News broke over the weekend of the passing of motorsport commentator Brian Jones, a man whose voice was a key part of a visit to Brands Hatch for several decades as the lead trackside commentator, alongside other ‘gigs’ in broadcasting and beyond.
My journey into a career in motorsport has had many milestones but the key moments truly began in the late 1980s and early-mid 1990s as a regular attendee at Brands Hatch with my then young son.
Whether it was Touring cars, GT cars, single seaters – or a mixture of all of the above there was one ‘ever present’ – unpicking the mysteries of an incomplete programme entry list – keeping us updated on what was going on, and why at times nothing was – and, in particular, describing get action that kept us coming back week after week.
All of that came from the dulcet and entertaining tones of Brian Jones, truly the Voice of Brands Hatch, literally for as long as I can remember!
Much, much later there was the opportunity to join Brian on the odd occasion in a commentary booth as a guesting ‘colour’ man, in particular during the years when he joined the happy band of the Britcar team.
When I did I found the man behind the mike had precisely the same demeanour and personality as the voice heard in the stands and on the spectator banks, truly fizzing with enthusiasm for the sport and generous with his time and knowledge.
He was well known too amongst a generation of young hopefuls as the ‘go to’ guy to help prepare them for a life in front of cameras, microphones and notebooks, a pioneer in media skills training in grassroots motorsport.
His gift for description and entertainment in equal measure informed a generation of fans trackside and the ‘High, Wide and Handsome’ line to describe the optimum line into Paddock Hill Bend will be remembered always.
The myriad of messages and memories that have emerged since news of his passing broke, and the sorrow and shock shown in the tone of many show clearly that this is a man who will be missed my more than he could ever have imagined.
Our deepest condolences to his family and countless friends in the sport and beyond.