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138

What’s in a name?

Sir,

I very much enjoyed reading the article about the Honda RA300 (July issue). I was just 12 years old at the time of the Italian Grand Prix of 1967, the first year in which I had taken a serious interest in racing. I well remember waiting eagerly for Motor Sport  each month and can recall DSJ’s report of this race.

The July article refers to the very narrow margin by which John Surtees beat Jack Brabham to the line. But I was a little surprised that there was no mention of Jim Clark’s incredible performance that day.

DSJ described, as only he could, how a puncture cost Clark an entire lap (no seven-second wheel changes in those days!), then proceeded to unlap himself, regain the lost lap and take the lead, only to run out of petrol with about half a lap to go.

It has to be said of course that had his team-mate Graham Hill not retired whilst leading, Clark could not have won anyway, but that does not diminish his achievement.

Going back to the Honda, you mention that it was nicknamed the ‘Hondola’, with good reason. I’m not sure whether DSJ actually coined that name, but I am certain that it appeared in his report, as did the equally suitable alternative ‘Lolanda’. Sadly I cannot refer to the report as it was destroyed about 30 years ago, showing a total lack of foresight on my part.

Ian Nicholson,

York

Ian, the alternative Honda terms appear in Jenks’ ‘Seen at Monza’ column in the October 1967 issue —  Ed

***

Power talk

Sir,

Paul Fearnley’s feature on the BRM P201 brought back memories. I certainly remember hearing the result of the 1974 South African GP on the radio and anticipating a better season for the old team…

They were fully aware of their engine problems, of course, and even though Louis Stanley refused point blank to consider a Cosworth DFV-powered car, there were other possible solutions. It is no secret that the Bourne-based team experimented with a Ford Weslake V12 in an obsolescent P160 chassis over the winter of 1973-74 as it became more obvious that their own V12s were no longer up to the job. After the one-off Brabham BT39 and the Gulf-Mirage these trials surely must have represented a triumph of hope over experience! After a later plan to fit the P201 with Matra V12s proved abortive BRM was left to descend into Stanley-BRM…

Other points: Surely Phil Hill deserves credit for sharing in three out of Olivier Gendebien’s four Le Mans wins, while I doubt that Jacky Ickx would agree with Derek Bell’s contention that the Belgian was “always a lucky bugger”. If he had not broken his leg in 1968 Ickx would probably have won the first of what would also have been seven Le Mans victories and quite possibly the World Championship in his first full year in F1.

David Cole,

Oakham, Rutland

***

Robb Bowden 

Sir,

The poignant picture of the Eddie Jordan transporter crash in Austria during 1983 (‘You Were There…’, August) has prompted me to write to you .

In 1982 I employed Robb Bowden as our chief mechanic to run the Pharmacin-sponsored Ralt RT3 that was driven by Peter Argetsinger and David Sears in British Formula Three. He was assisted at testing and at race meetings by ‘Alf’ Underwood who was Derek Warwick’s ex-mechanic.

Ever since that fateful day Robb has been constantly in my thoughts: a wonderful character whose dedication to his job was complete in every way. His attention to detail in the preparation and presentation of our car was second to none, which was an inspiration to everyone at HART (Hampshire Automobile Racing Team). He left us in 1983 to join EJR with our very best wishes, especially when he told me that Martin Brundle was to be his charge. It was a great privilege for me to have employed Robb.

At the time of Robb’s death he was married to Kate. Sadly after his funeral at Silverstone church I lost contact with her. I would love to meet Kate again and, should she read this letter, perhaps she might decide to contact me through your office? Kate was very much a part of HART in those days as she provided mountains of food for us all throughout every meeting.

Richard Speakman,

Southampton

***

Not the ‘Breadvan’

Sir,

Eric Kwiatkowski asks in the August issue whether he really saw the Ferrari ‘Breadvan’ at Mallory Park in the 1960s. I doubt it. What I think he saw was Chris Kerrison’s special-bodied 250 GT which bore a resemblance to the Breadvan.

In a scrapbook I have a tiny clipping from Autosport  that shows a rear view of Kerrison’s car at Devils Elbow. It has a registration MO 6 6178. I have two more clippings, one of the car in an Italian workshop and another that may show it at Spa or in Germany. Some years ago I taped a Discovery Channel  TV documentary about GT Ferraris, and this has footage and commentary of a silver Piero Drogo-bodied car at Silverstone that seems to be the Kerrison version. The registration is 722 HYR.

If Mr Kwiatkowski contacts me, I would be happy to send him photocopies of the pictures. They would not be great, but may be enough to spur a fading memory.

David Pearson,

South Africa

***

A visit to Otford 

Sir,

I found your July article on Tom Pryce a fitting and touching account of this wonderful driver’s career. Reading anecdotes from David Richards, Tony Southgate and Trevor Foster confirmed that Tom’s quiet personality obscured a charismatic and valiant sportsman.

The article prompted a passing visit to Otford and Tom’s grave. This I found in a slightly neglected condition, which surprised me given its proximity to Brands. After visiting St Bartholomew’s, I found myself in the Willow Tea Rooms opposite the churchyard. I enquired of the proprietor if she had known Tom — and indeed she had. Mrs McWilliams spoke affectionately of “Thomas”, and how her late husband had conveyed Tom and Nella to their wedding in his Austin 7.

I left minus a copy of Motor Sport, but also with the feeling that everyone who knew Thomas Maldwyn Pryce loved him.

Bryan Dugdale,

Wycombe

***

Many a slip

Sir,

Thanks for a great set of evocative photos from the mid-1960s (August issue). Whoever composed the captions for page 57, however, seems to have lost the plot.

The top photo is actually the Monaco Grand Prix of 1965 (not 1966), with Lorenzo Bandini in the 1.5-litre flat-12 Ferrari 1512 fending off Jack Brabham in his BT11. After a long duel, Brabham forced his way past Bandini but retired on lap 43. Bandini finished second behind Graham Hill’s BRM P261.

The photo at the lower left was taken at the Italian Grand Prix of 1966 (not 1967) with Jim Clark aboard the Lotus 43-BRM H16 leading Brabham (Brabham Repco V8), John Surtees (Cooper Maserati V12) and Jackie Stewart (BRM H16). The photo was taken during practice rather than the race, because Clark’s car is bearing the number 20. He switched to number 22 for the race.

The third photo is also wrongly captioned. It cannot be Monza 1970 since Graham Hill was driving for Brooke Bond Oxo/Rob Walker and his overalls were styled accordingly.

Aidan R Haile,

Dumfries

Oh dear.  Dud info from the photographer slipped past us all. Apologies — Ed