Jump to content


Photo

Does anybody miss DSJ?


  • Please log in to reply
258 replies to this topic

#101 Alan Cox

Alan Cox
  • Member

  • 7,724 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 09 February 2008 - 18:40

The Turtle Drilling Special is an American oval racer, Michael, dating from 1958/9 which was a semi-permanent fixture at British historic meetings during the period when it was owned by the Lindsay family - the Hon. Patrick, and son Ludovic. It was never a front-runner for self-evident reasons, having been designed for banked ovals, but the Lindsays gave guest drives to a number of the best historic racers of the time, such as Willie Green and Barrie Williams, and starting from the back of the grid (because of its 2-speed gearbox) its progress through the field always added interest. I believe it has been sold back to the USA.

Posted Image Posted Image

Advertisement

#102 bradbury west

bradbury west
  • Member

  • 4,600 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 09 February 2008 - 18:49

Thanks for the DSJ pics, Alan, bringing the thread up again. I suspect that Jenks regarded Whizzo as a proper racer; not far wrong there, then.

IIRC, the Turtle Spl had some form of semi locked diff designed for left hand turns on an oval, so right turns were rather eventful.
Roger Lund

#103 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 09 February 2008 - 19:27

Thanks Alan, my mistake - thought it looked like a dirt car! I'm familiar with the "Turtle Drilling" Indy Car, but I'm more than a little intrigued by the second of your pics, showing Sam Hanks as the designated driver, he having retired from driving three years before the car was built! A case of sloppy restoration? FYI, I have the following actually driving the car in competition: Bob Veith, Jack Rounds, Ralph Liguori, Jiggs Peters, Leon Clum and Chuck Arnold!

#104 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,405 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 09 February 2008 - 21:25

I'm pretty sure Hanks's name was painted on the car before it was acquired by the Lindsays from an interim owner/dealer. :stoned:

DCN

#105 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 09 February 2008 - 22:08

Who would that have been?

#106 Gerr

Gerr
  • Member

  • 687 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 09 February 2008 - 22:54

Originally posted by fines
Thanks Alan, my mistake - thought it looked like a dirt car! I'm familiar with the "Turtle Drilling" Indy Car, but I'm more than a little intrigued by the second of your pics, showing Sam Hanks as the designated driver, he having retired from driving three years before the car was built! A case of sloppy restoration? FYI, I have the following actually driving the car in competition: Bob Veith, Jack Rounds, Ralph Liguori, Jiggs Peters, Leon Clum and Chuck Arnold!


After the car was renovated (i don't think that it has ever been restored), Hanks drove it at OMS in 1979. A four lap demonstration/exhibition.
The owner at the time was Ron Kellogg, IIRC.

#107 Alan Cox

Alan Cox
  • Member

  • 7,724 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 10 February 2008 - 10:31

I may be wrong in attributing it to 1958/9. Anyone know precisely?

#108 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 10 February 2008 - 12:26

Yes, it was built in 1960. And thank you for the Sam Hanks info, Gerr. Do you know if "Turtle Drilling" was just a sponsor in 1962 and the car was still owned by Pete Schmidt and/or Wally Meskowski/Competition Engineering?

#109 Giraffe

Giraffe
  • Member

  • 7,015 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 10 February 2008 - 19:28

Hanging around as a 15 year old junior marshal at Oulton Park in the late 60's, I'd often find myself literally banging heads with Jenks in engine bays of various interesting racing machinery. I used to think "it's that ruddy little bearded prat again! He get's where the wind doesn't blow!"
Now I realise exactly who the prat was!!!! & I never even asked him for his autograph!
I've got a great future behind me!!!!

#110 vashlin

vashlin
  • Member

  • 322 posts
  • Joined: December 06

Posted 10 February 2008 - 23:33

Like Alan, I have wanted to put this picture of DSJ on here somewhere. When I saw this thread active again, I thought, why not here?

I am currently re-reading A Passion For Motor Sport having read it ten years ago (after receiving it as a Christmas gift). Am enjoying it even more this time around and have been reading much of it aloud as it is just too good not to share!

Watkins Glen paddock 1979

Posted Image


:) Lin

#111 john ruston

john ruston
  • Member

  • 960 posts
  • Joined: May 03

Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:04

DSJ was one of the greats in Motorsport

Wonder what he would have made of todays Historic Racing now fakes are legal etc,etc Would April's VSCC meeting be the same and a thousand other things.

He is missed and never been replaced.

#112 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,405 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 11 February 2008 - 11:39

Quite right. He would have HATED it John.

In rare low moments towards the end of his life he would sometimes lament that "They've f---- up Grand Prix racing - now they're f------ up my hobby as well...". He regarded 'them' in both cases as being the same class of commercially-minded "wide boys". He had never been averse to change - technical change - advance. But change for change's sake, or change involving a reduction in long established standards, dismayed and angered him.

Somewhere on his cloud, blipping the throttle on his harp, he has just turned to Rodney Walkerley, Philip Turner and Pete Coltrin and said "Look at what those silly arses down there have done! We're in the best place, you know - we had the best of it....".

However, should anyone agree with him, he will instantly change tack -adopt a different stance - and begin to argue in favour of what has happened. Facing DSJ in a debate was always like trying to catch smoke.

DCN

#113 isynge

isynge
  • Member

  • 76 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 11 February 2008 - 13:08

Stumbled late to this rather good thread, and brought back a lot of enjoyable memories of reading Motor Sport.

With retrospect the sheer power of DSJ's writing can be seen in that his 1982 Monaco report was enough to make my 9 year old self toddle off and find out what exactly perspicacity might mean.

Not a word you find often in periodicals of today, more's the pity.

#114 Odseybod

Odseybod
  • Member

  • 1,132 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 11 February 2008 - 16:24

Originally posted by Doug Nye

Somewhere on his cloud, blipping the throttle on his harp, he has just turned to Rodney Walkerley, Philip Turner and Pete Coltrin and said "Look at what those silly arses down there have done! We're in the best place, you know - we had the best of it....".

DCN


A very good grouping :) Thank you, DCN (but can we also have Geoff Goddard taking a snap or two of it for posterity, please?).

#115 RTH

RTH
  • Member

  • 5,737 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 11 February 2008 - 16:32

Originally posted by Doug Nye


..........In rare low moments towards the end of his life he would sometimes lament that "They've f---- up Grand Prix racing - now they're f------ up my hobby as well...". He regarded 'them' in both cases as being the same class of commercially-minded "wide boys". He had never been averse to change - technical change - advance. But change for change's sake, or change involving a reduction in long established standards, dismayed and angered him.



DCN



How right he was.

#116 Gerr

Gerr
  • Member

  • 687 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 13 February 2008 - 11:58

Originally posted by fines
Yes, it was built in 1960. And thank you for the Sam Hanks info, Gerr. Do you know if "Turtle Drilling" was just a sponsor in 1962 and the car was still owned by Pete Schmidt and/or Wally Meskowski/Competition Engineering?


Turtle Drilling Co. is listed as the entrant. That's all I have.

#117 oldtimer

oldtimer
  • Member

  • 1,291 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 13 February 2008 - 19:42

Originally posted by Doug Nye


In rare low moments towards the end of his life he would sometimes lament that "They've f---- up Grand Prix racing - now they're f------ up my hobby as well...". He regarded 'them' in both cases as being the same class of commercially-minded "wide boys". He had never been averse to change - technical change - advance. But change for change's sake, or change involving a reduction in long established standards, dismayed and angered him.

DCN


For those not in the know about early post WW2 Britain, there was a group of characters dealing in materials that 'fell off the back of lorries'. At the street level, they wore wide-shouldered coats. Hence the appellation "wide boys" was given to those instinct to make a quick $ rose above other considerations.

#118 GeoffE

GeoffE
  • Member

  • 152 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 13 February 2008 - 19:58

Originally posted by oldtimer


For those not in the know about early post WW2 Britain, there was a group of characters dealing in materials that 'fell off the back of lorries'. At the street level, they wore wide-shouldered coats. Hence the appellation "wide boys" was given to those instinct to make a quick $ rose above other considerations.


Allegedly, the term is pre-WW2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_boy

(citing Robert Westerby's novel Wide Boys Never Work, 1937)

#119 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 13 February 2008 - 20:52

Originally posted by Gerr


Turtle Drilling Co. is listed as the entrant. That's all I have.

Ditto here. Thanks anyway! :)

Advertisement

#120 RogerFrench

RogerFrench
  • Member

  • 396 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 20 February 2008 - 20:24

I have only just found this forum, but I am delighted to have done so.

I first remember Jenks from some time around 1949 / 50 or so. He was a passenger for Holly Birkett in a Night Trial, and my father went out to tow them in to the farmyard of the house where we lived in Gloucestershire.
The Austin Seven special had done what A7s often did back then - it had broken its crankshaft. At any rate, here was this chap with Holly, wearing a beard, duffel coat and mud, and it was hard to tell where one stopped and the other began.

The following day we set off to tow the special and its occupants to somewhere Holly knew where he could leave it, and get transport back to Fleet. My father at that time had a Rover 12, and it struggled going up Birdlip, so I, being just a boy and even smaller than Jenks, was detailed to sit in the special and steer while the Rover and the men pulled and pushed up the steep bit. I was thrilled!

I saw Jenks on and off quite a few times after that, mostly at race meetings but occasionally socially, and avidly read everything he wrote in Motor Sport and elsewhere. He loved and knew his subject, in the early days much more than later. He was also very convinced about what was right or wrong, and that attitude richened his writing.

Every true enthusiast who ever read Jenks must surely miss him.

#121 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,085 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 20 February 2008 - 21:36

Nice to have you along, Roger, that's a wonderful insight into the times and the man...

And thanks for posting in this thread, which must surely be the oldest currently active thread on the whole forum!

#122 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,531 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 20 February 2008 - 21:46

Originally posted by Ray Bell
... which must surely be the oldest currently active thread on the whole forum!

How very appropriate.

Roger, I take it you are the son of Jack French? You must have many more good stories ...

#123 Rosemayer

Rosemayer
  • Member

  • 1,253 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 21 February 2008 - 14:45

DSJ lived in an era when drivers would leave their hotal room in the morning of the race not knowing if they would reopen that door after the race but yet they raced anyway. F1 cars have not become safe until the onset of carbon fiber. I started following F1 in 1959 and really miss the old days.Todays drivers are worried about the loss of TC pretty much a bunch of babies even MS would not drive a 1980's F1 car.But J Surtees
will race a 1930's MB F1 car and push it to the limit at Goodwood.That is what seperates the men from the boys.So I can agree with a lot of DSJ's comments.

#124 Sharman

Sharman
  • Member

  • 2,700 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 21 February 2008 - 14:48

Presumably Father was Jack French of Simplicity fame?

#125 DMJC

DMJC
  • Member

  • 92 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 21 February 2008 - 15:25

Another DSJ thread, i have come across others here, and the fact that there are few comments and even fewer threads, about racing journos on the forum, speaks volumes for the man.
He was irreplacable, and remains in my memories, that cast back to 1969 when i first found MotorSport at a newsagents, just about to enter my teens, and in thrall to what was to be, over the next 20yrs, some of the best GP racing of all time.His reports and Continental Notes, were most eagerly awaited every month, and few other writers on the sport, can compare with him. Of the noted that i always enjoyed, were Pete Lyons, and Nigel Roebuck. Others like Mike Doodson,Alan Henry and Joe Saward have also been greatly enjoyed.
I found a website for Pete Lyons recently, and felt compelled to mail him to let him know how much enjoyment i had derived from his writings, over the years, and particularly when he worked for Autosport. He sent me a swift and touching response, and i'm glad i could contact him. I saw Jenks once, at a race meeting, the mid 70's and dearly wish that i had had the confidence to try and corner him for a few minutes. Such was his lofty status, in my view, that i had not the courage to do so....but wish i had done!

DMJC

#126 RogerFrench

RogerFrench
  • Member

  • 396 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 21 February 2008 - 17:36

Ray Bell, Sharman, thank you, and yes, my father was Jack French of Simplicity fame.

#127 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,078 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 22 February 2008 - 00:35

Did DSJ ever get to Australia?

I wonder what he would have made of Bathurst - I think he would have approved of the circuit, but would have wanted to see real racing cars on it.

#128 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,085 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:27

Fairly sure he never came here... nor NZ...

But he would have adored Lobethal!

#129 DMJC

DMJC
  • Member

  • 92 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 22 February 2008 - 12:36

Originally posted by D-Type
Did DSJ ever get to Australia?

I wonder what he would have made of Bathurst - I think he would have approved of the circuit, but would have wanted to see real racing cars on it.


I thought i read an article by another journo, who said DSJ did go to Bathurst, and thought it great, and the cars too....i maybe wrong though....i seem to recall reading this recently, but can't think where i saw it?

#130 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,405 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 22 February 2008 - 17:20

I'm almost certain that Jenks only ever ventured as far as Watkins Glen, Long Beach, definitely Kyalami, never to Australia, South America nor Japan. He only contemplated long-haul flights with the advent of the 747 elephant. He was never terribly keen on flying. As a trainee flight observer at Farnborough during the war he threw up as the aircraft into which he'd been ordered taxied out over the bumps PRIOR to take off. Those in charge concluded he was a hopeless case and he was very quickly excused further flying.

DCN

#131 vashlin

vashlin
  • Member

  • 322 posts
  • Joined: December 06

Posted 22 February 2008 - 17:51

Doug, I know he was in Long Beach in 1981 as we saw him there. Will try and locate one of the pictures we took of him that weekend. There is one that is a favorite of mine.

Lin

#132 Sharman

Sharman
  • Member

  • 2,700 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 23 February 2008 - 11:43

Doug
I find your anecdote very strange. For someone who was able to fling himself around a racing chair and who sat through many hairy moments in various racing situations (I am aware he puked during the MM, but who would not have) why should he vomit on the ground in an aeroplane. Nervous anticipation perhaps, or subscribing to the school of "if the good Lord had meant us to fly he'd have given us wings"?
john

#133 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,405 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 08 October 2008 - 22:32

Perhaps revealing another side to his character I think DSJ would actually have said "If man was meant to fly, God would have given us tickets"... There is overwhelming evidence that the Farnborough throwing up before the aircraft reached the runway story is quite true - not only recorded in his diary for that day, but also recalled by some of his contemporaries on 'C Flight'.

DCN

#134 bradbury west

bradbury west
  • Member

  • 4,600 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 08 October 2008 - 22:41

For no reason in particular, but since I saw it on the Colotti website......
Posted Image
Jenks and SCM at the Maserati technical department in 1956 getting first hand information
Roger Lund
copyright recognised to the Colotti website.

#135 bradbury west

bradbury west
  • Member

  • 4,600 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 29 November 2008 - 17:48

Originally posted by bradbury west
Jenks and Moss at the FoS, 1995...
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
Photos copyright Roger Lund.
With no apologies for raising it this year again, I just thought it might be seemly to mention that it was on 29.11.1996, that Jenks passed away.
Roger Lund.



#136 Giraffe

Giraffe
  • Member

  • 7,015 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 30 November 2008 - 18:13

As a 15 year old kid, I rubbed shoulders with Jenks literally, peering under car bonnets and talking to people at important meetings at Oulton Park in the late '60's; I thought he was a bit of an eccentric twerp, but I just didn't get it at the time.... Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and in the Greater Motorsport Hall of Fame, he's right up at the top in my humble opinion. Like I say, hindsight....................

#137 Stephen W

Stephen W
  • Member

  • 11,761 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 06 December 2008 - 12:31

Posted Image

The dynamic duo's autographs; I managed to get DSJ's at the Nurburgring in the 1970s whilst Moss signed at an Easter Monday Thruxton meeting when he was racing the Toyotas.

I was pleased that I managed to get the pair of them on the one page.

:wave:

#138 Giraffe

Giraffe
  • Member

  • 7,015 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 06 December 2008 - 12:50

Blimey! How did you get them to print their names as well!!! :lol:

Seriously, I don't think that it looks that great, and it probably devalues the autographs, but if you're anything like me, you collect autographs for your own pleasure, so it doesn't really matter. I've never bought or been given an autograph; it's one way of guaranteeing authenticity and they are all special to me. I have seven F1 World Champs autographs (covering twelve championships) plus numerous lesser name (Moss etc...!) and I can recall how and where I got them all.
I never got Jenks however; stood next to the funny little fellow on a few occasions but was too embarassed to ask him for it; how I regret that now!

#139 Graham Gauld

Graham Gauld
  • Member

  • 1,136 posts
  • Joined: September 04

Posted 06 December 2008 - 13:41

Reference Doug's story about Jenks being sick. I remember discussing the 1955 Mille Miglia with Peter Collins two years afterwards and when I mentioned the role of Jenks Peter remarked that Jenks was sick all over the car . True, Doug ?

Advertisement

#140 Stephen W

Stephen W
  • Member

  • 11,761 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 06 December 2008 - 14:30

Originally posted by Giraffe
I never got Jenks however; stood next to the funny little fellow on a few occasions but was too embarassed to ask him for it; how I regret that now!


When I stopped DSJ and asked for his autograph he was somewhat embarrassed. It went something along the lines of "Why would you want my autograph?" To which I replied "I always read your column in Motor Sport before any other items and you did win the Mille Miglia!"

He was also fantastic when I asked could he recommend anywhere to watch from! :wave:

#141 bradbury west

bradbury west
  • Member

  • 4,600 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 29 November 2009 - 00:18

Jenks and Moss at the FoS, 1995...

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
Photos copyright Roger Lund

I just thought it might be seemly to mention that it was thirteen years ago today, 29.11.1996, that Jenks passed away.

Roger Lund.



#142 Pink Snail

Pink Snail
  • Member

  • 520 posts
  • Joined: October 08

Posted 29 November 2009 - 00:25

Jenks and Moss at the FoS, 1995...

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
Photos copyright Roger Lund

I just thought it might be seemly to mention that it was thirteen years ago today, 29.11.1996, that Jenks passed away.

Roger Lund.

Well done for that - people ike DSJ should never be forgotten. Mind you - 13 years has passed damn quick!! :up:

#143 jgm

jgm
  • Member

  • 194 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 29 November 2009 - 10:32

From what I've heard Jenks seems to have kept a comprehensive diary during his career. Is there any chance that selections might be published someday, or did he ban this in his will?

#144 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,405 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 30 November 2009 - 13:00

No, he did not. But publication is unlikely - to protect the innocent (in all senses)...

DCN

#145 bradbury west

bradbury west
  • Member

  • 4,600 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 30 November 2009 - 13:32

The more observant of you might notice that SCM seems to be sitting rather higher in the car than you recall in period. At the time, 1995, ISTR that SCM was recovering from a bad injury to one of his legs after he had been knocked off his motor-scooter, and as a consequence was sitting on an inflatable ring to ease the movement of his legs.
Roger Lund



#146 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,358 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 30 November 2009 - 13:43

The more observant of you might notice that SCM seems to be sitting rather higher in the car than you recall in period. At the time, 1995, ISTR that SCM was recovering from a bad injury to one of his legs after he had been knocked off his motor-scooter, and as a consequence was sitting on an inflatable ring to ease the movement of his legs.
Roger Lund

And there was me thinking he'd forgotten to pack the Preparation H .... ;)

#147 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,405 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 30 November 2009 - 17:51

SCM did, indeed, have one leg in a plaster cast that weekend. DSJ was very frail and unwell, but was determined to enjoy every moment in the car. Alan Henry rode shotgun on him, bringing him down from Crondall, and was a very attentive escort.

DCN

#148 Chezrome

Chezrome
  • Member

  • 1,218 posts
  • Joined: March 09

Posted 30 November 2009 - 18:06

However, should anyone agree with him, he will instantly change tack -adopt a different stance - and begin to argue in favour of what has happened. Facing DSJ in a debate was always like trying to catch smoke.

DCN


Thanks mr. Nye.

That is the most endearing thing I have read about DSJ or anyone on this boards. If only more people were like that (around here and around the globe).

Edited by Chezrome, 30 November 2009 - 18:06.


#149 anotherbob

anotherbob
  • New Member

  • 2 posts
  • Joined: November 09

Posted 30 November 2009 - 19:12

I'm a newcomer here, attracted by the reference to DSJ. My loft contains most of the 1959 -1974 Motor Sports which I read avidly as they appeared on the news stands (1974 was when I began to lose interest). His race reports were always my first stop, and Continental Notes my second. I believe that one of Jenks' greatest talents was to explain technical matters to us laymen. I often re-read my copy of A STORY OF FORMULA 1 which covers the era of racing which captured my imagination as a schoolboy, and Jenks explained it without patronising me or dismissing me. Few people can pursue an enthusiasm to the extent that he did and I am grateful to him for engaging my interest along his way.

#150 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,085 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 30 November 2009 - 20:22

Very well said...

Something for all journos to aim for.