We have celebrated Tony Brooks’ career many times at Goodwood, most notably in 1994 when he and Moss drove up the Festival of Speed hill together in an Aston Martin DBR1, and when we paid tribute to him at the Revival. To see him back in the cockpit of a Vanwall was an emotional moment for him and for us.
Every time I went to see Tony and Pina at their beautiful apartment in a Grade 2 listed mansion at Ottershaw I was amazed by his memory, his almost pedantic attention to detail, his insistence on understanding precisely what was needed from an interview. “It’s all in my autobiography,” he would say, asking Pina to bring him a copy so he could make sure every story, every fact, was absolutely correct. (The book is aptly titled “Poetry in Motion”).
Other drivers have told me his forensic focus on accuracy should not have been a surprise. “He was a technician,” they say, “so naturally smooth and precise in the car, with a sublime touch and judgement, that made him so fast at proper circuits like Spa and the Nurburgring.”
This week it has been gratifying, and reassuring, to see Tony Brooks remembered and celebrated with so much warmth and respect. Such a self-effacing man might, I think, be surprised by the admiration shown by not only those who saw him race but also those who met him in later years.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.