BRM Driver Richard Attwood in conversation with senior BRM Mechanic Alan Challis.
In those days the Brands Hatch paddock was not the best of places, it was far from
level and had a loose shale surface dotted with redundant fence posts. This being
the Grand Prix it was also crowded with people and Alan was tasked with the job of
driving Richard Attwood’s P126 through the paddock and down to the circuit ready
for practice which in those circumstances was a difficult task for anyone. As the
crowd ahead parted before him Alan made progress but a rear wheel of the P126 caught
one of those fence posts breaking part of the car's suspension. Richard Attwood made
his way to the paddock to see where his car had got to and found it, together with
an embarrassed Alan, who had to tell him that there would be no car for him to drive
in the practice session which by then was well underway.
On leaving school Alan joined BRM as an apprentice and was to become the team's Chief
Mechanic. Soon after BRM closed Alan became Chief Mechanic to Frank William's racing
team, just prior to it scoring the fIrst of its many Grand Prix victories and becoming
a world championship winning team. He stayed with the Williams Team until he retired
in December 2006, after a career spent largely at the top of motor racing. In that
time he witnessed, at first hand, major changes in the sport.
Adapted from an original text by Peter Putterill for Bourne Civic Society
1968 British Grand Prix - What’s happened to my car?