Personal View: My Highlight of 2017

As we roll into 2018 there is always the urge to look back at the year just completed and its great moments, and one of our team looks back on his highlights of 2017.

“As ever when you pause and look back on a year there are a host of memories. 

“One of my first thoughts was how I greatly enjoyed the visit of the Masters Historic Racing series to Brands Hatch in May. I visited the Kent circuit four or five times last year (plus one unscheduled visit after leaving my laptop in the media room, many thanks to the MSVR team for looking after it for me), but on this occasion I had a more relaxed day and could actually get away from the infield pits and buildings.

“I ended up watching some races wandering along the section of the circuit from Stirlings down to Clearways, and not having been out that way for too many years, had forgotten just how close to the cars you are if you stand on the inside of the circuit. The sun was shining, the day nice and warm and you had historic Formula One, sportscars and saloons going past just a few yards away, with the racing as close at the front as it had been in period – no better way to pass your time.

“The weather wasn’t quite so friendly at the Castle Combe Autumn Classic in early October, but the friendly Wiltshire circuit is always a great place to be and the paddock open and friendly. Again I was able to wander and actually completed a lap of the circuit whilst watching the racing, with very few complaints from the six-year-old who was accompanying me and chatting to people we bumped into on our walk.

“The racing was again good, and the atmosphere at this meeting just gets better and better with more people each year choosing to come in period dress, really must remember to do so myself next year.

“It was while thinking about races and circuits that I realised what my most pleasurable moment actually was. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a monster of an event these days with a large corporate presence and a wide variety of cars to enjoy, but the paddock layout does allow great access to cars you have sometimes never seen in the metal before.

“It was while in the paddock with a group of cars coming back from their runs up the hill that I moved to one side to let a British Racing Green racer slide back into its awning. I have always had a soft spot for a Vanwall, which sometimes seems a strangely overlooked British marque, and watched Brian Redman carefully climb out the curvaceous car.

“I had interviewed Brian 18-months before at Daytona, but didn’t expect him to remember me and to be honest, I don’t know if he did. I made a bland opening comment of ‘how was the car’ or some such, and Brian promptly started enthusiastically telling me – in some detail.

“He said how much he enjoyed the car, how it was awkward to start and even to get in and out of, and his obvious delight in driving it was clear. This was a journalistic gold mine, but I was strangely reluctant to break the moment by whipping out my voice recorder as this wasn’t an interview, just someone sharing their sheer pleasure at what they do with another enthusiast.

“It was a great few minutes the moment only broken when some of the crew arrived and asked about the car, but if I can be even a fraction as passionate about what I do when I am 80-years-old as Brian still is then I will be a happy man. Thanks Brian, I would say you made my day, but you could have in fact made my year.” PJ.

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