Just think what a great time it is to be in the mother/father or other country. The Poms have lost the World Cup semi to the Croats. Hamo has lost the lead in the F1 driver’s championship to a Jerry driving an Italian car. Theresa May has lost more ministers than there are countries in the EU and yesterday the Trumpster turned up in London.
Charlie Gordon-Lennox (AKA the Duke of Richmond) has pulled out all stops to mark 25 years of fast metal. Back then 25,000 people turned up. This weekend there should be 250,000.
Now despite living in what you and I would describe as a small neoclassical palace complete with an 1804 Egyptian-themed dining room with suited staff on a 5000ha estate, Charlie is a bit of a lad. He hated Eton, leaving at 17 and going to work for Stan Kubrick. You know Stan for his film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has the weirdest ending of any movie bar the 2004 classic, Sex Lives of the Potato Men.
In an exclusive interview via YouTube, Stan told me: “The idea (of the ending) was supposed to be that he is taken in by godlike entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form, … (and put in a room) which is a very inaccurate replica of French architecture.” And you thought Michael McMichael was a few snags short of a barbie, one stop short of Wynyard and two wafers short of a communion.
Val Bottas will be driving a F1 hybrid, Troy Corser riding a BMW S1000R, Richard Petty a Dodge Charger, Jackie Stewart a Lola Ford T90 and Mark Webber some sort of Porker. Siemens will be trying to get an autonomous race car to do the hill climb but it will have a driver in the seat in case, as I expect, it all goes to excrement.
But the real excitement was at the Bonhams Festival of Speed Sale yesterday. My deadline means I can’t tell you the results until next week but listen to these specials: there’s one of only three 1961 Aston Martin MP209 DB4GT Zagatos ever built. This Jim Clark-driven, quasi-works team, beautiful-looking and even better-sounding, super-light, Italian-Brit campaigned here at Goodwood. Another Aston is the 1965 DB5 driven by Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye ($2.6 million).
The star of the show for me is Mad Jack Shuttleworth’s Grand Prix-winning 1932 Alfa Romeo Tipo B Monoposto ($9m). Mad Jack bought the car from Scuderia Ferrari for the 1935 racing season and promptly won the Donington Grand Prix, beating two Bugattis. If I were you, I would be sending Bonhams $90 for a copy of its exquisite sales catalogue. It’s the best car porn I’ve seen since Claude Lelouch’s eight-minute street-racing flick, C’était un rendezvous.
And talking of reasonably priced classics, John Pye Auctions is offering the auto star of Dad’s Army and To The Manor Born, a black 1934 Rolls Royce 20/25 Saloon by Park Ward for about $55k. Directors loved this model Roller. You can see them in The League of Gentlemen, The Brides of Fu Manchu, To Be or Not To Be and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Now, as you know, the business editor threatens to fire me every time I don’t write about motorbikes. So let me bring you this hot news story. Fifty-seven-year-old actor, tequila-maker and coffee-spruiker George Clooney had his second motorcycle accident last week.
Eleven years ago, George and friend, former Las Vegas cocktail waitperson and model, now beauty therapist and part-time yoga teacher Sarah Larson were riding on a Harley-Davidson steered by Mr Clooney north on Boulevard East in Weehawken. At 3.30pm Mr Clooney, with Ms Larson on the back, collided with a 1999 Mazda Millenia driven by Albert Sciancaledore.
Mr Clooney was passing to the right of the vehicle as it attempted to make a right turn on the two-lane road. Bert was fine but George got a hairline fracture of a rib and road rash and Sarah broke her foot.
One month later, more than 24 staff at the hospital where the two were taken were suspended without pay for looking at George’s medical records. No one looked at Sarah’s.
Fast forward, we find George on his scooter pushing at 105km/h on State Road 125 towards Olbia from the place where he, Amal and the kiddies are hanging out in a gated villa in Puntaldia. At 8.15am he has a head-on with a Merc E class. He slams into the windshield, gets thrown 20m, cracks his helmet and is taken straight to John Paul II hospital’s emergency room, where all the staff looked at his medical records but no one cared because that’s what you do in Italy.
Aren’t bikes the best?
Well, that’s all you need to know this week. See you Saturday.