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Favourite Innes Ireland stories


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#1 David Beard

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 12:00

I would actually have preferred to have added what I want to post onto one of the existing threads about Innes, but they are now archived… … (seems to me a bit of a shame that we can no longer resurrect old threads)

Innes Ireland - trawler skipper?
http://forums.atlasf...t=Innes Ireland

Motor Sport on Innes Ireland
http://forums.atlasf...t=Innes Ireland

Innes Ireland
http://forums.atlasf...t=Innes Ireland

But anyway……I‘ve just heard a nice little Innes story.

In 1973 or 74, the owner and driver of a Lotus 16 that Innes had raced in 1959, was returning south from an historic event at Ingliston. He had made a prior arrangement to reunite Innes with the car at his home near Kirkcudbright in Scotland’s Dumfries and Galloway region. However, the evening wore on and it was very late and dark when Innes returned from a fishing trip in his trawler. But the 16 was uncovered on its trailer with great enthusiasm, and Innes was sat in the cockpit in no time. “Right get it off here, let's start it up….I reckon I could get to Castle Douglas and back before the Police catch up with us!” He was seriously up for it, apparently. The owner, however, could see his racer disappearing through a hedge in the darkness somewhere, and with great difficulty persuaded Innes that it was a great deal of trouble to get the 16 off the trailer and refill with water etc…….

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#2 KJJ

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 10:44

As someone who has been interested in Innes Ireland for just a couple of years, I guess I’ve missed many of the stories which are familiar to other TNFers. Hope some of them get posted here!

A couple of pieces of trivia which might be of interest........I understand that Innes Ireland’s grandfather Allan Ireland spent his working life as a lecturer in the cause of Total Abstinence! Somewhat ironic given his grandson’s seeming fondness for Scottish wine.

Grandfather Allan sometimes used his step-father’s surname before reverting to his birthname of Ireland....if he hadn’t, the winner of the 1961 US GP would have been called Innes Postlethwaite.

#3 David Beard

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 11:48

Originally posted by KJJ
Grandfather Allan sometimes used his step-father’s surname before reverting to his birthname of Ireland....if he hadn’t, the winner of the 1961 US GP would have been called Innes Postlethwaite.


Any relation to the Doctor, we might wonder....

My wife and I spend a lot of time in the area around Kirkcudbright. This year we had a trip in a boat down the estuary towards the Solway Firth / Irish Sea. I asked the skipper if he knew Innes. He replied that he remembered him well and said that (surprise, surprise) he was a real character. Said he never seemed to have any money but always had a flash car. What intrigued me most though, was the comment that Innes was always known locally as "Ducky Ireland", which was a new one on me.

#4 David Beard

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 17:34

Went to an open garden near Kirkudbright last weekend at Senwick House, now a care home. I have discovered this was where Innes lived in 1967/68, when he was operating the trawler out of Kirkudbright, and I think the place referred to in my first post on this thread. As I wandered around and asked various locals if they remembered him, I found that they most definitely did!

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#5 Mistron

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 18:54

to put his planned late night drive in the 16 in context, Kircudbright to CD is about 15-20 miles. You could go back along the main A75 stranraer road with the Irish lorries, or there is a really wonderfull road that takes you round the coast to Dundrennan then cuts inland to CD (My road home for several years) I wonder which he would have chosen..... :drunk: probably a round trip!

#6 Giraffe

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 19:42

I am proud to have met Innes in the late 60s & collected his autograph. Also Sid Taylor introduced me Jean Ireland at the British GP last year and I was sitting by her for some time watching the race. Just now I blew the dust off my copy of "All Arms and Elbows", (essential reading in my humble opinion) as a result of seeing this thread and as is my habit, I'd left my bookmark in it to remind me where I read it, most appropriately on this occasion on a BA flight to New York. Splendid chap he undoubtedly was. :up:

#7 D-Type

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 14:40

Reviving this old thread to say I've just finished reading the "Graham Hill Scrapbook"* and Innes features in several of the incidents recounted. :)

Sadly, none that were new to me.


*Currently £12.99 from PostScript, www.PSbooks.co.uk (no connection))

Edited by D-Type, 30 October 2012 - 18:40.


#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 19:26

I always enjoyed Innes's story of driving the Lotus 16 at Rouen where he dropped it in the fast downhill swerves after the pits and toppled over the right-side verge down into the ravine there. He claimed his var ended up standing vertically, propped against one of rhe ravine's more luxurious trees...with its Climax engine still ticking over nicely.

He also took considerable pride in having organised his fellow racer-passengers on a Webbair flight to Syracuse - I think in 1961 or '2 - into all gathering at one end of the cabin (in a Britannia, I believe), waiting long enough for the puzzled skipper to wind on suitable trim, and then all charging forward en masse to the other end. The skipper ended up chasing his trim before the passengers released one of the stewardesses long enough for her to tip him off. Innes pically then charmed the crew into accepting it was all merely high spirits to alleviate the boredom, and he then spent some time at the controls as a keen (and licensed) zoomer himself. Porbably licensed in every sense... As is the case with so many of his antics, today he'd just be locked up. In effect he was everything Mike Hawthorn had been before him, A Character, and not always - for the more sober-minded and socially-aware amongst those around him at the time - an entirely amusing one.

He certainly mellowed later in his life and I know lived to regret (to some extent) some of his more boisterous episodes. There's always a fine line between true extroverts being fun to be with, then embarrassing to be with, and ultimately - I regret to say - being best avoided.

My pal Alan Henry got it absolutely right when he once wrote of Innes and his roustabout approach to race driving and life in general: "Today, he probably wouldn't even get a drive". Which speaks volumes for fhe way in which frontline motor racing has developed.

DCN

#9 Giraffe

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 20:09

My pal Alan Henry got it absolutely right when he once wrote of Innes and his roustabout approach to race driving and life in general: "Today, he probably wouldn't even get a drive". Which speaks volumes for fhe way in which frontline motor racing has developed.

DCN


Conversely, many of our current politicians wouldn't have got into politics then.....

I recently spent a couple of days with F5000 & F3 racer Mike Walker at his home and at Shelsley Walsh. He told me that his childhood hero was Innes and told me the tale of collecting his autograph while Mike in school uniform, held his helmet and gloves. Mike then went on to tell me how proud he was when Innes offered to propose him for membership of the BRDC whilst at the 1969 Oulton Park Gold Cup. Coincidentally, I had my copy of the programme for that meeting with me when I visited Mike, and he was shocked when he saw it..........

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Edited by Giraffe, 01 November 2012 - 14:05.


#10 scags

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 02:50

I always loved his writing in Road & Track.

#11 AJB

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 13:06

Perhaps someone can tell me if this was all a dream. I have a recollection of watching a televised race, probably in the late 50s, before I was even interested in Motor sport. As the cars were lining up on the grid one of the drivers (Innes Ireland) quickly went round to all of the cars on the grid, and when the flag dropped the cars all went backwards for one length, before going forwards again.

It sounds like the kind of thing he might have done.

Was I dreaming it? Did it happen? Was it just trick photography? I knew nothing about racing at that time and had never heard of any drivers, but the name Innes Ireland stuck in my mind. HELP!

Alan

#12 D-Type

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 13:11

It gets a mention in the G Hill scrap book.

It was a 'demonstration' race of of Minis at, I believe, Snetterton. As it coincided with the launch of the Mini it must have been 1959. Innes persuaded everybody that it would be fun to start in reverse. Fortunately they all [more or less] trusted each other enough to do so.

#13 David Beard

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 13:34

It gets a mention in the G Hill scrap book.

It was a 'demonstration' race of of Minis at, I believe, Snetterton. As it coincided with the launch of the Mini it must have been 1959. Innes persuaded everybody that it would be fun to start in reverse. Fortunately they all [more or less] trusted each other enough to do so.


Sure it wasn't Silverstone?

#14 RCH

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 13:44

It gets a mention in the G Hill scrap book.

It was a 'demonstration' race of of Minis at, I believe, Snetterton. As it coincided with the launch of the Mini it must have been 1959. Innes persuaded everybody that it would be fun to start in reverse. Fortunately they all [more or less] trusted each other enough to do so.


It was later than that I would guess '61/62, I saw it on TV so it couldn't have been earlier than '61. There was a race for 1100s which coincided with its launch, maybe they has so much fun with that they thought they would do the same with Minis?


#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 14:21

It was later than that I would guess '61/62, I saw it on TV so it couldn't have been earlier than '61. There was a race for 1100s which coincided with its launch, maybe they has so much fun with that they thought they would do the same with Minis?


I think from memory it was Tony Maggs - works Cooper No 2 driver - who had a pretty comprehensive accident during that race in one of those 1100s, lozenging its body shell badly against the Snetterton safety bank and I am pretty sure writing it off. Fortunately I believe he was wearing seat belts. It was a terrific impact.

DCN

#16 AJB

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 17:23

Gentlemen,
Thanks for all you replies. After all these years of doubting myself, It's nice to know I'm not going doolally.
As it was an article on Graham Hill's "Old Faithful" that first got me interested in racing, I should have bought the Scrapbook and that would have put my mind at ease.

Alan

#17 D-Type

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 18:37

Gentlemen,
Thanks for all you replies. After all these years of doubting myself, It's nice to know I'm not going doolally.
As it was an article on Graham Hill's "Old Faithful" that first got me interested in racing, I should have bought the Scrapbook and that would have put my mind at ease.

Alan


I've checked with the Graham Hill scrapbook and it says it was the 1960 British GP meeting at Silverstone where the drivers were supposed to do a 1 lap demonstration in Minis. The TV commentator was Raymond Baxter

#18 TIPO61

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:08

In the early 60's at IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park) Innes showed up with a F-1 car (methinks it was a 2litre BRM...quite willing to be wrong about that ride) and during the driver's meeting an American driver of some stature was going on and on and on ad nausium about the "boundaries at the end of the straight leading to the first corner...a quick right hander. After enduring this fellers on and on, Innes said...

"Try to keep it between the bits of grass mate!"

Precious!

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 14:08

The race involving BMC 1100s was at Snetterton.

DCN

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#20 Catalina Park

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:59

I have never heard of an all 1100 race, does anyone have any more info or maybe even some photos?

#21 Paul Parker

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:02

The race involving BMC 1100s was at Snetterton.

DCN


And I seem to recall seeing it on the box or am I imagining that?

#22 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 16:04

And I seem to recall seeing it on the box or am I imagining that?


I am sure that I read about it in Autosport. I believe that Innes was involved in an incident where he was alongside another 1100 when they both turned their steering wheels into each other and kept going until their cars ground to a halt. There a number of incidents and the RAC banned these one model races.

#23 AJB

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 20:27

And I seem to recall seeing it on the box or am I imagining that?

See post #11 onwards.

#24 D-Type

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 21:03

See post #11 onwards.

I think you've missed a key point.
There were two races: Minis at Silverstone and 1100s at Snetterton. Were they both televised, or only the Silverstone Mini race?

#25 Tim Murray

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 21:40

To be strictly accurate, the Mini event at Silverstone wasn't (technically) a race but a demonstration (but I don't suppose the distinction made any difference to the drivers  ;) ).

#26 fbarrett

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:54

I'm probably botching this up, but at the press introduction of the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3, Innes drove demonstration laps around a now-unrecalled track. Somehow he rolled the big beast. When the dust settled he was less concerned about the car than he was about opening its trunk. Seems it contained a pair of his Purdey shotguns, and he wanted to make sure they were OK.

Frank

#27 Allan Lupton

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:29

I'm probably botching this up, but at the press introduction of the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3, Innes drove demonstration laps around a now-unrecalled track. Somehow he rolled the big beast. When the dust settled he was less concerned about the car than he was about opening its trunk. Seems it contained a pair of his Purdey shotguns, and he wanted to make sure they were OK.

Frank

That was Mallory Park.
IIRC it was at a sprint meeting rather than a race, so the available emergency services were less comprehensive than they might have been, but as it was a pretty strong car and II was unhurt all was well (ish).

#28 RCH

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:33

I've checked with the Graham Hill scrapbook and it says it was the 1960 British GP meeting at Silverstone where the drivers were supposed to do a 1 lap demonstration in Minis. The TV commentator was Raymond Baxter


Graham Hill, my all time motor racing hero, but I think this is wrong. There may well have been a Mini demo at the British GP at Silverstone but this wasn't the Mini race where Innes Ireland cajoled the field into leaving the grid backwards. I'm sure it was later, '61/'62. Had it been 1960 it would have meant I would have seen Graham leading the GP in the BRM on TV and I'm sure I would have remembered that.

I'm prepared to be shot down in flames but I'm thinking International Trophy 1962? Anyone with a collection of programmes should be able to confirm. Not that it matters that much in the overall order of things...


#29 Tim Murray

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:24

Here's how Graham described the event in Life at the Limit:

The [1960] British Grand Prix at Silverstone turned out to be probably one of my finest races and also one of my biggest disappointments. But before the race all the Grand Prix drivers were put into Mini-Minors, which had just come onto the market, and we were to do a demonstration lap as a publicity stunt. We all got together and decided that we'd all be in reverse gear at the start and, when the starter dropped his flag, we'd all shoot off backwards. It was terribly funny. Of course, everyone had to be sure that everyone else was going to play the game. Although it wasn't going to be a race—it was supposed to be a demonstration after all—we went round eyeballing each other and thinking: Well, I wonder if I can trust that blighter, I wonder if he's going to shoot off forwards. Anyway, everyone played fair and it worked very well. Then, immediately we stopped going backwards, selected first gear and tore off. The demonstration, naturally, turned out to be a high-speed slip-streaming act—a race—and the cars got dented and bashed as we went down the straight about four or five cars in a line, each touching the one in front. We were going into corners three abreast; it really was most exciting and why there was not an almighty shunt I just don't know!

Could it be that this happened on more than one occasion?

#30 D-Type

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:18

Here's how Graham described the event in Life at the Limit:


Could it be that this happened on more than one occasion?

What is more likely is that in Life at the Limit Graham Hill attributed it to the wrong race. After all, from his point of view exactly when and where it happened was totally immaterial, the only significant thing was that (inspired by Innes) the whole field took off in reverse.

The Graham Hill scrapbook reproduces the text from Life at the Limit (with attribution) and in a separate caption Philip Porter says "The author remembers watching this 'demonstration' on television, as a nine-year-old child! Just before the start, the TV commentator [probably Raymond Baxter], pointed out that Innes Ireland was obviously up to somethingas he was spotted dashing to every car to have a quick word with each driver".

I have seen another account somewhere that definitely says: Innes Ireland, reverse and Minis - but it could well have been a secondhand one.

Al we can be sure of is that it happened somewhere, Innes Ireland was the instigator, the cars were probably Minis

#31 Catalina Park

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:06

I seem to recall that Innes was involved in a series of Mini races for the introduction of the Mini into the USA.
Like this one at Lime Rock... Lime Rock 1961 Operation 850

#32 klemcoll

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 23:55

Back in 1982 Innes came along on the first Ferrari GTO rally in France. He was tremendously entertaining, especially when well into his usual tipple of Bell's. One morning, when Innes and his lady friend had, it seems, spent the night rolled up in an armoire, one of us asked how he was feeling. He replied that all was well even with a bit of a headache, but the guy then asked if he wouldn't be feeling better if he did not drink quite so much. "Not at all," Innes replied, "You know when those damn teetotalers wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day!"

#33 KJJ

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:42

I'm probably botching this up, but at the press introduction of the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3, Innes drove demonstration laps around a now-unrecalled track. Somehow he rolled the big beast. When the dust settled he was less concerned about the car than he was about opening its trunk. Seems it contained a pair of his Purdey shotguns, and he wanted to make sure they were OK.

Frank


I believe Innes's main concern was for his labrador gundog which was also in car


#34 Tony Matthews

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 13:00

I seem to recall that Innes was involved in a series of Mini races for the introduction of the Mini into the USA.
Like this one at Lime Rock... Lime Rock 1961 Operation 850

What a great bit of film! Thanks for the Link.