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What was the best race you've ever seen?


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#1 Uncle Davy

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Posted 17 November 1999 - 09:34

We've all read about great and legendary races we wish we had been able to witness firsthand, but because of such factors as lack of foresight, traveling money, not having been born yet, etc., we just happened to miss...therefore, two questions...and this is not limited to F1, if that's O.K...

The questions:

1. What is the most legendary/famous/notorious race you have attended? Not talking about venue...aiming for something like Fangio at the 'Ring in 57 (legendary) or Senna/Prost at Suzuka in 89 or 90(notorious)...the specific event, not the location, in other words...hey, it could be Daytona when Cale, Bobby and Donnie got into it...

2. What is the best race you ever attended? Any time, anywhere, any car/driver. I leave the definition of "best" to you. I suppose I mean the race you enjoyed the most, for whatever reason.




[This message has been edited by Uncle Davy (edited 11-17-1999).]

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#2 Paul Medici

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Posted 17 November 1999 - 12:00

Q1. Sebring 1963- saw and met Big John. He won in a 250P Ferrari, with help from Scarfiotti. What also made it memorable was watching Phil Hill coming thru the Webster in the Cobra --- of course I wished that it had been Ferrari.

Q2. Monza 1999- My God they are LOUD and quick. Someone on this site said something about being there and they were correct.
Brave kids in very fast machines!

Good question, best regards ...


NB. My first GP was in '62 at the GLEN.
Graham and Jimmy went on for a good while
but off course I was _____ off because Ferrari didn't show up.

Thank you for the neat question.
Best regards ...

#3 BuzzingHornet

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Posted 18 November 1999 - 01:21

I saw the Schumacher crash at Silverstone this year, I was on the entry to Stowe corner. It was weird, especially as the crowd standing near the scene knew less than the TV viewers

I've only been to four Grand Prix, and on the racing side, none have been particularly special... I was there when Schumacher won in the pits in 1998, that was highly confusing

As a Hill fan i've seen Damon finish well at the BGP twice, in 1997 and 1999, some good memories for a long time fan
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#4 Keith Steele

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Posted 18 November 1999 - 06:25

Well I have been lucky enough to witness first hand all three of the fourth time Indy 500 winners. AJ in 77' Al Sr. in 87' and Rick in 91'. I enjoyed 91 the most because it didnt look like Rick had anything for Michael Andretti, but on his last stop he got a good set of tires the right wing change or whatever it was and beat Michael convincingly. The 82' 500 was also a great race when Gordon Johncock beat Rick across the line by .016 seconds. For those of you who have never been to the fabled yard of bricks, and plan on attending next Sept., you are in for a real treat. AJ raced in 34 Indy 500's compared to Rick's 17. It would have been interesting to see what a guy, who as a rookie qualified on the front row, with his talent could've done with a few more 500's.

#5 engin

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Posted 18 November 1999 - 14:54

hi

if you excuse me i will tell you about the two races that i have attended on tv because here in dubai i couldnt attend races on the track.

first of the two was in nascar
ithink that the year was 94 or 95 i'm not sure and also im not sure of the drivers names so sorry for it .

but what i remember very well is that it was a huge battle between chevy montecarlo and a ford thunderbird the battle was so hot and the commentator was really struggling as he screaming commenting on that magnificent battle lap after lap the lead was fluctuating between the chevy and the ford after that the ford driver made his move and overtook the montecarlo this move didnt guranteed the ned of the battle but what was bad is that the fords front left tire came out of the car and that put an end to the battle as the monte carlo went for the win and i was backing the ford driver at that time poor thunderbird its not there any more .

the second race was in f1 and it was the best race i have ever watch alive in the f1 it was belgium 95 no doubt about it .

from the start there was a battle between herbert and alesi both have retired then david took turn in the lead then he retired as well at this time damon hill and michael shumacher were making ground from there poor grid positions hill was 8th and shumi was 16th and the rain started to fall hill chnged for the wet tires while shumi gambled that tjhe track will dry and he satyed on slicks and the battle has begun between these two it was great great great for every peice of the track they fought not this only they banged wheels and the rest is history

great race from shumi and hill indeed exteremly exciting race wow i wish if ican see it again man that was something .


#6 Joe Fan

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Posted 18 November 1999 - 23:04

Major races I have been to:

1) 1997 Pepsi 400 at Daytona (NASCAR WC)-a good race with John Andretti getting his first NASCAR Winston Cup win, holding off the Intimidator for the win in impressive fashion. A wreck brought out the caution late in the race with a couple of laps to go. Andretti kept slowing up during the caution so Earnhardt couldn't get a run on him from the draft when it went green with one lap to go.

2) 1997 World of Outlaws Sprint Car race in Sedelia, Missouri. A good race until Sammy Swindell had engine problems. Mark Kinser held off his cousin Steve for the win.

3) 1998 Pepsi 400 at Daytona (NASCAR WC)- first nightime race at Daytona. An awesome spectacle at night with Jeff Gordon holding off Bobby Labonte for the win. Would have been a closer race if Dale Jarrett hadn't cut a tire late in the race.

4) 1999 CART race at Madison, Illinois near St. Louis. A good race with Michael Andretti using his experience to hold off Helio Castro-Neves for the win. Little Al looked racy for a while but lost his track position the way he gained it, havint to pit when he didn't earlier in the race. Montoya looked way too dicey on this oval. I thought he was playing chicken and going to wreck someone and he may well have been the culprit for Carpentier's wreck because Montoya tried to make it three wide in the corner and other drivers ran out of room. I read later in some magazine that this track was the first that really scared Montoya.

I will be attending the 1999 NAPA 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Atlanta this weekend along with the saturday ARCA race (Georgia Boot 400).

I have attended many other "grass roots" type races like NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and other lower NASCAR divisions and some have been the best races I have seen but since they aren't "big-time" races, I'll spare everyone and stick with the above.

#7 Dennis David

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Posted 19 November 1999 - 00:34

Joe - I noticed no F1 races. Are you going to the US GP? Ever considered the Canadian GP?

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#8 Joe Fan

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Posted 19 November 1999 - 02:35

Dennis, I would like to go but I can't seem get anyone excited about watching a F1 race at one of the most famous tracks in the world with me. I have tried to get my wife or this friend of my who was born in Ireland interesting in F1 and interested in going with me to US GP because they both went with me to Daytona. Both of them said, no thanks F1 isn't exciting enough for them but both are interested in going back to Daytona with me again for the July night race in the future. So, I am pondering going by myself at the last minute. Grand Prix tours is too expensive in my opinion for this race in comparison to other events. I might be able to get my wife interested in seeing the night CART race in St. Louis next year but that might be stretching it.

Up next in 2001, a trip to Disney World and another Daytona night race with the family. I'm also a season ticket holder for the new Kansas Speedway that will host a WC race, a BGN race, a NCTS race and an open wheel race yet to be determined (CART or IRL probably an IRL race) in 2001. So it looks like I will be in the same boat in 2001 due to household expenses.

#9 Don Capps

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Posted 19 November 1999 - 13:38

The 1960 Italian GP that Phil Hill won to become American to win a major European race since 1921

Best race was at the Columbia (SC) Speedway on a Thursday night in the Summer of 1964 in a Late Model Sportsman (now the Busch Grand National cars) event: Sam McQuagg and LeeRoy Yarbrough went at it for 100 laps and were never more than a few microns apart the whole time. It was truly an electrifying race. They were in another dimension that night. I think LeeRoy was declared the winner, but it didn't matter. It was just the best racing I ever saw.

My favorite TV races were Atlanta 1992 when Alan Kulwicki won the Championship (I had tickets, but wasn't able to make the race, gave them to a friend of mine) and the 1979 Daytona 500, the only time CBS did a half way decent job with the race, BTW.

Best GP race I saw was probably Monza 1959 when Moss just put a whipping on the Scuderia Ferrari. That I saw it from the pits in no way influences my choice...  ;)


------------------
Yr fthfl & hmbl srvnt,

Don Capps




[This message has been edited by Don Capps (edited 11-19-1999).]

#10 Dennis David

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Posted 19 November 1999 - 14:13

Joe - I understand. Except for races at Laguna Seca or Sears Point where I will go with my brother the GPs I usually go by myself. When I went to see the British Grand Prix at Silverstone a year ago the rest of my family went to Legoland! My son is nine so I haven't taken him with me though I'll start next year. Thinking of seeing a drag race up at Sears Point, Sports Cars, CART. Besides the USGP and maybe the Canadian as well.

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#11 Don Capps

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Posted 19 November 1999 - 22:12

Since I have a brother-in-law who lives in Kokomo just north of Indinapolis, I admit to being tempted to attend the race next year. However, not completely sure that I really want to go through all that expense and bother. I could use that money on more books... :)

------------------
Yr fthfl & hmbl srvnt,

Don Capps




[This message has been edited by Don Capps (edited 11-19-1999).]

#12 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 05:33

Here's a great old thread that should be resurfaced - especially since so many present TNF posters (myself included) weren't around when this first surfaced.

Whoops! I need to get off line. I will post here tomorrow and hope to find some good posts coming in on this subject in the meantime.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 06:32

Where was I when this happened?

Obviously, as I have said many times before, the 1965 Australian Grand Prix, again featuring Phil Hill, was the best race I ever saw. Standing up on the hill inside Newry Corner, looking over the Long Bridge and seeing the cars screaming down the Tannery Straight towards Tannery Corner and the run across the bridge to Newry, and seeing them rush up over the rise to their destiny with high speed and slipstreaming down the Flying Mile.... fabulous in itself, but...

This one was a classic, a race of World Champions... the two Hills, Brabham and Clark, and leading them a merry chase was the occasional WDC runner up, Bruce McLaren. At the time they were the fastest racing cars in the world, F1 cars with smaller fuel tanks and bigger engines - what more could you ask?

McLaren, Brabham and Phil Hill led the race at some time, Graham, Phil and Clark held fifth from time to time, and they finished with just a few seconds between the five, while in the meantime we saw tragedy (Rocky Tresise and Robin d'Abrera killed), error (Roly Levis chopping off Brabham while being lapped), chance (Matich losing a steering arm approaching Mountford after the run through the Flying Mile) and skill combining to create drama of the first order.

As for a notorious race, I'm not sure that there have been any to satisfy this forum. Maybe the 1987 Bathurst 1000, where the Eggenberger Sierras were disqualified, this having to go to court in Paris ultimately, and Brock won. Or the Monaco GP of 1981, with Villeneuve coming in to pass Jones four laps from the end when the Williams stopped picking up fuel.


#14 Barry Boor

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 07:38

The greatest race I ever saw was probably Monaco 1965. Graham Hill was unstoppable that day - to me, his finest-ever drive - although the fact that Jimmy and Dan were busy elsewhere just slightly takes the gloss off it. Nevertheless, I suspect on that day, Graham may well have beaten Jimmy fair and square; he was mighty.

The most emotional race would have to be the 1967 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. Standing there under my 'VIVA GURNEY' banner, I had genuine tears of joy in my eyes as my hero completed the final lap, just holding off Bandini.

Then I got a big smile and a wave from The Man as here came around on the truck on his celebration lap. A wonderful day.

#15 Darren Galpin

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 08:15

Most memorable F1 race I have been to? Well, there are two. Firstly, Silverstone 1987. I was a young 12 yr old, and watching Mansell reel in Piquet, and to see the overtaking manouevre at the end of the Hangar Straight and the crowd react was an impressionable event. Secondly, Belgium 1991 - Schumacher's debut, the sound of the Ferrari's, and the use of the still (for some 12 years!) uncompleted motorway as a carpark!

For non-F1 races, the most memorable has to be at Castle Combe three years ago when the BOSS Formula visited. To see Nigel Greensall lapping his Tyrrell-Judd in under a minute in the rain was something else, as was his 50.4s lap in dryer conditions in the afternoon. Nigel was hitting almost 200mph at the fast parts of the circuit, and the speed in the corners was amazing, as was the site of a full-blown F1 car powering around a little club circuit!

#16 Bernd

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 08:35

Originally posted by Ray Bell
This one was a classic, a race of World Champions... the two Hills, Brabham and Clark, and leading them a merry chase was the occasional WDC runner up, Bruce McLaren. At the time they were the fastest racing cars in the world, F1 cars with smaller fuel tanks and bigger engines - what more could you ask?

McLaren, Brabham and Phil Hill led the race at some time, Graham, Phil and Clark held fifth from time to time, and they finished with just a few seconds between the five, while in the meantime we saw tragedy (Rocky Tresize and Robin d'Abrera killed), error (Roly Levis chopping off Brabham while being lapped), chance (Matich losing a steering arm approaching Mountford after the run through the Flying Mile) and skill combining to create drama of the first order.


God how I envy you this one Ray surely one of the greatest races of any kind ever.

Sad to say I haven't witnessed any that are even close to this calibre. I don't count races where a Senna a Hakkinen or a Schumacher races into the distance after his competitors break down.

#17 Frank de Jong

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 10:16

1) The most famous race is probably the 1976 Dutch GP, with the famous Hunt vs Watson duel in Tarzan corner for lap after lap.
2) My best memory is probably the 1977 (or was it 78?) Spa 24 hrs, which I followed camping in Stavelot, a corner which even touring cars could race nearly flat-out. The sight of Gary Marshall in his Vauxhall Firenza, in 4-wheel drift at very high speeds, lap after lap, early in the morning, was very impressive indeed...

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 11:13

Sure it wasn't Peter Brock?

Anyone know what time Brocky drove the car... i'm fairly sure it was that year...

#19 Frank de Jong

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 12:18

Well, it was a 24 hour race, so they might have been teammates. I´ll have to look that one up.

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#20 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 13:26

So far I have only attended two F1-races "live".
Both had a least some significance.

First of all The 1985 German GP.
* The last win for Michele Alboreto.
* First pole for Teo Fabi
* First pole for Toleman.
* First pole for a Hart powered car.
* Only time Stefan Johansson were on the frontrow.

My second race were the 1991 Belgian GP.
* Of course everyone here knows what was significant with that race...

Other races includes F2 at Mantorp and several Swedish Rallies.

#21 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 13:41

Swedish Grand Prix 1967 (Formula 2) at Karlskoga, Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt swapping places 2-3 times every lap, with Jim Clark just a few meters behind in 3rd place.
I was only 14 years but knew I witnessed something special.

Stefan Ornerdal

#22 FLB

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 16:00

Race I wish I could have attended: 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans

The first 917
The 312P Berlinetta Le Mans
The drama (John Woolfe, Jacky Ickx's ballsy decision to walk at the start, Stommelen dropping out while holding a commanding lead, etc.)

Did I mention 1.5s between the two leading cars after 24 hours? :)



Race I did attend: 1989 Canadian Grand-Prix

The drama (Rain, Mansell and Nannini DSQ'ed for starting procedure infractions, seeing Johannson's Onyx at speed carrying an air gun, Moreno doing a full lap on three wheels, Senna's engine going south with two laps to go, etc.)
Actually thinking about a possible Arrows win (Warwick dropped out while comfortably in the lead)
Renault's first V10 win (and the first win by a Belgian since 1972)
de Cesaris's joy on the podium

Senna's drive (you have NO idea how fortunate I consider myself for having seen him in the rain :))

#23 fines

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 16:57

My 'GP career' is also pretty thin having been to only three events, and twice left after practice - 1 GP, 2 DNS ;)

First was the 1982 German GP, and I arrived at Saturday practice almost precisely at the same time Didier Pironi had his career ending crash! He was my favourite driver of the time, and on the way to the WC at that :( Later that day I was invited by Austrian journo Heinz Prüller to attend qualifying in the pit lane - and I was just 15! Imagine my delight... It was pouring down, so the action was somewhat subdued, but I remember two things: Having Nigel Mansell ALMOST run over my feet with the Lotus, and catching the eye of Frank Williams for a few seconds. He was probably just thinking what the heck I was doing there, but man was he looking intense! The next day I witnessed Patrick Tambay's first F1 victory, and of course missed the Piquet/Salazar punch-up as there were no giant TV screens back then and I was in the motodrome.

After the Pironi shock it took eight years to get me back to a Grand Prix, for Friday practice at Spa. During qualifying none other than Gregor Foitek (just sacked from Monteverdi) sat down on the grandstand at Raidillion a couple of meters from me. I still reckon I was amongst a mere handful of the crowd who noticed him! The following year I was back at Spa on Friday morning, completely unaware that Michael Schumacher was sitting in the Jordan (and also that Rainer and Darren were also there ;)). The PA wasn't good enough to understand what was going on, and it wasn't until the evening back home that I learned why the name 'Schumacher' kept hitting my ear! Next day I was back for qualifying and the F3000 race, only to find out later that this was the first F3000 race broadcasted live in German TV. Because of inadequate funds I decided to end my GP career there and then...

#24 Dave Ware

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 17:34

The most famous/legendary race I've attended is the '73 Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport. Several memorable events. It was my hero Francois Cevert's last race, which ended when Jody Scheckter attempted a bonehead passing manuver in turn two. Francois jumped from his car and on obviously injured ankles shook his fist at Scheckter. Once the race got underway the rain started. Niki Lauda showed what he was worth by running second, I think, in the BRM before his car failed. Teams pitted for wet weather tires sporadically, and the running order got seriously jumbled. For a while Howden Ganley led in the Iso-Marlboro. He was chased down and passed by Jackie Oliver, who was on fire that day. Oliver was in turn chased down and passed by Fittipaldi, who was on fire as always. And of course the drama at the end, everyone thinking Fittipaldi had won, but not being 100% sure. I got Oliver's autograph after the race, and I asked him where he figured he finished, and he said "Second." I realized his disappointment and was sorry I had asked. Saw Chapman and Fitti headed for a helicopter, smiling like they had just won a Grand Prix, but of course it turned out to be my other hero, Peter Revson.

Ok, the Best race? I always think of two. The first is the '73 F5000 race at Mid-Ohio. Brian Redman and Jody Scheckter going hammer and tongs around that twisty circuit, inches apart, leaving people like Gethin, Donohue, McRae, etc., far behind. Jody won that one. The other is the '73 (damn good year for racing, huh? Or maybe I just don't remember anything after that.) Mid-Ohio Can-Am. George Follmer in last year's 917/10 getting the jump on Donohue in the 917/30, and holding him off for the first third of the race. We watched it from the long back straight, and for lap after lap Donohue had his nose right on Follmer's gearbox. Finally Donohue drafted past Follmer and motored off into the distance. Fantastic!

Dave

#25 David J Jones

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 18:36

Not F1 but the most nerve twitching moment for me was the 1964 Le Mans 24 hours race.

At the end of the first lap the Ford GT40 was trailng the Ferrari by quite a distance and during the second lap the French commentator went berserk as the Ford passed the 200mph barrier on the Mulsanne straight and passed the grandstand at the end of the second lap way ahead. We all cheered and clapped!

I am not sure now but I believe it was the first time the 200 mph barrier had been broken in a European event run on a road circuit.

I also met DSJ and Dan Gurney the next day

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 20:20

David, are you ever sorry your parents didn't give you the middle name 'Stephen' or 'Sean'?

Must have been quite an event, the time was electric with the Ford/Ferrari dealings over the past year and a half or so...

#27 Frank de Jong

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 20:29

Ray :Sure it wasn't Peter Brock?

Anyone know what time Brocky drove the car... i'm fairly sure it was that year...

Frank:

Well, it was a 24 hour race, so they might have been teammates. I´ll have to look that one up.
-------------------------------
Autorensport (a Dutch magazine of those days) tells us (back in 1977):
"De zwaargewichtige Gerry Marshall..." oh, sorry, I'll have to translate :)
"The corpulent Briton passes 5 cars in 5 hours and steels the show. The duel for second place is won from Woodman, and with a few minutes left Gerry passes by, thumbs up and with the Woodman Capri behind him."
But guess who his teammate was? Peter Brock... and Gerry won't have driven for 5 hours without pause...
I'd love to include a picture of Gerry and his Vauxhall, but haven't found out how... :(


#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 21:57

Somewhere here I have one of Brock, and I could post his story of it, if I can find the magazine.

#29 Gil Bouffard

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 00:55

Best: 1961 GP of Germany at the Nurburgring. Not having been to Monaco, this was the second trouncing of the Ferrari steamroller by Stirling Moss in what was essentially a year old Lotus. Truthfully, you could assume that Moss, having driven more laps in more races at the Ring than anyone else had a special affinity for the circuit. I certainly did not think that he could so humilate the Ferraris.

1981, Same track, 1000Km: Watching Manfred Winkelhock blister around the old circuit, in qualifying, in the Zakspeed Turbo Capri. In the race there was an awful crash before the hill to the Karussel, near the test hill. My friend Bruce Siemon and I saw the black smoke from our positions at the Karussel and rushed down to see what had happened. Herbert Muller in Reinhold Jost's open Porsche 908 had driven directly into the back of Bobby Rahal's abandoned Porsche 935K3 which had been idle for some time and was full of gasoline. Muller was dead on impact and the flames were so intense that the fire fighters could not get to the body.

1980, Hockenheim, Jim Clark Rennen, Formula Two. After the last turn, going out of the stadium toward the Ost Kurve. A couple of cars got together and Derek Warwick's rear wheel came off his Toleman. It struck the other car in the cockpit. I watched the car stop and the driver get out, walk around the car and sit down. He was dead!

Those two were the bad ones.

Gil Bouffard

#30 oldtimer

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 02:14

Best: 1960 British GP at Silverstone, when Graham Hill got left on the line at the start, drove through the field, passed Brabham for the lead, and then lost it at Copse with troublesome brakes and mirrors full of the Brabham crouch.

Not legendary, but significant in its way, Schumacher's first GP win, at Spa in 1992, when he out-diddled Senna and Mansell in changing weather conditions. He was driving a Ford powered Benneton, which was down on power compared to his big-named rivals, though you wouldn't have thought it from his speed through Eau Rouge and up the hill.

#31 FLB

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 02:27

Originally posted by Gil Bouffard

1980, Hockenheim, Jim Clark Rennen, Formula Two. After the last turn, going out of the stadium toward the Ost Kurve. A couple of cars got together and Derek Warwick's rear wheel came off his Toleman. It struck the other car in the cockpit. I watched the car stop and the driver get out, walk around the car and sit down. He was dead!

Gil Bouffard


That was Markus Höttinger, a very promising young Austrian and Willy Maurer's protégé. He ran PROCAR 1979 and looked quite good against the F1 drivers who were part of the series.

#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 03:33

Originally posted by Frank de Jong
Autorensport (a Dutch magazine of those days) tells us (back in 1977):
"De zwaargewichtige Gerry Marshall..." oh, sorry, I'll have to translate :)
"The corpulent Briton passes 5 cars in 5 hours and steels the show. The duel for second place is won from Woodman, and with a few minutes left Gerry passes by, thumbs up and with the Woodman Capri behind him."
But guess who his teammate was? Peter Brock... and Gerry won't have driven for 5 hours without pause...
I'd love to include a picture of Gerry and his Vauxhall, but haven't found out how... :(


Actually, Brock had a history of long solo drives. His win in the 1972 was an unrelieved effort lasting 53 seconds over six hours, with much of the race in wet or greasy condition.

Here's a pic of Brock with a wheel up, don't know what corner...

Posted Image

Brock tells it this way:

"I did about four or five laps of practice and qualified - actually I went a shade faster than Gerry did, and he was the old master. I found the track was absolutely fantastic. I loved the place and immediately went out there and ripped around The faster bits are naturally quite a bit faster than Bathurst, but there are the same sort of undulations and blind corners, and the need for correct line and attitude through the corner so you're coming out at the fastest possible speed. in other words, smoothness was the keynote for getting round Spa quickly.

"We reckoned we had a fair chance for the small car class, and as things progressed we though 'Well, hell, we're going to finish somewhere outright here!' because our car was having no porblems, we were driving flat out all the time and things were going well for us.

"It started raining at around eight o'clock at night. We were using the latest Dunlop wets, and as the rain got worse - the track eventually got flooded - we were going worse and worse. I know that I was beginning to wonder about my own ability, because I was going up the straights fishtailing, sideways, couldn't get the tyres warm at all - a very scary business.

"The car was pretty well out of control, you couldn't see where you were going, and you couldn't feel the road. The tyres had no traction at all, really. I had some compensation in that I was lapping faster than Gerry Marshall was - a fact that escaped the English motoring press, I might add.

"As the night progressed we ended up losing a bit of ground to the Alfettas and, in fact, the other GM Team cars, which had been ten seconds a lap slower than us in the dry were about the same as our times in the wet. We knew it was the tyres. There was a contractural agreement between Dunlop and Vauxhall and there was a hassle going on there.

"But a mate of mine, Grant Speers, who'd been doing all the timing and legwork for the MHDT back home, and who had come over to the UK with me, came over to the pits and said, 'Listen, you've got to fit these tyres the Alfettas and other Vauxhalls are using.'

The tyres were fitted... Michelins.

"Up until now, a lap in the wet had been taking us just under six minutes, I think five fifty I was doing and Marshall was doing just on six minutes. We bolted on the Michelins and all of a sudden we were doing five minutes twenty - between five ten and five twenty five, depending on the rain.

"In other words, we picked up at least thirty or forty seconds a lap, and it was absolutely in control. So we started this race-long dice with the Alfettas - they'd sneak in front of us and we'd get back in front of them and so on. This lasted about twelve or thirteen hours.

"The scariest moment I had was early on Sunday morning. We were running along and the track had started to dry between showers - the sun had come out. It's in the Ardennes Mountains and it was summer, and it's one of those areas where you get a hot steamy heat coming in or a quick shower of rain. That's why Grand Prix racing was banned, because of the unpredictable nature of the circuit.

"So, as I was driving round, I realised that the track was drying quickly. As we stopped for some petrol, we decided to change two tyres in the time it took to fill it up with fuel. I put a pair of slicks on the back and went out and hoed into it. The car was really cracking and we were pulling some very nice lap times. There wouldn't have been many cars going as quickly as we were on this damp, drying track.

"However, I came round the back of the circuit on the road back to the pits, probably about five kilometres from the pits, howling through this bend, and all of a sudden I came upon a cloud-burst - the track was totally awash - and I was doing about 130mph.

"Well, I've never gone so far sideways for so long. The car went absolutely sideways up the road - I had full opposite lock on and all I could do was just sit there and hang on. There was nothing I could do except wait. The car didn't spin, and it didn't straighten up. It just went sideways up the road for about one kilometre.

"Finally, when it was down to about fifteen or twenty miles per hour I gave it a lurch, it wobbled round and corrected itself on the grass verge, just glancing past the armco on the grass. I hastily headed for the pits for some intermediate back tyres, which we put on and out we went again."

So he says he was in the car at 8:00pm, that he and Marshall changed at times through the night, and that he was in as the sun came up. How does that compare?

#33 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 04:07

What would we do without Ray Bell? We would have to invent him - but we would never get it done because noone would ever be able to figure out the formula!

#34 Falcadore

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 06:40

Ray,
The Bathurst where the Eggenberger Sierras were disqualed in favour of The Brock, Skippy & McLeod was 1987. By 1996 Sierras were being served as Egg & burgers in Joe Moore's tavern out the back! 1996 was a fairly dull semi-wet race which saw Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy disappear into the middle distance for HRT's 2nd Bathurst win. They have yet to add to that total.

Most notorious race I've attended?? Well the complete and utter sham of the 1999 Great Race, the 1999 Bob Jane T-Marts 500. That the race could have fallen so far as this.... The best big race, The Gradn Finale Adelaide 1995 - bloody dull race, but the atmosphere as the city said goodbye to it's much loved party.

Best race I've attended?? An Australian Super Touring Championship round in 1995 that saw a Villeneuve/Arnoux style duel between Paul Morris BMW 318i and the two Audi 80 Quattros of Brad Jones and Greg Murphy. Three abreast through the kink at Lakeside???? Jones pointing 45 degrees away from the circuit but back at the pointy within a lap! The crowd held it's breath - would all three of them walk away?

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 06:50

Thanks for pointing that out, Mark, obvious brain fade... corrected.

#36 Gil Bouffard

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 07:31

FLB,

It was not a good year in F-2 as Hans Georg Berger was killed at Zandvoort by a catch fence post.

I knew the car was a Maurer but couldn't remember the driver's name.

Didn't Manfred take flight at the Nurburgring that year also?

I used to work the Harald Ertl Rennaustellung in Manheim back then.

Gil

#37 David J Jones

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 08:21

Ray

Sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

A short answer yes I do wish my middle initial was S

#38 Frank de Jong

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 08:26

What a nice discussion about Spa 1977. Ray, I did a bit of calculating, and found out that we're talking about nearly 24 years ago. I'd even forgotten that it rained so much (I only remember the rain after the finish). I recall a big man in the Vauxhall "in the morning", but after your fine research it may have been Brock of course. It was a fine sight anyway. Ray, thanks for your great article. Probably the dutch press was biased to Britain as well (it's a lot closer anyway).

About the unfortunate F2 drivers:
Gil, the Zandvoort crash was Hans-Georg Burger in a Tiga; he was hit by a pole of the catchfencing in Zandvoort. I was in zandvoort at the time, fortunately not in that corner.
The careers of Hottinger and Burger were quite comparable; both were BMW proteges, both raced BMW 320 group 5 cars, and both died in a BMW-engined F2 car...

I think Winkelhock's crash was in a March 812, which would be in 1981.

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 10:34

Another note I found later - it's hidden in the preamble, so it had escaped my notice - was this one:

"Spa. Now, to me (Brock had been there the year before to dismally fail), Spa is one of the great circuits you'd ever see in the world. Long, fast, swooping through forest areas; things like the legendary Masta Kink - still there - Stavelot, sideways through this little area, Malmedy and then La Source, which is the severe hairpin, after which the road keeps on going straight ahead up to the little town of Spa."

Now, this was printed at the end of 1979, and it's been in there all the time, describing the scene you saw and have recalled so fondly all this time!

Have we got our man? Have you got a photo?

Reference: Peter Brock - Australia's Own Ace Driver!
by Ray Bell, published by Racing Car News, 1979

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#40 Frank de Jong

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 11:02

I might have a 35 mm slide, but THAT will be difficult to spot. I'll take a look one of these days.

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 13:40

This tin-top race is starting to dominate this thread, which is a shame, but do you know anyone who can scan a slide?

Additionally, I have a mention in a note from Bill Blydenstein, the Vauxhall Team Manager, obtained when I was seeking information for another part of the magazine. He wrote that they had a 15-min pit stop to cure a miss, but got to the lead in the class ... then: "They suffered from a lack of good wet tyres during the Saturday night before DTV's Gerry Johnstone decided to switch to Michelins."

Note that Speer (a real character, I think he was Brocky's flatmate when he was 'between wives') is not credited with the change of brand here, but the fact that it was Johnstone's decision is inescapable, of course. I'm sure Speer told me at another time that he offered to pay for the tyres himself!

Anyway, the point of this is that it did rain on Saturday night, so the 24 years of wear and tear on your memory has erased yet another low point and allowed you to just recall the delight of the great event on the great circuit.

You've got no idea how I'd love to have been at Lobethal in 1939 or the Nurburgring in 1957, Bathurst in October, 1958 and a few others. But the memories we have are the ones to cherish.... let's hear some more!

#42 Big Jim

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 14:48

Maybe not the best race, but, the 1979 USGP at Watkins Glen Saturday practice. Pooring down rain like cats and dogs, Scheckter and Villanouve out by themselves. It was quite a show.

Also seeing Hans Stuck lead in the rain in '78(I think).
Jimmy

#43 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 18 March 2001 - 21:58

1. Zandvoort 1985, the last win for Lauda - even though Prost behind him was quicker, Prost knew somehow, Lauda would win.

2. Zandvoort 1975, my 1st attendance as a 7year old boy. Made a lasting impression and enticed me ever since. Hunt won in the Hesketh. (Or Spa-Francorchamps in 1996 at les Combes, Schumacher and Hill wheel to wheel flat out from the Kemmel straight into Les Combes, all very close to us spectators).

#44 Paul Medici

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Posted 21 March 2001 - 03:36

Uncle Davy
May I amend my answer to your question #2 ?
Replace MONZA 1999 with USGP 2000. It took me 7 hours to get back to Chicago that night due to construction on #65. The results of the race made it more than worth the drive.
Regards,PJM


#45 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 23 March 2001 - 04:59

Originally posted by Big Jim
Maybe not the best race, but, the 1979 USGP at Watkins Glen Saturday practice. Pooring down rain like cats and dogs, Scheckter and Villanouve out by themselves. It was quite a show.


First afternoon of practice: Scheckter did the best he could and was confident he had been very, very fast. Then he saw the time of Gilles - eleven seconds faster - and could not comprehend it. Like the other drivers could not.

Originally posted by FLB


Senna's drive (you have NO idea how fortunate I consider myself for having seen him in the rain :))


What would it have been like, if Senna and Villeneuve had been given the chance to take on a rain battle....


#46 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 23 March 2001 - 05:22

Originally posted by Jeroen Brink




What would it have been like, if Senna and Villeneuve had been given the chance to take on a rain battle....



Yes, that would have been good value. But I suspect they might have been chasing the likes of Hans Stuck (the younger), Rudi Caracciola (the original Regenmeister) and Stirling Moss! All five were fabulous in the rain - but who is to say which may have come out ahead in our imaginary duel? How about some other nominations for deserving starters on the grid for this rain race for the ages!

#47 FLB

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Posted 23 March 2001 - 06:15

I propose the two first-namesakes, Jacky Ickx and Jackie Stewart.

Then, I would add Ronnie Peterson and Jochen Rindt.

And quite possibly Micheal Schumacher.

#48 FlagMan

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Posted 23 March 2001 - 12:38

Ray - What would Brock expect from a Gerry Marshall car - Any car that Gerry drove spent most of its time going sideways so it would be quite natural ;)

Incidentally - Gerry is still racing - having clocked up his 601st race/class win last year - and he is still going sideways - in spite of a multiple heart bypass and advanced arthritis.

I remember seeing Gerry in the 'Old Nail' Firenza at Snetterton - in the days when it used the long Norwich Straight followed by the tight hairpin - As the car started braking for the hairpin Gerry suddenly ducked down in the seat - almost vanishing from view - just as it appeared as if the car was going to go straight on in a monster accident - Gerry's head reappeared and an object flew out of the window as the car turned into the corner on full opposite lock - It turned out that the fire extinquisher had come loose in the cockpit and ended up in the pedals - Gerry had calmly bent down - which anyone who knows Gerry will understand that this must have been a pretty clever trick in itself - picked it up and tossed it out all whilst under braking for the corner.

As for the topic oif the thread - after 30 years of marshalling I am not sure if I have a favorite race - but if I had it would probably not involve F1 cars... after 25 GPs in the flesh I have yet to see more than one or two real races.



#49 bobbo

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Posted 25 March 2001 - 00:40

Would have loved to have been at Spa in "67, but I was in San Diego, Navy boot camp. Oh, well.

The most impressive event I attended was, of all things, Hershey (PA) hill climb in (I think) spring 1969. Oscar Kovaleski's Can Am Car blistered everyone away, but the second fastest was a Powder BlueTR-3B! I remember that one because it had a TR-2 nise and I had just bought a TR-2!

I know this one wasn't a proper "race" but it showed me what ameteur racing was all about.


#50 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 02:30

Originally posted by Frank de Jong
I might have a 35 mm slide, but THAT will be difficult to spot. I'll take a look one of these days.


Hmmm... had to locate this thread to educate a few Australians today... and this little promise fell in my lap!

How's the search going, Frank?