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Photo: BRDC Archive
Photo: BRDC Archive
Photo: BRDC Archive

My greatest racecar is not a car I actually drove, but it represents a missed opportunity I had to get into Grand Prix racing in the 1960s. The Cooper Car Company, so famous in Formula One in the late 1950s and early 1960s for changing the shape of racing by putting the engine in the rear of their car, couldn’t raise a budget for me to race. We’re not talking of the multi-millions of pounds, or dollars, needed in today’s world. We were looking at £200,000. Yes, a great deal of money in those days. John Cooper himself gave me the opportunity to enter the pinnacle formula of our sport and I very nearly came up with the goods. I got £150,000 of the budget required, but just couldn’t get a penny more. So, my dream of competing with the very best at the highest level was gone, not only for that year, but forever. I appreciate all the problems the Cooper-Maserati had; the engine was very complicated and old, the chassis was far too heavy and generally the car was not that competitive. It represents, however, a goal in my motor racing career that I very nearly achieved. Perhaps, in hindsight, I should have taken the plunge. Who knows?

Motor racing has been my life and I’ve had some good, fun days both as a driver and later owner of my own BTTC Team Dynamics. Of course, seeing Matt (my son) developing his driving skills within the team, first becoming a race winner—the first privateer to win a BTCC race—and later becoming BTCC champion, have been particular high points. For me, as a racer, I suppose I became synonymous with Mini Coopers going wheel to wheel, rubbing paintwork and sometimes having a big moment with John “Smoking” Rhodes. We had some tremendous dices in the British Saloon Car Championship and other races too. I also had the opportunity of driving the ex-Rob Walker Lotus 18 in which Stirling Moss won the Monaco GP—what a fantastic car, especially on such narrow tires, it was an unbelievable experience for me. In endurance racing, I raced the Healeys with Richard Grove and I drove the Triumph Spitfire with Bill Bradley, we took the lap record at the Nürburgring in the 1.2-liter GT Class…then rolled it! I also competed in the Monte Carlo Rally—great days!

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