JTR tests Dane WANT THE LATEST UPDATES? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
Comprehensive motorsport insurance products to keep you on track;
MSA Formula squad JTR ran Danish hot shoe Cato Poulsen for the first time at Donington Park last week. The 16-year-old is leading the Formula Gulf Championship and was previously a top 10 finisher in the Danish Formula Ford Championship.
When I started covering the F1 beat in 1998, it was something of a baptism of fire. Stepping from a British Touring Car Championship paddock in to the top flight would be a path later followed by Kimi Raikkonen, but as a journo, it was tough.
Other publications had large contingents of journos from various countries who would work in legion with each other. Motorsport News, as ever, was virtually left to fend for itself. It has always been that way, and it isn’t necessarily an unpleasant thing.
I was taken to my first race by the then-f1 editor Rob Aherne, and he introduced me around. One of the most important contacts he gave me that weekend was Alan Henry.
As a former editor of Motoring News, Henry, by then one of the longest-standing of the grandees of motorsport journalism, always had a paternal nurturing tendency towards anybody who had trodden the path through Motoring News’s former home, Standard House in central London. After all, Henry had been top dog of Motoring News from 1976 until 1979 before turning his hand to freelance.
Tales of that place and the struggles to survive, print a newspaper and continue a vaguely normal life have passed in to folklore.
As such, Henry knew what a struggle it would be for an MN staffer, even after the title had passed in to the hands of Haymarket.
And that meant he kept a very close eye on me to begin with, pointing me in the right direction and introducing me to the people I needed to be introduced to. He wasn’t there to unearth the stories or write the copy for me, but would forever be an arm around the shoulder and a point of call if I needed it. For that, I am grateful.
For someone who grew up reading Alan Henry’s words in the magazines and in the books that he wrote, just meeting him in the paddock was akin to meeting my heroes who were behind the wheel. And I was so appreciative of his kindness and genuine warmth towards me. That is why I was terribly sad to hear that he had passed away last weekend.
Henry was hugely respected on his own terms within the paddock by some of the sport’s greats – be they drivers, officials or team owners – as you can see by just looking around at some of the tributes that have already been paid to the man.
He deserves them all.