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BTM TALK – HWM BY GILLIAN GOLDSMITH


News


Eugene Dunn and Gillian Goldsmith (Cliff Bolton).


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nyone familiar with Walton will know what is now the Aston Martin dealership near the


bridge, called HWM (Hersham and Walton Motors). And judging by the large turn out for this Brooklands Trust Members’ talk in March, quite a lot know something of its illustrious history. Gillian Goldsmith, racing driver and pioneer


lady jockey, became fascinated by HWM after she was invited to drive one of its cars in historic hill climbs. She has come to know a lot about this enterprising little team, led by John Heath and George Abecassis, who clearly had a whale of a time in the 1950s taking on the might of Euro- pean racing with a tiny budget plus a lot of hard work, some innovative ideas and some motor trader nous – the team basically lived on starting money (as paid in those days) and sold off its cars at the end of each season. Abecassis had raced at Brooklands and sounds


like everyone’s idea of a slightly raffish hero. Gillian told the tale of him, post-HWM, being reprimanded by Aston Martin team manager, for whom he was then driving, for crashing. George’s response was: “The last time I crashed they gave me the DFC!” He had been a fighter pilot in the war. Heath was very hard-working – never joining


the rest of the team at the pub. Amongst their team members was a promising young driver by the name of Moss, Peter Collins and Lance Macklin followed, along with later-to-be-famous mechanics Alf Francis and Rex Woodgate. Present for our evening, a sprightly 94 years old, was team competition manager Eugene Dunn, who had worked at Vickers and stayed with HWM through- out its racing days – which came to an end when John Heath was killed in 1956 in the Mille Miglia. The main part of the evening was a film of a


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series of interviews Gillian had conducted with HWM drivers, owners, restorers and team members, past and present, at a Goodwood Revival a few years ago. Their enthusiasm for these cars, and clear enjoyment of them, shone from the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, but just


wonder if Eugene Dunn might be tempted back to tell us more about life with HWM.


Chris Bass Stemax ltd GEOFF HARRIS Performance engineers


07860 458 679 |01189 344 140 WWW.GEOFF-HARRIS.CO.UK


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