Monday, November 29, 2010

Where Did You Get That Hat?

Innes Ireland's last two World Championship outings in 1966 were in privateer Bernard White's clapped out BRM P261. BRM seem to have been in the habit of selling on old bangers, talented faux Welshman Jack Lewis ran out of enthusiasm for the sport after he acquired one of the Owen Organisation's sell-ons.

Anyway Innes qualified 17th out of 19 starters in that year's US and Mexican races, both times having to retire with mechanical problems. A career that had promised so much certainly ended with a whimper.

Ages ago, on what was then the premier racing history forum on the net, I asked the question "Bernard White who he?" No-one really knew that much about him, which is rather typical of a scene where the history of cars takes precedence over people. There's gold in them thar cars after all. Well nearly eight years after posing the question my forum query was answered, Bernard was the brother of financial buccaneer Gordon White, the brains behind Hanson PLC.

One day we might get an answer to one or two other puzzlers. Was the first Yank to compete in F1, Robert O'Brien, actually a CIA operative? Did the Vicomtesse de Walchiers really exist or was her team a CIA front? Here we're harking back to the early 50s so I doubt anything is going to turn up on Wikileaks.

Anyway that's a rather chunky Innes with Bernard White, pictured at the 1966 Mexican Grand Prix. Hopefully Ireland was wearing the hat as a joke. A few months later and he would finally move out of Downton to leave New Radnor in peace. Any Ffransis Paine fans who have read this far may be interested to learn that Innes (or at least Innis) gets a couple of passing mentions in Crwydro Sir Faesyfed. I wonder if his name has been spelt correctly in the recent translation?

No comments: