From the archive
This month we have three stunning images from the world of Classic Racer, two of which are from deep within our huge archive and the third having a much more recent flavour to it (but it’s still very much on topic).
CORNER: DRUIDS // YEAR: 1964 // TRACK: BRANDS HATCH // DEREK MINTER HOLDS OFF JOHN COOPER It was with good reason that Derek Minter was known as the original ‘King of Brands’. His prowess at the Kent circuit had coined him the unofficial title years before it was any sort of ‘recognised’ honour given out by the racing overseers. The reputation that Minter had for riding hard but fair came mostly on Manx Nortons tuned by either Ray Petty or Steve Lancefield. At other points in his career, Derek would contest Hondas, Morinis and Gileras, but it wasn’t really for the variety of machinery that Derek is most remembered. A hard-charging competitor – he was once described by Mike Hailwood as: “My toughest ever rival.” Minter’s skills weren't just confined to tarmac, he was a skilled trials rider too. Minter was a talented Isle of MANTT competitor also, becoming the first rider of a British singlecylinder bike to lapthe Island at over 100mph (on a Norton). He had a love/hate relationship with The Mountain Course though and at the age of 26 he took part in the 1958 Island event where he scored an incredible fourth in the Senior and ninth in the Junior, all funded with a £100 budget. In 1961 Derek was British Champion for a second time, only to better that in 1962 by taking the crown in the Senior, Junior and 250cc classes.that year also saw him win the Mallory Park 1000 Guineas Race of theyear before winning the 250cctt on a year-old, non-works Honda. His attitude to racing, the enjoyment and the application he had for it shone through and it seems a shame that the modern world doesn’t include Derek in the same breath as those he often bested. So it seems fitting for us to select this image from the Classic Racer archive which shows Minter tussling with great rival John ‘Mooneyes’ Cooper. Derek’s style didn’t stray away from the tidy, tucked-in technique where a wise placement of a right big toe would relay corner-angle information back to the racer’s brain. This great photograph by Nick Nicholls elegantly shows the different style between Minter and Mooneyes as they try their best to occupy the same bit of Kentish track.