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Rothmans International Grand Prix Trophy - held in Asia


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#1 skyphantom

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 09:48

The 1st Trophy series was held in 1976 and won by Kiwi Graeme Lawrence in a March 76B - BDA. It consisted of 6 rounds held in Selangor (Malaysia - 2 rounds), Penang (Malaysia), Ancol (near Jakarta, Indonesia), Philippines and Macau. This series seemed to be held intermittently. Can anyone shed more light on this series?



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#2 Allen Brown

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:32

I only have these:

Penang Grand Prix, 2 May 1976

Selangor Grand Prix (Batu Tiga), 15 Aug

Indonesia Grand Prix (Jakarta-Ancol Jaya), 24 Oct

Macau Grand Prix, 14 Nov

Philippines Grand Prix (Manila-Greenhills), 19 Dec

 

Why do you say intermittently?   The races continued to be held through the late 1970s but the amount of publicity depended on whether they had a sponsor for it.



#3 skyphantom

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 02:49

I only have these:

Penang Grand Prix, 2 May 1976

Selangor Grand Prix (Batu Tiga), 15 Aug

Indonesia Grand Prix (Jakarta-Ancol Jaya), 24 Oct

Macau Grand Prix, 14 Nov

Philippines Grand Prix (Manila-Greenhills), 19 Dec

 

Why do you say intermittently?   The races continued to be held through the late 1970s but the amount of publicity depended on whether they had a sponsor for it.

 

I say Intermittently because, while especially the Malaysian, Selangor and Penang GPs continued to be held into the early eighties( and of course, the Macau GP still runs today),  there seems to be very little info on post-1976 Trophy winners. If memory serves , David McKinney himself commented on this fact in one of his annual reviews (whilst still writing in NZ).



#4 Allen Brown

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 10:05

I did a bit of reading and it looks like both the 1977 and 1978 championships were cancelled.  In 1977, there were a couple of fatal accidents that caused cancellations and meant the series was scrapped and in 1978 it appears to have been scrapped after the three Malaysian races as Macau was the only race left on the schedule.  So Patrick Tambay and Malcolm Ramsey respectively lost their chance of another trophy for the cabinet.  I can see no mention of a championship even being attempted in 1979.



#5 skyphantom

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:37

I did a bit of reading and it looks like both the 1977 and 1978 championships were cancelled.  In 1977, there were a couple of fatal accidents that caused cancellations and meant the series was scrapped and in 1978 it appears to have been scrapped after the three Malaysian races as Macau was the only race left on the schedule.  So Patrick Tambay and Malcolm Ramsey respectively lost their chance of another trophy for the cabinet.  I can see no mention of a championship even being attempted in 1979.

 

The crash you mention happened at the April 1977 Malaysian GP held at the Batu Tiga track outside of Kuala Lumpur, when a Ford Escort ( in a supporting race) blew a rear tyre and the ensuing crash killed several child spectators. The circuit was closed amidst a huge hue and cry. The track (now re-named Shah Alam, after the local area) re-opened one year later with the running of the May 1978 Malaysian GP.

 

Interestingly, in Jon Addison's book entitled "Millen" (on Kiwi racing driver Steve Millen), Millen is reported to have won the 1977 SE Asian Grand Prix Driver's Championship. Was  this really a championship, and if so, was it connected to the '76 Rothmans Trophy? Unfortunately, the book contains several mistakes , which is why I ask the question.


Edited by skyphantom, 08 July 2014 - 12:41.


#6 Allen Brown

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:03

There was a Rothmans-sponsored series for 1977 which would equate to a "SE Asian Grand Prix Driver's Championship" but I couldn't tell you its official name.  I would assume they mean the same thing.  RCN said the championship was cancelled but if it continued and if the Philippines races were cancelled and if Macau had been the only other race held, then Millen's six points from Batu Tiga and six points from Macau would have given him 12 pts.  Tambay won the first race but retired at Penang and wasn't at Macau so he'd have 9 pts.  Lawrence won Penang but was out of the points at Batu Tiga and retired at Macau so 9 pts also.  I don't know the minor places at either Batu Tiga or Penang but assuming they were locals (RCN would have mentioned an Aussie), the most anyone could have is 8 pts. Well, I suppose Poon could have ten if he'd been the third place finisher at Batu Tiga.  So yes, if RCN were wrong and the championship did continue with Macau, Millen would have been champion.

 

But that's a lot if 'if's.



#7 skyphantom

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 23:29

There was a Rothmans-sponsored series for 1977 which would equate to a "SE Asian Grand Prix Driver's Championship" but I couldn't tell you its official name.  I would assume they mean the same thing.  RCN said the championship was cancelled but if it continued and if the Philippines races were cancelled and if Macau had been the only other race held, then Millen's six points from Batu Tiga and six points from Macau would have given him 12 pts.  Tambay won the first race but retired at Penang and wasn't at Macau so he'd have 9 pts.  Lawrence won Penang but was out of the points at Batu Tiga and retired at Macau so 9 pts also.  I don't know the minor places at either Batu Tiga or Penang but assuming they were locals (RCN would have mentioned an Aussie), the most anyone could have is 8 pts. Well, I suppose Poon could have ten if he'd been the third place finisher at Batu Tiga.  So yes, if RCN were wrong and the championship did continue with Macau, Millen would have been champion.

 

But that's a lot if 'if's.

 

Inspired by your industry, I too went digging into my resources. Your "ifs" are all correct.

 

Before he bought the publication, Dave McKinney was the "formula car specialist" for the motorsport fortnightly Motoraction here in NZ. In issue no. 111 - 2 Dec 1977, Dave congratulates Steve Millen for becoming the 1977 Rothmans Far East champion, after coming in 2nd in the Macao GP. Based on info provided by 1976 champ Graeme Lawrence, the story goes like this:

 

The 1st round (Malaysian GP), held on 24 April, Millen scored a 2nd while Lawrence finished 7th after electrical problems forced him to visit the pits several times. The 2nd round (Penang GP), on 1 May, was won by Lawrence, with Millen retiring. The next round, the Selangor GP was unable to be held due to the Batu Tiga track still being closed after the fatalities at the Malaysian GP - previously mentioned. Then the Indonesian and Philippines GPs got cancelled. This left the Macau GP.

 

When Lawrence's car arrived in Macau from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, they found valve caps down the injection trumpets (fuel injection was allowed in the Asian races - only disallowed from 1978)) and bolts inside the spare engine, Then a day or two later, the workshop they were using caught fire. To top it off, he then came down with a case of the bot. Despite this, Lawrence qualified 6th while Millen got 4th on the grid. Lawrence's race was plagued by electrical and fuel pump troubles while Millen went on to score a fine 2nd place. With this, he became the 1977 champion, after three races.  Newsome's Colour & Noise confirms this (see page 141).

 

In a preview of the 1979 Penang and Malaysian GPs in a March 1979 issue of  Motoraction, Dave McKinney reports " There is no official championship anymore, Rothmans having pulled out their sponsorship some time ago". This tends to suggest that there was no championship run in 1978. Thus, Steve Millen became the second and last Rothmans championship winner.


Edited by skyphantom, 15 July 2014 - 06:23.