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Remembering Ronnie Peterson


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#1 Ronnie792

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:27

It's 31 years ago today that we lost Ronnie. I still have vivid memories of the shock news; returning from school at lunch time on the Monday to hear that he'd died. And on another poignant note, I was at Classic Team Lotus for a works tour on Wednesday, and fittingly, there was 79/2 in all her restored glory. Although time has passed, memories of Ronnie remain. A great driver and a lovely man.

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#2 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:57

It's 31 years ago today that we lost Ronnie. I still have vivid memories of the shock news; returning from school at lunch time on the Monday to hear that he'd died.

Me too, only I heard after lunch. Must be the hour difference with the UK. Ronnie "King of Drift" Forever!


#3 Paul Hurdsfield

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 10:38

Superswede, sadly missed :(

#4 hipperson

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 11:07

Ronnie by Nick Loudon
Lotus 72-9 Zandvoort 1974 practice

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#5 LOLE

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 11:41

Indeed a fantastic person and very sadly missed. Together with Gilles, the most spectacular driver ever! Someone on this forum once said: "the only F1 driver with flies on the side of his helmet!"...The best way to describe this great driver.

#6 Jimisgod

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 11:42

RIP Ronnie, the fastest driver of the 70s :cry: drivers like that come about very rarely.

#7 Tony Matthews

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 12:11

A couple of weeks after Ronnie's death the postman delivered a Valvoline poster of a cutaway of the T79, signed by Mario and Ronnie - I felt at the time that it souldn't have been sent, but I suppose the wheels had been set in motion. It refreshed the saddness, though.

#8 sterling49

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 17:40

As most of us, I had watched Ronnie when he did F3 and it was so noticeable that he was "special", culminating in driving the 72 right on and over the limit, the only way he knew, my favourite vision of Ronnie, is the only Grand Prix I attended at Silverstone, 1973. I can remember where I was when the news came over the car radio, Blackheath Village on a sunny September day, but that was the day the music died for me, my interest in F1 was never the same again.

#9 COUGAR508

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:33

Ronnie and the Lotus 72 - possibly the most evocative partnership in motor racing. RIP Ronnie. :cry:

#10 pkenny

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 21:45

Was at the GP last weekend at Monza - in the stands at the first chicane. Made me smile when I saw a young Italian in a Ronnie helmet t-shirt. I used to buy the evening paper for my dad every week day when I was a boy. I knew about the crash but it did not seem so bad on Sunday evening. I remember looking at the headline on the bridge on the way back home the following day and being dumbfounded.

#11 Dennis David

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 05:27

.... Team draughtsman Martin Oglivie recalls Peterson going round lap after lap, proving the Lotus-Getrag gearbox, then suddenly going faster...'And when he came in we said, "Ah you've sorted out the selection problem", and he just smiled that slow smile and said, "No. I yust stopped you-sing the clutch."


"Gilles particularly liked to hear about Ronnie Peterson, his favorite F1 driver. He had seen Peterson's spectacular sideways displays on television and in person at the Grand Prix at Mosport in 1971. He and Joann stood on the outside of Turn One in the rain watching the cars of the stars tiptoe around in admittedly terrible conditions. The exception was Peterson, who powered his rain-tired March up from sixth on the grid to engage polesitter Jackie Stewart in a tremendous tussle. He muscled past him into the lead and stayed there for thirteen laps until he clouted a backmarker (the Canadian driver George Eaton in a BRM). Peterson continued to drive in total disregard of the weather and the bent nose of his March. Stewart won, with Peterson a close second, but it was Ronnie who impressed Gilles."
Excerpt from the book 'Gilles Villenueve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver', written by Gerald Donaldson


"That would be a bloody fantastic spectacle, I can tell you. We would take corners one gear lower than we do now, and get the cars sideways. You know, people still rave about Ronnie Peterson in a Lotus 72, and I understand that. I agree with them. That's the kind of entertainment I want to give the crowds. Smoke the tyres ! Yeah ! "
Gilles Villeneuve discussing his ideal car and driver


"Ronnie drives absolutely flat-out, all the time," said Chapman after his first few races with the Swede. "If he's off the pace, then it might be the car. Not him."
Colin Chapman


"Flat-out, I yust love to drive flat-out"
Ronnie Peterson discussing his race "strategy"


"I worshipped him, that's why my own helmet is blue and yellow."
Michelle Alboreto discussing Ronnie Peterson

#12 FenderJaguar

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 18:46

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489

#13 arttidesco

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 19:28

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489


:up:

#14 jj2728

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 19:30

RIP Ronnie. One of the greats.

#15 LittleChris

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 19:34

Never to be forgotten

#16 E1pix

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 19:42

... nor imitated.

#17 JacnGille

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 20:29

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489

:up:

#18 ChrisJson

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 22:19

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489


I was there that day. The last time I saw Ronnie racing.
1978 was the end of the "Golden Age" of swedish F1.

Christer

#19 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 00:16

A priviledge to have seen Rocket in the Canadian GP's at Mosport.

I so distinctly recall 1977 when Ronnie was in the Tyrell six-wheeler. In an early practice round, the car was a complete pig in the finishing esses. Lurching about and completely without grace and dead slow. Disgusting to see, in fact. So the Rocket puts it P3 on the grid when it counted.

Bless you, Ronnie.


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#20 Hamish Robson

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 07:16

Seen in the stands at the first chicane at Monza in 2008...

Posted Image

And every year I believe.

#21 arttidesco

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:25

Seen in the stands at the first chicane at Monza in 2008...

And every year I believe.


And at Monaco :up:


#22 austmcreg

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:11

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489

Fabulous. thanks for posting the link. For an antipodean who had never heard Ronnie, Mario or Colin speak, just wonderful.
I never saw Ronnie, but understand the emotion this day brings for those that did.
Rob Saward

#23 Emery0323

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 15:12

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489


Another thanks for posting this video link. During the interview with Ronnie, it's interesting how open and candid he is about his #2 status versus Andretti.

#24 nemtudom

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 18:24

And at Monaco :up:


I saw it last year at the Hungaroring.

#25 Lutz G

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 18:37

Found this video on this day. I haven't seen it before. It's about Brands Hatch in 1978.
http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5489


Fantastic video! Thanks for posting! :up:

Saw Peterson at Hockenheim 1978 - he went in quali wide in the last corner - disappeared in a cloud of dust - great memories.
Monza was a shock! Still remember where I was - how I felt...


#26 FenderJaguar

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 20:57

Thank you so much everyone and for sharing some memories. Great to see that from Hockenheim. My dad brought me to Anderstorp's F1 race in 1978 and I still have some strong memories from that race even if I was only 8 years old. A very nice memory and a great comeback drive.

Edited by FenderJaguar, 12 September 2012 - 21:00.


#27 Hank the Deuce

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 00:57

Ronnie had been gone for some time when I first actively took an interest in F1, but his standing within the memories of those who loved the sport - then and now - was undiminished... and hence his importance as one of the sports titans was and is undisputed. Oh, for heroes like that today!

#28 Marc Sproule

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:26

Unfortunately my real life exposure to him was very limited.

This is what I have of him so far on flickr.....I hope I have more of him somewhere in my archives....

http://www.flickr.co...157623186790747

http://www.flickr.co...157623186790747



#29 Lutz G

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:57

Thank you so much everyone and for sharing some memories. Great to see that from Hockenheim. My dad brought me to Anderstorp's F1 race in 1978 and I still have some strong memories from that race even if I was only 8 years old. A very nice memory and a great comeback drive.


Same here - I was only 12 years old - still have very strong mories (have to look, if I find a few photos from Ronnie - I will post them)

Wow Anderstorp! So you watched those Brabham "Suckers" beat the "Wunderlotus" (at least Lauda did *g*)

#30 FenderJaguar

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 17:36

Same here - I was only 12 years old - still have very strong mories (have to look, if I find a few photos from Ronnie - I will post them)

Wow Anderstorp! So you watched those Brabham "Suckers" beat the "Wunderlotus" (at least Lauda did *g*)


Yes I did. Nice memories. I went 3 times. First time I can't remember much except for those six wheelers in 1976 that won. Only 6 years old. in 1977 I don't recall that much either but the interest for F1 had started to grow so in 1978 I had started to follow a lot of the races on TV as well and knew about most of the teams and drivers so it had all my attention :)

Edited by FenderJaguar, 13 September 2012 - 17:38.


#31 Zava

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 16:31

I saw it last year at the Hungaroring.

it was there this year as well, I even made a pic of it with my friend (huge admirer of Ronnie based on reading&old videos) in front: (then he cropped it to fit in as profile pic)

Posted Image
;)

Edited by Zava, 17 September 2012 - 16:32.


#32 Gary C

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:01

this little video will be included in my 'Lotus 72 Story' DVD....................http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSHSJnT_osY (with full permission from the music copyright holder)

#33 LittleChris

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 23:34

As someone who worshipped him, I can't believe that last Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Ronnie's first Grand Prix victory.

Yes it was a bit fortunate but he should've won one far earlier especially given his performance at Montjuich that year.

Hopefully the people carrying the flag bearing his legend to various Grand Prix will continue to do so for many years to come.







#34 Tim Murray

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:11

Today he would have turned 70.

 

Happy Birthday 'Mad Ronald'.



#35 Gary Davies

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:43

I looked up Roebuck's farewell to Autosport - 'The 'Buck stops here' - dated December 13 2007. He wrote within it: 
 
"At Zandvoort he told me he had signed a Mclaren contract for 1979, whereupon another driver suggested that now Ronnie was leaving Lotus, he could forget any obligations and simply go for the championship. 'I gave my word,' he said simply, and that shut the oaf up."
 
(Memories of Multi 21. No word given or likely to be given.)  :rolleyes: 


#36 E.B.

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 15:26

The oaf in question being John Watson I think.

#37 LittleChris

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 21:00

The oaf in question being John Watson I think.

That's my memory too.  Happy birthday Ronnie



#38 Mohican

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:38

Sadly Ronnie would have been right out of the front line again in 1979-80 given the competitiveness of the McLaren in those years.

But seeing him in a McLaren MP4 with Dennis and Barnard would have been something else. And it would have precluded Lauda's return in 1982.

 

But who cares ? Ronnie was and remains THE inspiration for many of us. The best thing that Max Mosley ever did was to promote him to the works March team.



#39 Gary C

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 22:39

Indeed. I have my crash helmets painted in Ronnie's colours. On my new stock footage website, there are 4 film compilations, go to the second one on this page http://www.superchar...eo-footage.html for some footage from F2 at the Crystal Palace in 1971. The 4th or 5th shot in is Ronnie power sliding the March, I deliberately included that footage in the preview. Lovely stuff.



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#40 Mohican

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 16:54

Just in order to keep this topic near the top of the order, I will repeat the well known truth that Michele Alboreto painted his helmet blue & yellow in tribute to Ronnie. Another driver who was cruelly taken from us.

Looking forward to seeing another blue & yellow helmet this year, in Caterham no. 9.

#41 eibyyz

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 20:26

Plz allow me to reactivate this topic...

In the current issue of Racer magazine, Robin Miller fielded a question about who in Indy Car is a paid driver, who works for expenses, and who brings money to buy the seat.  I think that to a degree, it's semantics, and here's why:

 

As far back as I remember, Ronnie had the polar bear on his helmet.  I understood this was the marque or totem of Ronnie's 'sponsor'. (I was prescient enough to search for Count Zanon before I typed this!)  

 

If a top-five F1 driver couldn't get to Lotus without a patron...here's where I fall back on semantics:  At least for a while, Texaco and Marlboro were Emmo's 'patrons', then Copersucar, YPF was Carlos'...see my point?  Ronnie's was a shadowy rich guy, while the others' were not so shadowy multinational corporations...Should a patron be looked upon the same as a loyal sponsor?

 

It's a distinction that I don't think matters, except for how good the driver is.  Because if you looked at Niki based on 1972, you'd think he was a ride buyer and I also think he'd be the first to admit it, but at least by a strict definition Ronnie was a 'ride buyer' up until the end of his career but no one terms him as such.    

 

Thanks!



#42 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 21:59

True. There's no way to get a salaried ride in F3, I don't care how good you are, it simply won't happen, and that's true for almost any ladder formula, and has been for thirty, forty years. It's different in the States, where you can make a living driving weekly on a track in your neighbourhood, but that won't get you to Indy these days. There are always people making a big noise about ride-buyers, and most of them don't have a clue about the real world. Robin Miller, though, should know better, but perhaps he's bitter about not making it to Indy.

#43 Nemo1965

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Posted Yesterday, 08:25

Plz allow me to reactivate this topic...

In the current issue of Racer magazine, Robin Miller fielded a question about who in Indy Car is a paid driver, who works for expenses, and who brings money to buy the seat.  I think that to a degree, it's semantics, and here's why:

 

As far back as I remember, Ronnie had the polar bear on his helmet.  I understood this was the marque or totem of Ronnie's 'sponsor'. (I was prescient enough to search for Count Zanon before I typed this!)  

 

If a top-five F1 driver couldn't get to Lotus without a patron...here's where I fall back on semantics:  At least for a while, Texaco and Marlboro were Emmo's 'patrons', then Copersucar, YPF was Carlos'...see my point?  Ronnie's was a shadowy rich guy, while the others' were not so shadowy multinational corporations...Should a patron be looked upon the same as a loyal sponsor?

 

It's a distinction that I don't think matters, except for how good the driver is.  Because if you looked at Niki based on 1972, you'd think he was a ride buyer and I also think he'd be the first to admit it, but at least by a strict definition Ronnie was a 'ride buyer' up until the end of his career but no one terms him as such.    

 

Thanks!

 

In the Racing Comments-section, I have used the examples of both Ronnie Peterson/Count Zanon and Niki Lauda many, many times when the whining about pay-drivers grew to thick and righteous. There are some exceptions, I believe that Prost paid 1500 franks out of his own pocket for his whole career, the rest being supported by Elf...

 

Lauda keeps being the best example, because before F1 he was excellent in touringcars, so-so in F3, good in F2... but not stellar by any means. Without buying the ride, he would have gotten nowhere...



#44 Jim Thurman

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Posted Yesterday, 18:42

True. There's no way to get a salaried ride in F3, I don't care how good you are, it simply won't happen, and that's true for almost any ladder formula, and has been for thirty, forty years. It's different in the States, where you can make a living driving weekly on a track in your neighbourhood, but that won't get you to Indy these days. There are always people making a big noise about ride-buyers, and most of them don't have a clue about the real world. Robin Miller, though, should know better, but perhaps he's bitter about not making it to Indy.

 

'twas pretty much ever thus, and you're exactly right that it's something the folks who make the big noise about the "ride buyers" are clueless about. In the early days of the automobile, cars were for the elite. Most early racers were wealthy or soon became backers for their chauffeurs. Even in the "golden age" that so many point to, many of those oval short trackers wouldn't have made it without some backers, sponsors or benefactors, at least to get to the point of being noticed or making it to the next level. But, why the enmity for Robin Miller? He's quite self-depricating about his racing career and I've never heard him say anything that indicated he thought he had anywhere near the talent to get close to Indy. Plus, he completely goes along with those making the big noise about "ride buyers" and holds up Gordon and Stewart as their patron saints without questioning any of their stories. Oh, the irony!



#45 doc knutsen

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Posted Yesterday, 21:11

Plz allow me to reactivate this topic...

In the current issue of Racer magazine, Robin Miller fielded a question about who in Indy Car is a paid driver, who works for expenses, and who brings money to buy the seat.  I think that to a degree, it's semantics, and here's why:

 

As far back as I remember, Ronnie had the polar bear on his helmet.  I understood this was the marque or totem of Ronnie's 'sponsor'. (I was prescient enough to search for Count Zanon before I typed this!)  

 

If a top-five F1 driver couldn't get to Lotus without a patron...here's where I fall back on semantics:  At least for a while, Texaco and Marlboro were Emmo's 'patrons', then Copersucar, YPF was Carlos'...see my point?  Ronnie's was a shadowy rich guy, while the others' were not so shadowy multinational corporations...Should a patron be looked upon the same as a loyal sponsor?

 

It's a distinction that I don't think matters, except for how good the driver is.  Because if you looked at Niki based on 1972, you'd think he was a ride buyer and I also think he'd be the first to admit it, but at least by a strict definition Ronnie was a 'ride buyer' up until the end of his career but no one terms him as such.    

 

Thanks!

 

The polar bear was for Polar Caravans up in the north of Sweden. They were big in the caravan business in Scandinavia at the time. Another prominent backer was Vicks throat lozenges.

Ronnie was a pleasant fellow, almost shy despite his status once he got to F1. Always approachable. Come to think of it, cannot recall anyone had a bad word to say about Mad Ronald.

His comment about having given Chapman his word tells us a lot about the man, does it not...



#46 john aston

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Posted Today, 07:15

Some of the comments I have read elsewhere on  pay drivers (typical hate figures Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer) are asinine. Motor sport is expensive , bills need paying and I fail to see why the identity of the person who pays the bills is the  sole factor in evaluating driver talent . Examples are legion - McLaren's patronage of Hamilton , Hailwood and Moss' comfortably off parents to name a couple. Why this should make Eddie Irvine a better driver because (to his credit) he grafted for his money to get started escapes me. Judge the driver on what he achieves and not on how the budget is raised- better not to know in some cases .... 



#47 Dick Dastardly

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Posted Today, 08:59

Ronnie, my favourite driver of all time. I saw photos and reports of him in F3, his style appealed to me. Remember watching him on TV dominating the F2 race at Brands August '71 [correct me if I'm wrong, I've a feeling he set a new outright lap record]....a few weeks earlier I got his autograph on my program for the British GP at Silverstone, where he finished 2nd. Would love for him to have started winning GPs earlier than he did in '73 and maybe even taking the title that year in the JPS but that wasn't to be.....

Bought a Ronnie T-Shirt last year...