The Eoin Young col­umn

Eoin Young is ar­guably New Zealand’s widest read writer – on any sub­ject. For more than 50 years he has been part of mo­tor rac­ing’s in­ner sanctum Pho­tos from the Terry Mar­shall Ar­chive

Classic Driver - - FEATURES -

RIP Bob Wal­lace

Bob Wal­lace was an­other of the back­ground Ki­wis in in­ter­na­tional mo­tor­sport, a quiet, lanky Auck­lan­der who helped Ray Stone fet­tle Johnny Mansell’s black 250F Maserati on the New Zealand cir­cuits in 1960 and then headed for Europe.

Bob died re­cently aged 75. Only the best seemed OK to Bob who signed on with Fer­rari and was work­ing on Phil Hill’s works F1 Fer­rari when he won the world ti­tle in 1961. He then worked on Camoradi’s light­weight Corvettes and Bird­cage Maser­atis. He worked for a time for both Maserati and Fer­rari but was al­ready name-enough to be head-hunted by Fer­ruc­cio Lam­borgh­ini when he set up his new fac­tory a few miles from Mo­dena.

Bob’s rep­u­ta­tion grew with the Lam­bos and he went from me­chanic to chief de­vel­op­ment en­gine and test driver, well-known for his all-night drives around Italy, safe in the knowl­edge that traf­fic would be lighter and there would be no sur­prise press cam­eras.

While Fer­rari and Maserati built cars to beat each other on the track and in the show­room, Bob Wal­lace was cre­at­ing su­per-ex­pen­sive ex­otic Lam­borgh­ini sport­ing cars of such in­di­vid­u­al­ity and char­ac­ter that they were lit­er­ally in a world and mar­ket of their own. In 1975 Bob left Lam­borgh­ini, lived for a few months back in New Zealand, long enough to be bored and then moved to the States, mak­ing his home in Phoenix, Ari­zona, where he passed away in Septem­ber last year.

The way Mark Web­ber tells it, he was his own worst en­emy. The Aussie press gave Web­ber a rous­ing send-off af­ter he drove his last Grand Prix be­fore switch­ing to Porsche for Le Mans and long-dis­tance rac­ing.

One of Web­ber’s prob­lems was that he was too tall to be a mod­ern GP racer in an era when school­boy-size Se­bas­tian Vet­tel made it eas­ier to fit into the strict weight limit of the mod­ern F1 car. Keep­ing his weight down was an end­less penance.

I’d never given driver heights much thought in the over­all pic­ture of a per­sonal per­for­mance pack­age but Michael Clark, my ace fact-finder and all-round rac­ing brain came up with a list of F1 six-foot­ers in­clud­ing Mike Parkes, Carel de Beau­fort, Dan Gur­ney, Ed­die Cheever, Ger­hard Berger, J-P Jabouille, James Hunt, Hans Stuck, Mike Hawthorn and Damon Hill.

Auto Ac­tion scored quotes from the Grand Prix grid and pad­dock that in­cluded the usual rack of care­fully neu­tral quotes but Web­ber’s team-mate Seb Vet­tel stepped up and said they may have been team mates but were never mates.

“Ob­vi­ously he (Mark) is quite a bit older than me, but you can ar­gue it is a dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion. It’s a fact that we are not best friends and prob­a­bly never will be…”

Derek Warwick, one of rac­ing’s gen­tle­men, thought Web­ber was one of the best guys in F1 but con­ceded that it must have been dif­fi­cult for him “be­cause he’s been in a team that has been so fo­cused on the other car that for him some­times it must have been quite de­mor­al­is­ing. But hey, he was in the best car…”

Nigel Roe­buck put it suc­cinctly and ac­cu­rately in “Mo­tor Sport” that, “He leaves F1 at the right time, on his own terms…”

Monaco Wins in Gold

In these days of 20 GPs per sea­son, a win has be­come more a means of keep­ing score than a life­time’s am­bi­tion but a win at Monaco is still a stand-out spe­cial. If you can win at Monaco you be­come a chap­ter in mo­tor sport­ing his­tory along with leg­ends like Tazio Nu­volari, Ru­dolf Carac­ci­ola and Juan Manuel Fan­gio.

From our part of the world, Jack Brab­ham (Cooper), Bruce McLaren (Cooper) and Denny Hulme (Brab­ham), all won once at Monaco. But Mark Web­ber won twice – 2010 and 2012 – in Red Bulls. Some­how win­ning the fa­mous race twice adds a huge plus to Web­ber’s ca­reer score of nine GP vic­to­ries.

It was 40 years ago this sea­son that For­mula One lost the hand­some, dash­ing Fran­cois Cev­ert when he crashed his Tyrrell in prac­tice for the 1973 U.S. GP at Watkins Glen.

In a trib­ute to Fran­cois, jour­nal­ist Adam Cooper points up some eerie co­in­ci­dences that Cev­ert pointed out to his me­chan­ics on the morn­ing of first prac­tice. It was Oc­to­ber 6 and he was driv­ing Tyrrell 006, his race num­ber was ‘6’ and his DFV Cos­worth V8 was num­bered 006. It was, he said, go­ing to be his lucky day.

It wasn’t. His­tory was turned upside down in more ways than the loss of the bril­liant French­man. The mo­tor rac­ing world wasn’t aware that Jackie Ste­wart had de­cided this Grand Prix at the Glen – his ca­reer 100th – would also be his last and Fran­cois had only just been told that he would be leading the team in 1974.

Fol­low­ing the fa­tal crash, Jackie made the de­ci­sion to with­draw and in so do­ing, ended his ca­reer as a mea­sure of re­spect to a young French­man whose talent and per­son­al­ity he had ad­mired.

Lucky num­bers in rac­ing so of­ten seem to lose their luck in crashes, as with Fran­cois Cev­ert. This sea­son driv­ers can nom­i­nate their own per­ma­nent num­ber from 2 to 99, No. 1 be­ing saved for the World Cham­pion dur­ing his ti­tle year.

I agree with Nigel Roe­buck when he writes to ap­plaud the num­bers de­ci­sion, and says he hopes this will mean the num­ber is car­ried clearly and not cam­ou­flaged with spon­sor lo­gos.

For years I’ve watched mid­field­ers bat­tling and won­der­ing who was who, with no clue of num­ber which must have been tucked away in the mid­dle of sprawled spon­sor­ship iden­ti­fi­ca­tion – and then de­cid­ing it prob­a­bly didn’t mat­ter any­way…

Fer­nando Alonso has stepped up and claimed No. 14, say­ing it had been his lucky num­ber since 1996. He was 14 on July 14 and he won the world kart ti­tle in kart No. 14. His team-mate Kimi Raikko­nen has cho­sen Stir­ling’s No. 7. I won­der if Sir Stir­ling sent him a go-for-it mes­sage of ap­proval? Nico Ros­berg has asked for num­bers 6, 5 or 9 in that or­der but he’d pre­fer No. 6 which was the num­ber his Dad, Keke, wore on his Wil­liams when he won the world ti­tle in 1982.

The Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries – 15 races in 5 weeks in New Zealand with driv­ers from 13 dif­fer­ent coun­tries this year – is be­ing used more and more by well-backed young in­ter­na­tional driv­ers ea­ger to gather track miles in the Euro­pean off-sea­son.

This year three-time world champ, Nel­son Pi­quet brought his 15 year old son Pe­dro in the ex­pen­sive whistling lux­ury of a Cessna Ci­ta­tion X ex­ec­u­tive jet but it was a flour­ish that quickly faded. Some­how Pe­dro’s Brazil­ian li­cence didn’t cover him rac­ing abroad. So how did he ever get clear­ance to run the first two races? There must have been red faces all round in or­gan­iser’s and Stew­ard’s of­fices when the mis­take was re­alised, and the mini Brazil­ian and his ex­pen­sive en­tourage dis­ap­peared as quickly and qui­etly as it had ar­rived…

How­den Gan­ley’s rac­ing rep­u­ta­tion re­fuses to shake the recog­ni­tion of the quiet Kiwi, the fourth New Zealand F1 driver on the rank af­ter Bruce, Denny and Chris.

He vis­ited his home­land for a few weeks in Jan­uary. How­den joined The Waikato Times on his 17th birth­day, raced his Mum’s Mor­ris Mi­nor, grad­u­ated to a Lo­tus Eleven, then took his big O.E. to the UK, start­ing mod­estly as a me­chanic and then driver in small teams in the UK, was signed on as a me­chanic for Bruce McLaren’s grow­ing team and this led to a drive in F5000 with a McLaren M10B fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the se­ries and get­ting a drive for BRM in 1971 and 1972, scored sec­ond at Le Mans with Ma­tra, switched to Wil­liams in F1 and John Wyer’s Gulf team in en­durance rac­ing.

He then linked with Aussie Tim Schenken to build smallbore rac­ing sports cars. They com­bined their names – Ti + Ga – and 400 of these Tiga (pro­nounced ‘Tiger’, How­den as­sures me) racers were built over nine years. “And that’s not count­ing spares for around 500 cars… which is where the profit is!”

The build to­tal of 400 was made up of around 60 For­mula Ford, 250 Sports 2000, 15 For­mula At­lantic, 33 Group C and IMSA cars (C2 and Lights), plus a cou­ple of CanAm cars, around 15 FF 2000s, some Thun­der­sports cars, For­mula K (for Mex­ico) and a few school cars.

The Tiga com­pany was based at Caver­sham in the old Amon and Fit­ti­paldi work­shops un­til 1982 and then moved to High Wy­combe un­til Tim and How­den sold out in 1987. There were projects linked with Vern Schup­pan and then How­den was elected to the board of the pres­ti­gious Bri­tish Rac­ing Driv­ers’ Club where he is still a Vice Pres­i­dent, also in­volved with Sil­ver­stone cir­cuits and now also the Pres­i­dent of the Grand Prix Driv­ers’ Club which had pre­vi­ously been the An­cien Pi­lote’s club.

For the past year or so How­den has been writ­ing his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy and it will be ready in time for the spe­cial Gan­ley com­mem­o­ra­tion events at Hamp­ton Downs next year. As al­ways the last – and the most dif­fi­cult – part of any au­to­bi­og­ra­phy is the ti­tle! And he still doesn’t have one…

Talk­ing about the good old days, How­den re­mem­bers hear­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle ar­rive and park out­side his of­fice, and go­ing out to see a lit­tle bearded chap climb­ing out of his weather gear. It was the fa­mous Mo­tor Sport writer, De­nis Jenk­in­son, who had met How­den on his way up his ca­reer lad­der and was in­ter­ested to find out about this par­al­lel world of rac­ing.

How­den Gan­ley and Michael Clark de­cided to re­call a piece of MY mo­tor rac­ing his­tory one morn­ing at the Christchurch Rua­puna track in Jan­uary. They were re-cre­at­ing the 1961 lunch that I had in­sisted Denny Hulme stop for on the first day I rode with him in his Mk 1 Zo­diac tow­ing his For­mula Ju­nior Cooper across France. Denny was al­ways im­pa­tient at the wheel, al­ways want­ing to press on.

It was my first day in France and I knew that lunch in France was one of the ca­sual de­lights of the trav­eller. I in­sisted that we stopped for me to hur­riedly buy a French bread stick, ham, cheese, toma­toes… and a bot­tle of wine and plas­tic glasses. It was when I fi­nally per­suaded the grumpy Denny to stop again in the coun­try­side and laid out our lunch that things started to go wrong. Ev­ery­thing looked per­fect… ex­cept for the fact that I’d for­got­ten a corkscrew and this was well be­fore screw-tops.

Pack up the in­stant meal, with a more-grumpy Hulme de­mand­ing to know how I thought we were go­ing to get a corkscrew if nei­ther of us could speak a word of French. I told him not to worry. It was ME do­ing the wor­ry­ing but my pan­tomime of work­ing a corkscrew for the old lady in the shop in the next vil­lage brought a big smile and she said, “Ah m’sieu, tierre bou­chon!” And they were my first words of French… and ones I’ve never for­got­ten and which have been MOST use­ful! How­den en­joyed hav­ing been able to re-cre­ate a small piece of per­sonal Kiwi mo­tor rac­ing his­tory…

How­den has now caught up with his other F1 Ki­wis, join­ing McLaren, Hulme and Amon on Mo­tor­sport New Zealand’s Wall of Fame. How­den has also been voted Pres­i­dent of the Grand Prix Driv­ers’ Club es­tab­lished in 1962 by nine for­mer GP driv­ers headed by Louis Ch­i­ron and Juan Man­ual Fan­gio.

When it turns up out of the blue half a century af­ter it was is­sued, an Or­di­nary Share Cer­tifi­cate is any­thing but or­di­nary! It’s part of mo­tor-sport­ing his­tory.

Two shares in McLaren Cars Limited val­ued at one thou­sand pounds and is­sued to Eoin Spence Young of 20 Corkran Road, Sur­biton in Sur­rey, not far from the orig­i­nal Cooper fac­tory.

This is Day One of Bruce McLaren’s new rac­ing team, dated 31st March, 1965. The cer­tifi­cate is signed by Bruce and me as founder di­rec­tors. It turned up in a long lost file of documents and cut­tings that I never thought I’d see again.

There was a let­ter from the Mo­tor Car Di­vi­sion of Rolls-Royce Limited in 1965 giv­ing me per­mis­sion to sell re­pro­duc­tions of the poster that artist Michael Turner and I cre­ated, as some­thing Bent­ley might have pro­duced in 1929 to cel­e­brate their suc­cess at Le Mans.

Mauro Forghieri – think­ing out­side the Fer­rari square

Chris Amon thinks back to his red cars days and says Mauro Forghieri was the best en­gi­neer he ever worked with. Mauro is 78 now, re­tired from the en­gi­neer­ing world he cre­ated at Fer­rari and now run­ning his own con­sul­tancy.

He was al­ways a thinker, al­ways ex­plor­ing ev­ery av­enue of al­ter­na­tive suc­cess, a sus­pi­cion that stemmed from the abil­ity of… a bum­ble­bee.

Imag­ine the acres of pa­per­work that would in­volve now… al­ways as­sum­ing you would have a prayer of be­ing able to pro­duce some­thing that was lit­er­ally pi­rat­ing a slice of Bent­ley Mo­tor’s sport­ing his­tory! I wrote what I imag­ined would be the equiv­a­lent of 1920s posh con­tent and pe­riod style.

On a dif­fer­ent tack was a let­ter of con­tract to man­age the spon­sor­ship con­tracts for Mike Hail­wood, signed by the leg­endary mo­tor­cy­cle world cham­pion ‘Mike the Bike’ and dated June 3, 1965. Must have been a busy year when I was a 26-year-old Kiwi in­vent­ing a busy slice of mo­tor-sports his­tory for my­self.

In a rare in­ter­view with Anthony Pea­cock in the Fe­bru­ary is­sue of F1 Rac­ing, Mauro says “One of the things that in­spired me was some­thing I read: ‘A bum­ble­bee knows noth­ing about the laws of aero­dy­nam­ics, and yet he still flies’. I’ve never for­got­ten that. In the­ory this is true, be­cause the mass of the bum­ble­bee com­pared to the sur­face area of its wings should make it tech­ni­cally in­ca­pable of flight. My thought was that if you ig­nored ev­ery pre­con­ceived prin­ci­ple of what should and shouldn’t work, the an­swer might just lie in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.”

Pea­cock points to Forghieri’s 312B he in­tro­duced for the 1974 sea­son. It was the first car that re­lied on body­work, rather than only wings, to gen­er­ate down force.

Mauro was the ideal en­gi­neer for Enzo Fer­rari to work with. I al­ways felt he worked with Fer­rari, not for him. Enzo rather en­joyed rid­ing roughshod over his work­ers.

Chris Amon en­joyed his time at the team with Forghieri. “He had this in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to make set-up changes from a driver’s de­scrip­tion of the car’s be­hav­iour. He was also a very good de­signer, both chas­sis and en­gine. On the per­sonal side he was a good mo­ti­va­tor; he also stood tall in some of the darker mo­ments, of which un­for­tu­nately there were a num­ber dur­ing my time on the team. I also found him to be a good friend and great com­pany.”

Cel­e­brat­ing the 2CV

If I had my cars all over again in­clud­ing Jaguars and sports cars, I think my favourite would be the 2CV Citroen. I was re­minded about the cheeky 2CV when Cully Barnaby, de­light­ful daugh­ter of Chief In­spec­tor Barnaby, mo­tors her 2CV through new TV episodes of Mid­somer Mur­ders.

You ei­ther love or hate a 2CV and the haters are nearly al­ways the folk who’ve never driven one. My ini­tial fas­ci­na­tion with the 2CV was at a 1960s Paris Mo­tor Show when they took a range of new mod­els to Montl­h­ery race track for us hero scribes to try them at speed.

The only car with­out a queue of prospec­tive driv­ers was a 2CV so I climbed aboard and won­dered why the Citroen chappy was go­ing to such lengths to show me how to change gear. As if I didn’t know.

What I didn’t know was how to feel my way round the quaint cog lay­out on the 2CV. He fi­nally showed me how to find first gear and I was away on to the track at healthy pace… un­til I changed to sec­ond and re­alised I had no idea where it was. So I rol­lled to a halt in neu­tral, at the end of the long pit­lane, and I had to walk all the wway back to my Citroen chappy for an­other gearshift les­son. I even­tu­ally con­quered the 2CV cog­box and it’s been a dod­dle ever since.

Timmy Mayer

Sad thanks to Aussie writer Peter Wind­sor for the re­minder that Fe­bru­ary 22 marked the 50th an­niver­sary of the Amer­i­can driver, Timmy Mayer’s fa­tal crash dur­ing prac­tice for the fi­nal race of the 1964 Tas­man se­ries on the flat-out road course at Long­ford in Tas­ma­nia.

He was 26 and all but an­nounced as the No. 2 driver to Bruce McLaren in the Cooper F1 team. Within days he would have been. He was a sweater and jeans, Amer­i­can col­lege kid of his era, tall, hand­some, ca­sual and blessed with a talent for smooth speed. He and Bruce were per­fect team-mates. The slim-line 2.5-litre Tas­man Cooper took off over a flat-out brow, some­how went slightly askew, slammed a track­side tree, and Timmy was dead. Bruce takes up the team re­cep­tion of the news in the col­umn I wrote with him for “Au­tosport”: “We knew im­me­di­ately that (the news) was bad, in our hearts we felt that he had been en­joy­ing him­self and ‘hav­ing a go’. The news that he died in­stantly was a hor­ri­ble shock to all of us. But who is to say that he had not seen more, done more and learned more in his 26 years than many people do in a life­time? It is tragic, par­tic­u­larly for those left. Plans half-made must now be for­got­ten and the hopes must be rekin­dled. With­out men like Tim, plans and hopes mean noth­ing.

“To do some­thing well is so worth­while that to die try­ing to do it bet­ter can­not be fool­hardy. It would be a waste of life to do noth­ing with one’s abil­ity. Life is mea­sured in terms of achieve­ment, not in years alone…”

We echoed those words in print when Bruce was killed in his test­ing crash at Good­wood on June 2, 1970.

If you want a car with dis­tinct looks, mod­est price, petrol mileage and match­ing per­for­mance, and a full-length sun-roof that turns it into a con­vert­ible and a car that ev­ery­one wanted to talk about. A mod­ern vin­tage. I want an­other one.

Bob Wal­lace at­tends to the Camoradi USA Maserati Tipo 61 Bird­cage

In a let­ter to Ray Stone, Au­gust 1960, Bob Wal­lace sketches his thoughts on the Maserati TEC MEC

Bob Wal­lace in his of­fice, c. 1966, road test­ing a Miura P400, some­where in Italy

Cham­pagne on the Monaco win­ner’s ros­trum

Mark Web­ber ready for track ac­tion

Fran­cois Cev­ert

Nel­son Pi­quet with son Pe­dro on the Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries grid at Tere­tonga

How­den Gan­ley and Gra­ham Hill at Le Mans

Denny Hulme in FJ Cooper at Caserta in 1961

How­den Gan­ley in Marlboro-BRM at Monaco

Chris Amon, Mauro Forghieri and Enzo Fer­rari

Orig­i­nal McLaren Cars share cer­tifi­cate

Rolls-Royce let­ter giv­ing per­mis­sion for ‘vin­tage’ Bent­ley poster

Tim Mayer with McLaren slim­line Cooper on 1964 Tas­man Se­ries

Eoin Young and Citroen 2CV

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.