Sunday, 26 May 2013

Maxime Martin

There's a danger here that I am going to be accused of being a bit slow on the uptake, but that's a risk that one takes every time one picks up a microphone and speaks, or puts pen to paper and publishes. So with that proviso, I'd like to share with you a small moment of enlightenment that I had since observing the Nürburgring 24 hour race.

Driving home with fellow-commentator Jim Roller, we were reflecting on the sublime performance of Maxime Martin in the Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3, and the thought suddenly occurred to me that, as he was Belgian, there were some other Belgians called Martin that had indelibly written themselves on my memory as I was growing up and beginning to get to grips with this whole endurance racing thing.

Sure enough, when I got home, a little research soon revealed that Max is indeed related to the famous Belgian racing brothers of the same name: he is the son of the winner of the Nürburgring 24 hours in 1992, Jean-Michel Martin. Readers who are as old as me (or older) will no doubt recall the Belga-sponsored cars of the late 1970's and early 1980's which had the Martin brothers - Jean-Michel and Philippe, partnered by luminaries such as Gordon Spice, Bob Wollek and Marc Duez. Jean-Michel is the elder of the two brothers, and I have to admit, on remembering the connection, were a pretty potent force.

Jean-Michel is four-times the winner of Spa 24 hours, (twice with his brother, in a 3-litre Ford Capri) and in 1980, partnered by Spice, they were third at Le Mans in the Belga-sponsored Rondeau.

A small thing, I know, but one that caused me a great deal of pleasure somehow - a sort of link with the past. And I am sure that Guy Edwards (father of Sean) and Jean-Michel and Philippe Martin, could share some stories, if they haven't already done so, as they watch their accomplished offspring plying their trade.

Here's a photo I took of Jean-Michel at the wheel of the Joest Porsche 936C at Silverstone in 1982

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