Raymond Mays’ Magnificent Obsession

Last Thursday, Bournemouth-based author and former Anglican Priest, Bryan Apps, launched his new book at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

Raymond Mays' Magnificent ObsessionLaced with fascinating anecdotes, Raymond Mays’ Magnificent Obsession reveals a pivotal figure in motor sport history and describes the author’s enthusiasm for BRM, detailing his visit to Raymond Mays in Eastgate House, Bourne, in 1963.

An intimate congregation of friends and motor racing enthusiasts gathered around the National Motor Museum’s Mk1 BRM for a talk by the author, followed by a presentation of the book to Beaulieu’s Chief Executive, Russell Bowman, and a signing session.

Bryan Apps said: “I was given a very warm welcome at Beaulieu by Russell Bowman and Museum Manager, Doug Hill and was delighted to give a signed copy of Raymond Mays` Magnificent Obsession for the Museum Library, which is an essential resource for any student researching the history of motor racing. The National Motor Museum is currently undertaking a re-build of the car`s engine, preserving its legendary sound and keeping alive an important link to Britain’s motorsport history.”

Bryan Apps is a lifelong motor racing enthusiast; he created a BRM scrapbook at the age of thirteen, with Raymond Mays writing its foreword. Mays continued corresponding with Bryan for many years, keeping him informed of the latest developments.

The retired reverend from Bournemouth was an Anglican priest for nearly 50 years, but away from clerical duties he enjoys nothing more than painting scenes from motor racing. He explains: “I paint famous drivers and famous races and once the painting’s complete, I’ll send it to the driver, often starting a correspondence.”

Bryan’s 20 minute talk from the event, which includes some fascinating anecdotes, is available to view on YouTube.

The National Motor Museum Trust’s Mk 1 BRM, which was built with racing chassis number one, was famously driven by racing aces Reg Parnell and Juan Manuel Fangio. Only five examples of this pioneering British design were built, which means that preserving the sights and sounds of this BRM Type 15 is vital to keeping alive an important link to Britain’s motorsport history.

The Trust’s ambition to set in motion the raising of funds for long needed work to the 1950 racing car received a boost when it was nominated as the 2014 Goodwood Revival Beneficiary Charity.  The assistance of the Goodwood Revival, generous donations and fundraising activities have now brought the total of the BRM Preservation Appeal to just over £50,000.

Skilled restoration is required in order to keep it in fully-functioning condition, including a rebuild of its supercharged 1.5-litre V16 engine. While the initial target of £50,000 has been reached it is possible that, due to its complex design, more may be needed to fund the BRM’s renovation, depending upon what the Museum technicians uncover when work begins.