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Graham Hill and Watkins Glenn


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#1 brabhamBT19

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 21:47

Hi, lately I have been reading about Wakins Glenn, and I noticed that Graham Hill went really well there. It is actually the only circuit where he was dominant during the 1.5L and the all conquering Jim Clark era. I now thet he won on other venues, but his results at watkins are impressive. In 1961 he qualified 2nd finished 5th, in 1962 finished 2nd, and than 1963 pole and win, 1964 win and 1965 pole and a dominant win. Now I know that when Graham Hill is mentioned that the first thing to spring to mind is Monaco, because he won there 5 times. But somehow to me it seems that Watkins Glenn suited him even better than Monaco. Even more so because betwen 1963 and 1965 in those three seasons he won only at Monaco and Glenn and nowhere else. What are your opinions about Hill and Watkins Glenn. Is there some special link between them, or is it just a plain coincidence?

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 22:05

I can't answer your core question, but I know that any 'special relationship' he had with the circuit ended in near tragedy...

Wasn't he also in a position to beat Clark (in equal cars) when he crashed the 49?

#3 Buford

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 22:33

Yeah when I think of Graham Hill and Watkins Glen I can't help thinking of this.

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#4 brabhamBT19

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 22:59

It is a miracle that he survived that. But I was thinking more along the lines of his three straight wins 63, 64 and 65. I would like that to be the topic. His dominance in 1.5L era.

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 23:08

Wasn't he also in a position to beat Clark (in equal cars) when he crashed the 49?

He didn't crash - he was on pole and set fastest lap, but finished second to Clark after suffering gearbox problems, loss of clutch and low oil pressure.


#6 B Squared

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 23:15

Wasn't he also in a position to beat Clark (in equal cars) when he crashed the 49?


Ray - to hopefully clear this up before moving over to the 1.5 era, Jim won the 1967 race with Graham 2nd in Lotus 49's. Graham out-qualified Jim for pole in the same race 1:05.48 to 1:06.07. Hill led at the start and for the next 40) laps until Clark took over and then held on to the win by nursing the crippled Lotus 49 home.

The crash in Buford's photos are of 1969 when Rindt was Hill's teammate and scored his first victory, much to the chagrin of Jenkinson, who would lose his beard over it. Graham ran in 5th or 6th for most of the race before the incident. He was in 5th on lap 90 of 108 at the time of the accident.

Brian

#7 Direct Drive

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 00:01

Here's a look at Watkins Glen and why drivers, photographers and workers all were braver than brave in the day.......

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 01:28

Thanks Brian, I was confusing the '67 race and the '69 crash...

Reports did say, however, that Hill was being held back by Chapman in that '67 race. Well, not so much held back but not advised of Jim's car's problem.

#9 B Squared

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 02:21

Thanks Brian, I was confusing the '67 race and the '69 crash...

Reports did say, however, that Hill was being held back by Chapman in that '67 race. Well, not so much held back but not advised of Jim's car's problem.


No problem Ray - I figured that was the case, as you're way too sharp to have it be anything other.

I am curious, without car to pit communication via headsets at that time, do you think that the Lotus pit should have urged Graham forward to overtake Jim's crippled car? I'd think that keeping the positions static would be more likely to ensure the 1-2 finish that was very important to Ford at this home event. I remember seeing Walter Hayes prominently placed in the Lotus pit. Being a racer who'd hate to see this win slipping away, I believe Clark might have increased his pace to stay in front and most likely have broken the suspension before the finish. Still a victory for Lotus-Ford with Graham, but not nearly as impressive as a 1-2 placing on Ford's home turf. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts, Ray or anyone else who may have better insight than I. Thanks,

Brian

#10 fines

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 06:49

Here's a look at Watkins Glen and why drivers, photographers and workers all were braver than brave in the day.......

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

:smoking:

Completely OT, but this YouTube thing always provides links to other videos, and I caught this one: girl fight in the pits!



:lol:

#11 Chezrome

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 06:55

Here's a look at Watkins Glen and why drivers, photographers and workers all were braver than brave in the day.......

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related


Then again: I am 100 percent sure that if you would let them, I could find hundreds of photographers who would sit just as close to the track for a good picture. (Not me, but I never was suicidal enough to be a topline paparazzi either).

#12 Tim Murray

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 10:55

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts, Ray or anyone else who may have better insight than I.

In Life at the Limit Graham tells of a meeting held in Chapman's hotel room the night before the race, where a coin was tossed and it was agreed that if both Loti were running unchallenged ahead of the field, then Graham was to win. Although after Amon retired they were indeed running unchallenged, I imagine that Graham was more than happy to get his very sick car home in second, and had given up any thought of trying to catch Jimmy.


#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 11:12

Originally posted by B Squared
.....I am curious, without car to pit communication via headsets at that time, do you think that the Lotus pit should have urged Graham forward to overtake Jim's crippled car? I'd think that keeping the positions static would be more likely to ensure the 1-2 finish that was very important to Ford at this home event. I remember seeing Walter Hayes prominently placed in the Lotus pit. Being a racer who'd hate to see this win slipping away, I believe Clark might have increased his pace to stay in front and most likely have broken the suspension before the finish. Still a victory for Lotus-Ford with Graham, but not nearly as impressive as a 1-2 placing on Ford's home turf. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts, Ray or anyone else who may have better insight than I.


All I know about it, Brian, is what I recall reading in the various race reports of the time...

One of the magazine reports quite pointedly stated that Chapman was 'looking the other way' as Hill was going by while, IIRC, urging Jim to keep on going.

Now, in the context as you put it, it all does make sense. Ford on their home turf scoring a 1-2, good promotional value, a good result for those from Dearborn present at the event, parties all round.

The problem with the rear suspension was an issue they'd had ever since the car's debut. Lightweight tubular frames locating rear suspension pickup points were collapsing and sending the suspension awry... it wasn't overcome until after this race, probably the change to Hewland transmissions saw the necessary redesigns that put in the necessary strength to do the job.

Clark and Hill, however, were supposedly joint No 1s in the Team Lotus that year, they made a big thing of that when the signing of Hill was announced. Clark, however, would naturally have been getting some closer attention from Chapman because of the intimacy of their working relationship over the previous five or seven years. Something along the lines of 'old habits die hard' I would say.

#14 Tim Murray

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 11:58

Now, in the context as you put it, it all does make sense. Ford on their home turf scoring a 1-2, good promotional value, a good result for those from Dearborn present at the event, parties all round.

Hence the pre-race coin toss, to rule out any possibility of Clark and Hill racing each other to destruction and spoling the 1-2.

Clark's suspension broke with 2½ laps to go, so there wasn't a great deal of notification (via pit signals) or encouragement that could have been done . At the start of the penultimate lap Clark led Hill by 45 seconds. I feel sure that the main thought in the minds of Chapman & Co was whether Clark would make the finish and maintain the 1-2. Who was 1 and who was 2 would have been relatively unimportant to them as long as it was achieved, and they would have had no real idea how fast Clark would be able to go (relative to Hulme in third place) with his problem. IMHO they were cheering Clark on against Hulme, not Hill.


#15 B Squared

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 12:41

Tim & Ray - thank you both for sharing your thoughts on this matter.

Brian

#16 RCH

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 12:18

As I recall as soon as they realised, after Zandvoort, just how dominant the Lotus 49 was going to be Graham & Jimmy agreed to toss a coin before each race to decide who was going to win. They were both far too experienced and sensible to have risked the possibility of losing 1,2 victories by racing each other.

Back to the subject of the thread as a teenaged Graham Hill fan at the time I remember finding it odd that he seemed to be more capable of winning at Watkin's Glen, I suspect it was purely luck.