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where did all the Easter motor racing go?

When I was really getting into motorsport as a teenager the Easter break was a veritable treasure trove of racing here in the UK.

Take 1967 for example; Good Friday saw the F2 European championship circus at Snetterton and then they all trooped over to Silverstone and did it again on Easter Monday. Both events were also supported by the British Saloon Car and Sports Car Championships. In F2 Jochen Rindt beat Graham Hill in Norfolk and his own team mate Alan Rees at Silverstone, Jackie Oliver won both saloon car outings in Alan Brown’s Mustang and Paul Hawkins in his own GT40 beat Denny Hulme in Sid Taylor’s similar car on Friday with that result being reversed in Monday’s race.

All frantic activity, and there were club races up and down the country to choose from as well. We were spoiled for choice really, but now we don’t get any major racing over the holiday weekend at all. Shame really, but there you go. At least I have the memories of the Easter weekends that I was able to enjoy as a teenager.

If you’re interested to research some of the racing further, try these links:

British Sports Car Championship

1967 British Saloon Car Championship

Indy 500 2011 – Not too long to wait now

There was a time when the fun would have started next weekend and we would have spend the month of May at the speedway settling in, tuning, testing and readying the cars. These days things have been comressed on necessity, but somehow the approach of May still means one thing to me; The Indy 500!

I still recall the thrill of seeing the 1961 race film (in about 1966/67), the first Indy race footage I had seen. One day, maybe, I’ll get to see the speedway for real and maybe even the race. Who knows, but I’ll be following the news from Indiana over the coming weeks. The current incarnation of Indy cars are not what they used to be, but they’re what’ll be racing and all the drama, disappointment or glory will still be the same. Who’s in, who’s out, who will last the distance, who will drink the milk? All will be revealed next month.

100 years of Indy. Here’s to the next 100 years.

motorsport rewind – 1971 Rome GP F2 from Vallelunga

F2 began to lose its way a bit towards the second half of the 1970s perhaps, but in 1971 it was still thriving, and you could still find a crop of Grand Prix drivers turning out and plenty of dicing all down the grid. It was still possible to turn up at Brabham, March, Lotus, Tecno or wherever with a bag of cash and buy a competitive car if you had the funds and you too could be part of the fun.

Thanks to Roy Pagliacci, here’s some home made cine film of the 1971 Rome GP, a qualifying round of the European championship, and marvel at how close the racing was. Here you have two future World Champions, 1 current GP winner, 6 future GP and 3 future Le Mans winners amongst the entry.

Look down the list of drivers below and see just how cosmopolitan it all was. There are drivers from many parts of Europe, plus North and South America and Australia taking part. This was still in the 1600cc powered era with the Cosworth FVA as the power unit of choice for most, although the BMW unit was still a competitive option as evidenced by Questor’s second place.

Note also the race time of 1 hour 26 minutes for winner Ronnie Peterson, just 10  minutes less that Lewis Hamilton took to win in China last week in F1. These people earned their money, even if they did do it over two heats sometimes.

Along the way in Roy’s film you’ll also see the F850 cars (Italy’s answer to Formula Ford) racing. The winner of that race? One Lella Lombardi, the only lady grand prix driver to finish in the points so far, and sadly no longer with us.

Lella’s half point for the shortened 1975 Spanish GP is sometimes regarded as a bit of a fluke, but the lady could drive; she was only tiny, but managed 7th in the German GP at the Nurburgring, no mean feat, handled F5000 with aplomb and later qualified 29th (of 43) for the NASCAR Firecracker 400 at Daytona in 1977, being classified 31st after retiring with transmission problems.

Here are the results of the 70 lap 1971 F2 Rome GP race:

Pos No Driver Entrant Car – Engine Race Time
1 1 Ronnie Peterson Smog – March Engineering March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:25’57.2″
2 5 Dieter Quester Eifelland Caravans March 712M – BMW M11 1:26’07.8″
3 2 Carlos Reutemann AC Argentina – YPF Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 1:26’38.9″
4 33 Mike Beuttler Clarke Mordaunt March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:26’51.2″
5 10 Gerry Birrell J. & J. Stanton Lotus 69 – Cosworth FVA 1:27’07.7″
6 13 John Watson John Watson Brabham BT30 – Cosworth FVA 1:27’10.0″
7 8 Niki Lauda Bosch Racing Team March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:27’15.3″
8 12 John Cannon John Cannon March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:27’40.5″
9 25 Carlos Ruesch AC Argentina – YPF Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 1:27’44.9″
10 29 Claudio Francisci Racing Team IRIS Ceramiche Tecno TF71 – Cosworth FVA 69 laps
11 28 Giovanni Salvati Scuderia Ala d’Oro March 712M – Cosworth FVA 69
12 22 Freddy Link Jolly Club Switzerland March 712M – Cosworth FVA 68
13 26 Carlos Pace Frank Williams Motul March 712M – Cosworth FVA 68
14 14 Silvio Moser Silvio Moser Brabham BT30/36 – Cosworth FVA 67
15 11 Peter Westbury F.I.R.S.T. Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 66
NC 7 Jean-Pierre Jaussaud Shell – Meubles Arnold Team March 712M – Cosworth FVA 63
NC 38 Henri Pescarolo Frank Williams Motul March 712M – Cosworth FVA 61
NC 36 Emerson Fittipaldi Team Bardahl Lotus 69 – Cosworth FVA 37
NC 6 Wilson Fittipaldi Team Bardahl March 712M – Cosworth FVA 11
NC 4 Francois Cevert Equipe Tecno Elf Tecno TF71 – Ford BDA 6
NC 3 Tim Schenken Rondel Racing Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 6
NC 39 Derek Bell Frank Williams Motul March 712M – Cosworth FVA 3

greetings from TruckerToggle

Hello readers. I’m delighted to be able to write here. I have a special interest in trucking, and especially in the trucks that get racing cars to and from the track.

Over the coming months I will be writing here about some of those trucks and I hope that you will find these blogs interesting.

welcoming truckertoggle as a guest blogger

I’m pleased to welcome TruckerToggle as a guest blogger here on MotorsportMania. Amongst other things look out for some thoughts from him on racing team transporters old and new.

weekend round up 17 April 2011 #F1 #NASCAR #Indycar

#F1 Chinese GP – What a race! Hats off to both Hamilton and Webbo for heroic drives, well done Vettel, Rosberg and Massa for decent runs, to JB for a good early run and then adding a bit of comedy in the pits (did he fancy Seb’s tyres, or did he think that the Red Bull boys might be quicker on the stop?) and finally to whoever the Alonso look-alike was; lets face it, 7th place for a stand in isn’t half bad.

#IndyCar at Long Beach – Will Power still owns qualifying on road and street tracks, but got punted off by Helio and could only manage 10th as Mike Conway picked up a great maiden win.

#NASCAR – all the fun of the fair at Talladega and another fantastic finish with just 0.145s covering the first eight. Watch the last two laps here. What is it with the Busch boys? Even I have to admit that, even if they are both pretty ugly, they have talent as drivers, so why are they so often found shoving people off? I’ve never forgiven Busch major for punting Mr Excitement off at Dover (and that was years ago). After a Hendrick blitz in qualifying, they come up 1-3-4-8 in the photo finish.

The Indy Photo Archive Project

In their centenary year the folks at Indy are to be congratulated on their project to digitise their photo archive to ensure its longivity.

Read more about it here:

Indy photo archive

and take a look through some of what they have to offer.

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