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That motor racing cameo...


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#1 bill moffat

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:15

It may have involved one of the greats in one of the the more wonderful cars that motor sport has allowed to evolve. It may have been a monumentous event at one of the world's greatest circuits. Equally it may have been a more modest affair at your local club circuit. Perhaps it happened 40 years ago, perhaps it will happen this weekend (well we do have the FF festival in Kent).

That motor racing cameo. A fleeting moment that sticks in your memory long after the event has become history. Not necessarily a headline-maker but something that sticks in your consciousness and probably makes you smile.

As a personal example, Le Mans 1982. Ricardo Patrese's Lancia LC1 barchetta is baulked badly at the Ford chicane by one of the lumbering 512BB Ferraris. As he enters the pit straight he pulls alongside the Ferrari, slows ever so slightly and theatrically points at his stalk-mounted mirror before furiously stabbing the left side of his helmet with his finger. The message is clear, maybe that Ferrari driver still remembers it the way that I do ?

So, what quite possibly inconsequential moment lives on in your mind ?

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#2 ian senior

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:30

A nothing kind of race on a nothing kind of circuit. Rufforth, Yes, Rufforth - motor racing in its most elementary form. As was so often the case there, it was raining. Raining very seriously indeed and it had been so throughout the meeting. By the time the Formula Libre race was due to start, the track was almost flooded, but nevertheless the intrepid drivers took to the grid and the race commenced.

As was often the case at Rufforth Libre races, star turn was Tony Dean, in his Brabham BT23 on that occasion. The track was so wet that every driver (bar one) took a very circumspect approach to the race, and I didn't blame them one bit. Mr Dean didn't. He had a right good go, as he usually did, and the way he pressed on that day, with the tail of the Brabham hanging out in true Black Jack manner and trail of spray behind him, was a joy to behold. It was all so well controlled and he made it look SO natural, SO easy.

I've seen better races on better circuits, with better cars and better drivers, but few such singular moments of magic.

#3 Vicuna

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:31

Dick Johnson, thru his Aussie Ford connections, is driving a Ford Telstar (Mazda 626) at Pukekohe. It is terribly slow compared with what he's used to and those of us watching at the hairpin can feel his frustration as he moves back and forward coming out of the corner as if to will it on.

We start a little game of joining him in his body contortions and this becomes a little 'thing' between us for the rest of the race.

Perhaps you just had to be there.

#4 ian senior

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:54

And another one....

After the heart-stopping 1-litre F3 racing at Cadwell Park, I guess we all needed some light relief to bring us down to earth again. The Formula Vee race provided it. Taking part in the race was a device called the Dee-Vee-Ation, the driver of which I have now forgotten. This car was the typical tail-end Charlie, proceeding round the track at its own moderate pace. OK, we've all seen that kind of thing before, and there's not too much disrespect in being last (after all, someone has to be there) but the way in which the car made a whistling noise at every gearchange amused us no end. We eagerly awaited its appearance on every lap, and cheered and applauded it every time it came round. Hopefully the hapless driver wasn't too embarassed and couldn't hear us.

#5 Even Darker

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 11:32

Marshalling at Brands Hatch some 30 odd years ago at the post just at the start of Surtees.

It was a practice session for a Formula Libre race and the field included a lot of formula fords, clubmans, a F5000 there for an attempt on the outright record for the short circuit and various odds & sods.

A particularly decrepit looking clubmans car expired and came to a halt at the edge of the track.

I went out with another marshal to push it clear of the circuit.

As we got it moving we heard a great roar behind us and looked back to see the F5000 coming out of Graham Hill bend at full bore, weaving its way in and out of the FFs.

We pushed very fast!

#6 Gerald Swan

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 20:16

Race of Champions at Brands 1970, Jackie Oliver in the BRM.

Every lap he was hanging the tail out more and more but still not loosing it. My mate and I just waited every lap for Oliver, staunch Lotus and Brabham fans respectively for a brief moment we became BRM converts. Luckily I caught in on film and 36 years later it still brings a big stupid grin to my face :lol:.

Gerald.

www.lolaheritage.co.uk

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#7 Cirrus

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 20:45

I remember the FF Festival, back in 19(late)80 something. Pekka Herva had a Reynard, and was hanging the back end out round Paddock in a way I've never seen before, or since. I said to my dad "He's going to be in F1 within two years"

I was wrong........

But you can't erase the memory!

#8 sterling49

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 11:03

I was generally at Brands every weekend in the '60's and saw most events from karts to F1 and everything in between, my recollection was a late Autumn 1litre Formula 3 festival, when French Racing Blue was everywhere, the 1st lap at the end of South Bank bend on to the GP circuit was just unbelievable, all those cars ( I think they used to able to run 36 cars on the GP track) vying for the same piece of road.......quite a few names in there to, Jean Pierre Jassaud and a lot that were to feature in F1 years later. The 2nd, my all time favourite in his Lotus Cortina, I think it was an August Bank Holiday meeting, he had problems with the car, but after a pit stop he went out again and drove like a demon, he had it on three wheels and then two at Bottom Bend.....the commentator (Anthony Marsh?)was apoplectic! Jim had no chance of featuring in the results, but gave the crowd something to see......oh, if I remember correctectly he netted fastest lap also. So very special. :clap: :clap:

#9 FLB

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 12:05

Ayrton Senna da Silva, Montreal 1989.


It was a wet-dry-wet-whatever kind of race. Mansell and Nannini went to the pits to change tires, came out before the start and were disqualified. Martini and Modena collided before the end of the first lap and went into fisticuffs. Berger led, but his gearbox failed on Lap 6. Patrese led, then Warwick looked a likely winner until his Arrows stopped with a blown engine.

McLaren misjudged the right moment to change tires, big time. As a result, Senna had to play catch-up for most of the race, on the wrong rubber for the conditions. Prost had dropped out on Lap 2, with a broken suspension according to official results.

I still have the sound of Senna's McLaren etched in my mind. I close my eyes and I can see him. The McLaren seemed litterally like it was hovering the track. You could hear the driver play with his throttle (no bloody traction control).

By Lap 60, he was in the lead. On Lap 67, unimaginably for the throng of Brazilians next to me, his Honda engine let go...


Thierry Boutsen won his first Grand Prix, but in retrospect, that doesn't seem nearly as important as Senna's drive to me.

#10 Even Darker

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:22

Around 1979 (IIRC) at the Monaco Grand Prix, sitting in the small grandstand on the outside of Anthony Noghes (was it called that then?).

You could see the cars come out of Rascasse, pass so close that you felt you could reach out and touch them, then accelerate away up the start/finish "straight".

Niki Lauda in his Ferrari was driving in his usual precise style and I think was fairly well up amongst the leaders when he had to call in for a pit stop.

By the time he came out again he was completely out of contention and obviously decided to put on a bit of a display to amuse the crowd and perhaps himself.

Now he was coming out of the corners on full opposite lock, completely different from the way I'd ever seen him drive before.

On one glorious occasion he held the slide right past the pits and was still sideways as he disappeared out of view. I had a completely different opinion of him after that.