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Graham Hill's accident at Watkins Glen, 1969


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#1 Sergio Sultani

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 12:44

Anybody have images of the Hill crash in GP EUA 1969?

Thank you
Sergio Sultani

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#2 JB Miltonian

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 17:15

This sequence of pictures appeared in Car & Driver magazine, January 1970. The photo credits are given to Eugene L. Lewis. Sorry I can't do anything about the quality of the images.
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#3 Sergio Sultani

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 19:09

Thank you JB Miltonian.

The cause was a puncture in the tire, wasn´t it?
Do you have the details of that moment?

Thank you very much.

Best wishes,
Sergio.

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 19:38

Those are the only pictures I've ever seen of the progress of Graham's crash - they also appear in his first autobiography "Life at the Limit".

Previously Graham had spun and had pushed the car back onto the track. The cockpit of the 49 was so constricted that he was unable to fasten his seatbelts without help, so he was heading back to the pits when a tyre, probably damaged in the spin, suffered a catastrophic deflation. The car was launched into mid-air and Hill was thrown out onto the grass: in the first picture you can see his legs as he is violently ejected from the car and in the second you can see him on the grass while the car continues to disintegrate. The remains of the car landed upside-down.

It's a moot point whether his lack of seatbelts saved him. In my opinion it did, since what remained of the car was not much more than scrap.

#5 Michael Oliver

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 22:35

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Those are the only pictures I've ever seen of the progress of Graham's crash - they also appear in his first autobiography "Life at the Limit".

Previously Graham had spun and had pushed the car back onto the track. The cockpit of the 49 was so constricted that he was unable to fasten his seatbelts without help, so he was heading back to the pits when a tyre, probably damaged in the spin, suffered a catastrophic deflation. The car was launched into mid-air and Hill was thrown out onto the grass: in the first picture you can see his legs as he is violently ejected from the car and in the second you can see him on the grass while the car continues to disintegrate. The remains of the car landed upside-down.

It's a moot point whether his lack of seatbelts saved him. In my opinion it did, since what remained of the car was not much more than scrap.


Interestingly, one of the mechanics on the car told me that the car (chassis R10) was not too badly damaged, despite appearances, meaning that the tub was OK even if corners had been wiped off. It was rebuilt and used again during the 1970 season. A bit like the Barcelona 69 shunt of Hill's in R6, which looked spectacular but didn't actually seriously damage the car.

The cause of the accident was a right rear tyre deflation. Hill had been suffering from handling problems and it transpired that his tyres were very worn and showed signs of chunking, which might explain the catastrophic failure which took place a few laps after his initial spin (on oil).

#6 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 15:33

Possibly the last time an F1 driver was actually thrown out of a car during an event without wearing seatbelts(in this case not exactly by choice..) ?

A not uncommon situation beforehand and, in the eyes of many drivers of the 50s, including Moss and Gregory, preferrable to staying in the cockpit and risking a subsequent fire...

In the cases of Donnely and Villeneuve of course the car disintegrated or the belts were ripped out with horrific consequences.

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#7 Paul Parker

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 16:29

What really hits you between the eyes is the unprotected proximity of trackside trucks, cars and spectators.

Just imagine if Hill's Lotus had not somersaulted but simply spun or crashed into the 'scenery'. It makes the blood run cold does it not?

#8 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 16:59

Originally posted by Paul Parker
What really hits you between the eyes is the unprotected proximity of trackside trucks, cars and spectators.

Just imagine if Hill's Lotus had not somersaulted but simply spun or crashed into the 'scenery'. It makes the blood run cold does it not?


That was simply how it was back then, whether anyone wishes to like it or not. We somehow managed to live with it. You would not even want to imagine how close we were allowed to get to the edge of the circuit at Spa during the practice sessions....

#9 Cirrus

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 17:27

It was dangerous back then, but I'd have taken my chances in a risky viewing position, given the opportunity. I'd have loved to stand on the inside of Copse when Jackie Stewart and Jochan Rindt were having their dice in '69, and it was a memorable experience to have Ronnie Peterson heading straight towards me at Woodcote in '73.

Although, in danger terms, it can't compare with those days, sticking my head through the pit wall fencing to watch the F1 cars at the fast righthander on the start/finish straight at Pau this year was pretty impressive - the cars pass directly below you.

The involvement just isn't there if you're standing behind a gravel trap!

#10 2F-001

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 17:47

Paul - with regard to unprotected spectators, have you seen pictures from the 1970 Mexican Grand Prix?
Mind you, that was considered lunacy even at the time.

#11 Cirrus

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 17:56

Originally posted by 2F-001
Paul - with regard to unprotected spectators, have you seen pictures from the 1970 Mexican Grand Prix?
Mind you, that was considered lunacy even at the time.


Yes, they were right on the edge of the tarmac, and when it looked as though the Grand Prix might not go ahead for safety reasons, they threw bottles on the circuit

:eek:

#12 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 18:46

I believe the last straw was when Jackie Stewart hit a dog at about 150mph!

#13 2F-001

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 19:04

To illustrate the point, here is a picture from the Autosport report of that Mexican race, October '70
(picture is by David Phipps).

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#14 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 19:19

So that's what they look like in their own country!

#15 Bonde

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 19:42

I can't help wondering what would have happened to motorracing in general if one or more cars had ploughed into those Mexican crowds in 1970 - the potential disaster would have had Le Mans 55-like proportions and I'm sure would somehow have adversely affected motorracing World-wide.

Enthusiasm is fine, but what were these people thinking (if at all)?

#16 Paul Parker

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 22:26

Being of a certain age and having witnessed the genre first hand I do indeed know exactly what it was like and could quote first hand.

For example I attended the 1967 BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch with a track pass and you were allowed to cross the track if you drew the attention of a marshall who then blew a whistle to let you know when it was 'safe' to do so!.

My comments were for the benefit of those with youth on their side and for those who forget.

#17 P 4 Staff

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 23:51

The way it was. Mexican GP 1970.

Posted Image

Well...well....

#18 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 00:12

Amazing photo! It looks like a F1 race through a golf course it is such natural landscape.

#19 Vincenzo Lancia

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 07:54

Originally posted by P 4 Staff
The way it was. Mexican GP 1970.

Posted Image

Well...well....


My AntiVir caught SOMETHING (deleted it before examining enough I'm afraid) but either spyware or some (other) kind of virus - a TR maybe - when clicking on the picture.

The mating-advert popping up when clicking in the first of the pictures above, is likewise not too trust-enforcing. :/

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#20 ian senior

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:04

Originally posted by 2F-001
Paul - with regard to unprotected spectators, have you seen pictures from the 1970 Mexican Grand Prix?
Mind you, that was considered lunacy even at the time.


Didn't Pedro Rodriguez appeal (in vain) to the crowd to move back?

#21 Gary Davies

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:14

Yes, and JYS.

#22 FredF1

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:20

Originally posted by Cirrus

Although, in danger terms, it can't compare with those days, sticking my head through the pit wall fencing to watch the F1 cars at the fast righthander on the start/finish straight at Pau this year was pretty impressive - the cars pass directly below you.

The involvement just isn't there if you're standing behind a gravel trap!





Indeed.

When I was at Spa in 2000, I was in the stand directly in front of where the 1998 pile up happened. As the track was damp, I remember thinking It could all happen again and those fences down there don't look like they'd trouble a flying wheel all that much. It certainly added an extra element or excitement to the race.

#23 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:56

Originally posted by Cirrus
It was dangerous back then, but I'd have taken my chances in a risky viewing position .....

The involvement just isn't there if you're standing behind a gravel trap!



Very true and one of the reasons Rallying is so popular (although the RALLY GB is somewhat sanitised these days) . The involvement can still be undiluted in many respects.
Likewise hillclimbing where the sight, sound, smell and rush of air from an F1 powered car just a few feet in front of you at 130mph is so much more intense than being behind the gravel and fencing watching a Grand Prix car at the same speed.
And even more so watching an F3000 on one of the european hillclimbe events where one seems to be able to stand even closer!

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#24 James Page

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:49

Originally posted by simonlewisbooks
Very true and one of the reasons Rallying is so popular (although the RALLY GB is somewhat sanitised these days) . The involvement can still be undiluted in many respects.
Likewise hillclimbing where the sight, sound, smell and rush of air from an F1 powered car just a few feet in front of you at 130mph is so much more intense than being behind the gravel and fencing watching a Grand Prix car at the same speed.
And even more so watching an F3000 on one of the european hillclimbe events where one seems to be able to stand even closer!


True - get into a tank-slapper off the line at a French event and you'd take out the course car, half the officials and most of the spectators…

#25 Mal9444

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 13:01

Please don't laugh too loudly at this question, but...uh... what's a tank-slapper? Is it like a tyre-kicker or a rivet-counter? Can I get one at Halfords?

#26 Paul Parker

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 15:52

I stand to be corrected but I think 'tank slapper' originated in motorbike racing and referred to that dreadful moment when your machine starts to behave like a 'rodeo steer'/'bucking bronco' and tries to throw you off or over the handlebars.

#27 David M. Kane

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 16:08

Mal9444:

It's when you racecar snaps suddenly sideways; and you have to take massive corrective action.
It sometimes requires a diaper change. You've either overcooked a corner or you have hit a patch of oil or such. If you don't have one every now and then, they say you aren't really trying...

#28 James Page

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 16:21

Originally posted by Mal9444
Please don't laugh too loudly at this question, but...uh... what's a tank-slapper? Is it like a tyre-kicker or a rivet-counter? Can I get one at Halfords?


Sorry - yes, it's as described above!

Mike Gascoigne ably demonstrated one at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a few years back, when he planted an F1 Jordan into the straw bales just after the start line…

#29 Macca

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 19:18

It's a motorcycling term for when the 'bars snap from lock to lock uncontrollably so you literally slap the tank..............then you usually fall off...........


Paul M

#30 Stoatspeed

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 19:25

Originally posted by Paul Parker
I stand to be corrected but I think 'tank slapper' originated in motorbike racing and referred to that dreadful moment when your machine starts to behave like a 'rodeo steer'/'bucking bronco' and tries to throw you off or over the handlebars.


Absolutely correct, Paul ... for a very easy to read explanation of the phenomenon, go here:
http://www.joe250.co...tankslapper.htm
There was once an SAE paper written on a research project which tried to build a mathematical model of a "tank slapper". It proved very hard to get the model to accurately predict the onset and recovery since some of the factors influencing are very subtle and interact heavily with each other ... as the author in the link above implies, the only thing to do is close your eyes and hope ...

In car terms, it is used more loosely to describe major oscillations of a car, especially where opposite lock is applied in more than one direction in quick succession ... occasionally resulting in a spectacular "safe" but more often resulting in "agricultural excursions" and :blush: embarassed driver ...

Dave

#31 Twin Window

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 19:30

Yep; it was originally - and still is - a motorcycle term as described above, which the four-wheeled community duly adopted at some juncture.