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Your most embarrassing race car moments?


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#1 BarryD

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 21:38

It was about 8 years ago that I got hold of a bright yellow Lotus 41 Formula 3 car from about 1970, the prettiest little carrot you ever did see....just like a miniature 49.

It was clearly built for a young driver of slightly more diminutive dimensions than me ...someone more like Jim Clark....slim, agile and streamlined.

I installed this little jewel in my newly built Gloaterie at the bottom of the garden, and next day I came home from work and went straight over for an ogle.

I just could not resist.
In I jumped....vroom vroom from the Holbay Screamer behind me, frantic twirling of the steering wheel, practicing changing gear faster than Innes Ireland ever had and of course I won the race by a mile.
...and there I stayed....but it was not as you might imagine to accept the adulation of the imaginary crowd....it was because I was stuck firm.

The cockpit was so cramped with the wrap around screen tight against my shoulders that I could not even get my arms out.
There was nothing to push-off on, and no purchase for my heels to move me even a couple of inches.
I was so tightly wedged that it inhibited my shouting ability.
And believe me, after an hour I WAS shouting.
After another half hour I was imagining the documentary on SKY TV where they excavate a Lotus 41 with a skeleton still in it.
After 2 hours I was on the brink of madness, and I believe there is a seaweed which was named after me.....Bladder Wrack.
A full 2 1/2 hours after I went across, the ever lovely Copper opened the door with a mug of coffee for me.
Of course, in my manly way, I have always been very fond of her, but I have never been quite so glad to see her as I was at that moment.
I did not drink the coffee.
I explained my predicament, and then I had to endure another ten minutes as she firstly collapsed in hysterical laughter, and then with immense thoughtfulness and consideration, went off to get the camera.

I finally negotiated a deal involving our local jeweller, my credit card, and the removal of the bodywork.

She still dines-out on the story, and is one of the few ladies I can think of who know all about DZUS fasteners.

I sold the Lotus and purchased a much larger racing car, but strangely even this seems to shrink a little every Christmas.

By comparison, vintage Morgans are easy !
When they catch fire you would be surprised just how fast you can get out of them.

Barry D

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#2 f1steveuk

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 08:35

Priceless!!

:up:

#3 ian senior

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 09:03

Originally posted by f1steveuk
Priceless!!

:up:


Seconded. Sympathies for both Barry and his credit card.

#4 macoran

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 09:51

Originally posted by BarryD


I explained my predicament, and then I had to endure another ten minutes as she firstly collapsed in hysterical laughter, and then with immense thoughtfulness and consideration, went off to get the camera.

I finally negotiated a deal involving our local jeweller, my credit card,

Barry D


That credit card cost us picture of the year ??

This is better than any filmscript Barry !!

#5 macoran

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 09:52

Originally posted by BarryD


I sold the Lotus and purchased a much larger racing car, but strangely even this seems to shrink a little every Christmas.


Barry D



Small racing cars must be washed with COLD water !!
I have the same problem.

#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 17:29

Sorry, I can't remember the driver (but I think it was Montoya) left one team, joined another, first Grand Prix of the year, first session, pulled into the wrong pit. :lol:

#7 Mark A

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 17:40

Originally posted by f1steveuk
Sorry, I can't remember the driver (but I think it was Montoya) left one team, joined another, first Grand Prix of the year, first session, pulled into the wrong pit. :lol:


Steve, I vaguely remember the driver pulled into a Jordan pit, was it Fisi?



My most embarassing moment was in a Rally car not a race car. During a Historic Road Rally a few years ago the route used was very rough and seemed to cause most of us co-driving in Mini Coopers to get travel sickness.

As you will probably know the Mini has a very large door pocket, needless to say I didn't get the door open and harnesses loosened quickly enough. :blush:

#8 f1steveuk

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 18:13

eeekkkk!! and I used to keep my sandwiches in the door pockets of my mini!!

Think your right, it was Fisi, we were begged not to show it!!

I would have liked to have seen the face of the Sauber mechanic when Johhny Herbert walked into the Monza pits after spinning off when "something" got stuck under his brake pedal. Herbert tossed the mechanic his pliers, left in the footwell!

#9 LotusElise

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 11:51

I wouldn't have wanted to be that mechanic, Johnny Herbert may only a little guy but still... :evil:

My only real embarrassing racing car moment is having John Surtees nearly reverse an Auto Union over me at Goodwood.

#10 Mistron

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 18:05

I ran myself over with an (ex Jim Clark) Lotus 18.

The back wheel always gets you over your foot when you are so low down to push. To add insult to injury, quite a few people in the adjacent pub saw me do it! thankfully I only dented my pride.

Come to think of it, that's not the only car I have done this with............

#11 Don Speekingleesh

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 18:12

Originally posted by f1steveuk
Sorry, I can't remember the driver (but I think it was Montoya) left one team, joined another, first Grand Prix of the year, first session, pulled into the wrong pit. :lol:


I think a few drivers have done it over the years.

#12 David Birchall

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 18:36

Barry, we've actually been down this route before; here was my contribution:

http://forums.atlasf...y=&pagenumber=6
David B

#13 bobdar

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 05:34

One way to really entertain your racing friends is to stack the gears in your Hewland upside-down.

#14 MonzaDriver

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 15:01

I've never had a racing car, so my " moments " are about karting.
The preamble of that post is that I always said to my father in every language in every way:
" I am a great racing driver I need your money!!! "

I have had to do the running-in of a just hoverhauled kart engine.
I was told that I have to go very slow at the beginning and then to increase the speed and the duration of the full throttle time period.
But not too slowly becasue the engine maybe could be not work well after a too quite runnin-in.
Obviously with this second thought in mind, I started the running-in phase of the engine.
So after just some laps I start to race the kart and suddenly the engine seized-up.
We looked inside; and the piston was blocked in the middle of cylinder, and the connecting rod has break the ceiling of the piston. It was like to see a very frightened scene of a movie's horror.

My father ask me:
" It is in that way Great Racing Drivers do the running-in of a brand new engine?"

Very First kart race of my life.
Just one thought inside my mind:
" I have to demostrate that even with no money, with only my father as mechanic, used tyres,
I will jump ahead of all those very healthy boys and their brand new engine and tyres, and chassis. Because great racing drivers wins even with an uncompetitive car.........!!!!!!!! "

I was doing well, until at one moment the carburettor remained open, I mean the throttle dont come back, the engine doesn't slow down. I runned out of track in a very awful manner.
But I did not use the brain, my only worried was " My first race spoiled.........................."
I put the kart back on track, and without thinking about the reasons of the accident, I regain the race, obviously at the first bend, always with the carburettor open I went out in more stupid manner then the first one.

When my father understood the carburettor problem ask me:
" Is it in that way Great Racing Driver organize a recover ? "

I was 14 years old, and those moments were really embarassing for a Great Racing Driver..............
who understood nothing of what he was doing.



MonzaDriver.

#15 BRG

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 15:39

Well, in line with BarryD’s original post, I once got into an ex-Graham Hill Gold Leaf Lotus 49 on display in a Ford dealership. Now I have always been quite a biggish chap (and racing drivers tend towards the ‘little squirt’ end of the spectrum) so, once in, it was hard to get out. There isn’t really anywhere to put your hands on a Lotus 49 to prise yourself out. I unwisely leant on the little plastic side windshield which gave way with a loud crack, folllowed by the hasty retreat of chastened BRG out of the door before they gave me the bill.

A lot more recently, unloading my friend’s rally car from the trailer at the start of an event, I undid the tie-down straps, and merrily pumped the trailer bed up – all without remembering to install someone in the car to steer it and operate the brakes when it rolled off the trailer. Not surprisingly (although it surprised me at the time) the Darrian set off backwards down the trailer even before I had finished elevating it. It fell off the end and broke the splitter and then rolled in a determined fashion across the service area with me in hot pursuit but unable to open the driver’s side door to get to the brakes because it was still locked. Curiously, the owner and the rest of the team seemed unwilling to assist due to being convulsed with laughter. Darrians are pretty lightweight (700kgs or so) cars - or at least they are until you try to stop one unaided!

#16 2F-001

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 17:36

Not sure I can compete with some of theses stories, but...
I inadvertently triggered the extinguisher while getting out of someone else's race car; fortunately this was a separate mechanical bottle for the interior and my foot fired it from the mech on the bottle rather than pulling the remote handle, so I only managed to foam the cockpit and not the engine.

#17 Tim Murray

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 17:41

Originally posted by MonzaDriver
I put the kart back on track, and without thinking about the reasons of the accident, I regain the race, obviously at the first bend, always with the carburettor open I went out in more stupid manner then the first one.

This reminds me so much of Buford's classic story about the Mini with no brakes, which I hope he won't mind me reviving:

Originally posted by Buford in this thread
On the matter of nearly hitting corner workers, in the 70's they often had no barriers in front of them at all. One time I was just at a race spectating and a guy I knew who had a Mini Cooper became ill and asked me if I wanted to drive his car in the race. I always had my helmet and suit bag with me for just such a occurance and although I had stopped racing Minis at that point and was racing other people's cars on both ovals and road courses, I was an experienced Mini Cooper driver. I had no practice but the Chief Steward was a friend of mine and knew my record so he waved the 5 lap minimum rule and I started at the back. It was a last minute deal.

Well it is surprisingly similar to the USAC Midget story above. I stood on it at the green and from the back blew past most of the rows of cars that had started in front, on the inside of the track. I couldn't have done that if they had fanned out but they stayed in their rows and left a whole lane open. I was a pretty maniac starter and sometimes started at the back just for fun and to see if I could break my all time record of passing 23 cars on the first lap at Blackhawk Farms which was 1.8 miles. I would lay back and get on it early and time it just right so I would be in position at the back just as they threw the flag but going 50 MPH faster and would just swoop by row after row.

Well this time I had gotten about 3/4 up the field before the braking area for the first turn which was a right hander. This was a pretty good car I was in too so I had hopes of passing everybody before the lap was over and go from last to first in one lap which I had never seen done and I was enough of a show off and egomaniac to try it.

But when I hit the brakes, the guy had rubber brake lines, not aeroquip and one blew out and the pedal went right to the floor. There were still 7 or 8 cars in front of me and to my left and they were braking and already turning in and I was going to cream some of them. I was going at least 100 MPH, probably faster when the brakes blew. So I turned right and put it sideways in the grass on the right side of the track and I was headed right for the corner workers who were up on a little hill. They saw me coming and scattered and I hit a fire bottle and flew over the hump and got up in the air still going sideways. I was heading toward the track and the cars there saw this Mini flying in the air toward them and all went off the track to their left and I came down and slid up to the track and across it in the area they had cleared for me. The tires gripped and I had already gone down a couple gears during the slide so I dumped the clutch and the front wheel drive snapped me forward just as I reached the outside of the track and I took off now in about 5th or 6th. I looked in my mirrors and there was nothing but dirt and spinning cars behind me.

Now it gets really stupid. I saw the 5 or 6 cars ahead and I completely forgot what just had happened and took off after them. I know that sounds impossible to believe you could forget something like that but I did. There were cars ahead, I was in a fast car and I knew I could catch them, and I just had that in my mind. So the slide across the grass and flying in the air and sliding across the track stuff that had just happened a few seconds before was forgotten and I chased them through a left hand kink that led to the braking area for a big right hand sweeping carrouselle corner. I was making up the gap and charged into the braking area, nailed the brakes and oops, gee I forgot! Same thing happened again, now 10 or 15 seconds later. I was going to cream the cars ahead so I turned right, put it sideways and headed right for the corner workers again.

Again they saw me coming and scattered but this time there was no hill to launch over. But once again I was now headed back toward the track and the cars who were in the first third of the corner. They saw me coming right at them sideways on the grass and turned left and went off the track and I slid onto in the the area they cleared out, the tires grabbed, I hit the throttle and launched forward and looked in my mirrors and again saw nothing but dirt and cars spinning everywhere.

I was now in the lead. I had cleared out the entire field behind me. They were all in the dirt, backwards or just catching up from the same thing at the first corner. But this time I remembered I had no brakes. I felt there might be some repercussions about all this so I decided I better figure out how to slow down for corners without scattering corner workers and knocking everybody off the track. The thought of actually pulling over and giving up the race never crossed my mind. So I developed a technique of backing off early, banging down through the gears, and turning it sideways and drifting into the corners at a 90 degree angle. I did it every weekend on the dirt tracks so it was no problem. But it was slower. So before the first lap was over the cars started arriving and passing me because I was now slow and they were all flashing me the bird and shaking their fists and being mean to me, which I sort of understood.

So I drove the whole race with no brakes and got a finish and pulled in and chugged up to the paddock place in first gear and shut it off. The crew and guy who owned the car had no idea what had happened. I told them I had lost the brakes on the first corner and they found the broken hose right away. They said "You drove the whole race with no brakes at all. That's incredible! We knew something was wrong but we had no idea it was that!" I said. "Yeah, but I think there may be some pissed off people here in a minute so I'll see you later." So I scrammed and because everybody thought the usual driver was in the car they all came over and yelled at the guy who owned the car and he just stood there and laughed.



#18 Vicuna

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 20:11

It was during qualifying. I'd set a quick time - pole was mine.

But other cars were still on track and the thought of pole being snatched by one of them was more than I could stand.

Then I came up with this wizard idea. (Actually I'd kicked it around previously with a very small Toad and a my brawny technician)
'
I , how can I say, 'pretended' to crash - thus preventing my competitors from going quicker.

Pole was mine. My friends got pissed off with me. They'd sprung me. I was a tit.

I'd done some dumb things before - funnily enough both times in the last race of the year when a title beckoned - but this was really my most embarrassing moment.

I came clean and apologised to all my friends. What I can't understand is why they still think I'm a cheating little shit.

#19 BorderReiver

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 20:50

"It's just an oval with a stupid twiddly bit at the end . . . how hard can it be?" I proclaimed confidently just seconds before I wedged myself into (someone elses) Formula Vee Scarab to set off on a few practice laps of Mallory Park (my first time there).

Barely a lap and a half later I was climbing out of the Scarab (minus wheels, complete rear suspension, gearbox and diff) having backed it into the wall at Gerard's at very high speed.

Silly boy.

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#20 Gary C

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 21:12

even though it looks quite ordinary, I have a lot of affection for Mallory Park. Nice circuit.

#21 David Beard

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 21:30

I have posted this before, when I first arrived here. On the basis that I can be excused for boring some of the newer comers...I repeat :drunk:


In 1974, I decided the time had come to enter motor sport in some way or other. Karting I thought...I'll go and watch some at Little Rissington and see whats it's about. Peeing down, it was. I thought the 210 National gearbox class might suit me, so I watched carefully. One bloke was half a lap ahead of all the others. He seems good, I thought. Looked in the programme....44 Dale Falcon Villiers...Nigel Mansell. (had no moustache, by the way).
Over the winter I scoured Karting Magazine for a suitable machine. A 250- International at bargain basement price caught my eye..a Zip Silverstone with Merlin Rotary Valve Engine. A bit of research revealed that Chris Merlin had concocted this engine and won the British Championship with it a few years before. It was a Villiers 9e a square barrel like a Greeves Griffon with a special right hand crankshaft half housing a disc valve like the 100cc karts had...a design going back to MZ 2 stroke racing bikes I think...fed by 2 Tillotson carbs...the sort that have a diaphragm to pump the fuel in using crankcase pressure pulses and are used on chainsaws because they work upside down. It had the Villiers 4 speed box replaced by an Albion 5 speeder.By then, however, despite the machine being capable of 120mph, it was no longer really competitive...Suzuki twins being the thing that year. (Chris Merlin had left karting to be a sheep farmer in Cumbria..his next claim to fame was when he appeared on TV a lot claiming his sheep had been zapped by fallout from Chernobyl)
Despite being out of date and a bit tatty, said Zip Merlin offered a pretty hairy introduction to karting for a novice like me. Off to Shenington where Eric Mansell (father of The Famous One) was scrutineer. He strangely tested everything by standing on the front bumper and observing what wobbled. Most mysterious. I coped, but I was a bit in awe of the old hands. I'm sure they bit the heads off chickens. Anyway I did my 4 novice races...always starting at the back of the grid as the rules dictated for novices.
And so I came to my first race on my 250..as a novice no more. Yellow number plates instead of black ones. Grid positions for the heats were by ballot...and I drew pole position! Only having previously experienced Minardiesque grid positioning , here I was on the front row amid the grizzlies. Despite my tenseness, I got away quite well, only for the race to be stopped because a fair proportion of the field had crashed into the straw bales on the first corner, behind me.
After the St John ambulance men had done some enthusiastic bandaging , the race was restarted, me on pole again. This time I stalled. I waved my arms in the air furiously while the field screamed past. When the 2 stroke blue smoke dispersed...revealing my sad stationary fate..a chap in yellowey gold leathers, spectating whilst waiting for his 210 national race, ran out into the track to assist. Yes, it was NIGEL!
He pushed me and the Zip Merlin, I was anxious to get going, dropped the clutch too early. Nigel nearly went A over T. "Let the bloody thing get rolling!" he shouted at me.

Sorry...my favourite story :rolleyes:


#22 Michael Clark

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 01:09

Originally posted by David Beard
Sorry...my favourite story :rolleyes:


Love it

#23 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 02:39

Originally posted by Vicuna
What I can't understand is why they still think I'm a cheating little shit.


As they say down under, Don’t come the Ross Prawn with me mate! You could get replaced by some other bad do-er.

#24 cosworth bdg

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 03:16

Originally posted by Andrew Fellowes


As they say down under, Don’t come the Ross Prawn with me mate! You could get replaced by some other bad do-er.

Good one , cheers P N :up:

#25 Oversteer1

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 14:02

Mid-Ohio several years ago in my Citation FV. I was just finished with
tech. on my vee and was idling back to my paddock when the left rear
wheel fell off. I had only hand tightened the lugs and the ensuing loss
of wheel was quite embarrassing. Thankfully, only a handful saw my
demise, and one fellow racer helped me trace the lugs that had left
a trail back to the tech shed. Never again!

Mark

#26 mark f1

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 15:33

I had 3 with my Formula Vee....

1. Dropping the car off the trolley jack and landing it on my hand which was on top of the axle stand on the Friday night at 11pm before a race meeting. Turned up at the race meeting with my arm in a sling. Luckily they only weighed about 400kgs, or was it 300, I can't remember.....

2. Thinking I had got the chequered flag at Phillip Island when it was actually a blue flag. Didn't realise until these crazies dived under me into the Southern loop all locked up and sideways....

3. On my driver licence day at Calder Park, had the front left wheel fall off whilst going down the main straight. My mate actually found the 5 wheel nuts. Still got my licence somehow....

Mark

#27 f1steveuk

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 17:17

Originally posted by Gary C
even though it looks quite ordinary, I have a lot of affection for Mallory Park. Nice circuit.


Didn't Kenny Roberts (snr) once describe Mallory as "like racing around the bottom of a jam jar"? :lol:

#28 David Birchall

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:13

Originally posted by Oversteer1
Mid-Ohio several years ago in my Citation FV. I was just finished with
tech. on my vee and was idling back to my paddock when the left rear
wheel fell off. I had only hand tightened the lugs and the ensuing loss
of wheel was quite embarrassing. Thankfully, only a handful saw my
demise, and one fellow racer helped me trace the lugs that had left
a trail back to the tech shed. Never again!

Mark

3. On my driver licence day at Calder Park, had the front left wheel fall off whilst going down the main straight. My mate actually found the 5 wheel nuts. Still got my licence somehow....

Mark

What is it with VW wheel nuts? While following a VW Beetle down the road one day I had the entertaining site of seeing the wheel nuts come off one by one followed of course by the wheel. :rotfl: and I drove a Beetle for years
David B

#29 Sharman

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:16

Worst for me was being passed on the M1 by an MG on a trailer which should have been attached to the back of my Volvo