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Bourne BRM Day

REPORT: The home of BRM turned back the clock to the team’s championship-winning year of 1962 with the town centre of Bourne closed off so historic Formula 1 cars could take over the street.

A 1974 Motul-liveried BRM P201 enjoys the opportunity of a long straight, past the sheds in which it was built almost 40 years ago

A 1974 Motul-liveried BRM P201 enjoys the opportunity of a long straight, past the sheds in which it was built almost 40 years ago

Bourne was the lifelong home of Raymond Mays, who founded BRM in 1945. The team remained there until it folded in 1977, yet the town remains immensely proud of its motor sport connections. So, with this year marking the half century of BRM scooping the F1 Manufacturers’ title and its charismatic driver Graham Hill taking the Drivers’ laurels, it seemed like a good excuse to recollect the glory days.

And Bourne remembered in remarkable style, with the street party to end all street parties. The entire centre of the town was closed off so that Formula 1 cars could be run – often spiritedly – through it, before a crowd of thousands. Damon Hill, his mother Bette, and his sisters were warmly welcomed as special guests for a tribute to Graham Hill that included his son, 1996’s F1 champion, driving ‘Old Faithful’, the very BRM 578 with which Graham clinched the 1962 season.

BRM drivers Sir Jackie Stewart and Richard Attwood also attended, both thrilling the crowds with their frolics in the sort of cars not usually seen shrieking past Barclays Bank or using the local bus depot as a handy turning bay. There were some extraordinary sights and sounds to be experienced, perhaps most notably two of the awe-inspiring BRM V16s from the 1950s chasing each other through town with the sort of primeval, window-shaking noise that made you realise quite why so many places were selling ear plugs.

The antics of the F1 cars were complimented in a slightly more sedate way by a cavalcade of pre-1963 classic road cars, to set the scene for Bourne as it would have been when BRM was on top. There was also a parade of historic race transporters, those remarkable coach-built creations that are usually just as fascinating as the precious cargos they used to carry. 

The organisers – all volunteers – hailed the day a great success, with profits going to local charities. And hopefully those organisers are now scouring the history books for something else to celebrate, because days this enjoyable and spectacular shouldn’t only happen once in a blue moon.

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Special guest at BRM Day was Damon Hill, paying tribute to his late-father Graham, who was regarded as a hero by the people of Bourne after his 1962 F1 World Championship win
  A 1974 Motul-liveried BRM P201 enjoys the opportunity of a long straight, past the sheds in which it was built almost 40 years ago
Although the event focused on BRM, there were examples of cars from English Racing Automobiles (ERA), the company BRM boss Raymond Mays ran from 1933 up until the end of the Second World War. ERA also had its headquarters in Bourne
  Sir Jackie Stewart draws the crowds in his Cosworth V8-powered Tyrrell-Ford  006 prior to heading out for a demonstration run of this potent machine. It was with this car that he won the 1973 World Championship
On 364 days of the year, this is Bourne’s bus station. On BRM Day however, it proved a handy marshalling point for the recreation of a typical 1962 Formula 1 grid
  Damon Hill shields his eyes against the glare of the late-summer sun as he guides a BRM P57 along the usually public main road through Bourne. With thousands lining the streets, this wouldn’t have been a good time to not see where he was going
Two BRM V16s were at the event, with both of them in action through the streets of Bourne, the surrounding buildings making that magnificent 16-cylinder exhaust roar sound even more impressive
  BRM’s 1959 Leyland Super Tiger Worldmaster car transporter was a welcome returnee to the roads it once used to regularly frequent
We suspect that the owner of this fabulous Bentley R-type Continental taking part in the cavalcade of pre-1963 vehicles may not be that concerned with the ‘lowest prices’ of Bourne’s bargain food stores


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