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About...

For over thirty years Eoin Young wrote a weekly Diary page for Autocar. "It was always a comment on the news rather than the news itself. I always wrote it as I told it when I got back to the Barley Mow, my favourite watering hole in West Horsley, Surrey, after a Grand Prix. My mates already knew the results.  They had watched the race on TV or read the reports in the Monday papers. They wanted to know the gossip and the funny stories". That's what the Autocar readers enjoyed for a longer period than any writer had ever written for the oldest English-language motoring magazine.

The Barley Mow was the local for the lads from Tyrrell Racing so there was always Grand Prix gossip but now that's changed and the Tyrrell factory now makes something else. Most of the lads went off with the late lamented Dr Harvey Postlethwaite to a Honda team that never happened and got swallowed by BAR.

Eoin Young worked in a bank in Timaru, a seaside city in New Zealand's South Island, getting a taste of motor racing by riding to events with namesake but no relation, David Young in his C-Type Jaguar. That was very much like joining the army as a General. He came to Britain in 1961, joined Denny Hulme for the Formula Junior series in Europe, and signed up as Bruce McLaren's secretary in 1962 after the Sandown Park race in Australia. "I asked Bruce what a secretary did and he said he didn't know but all the other drivers had one so I could be his.

Helping to set up a dynasty didn't seem like work back then. There were only half a dozen of us and work was as long as it took. There weren't union hours and the magic thing for the mechanics was that Bruce was one of them. He wasn't a Grand Prix star. He was your mate and you were all trying to build a winner. Anyone could put in their opinion and it would be heard. Proud, Bruce wasn't. He just wanted to win with his own car."

In 1966 Eoin set up his own business as a consultant working with the McLaren sponsors and travelling with the drivers between CanAm or Indy Car races one weekend in North America and a Grand Prix in Europe the next. Heady stuff. In 1967 he wrote his first of the weekly Autocardiary pages and when he was dropped for reasons that were never totally clear, his readers were left waiting for the page to reappear. Now it's back at www.pitpass.com

In 1976 he wrote Against All Odds with James Hunt, the story of the wild child's championship. 'James was a driver that I particularly disliked but I found that, away from racing and his gang, he was charming. As he turned out to be when he quit racing and used to drive his Austin A35 down to have lunch with us as the Barley Mow. I remember Ken Tyrrell saying to him once "James -- there are times on TV when you really should keep your mouth shut".  And James replied "Ken, I quite agree with you, but the BBC pay me to keep it open."

In 1979 Eoin set up his Specialist Book Broking Service which was a fancy name for selling top-dollar rare motoring and motor racing books and memorabilia. Not second hand books. Business boomed. In 1996 he wrote his autobiography It Beats Working with chapters on every aspect of his life in motor racing. He can still find copies to sign if you missed the book first time round. This was followed in 2003 by It Still Beats Working which brought the story up to date. He has also written books on James Hunt, Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme and others. See the Books page for more details of titles by Eoin.

Eoin's first Grand Prix was the French at Reims in 1961. "I was sharing a fleapit hotel room with Denny Hulme who was in the Formula Junior race. As we came out of our room there was a guy locking up next door in Dunlop blues and obviously a driver. I asked Denny who he was? Dunno. Never seen him before. Not many people had. It was Giancarlo Baghetti who won his first world championship GP for Ferrari that afternoon and then soared into obscurity from whence he had come".

 So. There are lots of stories told over lots of dinners and lots of wine. In the sixties John Cooper used to be at a loose end after dinner on race weekends when his drivers were tucked up and his mechanics had usually gone back to work. He'd say "Come on, boy. Let s go and have a nightcap". And we'd find a bar someplace to put the racing world to rights. I remember one night when one of his driver s wives had got right up his nose, insisting on ordering for everyone off the menu.  "French!" spluttered John.  "French! She can't speak French. The only French she knows, she learned off the bathroom taps!" 

Eoin Young now writes regular columns for various publications including 'Cars for the Connoisseur' in the UK, Victory Lane" in the USA, "NZ Classic Car" in New Zealand and "Am Klassiek" in Holland and as well as the web based motor sport magazine www.pitpass.com. After spending more than three decades in the UK he has now relocated back to his native New Zealand.