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Thoughts on Bernie's beginnings.
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Bobster
2017-02-05 05:41:43 UTC
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There are lots of pieces at the moment that trace an arc of Bernie's career. But it seems to me that none of the really capture the man himself - and often offer a one-dimensional portrayal of him as a relentless money grabber.

Now of course Bernie saw nothing wrong with wealth, and he set out to acquire wealth. But something occurred to me - that at some point Bernie got bitten by the motor racing bug. He originally got into motor racing because he loved it.

"There was the usual traffic jam on the approach to [Silverstone] so we were delayed getting in. After parking the car, I heard an unfamiliar sound and got to the fence just in time to see the Formula Junior race come under the Dailly Express Bridget and around Woodcote, then a long, sweeping corner. It was an extraordinary moment. I knew instantly this was something I absolutely had to do."

That's Bernie's old pal, Max Mosley, describing the moment he saw his first race and then fell in love with Motorsport in 1961. Bernie must have had a similar moment, albeit earlier.

He raced in the early 50s, then withdrew to concentrate on his business career. But he couldn't stay away. He managed Stuart Lewis-Evans, he bought two Connaught cars and famously drove one of them in qualifying at Monaco. He walked away again after Lewis-Evans died, but then made another comeback to the racing scene as Jochen Rindt's manager. Rindt also died - Bernie knows the horrors of motor sport - but Bernie bought the Brabham team from Ron Tauranac.

All these facts are noted in the various histories, but what isn't, and what probably will never be now, is the reason for Bernie getting involved in racing in the first place. At some place and time Bernie must have had a moment like Mosley's, when he saw racing cars in action and thought "I want to do that." We'll never know the details, but it must surely have happened. Bernie originally got into racing because he was drawn to it by something other than just the money he could make. Somewhere under the layers of artifice and evasion that Bernie has put in place, is somebody who was compelled to go racing.
Bruce Hoult
2017-02-05 11:25:09 UTC
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Post by Bobster
There are lots of pieces at the moment that trace an arc of Bernie's career. But it seems to me that none of the really capture the man himself - and often offer a one-dimensional portrayal of him as a relentless money grabber.
Now of course Bernie saw nothing wrong with wealth, and he set out to acquire wealth. But something occurred to me - that at some point Bernie got bitten by the motor racing bug. He originally got into motor racing because he loved it.
"There was the usual traffic jam on the approach to [Silverstone] so we were delayed getting in. After parking the car, I heard an unfamiliar sound and got to the fence just in time to see the Formula Junior race come under the Dailly Express Bridget and around Woodcote, then a long, sweeping corner. It was an extraordinary moment. I knew instantly this was something I absolutely had to do."
That's Bernie's old pal, Max Mosley, describing the moment he saw his first race and then fell in love with Motorsport in 1961. Bernie must have had a similar moment, albeit earlier.
He raced in the early 50s, then withdrew to concentrate on his business career. But he couldn't stay away. He managed Stuart Lewis-Evans, he bought two Connaught cars and famously drove one of them in qualifying at Monaco. He walked away again after Lewis-Evans died, but then made another comeback to the racing scene as Jochen Rindt's manager. Rindt also died - Bernie knows the horrors of motor sport - but Bernie bought the Brabham team from Ron Tauranac.
All these facts are noted in the various histories, but what isn't, and what probably will never be now, is the reason for Bernie getting involved in racing in the first place. At some place and time Bernie must have had a moment like Mosley's, when he saw racing cars in action and thought "I want to do that." We'll never know the details, but it must surely have happened. Bernie originally got into racing because he was drawn to it by something other than just the money he could make. Somewhere under the layers of artifice and evasion that Bernie has put in place, is somebody who was compelled to go racing.
It's a funny thing, but I've never felt any desire to get into car racing myself -- let alone motorcycle racing which scares me shitless even though I've been riding motorcycles too quickly on public roads (according to the authorities) for forty years while I've only owned cars for twenty years. No matter how quickly bystanders think I'm going, I know myself that I'm only at 85% or 90% of the limit, and I've never put a scratch in anything.

In racing, you're at 99.9% of the limit -- or sometimes 100.1% and crash. If you're only at 98% then you're tootling around at the back of the field getting lapped before the end of the race. Even at 99% you're finishing a minute behind the winner. No point.

But the first time I saw something without an engine do a triple low pass I knew that was something I should learn to do.



People here complain about F1 drivers not being able to drive at the maximum for the whole race, but conserve tyres and fuel. For me, that kind of strategy is the most interesting part of racing. In glider racing, as in sailing, you don't win by going as fast as possible all the time. In sailing it's about VMG not speed, and about finding the best path through the water&air, finding the wind shifts. In glider racing we have a large area to play in -- several hundred km in each direction -- and freedom to go anywhere we want in search of the fastest path to the finish. In the middle of a large flat continent that's relatively straightforward, but when your contest area includes mountain chains, rivers or lakes, forests, coasts and their attendant sea breezes later in the race ... skill at picking the best route outweighs almost everything else. Modern racing gliders have placarded safe top speeds around 270 - 300 km/h (and racing pilots push them faster than that), but most of the race is spent conserving your energy at 130 - 190 km/h.
Sir Tim
2017-02-05 13:06:00 UTC
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Post by Bobster
There are lots of pieces at the moment that trace an arc of Bernie's career. But it seems to me that none of the really capture the man himself - and often offer a one-dimensional portrayal of him as a relentless money grabber.
Now of course Bernie saw nothing wrong with wealth, and he set out to acquire wealth. But something occurred to me - that at some point Bernie got bitten by the motor racing bug. He originally got into motor racing because he loved it.
"There was the usual traffic jam on the approach to [Silverstone] so we were delayed getting in. After parking the car, I heard an unfamiliar sound and got to the fence just in time to see the Formula Junior race come under the Dailly Express Bridget and around Woodcote, then a long, sweeping corner. It was an extraordinary moment. I knew instantly this was something I absolutely had to do."
That's Bernie's old pal, Max Mosley, describing the moment he saw his first race and then fell in love with Motorsport in 1961. Bernie must have had a similar moment, albeit earlier.
He raced in the early 50s, then withdrew to concentrate on his business career. But he couldn't stay away. He managed Stuart Lewis-Evans, he bought two Connaught cars and famously drove one of them in qualifying at Monaco. He walked away again after Lewis-Evans died, but then made another comeback to the racing scene as Jochen Rindt's manager. Rindt also died - Bernie knows the horrors of motor sport - but Bernie bought the Brabham team from Ron Tauranac.
All these facts are noted in the various histories, but what isn't, and what probably will never be now, is the reason for Bernie getting involved in racing in the first place. At some place and time Bernie must have had a moment like Mosley's, when he saw racing cars in action and thought "I want to do that." We'll never know the details, but it must surely have happened. Bernie originally got into racing because he was drawn to it by something other than just the money he could make. Somewhere under the layers of artifice and evasion that Bernie has put in place, is somebody who was compelled to go racing.
I don't think there was any particular "Road to Damascus" moment as far
as Bernie and motorsport were concerned. He seems to have drifted into
grass-track racing after being invited by a friend to join him at Brands
Hatch one Saturday morning. There is no doubt that Bernie enjoyed
motorcycle racing but I suspect it was more for a love of risk than
anything else, he has always been an inveterate gambler.

Extreme competitiveness and very poor eyesight is a bad combination for
a motorbike racer and, having fallen off once too often, Bernie switched
to cars. By this time he was already a successful motor trader and his
appearances in 500cc Formula 3 may well have had more to do with
furthering his business interests than any overwhelming love of the
sport. Brands Hatch had become South London's meeting place for those
interested in cars and motorcycles - traders and racers - and Bernie,
who turned up in immaculate racing gear and with a "racing tender"
emblazoned with the name "Compton and Ecclestone" soon became very well
known in the trade.

I am probably one of the few people still alive who actually saw Bernie
race, although I only know this from reference to an old Brands Hatch
programme; the guys I actually remember from those days were Eric
Brandon, Don Parker and, of course, Stirling Moss, a star even then.

http://www.500race.org/
--
Sir Tim

“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional”
Bobster
2017-02-05 19:12:39 UTC
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Post by Sir Tim
I don't think there was any particular "Road to Damascus" moment as far
as Bernie and motorsport were concerned. He seems to have drifted into
grass-track racing after being invited by a friend to join him at Brands
Hatch one Saturday morning. There is no doubt that Bernie enjoyed
motorcycle racing but I suspect it was more for a love of risk than
anything else, he has always been an inveterate gambler.
OK... but I do think that at some early point he was just somebody who liked racing for racing's sake. I get an impression of somebody who couldn't stay away. OK... for short periods he could, but he kept on coming back.
Post by Sir Tim
Extreme competitiveness and very poor eyesight is a bad combination for
a motorbike racer
LOL
Post by Sir Tim
and, having fallen off once too often, Bernie switched
to cars. By this time he was already a successful motor trader and his
appearances in 500cc Formula 3 may well have had more to do with
furthering his business interests than any overwhelming love of the
sport. Brands Hatch had become South London's meeting place for those
interested in cars and motorcycles - traders and racers - and Bernie,
who turned up in immaculate racing gear and with a "racing tender"
emblazoned with the name "Compton and Ecclestone" soon became very well
known in the trade.
I am probably one of the few people still alive who actually saw Bernie
race, although I only know this from reference to an old Brands Hatch
programme; the guys I actually remember from those days were Eric
Brandon, Don Parker and, of course, Stirling Moss, a star even then.
http://www.500race.org/
--
Sir Tim
“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional”
geoff
2017-02-05 22:10:28 UTC
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Post by Sir Tim
I don't think there was any particular "Road to Damascus" moment as far
as Bernie and motorsport were concerned.
Well I've driven a road to Damascus. But it didn't make me into a
multi-millioneer ;-(

Wonderful drive - also Palmyra while it was still there in full glory,
Allepo for a night (nearly didn't find the 2nd biggest city in Syria,
cos it is signposted in the transliteration of the actual name, 'Halep'
!), then right across to Istanbul, and back to Baghdad.


geoff
Sir Tim
2017-02-05 22:53:45 UTC
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Post by geoff
Post by Sir Tim
I don't think there was any particular "Road to Damascus" moment as far
as Bernie and motorsport were concerned.
Well I've driven a road to Damascus. But it didn't make me into a
multi-millioneer ;-(
Wonderful drive - also Palmyra while it was still there in full glory,
Allepo for a night (nearly didn't find the 2nd biggest city in Syria,
cos it is signposted in the transliteration of the actual name, 'Halep'
!), then right across to Istanbul, and back to Baghdad.
Sounds like an amazing trip, and wonderful to have seen Palmyra before its
wanton destruction by IS.

I would love to visit Persepolis, in modern Iran, to see the bas-relief
carvings there from the time of Darius the First but I guess I never will
now :-(
--
Sir Tim
"Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional"
Mark Jackson
2017-02-06 03:42:43 UTC
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Post by geoff
Post by Sir Tim
I don't think there was any particular "Road to Damascus" moment as
far as Bernie and motorsport were concerned.
Well I've driven a road to Damascus. But it didn't make me into a
multi-millioneer ;-(
We were under 50km from Damascus in May of 2015 but there was rather a
lot more than distance in the way. Our youngest son was still teaching
film at a Palestinian university on the West Bank; we took a trip up
into the occupied Golan Heights, spending the night in the Druze city of
Majdal al-Shams. (He did all the driving.)
--
Mark Jackson - http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~mjackson
Railing against Obamacare was easy, but the responsibilities
of power have taken all the fun out of denying medical care
to the poor and sick. - Jonathan Chait
geoff
2017-02-06 07:08:16 UTC
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Post by Mark Jackson
Post by geoff
Post by Sir Tim
I don't think there was any particular "Road to Damascus" moment as
far as Bernie and motorsport were concerned.
Well I've driven a road to Damascus. But it didn't make me into a
multi-millioneer ;-(
We were under 50km from Damascus in May of 2015
My trip was late 1990. Interesting times ......

geoff

brafield
2017-02-05 17:01:38 UTC
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There are lots of pieces at the moment that trace an arc of Bernie's career. >
He raced in the early 50s, then withdrew to concentrate on his business career.
He briefly raced stock cars in 1954/1955, (New Cross. Walthamstow etc)like most London 'breakers' (and gangsters)did, and there are photos on the web of his signwritten car. But his contemporaries said Bernie did not like the damage to cars in that kind of racing --- went against his feelings, which may sound a surprise to those who see him as a hardcase.
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