Held at the recently restored Credit Suisse Race Control Building at Goodwood, the fifth Historic Racing Forum was yet another humorous, no-holds-barred debate between some legendary racing names, on this occasion Sir Stirling Moss, Alain de Cadenet, Jochen Mass and Derek Bell. Host Henry Hope-Frost also extended an impromptu invitation to current F1 driver Max Chilton, with the resulting debate made all the more interesting for the inclusion of a younger point of view, the Englishman holding his own among the illustrious names from the sport's recent past.
The topic on this occasion was ‘Dream Teams’, whereby each panel member was asked to choose his ideal drivers, team and racing series. De Cadenet raised a few eyebrows, not for the exclusion of himself from his dream driver pairing, but for his selection of two female drivers: Desiré Wilson and Janet Guthrie. Derek Bell seemed most surprised by the choice of the latter: “I had her in the car at Watkins Glen,” he started, a comment that inspired much laughter from the audience. Bell quickly recovered by expanding on his point: “I’m sorry Alain, she was so slow I couldn’t believe it. You must just want to be surrounded by women.”
Stirling's perfect co-driver
Another surprise was Sir Stirling’s choice of Tony Brooks as a co-driver – not because he lacked any skill as a driver, but rather because it would mean the exclusion of one Juan Manuel Fangio from what many would otherwise consider the ultimate pairing. “Fangio was the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time,” said Sir Stirling. “He didn’t mind me following very closely, and I learnt a tremendous amount from him. However, I’d choose Tony as he took part in more types of racing than Fangio.” Moss was quite clear about which racing series he wouldn’t choose, though: “I didn’t like Le Mans; 24 hours was just a pain in the neck,” to which Bell and Hope-Frost teasingly replied: “You wouldn’t have said that if you’d won it.”
Plenty more humorous anecdotes, subtle digs and untold stories came to light during the 45-minute debate, many of which would have remained unknown were Credit Suisse not so deeply committed to historic racing.
You can listen to the full 45-minute discussion here.
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2014