Letters, October 2010

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Power to the Pageant

Sir,

May I thank the organisers, competitors and spectators for a truly memorable Cholmondeley Pageant of Power. The depth and breadth of the cars (and bikes) was amazing. I was able to attend as a track marshal via the BARC, so I had a ringside seat!

Special thanks should go to the Wheatcroft family and Hall & Hall for bringing priceless, delectable cars to the event, the Sinsheim Museum for sending Brutus and the Bohmerland (four-seater motorcycle), Chris Williams for his new Packard Bentley and… well, the list goes on.

Bentley, Breitling and the Cholmondeley estate can be proud of putting their event on the map – it is truly a more eclectic version of the Goodwood Festival of Speed for us northerners! I’m looking forward to next year already.

Michael Broadbent, Haslington, Cheshire

Open up the rule books

Sir,

Ian Mann’s letter (September issue) on the need for motor sport to lead the way in innovating new technologies is timely.

I have been besotted with motor racing for 40 years, but much as we all love the sweet thunder of real racing engines the time has come to open our eyes (and ears). Petrol engines may, in our lifetime, be consigned to historic events along with carburettors and solid tyres.

Audi and Peugeot’s Le Mans diesels and the promising Porsche hybrid 911 are showing the way, but we need to go much further, much faster. Let’s open up the Formula 1 rules to encourage hybrid/electric (and any other) power. The manufacturers would love this as the pace of development would accelerate in F1. What about incorporating photovoltaic panels into the bodywork? What about new-generation steam power? I could go on, but the point is that we have to open up the rule books to encourage innovation, not stifle it.

Let motor sport lead the world into the new era instead of just refining the past. Maybe we’ll see grids of differently shaped cars with different forms of power. Oh, and hopefully some great racing.

Terry Stanford, Blakeney, Norfolk

A question of counties

Sir,

Having moved to the UK eight years ago from South Africa, and having resided for this period approximately five miles from the Williams factory, I could have sworn that I was living in Oxfordshire and not Berkshire, as Rob Widdows says in his F1 logistics piece.

Well done to all at the world’s best magazine on another excellent cover-to-cover read.

Jock Hiddleston, Southmoor, Oxfordshire (I think)

The other Reece racer

Sir,

Reading ‘A picture of Peter’ in the August issue (Letters) brought to mind Peter Reece’s cousin, Jack Reece. Jack was better known as a rally driver and I recollect going to Glasgow in the early ’50s to the start of the Monte Carlo Rally. Jack and Peter were doing the trip in a Ford Anglia, arriving successfully. Jack went subsequently in a Ford Prefect.

Jack worked in sales at Blakes, a Liverpool Ford agents. He was a popular after-dinner speaker at motor clubs in the North West, talking about his rallying experiences and the Monte in particular. He had a slight stammer, which he used to good effect when recounting tales. I particularly recall his story about his first Monte.

He was summoned to see the company chairman when the following conversation took place. Chairman: “Jack, we’re entering a car in the Monte Carlo Rally. For this job we’ve given careful thought to the lead driver. It requires a man of determination, who will overcome all obstacles, be fearless, and not deterred by the elements or mechanical problems. Above all, a man who will fight to the very end and be able to hold his head high when the job is done. We have chosen you, Jack. What do you think?”

Jack: “Tha-tha-tha-thanks, Dad.”

Iain Broughton, Fulbeck, Lincs

Tales of 1970 were a treat

Sir,

What a fabulous August issue – I think this was published just for me! Doug Nye’s privileged drive in Uhlenhaut’s Mercedes 300SLR coupé, Simon Taylor’s tales of Chris Amon’s March 701, Pedro Rodríguez’s great win over Amon at Spa (now we know, thanks to Doug, that BRM wasn’t cheating), and one of the all-time greatest wet-weather drives as Pedro vanquished all at Brands (I was soaked for six hours).

Difficult to find two better men to talk about those two wonderful endurance racers, the Ford GT40 and the Porsche 917, than Jackie Oliver and Richard Attwood. Now I know why the Zerex Special was so quick at Brands in 1963 in Roger Penske’s hands. And finally, I enjoyed Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans, if only to see ‘the king of cool’ and those fabulous Ferrari 512s and Porsche 917s at full chat.

Peter Haynes, Needingworth, Cambridgeshire

Crying over split milk

Sir,

I just got done reading your article in the August issue about Penske’s last ‘Unfair Advantage’ and it really brought the memories back. I was 17 at the time and had finally persuaded my father to take me to Indy for Pole Day weekend.

I grew up poring over my dad’s Indy 500 yearbooks. To see it in person for the first time was so special. The place had an aura like nothing else I’ve experienced.

As time goes by I am so glad I got to see the real Indy before the split. That year was the last time somebody brought something that nobody else had and exploited it to its fullest potential. This was the coda to the belief that you read the rule book for what it didn’t say, not what it said.

But as a fan living in Wisconsin, the memories are bittersweet. We once had two established races a year and now have none: the Milwaukee Mile’s long Indycar heritage became yet another casualty of the split. Oh, Mr Bernard can say he’d like to have a race here, but the state is simply not interested. Fifteen years ago, good seats for the CART race the week after Indy were hard to get. It really drives home what was lost in the nightmare that was about to unfold.

Jack Prondzinski, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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