Com­pre­hen­sive mo­tor­sport in­sur­ance prod­ucts to keep you on track;

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

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.

Alan Henry (l), Niki Lauda and Clay Regaz­zoni

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