I think that I should 'Set the Scene'...

My Dad was born in Swinton, near Mexborough, he went to school, church and played lad type games. He then was apprenticed as a toolmaker, worked through his apprenticeship and on his 21st birthday went into the RAF as a Maintainance Engineer.

In 1945 he came out of the RAF and went to work at International Harvesters in Doncaster, initially getting to work by way of the trams & buses that plied those routes twixt work and home, then one day he decided to buy a motorbike. The first motorbike was a Triumph 3SE, which he kept for a year or so, then he bought from a dealer in Sheffield an Excelsior Manxman, which was unreliable and a bit of a handful.

In that same period, Mr Hawthorn senior had a garage in Mexborough, it's location was behind the JET Filling Station on Doncaster Road, a little way past the traffic lights at the 'Pastures' intersection. This was a part time business, his full time job was at the 'Doncaster Town Power Station' located where the VW dealer Haysledens are now. That is before they, [as a family] relocated to Hampshire and he started his motorsport involvement and garage business from the renowned 'Tourist Trophy Garage' in Farnham, Mike was still a schoolboy at this time. Mr Hawthorn snr serviced the Excelsior for my Dad and rebuilt the carburettor re-jetting it with FIAT jets, and for years it ran faultlessly. As you know I am a bit of a Jaguar fan and through my membership of the JDC [Jaguar Drivers Club] there was a day event organised to the private museum in Surrey, dedicated to Mike Hawthorn. Mike Hawthorn was Britains first GP World champion, he was born in Mexborough, there is a pub close to the Mexborough Montague Hospital named the 'Sportsman' with the outside swinging sign showing Mike Hawthorn in his Ferrari GP car. Mike died in 1959 in a Jaguar mk1 after hitting a bollard, then a truck, the kerb and finally a tree, the MK1 wrapping itself around the tree.

There are stories that the Mk1 was aluminium and not steel, hence it's rapid pace on the road and on the track. That BRG MK1 was a well known racing car as well as Mike's daily driver, and it is understood that he often used to drive up to see his relations in Mexborough in the car, doing Farnham to Mexborough in 3 hours, that was in 1954/5, not much traffic and no motorways !!!. There are stories that Mike Hawthorn having already lost one kidney through illness, had been diagnosed his other kidney would fail within 3 years which would lead to his untimely death, also that he would not be allowed to renew his racing licence. He was a fun chap and enjoyed life, racing and ladies, he was popular in France and was nic-named 'La Papillion' after his perchant for wearing bow ties.