Number 38 and the Spirit of Racing
A couple of posts ago, I mentioned Number 38 and his comments on the F1-Fanatic site. Since then, #38 and I have been in correspondence and it turns out he is actually Roy Jacobson, a man with long experience of motor racing and the occasional brush with F1. Roy is 62 years old now and still races his kart locally in Virginia – you can’t keep a good man down!
In talking with Roy about his experiences, it occurred to me that readers would be interested too and so I will be posting a few of his stories in these final few days before the season commences in Australia. Here’s a taster from early on in our correspondence:
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix of 1983
“I had entered an M.G. powered car called a Lester-MG and was assigned to a class filled with Lotus XIs, Lolas, Porsches and Ferraris.
“In practice, I qualified well but was gridded last as the stewards didn’t know what a Lester was and didn’t expect much performance.
“Just prior to the race someone asked if I was in the right class – after all the entire field, about 20 cars, had alloy, overhead cam engines and the M.G. engine was just a ‘push-rod , lump of iron’. I replied, ‘That’s why I’m starting from scratch, don’t want to embarrass anyone.’
“In the race, I went from last to 6th. No champagne, no trophy, no ribbon but I always get a time sheet! It was a personal victory.”
Against that sort of competition, a victory indeed. Roy’s exploits range from kart racing, amateur events driving his MG TD and hillclimbs to racing in F1 GP support events and even helping out in the Lotus pit for the 1979 US GP at Watkins Glen. Through his eyes we can glimpse not only the history of motor sport going back almost fifty years but also get a feel for the vast sweep of motor racing that goes on every year, unrecorded, unsung, and yet the scene for deeds every bit as heroic as those we see in F1.