One of the recurring themes encountered in this magazine, be it from the contributors or from the readers, is the “win at all costs” debate. Most of us say that historic racing shouldn’t be about winning, then we prepare our cars to within an inch of their legality and go out onto the track or rally stage with only one goal in mind – or at least there are many with that attitude. However there are some who really do just want to enjoy the cars. Some are not drivers of great talent, but they enjoy their racing just as much as the winners do, always seeking to improve on their personal best. Others want to campaign cars they love, even though they know they have no chance of a win in their category. These are the heroes of historic racing. They seldom get a mention, but we want to celebrate them in these pages.
Our photographers and contributors were asked to nominate their heroes of historic racing. Here are a few offerings.. Nominations from fellow competitors for future issues are welcome, accompanied with a few explanatory words.
Ian Simmonds - Nominated by Mattijs Diepraam
Photos Ma js Diepraam
A stalwart of the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship for many years, Ian Simmonds has had his moments – such as fighting Greg Thornton for the championship some eight seasons ago – but most of the time he is well aware that there are better drivers on the grid than him. Success is irrelevant, he says, and his biggest competition is with his own expectations – he is only satisfied once he has exceeded those. He is still amazed that at the time he thought that stepping up from a Radical to a Tyrrell 012 Formula One car was a good idea, then wanted to walk away moments before his first test in the car, but somehow found the courage to continue while facing the steepest learning curve of his life. He has done so year after year, with the same Tyrrell, and with the mentality that typifies the unsung heroes of historic motorsport – feeling utterly privileged to be driving a Formula One car and sharing a grid with machines that were once raced by Ronnie Peterson and James Hunt. For me as a journalist, it feels like a privilege to be close to those machines and to be able to write about them – and it’s always good to meet someone who feels the same about driving them.
Egbert Kolvoort – Nominated by Carlo Senten
Photos Carlo Senten
I would like to nominate the racing secretary of the NKHTGT, Egbert Kolvoort. With his MGB he has been racing at the back of the field for years, but has managed to improve his personal record every year. However my nomination is more for his commitment to the NKHTGT and to Dutch historic motorsport. For me, he is the type of person we need more of in the sport where egos often get in the way.
Brian and Barbara Lambert - Nominated by Carol Spagg
Photo Stefan Eckhardt
Brian and Barbara Lambert have been racing an MGB since at least 2003. That is when they entered the Gentleman Drivers race at Spa and I first met them. After that they became friends and regulars in the series. Though never at the real sharp end with their 1800cc car, they often won their class, often against theoretically quicker cars. The pair look after the car themselves, while dispensing numerous cups of tea and coffee to their many friends in the paddock and always adding to the enjoyment and friendly ambiance. They became regular drivers in Equipe GTS, where Barbara continued to run in the MGB and Brian campaigned a Ginetta G4, both sometimes sharing with son Mark.
Photo Carlo Senten
Always glad to be out racing, they have also raced in the Top Hat series, with the HSCC, GTSCC and just about anywhere else they can find some good racing amongst like-minded people. Barbara and Brian have also been campaigning the MGB and Ginetta respectively in the Dutch NKHTGT Championship with much class success. Driving the smallest car in a big field, with just 997cc, Brian became the 2018 Dutch Champion! The same year Brian drove the Ginetta, with Uwe Markovac, in the Pre-‘63 GT series. A welcome addition to the series, it was especially nice for me to see the couple in the paddock again, and meet the equally enthusiastic and friendly Uwe. Both Brian and Barbara are always pleasant in the paddock and both are true enthusiasts. In all these years, they have never left anyone in doubt about how much enjoyment they derive from their racing. They are best sort of historic racing people.
Barbara Lambert receiving the GT&SCC Ladies Prize, which she has won on a number of occasions, from John Pearson in 2010.
John Delane - Nominated by Jon Bunston
Photos Jon Bunston
I first met John Delane in 2010 at Hockenheim, where he was racing in the Historic Formula One race, and my opinion of the American from California has remained the same to this day, simply ‘what a nice guy’. Always engaging about his racing, he has embraced the history of Tyrrell, and more importantly, supported it. After seeing Jackie Stewart’s performance at Monza in the Tyrrell 001, he vowed to race one of his own one day and he accomplished his dream. After his early days in a Viceroy-liveried Lola T400 F5000 car, his Tyrrell dream came in 1998 when the François Cevert car, no. 002 came up for sale in California. Further acquisitions of Tyrrell 001, the team transporter, and 004 were added to his collection. John has been racing Formula 1 cars and his immaculate Lotus 15 ever since, regularly winning championships and flying the Tyrrell flag. He now also owns 006 and is the guardian of three of the seven early Tyrrells that still exist. Supported by Hall & Hall his cars were probably the best prepared and presented in the historic paddock, testament to John’s desire to show these cars at their absolute best. It is a great outcome for Ken’s cars, in the loving care of this passionate collector who knows how to race them and is still the same a nice guy. “The difference between me and a real racing driver is that I didn’t wake up with talent. I took lessons and worked at it. I’m a student of motor racing,” he once said in an interview with Motor Sport. John’s newest enthusiasm is campaigning a Chevron B21 in American races, where grids can contain a large span of cars and where he races against cars like 2005 Audi R8 LMP, 2013 Oreca FLM 9, but also GT40 and Ginetta G12.