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Aston Martin DBR1

Photo: Mike Jiggle

My brief motor racing career started somewhat by accident. In 1954 I purchase a secondhand Aston Martin DB2/4 from Brooklands of Bond Street; the car came with a one-year membership to the Aston Martin Owner’s Club. Reading the AMOC booklet I noticed there was a race meeting at Snetterton in two or three weeks time, so, I thought it would be a jolly good opportunity to go along and try the car out. At that time, I had absolutely no idea what would happen should the car begin to slide out of control and thought this may give me some insight of what to do. I attended the meeting and entered a few of the events, like the half-hour reliability trial. That was enough to spark my appetite for more, and this most unlikely of starts eventually led to my racing for the works Aston Martin team.

In the interim, I soon realized that an Aston DB2/4 was not a very good car for competition, and purchased a Lister-Bristol for the 1955 season. While this wasn’t too successful, it did get me noticed by George Abecassis of HWM. George was married to Angela Brown, who was the daughter of David Brown, who owned Aston Martin. I drove for George; I’m not sure if he recommended me to David or whether it was fortunate that the Astons noticed my performances for HWM. For whatever reason, I was given the opportunity to test drive for the Aston Martin team. The test was at Silverstone in a DB3S; I was very fortunate to be the one they selected to drive for them. It was not all to do with David Brown. I had to convince both John Wyer and Reg Parnell, who headed the team, that I was quick enough and consistent.

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