All good things come to those who wait, they say. Now I know this to be true. I have been waiting 22 years to take the wheel at Motor Sport ever since I stood in front of my English class and extolled the virtues of a certain magazine with a bright green cover. My teacher heartily approved he owned a Riley Monaco.
Ten years later, installed in the navigator’s seat of a Riley Lincock, bleary-eyed and probably irretrievably lost, I made it into the magazine’s pages via a photo illustrating a report of the VSCC Measham Trophy Rally. We had not been selected because we had won, far from it, but because, I presume, ours was the only white car in a night-time event.
It has been a gradual process, therefore: a decade spent wedged between a car-mad father and a longsuffering mother in a Frazer Nash TT Replica that was our everyday transport during the ’70s; and a decade, the ’90s, spent covering the modem motorsport scene.
One of the joys of Motor Sport for me is this same broad, diverse canvas upon which it can drawfrom the city-to-city races of the turn of the last century to Formula One’s turbo era. It’s amazing to think that Renault wheeled out F 1 ‘s first turbo car 23 years ago the same gap in time between Giuseppe Farina winning the first world championship and the last of Jackie Stewart’s three titles.
So much has been written about the sport, yet there is still so much to discover because it never stands still. And I know you have a huge thirst for knowledge. Here are just two recent examples of your prowess:
While standing in the paddock at the Coys Historic Festival, viewing a very rare 1962 South African singleseater, I was joined by a Motor Sport reader. “I knew it,” he exclaimed. I knew it as soon as I saw that nose it’s the Assegai.” Indeed it was.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed provided the second example. The large man sitting on Goldenrod the fastest wheel-driven, piston-engined car of all time (the true Land Speed Record holder in my book) turned out to be Bill Summers, one of its creators. A small circle of people had gathered around and were peppering him with incredibly well-informed questions. Mr Summers was amazed and touched. His fabulous car hadn’t run since 1965, and had done just nine runs of six miles at that, yet here were a dozen of you interrogating him, in the nicest possible way.
Motor Sport’s journey never ends, the next stage has begun and the Assegai appears on page 85.
Finally, I am sure you will join me in thanking Andrew Frankel for more than three years of his astute editorship, and in wishing him all the very best on his new career path.