Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Time Machine

SIMON: If you could take part in any era of motorsport, what would it be? Personally, I’d like to be a young driver in the 60’s. As much as the cars were deathtraps, I still would have loved to have cut my teeth just as engines went from the front to the back. The cars were gorgeous to look at. Also they were cars I understood from engineering perspective. I would be nice to have helped been part of an engineering movement that changed the face of motorsport as we know it.

I must admit I enjoyed the era I raced in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Which is easy I suppose. It’s easy to like the things you know. However, the racing was affordable. The cars were fun and accessible for any novice to take on. The competition was close and plentiful. There was a series for every class of racing. Magic times.

So Tam Tam, what time period would you be in--past, present or future?

TAMMY: I'm torn, Simon. See, I'm a complete chicken, so my immediate, knee-jerk response is, "Give me all the safety we have RIGHT THIS MINUTE, are you crazy?!" But if I get past that, I'd have liked to been around in the late 50s, early 60s. Partly it's that I have sort of a fan-girl crush on Denise McCluggage, who was a journalist, racer, skydiver, you name it. Maybe I just want to be as cool as she was. But I got to meet her and talk with her, and what astonished me (I know I've mentioned this before) was that she said she was just "a journalist who did what I wrote about."

Can you imagine that today? In fact, she said that her partner for many races, including when she won the GT class at Sebring (Won! Sebring!) was a professional musician. So I'm fascinated by the era when the people we now think of as the greats--Phil Hill, Stirling Moss, Juan Fangio, Jim Clark--rubbed shoulders with amateur drivers and professional journalists and musicians. Partly I'm fascinated by the time before the greater commercialization of motorsport. As Denise said, back then it was more of a sport, and a team of amateurs could win Sebring if they were any good.

On the other hand, Denise was never allowed to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, though she was friends with Briggs Cunningham and had a ride in his new Corvette program lined up ... so maybe I'd prefer today with the greater opportunities available to women racers after all!

SIMON: Nice thinking, Tams. I was looking at Oulton Park (which is one of my fav tracks). It was film from the 60's and they used have trees lining the track. Crazy. The only time I wouldn't have liked to drive in would have been in the 30's. Those monster Mercedes & Auto Unions would have been suicidal.

So what about the rest of you. What's your dream era?

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