By September 17 I guess your summer vacations will be ancient history. That book you picked up at the terminal before you boarded the plane will have served its purpose and been tossed away. But I implore you, if you like motor racing and you enjoy a good tale, go and buy 'Crash and Byrned: The Fastest Driver You Never Saw' which will be launched by Icon books on the aforementioned date. Put it to one side for when you've got a spare few hours. Whatever you do, don't open it if you're busy.
Back in the early 80s, a young driver won the RAC and P&O FF1600 titles, then the British and European FF2000 championships, dominated the British F3 championship, and went on to do wondrous things in a McLaren. Ayrton Senna, you're thinking? Wrong. Ayrton did all that, sure, but a guy called Tommy Byrne did it a year before him.
I can remember wanting to be Tommy Byrne. Actually, I wanted to be Gilles Villeneuve, but Tommy would do for starters. If you wanted to be a racing driver in the late 70s, the path was clearly defined. If you were mega you went FF1600 - F3 - F1. You might do a year of FF2000 if the right F3 seat wasn't available, but you tried to miss out F2 where there was more scope to trip up if you found yourself in the wrong car or team.
"Crashed and Byrned" by Mark Hughes
But FF1600 was where it all started and the works Van Diemen team was the holy grail. Late on Easter Sunday night in April 1980, I'd just finished playing squash with a couple of mates and we were thinking about going to Croft next day. But I wanted to watch F2 and the serious stuff so, about 11pm, I decided we were going to Thruxton. Which was a fair old way from South Shields. We went home, begged a few sandwiches from my Mum and drove all night to Wiltshire. Sleep didn't seem to matter back then.