24 Aug 2016

Like ripping bedsheets

Writing the previous story on my recent 911 road trip prompted me to reflect on how much of the frisson has gone or is going out of life and motoring and motor sport in particular.
I am so glad that the first 50 years of my life were lived in a world without the world wide web -an invention which has made life so much better and easier in so many ways but which has also facilitated unimagined horrors and taken so much of the mystery and magic out of life.
I am glad that I was able to travel to beautiful places in Europe before they were overrun by seething hordes of the new Chinese middle class taking selfies and to have visited places in the Middle East where chaos now reigns.
I am glad that I will not be around to see the roads full of driverless cars - or autonomous vehicles as they are now called.
I am glad that I was able to see drivers like Stirling Moss,Jim Clark,Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren,Jochen Rindt and John Surtees in action on spectacular and often dangerous circuits in cars fitted with tyres which did not fall apart deliberately and engines which sounded like racing engines not Dyson vacuum cleaners.
And talking of noise I feel so lucky to have heard the Mazda rotary engined cars in action at Le Mans in the 1980s. The photo above taken by me at the 1989 Le Mans 24 hour race shows the 12th placed 4 rotor Mazda 767 on the pit straight early in the race.  The noise from that Wankel motor was quite extraordinary. I can only describe it as sounding like someone ripping apart a very large bedsheet very quickly and amplified to max volume. Surely the drivers must now all be deaf.
Photo taken with a Canon EOS5 SLR using the fantastic Canon 70-200 F2.8 lens and a 2x converter. I only sold that lens a few years ago . Now I wish that I had kept it.

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