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MEMORIES / Ugly teenager surrounded by campsite beauties



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It was hard being a Dutch youngster wanting to follow F1 in the heydays of the FISA/FOCA struggle for power. Still a long way from being the Internet age, the eighties didn't provide easy information access to junior race fans as they had to rely on what their parents and their pocket money made available to them.

Autorensport magazine was running on its last legs and wasn't widely available. General-motoring magazines such as Autovisie and Autokampioen published two-page race reports whereas the famed Grand Prix International magazine got a Dutch-language version as of 1981. However, my local bookshop only began running it from 1982 on.

The only Monday newspapers that gave a fat amount of column inches to Grand Prix racing were de Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad, but in my parents' mind these were right-wing and distasteful. Their own newspaper, de Volkskrant, took a critical stance with regard to motorsports and usually paid more attention to fatalities than to the actual racing. In short, it was nowhere close to the specialist motorpress press the average British teenager was treated to in those days.

And despite Jos Verstappen, Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos it isn't all too different nowadays. The volume of publications may have followed the sharp rise in interest, their quality generally hasn't.

It must be the reason that I wasn't aware of the fact that my camera was prying in on a conversation between Messrs Chapman, Head and Jenkinson when I took the above picture. I may well have identified the Lotus chief, perhaps the Williams head designer's face would have rung a bell, but would I have recognized Jenks? Impossible.

I do remember all the fuss about the ministry of Culture, Recreation and Social Work outlawing big-sized track-side commercial messages in a fashion that would precede today's tobacco advertisement clamp-down. Too late to heed to lady minister Til Gardeniers' call, the circuit owners went into counter-attack. Several advertisement hoardings were taped over using cut-out garbage bags, while a central Tarzan hoarding featured the eloquent copy of Til, is dit wat je wil? (Til, is this what you want?).

The photos that we took that Sunday have been stashed away for years in my parents' attic. My father only recently rediscovered the negatives. I immediately confiscated them and ordered for a reprint.

Take a look at the full picture gallery of the photographs taken by my father and myself. The cosy campsite atmosphere of the Zandvoort paddock is clearly visible, as is the ugliness of the serious teenager standing in front of the real beauties of the paddock...