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Le Mans 1989 - The Tourists' Story


After the euphoria of Jaguar's great triumph in 1988, there's no doubt at all that I went to Le Mans the following year with every expectation of seeing Tom's Cats do the business again.  Yes, Mercedes were looking strong, but they hadn't done much at Le Mans, had they?   After their withdrawal in '88, they were short of experience of a race where experience usually counts for a great deal.  Well, so much for that idea!

The team of Tourists for 1989 had expanded to 10 members, shown below on the (incredibly long) ferry crossing from Portsmouth to St. Malo.  Left to right, we can name the guilty parties as:-

Ben, Dave, Martin, Bruce, Ian 2, Alan, Terry and Ian 1.  Robert had gone missing for this shot and I was....well, you know where I was!


Although we had that very long crossing, we thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay in picturesque Concale - where the seafood in the Hotel Continental and the hotelier's English were both very good! 

As usual, we didn't get to the circuit until after midday on Saturday.  We watched, no doubt smiling smugly to ourselves as the Daly and Jones Jaguar established what appeared to be a comfortable lead, only for the hopes to be dashed when gearbox gremlins left Derek stranded out on the Mulsanne.

It wasn't all that long before we realised that the Silver Arrows really meant business this weekend, as they growled around in metronomic fashion.  I have included a shot of the 203 Mazda, only because I thought it was quite good.  I guess I should have included a shot of the winning Mercedes, but, well.....I didn't.


Once the Jaguar challenge wilted, the race seemed to me to lose a lot in terms of excitement and interest, although things did liven up when Tom Walkinshaw instructed the drivers of the remaining 2 Jaguars (1 and 4) to "give them a good shake", in the knowledge that they weren't going to win the race, so the drivers might as well see what they could get out of them.  My kind of guy, definitely, Mr. Walkinshaw!


One of the "blink and you'll miss it" moments was provided by the Aston Martin team with their splendid (both looking and sounding) AMR-1s.  What a pity that Jean-Marie and Bernie then decided to make sportscars the breeding ground for engines for F1 (and to give Peugeot a playing field all of it's own!!).  Cynical?  Me?  Never!


So much for 1989.  Although I haven't included it here (yes, I'm a coward!), 1989 saw the very first picture taken of me (using my camera, that is), at Le Mans.  I will post it some time - it makes me feel very sad and rather old - I had hair in those days - and a waist!