020 7831 0101

There's More To Life Than Work (William Simmonds)

There's More To Life Than Work (William Simmonds)

Here in our series “More to Life than Work….” William chats about one of his interests: cars and racing. William specializes in property law, commercial and residential.

Technology works out so many things for us nowadays. Pre-decimalisation, my father used to say that having our currency in pounds, shillings and pence (and farthings!) made us a nation of mathematicians. I think that is probably going a bit far but I understood what he meant.

On the subject of mental arithmetic, I recall that pre-satnav days, when driving in France I would see a road sign showing the distance to my destination in kilometres. I would then busy myself mentally converting the figure into miles and then trying to estimate the time of arrival based on average speed.

Average speed is a tricky one since, on a motorway, one would think that by maintaining a constant speed one’s average would be near to that speed. However, a stop for even a few minutes will knock down the figure considerably. 

The Mille Miglia was an endurance race held in Italy over a course of 1,000 miles. I was somewhat staggered to read the other day that in the 1955 Mille Miglia, Sterling Moss had an average speed of 97.96 miles per hour. At times he was achieving speeds of well over 170 miles per hour which is surprising for a car made in 1955 and given that the roads were open roads, not closed to the public and in places passed through villages.

Sir Sterling Moss (as he is now) was a well known Grand Prix driver. People describe him as the best driver never to be world champion. I have met him on two occasions and he seemed to me to be a most modest and self-effacing chap.

In the Portugese Grand Prix in 1958 his closest rival, Mike Hawthorn had spun off the track and stalled his engine. As he went past, Moss shouted advice to Hawthorn to steer downhill and bump start the car, which he did. Hawthorn was later accused of reversing on the track and threatened with a penalty. Moss defended him and Hawthorn was not penalised. The effect of Moss’s quick thinking and his defence of Hawthorn meant that Hawthorn went on to win the world championship. He beat Moss by one point. All rather impressive I feel.