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1956 Oulton Park, Trimble in the C type Jaguar at the Daily Express International Trophy. Photo: Max Trimble Archive

My first race was a small event at a BARC Goodwood Members Meeting, at the wheel of my Jowett Jupiter. Although my father enjoyed cars, there was no history of anyone in my family competing, so I was on new territory and learned as I went along from personal mistakes and experiences. I’d learn from the more experienced drivers and follow their racing lines during both practice and the races. The motor racing scene, at that time, was a great social atmosphere and experience, too. Although we were all serious competitors on track, once the racing was finished, we were in the main, good friends. My joining the Hagley & District Light Car Club enhanced the social side of things and I would regularly compete in anything they were running at the time—it was my home club, of which I’m now an Honorary Vice President.

Shortly after my debut, it became evident the Jowett wasn’t up to the racing standards required to be successful. It was a heavy road-going car not built for the track. My next car was an Austin Healey 100, the “M” spec car that I purchased from Ashmore’s Garage—that would be Gerald Ashmore’s father Fred. Gerald competed in three F1 races with a Lotus 18 at Aintree, Nürburgring and Monza in the early 1960s. I did a whole year’s racing with the Healey, entering events most weekends. I modified the car, hoping for just that little bit extra in the way of power and acceleration. While racing I met a man called Berwyn Baxter, who sadly died about ten years ago. He was a great competitor racing all sorts of machinery including a supercharged Dellow and a Vanguard Special in sprint events, the ex-Bond Williams Aston Martin Speed Model, a Bristol/BMW Special and a C-Type Jaguar once owned and raced by Sir James Scott Douglas—part of the Ecurie Ecosse team. He asked me if I’d like to join him and compete in the 1955 Tourist Trophy race at Dundrod in his Keift sportscar—it had an Austin 1490-cc engine. We were among major players with works teams from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin and Porsche, with drivers including Fangio, Kling, Moss, von Tripps, Hawthorn and the like. We managed to finish the race—not bad given our car and our meager budget. Completing the race meant I could apply to become a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers Club. At that time, the qualification for full membership as a racer included competing and finishing in an international long distance event, as well as other racing.

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