Thursday, July 13, 2006


This little article from the January 1959 edition of the Ecurie Ecosse magazine "News From The Mews" must have been one of Innes's first journalistic assignments. It's fitting that it should mention three of the more influential characters in the Scotsman's life. Chapman and Lotus, of course, gave Innes his break into Grand Prix racing while Ireland eventually ended up married to Hawthorn's girlfriend.

The third of the trio is legendary spannerman Brit Pearce. Pearce originally worked as racing mechanic for the Hawthorns at their TT Garage in Farnham. With Leslie Hawthorn dead and Mike driving full time for Ferrari, Brit moved on to work for Innes at his Golden Acres establishment near Elstead, Surrey. By 1957 this had developed into a team that maintained Lotus Elevens for a variety of private owner-drivers.

When Innes joined Lotus in 1959, Brit was taken on by one of these privateers, Mike Taylor who crashed disasterously in the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix when the steering wheel of his Lotus came off in his hands. Brit Pearce was none too pleased with Chapman who had a reputation for slap-dash work where driver safety was concerned. Grasping Chapman by the throat, it took several on-lookers to pull Pearce away and allow the purple faced Team Lotus boss to catch breath. Brit's accusation "You've killed my f.....g driver!" turned out to be untrue as Taylor survived the crash, although he never drove again. Was Chapman to blame? Well he paid Mike Taylor substantial damages for negligence, a reported £10000.

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