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Memories of Ricardo Rodriguez


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#1 FastMex

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 21:17

The young Mexican ace died during the Mexico GP qualification on November 1, 1962.

Ricardo had recently signed with Ferrari, and had taken pole position for the first Mexican GP ever while driving a Lotus V8 that he had borrowed from Walker Racing Team (Scuderia Ferrari did not travel to Mexico for the race because WDC points were not considered). At the end of the session, John Surtees just snapped pole from Ricardo, who was already leaving the venue at 17:00 PM. When he learned that his time had been beaten he ran back to the track, quickly put on his helmet and...fatefully, drove again. He was running faster than Surtess's best time in an inferior car but lost control in the very last curve (the very famous "Peraltada") after a long back straight, exactly at 17:06 PM local time.

Ricardo Rodriguez was 21 years old when he died. Enzo Ferrari saw his tremendous potential after he had dominated a previous LeMans race teaming with Willy Mairesse and Olivier Gendebien (DNF-engine), and by having won several prototype races. He had just also won the 1,000 kilometers of Paris with his older brother Pedro Rodriguez for second year in a row. He also won Targa Florio on May 6, 1962, teamming with Olivier and and Willy.

Ricardo only raced in 5 F1 races (best result 4th place Belgian GP), and had become the youngest driver ever in F1, at 19 years and seven months-old. His first race was during the Italian GP, where he qualified 2nd in the grid driving for Ferrari, just one tenth slower than Wolfgang von Trips.

Enzo Ferrari once described Ricardo Rodriguez as one of the fastest and fearless drivers he ever knew... RIP a true legend (if brief) of Motorsport racing :up:

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#2 Lotus23

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Posted 02 November 2002 - 02:13

FastMex, thank you for your post.

Ricardo certainly was "fast and fearless".

I was lucky enough to see him race several times before his untimely death. The last of those occasions was at the Montlhery track, just south of Paris. Both Pedro and Ricardo were there driving for Ferrari.

My buddy Tom and I were wandering around behind the pits during practice. Tom spotted Ricardo first. He was standing off by himself, a youngster looking about 13 years old, a bit tired and forlorn. We chatted with him as best we could (his English was only slightly better than our Spanish) and wished him well. Though I normally never asked anyone for an autograph -- it wasn't "cool" to do so back then -- something prompted me to ask him for his.

He very graciously complied: "Para mi amigo be R Rodriguez" on a slip of paper. I took some pictures of him, and one of them, enlarged, hangs on my den wall as I write this. Framed with the picture is the autograph. The date? 20 Oct 62. Less than 2 weeks later he was gone.

Certainly doesn't seem like forty years. . .

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 November 2002 - 02:20

That's a memory similar to mine of Timmy Mayer... though he had just one week left.

Ricardo has been revered for years, and with good cause, it should be said. That he was able to drive with his brother in a race so late in his life is a nice thing to recall.

#4 cjpani

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Posted 02 November 2002 - 03:22

FastMex: Bienvenido :clap:

Thanks for remembering :cry:
Ricardo is missed

Carlos

#5 FastMex

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Posted 02 November 2002 - 04:06

Thank you all for your warm comments on Ricardo...

Lotus23, thank you so much for sharing such an incredible anecdote!!! You are so lucky to have lived through racing's glorious moments.
You know, I was born a few years after Ricardo died, so I don't know that much about him. :( The story I posted was taken from a local newspaper article that came out today.

In 1971, when his brother Pedro died during a race crash in Germany I was 7 years old. Pedro was a hero here and I remember the sad news that sunday night on TV news. In school we used to play races with miniature F1 cars, and we always wanted "to be" Pedro, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, etc...

Sadly, the Rodriguez brothers are seldom remembered in Mexico today, but thanks to people like yourselves their incredible legacy goes on...

Thank you again and keep up the excellent posts. :up:

#6 cjpani

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 04:42

Another year has passed, and Ricardo "El Chamaco de Oro" is still sorely missed. :cry:




cj

#7 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 21:29

Probably totally inappropriate but I would like to record a victory for Ricardo Rodriguez, today, in my slot race Grand Prix of Naples.

Posted Image

The memory lives on......

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 21:47

Did the car pass scrutineering after the event, Barry?

Wonderful victory. Keep us posted on the balance of the season...

#9 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 21:49

Did the car pass scrutineering after the event,


...and why wouldn't it, indeed?

#10 cjpani

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 17:45

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Probably totally inappropriate but I would like to record a victory for Ricardo Rodriguez, today, in my slot race Grand Prix of Naples.

Posted Image

The memory lives on......


Barry: AWESOME!!! :clap:
Thanks for sharing :)

cj

#11 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 17:57

I was in Mexico City all of last week on business, and had the occasion to stop by the circuit for a moment or two.

Although I did not have time to go inside, I paused and gave a thought to Ricardo and Pedro.

#12 KDW

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 16:41

I recently re imported a Lotus 18 FJ from USA.
On the cockpit sides was the legend "Ricardo Rodriques".
I was told that was 100% spurious.

So did he ever own or race a Lotus 18 ??
KDW

#13 Barry Boor

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 17:24

Well, the spelling is wrong for a start. Given that Ricardo was still only 20 when he died, it would seem unlikely.

Then again, if it was a Formula Junior car.... I'm sure someone will know for sure.

#14 Pedro 917

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 18:36

Ricardo Rodriguez raced a Stanguellini and a Cooper FJ, never heard of a Lotus 18.
Rodriques is a Portuguese spelling.

#15 Muzza

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 19:10

Just complementing Luc's posting above, the Portuguese spelling is Rodrigues, with a g and an s. I ensure you that Rodriques is not a name - most likely part of the letter g disappeared and is looking like a q.

#16 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 00:01

FastMex,
welcome aboard, but need to check some of your stuff before posting. Of course I am a know-it-all (sarcasm heavily meant here, don¡t kill me guys) but there are a few errors.

-Ricardo was 20 not yet 21 since he was born in February 14 1942. The Anniversary of his death was the 42nd then, and I was about the only one at the grave with my sons last November 1st.
-Then Surtees is no Surtess.
-He dide in the first day of practice,no qualifications held that Thursday. It used to be that a new track got an extra day so drivers could gettoknow it before the official opening of the track for the GP.
-Ricardo was signed for 1963. as was Surtees, so thsis had a bit to do with his coming back to the track. And he died between 5.10 and 5.15 pm, not at 5.06, most likely 5.13 say my sources which can not agree on a time.
-He didn't borrow the Lotus, he made a deal with Rob Walker to race it in Mexico since Ferrari wasnt running. Surtees had Jack Brabham's Lotus, which was similar, not inferior.
-The back straight is really the one in the area after the first turn, the other straight is the oval straight because it is part of the 1 mile oval with about 1/3 of the main straight (there were 3 in the 5k track configuration)
-He nver dominated a Le Mans with Willy and Jelly Bean, he did with Pedro in 1961/62. He was teamd with a Belgian (Hi Luc or Pedro 917 as you are known here, always enjoy your comments), only in 1960 and finished second.

And may we pray for the book soon, it seems we can sign a deal for a version of the Rodriguez at Le Mans this month, I mean december, with a date of mid-2005 as publication. They liked one of the chapters (I sent them a dummy of 1968 with about 50 photos) and this might lead to the big book, which still haven´t finished, and I keep finding funny things like helmets that weren't supposed to exist (any luck with Gerard D., Luc?).
Well FastMex, read a lot and you'll be surprised at all the knowledge here.
Enjoy guys
Carlos Jalife

#17 Pedro 917

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 23:01

From Paris Match, December 1962 : one of the most touching pictures I have....

Ricardo Rodriguez kissing the hand of his father before going out for his fatal run. His little brother Alejandro (7 years old then) is watching :

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#18 FastMex

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 23:30

Originally posted by Carlos Jalife
Well FastMex, read a lot and you'll be surprised at all the knowledge here.


That's what I get for reading an inacurate newspaper article. Sorry for the Surtees mispelling.
Neverteless, I appreciate the clarifications.

Pedro 917: THANKS FOR SHARING SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE :wave:

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 23:32

Indeed, what a photo!

What became of Alejandro? Seeing both his brothers die by the time he was 18 or 19 must have been terrible...

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#20 Barry Boor

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 23:35

I'm afraid that having looked at that photo once, I don't think I could bring myself to look at it again.

Desperately sad.....

#21 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 02:47

Originally posted by Barry Boor
I'm afraid that having looked at that photo once, I don't think I could bring myself to look at it again.

Desperately sad.....

You have summed it up for me as well Barry. I had never seen that photo before, and it filled me with deep emotion.

#22 Pedro 917

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 11:59

Originally posted by Ray Bell :

What became of Alejandro?

He's alive and well. I've read that at one point, he was a very good kart driver. Carlos Jalife told me he's the chairman of the Scuderia Rodriguez, uniting Rodriguez fans in Mexico. I have a picture of Alejandro taken a few years ago that someone sent me. I'll look it up.

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 20:30

When did he race Karts?

Thanks for that, Luc...

#24 Pedro 917

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 23:28

Well Ray, I have this article from Paris Match (1963) reporting the first race Pedro drove after Ricardo's death (3H Daytona Continental, winner in a 250GTO). There are some pictures of the complete Rodriguez family sitting and lying on the bed of the Daytona Holiday Inn and a picture of Alejandrito and his mother. The text with the picture says "7 year old Alejandro also has a real racing helmet as he is a Kart Champion".
I have some pictures of Ricardo driving a kart. He certainly was promoting karting in Mexico.
Carlos Jalife should know more on this subject...

#25 Pedro 917

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 23:39

Here are 2 pictures of Alejandro Rodriguez (on the right) with my Canadian friend and Motor Racing reporter Jimmy Johnston, taken a couple of years ago in Mexico City. I'm sure he doesn't mind putting them here :

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Standing by the family tomb, Panteon Espanol, Mexico City :

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#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 23:53

I guess, then, that he was the brother that figured out it was raining?

#27 rolando

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 07:36

Looking at Alejandro in the picture that Luc kindly posted, makes me remember this picture of the Rodríguez when thet were very young "Chamacos".

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#28 Twin Window

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 22:28

This is a lovely thread, and I've altered the title slightly to reflect this. Any objections, please let me know.

The picture of Ricardo with his father and son is, as Barry said, most moving...

#29 Pedro 917

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 23:24

Thanks Twinny, no objection at all !
And thanks Rolando for that great picture of the kids.
Here's a signed picture of Ricardo (sitting in a Ferrari Dino196) and Pedro at Nassau 1959. It was a gift from Walt Monaco :

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#30 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 03:11

Hi guys,
well let me clear, the picture with the hand kissing is actually from a mexican daily, Ovaciones, and they probably sold itor something to the french magazine. I have one but the whole archive of the newspaper was destroyed in the earthquake 1985 (and so was another from Novedades daily) and I asked and hey said I could use any pictures pre-1985 I found since they don't have the negatives (for the bio of course).
Alejandro is our honorary president at the Scuderia Rodriguez. He sells cars for a living and has been married several times, maybe 4 and has children with several of these, though not all. He spent away about 40% of Pedro's inheritance, his share, in his youth and he is a reformed alcoholic. He doesn't get along with his sister (the elder Conchita, born 1938) because he has a bad habit of asking for money and not paying it. We keep him in the honorary position so as not to harm the memory of the family but he is a very weird guy who has suffered a lot because he didn't get what he thinks deserved, because his brothers died and he never became a famous guy. And if you think I am callous, well I am actually being very gentle, believe me, i know more stuff than anyone could know and I am the guy who cleans after Alex many times, with my money, and I dont have that much.
He had some sort of speech impedimetn and couldn't talk until 7, maybe iodine caused it or cured it rather. he raced briefly in karts, bicycles and cars and he got a podium at the Monterrey 500 once, I think 1973 or 74, but he didn't have the money and the family wasn't so rich, or as Conchita says "he showed no promise so he got no support". He organized some races, and actually there is a half-brother, called Sergio, who was about his age (Alex is 1955, Sergio about 1954 or 56), who did race and won a few FF races here and I met him briefy but he died in September or october this year. There are another 2 or 3 half sisters, and his dad was always taking care of them but died in 1975 so they disappeared because Rodriguez is like Smith in the US, very common.
And well, I was with Jimmy and Alex when they met in the 2002 CART race in Mexico, I organized all the Rodriguez stuff and had both Alex and Conchita tretaed as VIPS (I was the race PR) and the bad part of it is Alex met some guys with money and asked them for loans, which he never paid.
He thinks the world owes him, just like Sara, which is Ricardo's widow, and they have done some bad things together, like copies of trophies and sold them to unsupecting people and I found out when they came to me to hget them authentified and I knew they were fake )one had a Monza 1963 date and Ricardo died in 1962), so I try to keep them where they don't harm anyone, specially their brothers' memory. And they won't go to the tomb unless there is TV or something they can profit from, so I actually go there and have it cleaned and washed every time, I guess it's weird, but I feel they deserve someone taking care if the family doesn't.
And Alex and Sara are mere footnotes in a glorious story, and they will only be touched in the bio when necessary, such as in their race stuff (Alex) or in her relation with Ricardo (Sara).
Well, now you know
Carlos Jalife

#31 MONTOYASPEED

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 04:11

Originally posted by Carlos Jalife
Hi guys,
well let me clear, the picture with the hand kissing is actually from a mexican daily, Ovaciones, and they probably sold itor something to the french magazine. I have one but the whole archive of the newspaper was destroyed in the earthquake 1985 (and so was another from Novedades daily) and I asked and hey said I could use any pictures pre-1985 I found since they don't have the negatives (for the bio of course).
Alejandro is our honorary president at the Scuderia Rodriguez. He sells cars for a living and has been married several times, maybe 4 and has children with several of these, though not all. He spent away about 40% of Pedro's inheritance, his share, in his youth and he is a reformed alcoholic. He doesn't get along with his sister (the elder Conchita, born 1938) because he has a bad habit of asking for money and not paying it. We keep him in the honorary position so as not to harm the memory of the family but he is a very weird guy who has suffered a lot because he didn't get what he thinks deserved, because his brothers died and he never became a famous guy. And if you think I am callous, well I am actually being very gentle, believe me, i know more stuff than anyone could know and I am the guy who cleans after Alex many times, with my money, and I dont have that much.
He had some sort of speech impedimetn and couldn't talk until 7, maybe iodine caused it or cured it rather. he raced briefly in karts, bicycles and cars and he got a podium at the Monterrey 500 once, I think 1973 or 74, but he didn't have the money and the family wasn't so rich, or as Conchita says "he showed no promise so he got no support". He organized some races, and actually there is a half-brother, called Sergio, who was about his age (Alex is 1955, Sergio about 1954 or 56), who did race and won a few FF races here and I met him briefy but he died in September or october this year. There are another 2 or 3 half sisters, and his dad was always taking care of them but died in 1975 so they disappeared because Rodriguez is like Smith in the US, very common.
And well, I was with Jimmy and Alex when they met in the 2002 CART race in Mexico, I organized all the Rodriguez stuff and had both Alex and Conchita tretaed as VIPS (I was the race PR) and the bad part of it is Alex met some guys with money and asked them for loans, which he never paid.
He thinks the world owes him, just like Sara, which is Ricardo's widow, and they have done some bad things together, like copies of trophies and sold them to unsupecting people and I found out when they came to me to hget them authentified and I knew they were fake )one had a Monza 1963 date and Ricardo died in 1962), so I try to keep them where they don't harm anyone, specially their brothers' memory. And they won't go to the tomb unless there is TV or something they can profit from, so I actually go there and have it cleaned and washed every time, I guess it's weird, but I feel they deserve someone taking care if the family doesn't.
And Alex and Sara are mere footnotes in a glorious story, and they will only be touched in the bio when necessary, such as in their race stuff (Alex) or in her relation with Ricardo (Sara).
Well, now you know
Carlos Jalife


Que tristeza. :(

#32 eldougo

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 05:49

Thanks to Pedro 917 ,for that sad ,but beautifull photograph ,that i have never seen.and to
Carlos Jalife for giving us some insight to this amazing family history,sad as it may be there is always some one who try to benefit from other people misfortune.

Thanks for keeping their memory going.... :up:

#33 Martin Roessler

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 11:30

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05.08.1962 at the Nuerburgring where he started 10th and finished 6th.

cheers Marty

#34 Pedro 917

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 22:07

Ricardo would have celebrated his 63th Birthday today.

Zandvoort 1962 :

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#35 Keir

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 00:06

:up: Very nicely done!

Pedro 917 and cjpani still have the second and third best sigs on the board. (I have the best!)

Luc never seems to run out of great pics!! :clap:

Rolando,
I love the one of the "young warriors!"

#36 rolando

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 01:01

¡Felix cumpleaños Chamaco de Oro!

#37 cjpani

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 03:01

Originally posted by Keir
:up: Very nicely done!

Pedro 917 and cjpani still have the second and third best sigs on the board. (I have the best!)



Keir, five years and counting, with the same sig :up: . Truer words were never spoken (at least in the amon thread ;))


Feliz cumpleaños Ricardo Valentín !!!!!


cj

#38 xkssFrankOpalka

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 00:23

I was fortunate to be at Meadowdale International Raceway when Ricardo was running a RS Porsche spyder in the pro race. He ran off the road and flipped it into a ditch, the whole pit crew and Pedro came looking for him after he crawled out from under the car. He wanted the corner workers to turn the car over so he could continue, The brothers saw each other and ran to embrace each other, a touching moment. I also have a poster of Ricardo flying thru the air in a Gulf Porsche spyder over a bump, I bought the poster from a vendor at the Zocalo in Mexico City.Also have a picture of the brothers in the pits at Sebring before the race.

#39 cjpani

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 00:36

Originally posted by xkssFrankOpalka
I also have a poster of Ricardo flying thru the air in a Gulf Porsche spyder over a bump, I bought the poster from a vendor at the Zocalo in Mexico City.


:confused:

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#40 Barry Boor

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 07:43

What C.J's smiley is referring to, Frank. is that Ricardo died in 1962 - long before Gulf Porsches were ever even thought of!

I suspect you have Pedro.....

#41 Gary Davies

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 09:50

Pedro, your picture from Paris Match is, as others have, observed, almost unbearably emotional and there is a real lump in the throat. But I'd like to focus on that wonderful picture from Zandvoort. It very much grabs me. What is it ... the stark clarity of a nicely lit black and white shot ... the hint of movement in the tyres and wheel spokes ... the delightful innocence of the hand painted numbers on a Grand Prix car .. Ricardo's eyes drilling so single-mindedly at the apex of the corner?

And what is it about the shark nose cars? The mind says they're an awkward mish-mash of angles, scoops, proportions and design elements, but the heart overwhelms the mind and says "Racing Car". Whatever ... I love 'em!

All in all, the Zandvoort picture captures the reasons why this sport captured me when I was a kid.

#42 Pedro 917

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 10:33

It was 43 years ago today:

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My collection / Photographer unknown

#43 cjpani

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 15:51

Sad, sad day. :cry:

thanks for the post Luc.

Posted Image

Carlos

#44 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 20:19

Frank and others...Meadowdale picture and report here:

http://www.miroldpix...m/59oldpix.html

Vince Howlett, Victoria, B.C., Canada

#45 Pedro 917

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:28

44 years today....

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My collection, copyright unknown

#46 Twin Window

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 12:56

I think that this photo - previously seen on the 'Personal...' thread - belongs here too;

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Spa 1962, as supplied by j-ickx-fan and taken by his friend.

#47 Jerry Entin

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 16:39

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Ricardo winning a race at Riverside Raceway. Beating the best westcoast drivers of the day. When I showed this picture to Brian Redman he said :
" He was only a Kid."
Photo lent to site by Joe Playan-Lester Nehamkin photo.- copyright 2006 Joe Playan.
The photo above in post #43 by CJ Pani is also from the Joe Playan collection and is a Lester Nehamkin photo. copyright - 2005 Joe Playan.

#48 Pedro 917

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 16:46

Riverside Opening race, 21 September 1957 it was ....and Ricardo was only 15!

#49 cjpani

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 17:22

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
[IMG]
The photo above in post #43 by CJ Pani is also from the Joe Playan collection and is a Lester Nehamkin photo. copyright - 2005 Joe Playan.


Thanks for the clarificartion, Jerry.

Ricardo is still sorely missed. :cry:

cj

#50 Pedro 917

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 23:08

It was 45 years ago today.....

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November 1st, 1962 : Ricardo (with new helmet) in the Walker Lotus 24, preparing for his fatal run.