I was shocked and greatly saddened when Doug Nye emailed to say our mutual very good friend Adrian 'Hammy' Hamilton had died.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing his father Duncan, the 1953 Le Mans winner, in the early '90s. Ever since I read his hilarious autobiography 'Touch Wood' (I used to keep a spare copy to lend to friends), he had been one of my heroes.
One day in 1994, the phone rang and it was Duncan. 'Not very good news, I'm afraid. Not got long to go. I'd like you to come down and stay with us, and write my obituary.'
I went down. We drank a lot of gin. We joked and he reminisced. With dinner, we had a great deal of fine claret. Saying good-bye next morning, as I left in my Italian Job E-type Roadster, was very poignant.
At Duncan's Memorial Service, the address was given by Raymond Baxter who had been the BBC's motor racing commentator before my dear friend Murray. I remember it well. Baxter referred to Adrian as, 'Not so much a chip off the old block as a block off the old block!'
Hammy and I became good friends. He was delightfully blunt and outspoken. It was he who put together the amazing ROFGO Collection of Gulf-sponsored cars and then made the book happen that Doug wrote and we published.
Hammy would often phone for a chat and I feel very sad I will never again hear his rich, cultured tones and the wonderful words, 'Hamilton here. How are you, old bean?'
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