Category Archives: The Focal Point

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View from Syon Park

A sure sign that things are edging towards normality, there are now events that we motoring enthusiasts can actually attend. This weekend sees the Goodwood Festival of Speed happening and a few weeks back there was the London Classic Car Show.

Syon Park was the venue for this small, but perfectly formed show. There was something for everyone and those who did attend came away with a smile on their face.

There was a celebration of the E-type’s 60th birthday, bringing out ECD 400. Graham Hill scored the car’s first race victory in this vehicle, at Oulton Park.

The E-type was a mere whippersnapper compared with the Salvesen Wagonette, dating back to 1893, and the first car to built in Scotland.

The weather looked menacing at times but held off to add to the occasion. The show must have been a nightmare to organise, so all credit is due to those responsible. I look forward to returning to its very agreeable new home for the 2022 edition. Simon Hildrew was pacing the lawns and provides an excellent record of the event.

John Brooks, July 2021

New Kid on the Block

Starting a new motorsport club at this point of time is a bold move, but last weekend the Classic Racing Car Club put on quite a show at Thruxton, in their debut event. Competitors and spectators alike, were royally entertained as summer finally arrived in England.

There were familiar cars and familiar faces, such as Tiff Needell, who won his first race here, way back almost half a century.

The blue Ralt RT3 was also a voice from the past; I had witnessed it, and its driver, Martin Brundle, chase Ayrton Senna all over the UK in 1983, he very nearly caught the Brazilian.

Our main man behind the lens, Simon Hildrew, was on top form, the weather was wonderful and so are the images he has sent over to DDC Towers. Enjoy them, I certainly did.

John Brooks, June 2021

Back to Brands

One of the side effects of COVID-19 has been the loss of many of our traditional motor sport events, especially to the paying public. Thanks to the excellent vaccination programme we are beginning to go back to some form of normality. A couple of weeks back, the second May Bank Holiday was celebrated at Brands Hatch with the Masters Historic Festival. A good crowd was entertained by close and competitive racing, we might just be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Light is something that Simon Hildrew is still master of as evidenced by this fine gallery, enjoy his efforts.

John Brooks, June 2021

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Last weekend the concours season got underway at last, well the first of the majors in the UK, Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace.

By any standards the show was first class, but taking onto account the obstacles faced by the Steering Committee in getting cars and people to the palace, it was nothing short of miraculous.

Clearly from the expressions and enthusiasm of those attending we have all been starved of this kind of automotive feast, so we gorged ourselves on the rich fare, not sure when we see the like again.

The Royal family were represented by HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and his younger brother, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who is the Patron of the event and a very keen motorist.

The weather behaved itself and a good time was had by all. Simon Hildrew was on the lawns, armed with Canons, his shots all hit their target. More from the palace in the next few days.

John Brooks, September 2020

Brands Hatch Mastery

Something approaching normality, or what passes for such a state these days, happened at Brands Hatch a week or so back. The traditional Masters Festival, a celebration of the rich heritage of the sport on one of the best loved tracks in the country, what could be better?

Grabbing a few headlines was the recreation of the Tyrrell P34. Jonathan Holtzman wanted to buy one of the five surviving cars but could not source one. So he had a new chassis built with the plans supplied by the Tyrrell family who gave the project their full approval.

Alex Brundle swapped his state of the art modern endurance racer for a classic Lola T70…………..

Steve Soper’s Mustang had the throttle jam open at Stirlings and vaulted the ARMCO, fortunately without injury to the Touring Car legend.

A decent crowd over two days were treated to a fantastic menu of historic racing. Our ace lens-man, Simon Hildrew, was on hand to bring you this fine gallery.

John Brooks, September 2020

Going up West

The London Classic Car Show sneaked in just under the lock-down deadline on its sixth running. The previous couple of events at the ExCel, down in London’s Docklands, felt as if the affair had lost focus or run out of steam after a very promising beginning. A reboot was necessary and the organisers headed west, destination Kensington Olympia. By all reports this seems to have done the trick and there was a new spark to the show. Our resident man with a camera in hand took the opportunity to record proceedings, judge for yourself.

John Brooks, July 2020

Back on Track

2020 will go down in history as a pivotal year, like 1914 or 1939, virtually everything will change in how we conduct our lives in the future. Motorsport will be no exception to this rule, events will be run without spectators, e-sports will assume greater importance, we will have to adapt or wither away.

In my humble opinion whole sections of the sport that we take for granted may disappear or be severely diminished, the lack of money will see to that. The days of big budget factory campaigns are gone, almost certainly forever. All things must pass………..

One area that will surely survive is the historic scene. Evidence of this was to be found at Brands Hatch a week or so back. The HSCC Super Prix demonstrated the depth and commitment of the historic fraternity; great cars and great racing at the fabulous Brands Hatch circuit. Proof, if any were needed, that this storm will dissipate one day. Simon Hildrew was to be found trackside, cameras in hand, to record this celebration of speed and grace.

John Brooks, July 2020

View from The Long Water

One of the highlights of my personal motoring year is the visit in early September to Hampton Court Palace for the Concours of Elegance. The setting and the cars are beyond magnificent, the event has yet to disappoint, since it started in 2012. Despite the pandemic, it is scheduled to take place this year on 4-6th September but who knows? In the first of a series of pieces looking back, here is Simon Hildrew’s personal view from 2019.

John Brooks, June 2020