Sunday, 25 May 2014

Fangi-Cro.


                                    

When I was about 16, and still at school, I had a friend whose father was not only extremely rich, but also had a passion for expensive cars and motor racing.

The son (let's call him J) had grown up surrounded by people like Sterling Moss, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, and Jim Clark; as a result of which he rather fancied himself as a future motor racing champion.

To pamper his son's fantasy, his doting father bought him a Lotus Formula Junior car, exactly like the one above.

One Sunday J said he was going off to Snetterton race track to do a spot of practicing, and he invited me along. I watched as he did circuit after circuit, until he finally pulled-up in front of where we were seated. To my utter amazement he then asked me if I fancied doing a circuit or two myself.

Not wanting to sound like a sissy, I immediately said 'yes', and squeezed myself into the tiny cockpit, which seemed no bigger than an aluminium cigar tube. J ran through the finer details with me, and off I drove.

Driving the little Lotus was not complicated, but the sensation of lying just a few inches off the ground was quite frightening. I whizzed round the track at a staggering 25-30 mph (or even less), thinking I mustn't crash, I mustn't crash, I mustn't crash.

When I pulled-up I remember vowing never ever to get into a small racing car ever again. Of course I didn't actually say this to either J, or his father.

I do enjoy driving, and I enjoy speed, but not in one of those things again; thank you very much!


14 comments:

  1. Man oh man! What I would give to have just a few laps!

    I remember being with my grandparents in Baden-Baden when my Grandfather called me to him to break the news of the death of Jim Clark. We were due to go together to Hockenheim to see the motor racing and Opa knew how badly I wanted Jim Clark to win.

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  2. I really remember very little about it, other than being petrified of crashing his beloved toy. Maybe if I'd done a few more circuits I'd have enjoyed it more.

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    1. I remember Dominic being brought home by the local policeman, he'd only gone off for a play in my Chelsea Tractor. He was nine!

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    2. He'll be bringing girls back any day!

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  3. It's on e of those things were you can never truly enjoy it incase you crash. I remember a friend having a radio control car, I drove it for a few seconds and crashed it. I never hear the end of it and his parents weren't pleased either.

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  4. I would feel the same as you I fear - I remember my first trip on the back of a motorbike - you feel so vulnerable - not for me thank you very much.

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  5. My brother used to spend all his spare time at Snetterton; he was a marshall on race days from when he was about 13 through the mid 1950s and early 1960s. I used to go on race days and watch from a bale of straw in the back of a pick-up truck. He still goes there a lot now. I can hear the cars going round track from my house but I don't go these days.

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  6. I wouldn't be able to squeeze a leg in there never mind all of me! One if my biggest regrets is not driving. I passed my test at 18, lost confidence and haven't driven since.

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    1. You need an old airfield for an hour or so; you'd soon get back in the swing.

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  7. We did a test drive in a Lotus Elan a good few years ago now, so I was a lot fitter and bendy and, even then, it was so difficult to get out of. Then we took a TVR out and it frightened the beejeezus out of us, it was so fast !!!! I've got an Audi TT Roadster and even that gives me a bit of a fright when I put my foot down !! God knows what it must be like driving a Formula One car …. I shall be watching Lewis Hamilton this afternoon at Monaco.
    I guess that the roads around where you live are fairly quiet Cro ? XXXX

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    1. Very quiet, except in summer.

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    2. I once did 175 mph in a TVR Grantura Griffiths; I wasn't driving.

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  8. You were obviously a very well behaved teenager Cro!
    As to them being low to the ground - when we changed our car the last time I pointed out a beautiful yellow sports car to the farmer and suggested we get that. He indicated that he might be persuaded - invited me to sit in it, which I did. Then he left me and went over to chat to the salesman. When I came to get out there was absolutely no way I could manage it unaided. We bought a Vauxhall Astra.

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  9. Hmm. I think I would have liked that.

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