The Historic Masters has come round again without it feeling particularly summery and despite not needing thermals it was a bit chilly, unlike the BTCC opener at the start of the season which was positively Siberian. We all met up at the Moat at Wrotham as usual, where a curious triangle of circumstance unfolded involving our club Chair Person – John Third, His rear end and a lamp post… but more of that later.
Attending members were Craig Archer, Jeff Kaby, Chris Francis in his 4C and who will be doing the official photography at the signature AROCKES event at Hever on the 15th of June. Then we had Giovanni who now has a bit of a rival with how much of a restaurant a member can fit into the rear of a classic Alfa in the form of Willie Clapperton. We also had Don Gilks, Michael Westwood, John Court, Adrian in his GTV 916, Alistair Nash and his father, Terry Seal who arrived with John Day, Mark Rayss, Stuart Marsh, Di and Steve Lennox, Richard D’Cruz, Peter Boarer in the Montreal, Phil Davis, Jack Hodson, Ken McKay, John Third – our Chair Person, Colin Craven, myself, Dionisis Gonoz, Nick Koleszar in a rather lovely 147, David King – who we met at Crystal palace the next day, Doug Field, David Norman – ever sublime as always, John Dray and Ollie Fitzpatrick. All in all it was a good showing, from 29 of our members at this ever popular venue. We can always increase member allocation up to around 50 so please don’t hesitate in letting Jeff Kaby our secretary know if you would like to attend next year when the e-mails go out. By attending this event members recoup about sixty percent of their membership fees.
The day started with a pit walk and all the racing Formula 1 classics from the 1980-90’s were being prepared for the days racing and we had a rare opportunity to get right up close and personal with the vehicles, mechanics and drivers. One that I have always liked is the Benetton.
Also on display was Niki Lauda’s March 712G which he raced at Brands Hatch in 1972. Incidentally, that was the year the Crystal Palace race circuit was closed down and a place where many famous race drivers have competed… but more of that later in the next article. Brands Hatch hosted the British Grand Prix from 1964 to 1986.
Niki Lauda, who died on the 20th of May and was three times F1 World Champion, was remembered in a fitting tribute and the car was displayed in the pits alongside many of its contemporaries from the same period.
In the 2013 film “Rush” Niki Lauda was played by Daniel Bruhl and James Hunt was played by Chris Hemsworth and is probably one of the better racing films where the brutality of the racing sequences were very accurately portrayed. Parts of the film were shot on location at Brands Hatch and Crystal Palace and I managed to find an original letter written by the film producers to Brands Hatch describing what they would need.
I do think that David Bruhl was perfectly cast for the film. Niki Lauda himself thought he was portrayed quite negatively until at the first screening where Bernie Ecclestein, who was sitting alongside him, commented that he really liked the film. Admittedly parts of the film were exaggerated such as the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt as it is common knowledge that Lauda gave Hunt considerable amounts of money to rebuild his life from alcohol addiction to become a broadcaster. Hunt, in real life, died at the age of 43.
The cars prepared in the pits, and from the same period as depicted in the film, were later raced and, yet again, it really was an experience; the speeds from these cars was just breath taking, and when you consider that all there was between the driver and the track was a few millimetres of fibreglass, it makes for all the more respect to the drivers of the period.
Below is a picture of Lauda racing the Ferrari 312T2 at Brands Hatch in 1974.
Between races I did manage to get Willie Clapperton to stand still long enough to capture him with his Giulietta 1300 super, as well as some of the other members enjoying this unique day out.
He can also be seen here giving Giovanni a bit of competition in the “Pack a fully equipped restaurant in your boot” department.
Alistair Nash and his father spending some quality time together.
Nick Koleszar and Charlie Johnson enjoying a chin wag…
As well as Nick with his 147…
Not forgetting one of the more infamous F1 line-ups of all time featuring from left to right: Ken McKay, Colin Craven, John Third, Phil Davis, myself and the master concours judge for the upcoming Hever AROCKES signature event Mr Mark Rayss.
All in all a pretty enjoyable day and everyone had a good time. As they say, and as mentioned at the start of this article, all good things come in three’s and I have to mention that neither John Third, his rear end or the lamp post at the Moat Public House came to any harm during the making of this article despite two of them kissing each other.
Ciao till the Crystal Palace article.