They say you should never meet your hero’s because it inevitably leads to disappointment.
This is not something that I agree with, on the contrary I make it my mission to take any opportunity of a natter with a racer from the old days. It is this that led to one of my greatest friendships with all round racer and rally driver Barry Whizzo Williams. Barry was a wonderfully generous man who became my role model and my mentor.
It is true that sometimes our hero’s don’t live up to our expectations, perhaps they are rude, surly or just shorter than you expected. But if you want to understand what makes a person tick, you need to know them faults and all.
Sometimes you meet one of your hero’s and they don’t disappoint. A good example is Mike Wood who was a guest earlier this year at our Acespeed Motorsport dinner held to raise funds for the Bradford Lord Mayors Appeal.
Mike was an international rally co-driver between 1955 and 1998. During his career he competed in over 100 international events winning several outright and taking many class wins. Mike navigated with many world class drivers including, Timo Makinen, Rauno Aaltonen, Tony Fall, Hannu Mikkola and many more. Mike competed right up to 1998 when he took part in the Mini Monte Rally and was the outright winner with Tony Fall.
Like many competitors in the 1960’s and 70’s he never really retired and is still involved in organising, marshalling, or helping to run Classic Car events in the UK and abroad. Despite his 85 years he is still able to command a room and tell tales of daring do’s. Tales that should be recorded for posterity.
Mike didn’t disappoint and was as a true gentleman. As an enthusiast who races and rallies cars from Mikes heyday I feel that I appreciate better what it was like to be a professional racer in the 60’s and 70’s. From my perspective you should meet as many people as you can who took part in these legendary events. I find that they rarely disappoint.