You may have trouble believing this. I did. Some – I’ll use the word ‘people’ instead of the rather more accurate but less publishable alternative have broken into Jenks’ home and stolen, among others, the frame of a 1938 Norton ES2 motorcycle, its 500cc engine, and a rare Austrian Steib sidecar. The horror is that the crime seems to have been committed neither by juveniles nor opportunists. To get to these rarities, the thieves walked past a sizeable amount of junk and took only those things of value. And, as Doug Nye points out to me, unless you know specifically to the contrary, the frame of a pre-war Norton ES2 looks pretty much like any one of the many other bits of metal that would have been lying around. These people knew what they were looking for.
You can, perhaps, imagine how upset this has made Jenks’ friends, and particularly so the old soldiers from his motor-cycling days. Right now they are less interested in revenge than return. I understand they are of the view that if what has been taken is returned immediately and unharmed, then they would be prepared to leave the matter there. So, please, if you know anything at all about this, find space in your heart to help. Jenks, as you will know, was not a man of many possessions and these few artefacts amount to a sizeable proportion of what remained of his legacy. To those who stole them, they will, perhaps, have some value; to the friends he left behind, they are priceless. If you’re in any kind of position to help you can call me, here, or Odiham Police Station on 01256 405270.
You will doubtless be saddened by the story of Stuart Lewis-Evans which starts on page 48. I may be wrong but it seems to me that we lost a disproportionate amount of British talent in the tragic decade that bridged the 1950s and ’60s. You should, also, be enthralled as its author is Robert Edwards, author of ‘Archie and the Lister’s’ whose latest book, ‘Managing a Legend’ proved fine company during a week’s break snatched between issues. In its essence, it is the story of Ken Gregory, his relationship with Stirling Moss and the rise and fall of the British Racing Partnership. While the subject matter twangs less readily on the heart-strings than Archie, the tale is both worth telling and predictably well told.
The debate about who is the greatest racer of all, is, for once, taking a interesting turn. The reason is Michael Schumacher, who, says Eddie Jordan among others, is the greatest of all time. Full-stop. What fascinates me about Schumacher is not his ability in the car, but his even more outstanding talent outside it. He won two races this year, in Monaco and Spa, before even doing up his belts.
It is, of course, impossible to guess how a Moss would manage a car where aerodynamic grip meant a corner’s duration had a greater influence on its competitiveness than its angle, just as you cannot say how Schumacher would Fare in a car which, if its tail wasn’t out of line in 130mph curves, was off the pace. I’m not convinced Herr Schumacher is the greatest, but suggest he is the most complete racer who has lived and you’ll find no argument from me.