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Colin Goodwin ponders the races he hit, those he missed, and wonders if contemporary motorsport might be more exciting than we realise…
Another working day that should have been a productive one wrecked by too much YouTubery. The usual stuff: a bit of vintage #CanAm racing, some #F1 and to wrap up a five-minute snippet of a documentary on the #1970 #BOAC 1000km at Brands Hatch.
Everyone knows that race, the epic drive by #Pedro-Rodriquez in a #Gulf-Porsche 917. I think the clip is from a documentary film made about the John Wyer-run and #Gulf -sponsored team and I have a feeling that I’ve seen the whole film, but that could be my ageing brain playing up. Sadly a brain that may be old, but not one installed in a body that was old enough in #1970 to take itself the 45 miles from my home in Woking to Brands Hatch to watch that epic race. My dad wasn’t interested in motor racing; he was into boxing, tennis, athletics and never drove a car in his life. He did take me to see the film Le Mans the next year, though, so he can be forgiven.
What I can’t forgive myself for is not going to watch more sports car races in the 1980s. What on earth was I thinking? I’d like to put forward the argument that the 1980s through to the early ‘90s was the golden era of sports car racing. Yes, the #Porsche-917 and #Ferrari-512 battles were amazing with fantastic drivers on mighty circuits in cars that were hugely challenging to drive on the limit but look at the depth of the field and the variety in the Group C period: There was #Porsche , of course, with its #Porsche-956 and then #Porsche-962 , Jaguar, Mercedes, Lancia, Nissan, Dome, Mazda and more; the #Mulsanne straight without the chicanes; #Jacky-Ickx , Bell and #Pescarolo – all legends from the years that I missed when I was in short trousers; and Brundle, Wallace, Dumfries and other younger talents at the top of their game.
I caught a few good races but I should have been to more of them. I guess you don’t realise that you’re going through a peachy period when you’re in it at the time. Well, I think we’re entering another one and this time I’m not going to make the same mistake. Reading Frankel’s report on Porsche’s magnificent performance at Le Mans in June has been a particularly strong wake up call that something wonderful is happening in sports car racing. Reading a nice long, well written and emotive feature backed up by excellent photographs is still an unbeatable medium. Many Tweets and blogs came my way after this year’s race but it was reading Andrew’s feature that brought the event to life. 140 characters in a Tweet can’t do that.
And there’s another reason why I’m revved up about the current scene. I’m beginning to think that we’re getting a bit too wrapped up in the past. I have a subscription to Motor Sport magazine and love (and am quite knowledgeable about) the machinery and personalities from the ‘60s and ‘70s but I have a feeling that supporting and enthusing about contemporary motor racing, if it is good, is important.
And another thing: I have had enough of the Gulf and #Steve-McQueen worship. If you own one of those fake Gulf racing jackets you’ll probably be spitting carpet tacks at this point but once I wore a No Fear t-shirt into the Autocar office and was quite rightly shot down by Steve Sutcliffe and Monkey Harris. I knew I had sinned and I repented before the onslaught from my peers.
Right then, June 18-19 have been blanked off in the 2016 diary. See you there perhaps. “You don’t realise that you’re going through a peachy period when you’re in it at the time”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.