Goodwood revisited


For the sake of historical accuracy, I feel I must respond to the letter from Mr Len Terry on the subject of Stirling Moss’s Goodwood accident on April 23 1962.

In addition to being a Director of Stirling Moss Ltd and his personal manager, I was at the time team manager of the UDT Racing Team, who entered the car, and also a foundation director of The British Racing Partnership. I was also responsible for all the contracts, entries and starting money negotiations for the RRC Walker Racing Team, and arrangements for Moss’s use of the Lotus Climax V8 at Goodwood were made by me with Rob Walker.

I remember Mr Terry visiting our Highgate premises on a number of occasions, but what is absolutely certain is that he was never, and could never have been, witness as he claims to “the Lotus being converted to take a V8”. The conversion of the car did not take place at Highgate but was completed at the Dorking workshops of the RRC Walker Racing Team under the direction of Alf Francis and his team for the use of Stirling Moss in the coming season.

Prior to Goodwood BRP had yet to receive its first Climax V8. Stirling wanted to drive at Goodwood while Rob Walker wanted to enter a second car in the Grand Prix of Pau, for Maurice Trintignant to race. The solution was for the RRC Walker team to loan the car to BRP on the sole condition that the car was entered by BRP under the UDT Racing Team name and painted in the familiar Meadow Green colours. Before Goodwood, the car was entered in the Lombank Trophy race at Snetterton and finished seventh after a pit stop, setting fastest lap en route. BRP made no modifications to the car during the loan.

I was very quickly at the scene of the accident and assisted with the extraction of Stirling from the wreckage. A post-accident finite examination by Tony Robinson and his team confirmed there had been no cracks or fractures to the tubular chassis frame, that the steering system was still intact (although damaged) and the brake pedal had adequate pressure. Many theories have been expounded on what might have happened, but none has provided the elusive answer. Many years after the accident, when Stirling and I were at Goodwood helping a French TV company with a film, we returned to St Mary’s together and walked just about every trajectory that might have been taken in the close battle with Graham Hill. We reached no conclusions, however.

K A Gregory, Alicante, Spain