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Jo Schlesser's horrible accident


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#1 ZenSpeed

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:05

I just stumbled on Youtube on a video of Jo's deadly accident.......for those of you who have never seen it, it is by today's standards unimaginable. The burned body of the driver is drugged on the tarmac to the grass by a marshal, while the other drivers are racing by. Does anyone know if the race was stopped or they raced on? OK, it was different times, but how could people bear such horror and keep watching a car race?

The link to the video is http://www.youtube.c...ec-HM-fresh div

It is a very upsetting video, therefore do not watch it unless you are prepared to deal with it without blaming me for posting the link. I know it took me quite a few minutes to process it, I thought Lauda 76, Gilles 82 and Price 77 where the worst accidents I witnessed. Boy I was wrong.

Edited by ZenSpeed, 03 May 2009 - 02:29.


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#2 Buford

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:18

They didn't stop the race. Spectators at races where there were fatalities either stayed or left. I remember a lot left after the announcement Eddie Sachs was dead. But usually as a spectator you didn't know the driver's conditon at the time. Most crashes were not fatal, even if they looked bad so you hoped for the best and stayed.

As a driver, well it's just the way it was. I remember being totally reemed by the Lemmings at Speednet a decade ago when somebody asked "How did drivers go on after a fatality, I wonder what they were thinking?" I responded, "I'll tell you what I was thinking, Come on hurry up, its hot, clean up the mess, I am thirsty, let's go." They totally flipped out but they shouldn't have asked if they didn't want to know. Human sympathy was for tomorrow, and the funeral. Right now we were racing. That's what they were thinking. It's him, not me. Let's go. If you didn't or couldn't think that way, you didn't race.

Edited by Buford, 03 May 2009 - 02:28.


#3 ZenSpeed

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:47

I thank you for your brutally honest reply. I guess it is one of those situations when you really 'had to be there" to understand. When i was a boy, I watched my first F1 GP (at least the first i can recall, my dad was a fan, he watched racing since he was a kid) at Monza in 1974. I fell in love with red F1 cars and Peterson. We are talking already of the time when one Jackie Stewart, devastated by the death of his teammate Cevert the year before, had caused the turning point when safety finally became an important issue, even if in its infancy. We all knew back then that somehow a season would hardly finish with all the drivers well and alive. It was part of F1 just as sending troops to the front is, you know some of the lads will perish.

I became a Niki Lauda fan a few months later (mind you, I wasn't even 12) and then Neurburgring 76 came......In Italy, eventually someone found a quote from Niki regarding Roger Williamson's horrific death. The journalist implied that if 2-3 drivers had stopped and helped Purley, maybe Roger would have survived. So, he asked Niki, why didn't you stop? He replied as dry as an Austrian can "I am paid to race, not to stop". End of story, no remorse. At first, I was stunned, I thought...how can you go by and watch the guy burn to death, it could have been you. I later realized most drivers felt the same way and they didn't expect any sympathy from their colleagues if their day arrived. They accepted it as part of the game. Possibly, Germany 1976 was the turning point. Merzario, Eartl & Co. do stop, do get the fire estinguisher from the marshall's hands, do save Niki Lauda's life. Maybe because Niki was the reigning WDC or maybe because Stewart's efforts had started to have an impact, things started getting better and better.

Because I grew up and became involved in F1 at the bridge between the Fangio, Moss, Clark, Stewart, Hill era and the Lauda, Senna, Prost, Villeneuve one, I always worshipped and respected the old timers, the real pioneers of racing such as Schlesser. But when I lost my very one and only hero Gilles Villenueve that May 8th in Zolder, the emptiness I felt for months and months after that, boy am I glad F1 racing today is as safe as it has become. I understand there is very little heroic about racing in China or Malaysia with thise super-modern facilities, it is more a show of talent, skill and preparation than out right guts, but I am so happy I haven't seen any one perish since Ayrton hit the wall at Tamburello.

#4 Buford

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 03:06

You might be surprised but here was huge resistance to Stewart's safety campaign among the racers. For every one for it there were several people in the sport against. A lot of people didn't think racing was supposed to be safe. That was what was cool about it. What fun would it be to go to the circus and watch the lion tamer stick his head in the lion's mouth, if the lion had no teeth? I remember in the late 1950's when roll bars, mostly flimsy and useless, first appeared on race cars, the fathers in our quarter midget club having a huge arm waving screaming debate about whether they should mandate roll bars on the quarter midgets. A lot of the racer fathers were dead set against it. They didn't even want to protect their children!!!



#5 ZenSpeed

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 03:24

You might be surprised but here was huge resistance to Stewart's safety campaign among the racers. For every one for it there were several people in the sport against. A lot of people didn't think racing was supposed to be safe. That was what was cool about it. What fun would it be to go to the circus and watch the lion tamer stick his head in the lion's mouth, if the lion had no teeth? I remember in the late 1950's when roll bars, mostly flimsy and useless, first appeared on race cars, the fathers in our quarter midget club having a huge arm waving screaming debate about whether they should mandate roll bars on the quarter midgets. A lot of the racer fathers were dead set against it. They didn't even want to protect their children!!!


I hear you, I guess it was like when back then the circus (please, no offense to drivers, of course, I am just referring to the danger side of it) started to place a net under their acrobats....once you knew that if they failed, they would safely land in the net, you stopped biting your nails to the the bone.......

As a skydiver I understand the component of risk, fear, and the challenge of learning to cope with it. After many jumps, I am still afraid of finding myself in a situation where my chute gets tangled or won't open. I have absolutely zero desire to land some corn crop at 120mph with a cotton suite and a plastic helmet on. I am quite focused and comfortable while I dress, check my equipment and all. Then I walk toward the plane, I start smelling the gas, I start sweating due to the the heat and possibly the nerves..... I never eat before a jump because I would most likely throw up in the plane......then the door open and we start lining up to jump...the adrenaline explodes in my veins and I am ready to go....it's not that I am not afraid anymore, I am, I just learned to accept that fear is part of jumping from a perfectly functioning plane without any guarantee that your safety device (your chute) will work. And after 4-5 seconds after the jump starts (like a race start where everything is crazy and blurry) until 60 seconds later when I will open the parachute, I am in the most ecstatic state of mind, feeling as alive and as clear and as happy as I have ever been. In that moment, I am not even thinking I will have to open the chute and that, God help me, I hope it will open. I am just there and fully in the moment. Yes, I do check the altimeter every 5-10 seconds, but it's second nature, it doesn't sink in consciously and doesn;t detract from the experience. Only when I go 'ok, time to pull" there is a second or two of......woah.....until it opens.....but by the then the adrenaline is high that I don;t really feel any fear. Would I be concerned about what is happening in that moment to anyone who was on that plane? in all honesty, unless we were doing a combined jump, chances are I never had a thought about any of them. So, yeah, I see your point.

Edited by ZenSpeed, 03 May 2009 - 03:26.


#6 Buford

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 03:34

Skydiving - well that's plumb crazy boy... lol.

#7 ZenSpeed

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 04:37

Skydiving - well that's plumb crazy boy... lol.


I don't know, I have been watching 1940s, 5s and 60s F1 and similar race videos all night and I feel skydiving doesn't require even a 10% of the guts it required to race back then. I check diving stats every season, I don;t know why, but I try to learn from who died, why they died, how experienced they were, what the problem was. I try to get a picture in my head so that if I malfunction, i can almost react out of instinct. With 353 jumps, I have many more to go before i reach a statistical threshold were a death makes sense. In f1 in the 50s, 60s, you were a driver....you had about a chance in 10 or so to die in the next 7-8 months. Skydiving is apple pie in comparison!!!!! :)

#8 Buford

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 04:54

Not if you are afraid of heights lol. In the 1960s, in my teens, I would have done anything to race those death trap F1 and Indy Cars. I knew it was dangerous. I saw almost 2 dozen drivers killed. I wanted to race BECAUSE it was dangerous. When I finally did race it was much safer but still madness compared with today. Not sure but I don't think if I was a teen now wanting to race would be my passion like it was then. Racing F1 in sandboxes is like the power puff derby. I might opt for X games or motocross or something with hair on its chest. Racing cars just isn't cool anymore. Or is that just old age?

#9 DOHC

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:47

Racing cars just isn't cool anymore. Or is that just old age?


I think that racing had to become safer for commercial reasons. Fatal accidents is bad business, especially if it gets huge and visual media exposure. Major sponsors don't want their billboard drivers to perish in crash-and-flame events, they want them to smile from the podium.

When you look back to the bad crashes of the 60s, they merely became headlines in the press, there was rarely if ever any TV coverage, and the crashes were seldom caught on film. Sponsors were few and there wasn't any negative commercial side effects of the crashes. In the 70s, there were many sponsors, but it was still small-scale compared to what it is today, and even in the 70s broadcasting wasn't common.

But today, racing is no longer about man and machine, it's a commercial enterprise with stakes held by major global corporations, groups and operators. There can be no blood. Cameras are everywhere, everything is broadcast to the four corners of the world. A crash would have a huge negative impact. Mind you, even Schumacher has appeared in TV commercials promoting some beauty product from L'Oreal, arguing that "I'm worth it," a soap opera move no real racer from the 50s, 60s or 70s would ever have consider doing. If it didn't smell oil or rubber, it was no good -- it wasn't about racing. And if you promote L'Oreal, you really can't run the risk that the smiling person in the ad lies slain on the track next weekend, because then your commercial can't be run on the network five times a day for the next half year -- your investment, having paid a trillion bucks to have a Ferrari-overalled chap with a slight German accent promoting your snake oil, would be wasted.

And today technical regulations are rewritten every year in the name of safety, and rewritten once more every time there is a bad enough accident. The only flames are over Schumacher running into everyone who has a chance of winning a championship, whether Hamilton should be DQ'ed for having passed Räikkönen in a chicane, and overtaking him again already on the next corner, thus not being passive enough for FIA's tastes. Of course, the stewards had to finish reading the sporting code first before a second overtaking "manoeuvre" could be considered "legal" (Come on! This is racing!) And the only thing crashing is the sponsors -- banks and other financial operators that are foolish enough to sink money into even blacker holes than that of racing.

Just about everything was different back then.






#10 Terry Walker

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:47

Stirling Moss, in "All But My Life" I think it was, said, on the same subject, that his reaction to someone else's horrible accident was to put his foot down harder, because he knew some of the others would hesitate. And I recall in the Hawthorn book "Champion Year" his reaction to his mate's fatal crash in front of him was basically, you fool, you could have taken me with you.

Fangio once noted at the end of a season, It has been a good year. No one died.

Drivers then, specially in the 50s when so many of their friends and family died in the War, were, well, not callous as such, but somewhat inured to sudden death. That's the way life was then.

The other point is that as a driver flicks past an accident scene at high speed, he has no idea whether its fatal or one of those fantastic crashes where the driver walks away. They won't find out until the end of the race, and there was no pit-car radios to tell them.



#11 Geoff E

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 07:55

Stirling Moss, in "All But My Life" I think it was, said, on the same subject, that his reaction to someone else's horrible accident was to put his foot down harder, because he knew some of the others would hesitate.


Sentiments echoed by Jean-Pierre Sarti-

"When I see something really horrible, I put my foot down. Hard! Because I know that everyone else is lifting his. "

http://www.imdb.com/...t0060472/quotes

#12 jgm

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:32

I was at the 1968 French GP at Rouen and watched the race from the embankment at the exit of the corner where Schlesser crashed. He was running near the back of the field and the accident occurred very early in the race. I was looking down the hill following the pack when I became aware of a commotion. Turning round I saw the white Honda in mid-air, nose down and apparently turning over. The car had evidently gone off the road, hit the embankment and been launched into the air. It seemed to be heading for us in the crowd on top of the embankment. I had a brief glimpse of the driver holding up his arms in a defensive way and then I ran. A moment later there was a huge 'whoomfh' as 40 gallons of fuel went up. Some spectators nearby received burns. The car had landed upside down at the foot of the embankment. The marshals seemed to react slowly and with no sense of urgency. I think they were just shocked by what had happened on their patch. At first I thought the driver might have been thrown out of the car - he wasn't wearing a seat belt and there was no sign of him. The fire spread right across the road and the marshals main interest seemed to be to clear a way through for the other cars when they came around again. They weren't attending to the car at the centre of the accident at all. Eventually grappling irons and chains were produced to drag the car right off the road and it was only at that point it became apparent that Schlesser was still there, lying half in and half out of the inverted car. It seemed astonishing that the race continued. For a few laps the cars actually had to drive onto the grass verge to get around the scene. The fire went on for a long time and eventually a full size fire engine was brought onto the track to finish it off. Schlesser was burnt to crisp but I suspect the impact of the initial crash may have done for him.

#13 Buford

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:42

Let's hope. Thanks for the eye witness account.

#14 Twin Window

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:05

The fire spread right across the road...


I remember being told a sobering tale of something which occurred between two of the drivers from the GP in question who had both, as has been mentioned, continued to compete and therefore had driven past the scene lap after lap. I believe the two in question were Rindt and Amon, and I apologise if my memory has let me down on that score.

Rindt and Amon's paths were about to cross in the post-race paddock and just as Rindt was about to speak to Chris, Amon said "Don't say it, Jochen. Barbecue". With that the drivers went on their way.

NSR related that tale to me the best part of thirty years ago.

#15 COUGAR508

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:17

Looking at footage and photos of the crash, initially after the fire broke out there was a gap on the right hand side of the track just wide enough for the other cars to go through. It would seem that once the fire had been brought under some kind of control, and the flames and smoke had abated somewhat, the organisers allowed the race to continue, as there was sufficient room for cars to proceed safely. I suppose that is how things were done back then.

#16 JtP1

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:35

Most drivers who stop at accidents, do so because they are in someway involved. That being part of the accident or their path being blocked. Most drivers stopped for Niki Lauda because the track was effectively blocked or they had time to react to stop. For most racing drivers, incidents that happen of the racing line and not involving them, are just incidentals.

Most of the incidents discussed are from GPs, simply because they have good film/tv coverage that can be analysed. Drivers arrive at the incident, do not time to alter their decision making process and carry on. The next lap the incident is still happening, but they have assumed in their previous lap that the incident has been dealt with and it is only with the replaying of the incident , it is realised what has really taken place.

I am trying to think of a racing accident where a driver deliberately stopped his healthy car, helped another driver and carried on. On a rally once, a friend went off while running in front of us, but out of sight (1 min in front). It was a long straight, but when we saw him off , reacted and stopped to push him back on, we had to reverse back to his car. We were so far behind that it didn't matter.

#17 PeterElleray

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 12:52

Most drivers who stop at accidents, do so because they are in someway involved. That being part of the accident or their path being blocked. Most drivers stopped for Niki Lauda because the track was effectively blocked or they had time to react to stop.

I am trying to think of a racing accident where a driver deliberately stopped his healthy car, helped another driver and carried on.


i think thats a very good point - the ones that spring to mind - but there will be others - are David Purley, uninvolved but with a grandstand view of the accident ahead, and Scheckter at the Cevert accident - but not in the race ofcourse .

peter

#18 fines

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 14:01

Ed Elisian at the Vuky wreck at Indy in '55, too, but I guess he would also have been close enough to have seen what happened.

Good point, really! The Lauda remark about him getting paid to drive and not to stop was, iinm, made immediately after he retired from that race, and with him more concerned about the whys and whats of another DNF, and quite obviously unaaware of what exactly happened to Williamson, or in fact anyone else for that matter. Of course, that remark came back to haunt him three years later...

#19 Paul Taylor

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 14:09

I am trying to think of a racing accident where a driver deliberately stopped his healthy car, helped another driver and carried on.


Ayrton Senna stopped to help Eric Comas after he crashed during practice/qualifying at Spa in 1992 and Martini stopped his Minardi to help Donnelly at Jerez in 1990. Many drivers just drove past the latter accident. Once again though, neither occurred in the race. Sometimes it's better to let the medics and marshals deal with the situation as they're trained for it. You don't really get a situation nowadays, like with Williamson's crash, where the marshals stand back and do nothing.

Edited by Paul Taylor, 03 May 2009 - 14:12.


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#20 zakeriath

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 15:56

Ayrton Senna stopped to help Eric Comas after he crashed during practice/qualifying at Spa in 1992 and Martini stopped his Minardi to help Donnelly at Jerez in 1990. Many drivers just drove past the latter accident. Once again though, neither occurred in the race. Sometimes it's better to let the medics and marshals deal with the situation as they're trained for it. You don't really get a situation nowadays, like with Williamson's crash, where the marshals stand back and do nothing.



Agreed, hopefully with the training, improved communication and specialist rescue teams (thank PHIL Morom & Jimmy Brown of Silverstone) that are around today there should be no need for drivers to become involved with an incident, leave it to the marshals.



#21 alansart

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 16:20

Agreed, hopefully with the training, improved communication and specialist rescue teams (thank PHIL Morom & Jimmy Brown of Silverstone) that are around today there should be no need for drivers to become involved with an incident, leave it to the marshals.


I came into Marshalling at Silverstone in the early 70's in the Phil Moram era, so totally agree with your post. I had a huge respect for the man. The only person I know who could give me a big telling off, after an error of judgement on my part, but at the same time give me the confidence to carry on and remember to not do it again.

#22 DOHC

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 16:52

Ayrton Senna stopped to help Eric Comas after he crashed during practice/qualifying at Spa in 1992 and Martini stopped his Minardi to help Donnelly at Jerez in 1990. Many drivers just drove past the latter accident. Once again though, neither occurred in the race. Sometimes it's better to let the medics and marshals deal with the situation as they're trained for it. You don't really get a situation nowadays, like with Williamson's crash, where the marshals stand back and do nothing.


Naturally. In fact, in a serious crash, there's very little a driver can do. But back in the 70s, it was the drivers who had the Nomex suits while marshals often lacked proper equipment to approach a crash site in flames before firemen arrived. Were the marshals really properly equipped to deal with the Bandini, Schlesser, Williamson and Peterson crashes, to name but a few?

Safety standards were really poor. It went from no barriers to Armco, to catch fencing to runoff areas. It went from cotton overalls to Nomex suits. Cars became equipped with real roll bars and automatic fire extinguishers, started having seat belts, rubber fuel cells, and even impact zones. Drivers' feet could no longer be located in a foot well virtually in the very nose cone. Sid Watkins started being driven around the track by Alex Soler Roig to be able to be there in no time at all. Helicopters, medical facilities and doctors started being on standby. This is what made the difference.

Drivers who stopped may have been heroic at times, but they were more a sign of the negligence in the safety department.


#23 sterling49

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:09

This really was another terrible accident from "that year", on the month, every month for a while, there was a fatality, starting with Jim, then Mike Spence, Bruce and then Jo, but I cannot remember why Jo was in the Honda, it was the "experimental" RA302 air cooled (IIRC) and Big John was lead driver? Anyone know the reason other than it was the French GP and Jo was French and available? Sometimes, I do a double take, and think of the relatives of drivers, that might look over the footage again on these sites, how awful it must be :cry:

#24 kayemod

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:13

Sometimes, I do a double take, and think of the relatives of drivers, that might look over the footage again on these sites, how awful it must be :cry:


YouTube is very much a mixed blessing. While there are real gems on there, I don't think they should include film of people dying, mainly for the reason you gave.


#25 Lec CRP1

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:16

This really was another terrible accident from "that year", on the month, every month for a while, there was a fatality, starting with Jim, then Mike Spence, Bruce and then Jo, but I cannot remember why Jo was in the Honda, it was the "experimental" RA302 air cooled (IIRC) and Big John was lead driver? Anyone know the reason other than it was the French GP and Jo was French and available?


I thought Honda's French subsiduary provided funding to the Honda F1 team to run Schlesser.


#26 sterling49

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:19

I,probably like most of TNF, do not want to revisit, what we remember as an awful accident, why would we? I really do not what this film (and others of this ilk),satisfies. I still have the images in my head of this fireball, Jim's and others last race, that is more than enough for me, I do not require revisits.

#27 Paul Taylor

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:20

Wasn't John Surtees originally meant to be driving the RA302 in the French GP? I know he certainly tested it and said there was no way he was ever going to race it...

#28 kayemod

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:26

Wasn't John Surtees originally meant to be driving the RA302 in the French GP? I know he certainly tested it and said there was no way he was ever going to race it...


That's what was reported at the time, wasn't the power delivery the main problem? I seem to remember that Honda built a second 'improved' version, but Surtees again refused to drive it, probably leading to Honda giving up F1 at the end of that year.

#29 COUGAR508

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:27

I thought Honda's French subsiduary provided funding to the Honda F1 team to run Schlesser.


That was my understanding, too. In fact, wasn't Schlesser's car technically entered by Honda France? I seem to remember reading that somewhere.

#30 Giraffe

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:36

That was my understanding, too. In fact, wasn't Schlesser's car technically entered by Honda France? I seem to remember reading that somewhere.


Yes indeed, the air-cooled V8 Honda was only meant to be at Rouen for testing, and was entered by Honda France for Schlesser (as opposed to Honda Racing) much against the wishes of John Surtees in order to gain publicity for Honda in France.

I'm obliged to credit Autocourse 1968-69 for that information. (Purchased at the bookshop at Oulton Park circa 1970 knocked down from 55/- to 40/- (Them were the days!).

Edited by Giraffe, 03 May 2009 - 17:55.


#31 Hieronymus

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 17:52

For those that want to remember Jo for his racing career, here is a good thread:

http://www.autodiva....hilit=schlesser

#32 Buford

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 18:16

I don't share the horror of those who say there shouldn't be fatal accidents on youtube, or photos in the paper etc. Whether its photos or movies from D Day, 9-11, the Concord at Paris, the Titanic on the bottom of the sea, the Space shuttle, Tenerife, or auto racing crashes, these are historical events and I don't know if the word is enjoy, but I am fascinated and compelled to see them all. I have watched many of the fatal accidents I had only read about in magazines and books and for me it provides a mild sense of closure, knowing what actually happened. Maybe I'm just a sick bastard but I don't share the view these things shouldn't be discussed or seen. The 1964 Indy thread here though graphic and gruesome at times was one of the most enlightening things I have ever seen on the Internet and answered open questions I had for over 40 years. I don't want to live in a censored world and don't want my information gathering hindered by hand wringers.

Edited by Buford, 03 May 2009 - 18:19.


#33 Giraffe

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 18:25

I don't share the horror of those who say there shouldn't be fatal accidents on youtube, or photos in the paper etc. Whether its photos or movies from D Day, 9-11, the Concord at Paris, the Titanic on the bottom of the sea, the Space shuttle, Tenerife, or auto racing crashes, these are historical events and I don't know if the word is enjoy, but I am fascinated and compelled to see them all. I have watched many of the fatal accidents I had only read about in magazines and books and for me it provides a mild sense of closure, knowing what actually happened. Maybe I'm just a sick bastard but I don't share the view these things shouldn't be discussed or seen. The 1964 Indy thread here though graphic and gruesome at times was one of the most enlightening things I have ever seen on the Internet and answered open questions I had for over 40 years. I don't want to live in a censored world and don't want my information gathering hindered by hand wringers.


Spot-on Buford; although I never want a second look.

#34 Macca

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 18:26

In a TV documentary about Ferrari that has been on a couple of times in the last couple of years, there is a photo image of Bandini's burnt-out car at Monaco, with Bandini still sitting in it.............I hadn't seen that shot before, and there was no warning, so it was a bit of a jolt to see it the first time.

I've read that Surtees tested the Honda and each time after a couple of laps there'd be a "ping-ping-ping" from behind him as head studs snapped from overheating.

Paul M

#35 Coral

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 18:54

In a TV documentary about Ferrari that has been on a couple of times in the last couple of years, there is a photo image of Bandini's burnt-out car at Monaco, with Bandini still sitting in it.............I hadn't seen that shot before, and there was no warning, so it was a bit of a jolt to see it the first time.


I have seen that picture on YouTube...I agree, that one is particularly disturbing. I have also seen photos of François Cevert's accident that are quite shocking. I still watch the videos though, because the fatal accidents still happened, whether I watch film of them or not. In fact, the video of Elio de Angelis playing the piano the day before the 1985 German GP is more likely to have me in tears than photos of his accident. :cry:

Re. Jo Schlesser...I remember reading somewhere that Jo took the Honda drive because he was 40 and it was the last chance he would get to drive a F1 car in a GP before retirement. There were four fatalities in four consecutive months in 1968...Jim Clark in April, Mike Spence in May, Ludovico Scarfiotti in June and Schlesser in July. Three of the fatalities were on the 7th of the month. It just seems unbelievable to me that this was allowed to happen :(




#36 Flat Black 84

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 19:07

The most gruesome and disturbing video I've ever seen is the Swede Savage crash where you can actually see the poor SOB attempting to extricate himself from the flaming wreckage. The Williamson/Purley video is equally bad, indeed perhaps worse insofar as I viewed it once and haven't been able to summon up the resolve to view it again. The Paletti crash video is also pretty horrifying.

As far as pics go, the Life Magazine shot of MacDonald in the smoking wreckage of the Sears/Allstate Special is appalling. Somehow cannot imagine Time magazine running a similar photo today.

#37 ensign14

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 19:11

I have seen that picture on YouTube...

It was in one of Lou Stanley's books. Apropos of nothing in particular.

#38 JtP1

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 19:23

Jo Schlesser's accident was shown on a weekly basis on TV in the introduction of some stupid TV series where a bunch of rich unemployed idiots would run about saving the world.

#39 MCS

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 20:08

For those that want to remember Jo for his racing career, here is a good thread:

http://www.autodiva....hilit=schlesser



Some good pictures there, Hieronymus.

Given what was to come, there is a particularly sad practice shot of Schlesser laughing at the wheel of the Honda in the pits, clearly thrilled with finally being at the wheel of a Grand Prix car. There has been much written about this awful tragedy of course - and a fair bit on TNF - and his good friend Jabby Crombac has said that, during dinner the night before the race, Jo had really thought of himself as Surtees' number two (this despite the fact that the malevolent RA302 was actually being run by a different team to the normal entry).

I hesitate to say this, but some years ago I saw footage of a marshal trying to pull Schlesser out of the stricken Honda by his arm, only to be repelled by the inferno.

Terrible, terrible days.

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#40 Keir

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 20:51

I would be interested in getting Amon's recollection of the event, esp, the exchange with Rindt.

The video, for me, is just not something I find interesting. Watching a guy get killed is on the borderline of ghoulish. Yeah, it's amazing how things have changed in racing, but did anyone ever think that the sport would not evolve?

And the romance of it all !! Dead is dead. And racing, to those who did it well, was about living not dying.

#41 Twin Window

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 21:05

I would be interested in getting Amon's recollection of the event, esp, the exchange with Rindt.

As I said in my previous post, I'm not 100% certain I relayed the event totally accurately as it was told to me so long ago. But my regularly-failing brain does still tell me the two drivers concerned were messers Amon and Rindt...


#42 LOTI

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 06:38

Chris [Irwin] was supposed to race the second Honda but because of his accident several weeks earlier clearly couldnt. Honda France wanted the car there even though John did not.
There but for the grace of God......
Loti

#43 GPLEagle

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 09:19

I have seen that picture on YouTube...I agree, that one is particularly disturbing. I have also seen photos of François Cevert's accident that are quite shocking. I still watch the videos though, because the fatal accidents still happened, whether I watch film of them or not. In fact, the video of Elio de Angelis playing the piano the day before the 1985 German GP is more likely to have me in tears than photos of his accident. :cry:


I remember that day, they had a kart race for wives/girlfriends of some of the drivers. A few weeks later, both Bellof and Winkelhock were gone...

#44 MCS

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 12:34

Chris [Irwin] was supposed to race the second Honda but because of his accident several weeks earlier clearly couldnt. Honda France wanted the car there even though John did not.
There but for the grace of God......
Loti


I'm sure I have asked this before, so please forgive me - but I never got an answer to the best of my knowledge and apologies because I can't find the thread...

The RA302 was tested at Silverstone prior to the French GP by Surtees and apparently Innes Ireland (then a journalist of course). It is also said that either or both Chris Irwin and David Hobbs also drove the car that day.

Can anybody confirm?


#45 Gabrci

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 14:46

I'm sure I have asked this before, so please forgive me - but I never got an answer to the best of my knowledge and apologies because I can't find the thread...

The RA302 was tested at Silverstone prior to the French GP by Surtees and apparently Innes Ireland (then a journalist of course). It is also said that either or both Chris Irwin and David Hobbs also drove the car that day.

Can anybody confirm?


I remember Loti saying that she believes Chris only drove the Honda in 1967, not in 1968.

#46 LOTI

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 17:02

Chris's accident was on May 17th so anything before that is possible, after that....not.
Loti

#47 Rosemayer

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 17:27

Wasn't John Surtees originally meant to be driving the RA302 in the French GP? I know he certainly tested it and said there was no way he was ever going to race it...


Big Johns main concern was the car was made up of 90% Titanium once ignited impossible to put out.


#48 DOHC

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 17:42

Big Johns main concern was the car was made up of 90% Titanium once ignited impossible to put out.



Wasn't it rather magnesium and magnesium alloys?

#49 Giraffe

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 17:45

Wasn't it rather magnesium and magnesium alloys?


Autocourse refers to "the amount of magnesium in the chassis" contributing to the intensity of the blaze.


#50 Keir

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 17:46

Big Johns main concern was the car was made up of 90% Titanium once ignited impossible to put out.

Rosey,

Magnesium is what you are thinking. It burns in oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dyoxide. Titanium is only a hazard when it is burned in a powder or shavings.
In the aerospace and racecar industry, titanium was often used as an alloy with other metals due to it's high tensile strenth and resistance to corosion.