Posted Sep 26 2012 - 03:44 PM
Hi I just wanted to say on behalf of some older guys like myself who raced at some of the tracks now closed, like Crystal Palace and Goodwood, what it means to be able to relive those amazing, pretty dodgy but often hilarious days. I will share just a couple of memories.
When testing at Goodwood for the team I drove for who had their workshop in the Supershell Building on the outside of Woodcote corner, we would phone the aircraft control tower to ask if we could do a few laps. "The combine harvester is not too near the track, although there is a sheep loose from a field next door but it seems settled at the moment, so go ahead. See us in the bar later to settle up". I remember one morning about 9.30am setting off, and on the third circuit, my first quick lap, going over the brow at St Mary's corner sideways at 75mph, being confronted by a dozen small boys in boy scout uniforms dashing across the track. I managed to spin the car and avoid what would have been a calamity. They had been camping outside the track and went across the fence to watch the aircraft.
The previous year the first car was built in an old chicken shed next to Tangmere Aerodrome close to Goodwood, and although not operational was still under the control of the MOD. The first car built was finished at 10.30pm the night before its debut at Brands. We fitted a silencer, and pushed it under the barrier. past the sentry box where the security man was reading the paper, and then I charged around in the dark amongst the old ladies walking their dogs on the old perimeter track. Pushing the car back past the sentry was nerve wracking as the hot gearbox was cracking like burning chestnuts! Anyway we got away with it unnoticed and put it on pole at Brands the following day.
Then there was the dentist who raced a sportscar who fitted a pipe from the extinguisher bottle to the carb inlet,... no extimguisher powder, just laughing gas, nitrus oxide, press the extinguisher button to overtake ............
The driver who arrived in a gorilla suit straight from a party having driven 60 miles to the circuit in his E Type Jag, then still in the gorilla outfit, in the Paddock Office answering a telephone call from his mechanic who was in a phone box, to tell him that he had forgotten to tie the car in the van, it had fallen out and was now embedded in the phone box from which he was calling ......
Health and safety and political correctness didn't exist but despite losing people sometimes, I think we were better for it. The atmosphere was always electric and the cars were wonderful.
Thank you again to all those of you who contribute to this amazing work.