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The genius of Archie Scott Brown

3 years ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


4 October 2021

Archie Scott Brown is naturally right-handed, except that he doesn’t have one. Over the years he’s learned to reverse his own polarity, so it’s with his strong left-arm that he grips the thin wooden rim of the Connaught’s steering wheel. Using the stump of his right arm, he knocks the thin aluminium lever behind the wheel up a notch, then continues accelerating hard.

As the right-hander at Woodcote approaches at speed, Archie hits the middle pedal with his right foot to slow the car, kicking the gearchange pedal with his left to shift down. But the lever is in the wrong position and the leftmost pedal sticks awkwardly, so that when the next gear finally comes in it isn’t the one Archie wanted. The 2.5-litre Alta four-cylinder howls beyond its safe rev limit, the needle in the biggest dial in the centre of the stack buzzing all the way 7500, some 800rpm higher than it should.

Archie winces. It isn’t like him to punish a car. He hopes the engine isn’t damaged. That would be no way to ready himself for only his second race in a Formula 1 machine. He gives thanks to the racing gods that he blundered that gearchange not in the race itself, but in practice.

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