Sunday, April 02, 2006

Shane Summers

Enter a World Championship Grand Prix and you enter the realm of the "encyclopedias" and record books, you also get to feature on the large number of websites which copy their data from such sources. If your career was cut short before you actually made a Championship race then you're very much a non-person as far as the average motor sport historian is concerned, even if you did make it to Formula One in the Non-Championship races of the Golden Era.

One such non-person is Shane Lister Summers, born at Darland Hall, Rossett, Denbighshire on June 23rd 1936. Summers was a member of a family whose wealth was derived from the John Summers Steelworks at Shotton, his father was the Conservative MP Sir Spencer Summers.

Shane's career had hardly started when he was entering the 1961 Non-Championship races in a Cooper T53. An 8th place at Snetterton in the season opener, Continental outings at the Brussels Grand Prix and the Preis von Wien (where he started second on a small grid behind Moss), and a best finish in the early season British races of 4th at the Crystal Palace.

On June 1st 1961 Summers went out to practice in the rain for the Silver City Trophy race at Brands Hatch. He left the track at Paddock Bend, crashing through fencing and demolishing a wall before the Cooper was finally destroyed against a concrete buttress. A Welsh born driver who, like the talented Gary Hocking, did not live long enough to bother the compilers of books that claim to tell the story of Formula One,

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