Re­mem­ber this kid?

Classic Driver - - HOLMAN -

“Hamil­ton redhead Jim Palmer, who has been rac­ing since he was 16, cel­e­brated his 21st birth­day by fin­ish­ing third in the New Zealand Grand Prix and rounded off the sea­son with an easy Wai­mate 50 win. With an im­pos­ing record in sports and sin­gle­seat cars, he is al­ready one of New Zealand’s finest driv­ers.”

That was Peter Greenslade writ­ing in the first edi­tion of The Shell Book of NZ Mo­tor Rac­ing in 1963. By the sheer­est of co­in­ci­dences an­other redhead, David Young, was in an­other photo on the same page. David had raced a su­perb 1950s C-Type Jaguar sports-racer be­fore all us young blokes got to­gether and boarded the good ship Ruahine in 1961 for the voy­age to the UK and a new life for all of us, in one way and an­other. We’re all now in our 70s so it seems like a long time since we started do­ing some­thing as un­likely as mo­tor rac­ing!

Wally Will­mott, an­other of our orig­i­nal Ti­maru gang, joined us in the UK in the early six­ties and would be­come one of Bruce McLaren’s first me­chan­ics. These days Wal lives in far-south In­ver­cargill but is back in the rac­ing game and thor­oughly en­joy­ing his time fet­tling Jamie Con­roy’s car to dom­i­nate For­mula Ford rac­ing in New Zealand this past sea­son. Wal and the late su­per-en­thu­si­ast Ge­orge Begg worked to­gether from their In­ver­cargill base and made a pact that they would find a young driver and give him a help­ing hand up the lad­der in his mo­tor rac­ing ca­reer as a way of putting some­thing back into a sport that had been so good to both of them.

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