Thursday, 28 August 2014
Yet none of them were quite a match for the best news-gatherer the sport ever had. Ill-health has consigned Eoin Young to a hospice in his native New Zealand but his From The Grid column in Autocar was obligatory for anybody in the business or out of it. Well-connected ever since he came to Europe and worked with Bruce McLaren in 1961 Eoin had the biggest scoops. His was the best-informed commentary, nobody knew as much as he, nobody spilled as many secrets and above all his writing told readers he was the insider’s insider. It didn’t matter if you were an outsider, Eoin had a way of gaining your confidence.
Eoin Young knew who was going to drive for whom next year – sometimes before they did. He knew who was up-and-coming and who was going down-and-out. He would take notes and print it yet I don’t suppose he ever broke a single confidence. If you told Eoin anything he would take it that you were, in effect, telling the world. He was only the means to the printed page. His veracity seemed to encourage his informants, who told him things they’d confide to no-one else.
Maybe a little rancorous in later years - his personal life was turbulent – Eoin was competitive and neither gave nor expected anything less than determined bargaining in books. His Autocar columns will be a priceless resource to motor racing historians, his books perhaps less so. They were variable; he seemed to grow bored with research or writing at length or in depth. His forensic skills were best in his brief, punchy impertinent style.