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Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's Been a While Hasn't it?

Sorry for the silence; apart from the fact that I have had no inspiration, I have been rather busy with various things, and in particular my computers...

Anyway an old friend sent me a link which I was delighted to receive. It concerns my boyhood hero, Mike Hawthorn, Britain's first Formula 1 World Champion.

Hawthorn won the championship, by just one point fifty years ago in 1958. After winning the championship he immediately announced his retirement; he was killed in a road crash in January 1959.

In those days Grand Prix drivers did a lot more than just F1 racing. Like most of his contemporaries Hawthorn raced sports cars and also saloons. On his day (and it must be admitted he was inconsistent) he was awesome in the D-type Jaguar - fastest lap in a D-type at the terrifying Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland is just one example of his talent and bravery - and he was one of the very few who could go really quickly in the tricky Ferrari 750 Monza (Ascari died in one of these).

Anyway, here's a delightful video, made in 1956, where Hawthorn equipped with microphone takes us on a lap of Le Mans in a D-type.



Given that it is the fiftieth anniversary year of Hawthorn's success and that the Le Mans 24-hour race is in progress as I write this, I think that this post is really jolly appropriate - as Hawthorn himself might have remarked.

As a parting shot, I think I should add that Hawthorn - and his father Leslie who were based at Farnham in Surrey, were great Lancia fans; Chris Nixon tells an hilarious tale of young Mike's adventures in an Aprilia, and Leslie Hawthorn's Aprilia EYE 606 was at dear old Harry Manning's garage until the end.

À bientôt

1 comment:

Tony said...

Glad you remember Mike Hawthorn! You might like to know I'm just finishing a new book on Mike concentrating on his personal life and that includes a big chapter (there are 15 in all) on his personal cars. This includes the Lancia Aprilia and Aurelia with loads of photos of their current states, history, info and a commissioned colour vector drawing!

It's in in large format with over 350 pages and many, many never before seen photos. Many have been contributed by fans and archives for free, such is his magnetism still.

More at:

http://www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk/

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