Watford, 21 June, 2001
In recent years the annual D.K. Engineering and Kinnerton Confectionery Test Day
has been held at the Goodwood and Silverstone circuits. This year with the
opening of the new facility at Rockingham, they moved there for their corporate day
on 21 June. They used only the infield section of the circuit, which provided a
demanding series of bends and short straights for the participants, although a
section of the banked track might have been nice for some higher speed running.
The fine weather, with predominantly bright sunshine and light cloud, albeit with a
cooling northerly breeze, brought out a large variety of cars, and a number of
familiar faces on the motor sport scene. These included the always sprightly Sir
Stirling Moss, who spent most of the day at the wheel of Clive Beecham’s 250 GT
SWB berlinetta, with which his association goes back to 1961, when he drove it for
Rob Walker to win the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. Another well known figure
was Murray Walker, known affectionately as ”Muddly Talker” for his slips of the
tongue when he becomes excited in his commentaries, for many years the voice
of F1 racing on British television. Also there pedalling guests around in an Aston
Martin loaned DB 7 Volante, was a long time stalwart of the historic racing scene,
Willie Green, perhaps best known for his racing exploits at the wheels of cars
owned by Sir Anthony Bamford.
The quantity and quality of the cars in attendance was a pleasant surprise, and
included a rare appearance of a duo from Lawrence Stroll’s stable, his 250 GTO
and 512 M ”Sunoco”. Another rarely seen car was the 365 California Spider of
Robert Beecham, whilst the recently acquired 250 GT California Spider of Paul
Vestey was also present. As can be seen from the list the array of Ferraris in
attendance covered a broad age span, with a large number of modern ”bread and
butter” examples filling out the numbers.
However, there weren’t only Ferraris to enjoy, as apart from the previously
mentioned Aston Martin there were also a number of Jaguars, TVRs, plus Paul
Osborn’s T 33 Alfa Romeo and probably the rarest and most stunning ”intruder” of
them all, the McLaren F1 GTR of David Clark. This bright orange projectile looked
and sounded marvellous, vying with the Alfa and 512 M for the loudest and
sweetest music of the day. Willie Green sampled the ”mean machine” and was
very impressed with the way it performed, in fact he was ”Willie Grin” after his run,
but concurred with David Clark that the front springs were a bit too stiff, causing
some front end skittering. David Clark also brought along the 250 GT Drogo,
1717GT, for many years resident in Switzerland painted red, but now looking very
elegant in silver.
In summary, a most enjoyable day, with plenty of interesting machinery, good
company and a very relaxed informal atmosphere.