Formula One stars shine bright in Bourne

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Emotions ran high when Formula One stars of yesteryear made the earth move in Bourne again with the roar of BRM engines.

Former world champion Damon Hill and ex-triple world champion Jackie Stewart were among the line-up that attracted more than 27,000 people to the historic base of BRM.

Formula One star Damon Hill who followed in the footsteps of his legendary father, Graham. Photo: SG07012-17MD

Formula One star Damon Hill who followed in the footsteps of his legendary father, Graham. Photo: SG07012-17MD

Those lucky enough had a grid-side seat in the grandstand built in Abbey Road, while others lined the street five deep to catch a glimpse of the action.

No-one in Bourne could have failed to know BRM had come home when 20 cars struck up for the Dummy Grid Formation and the smell of Castrol R filled the air.

Damon Hill joined it in ‘Old Faithful’ - a 1965 BRM his father, Graham, drove when he won the Italian Grand Prix.

Damon, who was there with his mother Betty, told the Lincolnshire Free Press: “I’m very proud of our racing heritage and the part my father played in it at BRM where it all started.

Sir Jackie Stewart in the cavalcade of pre-1963 classic vehicles. Photo (MIKE DAVISON): SG07012-18MD

Sir Jackie Stewart in the cavalcade of pre-1963 classic vehicles. Photo (MIKE DAVISON): SG07012-18MD

“I was very young at the time, but it is great to see so many people who do remember it and to be part of this celebration.

“It was a time when someone with welding gear could build a racing car - they don’t make them like this anymore.

“What I remember about my father most was his determination and sheer grit. His record stands as a testimony to him.”

Motor racing fan Supt Phil Vickers, assistant director for safer communities, had his speed gun firmly fixed on the grid to record some of the speeds of the stars of yesteryear.

Damon at 45mph was just pipped by Sir Jackie, at 46mph, who had chosen to be in Bourne like many others rather than the Japanese Grand Prix.

Jackie said: “I came to Bourne to learn my trade and was here at the beginning of my racing career. It is fabulous to see the cars here again and recognised for what they did 50 years later.”

Keeping a trained ear on how the engines were running was John Sismey, 78, of Bourne, who was one of BRM’s mechanics when Graham Hill won the championship.

He said: “When you have multi-cylinder engines one can cut out - like we had earlier. But they are sounding good.”

Former chief designer for BRM Mike Pilbeam was one of many VIP guests. Currently working on a prototype for the 2014 Le Mans, he said: “It great to see the motors again, running properly and being cherished. Two were flown in from the USA free of charge. The right people have them now.”

One of the day’s drivers, Tony Southgate of Northampton, said: “It’s a fantastic event - very well organised. Bourne has still got it.”

Bourne resident Mick Parker, 55, of West Street, agreed. He said: “BRM was still here when I was at school and I can remember the open days. A lot of people don’t know about it but this has changed all that.”

The day was also important for local organisations, including the Lions who were helping with stewarding. Steve Wilson said: “This has put Bourne back on the map. We need more of this.”