“I do,” I said. “James Hunt is a bit of a pop star, long hair, a maverick, with a big female following, and Lord Hesketh is paying for it all, running his own team from his estate in Northamptonshire, good story.”
“OK, fine,” the editor seemed vaguely interested, “we’ve had an offer to go to the Monaco race with the team, their transporter leaves tonight, you’d better go with them, we’ll get a local crew to meet you. Get some film back for the programme next Monday.”
I am already on my feet. All I know is that I have to get to Portsmouth, for the overnight ferry to France, and I will find the truck because it’s white with a large teddy bear on the side. All I have to do is find James Hunt in Monte Carlo and get him to talk to me. Sounds simple, but James could be very charming, or very grumpy, in equal measure.
The truckie is a friendly and helpful fellow. We stayed up late into the night swapping stories with the gang from Lotus and Graham Hill’s Embassy team. “Race you there,” they said, “winner gets the best place in the paddock.” This was important because in those days the F1 paddock was across the harbour from the pits area, not on the quay close by as it is today.
So, down through France we went in convoy, not racing, but not hanging about. North of Lyon we all stopped for the night, Lotus, Hill and Hesketh never far apart on the road. Early start tomorrow, flat chat down to Monte Carlo harbour.