Posted 14 September 2006 - 00:48
Years after this thread began and the request made for a story about Cevert, I'll offer this one.
For Daytona in 1973 Matra had entered the 24-hour with a single 670B, to be driven by Cevert, JP Beltoise, and H. Pescarolo. Pre-race, in the paddock with nothing to do, I searched for a shady place to sit down and found an empty chair in the Matra garage. The car was out for a moment, and so the place was empty of people. But after a minute a door to a nearby travel trailer opened and Cevert stepped out. I recognized the hero driver, of course, as anyone who followed F-1 in those days would. Cevert walked over and studied me suspiciously. I wore a goofy hat and had a giant telephoto lens around my neck. Who are you and what are you doing here? He seemed displeased until seconds later a woman approached with a photog behind her. Now he brightened up as he met his appointment.
The woman was a journalist and after introductions, she quiverred slightly and asked "May I kiss you?" Cevert, quick as he was handsome, replied "The pleasure is mine" and he kissed her instead. The photog, a little uncomfortable, looked away. "Well, where can we talk?" the lady asked. It didn't seem like Cevert wanted to pull a few more chairs into a group around me, so he said "Let us go to the cafe'" And with that the three of them left the garage and began walking to a snack bar nearby. It seemed natural enough to walk along beside the photog behind the lady and the driver.
No doubt about it, Mr. F. Cevert was quite an impressive sight and people along the walk were still and watchful as we passed. Coming toward us there was an American family; husband and wife in their thirties, two children, just come from DisneyWorld. I will never forget the woman's face as she set eyes on Cevert. He was like a movie star and her jaw fell open as she stopped in her tracks. Her family kept walking, husband and kids oblivious. The woman turned and began walking along with me and the photographer, following this wonderful-looking man, whoever, wherever. The photog and I looked at each other, and then back at her family, now 20 feet away, calling her name. Mom? After another half-minute her husband caught up and grabbed her arm. She was in a trance.
Eventually Cevert gave me glance that I took as a signal to go and his interview began. The lady journalist had probably seen enough already to believe anything he told her. Hollywood would be hard-pressed to find someone who exuded as much glamour. But Cevert had that, and he could drive too.
In October when he crashed, the report from Scheckter and Hulme was that Cevert had entered the esses off-line and then had tried to "power through the turn."