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Memories of your first Grand Prix race you attended

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#1 fester82

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 03:25

I introduced myself under Don Capps intro thread where I talked about my first race my father brought me to, the International Trophy race at Silverstone in 1967. As a nine year old, I was just awestruck and is some of my most vivid memories at that early age. Looking through past threads, I haven't seen a similar thread and I thought it would be interesting to hear other peoples memories of their introduction to F1 in person. Who has been to the earliest GP race?


#2 David Hyland

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 05:01

Hi fester82, and welcome to TNF.

The first Grand Prix/F1/WDC race I attended was the 1985 Australian Grand Prix here in Adelaide. Memories include:
- thinking how incredibly lucky I was that, of only 16 locations around the world that F1 cars appeared each year, one of them was my home town
- surprise at how pink the paintwork of the (Marlboro) McLarens was - it was completely different to the red colour they appeared on TV and in photos
- disappointment that my favourite driver, Alain Prost, who had completed 13 of the 15 races held so far in 1985, failed to finish in Adelaide (brake failure IIRC)
- the huge cloud of dust and scraping noises generated by Lauda's car as it ground its way to a halt along the concrete barrier at the end of Brabham straight, where I was sitting
- disappointment that my "Gold Pass" ticket (which, as a university student, cost me a sizeable proportion of my annual disposable income) looked just like a theatre ticket (I think I had been expecting something like the huge gold tickets in the film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory")
- surprise that what my "Gold Pass" grandstand "seat" actually entitled me to was a (non-reserved) space on a plank.
- seeing Ligier team mates Laffite and Streiff collide near the end of the race
- seeing F1 driver Gerhard Berger drive a saloon car in one of the support races(!)
- it was damn hot on race day!

#3 Buford

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 06:54

My first GP was the 1967 Grand Prix of Canada at Mosport. It was a rain race won by Jack Brabahm and on a truly scary course. I know that now from driving GPL. My main recollection was Chris Amon all over the track in an evil handling Ferrari and being impressed he didn't kill himself. Then I read Enzo Ferrari's comment (he wasn't there) which was something about his gladiators were afraid to come out in the rain or something. What an asshole!!!

But there were two life changing events from that race for me. For one, Players Cigarettes which I still smoke to this day and will probably kill me. The second, was witnessing the most exciting race of my life. The sedan race on Saturday where Bill Brack in a little Mini Cooper against 2 thundering Mustangs and 2 Camaros in a mind boggling position changing battle that had 60,000 people screaming all around the track, and ended in a flag waving, jump the fence and invade the track celebration of the likes I have never seen before or since. That day, I pointed to the track as the celebration swirled around me, and said to nobody in particular, "Some day I am going to do that!"

Five years later it was me in a Mini Cooper battling Corvettes and Mustangs and creating a similar, but much smaller crowd excitement and amazement.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 07:07

My first Grand Prix was at Warwick Farm in 1963... boiling hot, the first time the spectator area at Creek Corner was opened up, IIRC.

I was there to see a Surtees win and a Ferguson show how good 4WD really was... well, I guess I was disappointed in those hopes, but we saw one fine race between JB and FJ and it was only that the latter spun that Brabham was able to catch and pass him. It was only five months since I'd been to my first ever race, this was my third time out, I think, and it was a tremendous event from every perspective.

The crowd was great, the racing was great, the level of entry was great... Stirling Moss paraded around on the back of a Daimler SP250 with his beard and all... I think he started the race too.

And for World Championship races, it would be hard to ask for more than the 1981 Grand Prix of Monaco... Jones in charge after forcing Piquet into error... drama as Jones had trouble with his fuel pickup... Gilles Villeneuve winning... meeting Denis Jenkinson. Yeah, that's one to remember always...

#5 Henri Greuter

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 07:44

Zandvoort '81
I wanted to see Gilles but only saw him spin-off at tarzan.
Never saw him again anymore.

Henri Greuter

#6 velo

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 07:45

I'll be able to tell you in JUNE!!!!! :clap:

#7 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 07:48

British Grand Prix - Brands Hatch - 1964.

Needless to say, My Hero, the big guy in the black helmet was on the front row but of course the car went wrong after a few laps. Still, it was a tense battle between Clark and Hill, and my other favourite, Bob Anderson, drove a great race in his private Brabham.

Happy days!!!!

#8 Vicuna

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 09:12

Originally posted by Ray Bell


#9 schuy

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 09:19

Heh, maybe this doesn't deserve a posting in the TNF! :stoned:

Austria 99':
Mika Salo's first race as a Ferrari driver after MS was injured in Silverstone.
The first cars I had ever heard were the Ferraris, and I remember that what struck me most was the intesnsity of the sound-
I just felt like it was piercing through my chest, and I also remember the shunt in the first lap, first corner of the race, where David Coulthard fish-tailed Mika Hakkinen and made life much Easier for Ferrari on a way to Eddie Irvine's win.


#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 09:38

Originally posted by Vicuna

John Surtees...

Dubbed 'Fearless John' by Henry Manney III (or I guess it was he who dubbed him that... maybe he just popularised it...) and nobody ever said it was wrong.

#11 Frank de Jong

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 10:50

I only saw practice at Zandvoort in 1975, but 1976 was the first GP proper. An awesome fight between Hunt and Watson each lap at Tarzan corner - but Hunt kept the inside line...

#12 x_acto

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 11:34

(This is my 1st post) :p

The only GP i ever seen it was the Portuguese GP in 1995. (I'm Portuguese...)

I remember the big accident that Katayama have at the start and the great race that Frentzen and Alesi made.

It was, also, the first win for David Couthard.

In that race Michael Schumacher made a great overtake manuver (??) at Damon Hill.

I remember that in the day before Tarso Marques win the F3000 race and Sospiri became champion over Rosset.

#13 ian senior

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 13:43

Silverstone, British GP, 1975. Most of my memories of this don't have much to do with the actual race. It was a long schlep from Yorkshire, I had no car, and it involved a never ending journey on a series of trains via Brum. It also involved skiving off work. The train journey ended at Northampton, where I got a bus that ended up in the usual traffic jam at Towcester. From Towcester progress was non-existant so I baled out and walked to the circuit, arriving just in time to make the start, and found myself a place at Stowe corner.

First impression was the amount of racket produced by a full-blooded F1 start. Second impression was the disappointment at the actual calibre of the racing. Third impression was feeling very p****d off at getting soaked when it started to rain - a carrier bag offered no protection against the elements towards my David Bowie hair cut. Fourth and worst impression was the utter confusion caused after the race was stopped. No-one seemed to know what the hell was going on. Feeling as low as a worm's undercarriage, I cleared off at this point.

I made my way back to Northampton, hoping to find somwhere to eat. Only this was England, on a Saturday afternoon at about 5:30, and everywhere had just closed. I then found myself stranded at Birmingham New St station for nearly 2 hours, having missed a train to Leeds. This meant being surrounded by people speaking in an accent I could barely understand, which was hilarious when trying to negotiate essential purchases such as beer or chocolate. The train journey back home was enlivened by being thrown out of the 1st class compartment I had decided to commandeer as a just reward for all my privations. When I got home at some unearthly hour, my Dad asked if I had enjoyed myself. I said I had had the time of my life, and couldn't wait to do it again.

#14 Mallory Dan

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 14:15

Ian, excellent story, I suspect in 75 the train journies, and locos, were much more interesting than the GP.

I've only ever attended 2 GPs, never really fancied them at all. Both at Spa, in 95 and 96, rained both times. The former was pretty good, when the top boys started well down, after rain in practice. The race best remembered when TGF took Damon off at the top of the hill. Problem was, of course, that at the circuit itself you never see things very well, unless you're right there.

I'm afraid the telly spoils it, for me at least. The view I got was nowhere near as good as we all get on the small screen. The atmosphere not enough to make up for a poor view, queues, being ripped off by the vendors, long journey there, getting soaked and a long walk. The next year I went back, again as a Page & Moy courier, and watched the race from a local bar.

Sorry to be so negative !!

#15 ian senior

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 14:41

Actually, there is a sequel to the above. The following year I decided to visit the 'ring for the German Grand Prix, as part of my holiday hitching around Holland and Germany. The trouble was, the night before the race was spent in an excellent bar in Koblenz, where I listened to superb music and got extremely ratted. The following day dawned with me feeling a touch fragile and in no mood to listen to noisy racing cars in the afternoon. A pity,as I would have seen the last GP on the proper circuit. There was one act of consolation though - I met Derek Bell in a queue cashing traveller's cheques, and we had a chat. Very good bloke all round. Then I went to another bar.

#16 arthurive

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 14:43

My first was Detroit 1982. I ended up seeing all 7 races in Detroit from 1982-1988.
This was the race that John Watson won from way back (16th?) on the grid.
It was warm and sunny. On Saturday it rained for all of the Qualifying. That was
still entertaining to sit through. I missed the Friday Qualifying, which was a dry day.
Piquet had problems on Friday and was unable to run. With Saturday Qualifying a washout
Nelson was unable to set a low enough time, hence he missed the race.
This was of course is the days of the classic qualifying, where there was a true provisional pole
sitter on Friday. If nobody bettered the time on Saturday, you got the pole.

Anyway, the Detroit GP was pretty good for viewing. I got a photo pass and was able to
walk much of the circuit. The engine sound booming off of the buildings was great.
I saw all 7 races and to be honest, they've all blended together, I don't have specific
memories, except in 1986: I had a friend that got us in the paddock on Thursday and I was
able to see the cars up close and got quite a few autographs (Piquet, Mansell, Jones, Johansson
Patrese, Warwick, Berger, Ken Tyrrell and Jackie Stewart, who was doing an interview with
some local TV affiliate) I still have the program with the autographs. Unfortunately, I was
unable to get Senna or Prost. Neither was seen in the paddock that day.

#17 Don Capps

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 14:47

For some reason, I thought my first GP was Torino in 1955, but apparently it was Spa-Francorchamps in 1954 where they were still filming for The Racers. I was an extra in several scenes -- being an English-speaking brat had its advantages at times -- and generally don't really recall that much about the race. I was probably romping and stomping with other kids as much as I was watching the GP. I was corrected on this bit of information by my Mom (who is 80) who tolerated racing pretty well until Le Mans the next year, 1955.

I seemed to have merged 1954 and 1955 a bit over the years based upon what she has told me. We didn't go to Reims or Berne, but got to the rest of them it seems. I don't recall Silverstone that year at all! Speaking of, "Ah yes! I remember it well!" Syndrone.... :rotfl:

#18 Dave Ware

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 15:26

The Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport, 1973. Rain. Fog. More rain. And more fog. Graham Hill was one of the brave ones who ventured out in practice in the worst conditions, with rain, mist, and visibility that couldn't have been much farther than the end of his nose cone. I remember him navigating turn two very gingerly.

Camping in the infield. Dad and me setting up the tent in the rain, at night. A dump truck appeared and emptied a load of firewood which the campers assulted like a hoard of ants. I was trying to pick up a piece of wood but couldn't pull it out of the pile. I noticed there was a foot holding it down. Attached to the foot was some Italian or French-Canadian who was snarling at me for apparently trying to pick up what he thought was his piece of wood. I was so happy to be there that I didn't care at all.

The race: less fog but plenty of rain. The Scheckter/Cevert accident, which I witnessed and remember quite vividly. Lauda storming up to run second before retiring. Oliver leading and Fittipaldi catching and eventually passing him for what we thought was the lead.

Afterwards in the paddock, seeing Chapman and Fitti walking off towards a helicopter, quite happy with themselves. (They were both the same height, btw.) Wandering around the paddock and finding Jackie Oliver sitting alone on the step to a motorhome. Got his autograph and asked him where he figured he finished. "Second" he said, and I immediately realized how he felt about so closely missing what he thought would have been a Grand Prix victory.

Damn, those were the days.


#19 David Lawson

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 17:14

British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1970, no particular tale to tell but I was hooked and have been almost every year since. I'm still mightily impressed with the noise and spectacle of F1 cars the only difference these days is that I largley ignore all the bull..it in between the GP's.



#20 Mac Lark

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 18:13

Originally posted by David Lawson
British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1970 David

Too soon for the Toledo?

#21 ensign14

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 18:19

Silverstone 1988, on the inside, pissed it down from start to finish. Watched Berger hold Senna off, then Senna strode imperially away into the distance and Mansell bombed it to a magnificent 2nd in the Williams-Judd.

Seeing Prost battle with the Eurobruns before giving up while about 16th sort of put me off thinking he was as great as they say...

I bought Antony Pritchard's book about the sports-prototypes of the 1960s when I was there (the Aston Pubs one with Gulf blue spine and back cover).

#22 dretceterini

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 19:39

1948 Swiss Gp, when I was 1 :)

#23 David Lawson

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 20:03

Originally posted by Mac Lark

Too soon for the Toledo?

This time a 1965 Morris 1100 - DHJ 697C


#24 Rob Ryder

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 20:53

The British GP at Silverstone in 1969. I was on holiday with my wife in London and we decided to go to the GP (I had followed F1 since around 1966). We pre-booked Grandstand seats on the start-finish straight (Woodcote end).. I did not know any better :lol: .

I can confirm Ian's comments about getting to Silverstone, it was no better 6 years earlier :( . After a good train journey from London everything seemed to stop when we reached Towcester. Like Ian we left the bus about 2 miles from the circuit and walked the remaining distance. My first memory is entering the circuit just as the cars F1 cars were going out for the warm-up. The sight and sound of my first 'live' F1 car, the beautiful orange McLaren M7's was brilliant.. I was hooked on 'live' racing :love: :love: .

I had attended 'clubbies' at my local circuit (Croft), but thought that the paddock and pits would be 'off limits' at the Grand Prix, so we spent the whole day in the Grandstand. Good views, but no real atmosphere. I took the 8mm cine-camera and ended up with 15 minutes of terrible right-left.. next lap.. right left.. next lap.. right left :blush: . Too far away for any still pics.

We made up for it the following year (1970) by camping at Brands Hatch for 3 days at the Race of Champions (bloody cold) and 4 days for the Grand Prix (better). Lots of time in the paddock talking to mechanics and drivers.. those were the days. The International Trophy was just a quick trip in the trusty Morris Minor 1000, as was the F1 races at Oulton.

We did this every year until 1978, when we both felt that the atmosphere at the races was dying.. further from the cars and drivers etc. etc. :mad: :mad:


#25 Maldwyn

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 21:15

British Grand Prix 1978

Posted Image

Memories are fading a little but I do remember the excitement of knowing I was going to see the georgeous JPS Lotus 79's, and hoping that Patrese would do well for Arrows. I remember crossing the bridge just before Druids to get to our position for the race and for some reason the warm-up lap stands out :drunk:

I was already hooked having absorbed MotorSport race reports, and the anticipation of actually seeing one of the races I had only read about until that point was enormous. I recall watching a celebrity Escort race from Paddock Hill before the main event, and then being very disappointed that a Ferrari won the GP. Some things don't change :p

#26 rdrcr

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 21:41


1975 - Watkins Glen.

I went with several other kids from prep school. A best friend who was also very into motorsports told me of the great time he had at the Glen in '74 and urged me to go... It didn't take much convincing after the stories he told...

We camped in tents. It rained like a sonofabitch the whole damn weekend. The accommodations sucked, but we had a fantastic time. Ahhh, the ignorance and enthusiasms of youth. We stayed up almost all night, every night and Saturday evening, walked the entire circuit in a cool October drizzle, passing a bottle of JD and dubes back and forth. Stopped by the Bog at about midnight to check out the mayhem - a great place to see bonfires, no wait that's a Dodge Dart burning there...

The smell of the Port-a-John's (Loos) forced us to utilize the woods after the first day. The concessions were as bad as the rain. Fortunately we brought enough food to cook-out, in the isolated times when we could light a fire. I remember I woke up at around 5:00 am Sunday and there was a river of water separating me and my tent-mate.


We woke to the sound of Cosworths and the Ferrari flat 12's. Hungover, concession stand coffee and a morning joint ~ seamed like gearhead heaven to me.

I don't remember much of the racing... there was too much parting going on, but I do remember that Lauda was the world champion and won the race. Still have the pictures - somewhere.

I went back with my pal and some of his friends from Grosse Pointe, MI every year thereafter until 1980 when the F1 circus stopped running at the Glen. Each year we did it in greater, and greater style, culminating with a 38' motorhome and a Cadillac sedan to get back and forth to town.

A far cry from those humble beginings...

#27 Lotus23

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 01:31

A long way from the earliest, but I did get a later start than many of y'all!

Reims '61. I was 23, in the U.S. Army, and was cutting it close on both time and money. (Some things never change!) Was just there for Sunday raceday. Drove up from Orleans with some buddies and we sat in the stands at Thillois. I recall the cars whistling down the long straight toward us and Phil Hill overshooting the turn -- right in front of us!

It was an absolutely thrilling race, fang-and-claw over the last few laps. To this day, it remains one of the best races I've ever witnessed in 58 years of doing so. As they passed in front of us -- last turn, last lap -- Dan Gurney (flat-4 Porsche) had a very slight lead over Giancarlo Baghetti (V6 Ferrari). The finish line was out of sight to our left, and of course there were no big-screen TV's, so we heard over the loudspeakers that GB had pipped DG by an eyelash at the line, a triumph of bhp over skill. It was to be his only GP victory, and in his first proper GP at that.

Oddly enough, the one thing I do not remember is the heat: reports of the day said it was absolutely stifling, but all I recall is a very exciting race.

#28 rdrcr

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 02:10

Originally posted by arthurive
"My first was Detroit 1982. I ended up seeing all 7 races in Detroit from 1982-1988.
This was the race that John Watson won from way back (16th?) on the grid.
It was warm and sunny. On Saturday it rained for all of the Qualifying. That was
still entertaining to sit through. I missed the Friday Qualifying, which was a dry day.
Piquet had problems on Friday and was unable to run. With Saturday Qualifying a washout
Nelson was unable to set a low enough time, hence he missed the race.
This was of course is the days of the classic qualifying, where there was a true provisional pole
sitter on Friday. If nobody bettered the time on Saturday, you got the pole..."

Hey, I was at that one and the rest as well! One of Watson's most stirring drives - his starting position was 17th and then there was a restart after a crash and from 13th place he marched to the front and overtook Rosberg for the lead. Cheever finished second in a one-off effort for Carl Haas. The Detroit circuit was pretty narrow and they had problems with the manhole covers that first year, but the scene was great as you say - a really great time in Motown.

We had passes to the Paddock Club - what a treat, free drinks, food and closed-circuit T.V.

#29 scags

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 02:11

I can remember watching gp's back in the Wide world of sports days in the late sixties, but the first one I went to was in 2002, Montreal. After the four hour ride from NYC, we staggered around town, making the most of our 10 word French vocabulary ( hint- if you don't sound like a hockey player, everyone in montreal speaks English!) After the usual Ferrari win, we got in the car and did the minor gp- twenty or so fast cars getting through customs at the same time, all heading south.
It was a lot of fun, and the main difference from what I heard of the old days was that although I was twenty feet away from MS, JPM, etc, there was a ten foot high fence between us.

#30 smithy

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 02:52

Post 100!! What an appropriate place for it, too.

1974 South African GP at Kyalami. I would have been 8 years old and after bugging Dad for months he came home from work with tickets in his top pocket. Waa-hoo! So the next day (Saturday) we went off to the track - Dad and I had pit passes but the rest of the family had seats in the stands up at Leeukop.

I don't remember anything about warm-ups or support races but Dad and I wandered around the paddock. I wasn't familiar with any of the drivers except perhaps for Scheckter and Fittipaldi so I wouldn't have known if we saw or spoke to anyone important. I took photos with my brother's Kodak Brownie but I've since lost them. The only thing I remember is taking a photo of a white car with black numbers (in the 20's?) as it was being pushed through the paddock. Don't know which car or whose it was.

Dad and I watched the race standing on the Goodyear bridge over the main straight. I don't think Dad was impressed having paid extra money for pit passes and then having nowhere to sit for the next two hours. I think we missed the start because we were looking for somewhere to sit/stand. My recollection was that Reutemann in the Brabham won but Jody shadowed him all race. However the results are that Carlos won and Jody was eighth. I remember great excitement at one point when (I thought) Jody tried to get up the inside going into Crowthorne but couldn't get it to stick - maybe that was someone else.

After the race we walked up the hill to pick up the rest of the family (they thought the entire race was boring: "Nothing happened") and watched a saloon car support race. A little Escort would powerslide through Leeukop every time it came round - I remember the noise of the Escort but nothing of the F1's. :confused:

That's it - the one and only GP I've been too. Thirty years later I still haven't made it to a GP. There's always next year........

#31 udoschutz

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 03:50

Austria 1972 still seems to be fresh in my memory. A train ride from Salzburg to Zeltweg. A van ride to the track on Saturday afternoon just in time to catch the last few laps of qualifying. I was befriended by a group of english speaking Austrians who were quite the Lotus fans. The legacy of Jochen Rindt was still fresh in their memories. We drank alot of beer around the campfire that night and I slept under the stars as I had no tent. Sunday dawned sunny and hot. I watched the warm up from the Bosch curve. Ronnie Peterson was spectacular with loads of opposite lock in his March. It was a dream come true that morning seeing all my heros in action, Stewart, Peterson, Hulme, Revson, Hill, Ickx, Amon . The race featured several different leaders and a close finish with Emmo just beating Hulme. It was all great stuff and helped make me a life long GP junky.

#32 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 07:25

Udo was at...

Austria 1972

Udo, do you remember a pretty little red and yellow car running around at the back of the field for 22 laps?

#33 Marcov

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 09:32

My first F.1 Gp was the 1991 San Marino GP, Imola. I was at the Tosa for the two days of practices. What scaried me was the noise of the F1 cars flat out through Tamburello and Villeneuve corners, before to brake for the Tosa not more than 100 mt before. The pole-position was an Ayrton Senna's affaire, of course. Incidentally, this was the race in which Alain Prost went out during the alignment lap under the rain!

But my strongest F1 experience was the year after, at the Saturday qualifying for the 1992 Italian GP, Monza. I spectated at the Lesmo II corner. And the best drivers on the best cars was cornering absolutely flat out in 5th gear, 270 km/h! The best through that legendary corner? Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. Also Mika Hakkinen on the Lotus was very scarying to look at. I remember that the Ferrari fellow of Alesi, Ivan Capelli, lifted the throttle at each lap while Jean was absolutely flat-out with his unique style (the head moved inside the corner). And there was only a driver who used a touch of the brakes before cornering: Ukyo Katayama. Another memory was the sound difference between the Mansell's and Patrese's V10 Renault engines. Mansell engine's sound was really destroying my tympanums! Was this due to the higher revs that the british driver was able to do? Or was this due to a different engine spec.? The history will tell it!

But neither this was my strongest motorsport experience as spectator. This had to be at the Isle of Man for the motorcycle TT races. Pure road racing experience. There is nothing more scarying than spectating on the descent of Bray Hill or at its bottom.

#34 jj2728

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 12:32

USGP 1967
-the fog...
-meeting the drivers at the kendall tech center and getting their autographs which i still have to this day...
-listening to the cars as they blasted down the main straight...
- that 'smell'....what was it , the fresh engine oil?....there has to be someone on the board who can tell me what it is....
many other memories of that weekend....i recall it as vividly as if it happened yesterday....

#35 Marcov

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 13:07

Originally posted by dretceterini
1948 Swiss Gp, when I was 1 :)

Much interesting! But pity that you was so...young! Just the GP in whose practicing two italian motorsport heroes had to be killed.

#36 SEdward

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 13:09

Mr Lawson,

"British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1970". Snap! My first one too, although I went to practice in 1968.

- Ickx in the 312B driving away from the opposition until somerthing broke after just six laps. The noise of that car and the gold wheels meant that I became an Ickx fan for life (and still am). I watched those first few laps standing at the top of Southbank and clearly remember having a glorious view of Top Straight. Ickx's Ferrari made me feel weak at the knees and my heart sunk when he slowed down into Paddock Bend before retiring (how come that team no longers lights even the slightest flame for me?). Brandsmeister? Certainly a strong candidate.
- Seeing Black Jack pass Rindt at Hawthorn's, only to see him run out of fuel at Clearways (I used to walk around the ciruit in those days).
- Not knowing who had won after Rindt was disqualified (why?) and then re-instated.


#37 BorderReiver

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 16:10

My first ever live Grand Prix memory is watching Mauricio Gugelmin do his level best to rip apart his Leyton-House at the start of the French Grand Prix. A really awesome spectacle, I remember seeing Mansell's Ferrari just skin through the shower of carbon-fiber. Then Gugelmin went and got fastest lap, a ballsy bloke. I was only a kid at the time and was sat on my Dad's shoulders.

After that it was a long gap until my next "live" GP which was Donington 1993 sat at the Melbourne loop and watching Senna on "that" lap.

#38 Keir

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 16:40

Hitch hiking all the way to Watkins Glen!! 300 miles plus!!

The Glen always looked great in the fall and the GP was to be a yearly sojourn for my pal Den and I.

The race itself was the cherry on top of the sundae, with the usual great crowd and the endless party atmosphere!

I truly miss those days!! :cry:

#39 joe twyman

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 16:45

1993 Donington (was only 6 at the time) and remember seeing Michael Andretti bouncing across the gravel trap and looking at his McLaren and Wendlinger's parked Sauber. Cant remember much else, but there is a photo i have with me standing on the circuit map sign eating a chocolate Easter bunny! :up:


#40 oldtimer

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 21:36

British GP at Silverstone in 1956.

I can't remember much about transportation (public) adventures, but I do remember being full of anticipation after having attended the earlier International Trophy, when Hawthorn's BRM left everyone in the dust, only to fail :( , and Moss took over the lead in the Vanwall :clap: , beating Fangio et al in the Lancia-Ferraris.

So, with Hawthorn on the front row, and Gonzales and Schell in Vanwalls, would we see a win for the cars in green? Could they beat Fangio et al (Collins, Castellotti and de Portago) and Moss in the works Maserati?

And the answer was no :(

Hawthorn and Brooks, taking his BRM from the 3rd row using all of its low-down acceleration, took the lead off the grid. :clap: :clap: We could hear the roar of the crowd over at Club Corner, on the othe side of the track. Gonzales was left on the grid with a broken half-shaft :(

Brooks soon fell back into the clutches of the pack, but Hawthorn led for over 20 laps, and then retired :cry: Same old problem that threw him into the soft earth at Goodwood at Easter :mad:

The Vanwalls were running badly, and Moss was leading easily from Fangio at 250 miles.

But it was 300 miles of racing in those days, and when the flag fell it was Fangio taking the no.1 position with a no.1 on his car. Look at the photos, and you will see the Ferrari handling was awful, with Fangio sometimes in either full understeering or full oversteering slides at the same corner. I was viewing between Club Corner and Abbey Curve, and so didn't see Fangio dealing with his handful (armful?) of Ferrari. However, I did get to see a piece of very assertive, and precise, overtaking of a teammate, Castelllotti. There was never any doubt about Fangio taking the piece of tarmac he wanted for the entry into Abbey.

So, a disappointing day for the British cars and drivers, but I left with more than a grudging admiration for Fangio's toughness and stickability on a circuit which gave him no chance to excel in a poorly handling car.

#41 blewgo

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 16:40

My first was the 1978 Long Beach GP. I've posted these before, but here are a few of the pictures I took in 1979. I still haven't found the pictures from the 1978 race.

#42 jonpollak

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 18:32

The year 1967 (just like our threads author)
Early in 1966 my Father came home from work one evening, he worked for the a guy named Saul Bass doing what was then called "opticals"and are now called "special FX", and asked me if I wanted to attend a Hollywood Premiere?

OK DAD...I said, as I had yet to work out WHY I was invited?.
Off we went to the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd.
Upon arrival He opened the envelope and out came the large yellow tickets
Grand Prix was what it said on them...

I was clueless on entry.
Enraptured upon exit....

The next year, owing to presure from my mother, he brought the family over to Europe while he worked on another film called Candy.... I BEGGED him to take me to a race and if for no other reason than to SHUT ME UP he took me to Monaco for the 1967 GP

It was magical and all that I had expected....Dad thought it a good idea we leave before the end and as we did we heard the commotion and saw smoke from the accident at the harbour were Lorenzo Bandini clipped the corner and burst into flames.I wonder what my reaction would have been had I seen THAT???

That was IT....The end of any semblance of a "normal" life for me...
Motor racing was manna from then on...


#43 saudoso

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 06:43

Back in the 70's, my father worked at "The First National City Bank" here in São Paulo - Brazil. No body was caring two much about the race, and he managed to get a pair of tickets. I was 8.

Those tickets granted pit lane access. It was much easyer then. I watched the race from pits, managing to seat in one of the 6 wheelers, in pit, during the race. Nobody could take me out of there.

Loved the sport ever since.

I'd been back to pit lane later. Burti was racing for Jaguar and I was a business associate to his father. Somewone got me a pitpass. It felt as excitingas in the 70's.

Those where the down to the track highlights. I've been to races many times, had many exciting experiences. Got lot's of rain showers. Have seen Piquet and Sennad rising the crowd as in a Soccer world Cup's final many times. And "hated" Prost and Mansel from the deep of my heart many times also.

#44 Lotus23

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 23:53

saudoso, very nice memories! And well written. I can guarantee that your English is light-years ahead of my Portuguese!

And welcome to TNF!

#45 David Beard

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:33

1956 …not the first time dad took me to Silverstone, but my first Grand Prix. We entered on foot through one of many long gone small entrances. The Ford Prefect had been parked one in of the farmer’s fields on offer, back up the road, enabling escape from the traffic queue. Seven year olds had to pay to get in…previously I had got in for free.
Our portable grandstand, consisting of two jerry cans and a plank, was erected for me, dad, and his friend, to get a better view. I fancy this was between Club and Abbey.

I don’t remember anything about the F2 race which preceded the GP. Reading the dad’s copy of Motor Sport, which of course I still have, I see that this race mainly contained 1100cc sports cars. We must have arrived in the middle of it.

At that age I still was very much of a “supporter” mentality. If Moss wasn’t winning, or at least making one of his dramatic charges through the field, my interest quickly waned. I thought Fangio cheated, and I didn’t like brown crash helmets.

I may not have recalled our vantage point correctly, but I clearly recall one car well in the lead of the first lap, as they charged down a straight in the distance across the cornfields. It was Hawthorn in the BRM. Dad showed little optimism that this would last….he had been at Silverstone when Sommer had been left on the line in the V16, and had never been able to get excited about BRM since. Of course Hawthorn was soon to retire, but this didn’t bother me because by then my hero had done some of his stuff and was leading in the Maserati.

Then Brooks had his massive crash in the other BRM. It was at Abbey, wasn’t it? (Motor Sport didn’t say) I recall that we saw a large amount of black smoke on the horizon, marking the accident, and now making me question whether we were spectating at the spot which I seem to recall.

Around half distance Moss had to stop because of a fuel tank problem….I clambered down from our “grandstand” and experienced my first ever bottle of Coca Cola. Three hours was a long time for a seven year old to watch a race when his hero was no longer winning. I was impressed by the shape of the Coke bottle…I was also impressed a few years later by the shape of the Studebaker Avanti, but it it was years later still that I read that there was a connection…

Fangio won. I feel privileged now that I can conjure up my own vivid image of him in the Lancia Ferrari.

Later there was a sports car race, which Stirling won by miles in a Maserati. I went home happy.

#46 FrankB

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:51

Silverstone, 56 or 58.

We were almost certainly on the outside at Copse, as I got older I realised that Dad always chose to watch from there. I can recall very little of the racing after this 40+ year interval, but I can recall us being asked to keep our feet on the "public" side of the stake and single rope that was the only form of barrier between us and the track.

#47 thomaskomm

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 15:03

Nederland, 1971, Ickx, my favourite Driver was winning. I will never forget my emotions and smell and so on...