Roy Salvadori RIP

With a name like that he could only have been a racing driver really, but he was also a successful businessman and, most of all, a gentleman.

As a man of his word he stuck with Aston Martin’s dreadful F1 project instead of staying on with Cooper where he might have won a world championship; certainly he would have won a Grand Prix or two. Instead of rear engined results he followed the handshake agreement into wasted time and races with one of the last front engined F1 cars. 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.

 

Weekend round up – 16th October 2011 #F1 #NASCAR #BTCC #Indycar

Toggle & I are up and about early for tea and toast and tend to check for the US results that have come in after our (early) bedtime. So to open up the computer before dawn this morning and be greeted by the news from Vegas was a real shock. We’ll come back to IndyCars at the end of the round up, but RIP Dan Wheldon and thanks for all the memories. Condolences to the Wheldon family and our thoughts are with the whole Indy racing community and to all those fans, officials and corner workers at the track whose night ended so tragically.

#F1 Korean GP – So Seb wins another one, but redemption for Lewis? Certainly that was a much more committed and confident looking performance both in qualifying and the race. And as for Massa’s claims that Hamilton is dangerous, well it didn’t stop Webbo having the confidence in him to go wheel to wheel on a few occasions do it? Like Lewis, Felipe is in a dark place right now and needs some good results too.

A horrible track though, and where were the crowds again? The rubbish places the circus has to go to these days in search of Bernie’s dollars.

#NASCAR – Has the #48 resurgence come to an end? After two good results to lull back and early contact with the wall sends JJ to pretty much the back of the pack in the race and a big tumble in the points. A good day for the Blue Oval boys though, with 4 cars in the top 7. Good to see the RPM cars doing well again and maybe we’ll get to see the #43 back in victory lane again soon.

Five races to go and  fairly open still.

#BTCC – Well done Matt Neal on another title. DJ is old enough to have seen your Dad racing.

#IndyCar – What can we say? Motor racing is dangerous and times like this bring back the immortal words of Sid Collins from Indy in 1964. You can find the full text of his eulogy to Eddie Sachs elsewhere in our archives here (perhaps because of yesterday’s tragedy that post has had over 100 hits today alone).

There is no point saying that the track is at fault. There have always been dangerous tracks and Motor Sport featured various views on Spa in its old guise last month as an example. For our US friends, maybe Langhorne Speedway would be an appropriate equivalent, albeit for different reasons? If you take away the danger you take away the sport. Losing someone is always hard, but as long as we race there will always be the risk that it will happen.

Best wishes to Pippa, Will and JR for speedy recoveries. Congratulations to Dario and his team for another title, commiserations to Will and Penske for coming up just a touch short again.

We’ve been critical here of the Indy organisers for some of what they’ve done in recent times, but have to hand it to them for the dignified way they seem to have handled yesterday’s events and plans for the awards ceremony. You did the right thing. And the 5 lap tibute was a nice touch.

 

 

weekend round up – 28th August 2011 #F1 #Indycar #NASCAR #MartinHines

#BelgianGP – starting with pre race, let’s say that we accept the Renault logic for dropping Nick Heidfeld, so we were wrong to criticise last week. Also to say that we think Nick is bonkers going to court to try and get his drive back. They don’t want you man, walk away.

Qualifying. Sad at the cock up that kept JB from a decent start position. He was on for a top 4 at least and, as things played out, where might he have finished. As for Lewis and Pastor! Start at the beginning; Lewis was catching the two Williams cars on the run up to bus stop and they were in turn behind Massa. In the heat of that how was Pastor to know that he was about to get shoved rudely aside as Lewis just barged him out of the way? He did appear to try and give Lewis room once he found the McLaren bouncing off him but Lewis’ momentum saw the McLaren hit the Williams again on the exit of the corner.

OK, the time Lewis lost there might just have been enough to have cost him pole and he was pumped up, but he didn’t need to swerve at Pastor as the latter came alongside him out of La Source. Pastor must also have been pumped. He too had been on a hot one and looked to be catching Rubens around the lap. If the blue flags were being waved at the bus stop who were they for as far as Pastor was concerned? He was blocked up behind Massa and his team mate, so it could have been for any of them, and then all of a sudden he has a McLaren punting him wide and costing him time.

What Pastor did after Lewis swerved at him out of La Source was unacceptable at any level and I would have thought that a one race ban might have been more appropriate, but Lewis does need to watch his temper. He has an aggression level that crosses boundaries still. That said, he redeemed himself later…

As for the race, why do they insist on starting with a short run to the hairpin? Surely moving the start back round the other side would reduce the annual crash fest? Anyway, we got cars bouncing all around and one that got clobbered was a certain mid grid starting McLaren and he was to run just a few laps before stopping for a new wing and to dump the harder tyres. We then got a classic charge through to third but, as we said at the top, what might that have been had they not had to change the front wing and how much time did the damaged rear one cost? Surely now we can lay the reputation for JB not being a racer?

And Lewis? Someone referred to Kobakrashi as being a bit of a Kamikaze pilot. Sorry, but he failed that course; Kamikaze pilots don’t come back, but Kamui seems to almost always be around at the finish and in the points. The bloke is an amazing survivor. I’d agree that Lewis was more to blame for the contact with Kamui, but what was the latter doing where he was? He really couldn’t have expected to gain any advantage from having his nose up the outside of the McLaren at that point. A great shame that the incident put Lewis out and he was very lucky that he didn’t get hurt.

Man of the Race? Well MSC gets a mention for a great drive through to 5th, team mate Nico also worth a mention for passing Vettel for the lead early on and heading the race twice with confidence. JB demonstrated overtaking ability par excellence (including stiffing MSC), but our Man of the Race goes to Lewis. Why? Because he held his hand up and accepted his exit from the race was his own fault once he’d seen the replay. Well played Lewis.

Vettel’s win? He fluked it with the safety car call and I don’t think that he could have beaten Webbo or JB without that help, possibly not even Alonso. But you make your own luck sometimes.

#Indycar – Out in CA Will Power showed his mastery of courses that go both ways again with a commanding pole position and backed up the Penske 1-2-3 lock out in qualifying to lead them 1-2-3 at the flag in Sonoma. Dario picked up fourth, but his lead is now down to 26 points in the title race. Off the Baltimore next week for the Labor Day weekend clash.

#NASCAR – Well, the #2 certainly has some momentum coming up to the Chase. Could young Brad win the title this year? Hard to bet against in many ways, but will his inexperience tell?  Mot mush else to say other than good to see the RPM Fords finishing well up again. The #43 doesn’t look like it will make the chase, but consistently good results see the Dinger well up and the Digger in the #9 looks set for a solid top 20 finish in his first season at RPM.

#Karting – just an honourable mention for Mr Karting Martin Hines who left the grid over the weekend. His enthusiasm for Kart racing saw him help so many stars of grand prix racing over the years. And it wasn’t just the direct help that he gave to certain individuals, Kart racing would probably not have been such a well run and popular sport had it not been for Martin’s input over the last 40+ years. Without that first rung on the ladder, would so many people have got to learn their craft? RIP Martin Hines, we are going to miss you.

RIP Bill Boddy

Sad to hear that Bill Boddy has passed away aged 98. A bloody good innings by any standards, but as a writer and authority on motor cars and motor sport his loss will be keenly felt.

We have lost someone special. At least we have their writing as a memorial.

Weekend round up 16 January 2011

#F1 – Very pleased that Narain Karthikeyan is back on the F1 grid and that Karun Chandhok has, at least, got a test role. These guys can drive and deserve their places.

Sorry to hear about Derek Gardner passing on. He created some good cars and wasn’t afraid to go out on a limb, the Tyrrell six wheeler being a classic example.

Good to hear that thoughts of moving the Italian Grand Prix away from Monza have fallen through, and also good to hear a gracious response from the Rome GP promoter. I too would have supported a second GP in Italy because the fans have such passion, and maybe we only have Ferrari now, but where would grand prix racing be without Maserati and Alfa Romeo in its blood?

#NASCAR – Just a month to go until the Daytona 500. I shan’t be bothering with the clash, but will be looking out for qualifying and the twin 125s on the run into the big race, and also the truck race on the 18th.

Good luck to Todd Bodine running in all three classes.

It doesn’t now look as though I can get there in person, but I’ll be there in spirit.

RIP Derek Gardner

I seem to be writing a few RIPs lately, but maybe it is because of my own age.

DG was a key man at Ferguson working on 4wd systems and got involved in F1 through the work Fergusons did on the various Indy and F1 4wd projects that cropped up in the late 1960s. Through that he had met Ken Tyrrell and, when Ken needed a decent car for Jackie Stewart, he hired DG to produce it in secret, the Tyrrell 001 appearing at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in the late summer of 1970 and, in developed form, as 003 giving JYS a second title in 1971, the basic design remaining competitive through into early ’73.

He later designed boats and microlights amongst other things in a long and distinguished career.

DG left us last week, but the record of his designs, and their success, will live on.

RIP

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