Donington Historic Festival


You will hear this often, usually in the morning when signing on and finding out where you’ll be posted.  “You’re on 8, inside of Craners, where the rescue crew are stationed.  Speak to Dave.  He’ll Tell You A Story Or Two.”

I chat to Dave whenever his rescue unit is in rotation with us.  We laugh with the doctor, who is flicking through the index of a heart surgery manual.  He has views on lots of things, a lighthearted, mickey-taking approach, but is very serious about safety, even if his jokes can be a little near the knuckle.  He is visibly affected with the recollection of some incidents.  He’s also spent a lot of time in rallying.

Such as the time Ford asked him to join them in Portugal, presumably ‘just in case’.  The fans were known for being, ahem, brave, and there was a culture (not just in Portgual) of trying to get a touch of a car as it came past.  Group B might have been banned because the cars were too dangerous (well, they were) and too fast (though modern cars are quicker) but spectator safety and discipline were, and still are, much harder to nail.

Back in the garage at the end of the day, and Dave is called over by a mechanic.  He doesn’t seem too panicked, but Dave is slightly concerned.  “Come look at this,” the chap says, pointedly.

They go over to the car, where other mechanics are working on the rear.

Stuck between the bodywork and the numberplate is the tip of a finger.


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