New Zealand Classic Car - - Motorsport Flashback -

Bri­tish Rac­ing Driver’s Club

In more re­cent years, How­den has or­ga­nized a lun­cheon for New Zealand–based mem­bers of the pres­ti­gious Bri­tish Rac­ing Driver’s Club — along with in­vited guests. Oc­ca­sion­ally vis­it­ing BRDC mem­bers have at­tended, most no­tably Da­mon Hill in 2013, here when his son was com­pet­ing in the Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries. A vis­it­ing BRDC mem­ber this year was Robs Lam­plough, the owner of the BRM P180 that fea­tures on the cover of — be­ing the very car How­den raced in the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix. Robs has lived one of those Boys Own–type lives, re­volv­ing around mo­tor rac­ing and his­toric air­craft. The 74-year-old has been rac­ing since the ’60s, and de­spite rac­ing pretty much ev­ery­thing (in the world’s first ever F5000 event he drove the very Lo­tus Jim Clark had used to win the 1966 US Grand Prix — ex­cept the H16 BRM had been re­placed by a 4.7-litre Ford V8) but in­sisted that he’d only ever been a “bit player.” The BRM wasn’t just here for show — Robs raced against the 5000s, and shows no sign of slow­ing down. A skilled avi­a­tor, he’s at­tended Warbirds over Wanaka many times, and af­ter the How­den Ganley Fes­ti­val at Hamp­ton Downs, headed back to the South Is­land to catch up with his old mate Sir Tim Wal­lis, the power be­hind the bi­en­nial Wanaka show.

An­other Euro­pean con­tem­po­rary of How­den’s to have made the trip to Hamp­ton Downs was Teddy Pilette. The diminu­tive Bel­gian first raced here in 1971, when pi­lot­ing the Mclaren M10B for Count Rudi van der Strat­ten — Team VDS. The Count was part of the Stella Ar­tois brew­ing fam­ily, and a fan of For­mula 5000. Teddy re­turned here in 1972, and again with Peter Gethin in 1974. That year, armed with Chevron B24s, Gethin be­came Tas­man cham­pion while his team­mate — ‘Tidy Pi­lot’ — was Euro­pean F5000 cham­pion in 1973 and 1975. De­spite all those years driv­ing the Count’s red 5000s, and clearly be­ing an en­thu­si­ast of New Zealand whites, Pilette claims to have never had a beer in his life.

The BRDC lunch is a smaller ver­sion of the type of re­u­nion of old driv­ers, me­chan­ics, fans and friends that Garry Ped­er­sen had en­vis­aged when he and Brian Lawrence de­vised the Friends and Leg­ends evening. A for­mer NZ Sports Car Cham­pion and top F5000 driver, Ped­er­sen had long wanted a chance to get his old bud­dies to­gether, other than a fu­neral be­ing the cause. Garry is an arch-en­thu­si­ast and, ably sup­ported by BL, took the fi­nan­cial risk of or­ga­niz­ing the venue and hop­ing the sup­port would come. It did, and I was de­lighted to be the MC for what is hoped to be a regular hap­pen­ing.

Peo­ple came from far and wide, in­clud­ing Leo Leonard from Ti­maru, 1974–’75 For­mula Ford cham­pion Grant Walker and Jim Richards from Vic­to­ria, and Jimmy Stone from Queens­land. It was an ab­so­lute who’s who of New Zealand mo­tor rac­ing, with over 200 peo­ple in at­ten­dance.

I bum­bled about the room, mi­cro­phone in hand, mov­ing from ta­ble to ta­ble with the in­tent of chat­ting briefly to var­i­ous fa­mous names. With one ex­cep­tion, I’d met all of my ‘vic­tims’ be­fore, but the odd man out was for­mer Mini and then Coca Cola–spon­sored HB Viva driver, Alan Boyle. Typ­i­cal of the New Zealand rac­ing driver he was pleas­ant, mod­est, and some­what sur­prised that his deeds from over four decades ago are still so warmly re­called.

Eoin’s Last Wish

The BRDC lunch pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for mostly open­wheeler driv­ers, and en­thu­si­asts, of years past to get to­gether. There is a rule that How­den im­poses which re­quires all present to stand for one minute and tell a story. His­tor­i­cally the or­der has been ‘re­verse al­pha­bet­i­cal’ — mean­ing we started with (Eoin) Young and fin­ished with (Chris) Amon. It was a poignant re­minder when the ‘one min­utes’ started that our old mate ESY was ab­sent, but to prove there is life af­ter death, the Eoin sto­ries flowed.

Over the week­end of the Skope Clas­sic at Rua­puna, Eoin’s ashes were spread by his wife San­dra and grand­son Al­fie, in ac­cor­dance with Eoin’s wishes — ‘a bit of me in front of the Bruce Stand and a bit of me in front of the Denny Stand.’

Jean-pierre Bel­toise

In early Jan­uary, the win­ner of the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix passed away — Jean-pierre Bel­toise was 77. Of all the driv­ers who won but a sin­gle world cham­pi­onship Grand Prix, his

Those present as Eoin Young’s ashes were scat­tered in­cluded, from left-to-right: Wal Will­mott, How­den Ganley, Peter Grant, San­dra Young, Al­fie Palmer, Michael Clark, Tony Hay­cock, Terry Mar­shall (photo cour­tesy Terry Mar­shall) Jean-pierre Bel­toise on his

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