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The pseudonym "Mike Sparken" hid the true identity of wealthy Frenchman Michel Poberejsky. The son of a Jewish Russian industrialist who settled in Paris, the family travelled to New York in 1941. "Sparken" returned to Europe and raced in France and its North African dependencies during the 1950s.
Success in 1953 included a saloon car win at Montlhéry with an Aston Martin DB2 and class victory in the Casablanca 12 Hours when sharing a DB3 with Roy Salvadori. "Sparken" acquired a Ferrari 750 Monza for further sports car outings in 1955 and won on the road at Goodwood’s Easter meeting. However, he was penalised 15 seconds for jumping the start and was classified second behind Salvadori.
Formula 1 and Le Mans
He also joined Gordini for that year’s British Grand Prix. Having qualified on the penultimate row at Aintree (in 23rd position), he drove a steady race to finish seventh. He shared his Ferrari at Le Mans that year with Masten Gregory but they suffered an engine failure in the third hour. "Sparken" retired from racing soon afterwards with those appearances in the world championship and at Le Mans both proving to be one-offs.