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Bruce McLaren - 2nd June, 1970


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#1 Mac Lark

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 02:10

I shall pour myself a scotch later today and quietly toast a Kiwi hero who was taken 34 years ago today.

It's lunchtime in NZ as I write. Probably about now, Phil Kerr will either be at, or have been to Bruce McLaren's grave at the Waikumete Cemetery in West Auckland - just to the east of McLaren Park.

Phil goes every year without fail.

1970 was a horrible year for many reasons - Jochen, Piers, but I cannot think of another driver who's death in a racing car was as surprising to the motorsport world as Bruce.

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#2 Gary C

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 02:40

Yes indeed, RIP, Bruce, we miss you.

#3 Cirrus

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 13:47

I can remember coming home from school, and hearing the news. I said to my dad "I can't believe that Bruce McLaren, of all people has been killed" He replied "Yes, if it was someone like Jochen Rindt, it wouldn't have been such a surprise..........."

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 15:28

Ditto - in every respect as mentioned above....a great man.

DCN

#5 UAtkins

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 16:05

Still missed.

Ursula

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 16:51

Just one of the nicest folks I have ever met. His death still seems so difficult to comprehend at times....

#7 HEROS

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 16:53

34 years already, I remember this month of June 1970 when we also lost Piers Courage.

Here is a link on Mac Laren:

http://www.bruce-mclaren.com/

:(

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 00:15

Originally posted by Don Capps
Just one of the nicest folks I have ever met. His death still seems so difficult to comprehend at times....


For those of us who met him, you have said it all.

And he just wanted to do one more lap before lunch so he could think about the problems...

#9 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 02:47

A sad loss of a great man :(

#10 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 02:59

During the traditional drivers' get-together on the Thursday prior to the NZ races, half-a-dozen or so very young members of a local car club were most suprised when Bruce came over and said "let's sit down and and have a talk about racing and cars!" He sat with us for 30 minutes and gave us an insight into what he would like to do with sports car racing; little did we realise at the time - we were thinking Lotus 23 style - he had something a bit bigger in mind!

Great years and a great sportsman...

#11 macoran

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 22:59

R.I.P Bruce McLaren

your memory lives on !!!...and how !



Edit: I am a day late.

#12 sterling49

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 00:54

Originally posted by macoran
R.I.P Bruce McLaren

your memory lives on !!!...and how !



Edit: I am a day late.


Orange has never been the same again, the news filtered through in the afternoon, I had walked home from school after an "O" level exam, and yes, another great driver had perished...... What an awful year for motor racing this was turning out to be. God bless Bruce, I am lucky to have seen him in most of his cars, except the ground shaking M6 and M8. But my imagination was fired so well reading about Edmonton, St Jovite et al. Go Lewis!

#13 f1steveuk

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 08:09

I was ten. I had done some kart races, and got "into" F1 at that time, having watch the Geman GP on the telly with Ray Baxter commentating (1969) and all the high wings. Christmas 1969 I was given a huge model of an M8, all orange and Reynolds stickers. I heard the news on the radio, then saw the pictures, and as a ten year old, they were horrific. As always, such a waste....

#14 Broke bloke

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 11:23

I was 12, in my bedroom building one of those gorgeous Tamiya 12th scale F1 models - possibly the gold leaf lotus 49B - and my mum shouted up the stairs to tell me what happened. Never did get to see the news reports that day to find out what had happened. Very sad, a great loss.

Don't you just love that orange. The can am cars must have been awesome, sadly never seen one in the flesh only pictures. Loved reading about the "Bruce and Denny show" in Motoring News when they were dominating the series.

James

#15 fines

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 11:19

:cry:

I'm far too young to remember him from his active time, but when I got interested in 'his' period seven or eight years later, he was the one I took an immediate liking to - and his cars!

RIP, Bruce...

#16 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 14:39

I was 14 and just days away from going to my first race at Mosport (the 1970 Can Am). It hit me like a ton of bricks. Bruce had been a real hero of mine and I was looking forward to seeing him more than anything else. Then in practice for the race Richard Brown crashed and was killed. The next year at my second ever race (the 1971 Canadian GP) Wayne Kelly was killed during the Formula Ford preliminary event. For the first time my interest in racing really sagged.

It certainly came back but I stopped keeping the scrapbook I had started three years earlier and it was the closest I ever came to completely losing interest in racing.

Bob Mackenzie

#17 David M. Kane

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 15:20

I was 29 and I was totally shocked, "how could this happen?" It was particularly shocking because he was the 1st driver I had seen in the flesh who had been killed. Just the previous summer I had been within inches of him in the pits at Mid-Ohio. Until then I didn't even know of his leg condition,
that's how little I really knew at the time.

My biggest memory was the persona he broadcasted. You could just tell people responded to him.

#18 Buford

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 15:35

I found out in the manner I often did when I was growing up, though this time I was just out of college. My mother would tell me about driver's deaths in the morning after waking me up. She would have just read about them in the morning paper and that would be how I would find out. This one hit me particularly hard, and I think it was the last driver death that did. Soon I was racing myself and no longer considered myself a hero worshiper fan After that I took driver deaths in a more matter of fact manner, as you have to do if you might be next.

#19 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 20:46

Coming to the end of my first year of teaching, I used to collapse exhausted on my bed for an hour or so after coming home.

My Mum woke me with the terrible news about 5 o'clock.

As with so many others, I don't think that first awful moment ever really leaves you.

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#20 Hugewally

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 05:25

June 2, 1970
McLaren Crashes
Car racer, designer, & manufacturer Bruce McLaren was killed when his McLaren M8D lost its back end at high speed & collided w/an earthen embankment at the Goodwood racetrack in England. Born the son of a truck driver in Auckland, New Zealand, McLaren contracted a childhood hip disease that would keep him in hospitals for 3 years of his early life. By the age of 14, he had recovered fully. His father, a part-time mechanic w/an interest in racing, helped Bruce build his 1st car. Bruce entered his 1st competitive event, a hill climb, when he was 15. At 19, McLaren was picked by his mentor, successful Kiwi G/P driver Jack Brabham, to serve as New Zealand's representative in the Driver in Europe Program. Bruce took quick advantage of the exposure, winning the F2 section in his 1st race at the trying Nurburgring track in Germany. The following year he became the youngest man ever to win an F1 G/P event, a record that he still holds today. In '61, he finished a close 2nd in the World Championship race to his team leader at Cooper, Jack Brabham. But Bruce McLaren didn't make his greatest impact on the track. By '64, he was building his own race cars & aiding Ford's design team in its highly successful GT program. McLaren exhibited a gift for car design. In '66, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Ford. In '65, McLaren started his own G/P racing team. He & his close friend & fellow driver, Denny Hulme, won 3 races in '68 in McLaren-Fords. Then McLaren turned his attention to the sports-car racing of the Can-Am Series. As the Can-Am Series grew, so too did the McLaren Team's domination of the event. After 4 impressive years at the top of the series, in '69 the McLaren Team posted a clean sheet, winning 11 of 11 races. By entering his car in F1, Can-Am, & Indy Car events all in the same year, McLaren established his team as a success in diverse classes of racing. His peers regarded McLaren as a perfectionist. He summed up his attitude toward the dangers of car racing eloquently:

"To do something well is so worthwhile, that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing w/one's ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone."

In 1970, testing his newest Can-Am car, the M8D, McLaren lost his life pushing the limits of his abilities; the racing team that bears his name survives him as one of F1's dominant forces.

:cry:

#21 thunder427

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 05:49

hugewally;great 'tribute' thread...But!!..just clarify in your thread that (now Sir )Jack Brabham is a True Blue Aussie' and they, the aussie fans are real proud of thier 'Hero', (and I've got to live here, I'm A Kiwi !!) and one other small point,I think the car let Bruce down ,not his ability...Bruce is to New Zealand what Sir Jack is to Australia as is Sir Stirling Moss to England...perhaps we should 'tout' for a Knighthood for 'Sir Bruce....Sounds like a plan, should be a great thread 'hugewally' !!!

#22 Bloggsworth

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:56

I used to work in Covent Garden, and the short way to The Strand was out through the back door and down the alleyway alongside the Adephi Theatre; on the opposite side of the road, on the corner outside The Abbey National, was a newsvendor's stand onto which could be clipped the handpainted headline of the day. As I was half way down the passage I saw framed in the exit of the dark tunnel that ended the short cut "Bruce McLaren killed", it hit me like a punch in the solar plexus. It was a day in the middle of the week, not a day on which racing drivers got killed. Had it been a Monaco Thursday, or any other day in a Grand Prix weekend the news would not have taken my breath away in such a manner, but a Wednesday, racing drivers don't get killed on Wednesdays.........................................

#23 fines

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 08:02

Bruce rules! :up:

#24 Vicuna

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 10:46

Another early morning call with bad news 38 yrs ago

#25 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 13:14

A grievous loss. I remember well the day and the news it brought.

I will be attending a CanAm revival meet @ Mosport running from June 20-22. I will revel in seeing so many cars bearing his name tearing up rural Ontario yet again.

TY, Bruce.

#26 RS2000

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 13:17

Originally posted by Bloggsworth
I used to work in Covent Garden, and the short way to The Strand was out through the back door and down the allyway alongside the Adephi Theatre; on the opposite side of the road, on the corner outside The Abbey National, was a newsvendor's stand onto which could be clipped the handpainted headline of the day. As I was half way down the passage I saw framed in the exit of the dark tunnel that ended the short cut "Bruce McLaren killed", it hit me like a punch in the solar plexus. It was a day in the middle of the week, not a day on which racing drivers got killed. Had it been a Monaco Thursday, or any other day in a Grand Prix weekend the news would not have taken my breath away in such a manner, but a Wednesday, racing drivers don't get killed on Wednesdays.........................................

I guess I must have seen something similar down towards the Trafalgar Square end of The Strand.

#27 Michael Oliver

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 15:21

Oddly enough, this morning I was reading former McLaren man Phil Kerr's account of this very sad day in his autobiography 'To Finish First' and it is very moving, particularly in terms of the way everyone pulled together in the aftermath of Bruce's death...

I remember going to Spa for the Belgian GP just a few days later and the McLaren team was missing from the paddock: 1970 really wasn't a good year, what with Courage and Rindt too.

Michael

#28 Hugewally

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 16:43

Originally posted by thunder427
hugewally;great 'tribute' thread...But!!..just clarify in your thread that (now Sir )Jack Brabham is a True Blue Aussie' and they, the aussie fans are real proud of thier 'Hero', (and I've got to live here, I'm A Kiwi !!) and one other small point,I think the car let Bruce down ,not his ability...Bruce is to New Zealand what Sir Jack is to Australia as is Sir Stirling Moss to England...perhaps we should 'tout' for a Knighthood for 'Sir Bruce....Sounds like a plan, should be a great thread 'hugewally' !!!

Oops... I should've known better... I plead a simple cut & paste from an email... :blush:

#29 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 16:57

Another of those days when I went numb - and ended up (I am unashamed to admit) shedding a tear for him and his people. Five years later this was the day my daughter was born. As a terrible old softie, off I went again...

DCN

#30 macoran

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 20:12

Originally posted by Doug Nye
the day my daughter was born. As a terrible old softie, off I went again...

DCN


A man should be able to pink away a tear now and then....if he has a heart that can be touched !

#31 GeorgeTheCar

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 21:23

Bruce's death was probably the toughest for me as I was a fan of both his driving and engineering.

It hit me twice.

First

I was in class and one of my classmates turned to me and asked if I was going to Mosport to see Bruce McLaren. AS this was the class in which I got tagged with the "George Thecar" moniker, this was an almost sure thing.

I replied with "I sure am!"

He said no, he died this morning.

This was Waterloo in south western Ontario and motorsport news was hard to come by and so it wasn't until the next day that the newspapers had real news. At least it wasn't driver error!

I remember being pissed off because this happened in thename of making racing safer.

Damn!!

The second hit was at Mosport.

I was crewing for Gord Dewar that weekend, so I went to registration to sign in. As the luck of the draw had it I walked in just behind Dan Gurney, Denny Hulme hands still in bandages from his Indy burns and Teddy Mayer and so got to stand there and watch him stoke out Bruce's name and substitute Dan's

Double damm!!

#32 sterling49

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 21:29

Originally posted by GeorgeTheCar

The second hit was at Mosport.


My thoughts were with Bruce when I visited Edmonton last year, scene of many of Bruce's races. What a tragedy that both Bruce and Denny have gone, gentlemen both, great Kiwis. I can still visualise the little black Kiwi logo, on the front of their cars :up:

#33 T54

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 21:32

:( :cry:
Bruce,
Rest in peace and we hope that the movie about your life won't be another loser that will demean your memory to the people who did not know you. :

#34 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 23:55

I remember the accident as if it was yesterday. I was totally stunned riding along in my car when a news cast
announced what had happened at Goodwood. Bruce was the first driver I had ever met that actually got killed. I had met him at Mid-Ohio. Up until then I didn't even know about his leg. As I've said before when you just read about things and history it doesn't have flesh, bones and a soul, so it lacks a certain reality.

He was damn good!

#35 potmotr

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 23:58

A great Kiwi sportsman and engineer.

#36 275 GTB-4

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:56

Originally posted by T54
:( :cry:
Bruce,
Rest in peace and we hope that the movie about your life won't be another loser that will demean your memory to the people who did not know you. :


Nice sentiment...just thinking out loud...wouldn't it be fantastic if the same people how produced The Worlds Fastest Indian did Bruce McLaren the justice he so richly deserves.

[PS maybe without any reference to transvestites : ]

#37 Mallory Dan

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:16

I was only 7 at the time, but still remember being in the kitchen at home as it was announced on the radio news. Very odd that I should recall this, I have no recollection at all of the Rindt or Courage accidents, as some one else said, Racing Drivers should not have accidents in mid-week.

#38 cm50

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:33

I remember it like yesterday, I was 20.......going to the movies down Queen St Auckland and seeing the evening papers. I had chatted to him during a previous Tasman series regarding working for him. His advice to complete my aeronautical training was sound but on this day 38 yrs ago it all changed.......I only wanted to work with him.
RIP

#39 Keir

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 12:11

Should you come across it, Ted Simon's "Grand Prix Year" gives a very accurate accout of how the news of Bruce's death reached Chris Amon outside the MARCH garage that sad June day.

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#40 JSF

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 20:41

I was 4 years old when Bruce was killed at Goodwood, but the stories of his driving and engineering and the cars he produced have inspired me since i first had the opportunity to put a spanner on a racing car.

I now have the privilege of building and running some of his Can Am creations for a living, the highlight for the last three years of this for me has been taking a Papaya McLaren M1B to Goodwood for the Revival meeting and seeing it racing at the venue he spent so much time driving at, it's a very popular sight based on the feedback of the many racing fans that visit the event each year.

His creations are still racing at the front and winning, as they should be, they are superbly designed and constructed racing cars.

#41 Pullman99

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 09:45

His creations are still racing at the front and winning, as they should be, they are superbly designed and constructed racing cars.


Just a reminder that we are coming up on the 40th anniversary of Bruce's death. I was still at school and only found out when I got home. It's a date I have never forgotten. I was a keen follower of the Can-Am scene, mainly through Autosport, but sadly, the only time I got to see him race was at the Race of Champions, in the M14A, a couple of months earlier. I wondered if there was to be any commemoration at Goodwood on that date?


#42 pete53

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 12:41

Although the current McLaren team are now far removed from the team Bruce set up it still pleases me that his name lives on in Grand Prix racing. I sometimes wonder how many of the newer fans of F1 are aware of where the name McLaren comes from?

I never met the man but have many memories of seeing him race when I was a youngster, mainly at Brands .. the first GP in 64, coming 2nd in the '65 Guards Trophy in his Gp7 McLaren, in an F2 race at the Palace in '67 and winning the '68 Race of Champions at Brands.

Long may his name grace Grand Prix racing.

#43 PCC

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 14:07

At the age of seven, I attended my first major race - the Can-Am at Mosport in 1969. Wandering around in the paddock with my Dad, we spotted Bruce. Clutching a scrap of paper and a pen, I approached very nervously... and he was lovely. He was kind, and warm, and chatty, and he instantly became my hero. The fact that he won the race that weekend didn't hurt either.

Just under a year later, I remember coming home from school for lunch, and my grandmother blurting out "Bruce McLaren was killed" as soon as I walked through the door. I still recall the very particular physical sensation, as if I had been punched somewhere just below the ribs. It was a sensation that would become all too familiar over the next few years.

Soon after, we were at Mosport again for the Can-Am. The void was colossal. Some part of the soul of the series had gone. My Dad sent someone to enquire whether Denny would be willing to come up to the tower for an interview. The reply he got was "fine, as long we don't talk about Bruce."

I still have that autograph.

#44 weta

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 23:13

Bruce Leslie McLaren - August 30, 1937 to June 2, 1970

To all the kiwis on the forum, spare a thought for Bruce McLaren who was killed on this very day forty years ago while testing at Goodwood.

Happier Days

Check out the attached video which shows Bruce pushing out his M7A for the 1968 Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone.
The race was won by Denny Hulme, with Bruce 2nd and Chris Amon 3rd, what a day, a podium full of kiwis and on ANZAC day no less.




#45 Greatest

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 07:22

I pay my respect to this legendary man, whose name has forunately lived on for decades in Formula One. R.I.P., Bruce! :up:

#46 David McKinney

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:06

I remember that sad day as if it was yesterday - in very much the same light as the Jim Clark accident two years before. People got killed in those days, but not drivers as good as Clark or as careful as McLaren

#47 sterling49

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:17

..........I had the news upon returning home from school, from my mum, so glad I got to see him, his cars and his legacy.

#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:26

I'm sure Twinny will join this thread up with the previous one honouring Bruce on the anniversary of his death...

It was started about ten years ago and most years someone brings it forward because Bruce was the kind of man he was.

I am also glad that I met, talked to, watched and read about him.

#49 Coral

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 11:14

A very sad day...it's hard to believe it's now 40 years. Bruce's legacy lives on to this day.

R.I.P. Bruce :up:

#50 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 12:53

RIP, Bruce.