“I’m not only a co-driver; I’m a carer as well,” jokes Thompson about his role. “When I was 14, I delivered his milk and papers!”
They first rallied together in their beloved Yorkshire forests in the early 1980s and have competed frequently over the following four decades.
“I certainly don’t want to stop,” says Bean. “I’ve enjoyed every event I’ve done.” That includes many attempts at the original RAC Rally and all bar the first of the 14 Roger Albert Clark Rallies to date. “It’s a way of life, and I still love it.”
Remarkably, Bean doesn’t need to wear glasses and says he loves it when the fog comes down. While most drivers over 60 dislike the fog and even special stages in the dark, Bean comes into his element when visibility is limited.
The top end of rallying may be a young man’s sport, but further down, older age is certainly no barrier.
How it works: Aerodynamic testing limits in Formula 1
Success handicaps in motorsport tend to revolve around weight ballast or playing with power in sports car racing’s Balance of Performance formulas. Formula 1 has taken a more subtle approach. A sliding scale of aerodynamic testing periods (ATPs) has been introduced this year, with the most successful teams allowed less aero development, including wind-tunnel time, than those at the back. The year is split into six ATPs, with teams having to report to the FIA on their work completed at the end of each.
Such restrictions have been in place in F1 for years, but the difference now is the limits on detailed areas are different for each team depending on recent results. On 30 June this season, which equated to the end of the third of the six annual ATPs, the sliding scale was adjusted based on race results for the opening races. The system is well policed and is generally accepted as a sensible, subtle means to balance F1 teams’ performance.