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Mike Hawthorn Memorial site


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#1 Mal9444

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 20:10

I always hesitate to attempt to bring anything to anyone's attention on this forum for fear (usually well founded) of being told that my 'news' is very old hat, and that I should either wake up and pay attention, or shut up and get back in my box.

However...

... I had not, until this evening, come across this site before:

www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk

which describes itself as a tribute site to JMH, and which although it does not appear to offer much that is new still rewards a browse.

OK - who's going to be first to shoot me?

Is it new - or old hat?

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#2 RTH

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 20:24

I have not seen it before and that is a REALLY nice site with a whole raft of youtube Hawthorn films plus really all you could wish to find out :up:

#3 Erik330

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 21:30

Very nice site. Best explanation of his crash that I've ever seen. I went by the spot last December without realizing it until seeing the website.

#4 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 23:24

An Exceptionally good site. What was the illness Mike had which had prevented him from doing National Service? Could it be true that he hadn't got long to live anyway?

#5 RA Historian

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 00:42

Originally posted by Paul Rochdale
What was the illness Mike had which had prevented him from doing National Service? Could it be true that he hadn't got long to live anyway?


I read "Mon Ami Mate" several years ago, and as I recall it is mentioned in the book that Mike had a serious kidney (?) ailment that was limiting his life span. The impression I got was that he did not have terribly long to live.

#6 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 08:07

Never seen , very interesting , many good pics and info , thanks.

#7 Gary Davies

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:01

Thank you, Malcolm. A most interesting website. I know too little about Mike Hawthorn and shudder whenever I check the bookseller websites for the latest price of s/h copies of Mon ami mate.

#8 Mal9444

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:29

I bit the bullet a while ago on Mon Ami Mate and have not regretted the expense. Don't forget you're getting two books for the price of one (OK - the price of two!) - but it is a facinating read, full of detail, and is no hagiography. I drive the Guilford by-pass several times a year and have often tried to work out where the crash occurred. The Google Earth shots on this site at least tell me I was looking on the wrong side of the road - or at least on the wrong carriageway. Coming down the hill, one is on a new road: it is going up the hill (in the opposite direction to that in which Mike and Rob Walker were travelling) that one passes closest to the spot and might pay one's respects, although I think that bit of road is a clearway, and one may not stop.

#9 Paul Parker

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 10:05

According to my father who had known Roy Salvadori many years ago, MH had an incurable kidney disease.

Of course in those days without dialysis and latter day drugs kidney disease was nearly always terminal eventually anyway. Additionally according to Chris Nixon MH was more than fond of the odd beer and a contemporary told me a few years ago that he did drink substantial amounts of ale. This source also told me that Hawthorn preferred flying to racing cars.

There is no denying Hawthorn's pallor and the aforementioned kidney problems are mentioned in his original ghosted biography 'Challenge Me the Race' (p130) where he states that he had suffered intermittent pain in his back since the age of 17. He mentioned this to his doctor who was overseeing his recovery from nasty leg burns from a crash in Syracuse, who sent him to a specialist who diagnosed kidney problems. This was late 1954.

This was all caught up in the controversy about Hawthorn's national service and is well worth reading if only to see the predictably politically biased and bigoted official attitudes to his situation because he was a racing driver.

#10 Sharman

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 10:42

JMH must surely have become due for National Service prior to 1954, therefore his kidney condition which was the reason given for his none induction must have been diagnosed well before that date.

#11 Paul Parker

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 12:39

I seem to recall that you could defer national service up to a point but in this case MH's condition would have been an automatic failure anyway. Others also avoided the problem by the simple device of not being here at the time, one famous name went to live in Paris whilst another was diagnosed with a medical condition that also was a let out.

Reverting to Hawthorn it is possible to read between the lines, not only with the benefit of hindsight, that his subsequent premature retirement (he was only 29) was surely a lot to to do with his worsening medical problems. Even allowing for the emotional traumas that attended his career and the death of 'mon ami mate' in the 1958 German GP his decision seems otherwise quite unusual at such an early age. In his book 'Champion Year' he cites personal reasons, claiming to be an amateur and having a business to run (TT Garages) and not feeling the same about motor racing after the death of Collins.

Even so and above all that, including the ever present threat of death, I believe he was gradually deteriorating and could no longer manage the physical demands of GP and long distance sports car racing. The last two sentences in the book discussing his decision to retire are telling and sound like a 40 year old not a man barely out of his third decade who in normal circumstances could expect to remain at his peak for considerably longer, thus:

"There will, no doubt, be moments when I shall regret it and wish I were out there on the grid waiting for the flag tofall; but I shall get over it by reminding myself that it is much better to stop at the top.

"Why have you retired?" is so much nicer a question than "Why don't you retire?"

I think he knew he was running out of time and if memory serves me Nixon does quote a doctor in 'Mon Ami Mate' who stated that he would have died within 2 years or so. Whatever his story and that of his friend does have an element of Greek tragedy about it, so very different from latter day 'heroes'.

#12 Sharman

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 13:59

I think (only think) that the only reason for deferral concerned full time education. I elected to do NS before college and my step brother who was only 6 months younger than me went to 'Tech and by dint of retaking a failed year missed it altogether. :mad:

#13 Allan Lupton

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 14:48

Originally posted by Sharman
I think (only think) that the only reason for deferral concerned full time education. I elected to do NS before college and my step brother who was only 6 months younger than me went to 'Tech and by dint of retaking a failed year missed it altogether. :mad:


I'm sure that's not quite right: I and others who went into engineering were deferred, and I expect JMH was deferred similarly, as he was apprenticed to Dennis Bros, and went to Guildford Tech. but that would only have lasted until, say 1950. It may have been that employment by TT Garage counted for additional deferment.
Some of my friends who were not in the least military could not get deferment and had to do National Service before university, so it wasn't just any full-time education.
My own initial deferment lasted long enough that they had finished National Service before it ran out: five years de Havilland apprenticeship/Hatfield Tech. was enough, but continuing to work at deH would have done it anyway.

#14 Sharman

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 17:47

I am sure that an indentured apprenticeship counted as full time education. I was asked did I want to apply for deferment but thought I'd rather get it over with. As I was not due out until the October I asked for early release so that I could start at college in Sept, and got it. They also tried to persuade me to sign on instead and would have sent me to college if I had done, after 2 years I just wanted to be a civilian again.

#15 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 08:10

Malcolm

The next time you are in the area, I suggest a visit to the Tourist Trophy Garage, which at my last visit was a TVR dealership, in Farnham. They had a glass case in the show room filled with MH memorabilia. To answer your question, there was a framed copy of a daily newspaper of the time announcing the crash with an aerial view of the stretch of road and the exact route of the out of control Jaguar.

Paul

#16 Jager

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 13:22

Thanks for the link to a great website. It reminded me of the the two boys books by Mike Hawthorn I picked up on eBay a few years back - "Carlotti Joins the Team" and "Carlotti Takes the Wheel".

Did Mike really write them, or were they ghost written by somebody else and Mike just added his name ?

#17 flat-16

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 22:16

It should be noted that this rather splendid website is evolving all the time, even to the point where it acknowledges the members here in its pages

It really is about time someone set up a site like this and I think a great job is being done – keep up the good work!

Incidentally, I have my own slightly tenuous connection with Mike Hawthorn

MAM is truly a worthwhile read, in keeping with the majority of Nixon’s work – well worth it, even at the price.

Although I can only speculate as I wasn’t even born in Hawthorn’s time, my suspicion would be that Mike was a product of his era and - as such - wasn’t one to publicly bemoan health ailments. With this in mind, I would be inclined to attach a degree of credence to the sentiment expressed by Paul Parker; Mike may well have wanted to retire with the minimum of fuss and I doubt the sympathy of others would have appealed to him.

Justin

#18 tonyb

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 16:25

Hi all from the Mike Hawthorn Tribute Site!

Firstly we have to thank all of you who made such kind comments about the site over the past few weeks. It took some three months to get to a stage where we felt it could go live with enough permissions to publish - and we've been very encouraged by the level of access every day since. No one involved had any idea how popular it would be but the results are well worth the effort. Quite a few people are involved with the idea and all freely gave their time and resources. Many others have come forward since with images and memories for us.

For the record, The Tourist Trophy Garage is no more and hasn't been for some time. I visited it last month with camera (see the page on our site for images). Just about the only surviving visual reference is the inside of the original hop kiln on the far right (all painted white inside and now a wine store), plus the rest of that building that was a workshop but is now a tool shop. The Duke of Cambridge has been a Thai Restaurant for some years.

Hawthorn's (up near Farnham station now and no longer a specialised TVR dealer) still has about a dozen wall mounted framed images in their main showroom plus the newspaper mentioned in a post here and shown on our TT Garage page - but the memorabilia has all been returned to its owners. They were very helpful with access to what they did have and I'm hoping that some more information and objects will be available soon.

Updates are a bit slow at the moment - due to wrapping my XKR round a lamp post on the A23 a few weeks back! Fortunately I walked away but my back is giving me grief still when sitting. There is a lot more very interesting info to come so please bear with us. You might be interested to know that a plaque for Mike is being unveiled at last in Mexborough tomorrow (15th Dec) - Jean Howarth (as she was in 1959 being Mike's fiancee when he died) will be there.

We also have contact with a former Tourist Trophy Garage employee who worked there from 1950 - 1954! He has a lot of memories of Mike and an album so should prove very interesting...

Anyone who wants to contribute to the site with memories or images, please do so (use the contact page on the site initially).

Thanks again.

Tony
http://www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk/

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 19:35

Tony - nice job. Please find the message I have just sent you on your Hawthorn site. But by the way - cemetery does not have an 'a' in it. Don't worry, from what I've been told JMH wouldn't have noticed.

DCN

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#20 Mal9444

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 21:09

I was intrigued to learn from this site - or this forum, I can't now remember which - that Jean Haworth became the partner and eventually wife of Innes Ireland. I'm a sucker for romance, especially when it has a happy ending. Is the story public, or private?

#21 tonyb

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:17

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Tony - nice job. Please find the message I have just sent you on your Hawthorn site. But by the way - cemetery does not have an 'a' in it. Don't worry, from what I've been told JMH wouldn't have noticed.

DCN


Thanks Doug and great to hear from you! The spelling (all 13 instances!) is now correct. I have, of course, to blame my spell checker that had acquired it with an 'a' as the correct spelling...

I've mailed you privately and thanks for the offer.

Originally posted by Mal9444
I was intrigued to learn from this site - or this forum, I can't now remember which - that Jean Haworth became the partner and eventually wife of Innes Ireland. I'm a sucker for romance, especially when it has a happy ending. Is the story public, or private?


It's public AFAIK and somewhere I have some more info so I'll check.

BTW I mentioned that the Mexborough marble plaque unveiling was today - it's in fact tomorrow 16th at around midday - there's a news item on the site home page now detailing what is happening at the event.

I've also heard this morning from the Guernsey Philatelic Bureau that they propose be featuring a set of stamps in the New Year covering F1 World Champions - the first stamp will of course be for Mike in 1958.

Tony
http://www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk/

#22 Mal9444

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:43

I revive this thread becuase tonyb has very kindly sent to me privately a CD of the excellent video material on JMH available here - and I commend the site to anyone who hasn't visited it recently. Updates appear continually.

Watching the video, I was intrigued by this clip http://www.britishpa...rd.php?id=39422 of the '55 le Mans. Take a look and spot the deliberate (?) error, round about 1:17 in the movie.

Why would this be? Simple technical error or some sort of (by our present standards) misplaced desire to cloud the issue or horror of what happened?

Edited by Mal9444, 30 August 2009 - 08:51.


#23 tonyb

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 11:43

I revive this thread becuase tonyb has very kindly sent to me privately a CD of the excellent video material on JMH available here - and I commend the site to anyone who hasn't visited it recently. Updates appear continually.

Watching the video, I was intrigued by this clip http://www.britishpa...rd.php?id=39422 of the '55 le Mans. Take a look and spot the deliberate (?) error, round about 1:17 in the movie.

Why would this be? Simple technical error or some sort of (by our present standards) misplaced desire to cloud the issue or horror of what happened?

Glad you enjoyed the CD/DVDs. It looks like a technical error and has been corrected in other versions of the film that use that particular sequence.

I was intrigued to learn from this site - or this forum, I can't now remember which - that Jean Howarth became the partner and eventually wife of Innes Ireland. I'm a sucker for romance, especially when it has a happy ending. Is the story public, or private?

Seems I never replied to this from nearly three years ago :blush: - Jean Howarth did marry Innes just before he died in the early 1990s. It's all covered in detail in the Golden Boy book where Jean has a chapter to herself after she kindly allowed an interview. Subsequently, she has attended various related events and will be at the Goodwood Revival this year, hopefully around the Tourist Trophy Garage set at some point if anyone wants a book signature. We'll have the book available (revised edition with additions and some changes/corrections) at a very good price if anyone wants a copy - there should be a lot of people there who contributed to it and knew Mike, including mechanics from the garage in the 50s, if you want a chat.

Back in the 50s, you can easily see why Jean received many modeling assignments!

Posted Image

The dog is 'Ferrari' - Mike gave this to Jean as a present at the same time he bought Grogger (the first one, he later ran it over accidentally and got another)..

Edited by tonyb, 30 August 2009 - 20:06.