broken. Not true really, as Campari had done so in the second running of the race in 1928, along with Pintacuda in 1935/1937 and Villoresi in 1951.

Let this not detract from the Moss victory of 1955 as it is probably the greatest by a Briton in motor sport history. Incidentally, Castellotti also won after leading at Rome in 1956.

Glyn James, Llanymynech, Powys

Silverstone memories

In September’s issue Damien Smith referred to his visit to Club Corner during this year’s British Grand Prix and his memories of the same location in 1981. When Damien was standing on the “barren apron” at Club watching John Watson hurtle towards victory, I was busy lap-charting for my father, Keith, in the Stowe commentary box.

I agree with Damien’s sentiment that, while the majority of the visual cues have long since been swept away by the demands of F1, there remain a few hidden gems. The “copse” of trees survives, and spectating on the outside of the Maggotts/Becketts section still takes the breath away.

However, my favourite location is no longer within sight of the track. Each time my two sons and I cycle away from Maggotts/Becketts to watch elsewhere, we always take the longer route around the back of the vast grandstand. This dusty apron reveals the occasional red and white kerbing of the old Becketts corner on the Grand Prix circuit.

A pause is essential, to remember those who clipped that kerb before sweeping through Chapel and on to Stowe.

Alistair Douglas, Bromyard, Herefordshire

Pop into your local Spa

After attending the Belgian Grand Prix I was walking towards the car park and realised I was on the old circuit. Things got even better as I joined the traffic and trundled into Burnenville. A little further on we passed Malmedy and were soon at the Masta Kink; I thought of Chris Amon in the 1970 GP, egging himself to take it flat while chasing Pedro Rodriguez. We turned off just as I saw Stavelot curving off to the right and my magical traffic jam was at an end.

I did wonder how many others realised what hallowed ground they were on.

Gareth Holt, Coulsdon, Surrey

All things Brighton beautiful

I’ve had enough of F1, its obsession with technical complexity, overt politics and obscene commercialism. But what else has caused me to stop following a branch of our sport that I first witnessed at Brands Hatch in the 1950s?

One, I recently attended the Brighton Speed Trials. Jim Tiller was there in his venerable Allard, achieving 139mph in 10.6sec. A bike rider was getting close to 160mph in less than 10sec and a Vespa scooter reached 93mph. It was very entertaining and achieved in a great atmosphere of amateur fellowship.

Two, I enjoyed superb live coverage of the Goodwood Revival on TV. I was able to see what the drivers were doing and the way their cars responded. In every race there was a wide diversity of vehicle designs and I could read the race numbers without difficulty.

I shall continue to read Nigel Roebuck’s column. His pithy commentary on the dire state of F1 will entertain me, as will his historical references, but I’ve had my fill of the current racing and the TV coverage.

Greg Thompson, Lydd, Kent