Jenks got it wrong…
Jenks used to be dismissive of the retro Mille Miglia. It’s not often I’d disagree with him, but I managed to wangle a break in Tuscany and watched the event come past my holiday home.
I spent four hours on a roundabout, on a fast section of dual carriageway, and the free show seemed endless. I saw the D-types and Testa Rossa mentioned in a recent issue, but best of all was the Italian police’s positive attitude – motorcycle outriders clearing the road for competitors and supporters. I guess it is comparable to the Tour de France caravanne. It had an amazing atmosphere and everyone knew about the Moss/Jenks record!
Get out your calendars and start planning. You could even do a day trip into Pisa with the almost-free airlines.
Colin Love, Wilden, Beds
Old ways were the best
I have subscribed to Motor Sport since 1967 as a 14-year-old smitten with Jim Clark and all things Lotus. I still have my first copy from March of that year!
I wanted to compliment Simon Taylor for his brilliant article on three Team Lotus mechanics. The stories and tales were fantastic and it reminded me how pure and simple racing was in those days. The challenge remains the same – to drive quickly, smoothly and beat the opposition – but with 40-plus engineers rather than the three of yore. Life has become too complex by far. What great characters the sport had – and what engineering skills, too.
Congratulations on keeping the sport on its feet and recalling the magical days in which I grew up. Motor Sport is still by far the best magazine in the business.
Chris Kadwill, Harlow, Essex
I was enjoying your Digital Extra in the August issue and watching Jim Clark’s performance in the 1965 German GP. As his car swept by the camera, I got a distinct whiff of burning oil and thought, ‘This is the real deal: picture, sound and smell.’
Sadly, I soon realised my wife had fired up the barbecue. It was the smell of charcoal that triggered my memories.
Michael Hunt, Prescott, Arizona, USA
I purchased my first Road &Track in 1958, which I still have, along with copies of Motor Sport from the early Sixties. While a bit elderly, I am still enthusiastic and felt your July 2015 was the best issue I’ve seen of any magazine connected to motor sport.
I trust Jenks and Bod are smiling happily somewhere.
D E Hidde, Mequon, Wisconsin, USA
Grand old Duke of Yorkshire
Your Geoff Duke obituary mentioned his 1949 success on two wheels, but did not include any reference to the following events.
On April 20 1946 Sgt G E Duke competed as one of 73 riders in the Ilkley Grand National Trial, the first big event of its kind in the area since 1939. He was part of a three-strong team from the Royal Signals, Catterick, riding a 496cc BSA.
The following year there were 12 entries from the Royal Signals, all riding Matchless machines. That year, Sgm Croft, L/cpl Skelsey and Sgt Duke won the team award and each member received a pint tankard. Sgt Duke also won a first-class award for finishing seventh overall.
Everyone has to start somewhere!
Bryan Kitching, Ilkley and District Motor Club
Ice cold in Indiana
It was nice to see fan favourite Roberto Guerrero getting some coverage in Motor Sport. He was lucky enough to be racing in America before all the moaning about ‘foreign drivers’ started and was always a tough competitor.
But the 1992 Indy 500? That was torture. The article described conditions as “unseasonably cold”. Too kind by half. It was foggy, misty and so cold that every piece of long-sleeved clothing had been bought from the souvenir stores before the start. I even donned a sweatshirt I had bought for a friend.
Buick’s engines had previously been quick but unreliable, so many of us thought the only good thing about the cold conditions would be that Guerrero’s pole-sitting car might last.
The pace laps began uneventfully, but for the fact that the mist was so thick we couldn’t see Turn Four from our seats halfway along the straight. Then, on I believe the last pace lap, we saw Guerrero’s car swerve, hop and drive into the infield grass near Turn Two.
A huge sigh from the crowd followed – no Buick challenge that year, we thought. But some history was made: I believe Roberto became the first Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter never to complete a single competitive lap!
The race itself was chaotic. The track surface never warmed properly, which led to spins, accidents and long yellow flag periods… causing tyres to cool yet further and triggering more of the same.
The only good news for Buick was Al Unser Sr finishing third, although that was more to do with avoiding accidents than his car’s true speed.
As for us fans, the seven-lap final dash between Scott Goodyear and winner Al Unser Jr enlightened a dark day.
Norman E Gaines Jr, Hartsdale, USA
Mark Hughes was right about being careful what you wish for (July issue).
In the 1970s and ’80s it was said all you needed to go racing was a Cosworth DFV, a Hewland gearbox and some metal to wrap it all up. It certainly made for close – and dangerous racing.
There was, however, a body of fans (including, if memory serves, your own DSJ) who despised these ‘garagistes’; who felt that Grands Prix should be about the best drivers tackling the toughest tracks, in the best machinery, and that the only way to achieve this was to tempt back major manufacturers.
Unfortunately, major manufacturers equate to major money which in turn leads to reduced competition.
Manufacturers will not support spending caps on research and development, because the benefits from these are passed on to their road cars, which is why they are in racing. Any attempt to introduce such changes could lead them to withdraw from the sport.
Do we really want that, or should we not accept that for Grand Prix racing to remain at the pinnacle of our sport it has to evolve constantly and not remain trapped in a time warp.
For people like me who prefer the old days, there is always the joy of historic racing – and we can afford the admission price.
Michael Cartwright, Waterloo, Liverpool