I first met Tom Hooker on one of my trips to Indianapolis to attend the Indy 500. At that time Tom was running his successful engine-building business in the industrial area called Gasoline Alley, but he was originally from Whanganui. I noticed a sticker on his motorbike – McLaren Old Boys – and we were soon talking about his time with McLaren.

However, Tom’s story really began when he served his apprenticeship with a company called Engine Rebores Limited, with John Nicholson as the manager. At the same time, Dick Bennetts was serving his apprenticeship at the other end of the country in Dunedin. The two first met when they had to attend a three-week course in Wellington and their paths would cross again when they both worked for Fred Opert during two Peter Stuyvesant Series in the mid-seventies.


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