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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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!"
Young now writes regular columns for various publications including
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.