Jack had won the first race of the Grand Prix season in the new monocoque Brabham BT33. I have always considered this a beautiful racing car. He had a couple more near misses, at Monaco and Brands Hatch, in what would be his last season. At Monaco, watching at home on television, I saw he would catch two back markers with Rindt catching him hand-over-fist. Approaching the last corner he had to go off line into the Gasworks Hairpin to overtake them. He braked in what seemed like slow motion into the barriers. Rindt was past. Jack reversed out to finish second with his battered Brabham. My heart was going ten-to-the dozen. At Brands Hatch we were on the outside of Paddock when he ran out of fuel in sight of the line and coasted home to finish second, again to Rindt. At the Race of the Champions, where this shot was taken, he came fourth, 1 lap down.
For the 1970 BOAC 1000Kms (neé 500, then 6 Hours) I was in the front row of the main grandstand with two motor racing enthusiast colleagues with whom I worked. Fortunately we had had a large tarpaulin over our knees and up our fronts for what was a very wet race which lasted nearly 7 hours. The star of the race to me was Pedro Rodriguez, co-driving a Gulf Porsche 917 monster. Rodriguez was awesome having been called in and reprimanded for ignoring yellow flags. In the end he won by 5 laps. Many other Formula 1 drivers featured. Personally I always find a car comes alive in the wet and I am much more sensitive to the handling characteristics.
1970, World Cup Rally. Marshalls of Cambridge Austin Maxi
The 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally set off from Wembley Stadium car park. Three established rally drivers drove the Marshalls of Cambridge Austin Maxi, Tish Ozanne, Bronwyn Burrell and Tina Kerridge. They retired the car when in 38th place in the Pampas in Argentina.
1970, Brands Hatch. Alfa-Romeo V8 in McClaren chassis
For the 1970 season the McClaren team ran an M7D for Andrea de Adamich with a V8 Alfa-Romeo engine. For the British Grand Prix he was a non-starter due to a fuel leak having qualified 18th. An 8th and a 12th a retired, a not classified and 5 non-qualifications were the other results for the season. Intriguingly a second McClaren-Alfa Romeo is shown in the programme for Peter Gethin but he occasionally raced a third, Cosworth-engined, car for the team. It looks like a misprint. For 1971 the Alfa-Romeo engine was in a March for de Adamich.
For 1970 I'd booked to go to the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring which was something I'd always wanted to do. The race was moved to Hockenheim after Lauda's incineration the previous year but we still used the same hotels which meant a lot of time in the coach. From my grandstand seat, Haupttribune an Start und Ziel - block C- reihe 14 - platz 774, my immediate impression of Hockenheim was that is was Wembley Stadium blown apart with a motor racing circuit coming through it. The average lap time was 2 minutes with the cars only spending 45 seconds out of sight as they negotiated the two straights now with chicanes in them after Clark's accident. Ickx led Rindt off pole. They exchanged the lead for 21 laps until Regazzoni led for 2 laps. They then continued to alternate with Rindt winning in the end by 0.7 seconds.
1970, Salute to Jack Brabham. Jack's Cooper-Bristol
I was determined to be at the Salute to Jack Brabham Meeting on Sunday 19th November 1970. It was a cold, damp, miserable day and I had flu. I drove down to Brands Hatch. At 1335 Jack did a demonstration run (I have no record of the car) which was followed by a fanfare by trumpeters of the Royal Air Force. He had worked as a flight mechanic on Beaufighters in the RAAF during the war. Alistair Walker won the Jack Brabham Trophy Race from Rod Pickering and Tony Trimmer in cars ranging from BT18s to BT30s. I left early to go to my sick bed.
1971, Racing Car Show. Lotus 72 as used by Jochen Rindt in 1970
Jochen Rindt is the only posthumous World Champion. The Lotus 72 had hollow front brake shafts for the inboard brakes to reduce the unsprung weight. In 1970 one of Rindt's sheared at Monza at high speed during practice sending him into and under the Armco barrier. When the Lotus 72s returned to racing they had larger diameter solid front brake shafts.
1971 saw a return to Monaco, with the same friend, four years after my first visit. This time we flew in a Bristol Britannia, the 'Whispering Giant', to Nice but stayed in the same hotel as last time. We went to investigate our race day grandstand, Tribune R Beau Rivage. We found two rows of folding wooden chairs leaning against the wall halfway up the hill on the pavement behind the Armco near Rosie's Bar, between St. Devote and Beau Rivage. Watching practise there we found the sound of the V12 engines, particularly the Matra, painful to the eardrums. Going to a chemist to get some cotton wool for earplugs, in our broken French, he came up with Quiés. These were wax and cotton wool in little balls. People began to wear defenders. Stewart won by nearly half a minute from Peterson. In the evening after the race, we were in Casino Square when Graham Hill came out of the Hotel de Paris in tuxedo and black tie from the then traditional after-race dinner. My friend engaged him in conversation. Graham explained, as he headed off across the square on his unsteady legs, a result of his previous season's United States Grand Prix accident, that he was going to buy his team a drink. Entering the Tip Top Bar, he was greeted by his mechanics, called for drinks for them and then turned to us to ask what we were drinking!
1971, Silverstone, Paddock. Ronnie Peterson, March 711
For the 1971 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Graham and Ann wanted to watch a race from the pits area, so I booked tickets in Woodcote Grandstand when it was still the next corner after Abbey. Having watched the race there and seen the cars fly past fleetingly 68 times, they elected to go back to the South Grandstand the next year. Stewart won again and Peterson was second again, this time by over half a minute. In October that year we were at Brands Hatch for the Rothmans World Championship Race to celebrate Jackie Stewart's World Championship victory. After 14 laps the circuit fell silent, only Surtees coming round. We could see a plume of smoke out in the country. Jo Siffert, having started from pole position, had crashed. Eventually an old St. Johns ambulance returned to the pits. It
had translucent glass sides. The setting sun was shining through them from the back. We could see nobody inside. We knew the worst. It had probably originally been a hearse.
1971, Brands Hatch, Paddock. Ronnie Peterson, March 721X
The 1971 Race of the Champions at Brands Hatch saw the debut of what turned out to be the disastrous March 721X with transverse Alfa Romeo gearbox, driven by Ronnie Peterson. He and Nicki Lauda campaigned 721Xs at Jarama, Monaco and Nivelles before it was replaced at Clermont Ferrand by the 721G, with Hewland gearbox. The G stood for 'Guinness Book of Records' as the car had been built so quickly.
During 1972 the new Tecno PA123 with a flat twelve Tecno engine made its debut in Belgium. Nanni Galli and Derek Bell, Galli driving at Brands Hatch, generally drove it alternately. It also appeared intermittently in 1973 driven by Chris Amon. After the race of the Champions in 1972 I went to Jarama for the day. Out of Luton at 6AM, we were bussed to the circuit and watched from the infield to see Fittipaldi win in the Lotus 72D. I didn't get a programme or any photos. In the evening a meal in Madrid, a trip on the underground railway and a flight which arrived back late, after midnight. The car park was closed so half a dozen of us had to manhandle a huge concrete block out of the way to be able to get our cars out.
For the British Grand Prix at Silverstone I camped in the public campsite on the opposite side of the Dadford Road with Bruce Morgan and his father. Bruce and I worked on LEO computers, played rugby together and he was under that tarpaulin at the Brands' BOAC race. On the Friday evening we did a circular tour on the local roads outside the circuit looking for a pub. The possibility of parking anywhere was remote and getting a drink was even remoter. Up near the main gate I noticed a sign to the village of Paulerspury, which I didn't realise was so near Silverstone, where I knew a pub. Bob and Anna from Pinner still ran it. We sat drinking with the crew from a saloon car team, probably one of the Dolomites. There was a commotion in the other bar. I went and asked Anna what was happening. It was James Hunt. He was staying at a house in the village owned by Bubbles Horsley of Hesketh fame. He had roared in on a scooter with a blonde on the back (no crash helmets) to get some wine. Having told the saloon car people we were camping outside the circuit they said they could get us into the paddock. We decamped and met them outside the main gate at midnight and moved inside using their passes temporarily. We met up with the Formula 3 team sponsored by our company, ICL, the next day and during that race we experimented with our lap-timing scheme. We watched from he inside of Becketts. Not the ideal place at Silverstone. I have no photos from this meeting. The photo shows Bruce's TF and my Toledo in the paddock at Thruxton in October. The Toledo was my least exciting car but at least from the same stable as the Dolomite. The ICL Formula 3 transporter is in the background.
1979, Thruxton, paddock. Rob Wilson's ICL March Formula 3 car
The ICL sponsored a Formula 3 car was driven by the talented New Zealander, Rob Wilson. He had his own office in our HQ building at Putney where I worked in another building just the other side of the Thames. I made contact with him, saying Bruce and I would be going to Thruxton in October to see round 18 of the Vandervell Championship. He said he would leave tickets on the gate for us. When I arrived and asked if there were any tickets for Morgan, I was told there were three Competitor/Mechanic tickets for Bruce, Tony and Dave, the racing driver! Our lap-timing scheme used my stopwatch for split lap times and two of the relatively new Sinclair Cambridge calculators. We visited the team in the paddock and watched the race from opposite the pits. Rob finished eighth. Stefan Johansson won the race. Many of the drivers that season went on the drive in Grand Prix. Rob's best result was third to Chico Serra and Stefan Johansson at Mallory Park. Rob contested 18 of the 27 rounds that season. I wrote an article for our house magazine entitled 'From the Other Side of the Barrier' including Rob's lap chart.