22 Apr 2013

Brands Hatch 1965-Lotus 23 and Formula Juniors

It was raining heavily last Saturday so an enforced stay indoors gave me an opportunity to dig into the unsorted negatives and I found these two photos which I reckon are worth putting on the blog. Both from a Brands Hatch meeting in 1965 and taken on an Olympus half frame camera.
The half frame format was pioneered by Olympus and gave 72 exposures on a standard 36 exposure length 35mm film which had considerable appeal as film was not cheap.However the camera had to be held "sideways" most of the time as the photos were portrait/upright format with the camera held normally.Also the negatives were tiny and very susceptible to dust and marks .At that time I was processing my own film and I took these shots on Kodak Plus-X film-and I processed them in  a developer which gave the highest acutance/sharpness although inevitably the negatives are grainy.I touched these shots up in Lightroom but have left all the dust spots on them -photographic patina.They are surprisingly sharp given that the camera was a cheap, basic device and the negatives are so small.
The top shot shows the grid for a Formula Junior race being assembled in the paddock.Formula Junior was about to be displaced by Formula Ford as the "entry level" open wheeler racing category.How about the paddock marshal with his coat,jacket,collar and tie and flat cap?Those were the days.Difficult to envisage now.
The bottom shot shows a Lotus 23 which my Lotus and Jaguar expert, Roger Putnam, reckons belongs to John Hine Racing .In the background is an old Bedford coach used as a race car transporter by Gerard Racing. Also it there is another old Bedford beside the Lotus.Very 1960's.Those old coaches were used by many racing teams and they were pre-war or wartime build and they were really slow.A team from the UK midlands or the north would pack up after the racing and then face a very long and slow drive home as there were no motorways in those days.
I like these photos because they show the wonderful casual,laid back and friendly non commercial atmosphere of motor racing in that era.I count myself very fortunate to have experienced it first hand.

1 comment:

  1. The guy in the first Formula Junior is the late John Tomlinson who was chief Instructor at Motor Racing Stables the racing school. As he is wearing suit and tie looks like he is warming up the car for a pupil. He was a very talented driver, as was his son Graham who won his first ever race, but then lost interest and only had a couple more races as far as I know.