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Have you ever had an unexpected motorsport chat in daily life?

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#1 mariner

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 08:39

It has happened to me twice, once on Sunday so I wondered if other people have had their ordinary days brightened by an unexpected racing chat.


When I was a consultant a client group came to meet us and , of course, business cards were exchanged at the start. One card had the name Tojeiro on it and I mentioned to the woman that a well-known sports car designee had that name "yes" she said " John is my uncle".


On Sunday we went to Sywell, which I would thoroughly recommend, and shared a table out of the rain with a lady who was obviously Australian. I politely asked what brought her from Western Australia  to Sywell and her reply " my husband is running a car here - one of Alan Jones's Williams”? 


When she asked do you have a car I had to reply " yes but sadly not an F1 car"


I wonder if other TNF's have had similar unexpected chats?



#2 flatlandsman

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 08:49

Long time ago was on a dating site and started chatting to a young nurse.


Found out a little later on her name was Ramirez


I casually mentioned I watch racing and knew of a senior guy at McLaren named Jo,


Yes he is my Dad!


mic drop.  We never met sadly. 

#3 Gabrci

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 08:58

I'm really sorry to say that Jo Ramirez's daughter has sadly passed away since. 

#4 flatlandsman

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 09:39

Oh no, that is very very sad, she was a lovely person to talk to. 

#5 GreenMachine

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 09:42

Quite a few years ago, sitting at the lights in Canberra in my road/race MX5, windows down, and a voice says '2:59 - not bad for a little car' (a reference to my Bathurst time a friend had decelled onto the LF  front guard)  I look across and it is the driver of a BRG Aston Martin (DB7?), we exchange a few sentences about what a wonderful place it is to turn a lap or two at racing speed.  The lights change and he hammers off, giving me a great taste of the obviously modified exhaust!   :clap:  :cool:

#6 Michael Clark

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 10:12

There has been much discussion here in New Zealand over the last month since Liam Lawson became our tenth F1 driver. The level of interest is extraordinary from the most unlikely of people.


i suspect there has been more chat about Liam in four weeks that I've heard about our Indycar star in 20 years.

#7 Afterburner

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 12:42

Just this past weekend I was in a gift shop in a tiny coastal Florida town with my wife. I had brought my Chip Ganassi Racing hat on the trip and was carrying it through the store. One of the ladies who worked at the store recognized it and commented on it, which started a conversation—it turned out she was Linda Vaughn's personal assistant, and showed me dozens of pictures of her with Ms. Vaughn as well as Joe Gibbs, Chip Ganassi, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Allison, and assorted other American racing royalty.

#8 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 15:04

Early 2007 [I think], I went with my Mum to a funeral of a distant relative of ours. Funeral was in a village outside Penrith, Cumbria, UK. In the pub afterwards for the refreshments, I overheard a guy talking about Gerry Marshall's 600+ race wins, saying his son was getting on towards that total. Turns out the guy was local resident George Hadfield, father of historic racer Simon. George, a local resident [seemed all the villagers turn out for a fellow villager's funeral] was a former John Player Executive and was responsible for pairing them up with Lotus in the Gold Leaf & John Player Special days.... I was due to compete in a historic rally a few days or a week later, he wished me well.  

#9 ensign14

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 17:41

Back in 2008 I briefly worked with someone who was related to Geoff "RRA" Richardson (grandson/great-nephew or something).  He was amazed anyone had heard of Richardson and brought in a self-produced family history book with quite a bit of RRA info therein.

#10 Rob G

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 00:30

Years ago one of our clients sent us a project to produce, an Indy 500 proposal for Daniel Herrington, an Indy Lights driver who lived near me here in NASCAR country. I emailed the client and mentioned that I was a big IndyCar fan and had met Daniel at a race and spoke with him at several other races. He must have mentioned it to Daniel, because it was he and not the client who came to pick up the proposal so that we could chat for a few minutes.

#11 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 03:54

Dated a lady and found out she was the ex wife of a speedway competitor who I knew of. Turned out we both knew a lot of the same people.

Actually this has happened three times. Though one she recognised me and told me about my race career. A pity she was a little crazy.

50 years ago I met a young lady, friend of a friend, a few weeks later I met her mother and when I said my surname she asked do you know,,, my father. Big smile on her face.

Many years later I discovered that her and my father had a thing during WW2 and that her family was friends with my grandparents. Which when I put 2&2 together I knew of.

A lass that came for an interview for a job with me. Looked familiar then she told me her hobbies inc motorsport, especially speedway. Dressed up and made up did not quite look the same as jeans and hair tied back working on speedway sedans. Turned out to be a very good employee for several years.

#12 john aston

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 07:15

My elder sister's late father in law was , I discovered while giving him a  lift, a keen racer pre war in Bentleys , and also had owned one of the first XK120s . I had dismissed Cecil as somebody with whom I had nothing in common ... 


 I had a distant relative who my parents thought might have had something to do with racing . I only met Jimmy Somervail when he was an old man , but he was a joy to talk to , having owned and raced Cooper Bristol , ERA and D Type. 


But my best encounter was outside a pub in the Scottish Borders . I was there with friends who also had Caterham Sevens like mine. An elderly chap came over for a chat - he obviously knew exactly what the cars were. He would do , because his name was Ian Scott Watson ...   

Edited by john aston, 28 September 2023 - 06:09.

#13 flatlandsman

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 07:27

Worked in a place during Covid and worked with a really nice Swedish lady, her husband also came to work there and after chatting I found out he worked and drove trucks for Ove Fundin the multiple times speedway champion and he also met Joakm Bonnier!

#14 RCH

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 09:01

Back when I owned an Antiques Centre I had a charming but somewhat eccentric elderly lady as a customer. I had a model vintage Bentley on display. "My father used to race those at Brooklands" she said. Her father was Sir Ronald Gunter Bt. some time Bentley boy. 


My very good friend and sometime partner the late Antonia Royes-Kelly happened to mention her uncle one day. Australian motoring journalist and occasional Bathurst racer Mike Kable. 

#15 Charlieman

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 10:06

Last month when purchasing Richard Williams' splendid book on Stirling Moss, the shop assistant told me that she (plus chaperone) had once delivered £10,000 in cash to SM in payment for a racing helmet. SM was his charming self to the humble couriers, showing them some of his other souvenirs over a cup of tea.

#16 68targa

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 10:41

Many years ago I had been working with an assistant for nearly a year when I happened to mention, that I was going to Brands Hatch at the weekend. She said that Frank and Gloria were staying with her as they always did when in the UK.  Frank who ?  Oh Frank Gardner who's racing there. One of my favorite drivers. He later gave me one of his books suitably signed.

#17 Sterzo

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 10:43

1. 1966 or 67: as a fresh-faced (well, slightly spotty) civil servant, visited a Bayswater landlord about outstanding national insurance contributions for a young man. Wasn't clear whether he was the man's employer or friend, but it didn't matter as he offered to pay. I said to him: "Are you the John Riseley-Prichard?" and he told me the well-known story of having persuaded a reluctant Tony Brooks he really should go to Syracuse, and not miss the opportunity of driving for Connaught.*


2. 1967: same civil service job, visited a bed-sit on the top floor of a white-stuccoed Bayswater house. 5 minutes to sort out the work query, then I asked about the BRM pictures on the wall. The lady was Molly Wheeler, the original fanatical fan. She was clearly disgruntled about the side-lining of Peter Berthon and the increased influence of others, who I took to be Tony Rudd.


3. 1969 or 70: Had to share a table.for my egg and chips lunch in a cafe in Denmark Street (London's Tin Pan Alley). The stranger opposite saw my Autosport and asked how young James Hunt was doing. The guy had been James's boss in his infamous sales career, which he told me Hunt wasn't committed to, spending more time working on his Mini.


4. About 1991: watched the wonderful "Toyota F3" series at a Brands clubbie on Sunday. On Wednesday, turned up for a management training course held - where else? - at Brands Hatch Hotel. We went round the table introducing ourselves one by one. The winner of the race told us about his hobby. He'd cancelled a test session to attend the course, and now had to listen to the racing engines outside. I told them my hobby was watching him win Toyota F3 races, and we became firm friends.


*As a footnote, the only other racing driver's home I've visited was Chris Skeaping's. Don't judge me.

#18 dmj

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 13:35

As a teenager I made a bet with my best friend. We thought about famous Henry Ford quote: “when I see an Alfa Romeo pass by, I lift my hat” and decided to do just the same and count who will see more Alfas throughout the summer. Mind you, it was summer of 1986. in former Yugoslavia, so Alfa Romeos weren’t very common. In our hometown of Zagreb we would usually see less than ten per day. I hoped for a win, because I was about to stay longer at the seaside, with lots of Italian tourists coming to my island – but he cheated and convinced his parents to take him to a weekend trip to Italy, so he eventually won by a big margin!

Of course, we were teenagers and didn’t actually wear a hat – but we would make a movement with our right hand, mimicking the gesture of hat lifting. I took a bus to my island, looked though the window on the highway and did the gesture each time an Alfa Romeo passed. It didn’t go unnoticed by an elderly lady (at least she looked elderly to me, probably she was about the age I’m today) who was in the next seat and she asked me why I’m doing it. A bit ashamed, I told her, presuming that she didn’t know anything about cars or anything related…

Only to find out that she actually competed as a passenger in sidecar racing back in 1950s and that she spent a good part of her youth at races. Her brother was a speedway racer and died during a practice, sliding into a tree (apparently the only one anywhere near that speedway track). Actually I met her a few more times that summer but unfortunately never wrote down her or her brother’s name.

#19 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 16:09

I'll shorten up a long story here, but my wife is an artist and was invited to tour a local manufacturing business.  I did not go.  When she came home, she told me she met the company President, Steve Grundahl, who she said races at Road America.  So, I looked him and it turns out he owns, or has owned, a Brabham BT29, a Chevron B17, a competition prepared Porsche 911, an FE2, and a Lotus 51A.  I thiink there is also a Lola somewhere in there as well.  Next time, I'll go with her . . .


#20 tampaguy

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 18:10

I attended the first Miami GP back in the early 80’s, I believe it was 82, not a F1 but a IMSA sports car race. Anyway the clouds opened up shortly after the green flag with 6 inches or more completely flooding the track and red flags flew shortly afterwards. I have no words to describe exactly how much rain fell but the entire downtown area was flooded. The worst part was that there was practically no place to get cover. Looking around I noticed a circular structure in the middle of a park that folks were walking towards. I got in line only to determine it was a men’s room on one side and women on the other. I eventually got inside and out of the poring rain. As I made my way to the urial I noticed a small statued balding little guy doing his business. Getting a better look I was astonished to recognize him as Stirling Moss. As we both did our thing I mentioned that I would love his autograph. Stirling looked up, I’m 6’6, and said Gee chap can I sip up first ! Still have that race brochure and still get a chuckle remembering all those years ago.

#21 cpbell

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 20:36

Years back now, having joined my local family history research group with my mother (we're both interested in genealogy) an older lady was helping us locate various transcribed documents and happened to describe how her own research had been focused on a cousin of her father.  "He won the first Grand Prix in Monaco" or words to that effect.  Her expression when I said "Ah, Grover-Williams!" was something to behold.

Edited by cpbell, 27 September 2023 - 20:37.

#22 cpbell

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 20:46

Worked in a place during Covid and worked with a really nice Swedish lady, her husband also came to work there and after chatting I found out he worked and drove trucks for Ove Fundin the multiple times speedway champion and he also met Joakm Bonnier!

My parents both watched Fundin at the Firs!

#23 Revetts

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 08:53

Ove Fundin was my fathers favourite rider. Not too popular at Ipswich though! An exceptional rider who's races against local hero Peter Moore were always fantastic.

#24 flatlandsman

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 09:54

Well before my time sadly, but a truly fascinating guy in his late 70's who used to occasionally drive Ove over for meetings, and drove for a firm linked to him back in Sweden!


They also taught me how to say his name properly and Bonnier's as I can guarantee we all say it wrong!


Is is Bonn ee  uh not eee ay!

Edited by flatlandsman, 28 September 2023 - 09:55.

#25 Steve99

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:04

Some great stories here! Couple of bike racing ones from me, and both involving pubs (who'd have thought it?) Shortly after my father - George, a respected bike acing journalist back in the day - died I was in a pub in a village in Northumberland next to two blokes at the bar. I overheard them talking about 'George' and how he would be missed 'on the Island.' I waited a few minutes and asked politely if they were talking about George Turnbull? They looked a bit startled when having answered yes, I explained he was my father.  One of the men was Ian Bell, a  successful sidecar racer who until his tragic death on the IOM ran a bike dealership in Northumberland. We had a good evening chatting about dad and the other characters in the sport.


Having moved to Lincolnshire I was in my local and commented on a TT jacket that a patron was wearing. Turns out it was Steve Plater, and he's a regular. 

#26 kayemod

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:48

Some time in 2017, I spent an inexcusable sum on a new Alfa Romeo Giulia from Westover Sports Cars in Poole. The sales person was a pleasant young chap, and his name was Ben Aldington. The unusual surname immediately interested me, but I said nothing at first. We got to know each other better, and became quite friendly, as Alfa owners often do with their contacts at  dealerships, and one day I asked about his name. Ben was stunned, he told me that in all his years selling "interesting" new cars to mostly quite enthusiastic customers, he couldn't remember his name ever sparking interest before. He revealed that he was indeed a direct descendant of one of Britain's Porsche pioneers, great grandson I think. I gained a few additional points of appreciation by telling him that one of the first cars I drove was a Frazer Nash. Not one of the chain-drive classics though. In the nineteen sixties, My father bought a BMW 2000 Frazer Nash, though I don't recall that the car had much to differentiate it from a standard BMW 2000.  I don't think that many of this variant were ever sold, has anyone else on TNF ever owned or driven one?

#27 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 16:31

Back in 1979, I was a junior programmer for Granada in Bedford. I got a new boss that summer...OK, he was 3 levels above me in the hierarchy, his name John Quenby. We got on quite well. I left early 1981 to work elsewhere....towards the end of the 80s, I saw that a John Quenby had joined the MSA [as it was then] as CEO. Given it was an unusual name, I assumed it was the same guy. That Nov, I was on the Stop Line of the Wythop Stage of the RAC Rally.....among all the official vehicles coming through before the competitors was an FIA car....window wound down, we looked at each other, obviously I recognised him straightaway, he looked at me, saying I know you from somewhere....I explained I'd worked for him back in Bedford....to which he replied, ah yes, you had the Mini rally car [true]. So we chatted a while, then he said "well I'm supposed to check everything is set up OK here but as you're here it must be" and we bade farewell ! Saw him several times over the following few years, 1stly at Regional Association meetings then at the start of a Pirelli Classic Marathon at Tower Bridge, 1991 I think. I was there with my Dad, who was competing...John tried to introduce Dad to Tony Mason, not realising Dad & Tony were long time friends, both being members of Morecambe CC. Saw him at a Goodwood Revival Meeting about 10-12 years later.


Going back to Bedford....in the spring / summer 1980 there was a vintage car rally passing through, they had a TC at my workplace on a weekday. I think it was a tea/coffee halt. This was decades before the Flying Scotsman or 1000 Mile Trial, can't remember what event it was. Bedford Motor Club were running the TC, I said I could do the Control, so did.....I must have taken a 1/2 days' leave to do so, otherwise I don't think I could have got away with putting 3 - 4 hours Rally Marshalling on my work time sheet :wave: In hindsight, I wonder whether John arranged for the event to visit Granada HQ.


During my time at Granada, when John was there, I had no idea he was into motorsport  :evil:.....I wish I'd known 


RIP John 

Edited by Dick Dastardly, 28 September 2023 - 16:35.

#28 Gary Jarlson

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 02:19

Recently, while waiting for my turn at the barbershop in my little California beach town, the guy in the chair (someone I had never seen before) mentioned something about having trouble with Turn 9 at Willow Springs Raceway. Turns out he was driving a very early Lola S2000 (T492 or 496?) We started talking and I said it sounded like he was turning in too early and having to lift on the exit. I gave him my reference points on the track for doing the corner flat. We'll see. 

#29 john aston

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 06:22

Another memory triggered - it's 1987 , I have a promotion, and a new girlfriend (later upgraded to spouse ) - time to upgrade my car. I already had a  Fiat Uno but only a 70 SX . I found a Turbo ie (sic) in Harrogate , at the sort of used car place whose whose showroom is some tarmac and the office a Portakabin. Deal done with the nice, good looking  and well spoken guy in charge. His office has a picture of a Chevron F 3 car at Cadwell - I ask 'Are you Peter Hanson ?' And he was , and he is sadly no longer with us . Nor is the Uno I suspect - a great car , laugh out loud quick and we drove it to Imola that spring for the San Marino GP. 

#30 RCH

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 08:28

Not me this time but my former boss. Our offices at that time were in Edgware and we used to use a pub in Stanmore at lunch times. I was meeting my boss there one day and as I drove into the car park I saw Gerry Marshall come out and drive off. My boss said;  "you would have enjoyed the chat I just had about cars with the guy who's just left". He had no idea who Gerry Marshall was.

#31 B Squared

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 11:18

Everyday life, which for me at the time was collector car auctions within RM/Sotheby's. I was asked by my boss and friend to run Bobby Marshman's Epperly-Offenhauser (that started third and placed fifth at the 1962 Indianapolis 500) over the block. Prior to that, I was looking the car over closely and was surprised to see Jerry Forsythe doing the same. We talked about our common CART years, Bobby and the Epperly. I was more than thrilled when Mr. Forsythe had the winning bid to add this machine that is very close to my heart to his collection.




#32 FLB

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 14:02

A (then) new work collegue, from Colombia. Started chatting with other collegues about soccer (football), around the time of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He mentioned it wasn't really his thing. Another colleague asked what was... and the answer was 'F1'.


He's been to Imola and Barcelona. Had the hugest smile when we started talking about Montoya.

#33 Gary C

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 14:50

I have mentioned this before but maybe 6 years ago around that time I bought Graham Hill's autobiography in a charity shop, cost me £5. When I went to pay, the volunteer lady at the till immediately said, 'Ah, I remember Graham and Bette, we had fun with them.' I asked her who she meant when she said 'we'. She said that her fiance was a racing driver but he had had a fatal accident in Formula Junior. He was Chris Threlfall. She was impressed when I said I had heard of him. She then mentioned the Doghouse Club and Loti Irwin of this parish. She was even MORE impressed when I said I knew her. The end of the story was that when I got Graham's book home and opened it, it was autographed!
My thanks to Barry Boor for a little research to help jog my memory on this one!

#34 Henri Greuter

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 14:00

January 1999.

I was in Florida with a dear friend and we went to see the Mickyard 200 IRL race at Orlando and the Rolex24 at Daytona.


While at Orlando we also went to the different Disney theme parks, and among them: Epcot.

For dinner we went to the restaurant in the Canadian Part. We had a lovely young waitress who noticed my accent and less than fluent English so we got to talk about where my friend and I came from and the intentions of our trip. When we mentioned we were race fans she reacted with enthusiasm that she had a cousin who was racing and perhaps we may have heard of him. So we asked his name.


"Greg Moore, ever heard of him?"


After catchin our breath and getting more details that made it clear to us that we were not dealing with `another` driver of the same name we both mentioned that we definitely kenw who he was and that both of us were big fans of him due to his spectacular driving style and his abilities to get more out of a less than perfect car and that for us he was one of the biggest stars in racing.

Regrettably she did not know a manner how to get hold of him because both my friend and I were mighty eager to get his autograph one way or another.

It was a lovely time we had over there and the meal was also fantastic.


And sadly, before the year was over the chance to ever get hold of an autograph of Calley's cousin was gone forever...... :cry:


Some 19 years later I was in CA with two friends, one of them the same friend I had been with in FL in Jan. '99.

But when my travelling companions suggested to have a detour to visit that hexed, jinxed track, I turned down the suggestion and had to turn off my head when it was pointed out to me that over in the distance I could see the top of the grandstands.

Since 1996 I felt it to be scary to watch racing at that track but when 2K stared I did not watch any race at that dreaded location anymore and as far as I'm concerned I am OK with it disappearing in the original configuration as I can't get it out of my mind anymore.

#35 blackmme

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 18:07

Mine is very mundane.

About 20 years ago I was living in Dereham Norfolk (I was young and stupid at the time and I’ve now moved onto nearly old and stupid), I jumped out of my car one day (near Big Fry for any other locals) and standing beside me was Peter Collins.  
Completely surprised I initially asked him ‘What are you doing in Dereham?’ he patiently explained that he lived there. My next searching question was ‘How much of a **** is Flávio Briatore?’ I won’t relay what he said, but it was much longer than his first answer!  :rotfl:


I’m not surprised my career as incisive F1 journalist never really blossomed, but Peter was patient and very pleasant.


Regards Mike

#36 brucemoxon

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 07:02


I was picked up at the airport about a dozen years ago. Chatting with the driver, who 'used to race'. Oh yeah? Yeah. In fact, he drove at Bathurst and my father was the Team Manager (because someone had to be!


Drive home became much more entertaining that night.


It was Gerard Murphy, for the Aussies of a certain age. Drove Formula Vees, Formula Ford, small-bore touring cars, all with some success. 




#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 09:40

Two stories, both relating to my employment at the time...
As many here know, for over a quarter of a century I was engaged virtually every weekend in knocking on doors, asking people if I could interview them for the Morgan Gallup Poll and then spending varying amounts of time doing so.
One day I was working in a Northern suburb of Brisbane when I came upon a partially-complete house and was about to walk on by. Then I spotted a woman in the backyard and approached her, she told me they were living there in their garage out the back and that her husband would happily do the survey. Fortunately she was right.
As I asked the questions I noticed that their kitchen sink was atop a temporary cupboard and there was an interesting-looking old 4-cylinder engine beneath it. But I couldn't work out what sort of engine. I stared at it frequently, trying to work it out, my respondent noticed this and referred to my interest in the engine. I told him I knew it wasn't an MG engine (XPAG type) and he confirmed I was right there, and it wasn't a B-Series. "I'll give you a tip," he said, "it was made in Coventry."
That really didn't help me, it couldn't be a Jaguar and I had little notion of what cars made in Coventry might apply. He soon enough revealed it was a Singer engine and that he had raced a Singer in the days of Strathpine, Lowood and Southport. But he did much more than that, Jim Bertram was the proprietor of GP Cars in Brisbane and was renowned as a race car preparer, he was the kind of bloke I would have got to know well during my writing career, but he was scaling back at that time. And probably in the wrong state.
Always, of course, we could talk about friends we had in common, Glyn Scott and 'The Duke' (his faithful mechanic Norm Mellor), Leo Geoghegan and many more. In later years Jim has been a source of information for questions which have come up on this forum and his astute mind has always been ready to try and solve mechanical problems I've expressed to him.
And the engine? Well, it got used eventually...
The engine. Jim's 'retirement project' was to build a very special sports car around the 60+ year old Singer engine.
...in one of the nicest home-bodied sports cars ever created. I especially like the way he blended the Singer Gazelle grille into the nose of the car:
Starting with the grille. Jim's creation being admired by Max Stahl. In the background is a much more original Singer he's restored.
There have been others I've met in this way, I might think of some later. The only one I can recall at the moment was a man at Port Macquarie who'd been a keen racegoer in the sixties. He gave me a number of slides, which have been used long ago here.
My present work presented an opportunity too...
One of the priorities in the early days was to upgrade my licence from Level 1 to Level 2, this entitled me to escort many more types of wide load. To do this one has to complete a dozen jobs with their Level 1 licence and complete a course run by a private driving school in Brisbane. I intended getting this out of the way in April, 2021, and phoned to book in. I was told that these courses were usually held on a Monday and that the following two Mondays were Public Holidays. Anzac Day and May Day. But the woman did check and they arranged to put on a special course on the Wednesday in between.
I phoned up the day before and confirmed that everything was okay and enquired about parking. The man who answered the phone this time asked me to hold on to check that I was properly booked in. “Yes, you’re booked in, you’re the only one, so it will be okay if you come at 9am instead of 8:30!”
I duly arrived and we went through the formalities. Then he asked me, “Are you the Ray Bell who used to write for Racing Car News?” Darryl Cullen then told me about a lot of old friends we had in common, the rest of the day went very smoothly…

#38 brucemoxon

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 13:10

I duly arrived and we went through the formalities. Then he asked me, “Are you the Ray Bell who used to write for Racing Car News?” Darryl Cullen then told me about a lot of old friends we had in common, the rest of the day went very smoothly…


And Darryl's wife and my mother are friends. And Darryl's daughter Beth is a rallying friend of mine. Damn fine steerer she is, too. 


#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 10:29

I can't remember which one it was, but I think Frank Gardner...


He bought a new house on a canal estate in Surfers Paradise and then found out he was living next door to ace race mechanic Bruce Richardson.


But it might have been that Frank was there and Bruce moved in next door.


#40 B Squared

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 13:35

About 20 years ago, I was vacationing in Naples, Florida and hanging out with my late friend Danny. While at Chop's Steakhouse on 5th Avenue South having dinner and drinks, John Frasco (CART CEO and Chairman of the Board 1980-1988) sat down at the bar next to us. I worked CART during his time at the helm; I introduced myself and we proceeded to have a nice chat that evening and a few more as we seemed to frequent similar establishments.  

#41 marksixman

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 14:07

About eight years ago, when I was working part-time for a local Funeral Director as a bearer/driver, we went, on the day of the funeral, to a local family home to take the deceased on his last journey. The lovely family invited us all into the house while they said their private farewells, and the son of the deceased caught me admiring an oil painting of a vintage touring car on the wall in the hallway.


"It's a great painting, isn't it" he said. "Bet you don't know what it is 'though" !


"Well" I said, "it looks a lot like an LG45 Lagonda, exiting the Esses at Le Mans on it's way towards Tertre Rouge. But, from the advertising hoardings, not in period, probably an historic race or demo in the '80s or '90s". Turns out it was his late father, in a car he had owned for many years, but had been sold a few years ago, as his mother found it "a bit heavy on local trips" !


"...." he said, "You know your stuff. Dad would have loved that. I do hope you're driving him today". I was. 

#42 marksixman

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 16:43

Many years ago I had been working with an assistant for nearly a year when I happened to mention, that I was going to Brands Hatch at the weekend. She said that Frank and Gloria were staying with her as they always did when in the UK.  Frank who ?  Oh Frank Gardner who's racing there. One of my favorite drivers. He later gave me one of his books suitably signed.

I was honoured to work with Frank, when he drove Nigel Hulme's Cobra 39PH at the first Goodwood Revival. His attention to detail was dramatic ! Sadly the car didn't do too well as it lost a cooling hose during his opening stint in the TT race, but we got it repaired and did finish !

#43 Clyde Peffar

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Posted 03 October 2023 - 13:12

Many years ago my Father was invited to Dicksons of Perth for a Lotus do,I think Dicksons might just have become the Scottish dealer, my memory of the evening has Colin Chapman and Tommy Dickson and a Lotus F1 car from that season.On display were an Elan and maybe an Elite.Being the only youngster there I was asked if I would like to sit in the Elan which I didn't need to be asked twice to do.I got in the passenger side and shut the door, the drivers door opened in in got a person who needed no introduction to a small racing mad boy.None other than Scotlands world champion Jim Clark.He shut the drivers door and asked me about myself and school and motor racing. That someone of his stature would bother to spend time talking to a youngster has stuck with me all my life. We were photographed in the car and although I've tried I never managed to get a print. I followed his career even more intently after that evening.


A little postscript was many years later I was at Le Mans and was talking to a team managerwhen a small boy approach two drivers, the first waved the child away in a snappy way and the second driver took the little lads book and signed it and had a little chat to him.The driver who showed a little bit of kindness to a child was Brian Redman. I often thought about the two events and wondered if that second small boy remembers .

#44 Gary Davies

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 11:10

This was delightful and unexpected. On May the 1st 2015, a group of like minded folk, mostly with grey hair, assembled at a McLaren Vale winery to celebrate the 60th anniversary of a sports car race on the public roads of Italy. A local historian presented a most informative description of the event and there was an immaculate Gullwing and the historian’s very nice 300/6 Healey as backdrops. We then repaired to the restaurant for lunch. Very shortly after taking my place at the table, two gents occupied the seats next to my companion and me. The nearest turned to me and, offering his hand, introduced himself as Larry Perkins. His companion, btw, was Vern Schuppan. Seizing the moment, I immediately asked Larry to tell us about his time with the Stanley Steamers. Well… Larry’s face lit up. He very politely explained that when meeting we Great Unwashed, the normal course of the conversation tended to centre around Castrol Holden Commodores. So he was highly effusive about our area of interest and we learnt a lot. All of it, I might say, with due courtesy and discretion. From things I have read about the final years of BRM, I gain the impression that he might have had every reason to be rather less than discrete. Larry was among the most decent, likeable and amusing people I have ever met. Quite charming and all the more so considering that we’d only just met. Methinks it was our showing little interest in the V8 taxis that piqued his interest.

#45 Garsted

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 10:48

I think it was 1966 when I would have been 15 that I went on holiday with my parents to Lucerne in Switzerland. At the hotel my folks got chatting to a very nice couple from the North of England. It turned out that their daughter was engaged to be married to Alan Rollinson the driver, and that the gentleman was Bernard Lewis who also sponsored a car (in F3?).
Naturally I was agog to hear about racing from the inside, having been keen on racing for some years already. The only tale I can recall now was of an acquaintance of his who had taken their Lola T70 to Ireland for a race. Practice was a day or two before the actual race, and had not gone well, so they went back to the garage where they were lodging to try and sort it out. Deciding it needed a test before race day the risked taking it for a blast around the public roads. On returning to the garage they were followed shortly after by the local constabulary. Much to their relief the only police enquiry was "so is it going to be OK for the race?"
The weekend after our holiday ended Mr Lewis was at our local track Brands Hatch where Alan Rollinson was driving ( a pale blue Brabham IIRC), so we went along and Mr Lewis gave us paddock passes. A lovely man.
Can any readers give me a bit more information on who he helped sponsor, and in what categories?


#46 fyrth

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 19:58

Answering the last post I should also comment how interesting this thread although sadly I cannot contribute. That said, Bernard Lewis was related to Alan Rollinson and a businessman in Birmingham, who later was associated with Mo Nunn when he started his Ensign project, as reflected in the car number LN3... - Lewis Nunn 3. Ensigns competed in F3 during 1970-1973 and Mo Nunn moved onto F1 with funding from from Rikki Opel. Opel drove a works Iberia sponsored Ensign F3 in 1972 with some success.