The popular ‘Beatles Mania’ nightclub that Bill owned.
The popular ‘Beatles Mania’ nightclub that Bill owned.

I had an idyllic upbringing, I didn’t have to wear shoes until High School.

1957 Boys in high school

Alastair recalls the interest in motor racing that was so prevalent within his high school class.

The friends I had at High School had a huge influence on the sport of motor racing, it was almost ridiculous. In the one year of my third form in High School we had:

John Muller who became Chief Mechanic of Brabhams and worked at McLaren;
Graham Lawrence who became a Formula 2 driver over in Europe and New Zealand Gold Star Champion;
Howden Ganley who became a Grand Prix driver;
Jimmy Palmer who became New Zealand Gold Star Champion;
Robbie Francevic who became a New Zealand Saloon Car Champion;
Pete Kerr who became Chief Mechanic at March, and then Jackie Oliver’s outfit;
Steve Millen, who became a professional racing driver in America and Australia.

From this one school in one little town we had these guys who influenced motor sport all over the world.

There was a lot of motor racing interest and my older brother was involved and became a driver. I watched motor racing and looked after racing cars after school.  At fifteen I ran away from home and got myself a job. I was doing quite well in my job but my parents, who knew where I was all the time but didn’t tell me, came and got me for Christmas.

I was still too young to leave school so I was made to go back. I went to Auckland Grammar for another year but I didn’t attend much and the Headmaster didn’t make me go: ‘I can see, Alastair, that we don’t have much to offer you,’ he told me. He said I didn’t need to attend any classes that I didn’t want to, but he didn’t want me walking around the streets in my school uniform. So I used to change into my jeans and shirt in the loos at school. That way I wasn’t walking around smoking, playing pool, driving cars and doing all the bad things in my school uniform.

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