Matters of moment, October 2016

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

News of Chris Amon’s passing filtered through from New Zealand on the morning of August 3. From the moment I read Mark Hughes’s text message, my daily trudge on the commuter train felt a little heavier. The overcrowding began to thin as it always does the closer we crawled towards Finchley Road, and it was then that I remembered the 2016 Motor Sport calendar. Why? Because we’d chosen a 1960s 3-litre Formula 1 theme for this year and the image for August had just pinged crisply into mind. Of course. It had more or less picked itself. 

For motor racing people, the summer month traditionally signalled a trip to the green lanes of Cheshire and the popular non-championship Oulton Park Gold Cup. Here then was another excuse to run that photograph, nice and big on our popular large-format calendar.

Sure enough, as I strolled into the office there it was hanging on our wall: Amon, Old Hall, Ferrari 312 – nose pointing directly at the lens rather than in the direction of travel. The art of the four-wheel drift, captured right there in glorious monochrome, surely the defining image of one of Grand Prix racing’s greatest talents. The coincidence made us smile on a sad day.

Much was written about Amon in the days that followed his death, but only some of it by those who really knew him. Mark’s contextual obituary runs on page 14, preceding the reflections of Nigel Roebuck. Regular readers won’t need reminding that our editor-in-chief counted Chris among his closest friends and Nigel dedicates his column in its entirety this month to the Kiwi maestro. I suggest you’ll want to read it.

**

Bidding adieu has become something of a theme in this edition. Along with Chris Amon, we salute Jack Sears, another popular character from motor racing’s glorious past (p38). Whether in Jaguar Mk2, Ford Galaxie, AC Cobra or exotic Ferrari GT, ‘Gentleman’ Jack could live comfortably in the company of the most highly rated paid professionals. It’s only a surprise to be reminded how relatively short his racing career turned out to be, ending as abruptly as it did in 1965 through injury. And yet like Amon, Sears is one of those figures that appears woven into the fabric of motor sport’s rich tapestry.

Unbeknown to both, these racers also shared membership of a strictly unofficial but select little club created by this magazine. In the past 10 years, the pair found themselves among the 125 subjects Simon Taylor took to lunch as part of our illustrious and much-loved series of career interviews. The Lunch with stories have proven to be one of the pillars upon which Motor Sport was built in this decade past.

But nothing lasts forever. Simon has finally called for the bill, and while long-form interviews with drivers, team owners, engineers and so on will continue to be a staple of the magazine, his final lunch – with Sir Jackie Stewart, no less – undoubtedly marks the end of an era. 

Simon offers a glimpse behind the creation of this series on page 96, and has also recorded a special podcast for the website as a further sign-off. He has every intention of remaining a regular visitor to this parish with various other contributions, so it’s not a final farewell. But as his editor, I can confirm that as an interviewer he has set the bar at a height reserved for Brazilian pole vaulters. 

I always looked forward to our monthly catch-ups to compare notes on whom he should target next. We always tried to work three or four interviews ahead, such was the time and effort they took to organise. Simon would track his ‘victim’, convince them to meet him in a restaurant, café, pub or hamburger joint (in the case of AJ Foyt), then embark on hours of research. ‘Lunches’ could involve a drive to a quiet country location in Oxfordshire – or a long-haul flight to Texas. Once the lunch was digested, there’d be hours of transcription awaiting him, the task of fact checking (racing drivers often tend to ‘re-remember’ key moments in their lives!) and finally the process of piecing together 5500 words of word-perfect copy. Simon always filed on time and I’d look forward to a ‘lunch’ landing as the deadline approached. When I opened the file, I knew I’d rarely have to
change a thing.

Of course, the interviews are available to revisit on our website archive. It’s no exaggeration to say the 125 articles form an unsurpassable body of work as a cut-glass primary source, especially given that they’re all from a single writer. Who else has spent so much time with illustrious world champions, Grand Prix winners, Le Mans and Indy 500 stars – and the odd second-hand car salesman? A few seemed impossible to pin down (Jean Alesi said yes, but then disappeared from contact), a couple turned us down flat (Johnny Dumfries, Eddie Irvine – their loss) and Jenson Button cancelled. But the figures we really regret not buying lunch for were already gone before the series started –
I find it hard to imagine James Hunt and Innes Ireland restricting themselves to a glass of mineral water. Still, in terms of who we did get, I’d say we
did all right. 

When great motor sporting figures leave us, such as Amon and Sears, the value of the ‘Lunch with’ archive only increases. Thank you, Simon. It’s been
a Michelin-starred feast.

***

And with that, I too must bid you adieu. This is my last issue of Motor Sport as its proud editor. In terms of editions, I topped the ton a little while back and it feels like the right time to move on. Editors rarely own the magazines they run, but they tend to feel like they do – and that was certainly the case for me. It gets personal, especially with a magazine as special as this one, and that makes it all the more difficult to walk away.

I offer my thanks to all the wonderful writers who have contributed over the years, particularly my friend Nigel Roebuck who was ‘my Jenks’ as an impressionable youth with an insatiable hunger for the greatest sport in the world. ‘Thanks’ doesn’t quite cut it (but will have to do) for my tight-knit team of green-blooded enthusiasts here in the office, without whom this thing just wouldn’t exist. We’ve shared a great deal during unforgettable, life-changing times.

Finally I must also thank you. Motor Sport’s incredibly loyal and deeply knowledgeable readers expect and demand the best. You’ve kept me on my toes – and quite right too! – but nearly always with a kind word of support and encouragement along the way. 

It’s been a privilege that I’ll carry with me always.