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Mike Sparken [RIP] (merged)


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 29 November 2000 - 23:17

Can't remember which thread, but someone was asking recently about Mike Sparken, or Michel Poberejsky as he appears to have been christened.

One of the co-authors of the Data Book, David Holland had a conversation with Mike at Silverstone in 1990 where he was sharing the driving of an Alfa Romeo 158 in a demonstration.

It appears that shortly after that, he moved from Cobham to France. I have been given an address, which may or may not be current. I intend to write to it and see what happens.

If anyone has anything more recent, I'd be interested to know about it.

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#2 Joe Fan

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Posted 29 November 2000 - 23:41

Barry, I might have Mr. Sparken confused with someone else but I thought I had read somewhere that he was no longer living. However, if he is alive and well I would love to get in touch with him myself for the purposes of my Masten Gregory biography. Masten and Mike shared a Ferrari together at Le Mans in 1955.

#3 Barry Boor

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Posted 30 November 2000 - 07:52

Joe, you may well be correct. My friend's contact with him was ten years ago. However, I'll try, just to confirm things one way or the other.

#4 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 02 December 2000 - 04:46

I just happened to see a film this evening on the 1955 British GP at Aintree. The drivers all got a parade lap before the race in Austin Healeys. There is a nice closeup shot of Mike Sparken. Also in the race there is a nice close up shot of him when he makes a pitstop.

#5 Barry Boor

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Posted 02 December 2000 - 13:42

You get a good shot of him at the start, too. His Gordini was on the back of the grid, and as I recall, they do a shot looking from the back.

He VERY nearly got a championship point too, finishing just one place behind Hawthorn and Castellotti's shared Ferrari. Then again, he was 6 LAPS behind their car!

#6 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 02 December 2000 - 13:52

I've seen the footage too incidentially, but just to correct you Barry, he finished two places away from a point as in 1955, only 1st to 5th carried championship points. Points for 6th came in in 1960.

#7 Barry Boor

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Posted 02 December 2000 - 14:26

Damn ! You're right. I'm getting old!

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 02 December 2000 - 21:21

I last saw Michel Poberejsky in his London home about six or seven years ago. I believe he's now living in Portugal.

#9 Barry Boor

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Posted 02 December 2000 - 21:38

Thanks for that, David. The address I have is in France, so it looks as though I'm way out of date.

I wonder if there is some way we can trace this man. He would be 70 years old now.

Interestingly, the Grand Prix Data Book lists him as French, having been born in or near Paris; but Franco Varani's great racing images site says he is American. I wonder actually, what nationality he is.

#10 Barry Lake

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Posted 15 December 2000 - 04:53

I have just visited Tony Gaze. He had a photo there he took of Sparken, looking very much alive and in good health, at Goodwood a couple of years ago.
Tony said he was there again this year and suggested you contact him via the Pilotes Anciens.

#11 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 11:48

I just saw a bit of film from the Daily Express Int. Trophy sports car race on 7/5 in 1955 . As allways ,also on the lookout for transporters , I noticed what I believe a red Fiat transporter ,and looking through the results found no "red" teams. Sparken raced his red Ferrari and finished 9th , one of his poorer placings in that spring. Could it have been his ?As I have read he was also a member of the Los Amigos club ? Did any of you ever get in contact with him ?

#12 SWB

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 15:00

Unless I am very mistaken isn't Carol Spagg his ex wife? She should be pretty easy to contact.

#13 Alan Cox

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 18:10

Last I heard, Mike was living near (or in) Monte Carlo.

#14 Udo K.

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 20:17

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Last I heard, Mike was living near (or in) Monte Carlo.


Thats correct. Roy Salvadori told us about him living near to Monte Carlo, whe we talked to him at his home two years ago. Both families are in frequent contact.

#15 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 20:52

:wave: While searching about the LOS AMIGOS members , I have found the following on Michel Poberejsky and his Ferrari Monza 0504M:

Born in 1930 .

1955 GP Agadir M.Sparken (Los Amigos) 1.
1955 GP Dakar M.Sparken 8.
1955 Oulton Park Emp.Tr. M.Sparken R(clutch)
1955 Portugal GP M.Gregory (M.Sparken) 2
1955 Goodwood Easter M.Sparken 2
1955 Silverstone Int. M.Sparken 9 (8th?)
(1955 12h Hyeres M.Sparken /F.Picard in Picards car Retired)
1955 Le Mans M.Gregory/M.Sparken R
1955 GP Portugal M.Gregory 2
1955 GP Lisboa M.Gregory 1
1955 Beverly M.Gregory 2

Now I am making some conclusions which may not be right , so if any have more info , please.....

I have as yet found no more races with Michel P.
Only the first seems to be in connection with Los Amigos
In between Michel P.'s races Gregory had a try out and as the car later was sold in the US..........from where it some years later returned to Michel P.
Looks like Gregory took over some time in 55 and brought it to US !
The LM race with Gregory was an M.Sparken entry !
At the Silverstone race his car had no.18 ! A picture of a transporter in Karl Ludvigsens book Red-Hot Rivals shows (but not the race confirmed)a red Ferrari Monza with no.18 on top , and another below which is not fully visible , a Ferrari for sure , with perhaps a no. 4 . Now at Silverstone was only 1 Ferrari as far as I found , so which is the other ? The Piotti car which raced at Oulton and Goodwood only ?

Was his christened name Poberejsky or Pobrejeski ?

:smoking:

#16 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 04:34

I believe Graham Gauld said that Mike Sparken organizes the lunch for the "anciennes pilotes" at the Yacht Club on the Friday of the Monaco Historique.

Vince H.

#17 Graham Gauld

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 06:14

Michael is very much alive and well and lives with his wife Esmeralda in Beaulieu sur Mer. He does indeed organise the luncheon for the club des anciennes pilotes de formula which this year was held at the Yacht Club at the end of the paddock during the Monaco Historics.

#18 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 19:54

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
:Was his christened name Poberejsky or Pobrejeski ?


Poberejsky, unless someone knows anything different?

#19 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 20:37

:wave: Well , www.classiccars.com did! :smoking:

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#20 gerard BARATHIEU

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 21:01

But where BJORN ?

#21 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 21:12

:wave: Sorry , but it did not look like much of interest......

http://www.classicca...sis/502A600.htm

Ferrari Chassis Numbers (Ferrari Monza) :smoking:

#22 Tim Murray

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 21:28

Bjørn, you've been sending us to the wrong website, which explains why we couldn't find anything. The correct address is:

http://www.classicsc...sis/502A600.htm

(there's an 's' between 'classic' and 'cars')

#23 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 21:39

:blush: And I extra had a look knowing all these "ssicsc" could confuse .....perhaps its time to step up a bit with reading glasses.....! Sorry and thanks for correcting........ but still :smoking:

#24 Adam F

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 22:41

I fail to see why such a web site should be cited as a source of reliable information, particularly when you have already had an authoritative response from Richie.
Certainly a little less self-congratulation would be in order.

(Note the lack of use of smilies)

#25 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 06:49

:confused: ?:smoking:

#26 Alan Cox

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 18:52

Indeed, I wouldn't set any store by the contents of that particular website.

#27 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 09:19

With things hopefully having settled down , I would like to put your attention to post 18 and my conclusions. I look forward to any corrections , or additional comments .

#28 Barry Boor

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 21:28

Interesting that in Anthony Pritchard's book about Aston Martin, Mike Sparken is described as Franco/Polish.

However, that's not the point of this post; I am interested to find out if anyone has a picture of the unique Vignale-bodied Aston Martin DB3 that Mike Sparken raced in Morocco in 1953.

Pritchard implies that it was a very stylish body shape.

#29 David McKinney

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 21:40

I know I've seen a picture of it somewhere
Not much help, I know, but at least you know a photo has been published somewhere, sometime :D

#30 Graham Gauld

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:02

Sadly Mike Sparken died this morning at his home in Beaulieu sur Mer. Mike, whose real family name was Poberejsky,was one of the great gentleman drivers of the 1950s who started racing with an Aston Martin DB2 and later had a Maserati A6GCS and a Ferrari Monza. He is perhaps best known in modern times as the first individual to own an Alfa Romeo 159 grand prix car when he swopped the unique 1938 Alfa Coupe that he owned, for the Alfa with the Alfa Romeo Museum. He raced for Gordini in the 1955 British Grand Prix before retiring. He was a member and great supporter of the Grand Prix Drivers Club ( ClubInternational des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix F1) and three weeks ago was elected the first recipient of the Club's Jean Sage Memorial Award. In recent years Mike was confined to a wheel chair and died of cancer. He was a loyal friend of those who knew him.

Edited by Graham Gauld, 21 September 2012 - 09:22.


#31 Alan Cox

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:12

Sorry to hear this news.
Posted Image
Mike ansd DSJ at VSCC Silverstone 1990, when Mike was to demonstrate the newly-restored Alfa

Edited by Alan Cox, 21 September 2012 - 10:20.


#32 bradbury west

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:14

A real enthusiast whose name always cropped up in articles and reports for all the right reasons, and someone about whom a bad word was not spoken ISTR. With his attitude, knowledge and experiences he represents another real piece of history gone from our sport.
Roger Lund

#33 Mig007

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:10

RIP

#34 arttidesco

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:31

I only came across his name for the first time a couple of days ago in connection with the 750 Monza he drove to victories in Morocco and the British Empire trophy in 1955. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP.

#35 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:33

http://forums.autosp...hl=Mike Sparken

For further infos. Sad to hear !

Edited by Bjorn Kjer, 21 September 2012 - 11:34.


#36 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:38

More sad news. I was lucky eought to see Mike Sparken race for Gordini in Grand Prix's at Silverstone and Aintree and in sports car events with his Ferrari Monza, and the Gilby Maserati. A fast and colourful driver and a great favorite. I shall always be grateful to him for enabling me to see an Alfa-Romeo Alfetta Grand Prix car for the first time. Another who will be remembered.

#37 arttidesco

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 12:14

Interesting that in Anthony Pritchard's book about Aston Martin, Mike Sparken is described as Franco/Polish.

However, that's not the point of this post; I am interested to find out if anyone has a picture of the unique Vignale-bodied Aston Martin DB3 that Mike Sparken raced in Morocco in 1953.

Pritchard implies that it was a very stylish body shape.


Is this the one your asking about Barry ?

More info here :wave:


#38 D-Type

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 13:03

It's curious that this should surface today in the light of this sad announcement.

Or did the announcement of Mike Sparken's death trigger a memory?

#39 Graham Gauld

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 13:36

It's curious that this should surface today in the light of this sad announcement.

Or did the announcement of Mike Sparken's death trigger a memory?



I think someone wanted to reply to my post this morning and looked up the older thread about Mike Sparken. Perhaps both should be merged to avoid further confusion. By the way Mike Sparkens only drive in a grand prix car was at Aintree in the BGP 1955 he did not drive at Silverstone nor did he drive the Greene Maserati.

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#40 Sharman

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 13:49

More sad news. I was lucky eought to see Mike Sparken race for Gordini in Grand Prix's at Silverstone and Aintree and in sports car events with his Ferrari Monza, and the Gilby Maserati. A fast and colourful driver and a great favorite. I shall always be grateful to him for enabling me to see an Alfa-Romeo Alfetta Grand Prix car for the first time. Another who will be remembered.

Didn't see the GP but I saw the Monza at Oulton, a typical showery April day in Cheshire. Sadly we all grow older and the memories are all we have left.

#41 arttidesco

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 13:51

Apologies if I caused any confusion it was linked on another thread which I did not realise had the same title started today.

#42 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 16:37

I think someone wanted to reply to my post this morning and looked up the older thread about Mike Sparken. Perhaps both should be merged to avoid further confusion. By the way Mike Sparkens only drive in a grand prix car was at Aintree in the BGP 1955 he did not drive at Silverstone nor did he drive the Greene Maserati.

Mike Sparken drove the Gilby Maserati in the supporting sports car race to the British Grand Prix, Silverstone 1954. He was involved in a very spectacular 'incident' involving Salvadori's Aston DB3S, and the Austin Healey's of David Shale and John Deeley at Copse Corner right in front of me and young Bauble. Motor Sport published a series of pictures of the incident.

#43 Graham Gauld

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 16:48

Mike Sparken drove the Gilby Maserati in the supporting sports car race to the British Grand Prix, Silverstone 1954. He was involved in a very spectacular 'incident' involving Salvadori's Aston DB3S, and the Austin Healey's of David Shale and John Deeley at Copse Corner right in front of me and young Bauble. Motor Sport published a series of pictures of the incident.



Eric
Apologies I thought you meant the 250F Maserati and not the sports car. Yes Mike told me all about the accident and was terribly worried as Roy had arranged for him to drive the car and he realised Roy would have seen him off the road and on the grass in "his" car.



#44 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 20:22

Sorry to hear this, not entirely unexpected news. I don't, of course, remember Mike racing, but he always struck me as a great enthusiast for the sport and I admire his work with the Ancien Pilotes.

Adieu, Mike. :cry:

#45 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:19

He owned the magnificent one-off Alfa Romeo 2900 Le Mans Berlinetta which he part-exchanged with the Alfa Romeo Museum for the 158 Alfetta which became the only example out of manufacturer captivity... A connoisseur of great distinction.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 22 September 2012 - 08:20.


#46 Nick Savage

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:24

A memory of meeting Mike at the Grand Prix d'Avignon in 1992 : Chris Robinson and I had followed Carol Spagg in her 2.3 s/c Alfa down from Langres to Avignon. In the Langres hotel the previous night, while we shunted more wine onto the table, Carol had recounted the entire story of disinterring the bits of the Alfa from a catacomb under the Portello factory. The 'GP' was really a blast round some roads just on the edge of the walled city not far from the famous Pont. The paddock was a tree-shaded carpark adjacent to the walls. Early the next morning we left the hotel to rescue my Alfa from what I thought was a carpark, but was now home to a flea-market - driving it out round the stalls and learning a number of fresh French profanities as I did so.

Then we heard the cough of a race-engine, running really rough, and headed for the paddock. On their own, the early morning sunshine streaming through the plane trees, were Jim Stokes and Mike, starting the 158. Jim was on the manual electric starter looking for all the world just like a 1940s Alfa pit crew man, and Mike was in the car with ear-mufflers on. It was the first time I had heard this car run. Jim started it on petrol, which accounted for the roughness, and then switched the tank over to the methanol brew they were using. The engine note crisped up and for 10 minutes I stood on a huge railway sleeper behind the Alfa just soaking up the noise, the smells and the scene. It was wonderful - just the four of us, two working and two gawping.

Later in the day, I inadvertently gatecrashed a poolside meeting of Les Ancien Pilotes, ringmastered by Mike. I ended up talking to Jack Brabham until, too late, I realised he was deaf as a post, and then to Roy Salvadori and Toulo de Graffenried while they talked about the perils of living in Monte Carlo. All fairly surreal for a resident of metroland London like me.

As Doug says above, a great connoisseur : and a man of mystery. Sad to hear this inevitable news - to have owned a 2.9 berlinetta and a 158 is no mean achievement.
Nick

#47 Alan Cox

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 21:57

Posted Image VSCC Silverstone June 1990
Posted ImagePosted Image

PS Lovely memories, Nick.

Edited by Alan Cox, 24 September 2012 - 09:03.