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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

well done Jason Plato – 62 BTCC wins

Too busy to put out a weekend round up last Monday, so a belated word of congratulation for Jason Plato on his record setting 61st and 62nd BTCC wins to beat Andy Rouse’s haul. Could it be another title year in the land of pushing and shoving tin tops?

Malaysia here we come for the GP, Indycars are in Alabama and off to Texas for the NASCAR. Have a great weekend all.

RIP Jaques Swaters & Tom Walkinshaw

Sad news that both Jacques Swaters and Tom Walkinshaw have passed away.

Amongst their other achievements they both ran successful sports car teams, but both did so much more in their lives.

Jaques Swaters managed a few F1 drives in the early 1950s and later founded the legendary Ecurie Francorchamps team that campaigned Ferraris, and other cars, at Le Mans and other major events, famously coming close to winning the 1965 Le Mans.

Tom Walkinshaw was a winner in Formula Ford in the late 60s before moving through to F2. He later made a name in tin tops winning the European title and founding the TWR team that came to success pretty much in every class they entered, including the Group C Le Mans Jaguars of the late 1980s.

Two more giants of the sport lost, but memories of what they achieved live on.

RIP both

Weekend round up – 11 October 2010 #NASCAR #F1 #BTCC

#NASCAR Danica in the news again! She’s showing signs of getting there and I applaud that. Smoke takes the Sprint Cup win! Could he remember where victory lane was? Of course he could. My man MM led most laps, so some signs of a late recovery with that and 6th at the finish.

So the much vaunted Fontana can’t support 2 races. The daft and greedy mob at NASCAR should have left the race at Darlington. Bring back the old tracks where there is tradition and support. Same argument as in #F1; lets keep the races where the fan base is and stop chasing media cash.

#F1 Japanese Grand Prix. So the Mineral Water Kid wins again at long last. It’s going to be a tight race to the finish. I’ll stick my neck out at this point and predict that Webbo and his team mate fall over themselves or each other and Alphonso pinches it for Ferrari. That should jinx it!

Lotus (or whatver they end up having to call themselves) could be looking good for the mid race pack in 2011. With Renualt power and a Red Bull transmission they ought to to well.

No obituary from me this week for Peter Warr. Met him a few times back around 69 – 71 and couldn’t stand the bloke. His later treatment of Mansell just re-inforced my feelings.

#BTCC Good job Jason Plato taking another title and commiserations to Matt Neal. Two great tin top drivers. Whils on that subject, news from Bathurst has 8 Holdens in the top ten! With my Queensland connections I was always a Dick Johnson fan, so the blue oval gets my vote over the bow tie and its brands every time (I’m cool with Plato winning the BTCC in a Chevy; go count how many titles Ford has), so 5th and 9th in the great Australian race is not too good.

Sad news of Ralph Broad

Sad to hear that Ralph Broad has taken the final lap and gone to the grid in the sky. My generation here in the UK grew up on tin tops run by his excellent team; Minis then Fords and on to British Leyland products. A great man and one who produced great cars. RIP Ralph

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Weekend roundup 19 September 2010 #F1 #NASCAR

Firstly an apology for last week’s roundup going out late. Not sure what went wrong, but it happened.

#F1 So Nick Heidfeld is back as predicted, and at #Sauber, but at the expense of PDR. A shame to see Pedro go in many ways, although he has been outperformed by Kybosh somewhat.

Will Renault take Kimi? In some ways I hope not. Petrov has been showing signs of getting the hang on F1 after a decent GP2 season where he would have conceivably taken the title if he hadn’t had so many car failures, so we know the lad can pedal a car pretty well. Grosjean didn’t get enough of a chance to show his class last season, so I hope that the team has more patience with their Russian ace. Kubica is working the car into shape as a reasoanble hopeful and the team will benefit from him sorting their 2011 car, so we have the prospect of them being competitive next year, hence Kimi being interested, but, just as I’ve said regarding PDR getting the push at Sauber, and the other week about Chandhock being shoved aside at Hispanic, I don’t like to see drivers with a chance of being the future of F1 losing out.

#NASCAR The chase is on and Smoke comes up a half gallon short at New Hampshire to gift Bowyer the win and first bragging rights. A good run for the Dinger by the look of it, but a bad day for my favourite #5. Oh well, another race next weekend.

#Indycar. Exitement in Japan. From a Penske 1-2-3 in qualifying to a 1-3 in the race. Well done Helio for back to back wins, and WP coming in third so the championship goes to the wire at Homestead in 2 weeks time. I’ll be in Clermont that weekend, so might drive down for the finale. Just 12 points in it; going to be tight.

#BTCC Ford fun at Donnington in qualifying, but just the one race win. Sets up a great 4 way shoot out for the title at the final round at Brands. Another series goes down to the wire with no need for a daft chase format.

Maybe more important than the result is having Donnington back in action after the disgraceful fiasco of the ill conceived British Grand Prix project. All those concerned in that shameful episode, including a diminutive personage whose name shall not be spoken here, deserve stringing up for what they allowed to happen.

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Weekend round up 5 September 2010 #indycar #NASCAR #BTCC

Indycar. So the Toowoomba Terror led a lot of laps, but fell short on fuel and the finish and lost a little more ground at the top of the table. Come on Will, two to go, so keep in cool and the title is yours in your first full season. Good to see Helio with a win. I was there for his Indy Car debut many years back and have followed him since. A good bloke.

NASCAR. Happy to see Todd Bodine winning in the trucks. They’re a good bunch the Bodine boys and I’ll be happy to see Todd pick up another series title if he can. I can recommend the truck series as something to go and see, especially on the shorter tracks. In the Sprint Cup Smoke finally got one this year. My man MM dropped another place away from the chase and that’s pretty much it for 2010 for the #5. What went wrong after last year?

BTCC from Knockhill. Always good action on this tight little track and nice to see the wins shared three ways. First time for a while that I’ve watched some of the ITV4 coverage and they did a pretty good job with the support races giving some of the club racers and up and comping names getting exposure.

I don’t mention the bikes much as it’s not really my scene. I respect those guys a lot though and many of my favourite racing drivers of old came up via bikes; Surtees, Siffert, Hailwood, Beltoise and more, all from an earlier age, Damon Hill being about the last that I recall. They are a supr competitive bunch and very brave racers, so it is sad to hear that they have lost a second up and coming rider in just a week. Motor racing is still dangerous.

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