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跑车英雄:肯尼斯·艾奇逊

By Michael Cotton

Another dip into the DSC vault this morning finds Michael Cotton’s interview with Kenneth Acheson in 2012 – and it is very firmly Kenneth nowadays, not Kenny!

Three times on the podium at Le Mans, what more could a racing driver wish for? A victory, of course! Kenny Acheson was on the lofty gantry after finishing second with the Sauber Mercedes team in 1989, third with Silk Cut Jaguar in 1991, second again with Toyota in 1992. Was he a ‘nearly man’ like Bob Wollek, or a driver who persistently under-rated his own performances and counted his many blessings in endurance racing? Definitely the latter!

The Kenneth Acheson you meet today has seemingly aged no more than a year or two since he retired from competition after a mighty crash in the Lister Storm at Daytona in 1996. A few more grey hairs, a smart suit that befits an extremely successful businessman, but still you hear the engaging Ulster lilt and a fund of anecdotes and recollections. Oh, not Kenny, if you don’t mind.

“当我的名字是在1977年涂在我的福特方程式背部两侧有些耀眼的火花认为肯尼听起来更racey,并坚持”。但肯尼退休了,在过去的20年肯尼斯和他的妻子菲奥娜从无到有建立起来的美容护理业务,如今雇用170人在他们的工厂在特罗布里奇的郊区,在威尔特郡。他们从那里运出1200万瓶和护肤品管,去年有个别提供给马莎百货,约翰·刘易斯和森斯玻利不下600种多种产品。无处,虽然,你会看到的名称“艾奇逊和艾奇逊”,因为这些都是由店为自有品牌的产品销售。

Kenny’s story begins at Kirkistown, where he drove his father’s Crosslé Formula Ford for the first time at the age of 19. “You shooed the cattle off the track, tucked your jeans inside your socks, put on a helmet and away you go!” Well enough for his father, Harry, owner of a brickworks, to buy him a new Crosslé if he would foreswear smoking and drinking. That done, Kenny won the Northern Ireland Formula Ford championship in his first season, 1977, and was then invited by Rory Byrne to drive Alan Cornock’s Royale in Britain. It was a triumphant season for Kenny in 1978 as he contested three Formula Ford championships and won all of them, notching up no fewer than 29 victories in the season and being named for a Grovewood Award. In all he competed in 58 races and was sponsored by Ready Mix Concrete at £50 per race, “so it worked out not too bad.”

He progressed to Formula 3 in 1979, winning three races, and contested the Vandervell Formula 3 Championship in 1980, in a March run by Murray Taylor Racing. He led the championship “pretty much the whole way” but was caught at the end of Stefan Johansson, driving a Ralt “which was way quicker” run by Ron Dennis. He lost the title to the Swede at the final round. “March said that if I stayed with them I’d get a works Formula 2 drive the following year, but that never happened. What will be, will be. I always thought that I under-performed, or maybe I over-performed in 1978, but looking back on it maybe I did have the talent but I simply lacked the confidence that a racing driver really needs to go on up the ladder.”

This hint of modesty recurs, but Kenny’s career suffered a massive blow at Pau in 1981 when he crashed into a wall and shattered his right leg in 20 places. Driving the Docking Spitzley team’s F2 Toleman, Kenny started the race from pole position with Michele Alboreto alongside. “Michele said to me before the race ‘let’s be sensible today’, and he led from the start but on the second or third lap he went wide at the hairpin and got into a big slide, so I got up the inside of him. I was three-quarters of a length ahead and he just drove into me.” It got worse. “We went up the hillside by side and he was slightly ahead, but our wheels were interlocked. If I backed off he would have had a nasty shunt. By this time I had two wheels on the footpath, and I had nowhere to go. He needed to give way to me because we’d never get round the next corner together. I took off, hit the wall and landed upside down with my leg broken to bits.”

他是为大半个赛季,但黑色的云确实有一线希望罗伯特Fearnall为他提供了在多宁顿公园工作,“在那里我看到了这个美丽的女孩在新闻办公室工作。她是菲奥娜,我结束了,娶了这个女孩。”他的体重下降到七年半石(48公斤),他整个夏天都在四处蹒跚拄着拐杖,但早在驾驶舱本赛季的最后一场比赛,在Mantorp公园,在那里他获得了第三名。随后,他开车的一些比赛在日本,驾驶横滨高桥国光,这大大提升他的精神。

Kenny drove for Ron Tauranac in 1982, teamed with Jonathan Palmer in Ralts. It was a season that he looks back on with a shudder because the car was “massively overweight” and he had a personality clash with the Australian designer. “Ron is absolutely brilliant but for some reason, we didn’t gel, he didn’t like me and there was nothing I could do about it.” Kenny is admittedly not an engineer, and Tauranac clearly preferred to tech-talk with Palmer, who was the first to get an updated car. Even so, Kenny finished ahead of Palmer in the European F2 Championship, seventh, allowing that the Englishman had a big shut mid-season.

在北爱尔兰卷土重来的东西在1983年,在保罗的F2比赛中与毛雷尔赛车获得第二名。“我算保罗是一个很好的电路,尽管我崩溃,我喜欢路电路和保罗是我的最爱之一。一级方程式的每一个年轻车手的梦想,但也许不是肯尼的约翰·麦克唐纳的RAM队三月洗礼这是繁琐,未能晋级连续六场大奖赛,提高电网仅在南非的一次。

That’s an hour of the interview completed, there’s a lot of tape on the cutting room floor, and we haven’t even mentioned sports cars. There was a ‘jobbing’ year in 1984, which included an entry for the Indy 500 in a four-year-old Eagle, which was too slow even for Kenny to attempt to qualify. He headed to the Land of the Rising Sun in 1985, to drive for the Advan/Nova Formula 2 team with Kunimitsu Takahashi as his team-mate. Clearly he loves Japan, the people, and the racing scene out there, and it became like a second home to him. John Fitzpatrick invited him to drive two races in his Porsche 956, at Monza (the race that was stopped by a fallen tree, in high winds), with Jo Gartner, and at Le Mans.

His baptism at Le Mans was a nightmare (pic top), the Porsche being almost out of control on the Mulsanne. “For the first time, I was really scared. The car was all over the place, the C2 cars were overtaking me at twice my speed. Jean-Louis [co-driver Schlesser] told me ‘it’s always like that when you go to Le Mans for the first time’ then he went out and came straight back in again. He hadn’t even got out of fourth gear on the Mulsanne, said the car was undrivable.”

既没有合格并在周四晚上达德利伍德先出去在956,并在他的腿上出扭结坠毁,打破了他的腿。“我感到很放松,我没有开车在勒芒,我发誓我不会再回头。”

After Manfred Winkelhock’s death in Canada in 1985, the Ulsterman received a renewed invitation from John MacDonald’s Ram-Hart team in Formula 1, starting in Austria. He qualified safely in 23rd place, alongside his team-mate Philippe Alliot, but retired at half distance with an engine failure. He then failed to qualify at Zandvoort and at Monza due to mechanical problems, which included blowing up two engines practising and qualifying for the Italian GP, then breaking the gearbox on the second lap. “I wasn’t being paid, nobody knew if I was any good, I was at the bottom of the heap whereas in Japan I was being paid and I was making a name for myself. So on Monday morning, I told John that I was finished with Formula 1, I’d be better off without it.”

He returned to Japan to end his sports car introduction driving Richard Lloyd’s Canon Porsche 956 at the monsoon-hit Fuji 1,000 Kms, with Johnny Dumfries. They qualified well but, along with most Europeans, pulled off the track after a number of laps behind the safety car, their tyres unsuitable for the standing water on the track.

“If I hadn’t had offers from Japan that would have been the end of my motor racing career” Kenny recalls. Tetsu Ikuzawa saved the day, inviting Kenny back to Japan in 1986 to drive Toyota sports cars, which were fast but unreliable. He had his second major shunt on the main straight at Fuji when a rear tyre exploded at full speed, the car becoming airborne when it spun around. “I remember thinking ‘oh, this isn’t too bad’ but I was still in the air and I hadn’t hit anything yet. It was a huge, huge shunt. When the car stopped, upside down, I looked at my hands, they were alright, so I undid my seat belt and fell on my head!”

肯尼花了整整一个赛季在日本于1987年,3000方程式与台湾研Alpha和在日系跑车锦标赛与新星台湾研阿尔法保时捷962,这是他与高桥国光共享。“他是50年,他是一个梦幻般的人,别人我有幸认识,以及美妙的驾驶。”他们一起赢得了富士两连胜,双方500 milers,第二和第三在铃鹿赛道的系列。

He moved across to Vern Schuppan’s Omron sponsored Porsche team in 1988, sharing with Price Cobb and, for one race when Cobb was busy in the States, with Emanuele Pirro, making his sports car debut. “Just think, he went on to win Le Mans five times,” says Kenny with a touch of pride for the Italian he rates as “a top person, a top driver, and a really good friend.”

Out of the blue, Kenny got a call from Max Welti inviting him to drive for Sauber Mercedes at Le Mans. “I asked for good money because I really didn’t want to go there, but they agreed the fee and I still didn’t want to go. Eje Elgh asked me about it, and told me I’d be a fool if I didn’t accept the offer to drive for Mercedes. It would be the end of my career, he said.”

After racing at Suzuka, and having his flight diverted, Kenny arrived in the paddock on Wednesday morning, went to the Mercedes camp and nobody knew who he was! “Max Welti asked me what was my best result at Le Mans, and his face was a picture when I told him I had never raced there. He was wondering what he’d let himself in for.” Straight away, though, the Sauber felt “fantastic” and he was fourth quickest in the opening session, putting Welti’s mind to rest.

But then his co-driver Klaus Niedzwiedz went out in the car and soon experienced a rear tyre blowout on the Mulsanne, fortunately without crashing. ”There was a big conference and I gathered they had been expecting a problem. They really didn’t want to do the race and withdrew the team. That was great because I got the money and didn’t have to do the race, but there was regret because the car was amazing, I could have enjoyed racing it.”

肯尼在索伯奔驰t提供驱动eam at the Fuji 1,000 Kms in October, the team supporting Schlesser in his bid to win the world championship. The Ulsterman added another tick to his cv by leading the race in both cars, but Baldi’s was eliminated by an exploded brake disc which put co-driver Philippe Streiff into the barrier at Turn 1, and Schlesser’s was delayed by a faulty sensor. The result put Schlesser, Mass and Acheson in fifth place overall, while the driver championship went in Martin Brundle’s favour, in the Silk Cut Jaguar team.

肯尼然后签订了反ct to drive for the Sauber Mercedes team in 1989, the V8, turbo-powered C9s now painted silver and properly backed by the Stuttgart manufacturer. Prior to the start of the season, two cars were taken to the Paul Ricard circuit for a full 24-hour test, a simulation for Le Mans. “None of the French drivers wanted to drive at night so I finished up driving both cars for more than 16 hours, and at the end I was crying because I felt so emotional about having completed this test.”

在铃鹿打开了季节,电路肯尼知道密切,他就和巴尔迪而大众将合作伙伴施莱瑟配对。大众,虽然是在发烧,不能正确聚焦,所以在他被宣布不适合比赛第30名排位赛之后。巴尔迪被立即切换到合作伙伴施莱瑟,而肯尼被指定到第二辆汽车,并告诉他将有望带动全480公里距离独奏,在2H48米完成。“在里卡德测试后,我知道我能做到这一点,但我特别失望,因为我站在没有机会获胜的,接近于零。我所有的朋友都在那里,我以为我会为了让大家下来。”但教练威利Dungl给他鼓励:“今天将是一个很好的一天,这将是一个一天人们会记住你的。今天你会做什么将是特别的“。

因此,这是。在第一次进站前的最后肯尼已通过现场至第六位和第二,他上升到第二,仅次于巴尔迪,结束尽管被举起的高提升设置最落后奥斯卡·拉尔里保时捷的时间移动。然后,他在第三次进站封闭施莱瑟并通过了球队的领袖,扯远了。“我知道接下来会发生什么。我被告知要慢下来。但我没有,不是马上,下次一轮我得到另一个消息,有点更加迫切。所以,我没有缓慢下来,但在直道上,其中每个人都可以看到。该情况是良好的,车是太棒了,反正我做了我的观点和我所有的朋友能理解我的处境。”

The next round of the FIA World Sports Prototype Championship took place at Dijon-Prenois, where Reinhold Joest’s Porsche team achieved a surprising victory, the Goodyear tyres lasting better than Mercedes’ Michelins in high ambient temperatures. Schlesser and Mass were second, Baldi and Acheson third, and then it was time to return to Le Mans.

这是肯尼对萨尔特第三次访问,但他的第一场比赛在那里。他,巴尔迪和Brancatelli相信他们有获胜的真正的机会。The competition was strong, as ever, from Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan and Toyota but the Saubers were up to the task, Acheson’s leading on Sunday morning but then Baldi, in a lapse of concentration, spun out and went three minutes behind Mass, Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens. “Mauro didn’t want to drive in the night and Brancatelli was too slow, so I drove for 11 hours. I had just started my last double stint to the finish when the gearbox jammed, and I was stuck in fifth. They spent 18 minutes working on it in the pits but couldn’t fix the problem, so I had to drive the last 80 minutes all in fifth gear!” The smell of burning clutch plates was alarming as he pulled out of the pits, but the clutch soon recovered and Kenny asked for a lap time he needed to finish the race without stopping again, without risk of being caught by the Joest Racing Porsche in third place.

“I was lapping about a minute off the pace, around 4 minutes 10s I think, and second place was mine until we made our formation for the run to the finish line. I caught up with Schlesser and he was going really slowly. The marshals were in the road waving their flags, something I had never seen before, and I was shouting on the radio because I was going to stall the car at Arnage, which is the slowest corner on the track If I didn’t get to the finish line I wouldn’t be classified as a finisher, but luckily Schless got the message.”

接下来的时间了,在哈拉马,巴尔迪和艾奇逊是由刹车问题并获得了第五名,落后于胜利者施莱瑟和大众两圈延迟,但胜利是甜的布兰兹哈奇因为那里有一个平静运行到旗霍埃斯特赛车提前保时捷。施莱瑟和质谱进行由轮胎故障延迟和成品在第三位一圈下来。

瑞士,德国队进入超速在纽伯格林和多宁顿,两辆车声称与施莱瑟和大众仅领先巴尔迪和艾奇逊的第一和第二位置,在有力的风格让结束了球队的冠军。巴尔迪曾在温泉为了挑战施莱瑟驱动程序标题取胜,意大利在驾驶的胜利是“令人难以置信”。

施莱瑟或巴尔迪?标题将在墨西哥决定,第一个男人的标志将是冠军。这是肯尼紧张郊游,尤其是他一直通风报信,他的合同不会在1990年未,他在所有的任何方式感到失望 - 索伯车队奔驰续约,但年轻车手迈克尔·舒马赫和卡尔·温德林格将被编入the team as ‘cubs’, to be mentored by Mass. “For some reason Mauro was not very quick, he was struggling. Schless just disappeared up the road, he was 10 seconds ahead at the stops, and I took the car from Mauro on worn tyres. I had to catch Jochen if we were to stand any chance. I did catch him, I passed him and led the race but my tyres had no grip. I was power sliding through the corners, catch the car halfway round, but then I caught up with Tiff Needell in a Porsche and just lost the back end. It went round, and I crashed.”

这是结束这个赛季大规模失望的方式,都是因为肯尼知道,因为别人没有,这是他在银索伯最后一个驱动器的更多。“毛罗却在流泪。他们不得不在晚上一个大党,莫罗和施莱瑟是在舞台上和方吉奥在那里了。我已经介绍给他在纽伯格林但我没想到他还记得我。令我惊讶,他走过来,走到我面前,我是相当多的背景下,并告诉我可以通过他的翻译,我不应该今天是失望。“方吉奥先生说,他清楚地知道你想干什么,有没有更大的事情,而不是试图赢得世界冠军为你的团队”她告诉我。

“At least I had the consolation of being kicked out of the team to make way for Schumacher and Wendlinger, both of whom went on to make their careers in Formula One, as I had long since got out of F1. They were so nice when they told me they wouldn’t renew my contract in 1990 I couldn’t be annoyed about it, they had been good to me throughout. They told me I had been a good team man, and I knew I had been quick enough while I was driving for them. It wasn’t a performance thing.”

肯尼开了日产在1990年“汽车是不是太糟糕,但它是非常政治和回头看,那年,并与RALT年,是最坏的我的两个职业。”勒芒是一个“彻头彻尾的灾难”作为他的R90C变速箱在暖胎圈失败...另外24小时耐力赛,他无法启动!

Driving for the Silk Cut Jaguar team at Le Mans was the highlight of Kenny’s 1991 season, sharing an XJR-12C with Bob Wollek (“one of the most clever people in motor racing, he was highly intelligent, a wonderful person”) and Teo Fabi. The Jaguars, burdened with extra ballast, were outpaced by the nimble Mazda 787C, but Kenny’s Jaguar was trouble-free and earned him third place on the podium.

Back to Toyota in 1992, drafted into the team for Le Mans, and another visit to the podium after finishing second with Masanori Sekiya and Pierre-Henri Raphanel. Kenny rates that as one of his best drives as he was the quickest driver on the track when conditions were wet, and they managed to give Jean Todt’s Peugeot team a good contest.

That was his final result at Le Mans, his return with Toyota in 1993 ending with a broken gearbox on Sunday morning, and with the SARD Toyota team in 1995 with total brake failure after just 14 laps.

肯尼现在正演变成肯尼斯商人,犁地他的比赛费到身体护理制造业务,他和菲奥娜正在发展。

His final race was in Laurence Pearce’s Lister Storm GT at the Daytona 24-hours in 1996, which was running well until he was crossed by a back-marker and pitched into a terrifying barrel-roll at the back straight chicane. “I think that’s a message,” he said afterwards, and never looked back.