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Doug on Jenks


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#1 Gary Davies

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 08:48

Perhaps this should be a PM but I felt it more appropriate to thank Doug publicly for his marvellous piece on Jenks in the Atlas magazine.

Oh what a chord you struck, Doug, with "Jenks's lifestyle seemed absolutely enviable. We marvelled at someone actually being paid - we assumed - to follow the circus ..." and "... absolutely enthusiasts trained as engineers, not enthusiasts trained as journalists, and it showed...these men really knew their stuff."

How fondly I recall those days, for me, starting in the very early sixties, awaiting the first of the month when Motor Sport would appear at the newsagent. What an enthralling story D.S.J told of each race, what insights would he pen in Continental Notes and later, in Letter from Europe and what wonderful sauciness would there be in Reims Ramblings or whatever he named his post report irreverences.

And all his wonderful, infuriating and endearing prejudices.

Thanks, Doug ... almost all of the early Jenks you covered in the article was unknown to me.

And my well thumbed copies of The Racing Driver and The Racing Car (jointly authored with Clutton and Posthumus) remain amongst my most precious possessions.

Wonderful stuff.

Vanwall.

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#2 2F-001

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 09:16

Hmmm...
which of the younger motorsports journalists (younger than Jenks, I mean) do you feel might be revered in a broadly the same terms as DSJ in years to come? Not just for their views and stance, but for the quality and timelessness of their writing?
I know this is a weird take on 'nostalgia'... ignore me if you think fit...

#3 MichaelJP

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 10:11

A very interesting article.

Would make a very interesting foreword to the "collected writings of DSJ" that we'd all like to see:)

Also, I wonder if the diary mentioned in the article has ever been considered for publication?

- MichaelJP

#4 Geza Sury

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 10:46

There's an interesting chapter in the book 'Chasing the title' by Nigel Roebuck about DSJ. When I get home I'll quote some sentences, because it contains some wonderful stories I have never heard of before.

#5 Felix Muelas

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 13:45

Originally written by Doug Nye
The tiny kitchen was dominated by a big, black Aga solid-fuel range which Jenks alone knew how to drive. It would light for no-one else. With it pulsatingly radiant, and a wintertime kitchen temperature around 80 degrees he'd sit within Aga-glow, at a tiny table lit from the window above the sink, and write to us. Perhaps that was his secret, he wrote 'to' his readers, not just 'for' us...

I found that paragraph touching...Thanks Mr Nye.

#6 jgm

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 16:23

The only other F1 journalist I liked as much as DSJ was Pete Lyons. Since then it's just been scribblers and gossip columnists.

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 17:29

DSJ, Henry N Manney III, and Pete Lyons -- three top notch writers, Scribes, who happened to cover motor racing. There are -- were -- a few others, but these three are the Scribes I really enjoyed reading, and they are different from one another as Mercury from Neptune, but their enthusiasm and love of racing was always there in the words on a page.

I think Doug's tribute to DSJ is perhaps one the very best that I have read about a Scribe, the other one being Dean Batchelor's words about HNMIII.

#8 Pingu

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 18:09

I agree with all the posts above about Manney, Pete Lyons, Jenks (and Doug himself). First-class scribblers all. But one other writer should be mentioned: LJK Setright.

LJK didn't specialise in GP or F1 stuff, but he did write some brilliant books on F1 and particularly F1 technology. I used to have several of his books, but unloaded them about ten years ago when I moved house. I recently tried to re-acquire the same copies using ebay and amazon, only to discover that LJK hasn't published anything for some time now. Also, now I've started re-buying motoring mags (after a 5 year lay-off) I don't see his byline anywhere. At one time he had regular columns in several monthlies.

Does he now specialise in other stuff? or is he no longer around? (Sorry if this is a crass question, but I am very curious).

#9 oldtimer

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 18:33

Originally posted by Geza Sury
There's an interesting chapter in the book 'Chasing the title' by Nigel Roebuck about DSJ. When I get home I'll quote some sentences, because it contains some wonderful stories I have never heard of before.


Please do!!

There is a timelessness about Jenks reports that is hard to explain. You can open a report written about an event held decades ago, and it comes alive. I have a nephew who becomes absolutely absorbed when reading DSJ reports of races, even those run before he was born.

#10 jgm

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 18:41

I think Setright has just written a book on the history of the motor car called 'Drive on!'. Since it is published by the very exclusive Palwan Press it is very expensive. There are two versions - one at £75 and the other at £195.

#11 Geza Sury

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 19:53

Originally posted by Geza Sury
There's an interesting chapter in the book 'Chasing the title' by Nigel Roebuck about DSJ. When I get home I'll quote some sentences, because it contains some wonderful stories I have never heard of before.

Here you go:

Jenks's domestic arrengements were... unothodox. You got used, for example to the lack of electricity: power, such as it was, came from a small generator and was insufficient to provide illumination for two rooms at once, so that if anyone needed to use the loo, everone else was in total darkness until his or her return.
This Jenks saw as nothing out of ordinary. 'Blackout time' he would cheerfully announce, and there was the same insouiance when one I questioned the siting of a Daimler V8 engine at the foot of his bed. 'Nowhere else to put it,' he said 'as if that explained everything. 'No space in the sitting room.' Indeed there wasn't; that was given over to a selection of motorbikes, in various stages of repair.(...)
The absence of electricity never bothered him, but he would have been lost without his telephone, which was used with abandon, around the clock. Countless times I would be on the point of sitting down to eat, and the phone would ring: 'I've been thinking about that lap of Senna's on Saturday...' the quiet voice would say, and you knew that supper was a lost cause.
Other than cars and bikes, Jenks cared absolutely nothing for material possessions, but he loved good food and wine, and would sleep like a child after a hearty dinner: the great storm of October 1987 may have devastated southern England, but it failed to awaken the guest in Stirling Moss's spare bedroom.



#12 2F-001

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 23:11

Pete Lyons was a name I had in mind (when I subverted the thread!). His GP reports in Autosport were very enjoyable and I seem to remember them being regarded as something a bit special even at the time. When did Lyons first come to prominence? (I assume he was well established and respected before he appeared in Autosport.)

Others I rate - in a different way - have been Joe Saward (what became of him? - I believe he moved to France)
and Simon Arron who is a real enthusiast (I like his gently entertaining, but solidly factual and non-sensationalist style - and he's a bit of a Caterham fan too).
Of those three though, Lyons is the only to have had a wide enough audience to give his writings real long-lasting fame.

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 23:15

Originally posted by Felix Muelas

I found that paragraph touching...Thanks Mr Nye.


Ditto. :up:

The whole article was worth the Atlas sub on its own (yes folks, I've just subscribed at last!)

Doug: loved the description of the 300SL test - 120mph+ on Hartford Flats eh? Brings back memories of overnight trips to Devon - leave home in Crowthorne about 10.00pm, make Brixham about 7.00am. In an unheated 1949 Morris Oxford ..... brrrrrr! If we were lucky we might hit 50 on Hartford Flats, but there was usually some bloody truck crawling through at about 25mph!

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 23:21

Originally posted by 2F-001

Others I rate - in a different way - have been Joe Saward (what became of him? - I believe he moved to France)


He's still around - he was writing for F1 News (haven't seen a copy recently though) and I always wondered if he was F1 Racing's "Scrutineer". There's also some of his stuff on Motorsport.com.

#15 rmhorton

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 01:27

Originally posted by Vitesse2


He's still around - he was writing for F1 News (haven't seen a copy recently though) and I always wondered if he was F1 Racing's "Scrutineer". There's also some of his stuff on Motorsport.com.


Saward is very much still around and is on the net at grandprix. com


If you dig around the archives there you can read Joe's ramblings from as far back as 1988.

http://www.grandprix.../ftarchive.html

Roger

#16 ghinzani

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 01:53

Funny that Pete Lyons should be mentioned - I was just reading a 1974 (I think) Autosport where Pete gives his reasons for no longer reporting GPs and retiring to AMerica... its very sad reading really, as he bemoans the lack of spectacle in F1 (this is the mid 70s!!!) and complains about the big boys taking too much of the pie and vested money interests turning it away from a sport - exactly all the things we complain about nowadays!!! a man before his times perhaps?

I loved that Roebuck peice on DSJ, does anyone know what happened to his cottage? expect its been modernised by now. Shame it wasnt kept as a museum!!

#17 Pingu

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 09:28

Originally posted by jgm
I think Setright has just written a book on the history of the motor car called 'Drive on!'. Since it is published by the very exclusive Palwan Press it is very expensive. There are two versions - one at £75 and the other at £195.


Thanks jgm for the info about Palwan Press. I see it has a website:

http://www.palawan.co.uk/

I can't find the "Drive On" title you mention, but I see that there's a £300 leather-bound version of Setright's account of the Bristol marque. Three hundred quid! :eek: The text for this book was probably written 10 years ago.

Doing a search for Setright on Amazon.com (the US version) produces a list of books which are all out of print. A search on Amazon.co.uk does show some recent-ish books of his, but they look like re-issues of books he authored in the seventies and eighties....

#18 Doug Nye

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 22:47

Originally posted by ghinzani
I loved that Roebuck peice on DSJ, does anyone know what happened to his cottage? expect its been modernised by now. Shame it wasnt kept as a museum!!


Gone to the great builder's salvage yard in the sky - replaced on the site by a modern chalet-style house - the old lodge was in such a perilous state structurally it had simply reached the end of its life...the Honda packing case garages surrounding it were more sound.

DCN

#19 Anorak Man

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 02:58

I'm curious Doug, how did Jenks get on with animals? I have him down as a cat-person, with all sorts of strays and moggies living around his castle looking after the place whilst he was pounding the GP trail. And maybe a stinky Billy goat, tethered at the drawbridge to keep the 'Ampshire Vandals at bay.

I was a vet in Esher and Dorking for a time, and came across some verrry strange characters during my housecalls, and farm visits down South.


AM

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 10:30

Jenks dossed for a period in a vet's house - Holly Birkett of 750 Motor Club fame being the local vet in Fleet through the later war years until his death (with his wife) in his Auster aircraft in the 1960s.

You are absolutely right, DSJ much preferred cats to dogs because he admired their smug independence and self-sufficiency whereas dogs depend on others to provide for them. I think I've posted something here before about 'Murray' the feral stray?

One of his later girlfirends had a very aloof Doberman of which he approved.

When we had two enormous and boisterous springer spaniels - the size of labradors - he'd bawl at them "Calm DOWN bloody dogs!" and once they had, he'd nod in satisfaction and grumble about "...these ridogulous dicks". He was not happy one day when we shut the boys outside his cottage, the soppier one decided he was coming in regardless and he burst into the lodge through the catflap, appearing in triumph inside, wearing the flap frame, shattered, around his neck and with the flap open on top of his head... It must have been one hell of a squeeze but boy was he determined...and chuffed to have achieved entry. DSJ didn't approve, but couldn't stop laughing...

DCN

#21 Mickey

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 12:23

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I think I've posted something here before about 'Murray' the feral stray?


Yep you have :) :

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Just as a minor digression - one time Jenks returned to his remote lodge house after months away following the circus on the Continent (by which term we island-race used to be allowed to describe Europe) he found a large cat was spending much time on his property. It mewed and wailed and purred at him incessantly, so he offered it some grub which it ate voraciously. Because the cat made so much noise and was an incessant chatterer DSJ christened it with a familiar name.

The moggie was well fed by DSJ for weeks until he went off on another trip. When he returned there was no sign of it, until he happened to glance out of his kitchen window one morning, and there was the cat mooching past, with a large, very dead, rabbit in its mouth - one which it had apparently just caught and killed. Jenks instantly concluded he'd been taken for a ride - the darned thing was completely capable of feeding itself. And because it talked incessantly, made a deafening noise and now - as he concluded - talked such nonsense, he was very happy with the name he'd given it.

Which was 'Murray'.  ;)

DCN

I join in thanking you for the fantastic article on DSJ :up:

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 10:31

Originally posted by Doug Nye
.....the Honda packing case garages surrounding it were more sound.


Ex-motorcycle shop?

Or ex-McLaren Racing?

Just a thought... the way he mixed his interests and contacts...

#23 Anorak Man

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 04:00

*Chortle* Wonderful stuff. Thanks Mickey, I hadn't seen Doug's hilarious 'Murray' post.
Which begs several questions I hope Our Doug will address in his forthcoming book 'Jenks' Collected Works'. Such as how did the real Murray and DSJ get along? Incidentally, Doug please do pepper it with footnotes and asides from Sir S, Y'self, MW, Msr.C, NR, Peter Warr et al. Oh and pleeese don't give it to Palawan. They'd probably try and flog us 200 quid editions bound in fine-grain Okapi skin, tanned on the banks of the Congo. Remember us Anoraks will yer?

Jenks dossed for a period in a vet's house - Holly Birkett of 750 Motor Club fame being the local vet in Fleet through the later war years until his death (with his wife) in his Auster aircraft in the 1960s.

Fascinating! Never knew the Royal College had a racing driver in it's ranks. Make a nice filler for the Vet Record, Doug. They won't pay well, but you'll get a discount on your Distemper Boosters. I flew Austers too, out of Skegness. Very dodgy aircraft, in my hands at least. On approach you had to lift your left arm high behind your head, and give a hefty yank on a two-foot-long lever to lower the flaps. It altered the pitch dramatically whilst you had your hands-full lining up the approach. And if you were a bit premature lowering them, the flaps fell-off at around 65 knots. Then there were those tiny heel brakes attached to the rudder pedals. French light aircraft are easier by far.

You are absolutely right, DSJ much preferred cats to dogs because he admired their smug independence and self-sufficiency whereas dogs depend on others to provide for them. I think I've posted something here before about 'Murray' the feral stray?

When we had two enormous and boisterous springer spaniels - the size of labradors - he'd bawl at them "Calm DOWN bloody dogs!" and once they had, he'd nod in satisfaction and grumble about "...these ridogulous dicks". He was not happy one day when we shut the boys outside his cottage, the soppier one decided he was coming in regardless and he burst into the lodge through the catflap, appearing in triumph inside, wearing the flap frame, shattered, around his neck and with the flap open on top of his head... It must have been one hell of a squeeze but boy was he determined...and chuffed to have achieved entry. DSJ didn't approve, but couldn't stop laughing...

DCN

Heelarious, thanx for that. Ahh Jenks installed a cat-flap for 'Muzza', he had to be a cat person to do that. I'm tempted to ask you about his relationships with his girlfriends too, but I dare not!
Instead, I wonder how he would have taken to computers for filing his stories, (notebook computer and cellphone from Sepang) and if you think he'd have enjoyed this Forum.

AM

#24 Haddock

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 11:12

He's still around - he was writing for F1 News (haven't seen a copy recently though) and I always wondered if he was F1 Racing's "Scrutineer". There's also some of his stuff on Motorsport.com.



He is also writing for ITV-F1.com under the pseudonym of "The Mole".

#25 Scuderia Pinguino

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 00:19

Doug, this is from a 'newbie' to this site.

Jenks was so well known for attending so many G.P's (and other events) patrolling the paddock and pit lane with his note book. How do you rate his chassis and engine number data which sometimes differs from say, authors of books of specialised marques?

#26 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 00:28

I have all his notebooks. When he was interested he was meticulous in recording chassis identity data from the plates fitted to the metalwork - or plastic - assembly before him. Late in the piece he couldn't really be bothered and accepted what younger friends told him. Can you cite examples of differing identities????

DCN

#27 Scuderia Pinguino

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 10:41

Thank you for your reply, I am doing this from memory since the file has been archived for many years but in 1986/7, I owned McLaren M23/6.
Jenks, writing for Motor Sport, attributed several of Hunt's victories to this chassis whilst Autosport attributed these results to chassis 8-2.
You may recall that you and I had correspondence regarding the discrepancy and that you came down in favour of the Autosport data rather than DSJ.

Colin Pool

#28 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 11:30

Colin - welcome to TNF - as I wrote "When he was interested he was meticulous in recording chassis identity data from the plates fitted to the metalwork - or plastic - assembly before him." - I have to say he was not particularly interested in Hunt, nor the post-Bruce team that was McLaren... sad, but true...

#29 Damon Beck

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 12:42

Whilst at the 87 French GP on our great World trip with my bride, on the Saturday, we had (bear in mind I am a now 40-year-experienced ‘pit junkie’) gained entry with nefariously obtained team pit lane passes (I won’t tell all, but his initials are PC). In bother with ill-fitting Adidas trainers and looking very forlorn, pity was taken on us by the wonderful Norah Tyrrell. The day was hot and Tyrrell’s cool drinks refreshed and revived us both. We looked across from where we sat and saw old friend David McKay chatting to two people – instantly recognised as S Craufurd Moss and D S J. Never one to miss an opportunity I sprang (more like struggled) up and hobbled over to say hello to David. He kindly introduced me (probably in the hope I would quickly leave) and – I couldn’t ‘elp meself – I gave all my attention to DSJ. THE BOOK, “The Racing Driver”, my bible of how to race, unfortunately back in Australia. DSJ, about 2/3rds my 180cm gave me a “look” but, when I told him how much those writings of his in the late 50’s meant to me and how, following his book’s advice and technical guidance, a mug like me was actually competitive, he thawed and offered to sign it if ever I caught up with him again. A wonderful friend in England during that trip, Gerald Lascelles, gave me DSJ’s address but I never got around to sending it to him for signature. I was mostly worried that it mightn’t come back!

In 1990, at an AGP function in Adelaide, I was privileged to meet my hero, the Maestro, and he graciously and generously autographed a photo in it for me. The following day, at turn one waiting for Senna’s “LAP”, I ran into S Craufurd and he kindly did same. Even without DSJ’s autograph, the book remains very significant in my life as it was instrumental in my now 49 year long passion for motor sport. (And since October 1966, a competitor - at the moment "between drives".)

May it never dim.

Thanks, DSJ. (and you, too, Doug!)

#30 Scuderia Pinguino

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 13:34

Doug, thanks for that. James did come to look at the car when it was at Brands Hatch, he spent a considerable time inspecting it and confirmed that it was his old car, he went to say that it was the best car that he had ever driven. He might have just had a spliff though!
Anyway its all water under the bridge but having said the above, I doubt that F1 drivers were particularly interested in chassis plates!
I received a call recently from a man who thought he now owned the Tiga I drove with Flux in Thundersports '88. I was asked the confirm the chassis no. and my reply was to the effect that unforunately, I hadn't got a clue. The point being that as long as the car went, I didn't give a stuff what number was on it! I have a different attitude to Historic cars, although I suppose the Tiga is now historic.

Different subject - your set data info on this 'thread' (learning the trick terms already) is highly impressive. Have you any info on the 1971 312P or 1972 312PB - Now, that would be very helpful.

Colin