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Innes Ireland


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#1 ehagar

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Posted 27 August 2001 - 21:44

I was wondering, why was Innes Ireland fired from Lotus after his 1961 win at Watkins Glen? Was it something he said to Colin Chapman or about his cars? I've read somewhere that Chapman never even told him directly of his sacking, and he found out through a third party....

Did Innes hold a grudge for this later on as a journalist? Or was he too happy of a bloke to hold a grudge?

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#2 Keir

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Posted 28 August 2001 - 00:27

Innes was one of the great characters, he felt that the sacking was unfair, but he didn't let it get in the way of his driving, or his drinking!!!

#3 UAtkins

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Posted 28 August 2001 - 05:14

Excerpt out of All Arms and Elbows by Innes Ireland, enjoy:

The axe fell during the 1961 Motor Show in London, I remember the occasion very clearly. It was October 24-16 days after the American GP. I had been over to Paris and returned on the Wednesday before the Motor Show closed. I had been wandering around the place, looking at odd cars and things - I do not truly have much interest in going to the Motor Show, but it is the expected thing and you are supposed to go and talk to people about what is happening next year and so forth - and I met there a new competitions manager for Esso, a chap by the name of Geoff Murdoch.
Feeling in rather good spirits, I naturally talked to him and think I said something like: "Well, Geoff, what's the form for next year?"
I was a bit surprised to find that he looked very bashful, ill at ease and embarrasssed as he said: "Haven't you spoken to Colin?"
When I said I hadn't, he looked even more embarrassed and suggested I ought to go and have a word with him.
Still not smelling a rat, I trotted off and found Chapman. I told him I had been speaking to Murdoch and that Murdoch has advised me to see him. I then asked him what it was all about.
And Chapman, to my complete surprise, and looking down at his feet, said: "Oh, I won't be requiring your services next year."
That was it. That was the end of my association with Team Lotus.
Of course, I was absolutely shattered, I couldn't speak a work. I didn't even go back and speak to Murdoch, I simply left the Motor Show, got in my car and drove home to Wales.........

.....In all, my three years with Chapman and Lotus taught me a great deal. Not so much about motor racing as about the people in it. When I went in, I was prepared to give everything for the sake of the underdog, as it were - for Lotus was the underdog in those days, struggling to find a good car.

But when I left, I was much more realistic and not a little bitter about the treatment that I felt had been handed to me.
I think, in the circumstances, I can claim to have been quite devoted to the interests of Colin Chapman and Lotus. At that stage of my career, Chapman was being criticized by the Press for the poor state of preparation of his cars. But throughout, I had this "we'll show 'em" attitude. We were the underdogs, but I was determined to get up and bite now and again. I always tried my best. Maybe my best was not good enough for Chapman - I just don't know.
What I do know is that my experience with Lotus changed my outlook on motor racing. It was always a sport to me up until then, but if the people in it were capable of this kind of behaviour, then the sport was being corroded.

Later in the book he speaks about his getting his feelings sorted out about Lotus:

It was at the French Grand Prix in Reims that year that I got myself a bit sorted out with regard to my attitude to Team Lotus and the people in it. Up until then I must admit I had let some of the bitterness in me spill over on to Trevor Taylor, the man who had replaced me in the Lotus team which went to South Africa at the end of the previous year. Quite ridiculously, I had allowed myself to get my relationship with him completely out of proportion.
I never, of course, went out of my way to be unpleasant to Trevor, but equally I never bothered to be too friendly. I knew for a long time that I was being stupid and that my attitude puzzled him, since beforehand, we had been perfectly friendly. In the end, he gave up being friendly with me. It was absolutely childish of me, I know.
A couple of days before the race, I went out on the town, found myself in a dim and dark little club somewhere, and came across Trevor. He had been having quite a good time and called me over. Before long we began to get things sorted out.
Trevor is extremely blunt and called me all kinds of strange Yorkshire names when he found out what was bugging me. I was in a mood to be honest with myself and once I got that cleared off my chest, it did me a power of good.
We had quite a lot of drinks to celebrate the fact that we had unscrambled the problem. I remember that by the time we left the club, the sun was well up in the sky and we were behaving like two long-lost blood brothers. It was very satisfying to have ironed out the whole affair like that and since then, Trevor and I have been the best of friends again.

I will look to see if there is any comment later in the book about sorting out his feelings with Chapman.

It's a great book, I got this from Amazon UK, it's the latest print but is a very entertaining read and well worth it.

Ursula

#4 ehagar

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Posted 28 August 2001 - 05:40

:up: :up:

Ursula,

thanks for typing that out, most interesting excerpt. I think I'll have another book to add to my collection. Not badly priced for a rare & out of print book either...

#5 UAtkins

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Posted 28 August 2001 - 05:49

As I said, it's a great read, I laughed my way through the entire book. He was quite a character, the book provides a lot of insight into racing in the 50s and 60s. I know I met him at Goodwood one time as I have his autograph but I was too young to remember much. Enjoy.

Ursula

#6 LittleChris

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Posted 28 August 2001 - 11:34

Most of the UK motor sport book sellers ( Chaters, Millhouse books etc ) have it on sale at the moment ( about £6.00 IIRC ). Well worth buying at three times that price.

#7 Bumblyari

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Posted 29 August 2001 - 22:06

After reading you guys for months, at last I can offer a contribution.

The going price of the 2nd (updated) edition of 'All Arms & Elbows' is £9.99 in the UK.

Not much of a contribution I know, but it's a start.

#8 kazan

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 00:40

Innes Ireland was a great entertainer, often at his own expense, if you consider the number of misunderstandings with local police. Then a guest of Team Lotus, I remember him trying to take a short-cut to the pits at the saturday practice session for the 1960 Brussels GP, hence finding himself in the flow of the Antwerp-Brussels motor-way, shouting out at the bloody people around that they'd better take him back to the proper race course... I met Innes again only a few months before he died of cancer. He talked about Colin Chapman's betrayal, only days after he had given Team Lotus his first GP win. Three decades after, the blow was still burning.

#9 David M. Kane

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 12:08

Surtees seems to think the sacking had to do with Chapman wanting
to make room in the team for him. Chapman had apparently offered
him the #1 slot. This is a statement he made in a BBC radio series where they profiled seven ex-World Champions.

#10 kazan

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 22:23

Indeed, Colin Chapman had shown a keen interest in John Surtees' talentuous driving as from the 1960 season, and one can reasonably argue that Jimmy Clarck was only standing as a substitute to Surtees in the F1 team that year. Yet, a very special partnership had been developing between Clarck and Chapman, leaving Ireland aside... I personally doubt that, knowing Surtees' type of personality, he would have put up with such a situation, had he not abruptly opted for the Yeoman Credit Lola for 1962.

#11 kazan

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 22:25

... meaning CLARK, of course - sorry !

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 22:41

Clark got into the Lotus F1 team by the back door really - he originally signed only for FJ & F2 and was contracted to Aston Martin for F1. Because Aston were less than enthusiastic about F1 by now Jimmy never drove for them, making his debut for Lotus in the Dutch GP because Surtees had a clashing bike meeting - Big John ran F1 and bikes that year. But give Jimmy his due - he saw his chance and grabbed with both hands!:)

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 23:35

I've heard (from Surtees) that he was offered the number 1 drive at Team Lotus for 1961, but I don't think I'd ever heard that Chapman made the offer again at the end of the year. By that time clark was showing clear indications of te driver he would become, and Taylor and Arundell were showing great promise in the Junior team. I always understood that the reason for Ireland's sacking was that his approach to racing and in particular the social side didn't fit with Chapman's views.

Whateever the reason, Ireland got poor reward for his efforts on behalf of Lotus over the years. His performances in 1961, and not just the USGP win were excellent. his gesture of handing his car over to Moss at Monza showed how much Lotus meant to him.

#14 ehagar

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 02:16

Speedvision had a show on the history of the US GP....

In it there was a clip of a young driver (I think it was Innes) celebrating a win with Lotus....

I wouldn't have noticed except for his reaction when a pretty (then young) woman (who I don't think was his girlfriend/wife) handed out the flowers.... She got more than a kiss! Man, you would get a lawsuit for that these days.... but she seemed to enjoy it!

#15 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 03:38

I too have seen the clip on Speedvision's excellent documentary on the heritage of the USGP - and recognize the moment well as I was standing there watching. It is victory circle at Watkins Glen in 1961 and Innes has just won the USGP. I trust you will be happy to know that my sister Louise (the pretty young woman you describe) remains a beautiful woman today.

How you managed to make more of it than it was, escapes my understanding. But I'm glad it made an impression on you!

#16 ehagar

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 04:08

Originally posted by Mike Argetsinger
I too have seen the clip on Speedvision's excellent documentary on the heritage of the USGP - and recognize the moment well as I was standing there watching. It is victory circle at Watkins Glen in 1961 and Innes has just won the USGP. I trust you will be happy to know that my sister Louise (the pretty young woman you describe) remains a beautiful woman today.

How you managed to make more of it than it was, escapes my understanding. But I'm glad it made an impression on you!


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Prehaps I exagerate a bit, but the clip with Innes and your sister made an impression!

There were some nice clips on the program. Looked like the organizers at the Glen really treated the drivers very well.

#17 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 September 2001 - 07:51

Posted Image


"Innes is amply rewarded for his splendid drive"

#18 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 29 September 2001 - 22:42

Great picture Roger! But just for the record that isn't my sister Louise - nor is it Watkins Glen and Innes' famous win (the first ever World Championship victory for Team Lotus) in the 1961 USGP. But looking at the crowd I would guess that it is an Innes win somewhere in the U.S. I wonder where and when?

#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 29 September 2001 - 23:51

Well, you should know, Mike! I took it from Autosport's report on the 1961 USGP and I can't think what other race it might have been.

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#20 Giraffe

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:19

Rummaging through the treasure trove that that is the Sid Taylor archive, I found reason to revive this thread after a lapse of getting close to 10 years with a pic of Innes at the 1989 Macao Grand Prix where he took part in possibly the final 'race' of his career, Teddy Yip's "Race of Champions".

Posted Image
By giraffe138 at 2011-03-15
Posted Image
By giraffe138 at 2011-03-15

Photos courtesy of the Sid Taylor collection.

Edited by Giraffe, 15 March 2011 - 11:26.


#21 JtP1

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 17:34

Indeed, Colin Chapman had shown a keen interest in John Surtees' talentuous driving as from the 1960 season, and one can reasonably argue that Jimmy Clarck was only standing as a substitute to Surtees in the F1 team that year. Yet, a very special partnership had been developing between Clarck and Chapman, leaving Ireland aside... I personally doubt that, knowing Surtees' type of personality, he would have put up with such a situation, had he not abruptly opted for the Yeoman Credit Lola for 1962.


I think by 62 Surtees was a situation of driving for Lotus. It would have been a bit like the mid 60s rumour of A J Foyt driving for Ferrari. The suggestion was that it would have lasted 5 minutes, but it would have been an entertaining 5 minutes.

Innes's real problem was that he was probably slower than Chapman in the car and had reached as high as he would ever get and Chapman knew that. There can be nothing more fustrating for a person like Chapman to know that he could do a better job in the car and watch someone else not do it.


#22 KJJ

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 18:14

Innes's real problem was that he was probably slower than Chapman in the car and had reached as high as he would ever get and Chapman knew that. There can be nothing more fustrating for a person like Chapman to know that he could do a better job in the car and watch someone else not do it.


I have no idea if Chapman was faster than Innes, they never raced against each other so I guess some tale about Chapman lapping the car faster on an odd occasion will have to do.

The fact is that Ireland was more successful than Jimmy Clark when they raced together for Team Lotus in F1 - 23 joint starts with Innes winning 4 races with 3 seconds and a third, while Jimmy managed a second place and two thirds. In their last seven races together before he was sacked and after he returned from his Monaco tunnel crash, Ireland took 3 wins against a best finish of fourth for Clark.

Why didn't Surtees stay with Lotus ... he revealed all in a magazine interview a few years ago:

"Colin said to me, "John - you're my Number One and you can have your choice of team-mate, Innes or Jim."
"I don't know," I said. "I've had so many mechanical failures that I'm getting a bit suspicious of your green cars."
"Then we'll paint 'em black!" said Colin, and he prepared a contract giving me choice of second driver and saying that the cars would be painted black."

"I told him that I would like Jim Clark as my number two, as I got on well with him, but then a few days later Innes Ireland called me from Paris. He told me that he had a contract for 1960 and '61 which stated that he had choice of team-mate! "What the hell is going on?" he wanted to know."

I went to see Colin."It's not true." he said, "I've got no arrangement at all with Innes. We're fixing him up with the British Racing Partnership."

"Innes still insisted that he had everything in writing, so I fixed another meeting with Chapman, taking Innes with me. He brought his contract, which said exactly what he claimed, but Colin just shrugged the whole thing off, so I said "I'm sorry, but that's it" and I walked out."