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Fifty Years Ago This Weekend


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#1 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 17:05

My brother Ian reminded me yesterday that this weekend was the 50th anniversary of the first race we ever went to. Our Dad took us to the 1970 Labatts Blue Can-Am at Mosport.
 
Dan Gurney won for Team McLaren, replacing team founder Bruce, who had been killed testing one of the new Can-Am cars two weeks before the race.
 
Denny Hulme finished third with his hands heavily bandaged, burned when his car caught fire at Indianapolis a month earlier.
 
It was a great race. Jackie Oliver drove the Autocoast Ti-22 and took the lead for a while. Gurney retook the lead but Oliver stayed with him and could have won until he was blocked by Lothar Motschenbacher, whom he was lapping, and lost too much time. (He finally punted him off on the back straight.)
 
I took these pictures with my Kodak Instamatic 104 and as you can see it was better for close-ups than capturing the cars at speed.
 
104329203_10158212691041047_234416772438104009326_10158212696521047_229348337096103960948_10158212708151047_314207752084104239269_10158212736121047_70003002712983122142_10158212736761047_4569698041567104326469_10158212748496047_692251843140

 



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#2 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 17:26

Wow... that is so cool, Thanks for sharing it!

Also this weekend is the June Sprints at Road America, my first event — seven years prior to ‘70. Meaning I win the TNF Dinosaur Award until another lowers the date. ;-)

Great memories R.W.!!!

Observational Edit: Did Mr. Gurney cut himself shaving? AGAIN??? ;-)

Edited by E1pix, 14 June 2020 - 17:28.


#3 PCC

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 17:50

These are wonderful, thanks for posting them! I was there too, it was an unforgettable weekend. We also had tragedy on the Saturday, when Dick Brown was killed on the back straight.



#4 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 18:31

Which was the only death in the Can-Am Series here, right?

(It struck me as a bit strange that Dino Crescentini was also killed in a Can-Am vintage race last decade, also at Mosport, in the ex-Villeneuve Wolf. The only other Group 7 fatality I can recall was Herbert Muller in an Interseries race in the late-‘70s. Wait, add Warren Tope dying in a street race in Pontiac, Michigan).

#5 D28

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 18:48

Which was the only death in the Can-Am Series here, right?

(It struck me as a bit strange that Dino Crescentini was also killed in a Can-Am vintage race last decade, also at Mosport, in the ex-Villeneuve Wolf. The only other Group 7 fatality I can recall was Herbert Muller in an Interseries race in the late-‘70s. Wait, add Warren Tope dying in a street race in Pontiac, Michigan).

Pedro Rodriguez died in the Norisring Interserie race in 1971. Ironically he was in a Ferrari 512M entered by Herbert Muller. But strictly speaking this was not a Gr 7 car, so perhaps the stats are correct. Anyway given the power and speed involved fatalities were limited thankfully.


Edited by D28, 14 June 2020 - 19:05.


#6 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 18:53

Perhaps a ban threat’s in order for overlooking Pedro... ;-)

But Yes, it’s downright amazing the safety record is at it was. Wide monococques had to help.

#7 D28

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 19:03

R W Mackenzie: Posted Today, 10:05

My brother Ian reminded me yesterday that this weekend was the 50th anniversary of the first race we ever went to. Our Dad took us to the 1970 Labatts Blue Can-Am at Mosport.
 
I remember the race well, though I wasn't as close to the action as you were. Great shots and thanks for sharing them. It was a somber event, but very fitting that Dan won for Bruce.


#8 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 19:14

We were watching practice from the stands across from the pits when the track went quiet. It was a while before an explanation was given. I don't recall when it was announced as a fatality and don't recall if practice was restarted. We went down to the crash site and I took a couple of pictures of the car being removed by the wrecker. But they we from a distance and not very informative. The pictures in the newspaper were closer up and showed the car to be pretty mashed up.



#9 GazChed

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 19:16

I am fairly sure that while Herbert Muller was badly burnt in the 1971 Nurbugring Interseries race ( he ran up to a marshall to put the flames out ! ) he actually died in the 1981 Nurburgring 1000 km, a round of that years World Sportscar Championship.

#10 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 19:23

You’ll have to insert the (big-block Chevy) voices in your heads, but cool visuals of proper racing times:
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=hzhggRAT5vU

And Dan himself, about that day:
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=G8kfm4y3UzQ

I think two of Dan’s three Can-Am wins came in the M8D in 1970, both in Canada.

#11 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 19:27

I am fairly sure that while Herbert Muller was badly burnt in the 1971 Nurbugring Interseries race ( he ran up to a marshall to put the flames out ! ) he actually died in the 1981 Nurburgring 1000 km, a round of that years World Sportscar Championship.

I think you’re right and I merged the Herbert and Pedro incidents...

Better be right just this once, in thinking Muller’s death was hitting a stricken 935 of Bobby Rahal’s... Oh, Google...!

Muller was one cool guy to this then-kid. One fact I witnessed was Herbie getting the most from his cigar dollar. :-)

Edit: You are correct, GazChed. Two details I’d forgotten is Herbert had no seat belts on — and it was to be his last race!!! :-(

Edited by E1pix, 14 June 2020 - 19:32.


#12 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 20:56

This was of course also the weekend Porsche finally won Le Mans for the first time with Steve McQueen filming it for his movie.



#13 GazChed

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 21:02

I was on holiday with a friend's family in Italy at the time of the accident and can remember one of the Italian magazines printing a sequence of pictures showing how poor Herbert's accident unfolded.

Edited by GazChed, 14 June 2020 - 21:13.


#14 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 21:21

You’ll have to insert the (big-block Chevy) voices in your heads, but cool visuals of proper racing times:
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=hzhggRAT5vU
 

Excellent video of the race. I was in the stands across from the pits. Did you see me waving? :rotfl:
 



#15 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 21:47

I pictured you waving in a less-vigorous manner, and was shocked if not inspired by your bikini.

;-)

#16 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 21:51

There were a lot of beautiful cars there that weekend. This was my favourite:

 

103964018_10158213541436047_914064428088

John Cordts in his brand new M8C. Right out of the box. Hadn't turned a wheel.

 

Lothar Motschenbacher's M8B was also gorgeous. I always thought his cars looked better than the works McLarens. I got to see it after the race. It was still on the infield side of the back straight where it had come to a stop following his contact with Oliver. The car was torn up a bit but not too bad. Lothar was there still in his Nomex overseeing its recovery. He was not a happy man. Ididn't get a picture as I believe I was out of film by then.

 

I took 48 pictures over the course of Saturday and Sunday but few of the one's I haven't posted are very good.

 

There are a lot of good photos on the Racing Sports Cars site here:

 

https://www.racingsp...1970-06-14.html



#17 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 22:08

I pictured you waving in a less-vigorous manner, and was shocked if not inspired by your bikini.

;-)

Funny you should mention my bikini. Besides my Dad and younger brother, my 18 year old sister and her best friend came along. They decided to sun bathe on top of our trailer. To say the best friend rocked her bikini is simply not doing her justice. It was quite a sight for a young, impressionable 14 year old boy. My heart still skips a beat to think of it. Sorry, no pictures. :stoned:



#18 E1pix

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 22:24

Wait... you had film for race cars, but...?

Priorities, my northern chum...

:-)

#19 D28

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 23:21

There were a lot of beautiful cars there that weekend. This was my favourite:

 

 

John Cordts in his brand new M8C. Right out of the box. Hadn't turned a wheel.

 

 

 

I took 48 pictures over the course of Saturday and Sunday but few of the one's I haven't posted are very good.

 

There are a lot of good photos on the Racing Sports Cars site here:

 

https://www.racingsp...1970-06-14.html

One that really impressed  for livery and general turnout was the BRM 154 making its debut with George Eaton. He qualified 7th and DNF, so perhaps it wasn't as good as it looked. But he did finish 3rd two weeks later at St Jovite. The sister car of Pedro Rodriguez equaled that placing at the season ending Riverside race.


Edited by D28, 14 June 2020 - 23:28.


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#20 E1pix

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 00:18

That was one sweet car. Liked George, too.

Seems they ran a high-wing version briefly (?).

#21 D28

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 00:46

That was one sweet car. Liked George, too.

Seems they ran a high-wing version briefly (?).

I can't find any photos of  a high-wing version and don't recall it. But the cars were only raced the 1 year in Can-Am, One of them was campaigned in Interserie  by David Hepworth. Perhaps someone has more information on that car.


Edited by D28, 15 June 2020 - 00:47.


#22 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 00:52

We were watching practice from the stands across from the pits when the track went quiet. It was a while before an explanation was given. I don't recall when it was announced as a fatality and don't recall if practice was restarted. We went down to the crash site and I took a couple of pictures of the car being removed by the wrecker. But they we from a distance and not very informative. The pictures in the newspaper were closer up and showed the car to be pretty mashed up.

I do remember when it was announced as a fatality, because I was sitting beside the guy (my dad) who announced it. Word came up from the medical centre that he hadn't survived, and my dad was handed a precisely worded statement to read on the PA (I don't know who wrote it). Practice did start again - I recall this because a car went by just as my Dad read the words "passed away" on the statement, which meant that a lot of people probably didn't hear what he'd said.

 

A minute of silence was already planned for race day in honour of Bruce; it became a minute in honour of both men.



#23 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 00:57

Seems they ran a high-wing version briefly (?).

Not unless they ran it before 1970, methinks.



#24 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 01:02

You’ll have to insert the (big-block Chevy) voices in your heads, but cool visuals of proper racing times:
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=hzhggRAT5vU
 

That was magnificent, thank you! It was just a couple of hours too short....



#25 E1pix

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 01:35

Not unless they ran it before 1970, methinks.

At least I was right about Gurney’s shaving incident. ;-)

Yeah, not sure why I pictured a high wing... probably just because they were the coolest (and only run in ‘69 here as you said, as with F5000).

#26 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 01:49

Wait... you had film for race cars, but...?

Priorities, my northern chum...

:-)

There are no words that can describe my regret at not creating a photographic record of the spectacle. Be comforted in the knowledge that you will never know what you missed. I will carry that image with me 'til the day I die. And if I keep thinking about it that day may come sooner than later. :rotfl:


Edited by R.W. Mackenzie, 15 June 2020 - 01:52.


#27 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 01:52

I do remember when it was announced as a fatality, because I was sitting beside the guy (my dad) who announced it. Word came up from the medical centre that he hadn't survived, and my dad was handed a precisely worded statement to read on the PA (I don't know who wrote it). Practice did start again - I recall this because a car went by just as my Dad read the words "passed away" on the statement, which meant that a lot of people probably didn't hear what he'd said.

 

A minute of silence was already planned for race day in honour of Bruce; it became a minute in honour of both men.

Thanks PCC, that brings back memories buried deep.



#28 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 02:17

One that really impressed  for livery and general turnout was the BRM 154 making its debut with George Eaton. He qualified 7th and DNF, so perhaps it wasn't as good as it looked. But he did finish 3rd two weeks later at St Jovite. The sister car of Pedro Rodriguez equaled that placing at the season ending Riverside race.

The BRM was a pretty car, simple and compact. But it probably wasn't very well sorted and the aerodynamics were somewhat behind the times. From what we know now, the air was likely spilling off the sides of the car and not optimizing frontal down-force nor being directed to a rear wing (or even a decent spoiler) to create rear down-force. George Eaton was a competent and fairly quick driver but he must have had his hands full.

 

The Autocoast Ti-22 on the other hand was probably the most advanced car in that regard. With its shape and ample side air dams it literally shoveled the air over the nose and channeled it over the huge spoiler at the back. Probably created a lot drag as well but then it had one of the largest motors in the field to shove it along.



#29 E1pix

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 03:21

Like that “shove it along” reference.

In my troubled, angst- and tear-filled search for the high-wing BRM, I was reminded Tony Southgate designed that car. An interesting design angle he had was having no wing, but rather having sufficient aero coming from the body alone. To be fair, I always thought the aero was a bit like McLaren’s M8A anyway. Regardless, a real beauty I loved seeing.

In the piece I found about the car, Southgate was quoted in admitting he should have used a high wing “If only I’d had it together like E1pix.” At least I think that’s what I read.

R.W., if only I could take back the memory trigger. Sincere apologies. Get plenty of rest and know I’m rooting for you. ;-)

#30 SKL

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 03:36

Great pix.   I was at the Road America Can-Am that year with my dad.  He was working medical and I tagged along as I was still in college.  Recognize a lot of those cars!  Wish I could find pictures I took... :(



#31 Dave Ware

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 04:30

There are no words that can describe my regret at not creating a photographic record of the spectacle. Be comforted in the knowledge that you will never know what you missed. I will carry that image with me 'til the day I die. And if I keep thinking about it that day may come sooner than later. :rotfl:

Now you two have got me thinking about her and I didn't even get to see her!  Arrgghh....

 

Must get to sleep, must get to sleep, must get to sleep....



#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 04:34

For Australians that weekend saw two race meetings...

 

Hume Weir and Mallala, with the latter one having a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship. It was wet at both meetings so big Pete won the ATCC round.

 

I was at home, I guess.



#33 Tim Murray

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 04:42

Denny Hulme finished third with his hands heavily bandaged, burned when his car caught fire at Indianapolis a month earlier.

While looking for something else recently I found and reread these quotes from Denny in Eoin Young’s Memories of the Bear:

Less than 10 days before the race at Mosport I couldn’t bend either of my hands, but I really set to work on my right hand and within a couple of days I found I could bend it with a bearable amount of pain. The left hand was a bigger problem because it had been burnt more seriously and was taking longer to heal.

(etc)

The biggest problem was getting gloves on and getting any feel back through my left hand. My right hand had to do most of the work and fortunately the gearshift was on the right-hand side in both the McLaren CanAm and Formula 1 cars. I had to put my left hand on the wheel with the thumb above the spoke and sort of fold my fingers around the rim with the right hand, holding it like a claw. Consequently, in the races I did I’d driven on rails and not done anything fancy, because if I took my hand off the wheel I’d have a reasonably hard job getting it back on again.

In spite of all this, at Mosport Denny led until half distance but couldn’t pull out much of a gap on his pursuers. Then he was forced off the track while lapping one of the very slow back markers. The steering kicked back sharply as he ran over the kerb, further damaging his burnt hands and his left wrist. With the left hand now virtually useless he lost the lead to Oliver, then let Gurney by and just aimed to get to the finish somehow.

It’s difficult to imagine what it must have been like driving a racing car with his hands in such a dreadful condition, and they took a long time to fully heal. Eoin Young thought that Denny was determined to keep racing ‘for Bruce’.

#34 john winfield

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 08:43

While looking for something else recently I found and reread these quotes from Denny in Eoin Young’s Memories of the Bear:

In spite of all this, at Mosport Denny led until half distance but couldn’t pull out much of a gap on his pursuers. Then he was forced off the track while lapping one of the very slow back markers. The steering kicked back sharply as he ran over the kerb, further damaging his burnt hands and his left wrist. With the left hand now virtually useless he lost the lead to Oliver, then let Gurney by and just aimed to get to the finish somehow.

It’s difficult to imagine what it must have been like driving a racing car with his hands in such a dreadful condition, and they took a long time to fully heal. Eoin Young thought that Denny was determined to keep racing ‘for Bruce’.

 

He was a brave man, Denny, wasn't he?  The burns were bad enough for him to miss the Dutch GP the following weekend but he finished the French and British GPs in fourth and third respectively, still bandaged as far as I remember. And this on two circuits (Charade and Brands) with no time to relax and, in Britain at least, with Clay Regazzoni's Ferrari harrying him for almost the entire race.



#35 2F-001

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 09:05

I noticed, in that video link from E1Pix, Denny pausing to sign an autograph. Yes, it seems the right was healing better and quicker than the left.. but even so, I don't think I'd have had the nerve to ask as a driver was about to get into the car even without the burned hands...!  

 

Maybe that lady didn't know about his injuries and Denny just wasn't being a bear about being asked?



#36 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 13:02

I noticed, in that video link from E1Pix, Denny pausing to sign an autograph. Yes, it seems the right was healing better and quicker than the left.. but even so, I don't think I'd have had the nerve to ask as a driver was about to get into the car even without the burned hands...!  

 

Maybe that lady didn't know about his injuries and Denny just wasn't being a bear about being asked?

In my (admittedly limited) experience, Denny was very patient and generous with fans. I remember once taking pictures at a drivers' meeting in the paddock, age 11. Denny was munching on an apple when I raised my Instamatic. When he saw me, he lowered his apple, looked straight at me, smiled, then returned to his apple after I said "thank you". A small thing, but it was an opportunity to be grumpy, and he declined it.

 

Around the same time, my mother, who was into silk-screening, made me a T-shirt that said "Denny for King" (yes, I was a big Denny fan). At that year's Canadian GP, I asked him to sign it - it was a bit tricky, since I was wearing it at the time; we had to slip a clipboard under my shirt to add rigidity and he had to lean over and, essentially, sign my stomach. Again, he was a great sport, had a chuckle, and signed it. One of my few great regrets is that I no longer have that shirt.

 

Denny was an exceptional driver, a remarkable character - and, to a young boy who was passionate about the sport, a very nice man.



#37 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 17:10

1970-06-01-Mosport-3pit-Denny-Hulme-05a. Mosport

1970-06-01-Mosport-3pit-Mc-Laren-M8-D-Ch Mosport

1970-07-04-Edmonton-3pit-Denny-Hulme-10a Three races later, Edmonton in July

 

Pics mostly unattributed, from the internet.

 

My dad ran Denny's car in the '67 and '68 Can Am series, so he was, and is, hands down my favourite driver. In my own experience I only ever saw Denny as really affable and friendly, kind and patient, but then he was in his element surrounded by the boys at The Works, as the McLaren factory was always known. Like Denny, my dad was into building boats, so there was a lot of advice provided by DCH.  He spent a lot of time in the workshop at Colnbrook, making bits for his boat or house.  I'm sure he deserved the reputation of being gruff when irritated, but there are loads of people like that in the pitlane and I quite like them because they remind me of Denny and my dad - Grizzled Veterans is what we called them at Penske.

 

We went to the house in St.George's Hill for a family barbecue one Sunday, just us and the Hulmes. Denny was keen to show my dad the house they had just built, and it was beautiful. Denny thought it was hilarious that my younger brother polished off two huge steaks. The last time I saw him was in the pitlane at Surfers just before the 1992 ChampCar race. It had been 18 years since I had seen him, and Teddy probably tee'd him up that he had "Don's son" on the team as Mears'  engineer, but he sought me out and came over and it was just great. Later that year he was gone. I still can't believe it.


Edited by Nigel Beresford, 15 June 2020 - 18:41.


#38 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 18:54

He was a brave man, Denny, wasn't he?

 

It was in his DNA. His father, Clive, won the VC fighting in Crete. If you read of his exploits he sounds like a one-man army with ice in his veins.

 

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Clive_Hulme



#39 2F-001

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 19:06

I hope I didn’t imply that Denny could be expected to be grumpy.

 

I think I only encountered him really close up a couple of times and the first occasion, when as a young lad, I got his autograph (’69 or ’70) was much like Peter C’s (above). He was in the paddock discussing something with two other fellows, whilst I stood by at a respectful distance with my autograph book, a little too shy to actually interrupt and ask him. But he spotted me, and gestured to his companions to wait a moment whilst he broke off, to turn to me, sign my book and exchange a few friendly words with me. Made a big impression on me. 

 

(To be fair though, several other drivers of stature treated me with similar kindness that day too.) 

 

It was much, much later that I learned that *some* folks attributed to him a reputation for occasional irritability - a trait for which I had no empirical evidence.



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#40 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 19:22

And... Mosport again! But this time (I think) 1972, at the GP. With the apple that I hope will now become famous.

 

Hulme.jpg



#41 D28

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 19:50

Very nice shot. Pit access had definite advantages.



#42 Obster

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 20:56

1970 was one hell of a year in racing.

There's going to be a lot of these "50 years ago" conversations this Summer.

EVERY GP was epic-some for very sad reasons.

WEC races were great-the presence of the 917 and 512 ensured this.

Hi-winged Plymouth and Dodge cars in NASCAR

Trans Am an all out brawl

F5000 a delight

And Can Am about to witness the appearance of the sucker Chaparral.

I was 15 years old and my mind was thoroughly blown every weekend.

Thanks to all for the great pics and memories!



#43 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 20:59

Very nice shot. Pit access had definite advantages.

Yes, especially for an eleven-year-old with an Instamatic and stars in bis eyes. Can you imagine such a kid wandering into the paddock today? I'd bee arrested instantly!



#44 D28

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 21:29

And... Mosport again! But this time (I think) 1972, at the GP. With the apple that I hope will now become famous.

 

 

I'm trying to figure out the guy intently staring at Denny, maybe wishing for a bite. Could it be Skip Barber?



#45 E1pix

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 21:41

Was just going to point out that Yes, I think that’s indeed Skip Barber!

#46 PCC

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 23:07

I'm trying to figure out the guy intently staring at Denny, maybe wishing for a bite. Could it be Skip Barber?

Yes, I believe it is Skip Barber - but that's a nearly fifty-year-old memory, so I'm glad to have it corroborated!



#47 SKL

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 00:38

Funny I was just going to ask too if that was Skip Barber!     Ran into him a few years ago at the RM auction in PHX while looking at the cars.  Had a nice chat and told him I had done several of his courses at his school  (when he still owned it)...



#48 E1pix

E1pix
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Posted 16 June 2020 - 00:40

Still karting, SKL?

#49 SKL

SKL
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Posted 17 June 2020 - 03:02

Moved from shifterkarts to Spec Miata in SCCA with my boys in the late 2000's-  a new Miata engine was cheaper than a shifter engine rebuild!!!   Then we did occasional SRF races.  My older boy raced Formula Enterprise for a couple years- a hell of a step up from spec Miata!!   My younger son always preferred fenders and now has a GT4 spec Mustang GT350  he runs at a track near PHX.  I occasionally lap there when it isn't 110 degrees!!

 

Miss wheel to wheel racing-  yeah Paul Newman did it into his 80's and while I'm not there yet,  I don't have his resources!!



#50 E1pix

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 06:14

Thanks. :-)

We can’t wait much longer with no Runoffs behind us. We’re 59 now and still dreaming. FV maybe, or sporadic SRF3 with a Ohio prep shop.

Gotta launch website first and get back to former billings. Then maybe, just maybe. Life’s too short to let this one go.