Stirling Moss in a 1959 Cooper Climax T51

Here’s a video from 1986 of Stirling Moss in a Cooper T51. Cooper had the engine behind the driver and in front of the back axle, a Formula One design that hasn’t changed for over 50 years. It’s an historic car that probably doesn’t get as much kudos as it deserves. Also, my dad knew Stirling Moss from his own racing days.

 

Sir Jack Brabham had his first win at the 1959 Monaco GP in the Cooper Climax T51, which was a big deal at the time as it was the first race of the season and everybody was watching. He went on to become the ’59 and ’60 World Driver’s Champion.

The Day Dad Dropped the Cake

We paid the local pool to host Jett’s birthday party. We’d gone along to another party for one of his friends a while ago that was hosted at Mandurah swimming complex. For about an hour they got a host to play games in the wading pool, and then they brought out a meal of sausages and buns, as well as a huge box of chips. this was all pretty exciting for Jett, and he asked if he could do the same when his birthday rolled around. We thought it was OK value, so we agreed.

But in shopping around, Suzanne found that Pinjarra pool offered pretty much the same thing: you had two hours of fun and games (in the new, state of the art, clean, Pinjarra sports complex), a better meal which included real plates instead of a napkin, along with a more hygienic system of individually served chips rations rather than a one-box free-for-all. They also got fruit juice rather than cokes. And this was all the half the price Mandurah were charging.

All that was left was to supply a cake. Jett had already chosen a Bart Simpson Ice-Cream cake from Wendy’s, and it was my job to drive to Mandurah Centro, pick up the cake, and then meet the rest of the party at Pinjarra. Easy, no?

You’d think so, yeah. Only the last time I was tasked with picking up a cake for a party it was a complete disaster. It was for Jett’s second birthday, which we hosted in a park around the corner from our old house. By “around the corner” I mean it was a little too far to walk so when the time for the cake came I drove back home and picked it up, along with a knife. The cake had a Lightning McQueen theme, store bought at great expense for just this occasion the day before and stored in an upside-down square tupperware container with the lid acting as the base.

I got back to the park alright, and managed to get out of the car with the cake alright. But I’d forgotten to pick up the knife which was still on the passenger seat. “Can I lean into the car while still holding the cake container?” I thought. “Are you an idiot?” came the quick response from that part of my brain which is more reliable than the rest.

So I put the cake on top of the roof, opened the driver side door, leaned in and grabbed the knife. I had to whip my keys out of my pocket to lock the door again, and with the knife in my right hand I quickly grabbed the cake container from the roof of the car because I could sense a riot brewing from ravenous toddlers needing more junk food.

Only thing is I grabbed the top of the container rather than the base. These cakes have a sensor in them to determine the point of maximum inconvenience, or something, so when I had moved the cake from the safety of the car roof and took my first step towards the party, the cake punched through the base of the tupperware container and started hurtling towards the earth in exactly the way it shouldn’t be.

It hit the ground with an awful splat. You’d think that at this point it’s “game over”, right? Not me. No sir. Half the cake was perfectly edible. At least half. I bet I could scrape that cake off the ground and serve it and most of Jett’s ignorant toddler friends would be none the wiser.

But it wasn’t to be. I’d been spotted, and Suzanne came rushing over and talked some sense into me. There’s no way we could serve that up, not with the parents watching on.

And in the 5 years since that day there has been no way that anyone has ever let me forget that day. “The day Dad dropped the cake” will live on in infamy. Any time, and I mean any time, we are near a cake I’ll hear the little digs from my otherwise loving family. “Don’t let Dad near that cake, harhar”. Thanks guys.

But at least this time I got the cake to the pool intact and on time so that Jett could have his cake and eat it too.