Collins scored his first Grand Prix win with the Scuderia Ferrari Lancia D50 at Spa in 1956, hounding teammate Fangio until his gearbox broke.
Motor sport anniversaries and centenaries seem to have filled the calendar in the last few years, and as our sport continues to get older, there will be many more. 50 Years of Lister Jaguar to 60 Years of Lotus, everyone gets a celebration or at least a tribute these days. The 50th anniversary of the fatal accident to Mike Hawthorn was marked just recently with a parade of relevant cars and people.
The Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb in the slightly remote part of the county of Worcestershire in England was the site of a rather remarkable gathering in August 2008. The Midland Automobile Club runs events at Shelsley and has done so for many decades. Shelsley is not very far from the town of Kidderminster where Peter Collins was born and raised and where his family played a significant part in the community’s life and business. Peter’s parents, Pat and Elaine, were themselves regular rally competitors before the war, and Peter did his first competition event with his father in a local rally when he was still only 15. Pat Collins wanted to race himself but didn’t manage to find time to do it, so was the first and primary supporter of his son’s ambition to be a racing driver. In 1949, Pat Collins bought a Cooper-JAP 500-cc F3 car for his son. The first several weeks of ownership were spent not only sorting the car, but learning to drive it. Peter Collins was just 17 and had no competition driving experience. Such was the family support that both his father and his mother drove the Cooper on a local airfield before it was entered for any events.
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