Matt Nash sent me an e-mail asking if I could write a story about the race of my life. This is not easy as there are so many to choose from – in fact the next race is probably the race of my life as there is a lot of anticipation as to how well it will go. Everything else is just history.
Back to the request – I guess that I have to choose from my Formula Ford racing career as the story is for Matt Nash and his passion about Kent Formula Fords. Two races spring to mind. The first was in 1979 Roy Hesketh. I was in my Royale RP21 and had a really fantastic race with Ian Robinson in the Crossle 25F which I later owned and have written about. We started together on the grid I suppose in about 5th and 6th position and proceeded to swop positions for the whole race. There was never any space of any significance between us and I do not even remember who beat who.
The second has to be one of the races at Goldfields where we always had great slipstreaming duels with several cars involved. On the most memorable occasion I remember there were about 6 cars involved for the whole race with a different leader each lap as it was possible to go from 6th to 1st down the long straight due to the tow you could get in a Formula Ford. On this particular occasion I was in a 1989 Ray and managed to get the last lap perfectly correct for the entry to the long straight and arrived at the end of the straight on the inside with Pierre Luigi Ferro behind me. My thought was I had the race wrapped up until there was a huge bang as I was rammed from behind straight off the track and only came in at the back of the leading group. It did not matter as we had all had a great and enormously exciting race.
I have found it difficult to choose these 2 races as there have been many races I have really enjoyed. On one occasion I chased Basil Mann in the rain in Cape Town for most of a race before going off at Damps and losing touch with him to finish 2nd. We had many great races in East London with its exhilarating long straight with flat out (with a prayer) Potters and Rifle corners in the middle of it. The original Kyalami circuit always produced a group of cars racing for the lead due to its long straights and the slipstream effect making it almost impossible to break away from the following cars.
I hope this will do Matt. As you can see – what is the greatest race? I cannot choose as there have been many which I enjoyed enormously and some which although I did not even finish or had accidents or broke down which have been memorable. I think every time I have driven a race car it has been a great race.
Until next time