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Forgotten Motor Races – the 1967 Oulton Park Spring Cup #F1

The Oulton Park Spring Cup held on the 15th of April 1967 was an unusual event in that it was run to help raise money for the grand prix medical unit. It was the second of five formula one races held in England that year, one of which was the British GP. Continue reading

whose turn next for pantomime villain? #F1

Earlier this year we had Pastor Maldonado cast in the role of the man in the black cloak, twirling his moustache whilst casting F1’s poor virgins out into the snow, chaining them to the railroad tracks or just punting them off into the boondocks, but now it is Romain Grosjean who has inherited the mantle. Continue reading

#F1 Silly Season

So we know that Lewis has gone to team up with his old karting mate Nico at Mercedes and that Sergio will replace him at McLaren next year. With the Hamilton saga finally over, so far, so good, but what next? Continue reading

44 years ago today Jim Clark died at Hockenheim

I was sat quietly pondering about the lack of international motor sport over the Easter weekend; no F1, NASCAR or IndyCar, and reminiscing about the glory days of the sort of events we could enjoy when I was a teenager, those races where several of the F1 stars of the day would turn out to drive a GT or saloon in one or more events on non GP weekends and we had plenty of non championship F1 races too.

We also had F2, and of course it was in one of those races that we lost Jim Clark, 44 years ago today. I’ve written at length about that day here in another blog post so I won’t go all over it again, but it underlined those words that used to appear in motor sport programmes and on the back of tickets: Motor Racing is Dangerous.

It is of course a lot safer today and I would not want to go back to the days of such high risk, even for those with the highest skills, but I must say that those days of my youth were times when there was more opportunity to watch racing here in the UK and also to get close to the top drivers.

Anyway, with the recent loss of Alan Mann, we have lost another key player in that April day 44 years ago, for had the cards fallen slightly differently, Jim Clark and Graham Hill might have been at Brands Hatch driving for Mann instead. As it happened they loaded up the Lotus 48s and went to the European Championship F2 race deep in the woods of southern Germany and Jim’s number was up.

That’s how things were back in those days. Motor racing was dangerous.


Good to know Mr 500 is still going strong at 88

There’s a link below to a NASCAR item on Andy Granatelli, legend of the Indy 500, STP Oil Treatment, Studebaker, Paxton Products, Grancor and more. The man is a fantastic character and it’s great to hear that he is still with us and as irrepressible as ever.

Stories about him are legion (and he maybe wrote most of them), but as a salesman, promoter, innovator and all round showman the world of  motor sport would have been a lot less fun without him.

The feeling of excitement when I first saw the pictures of his 1967 STP Paxton Turbocar is with me still. It was an awesome device, and, like the innovations from Midland, Texas in Can-Am, you somehow knew that a ban would come. It did, but not before further efforts to castrate the beast had yielded the 1968 Lotus 56 STP Turbocars that also almost pulled off the win. A great shame that both of these cars never made winner’s circle, and somewhat ironic that the 1969 STP Lotus entries were pulled so that Mario Andretti had to start in his back up car, and won!

The Italian connection of Andretti and Granatelli had some rotten luck at Indy, and their one win between them is that 1969 race in the second string car. Never mind, they tried. Boy did they try. Happy memories.

Read the article here.

weekend round up – 8th May 2011 #NASCAR #F1

#NASCAR from Darlington. Regan Smith picks up a maiden win for himself and Barney Visser’s Furniture Row team and manages to translate a great qualifying performance this season (7 top ten starts out of 10 trys) into a win. The wonders of NASCAR make these things possible, and it’s great to se one of the smaller teams pull off a win, especially at one of NASCAR’s iconic venues. Also of note maybe was that the four manufacturers competing in Sprint cup were each represented in the top 4. Less noteworthy was that, yet again, he who shall not be named was involved in some pushing and shoving. We’ve suggested here before that parking him for a few races might wake him up; the #18 driver has the talent to win cleanly, so why all this stupidity almost every week?

#F1 from Turkey. We’re pleased here to see Mercedes challenging and, with Renault/Lotus, making it five teams in the hunt in qualifying at least, even if race pace varies hugely. But is there any doubt that the Red Bull, especially in the hands of Vettel, is the class of the field? Certainly in terms of raw pace he has them all covered.

Behind the flying #1 Red Bull plenty of uncertainty about the outcome with the differing strategies for a while though, but once you get down to the last 15 laps or so it’s all pretty much over. A decent track for a modern one and plenty of overtaking going on.

Who can stop Red Bull though, and Vettel in particular? Two in a row is not an easy feat, but who would back anyone other than Vettel for the title at this stage? Roll on Spain.

7th April 1968 – Jim Clark and that F2 Race

Almost every account you read of Jim Clark’s death at Hockenheim describes the event as “an unimportant F2 race” or “minor F2 race” or similar dismissal.

Regular readers of my blogs will know of my campaign against sloppy use of language, and this is another example of it. I can maybe understand a hack from a mainstream rag getting the wrong idea about one of the world’s leading drivers, and the outstanding talent of that time, running in a Formula 2 event, but motoring journalists should know better. So here’s my effort to set the record straight as I see it. Continue reading

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