On this day in Motor Racing's past

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Everso Biggyballies
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#1471

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

Bottom post of the previous page:

On This Day..... 26th February 1908......

.....Jean-Pierre Wimille was born


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Something of a hero, who sadly died the year before the advent of the World Drivers Championship in 1950. But Wimille was so much more thsn a racing driver of note.

He was a notable French Resistance fighter as well as a pre-war racing ace.. He was a hero both on and off the track. Sadly, the Frenchman's results do not reflect the true scale of his talent.

Born in Paris, France to a father who loved motor sports and was employed as the motoring correspondent for the Petit Parisien newspaper, Jean-Pierre Wimille developed his fascination with racing cars at a young age. He was 22 years old when he made his Grand Prix debut, driving a Bugatti 37A at the 1930 French Grand Prix in Pau.

Driving a Bugatti T51, in 1932 he won the La Turbie Mountain Race, the Grand Prix de Lorraine and the Grand Prix d'Oran. In 1934 he was the victor at the Algerian Grand Prix in Algiers driving a Bugatti T59 and in January of 1936 he finished second in the South African Grand Prix held at the Prince George Circuit in East London, South Africa then won the French Grand Prix in his home country.

Still in France, that same year he won the Deauville Grand Prix, a race held on the city's streets. Wimille won in his Bugatti T59 in an accident-marred race that killed drivers Raymond Chambost and Marcel Lehoux in separate incidents. Of the 16 cars that started the race, only three managed to finish.

In 1936, Wimille traveled to Long Island, New York to compete in the Vanderbilt Cup where he finished 2nd, behind the winner, Tazio Nuvolari.
Wimille also competed in the 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race, winning in 1937 and again in 1939. In the 1937 win he shared a Bugatti "Tank" with Robert Benoist. This victory marked the start of a great friendship between the two men.

When World War II came, following the Nazi occupation Wimille and fellow Grand Prix race drivers Robert Benoist and William Grover-Williams joined the Special Operations Executive of the French Resistance. Of the three, Wimille was the only one to survive.

Jean-Pierre Wimille married Christiane de la Fressange with whom he had a son, François born in 1946. At the end of the War, he became the No. 1 driver for the Alfa Romeo team between 1946 and 1948, winning several Grand Prix races including his second French Grand Prix. Jean-Pierre Wimille died at the wheel of a racing car during practice runs for the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix.
Here is a illustrated comic like strip of his life story published in Motorsport Magazine. If you want to read more of Wimille an his fellow Grand Pric driving resistance fighters I highly recommend Joe Sawards fine and painstakingly researched book the Grand Prix Saboteurs.
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https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/arch ... ife-story/


He won 22 competitions, including some of the most legendary such as the Le Mans 24 hours, the Coupe de Paris, the Grand Prix Dell ‘ Autodromo on the Monza circuit, the European Grand Prix in Spa, the ACF Grand Prix in Montlhéry, among many others. In the Spanish Grand Prix in 1935, he came fourth after a bitter duel, just behind the three super-powerful Mercedes Silver Arrows, leaving behind him the formidable Auto Union V16 driven by the no less formidable Bernd Rosemeyer . Jean Pierre Wimille was well known among the greatest racing drivers in the world.

Some of Jean-Pierre Wimille's race victories:

1932:
Grand Prix de Lorraine
Grand Prix d'Oran

1934:
Grand Prix of Algeria - Bugatti T59


1936:
French Grand Prix - Bugatti T57G
Grand Prix de la Marne - Bugatti T57G
Deauville Grand Prix - Bugatti T59
Grand Prix du Comminges - Bugatti T59/57


1937:
Grand Prix de Pau - Bugatti T57G (The Tank)
Grand Prix de Böne - Bugatti T57
24 hours of Le Mans - Bugatti T57G driving with Robert Benoist
Grand Prix de la Marne - Bugatti T57


1939:
Coupe de Paris
Grand Prix du Centenaire Luxembourg - Bugatti T57S45
24 hours of Le Mans - Bugatti T57C driving with Pierre Veyron


Post War - 1945:
Coupe des Prisonniers - Bugatti sprint car


1946:
Coupe de la Résistance - Alfa Romeo 308
Grand Prix de Roussillon - Alfa Romeo 308
Grand Prix de Bourgogne - Alfa Romeo 308
Grand Prix des Nations (Heat 1) - Alfa Romeo 158


1947:
Swiss Grand Prix - Alfa Romeo 158
Belgian Grand Prix - Alfa Romeo 158
Coupe de Paris


1948:
Grand Prix de Rosario - Simca- Gordini 15
French Grand Prix - Alfa Romeo 158
Italian Grand Prix - Alfa Romeo 158
Autodrome Grand Prix - Alfa Romeo 158/47



Of course a few additional photos .....


The road cars he started to develop was lets say futuristic given the times.

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He recalled the motor vehicle exhibition of 1937 where he had previously considered the idea of the car of the future. He had sketched out the main lines of this project, shattering the principles of legendary manufacturers. A fast, lightweight car was required with a powerful engine but low cylinder capacity and above all, a structure integrated into a fully aerodynamic body. With the help of his engineer and mechanic friends, he was to realise his plan during this wartime period. A tubular structure, engine and central steering. It was not far from the formula 1 configuration!

A streamlined body was designed with a panoramic windscreen, integrated headlights, independent wheels and electrical control gear box. Three versions were already planned, a 70hp Grand Tourisme; the Sport, with a 100hp V6 1,500cm3 engine; and a 220hp racing version expected to reach speeds of almost 300km/h. This was how the Wimille GT came into being on paper in 1943.

1946, the first appearance of the Wimille 01 prototype was an immediate success. The car’s shape and design was revolutionary. Due to lack of time, the V6 engine planned was replaced by a Citroën Traction engine, which made it possible to conduct initial tests over long distances and present it officially in 1946.
.https://www.prewarcar.com/retromobile-t ... re-wimille

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Thw somewhat peculiar looking car in the pic above was equipped with a 2 litre Citroen motor mid mounted.... it produced 56bhp
Amazingly the body had a drag coefficient of only 0.23... it had a top speed of 150 kph wwhich was some accomplishment back in 1946. Most cars today dont meet those minimal levels of drag..

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This car below was shown off at the Paris Retromobile Show in 2018
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Jean Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron winning the 24 Heures du Mans in 1939 in a Bugatti Type 57C
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The Le Mans winning Bugatti Tank he shared with Benoist in 1937.
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Here is Wimille competing at Prescott in the UK back in 1939

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For nfo a pic of the original Bugatti type 32 tank from the early twenties
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On July 30, 1939 the Bugatti Owners Club, which often ran competitions at the Prescott Hill-climb, near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds, held an international level event. The recent and double Le Mans winner Jean-Pierre Wimille (above wearing a beret) was entered by the Bugatti factory in a unique monoposto Bugatti 50B which used a supercharged 4.7 liter engine in a modified Type 59 chassis. Jean Bugatti, son of the firm’s founder, was also in attendance. Double rear wheels had been fitted to Wimille’s car, as was common at the time in British hill-climbs to give better traction.


He also drove for Alfa.... Wimille in a 158 in 1948

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Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo 312, a supercharged three litre V12, entered by the works team Alfa Corse, during practice for the 1938 Swiss Grand Prix on the Bremgarten circuit in Bern.

* I started life with nothing, and still have most of it left


“Good drivers have dead flies on the side windows!” (Walter Röhrl)

* I married Miss Right. Just didn't know her first name was Always
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Everso Biggyballies
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#1472

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

ON THIS DAY......

14th MARCH 2019


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We lost the much loved and now much missed Charlie Whiting, in Australia just prior to the 2019 Season opening AGP.

At just 66 years of age, Charlie, who was a huge figure within the FIA, was found dead in his hotel room after suffering a pulmonary embolism on Thursday morning. He was the perfect man for the difficult role of referee.

His journey in motorsport began at a young age when he started racing go-karts. However, his true calling came when he began working as a mechanic and engineer for various teams in the lower echelons of motorsport prior to his involvement in F1.

Charlie was the person who , with assistance from Herbie Blash,(the man who hired him back in the '70s at Brabham) seemed to effortlessly navigate through all of F1's issues. with diplomacy and ease.... never any Massi like issues. He and his ex-Brabham colleague Herbie were F1's ultimate poachers turned gamekeepers, and in both roles they worked for Bernie Ecclestone.

Whiting was Formula 1’s long-time race director, a man respected by everyone in the paddock and one who knew his job inside and out. Together, under Charlie's control, they formed a bond and a great double act at the FIA and particularly in race control for 21 years.

CW played a massive role contributing towards improving safety standards, such as the introduction of Halo, as well as the inclusion of the HANS device and front and side impact structures.

Charlie was omnipresent at the track, very little got underway without his official say so. He was master of the track and all sporting and technical procedures. It seems one of the favourite sayings in the F1 paddock on any difficult matter was simply 'Ask Charlie' . :haha:

He commanded total respect throughout F1, and in every country's motorsport jurisdiction F1 landed at in any given season. Whilst not everyone agreed with every decision he made, far from it sometimes, all knew that he was the calm, consistent control that benefited all in F1 in the end.

I guess the respect F1 had for Charlie and the sadness felt by all at his passing was simply put by Martin Brundle at the time.

He said, simply, I had never seen Bernie cry, and never thought I would.



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Blues brothers: Blash and Whiting became an integral part of the FIA/F1 world

Motorsport Magazine did a wonderful interview with the pair of them back in 2005 in which they discussed their careers in F1, careers that had many parallels.

I thought I would share it with you. As you might expect there are a few untold stories that will make you chuckle.... things that teams did and some of the near misses that go with the fast rush of new technologies in those days.

Herbie Blash & Charlie Whiting: 'Bernie chose F1 over Brabham'
by Adam Cooper

It wasn’t always like this. The FIA’s Charlie Whiting and Herbie Blash today ensure that a grand prix weekend runs like clockwork and that any indiscretions by teams or drivers are properly punished. But a few years ago they were on the other side of the fence, trying to seek out any advantage as key employees of Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team.

Blash was mechanic to Jochen Rindt at Lotus when Ecclestone managed the Austrian. When Bernie bought Brabham in 1972, Herbie joined him. Six years later, as team manager, Blash hired former Hesketh mechanic Whiting for the test team. The youngster quickly moved through the ranks, eventually becoming chief engineer.

Under the technical leadership of Gordon Murray, Brabham was an innovative organisation with a unique spirit. The team won world championships with Nelson Piquet in 1981 and ’83, but an era ended when Ecclestone sold up in ’87. Whiting was seconded to the FIA, while a frustrated Blash later oversaw the eventual demise of the team he loved. He is still based at the Chessington factory – working from Bernie’s old office.

Bernie Ecclestone and Herbie Blash
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Ecclestone, Murray and Blash at the 1983 British GP

Everyone says that Brabham had a special atmosphere. What made it such a fun team to work for?

Charlie Whiting: “From my point of view it was the fact that Gordon was such a laid-back sort of person, and that rubbed off on everybody else. That’s where it came from I suppose, the silly little things we did, the jokes we had and stuff like that because we could, as Gordon encouraged it.”

Herbie Blash: Bernie was also free and easy. But he always wanted the team to be number one in new ideas. And with Gordon and the majority of the team the thinking was always to be ahead. A lot of it was down to Bernie himself. For example, in the very early days we were the first team to have an articulated truck to carry the cars around in and to have a kitchen in our truck Gordon’s wife Stella used to come along and make the sandwiches! Later we were the first to have complete rear ends ready to fit for the race. Those sorts of things kept Brabham apart from other teams.”

Gordon Murray must have been very different from some of the old-school designers In the ’70s…

CW: “He wasn’t a typical designer, was he? He was very clever, and still is I imagine. He used to think outside the box better than anybody. I must say. He was never afraid to try something new, and most of the time it worked.”

HB: “I think you’d have to class him as a genius, really. And all geniuses have a strange trait about them.”

Herbie Blash 1981 Las Vegas GP Brabham
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Blash has hands aloft as Piquet wins the drivers’ title at Vegas ’81 – Ecclestone is central in the crowd

There were a few cock-ups, like surface cooling on the BT46, and the horrible BT48 of 1979…

CW: “That was a revolting car, as was the BT55. But his good ideas far outweighed the bad ones.”

What are your memories of the fancar episode in ’78?

HB: “Great, because it was so secret, and in those days it was so advanced. The part I loved was camouflaging it for testing. It was quite simple, the reason why it was done. We had a flat engine, and everyone with a little V8 could use the underside of the car, the venturis, which you couldn’t do with a flat 12. You had to take the air out somehow, and the fan was the way to do it”

CW: “And it cooled the engine!”

HB: “Exactly. Which made it legal.”

It was never actually banned, but Bernie agreed to can it after one race. How tough was that?

HB: “Everyone had put in a helluva lot of effort. It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s stick a fan on the back’. It was a lot more involved and complicated than that. And yes, it was tough. But, looking back, that was maybe the real start of Bernie looking after F1 rather than his own team. When Bernie agreed that we wouldn’t use it any more, it was in the interests of F1. That was maybe the real turning point for Bernie, as he was more interested in the future of F1 than he was in the future of Brabham”

The busiest period for clever rule interpretation was the early ’80s, things like putting on heavy wings for scrutineering and so on…

CW: “They’re rumours, they are! I don’t know anything about that. But some wings were inevitably heavier than others, and somehow seemed to find their way on to a car at the end of a practice session.”

HB: “I think that might have been one of the problems at Brabham. We were very inconsistent with the weight of the bodywork and the seat and so on…”

Charlie Whiting 1981 Las Vegas GP
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Charlie Whiting congratulated by paddock members after first Brabham title triumph in Vegas


And even the driver’s helmet?

CW: “Actually, that was diabolical. Nelson had this crash helmet that was just like plastic. It was only for his neck, because he was a feeble chap when it came to fitness. I remember he said, ‘Shall we test it and make sure it’s all right?’ We got it out in the yard at Brabham, got a big bit of pipe, and we were bashing this helmet to see if it would crack. It didn’t, so it was all right”

HB: “I’m not mentioning any names, but at some of the very high-speed circuits the seat belts would be quite loose around the driver, so he could actually slide lower in the cockpit on the straights. You always took things to the limit.”

What else did you get up to?

CW: “We had the water-cooled brakes. We had a win taken away from us in Rio in ’82. But the brakes just wouldn’t run without that cooling. You’d go off at the end of the straight without that water pouring on to them!”

HB: “Sometimes it all pumped out before the start of the race. I don’t know how the brakes survived.”

CW: “It must have been the drivers’ skill…”

And you topped up fluids at the end, of course…

HB: “You had to. That was the regulations! I think the mentality of Gordon was the number one thing with things like that. But it was also the people around Gordon who were coming up with ideas as well.”

CW: “Dave North was very good. In ’81, when the 6cm ground-clearance rule was introduced, we came up with this system which was really clever. It didn’t use any levers or anything, it was purely aerodynamic. The car went down and it stayed down. basically. As you came back into the pits it came back slowly. It was perfectly legal. but everyone thought there must be some sort of driver-operated device. But it was a pain to work on, it really was horrible. with lots of seals and pistons.”

“It was a bomb, literally a bomb waiting to go off”

How did refuelling come about in ’82?


CW: “That was Dave North. He was the one who did a few sums and reckoned that it would be quicker to run light and stop for fuel. We started doing it with old beer barrels, which we pressurised. It was pretty crude, but it worked very well. And we had the first tyre-heating device. It was like a great big wooden oven that you put two sets of tyres in. with a space heater up the back,”

HB: “It was like a pillar box! I think at first most people were convinced that the engine just wouldn’t last, and that was the only reason we were doing it. because after each pitstop the engine would always blow up. and they thought we were only out for glory in the first half of the race. It’s amazing that nobody really jumped on it and thought ‘Let’s do it too’. There were obviously lots of problems because it was such a new idea. It wasn’t just a matter of putting fuel in with gravity. This was under pressure, and the whole point of having the pitstops was that you had to do it as quickly as possible. I don’t know what the flow rate would have been…”

CW: “In the end we had those things pumped up to 80psi which is horrendous.”

Fuel Brabham 1983 British GP
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]Brabham had a novel approach to refuelling – but it wasn’t without its risks


HB: “It was a bomb, literally a bomb waiting to go off.”

CW: “We had two connections, so the guy with the air vent had to go on first, or otherwise the tank would just blow asunder. It was very tricky.”

HB: “Actually, we broke a chassis in half testing our refuelling rig, as did one of our competitors.”

Did things ever go wrong?

HB: “One of the worst experiences we had was at Paul Ricard on the Sunday morning. Basically the breather pipe inside the tank was fitted incorrectly. The fuel went in, and it went straight into the catch tank outside the car. The fuel just shot up in the air to the top of the pit building. Without exaggeration, for five minutes droplets of fuel were still floating down. That was as close as you’d get to an atom bomb going off in an F1 pitlane! If one person had been smoking the entire Brabham team would have been wiped out.”

CW: “If that had been in the race, with the engine belching flame…”

HB: “For the pitstops we also had to introduce airguns, which nobody had, and then we had our own diving bottles and our own compressor to pump them up. We also used airjacks.”

1983 British GP Brabham Nelson Piquet

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Piquet and Ecclestone

The turbo era must have been fantastic, especially as the BMW was the most powerful engine.

HB: “It wasn’t to start with. It was a total disaster!”

CW: “Engines literally blew up in the pitlane. You’d fit a new one the night before and it would take hours – you had to make intercoolers and things like that, because no two engines came the same.”

HB: “This was also the first time that people had ECUs and telemetry. We had this huge thing sitting on the back of the car. Eventually, after months testing, we actually found a chip where everything worked. They took it back to BMW and it caught fire, so six months’ work had gone out of the window and they had to start again! Bernie was getting very frustrated in those days.”

A lot has been said about the ‘rocket fuel’ BMW used In 1983. What can you tell us about that?

CW: “It was completely legal… but the regulations weren’t nearly as tight as they are now. It was deadly stuff. We didn’t worry about health and safety at work in those days. It was so dense I’d hate to think what it would be like if we analysed that fuel now.”

HB: “You’d have to say it was evil. Typically in all racing teams, if anyone back at base had the possibility of topping up their road car they would. We told everybody, ‘Whatever you do, don’t use this stuff.’ Needless to say a couple of people did, and they didn’t get any further than 100 yards down the road before the carburettor float and fuel pipes had melted! One of our chaps had a plastic Casio watch. He was pumping out the fuel and a drop landed on his watch, and it just fell off his wrist.”

CW: “That’s true!”

HB: “We were the first people to freeze fuel. We used to have a great big truck which was just a freezer unit, and we had the fuel in 50-gallon drums. We’d top the cars up just as the pitlane was opening before the race. In Austria the fuel was so cold minus 50°C it froze the rubber of the pump and it cracked like glass. I got in there and I was siphoning this fuel. I swallowed some and I don’t know how I’m alive today. I’ve never been the same!”

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Unsuccessful BT55 spelled the beginning of the end for Brabham’s Ecclestone/Blash/Whiting dream team

What went wrong with the BT55 In 1986?

CW: The chassis wasn’t stiff enough. And the engine was lying down – we always felt that there was a scavenge problem. That was the beginning of the end with BMW. They blamed the chassis, we blamed the engine. It was a classic situation, but I think there was fault on both sides. And Gordon, to be quite honest, wasn’t himself at that point. He wouldn’t accept that there was anything wrong with the car. But we got it working reasonably well in the end.”

Presumably Elio de Angelis’s accident that year was the low point of the whole Brabham time.

CW: “Definitely. That was tragic in that he wasn’t injured. There were only about four gallons of petrol in the car, but unfortunately he tipped over, the petrol came out, it caught fire and there was no-one there to put it out.”

Things began to wind down the following year. What happened?

CW: “I think Bernie realised that he couldn’t do both things any more. And it was costing him a lot of money.”

HB: “F1 was starting to cost a lot. Bernie was not the type of person who would ever have a sponsor who would tell him what to do. The world of F1 was changing into a corporate world.”

Lewis Hamilton McLaren 2007 Canadian GP Charlie Whiting
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Whiting at work in the heart of the paddock

CW: “We used to joke that he had Coca-Cola lined up as a sponsor, but he wanted them to change their colours to blue and white! I think that’s probably right.”

HB: “There was the Elio business and the parting of the ways with BMW. Bernie was becoming more and more involved with FOCA and the FIA as well. We were both there until the end of ’87 and then Bernie sold the company to Alfa Romeo.”

How do you view that period, now you are on the other side of the fence?

CW: “Things have become far more complex – things that were going on then were very crude by comparison. Everyone was naive. The measures to stop us putting a heavier rear wing on weren’t exactly sophisticated! Certainly it put me in good stead for the first few years of my current job.”

HB: “They were great days. If you were to look for a racing team today that shares our philosophy, I would say it would be at Renault. Loud music in the garage, lots of fun, but they get the job done. It’s great to see what people are trying to do 20 years on. Although technical times have changed, people are still taking things to the limit. Both Charlie and myself still get a huge buzz at the start of the race, because you never know what is going to happen. That’s the adrenalin rush. But I still feel the guys that win races achieve a little more. You could sum us up as poachers turned gamekeepers!”
https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/arch ... e-whiting/

I remember at the time of his passing Otmar Szafnauer said the F1 paddock used to joke that if Charles Whiting ever left his role as race director, the sport would need “at least three people” to replace him.

Turned out that was the truth!



Some more pics I liked of Charlie.

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Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel walks the track with FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting. I believe that is a younger Michael Massi with them.

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Charlie's startline office back in 2008
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All the drivers paid their respects at the 2019 AGP

* I started life with nothing, and still have most of it left


“Good drivers have dead flies on the side windows!” (Walter Röhrl)

* I married Miss Right. Just didn't know her first name was Always
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#1473

Post by erwin greven »

Brian Redman: "Mr. Fangio, how do you come so fast?" "More throttle, less brakes...."
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#1474

Post by erwin greven »

Brian Redman: "Mr. Fangio, how do you come so fast?" "More throttle, less brakes...."
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Everso Biggyballies
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Favourite Driver: Kimi,Niki,Jim(none called Michael)
Favourite Circuit: Nordschleife, Spa, Mt Panorama.
Car(s) Currently Owned: Audi SQ5 3.0L V6 TwinTurbo
Location: Just moved 3 klms further away so now 11 klms from Albert Park, Melbourne.

#1475

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

A bit of a random one here from Mario Andretti...

..

* I started life with nothing, and still have most of it left


“Good drivers have dead flies on the side windows!” (Walter Röhrl)

* I married Miss Right. Just didn't know her first name was Always
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Everso Biggyballies
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Posts: 49996
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Real Name: Chris
Favourite Motorsport: Anything that goes left and right.
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Favourite Driver: Kimi,Niki,Jim(none called Michael)
Favourite Circuit: Nordschleife, Spa, Mt Panorama.
Car(s) Currently Owned: Audi SQ5 3.0L V6 TwinTurbo
Location: Just moved 3 klms further away so now 11 klms from Albert Park, Melbourne.

#1476

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

On This Day....

18th April 1942


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Jochen Rindt was born in Mainz, to a German father and an Austrian mother. His family were wealthy.... his father Klein ran a family spice grinding business and his mother was a lawyer.

At the age of one, he was orphaned, his parents having lost their lives during the bombing of Hamburg in 1943. Little Jochen was then taken in by his maternal grandparents and grew up in Graz, Austria.


A head-strong youngster seemingly hell-bent on defying authority, he continually sought ways to indulge in his burgeoning passions for speed and competition..... preferably allied with danger. Twice he broke bones in schoolboy ski races and when he switched to motorized sport, at first on a moped and then on a motocross bike, he either crashed or won. On public roads he drove battered Volkswagens like a madman and was often in trouble with the police. His rebellious streak caused him to be expelled from several private schools and his strait-laced grandparents (his grandfather was a prominent lawyer) despaired for his future.

In the record books he is notable for being the only posthumous World Champion. But before he was killed Jochen Rindt had carved himself a memorable niche in the small but select category of heroes whose voracious appetite for raw racing was demonstrably apparent in a daredevil driving style that was both thrilling and worrying to watch.

Today, from MotorSport magazine archives (published back in 2010) fast forwards to his final months, on the surface a victorious time for him, but on the other hand one shadowed with personal tragedy and worry to his very future in a sport which had lost many drivers in a short space of time, as was the norm back then.
The shadow of tragedy over Jochen Rindt's final, victorious months

The final months of Jochen Rindt's life were a mix of great success on track and personal tragedy, as explained in a new book on F1's only posthumous World Champion (Everso note.. the book referred to is Adam Cooper's "Piers Courage, Last of the Gentleman Racers")

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A delighted Rindt, on the Brands Hatch podium with Nina and Colin Chapman, beat fuel-starved Brabham and post-race scrutineering drama for British GP win

It was the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on June 21, 1970, that changed everything for Jochen. It was the race where the Lotus 72 finally came good, and where the death of his close friend Piers Courage made him question the very reason why he did what he did. Coming so soon after Bruce McLaren‘s death, it was a reminder of his own mortality, of the heavily loaded risks of his profession. Piers’ death revived and magnified Jochen’s insecurities about the structural integrity of his Lotus, made him ever more aware of the danger that stalked Grand Prix drivers in that era.

He would never feel quite the same way about racing again.

Shortly after he had taken an easy pole position, Jochen and Nina dined in Bloemendaal with Piers and Sally Courage, Ed and Sally Swart, and Frank Williams. “It was just a merry dinner, lots of laughter,” Sally Swart told Adam Cooper “I don’t remember anyone saying anything memorable — we were just having a jolly time.”

The following day, everything changed.

Though Ickx led initially, Jochen swept majestically past the Ferrari and thereafter owned the race. But even before the race was over the drivers knew that another tragedy had befallen one of their brothers. Courage had been battling for seventh place with Jochen’s team-mate John Miles when his de Tomaso left the road on the 23rd lap, crashed and caught fire. The Old Etonian perished in the flames.

“I saw the burning car and I saw Piers’ helmet very near to it,” Jochen said. “For some laps I desperately hoped that he had climbed out and thrown away his helmet, but then I realised that Piers, if he had come out, would never have put his helmet down so near to the car.”

Jochen and Piers were so close that his death hit Jochen very hard. They and their wives had had so many adventures. Nina left the circuit with Sally long before Jochen took the flag, and admits that she was angry with him for winning.

“It was odd, but I was angry that Jochen won. It was sort of, ‘How could he win the race in which Piers was killed?’ It was all just so horrific, so disgusting. I was very angry, though not really at Jochen. I was just angry at the whole thing.”

Jochen’s expression on the podium betrayed his own anguish, and the realisation that he had finally got his hands on a car that could take him to the world title rendered the whole weekend bitter-sweet.

Jochen Rindt stands on the podium after the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix where Piers Courage was killed
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Rindt’s grief is plain on the Zandvoort podium

On the way to the airport he discussed his future with Bernie Ecclestone. Bernie said if he was minded to stop, he should do it straight away. But Jochen said: “If I want to keep my self-respect, I can’t quit during the season.”

“It was a bad time, obviously,” Ecclestone said. “I brought Sally and Nina back in the plane to London, and Jochen was just terribly upset about the whole thing. He was talking about quitting immediately afterwards, sure, but I didn’t think he would ever have stopped.”

Jochen left Zandvoort traumatised and deeply saddened. It was his third GP success, but it was victory without joy. The tragedy triggered the toughest time in Jochen and Nina’s marriage, as each coped with their own grief while spending endless hours helping Sally in her darkest time.

“The thing was that Piers dying showed it could happen,” Nina said. “When Jimmy died Jochen was shattered. But I sort of pushed it away. I told myself it was a fluke, it couldn’t happen to Jochen. I was brought up with racing because of my father, and I never regarded it as dangerous. When you are young, you just push danger away. Or you couldn’t survive.

“When it was Piers, when I saw Sally and the kids, I realised that it was really serious.”

“Beltoise had been through hardships, but what on earth possessed him to say such a thing to me?”
Meanwhile, a thought kept tormenting Jochen. At Christmas they had spent time with the Courages skiing in Zurs, together with a friend called Ernst Moosbrucker. “He was such a nice young man, and he died very quickly of cancer,” Nina said.

Now Jochen would wonder, over and again, “Is it better to die the way Ernst did, or to die instantly, like Piers?”

“It was awful,” Nina said. “Jochen would ask that question, and he thought perhaps it was better to go like Piers. We lost all three of them that year…”

Piers’ death was the most traumatic thing Jochen had ever faced in his young life. “He was hit hard by Jimmy’s death,” Nina said. “We’d spent a lot of time with him in Paris, a lot of time. Jochen was completely shattered then because that was the first time for him… But, yes, Piers was more traumatic, emotionally worse, because they were such close friends.”

And it set Jochen worrying that he might be the next green bottle to fall from the wall.

The Thursday of that bloody week after Zandvoort they journeyed to England, to see Piers laid to rest in the Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, in Shenfield. Later that sad day they flew to Rouen with Jack Brabham, for an F2 race.

Nina remembered that flight to France, the terrible strain. The men at least had the distraction and the adrenalin rush of driving again during practice, of losing themselves for a time in what they were there to do. Nina had no such distraction, any more than the other wives or girlfriends did. All they had to do was to sit, and to worry. And try to forget what could happen. What had happened.

“It was so awful. I was sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to go anywhere. It was terrible. I just sat in the car and read my book.”

And then something extraordinary happened, which darkened Nina’s mood further.

“Jean-Pierre Beltoise came and sat next to me. I have never forgotten what he said. It was so stupid. For some reason he reminded me that Jochen had won in Zandvoort, and that there’d been the smell of burning every lap they drove past the place where Piers had crashed. Beltoise had been through an awful lot of hardships in his own career, but what on earth possessed him to say such a thing to me that day?”

She was 26 years old, bereft, scared witless for the safety of her husband. Totally lost. Jochen finished a lacklustre ninth.

Jochen Rindt in Lotus 72 at 1970 German Grand Prix

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Rindt put his concerns about the Lotus 72 to one side to score four straight wins during the summer of 1970


Better things came a week later in France, however, where his Formula 1 luck continued and his spirits were better. He slid the 72 to its second consecutive victory after qualifying sixth behind polesitter Ickx, local hero Beltoise, Amon, Stewart and Brabham.

He could barely put a wheel wrong, and now he had an eight-point lead over Stewart in the World Championship, 27 to 19, with Brabham matching the Scot’s tally. The luck was running his way. He hardly dared to believe it.

It continued to hold at Brands Hatch for the British GP later in July, when yet again Brabham was unfortunate. Jochen and Jack shared pole position in 1min 24.8sec, with Ickx next. After the first practice session Jochen had made good after his bitter comments at the International Trophy at Silverstone, when he told his crew: “It’s absolutely perfect! Don’t touch the car, don’t alter anything, it’s bloody marvellous!”

Jack led initially until Ickx squeezed by at Druids. But going into Paddock Bend at the start of the seventh lap the Ferrari suddenly slowed with a broken differential. As Jack moved out to go around him Jochen seized his chance and squeaked down the inside of the BT33 in a beautiful move that left a cigarette paper’s width between the Brabham’s and the Lotus’s rear wheels. No wonder Jack so loved dicing with Jochen! So now Jochen seemed set for his third win on the trot. But Jack stayed with him all the way. The coup de grace came as he swept into the lead again on the 69th lap. Within four laps Jack had streaked away, and began his last 13.3 seconds clear of the man who had vanquished him at Monaco. But…

This time Jack was two corners from the flag when drama struck, as the BT33 ran out of fuel. Jochen swept to the line more than half a minute ahead and Jack rolled silently across in second.

He nearly didn’t lose, however.

After the traditional victory parade lap with the winning car on the back of a trailer, it was discovered in post-race scrutineering that the Lotus’s rear wing support stays were bent and the car was promptly disqualified by autocratic Clerk of the Course Dean Delamont of the RAC.

Three and a half hours later, the RAC finally confirmed that the Lotus did conform to the rules. “When it was announced that he’d won Jochen was just delighted!” Herbie Blash said. Afterwards, Jochen said to journalist Heinz Pruller as they sat in the Lotus caravan: “My luck now really starts worrying me. I know how fast good luck can turn back on you, bringing bad luck with it. And I have had some good fortune during this summer.”

The German GP had moved to Hockenheim that August as the drivers unanimously decided to boycott the Nürburgring while modifications were made, and now the Ferraris were beginning to hit their stride. Ickx put his on pole with a lap of 1min 59.5sec, with rookie team-mate Clay Regazzoni third on 59.8sec. Jochen’s 59.7sec split them and left him alongside Ickx on the front row of the two-by-two grid.

Regazzoni got away first, with Amon, Ickx and Beltoise pushing ahead of the Lotus going into the tight first right-hander. But Jochen got the Matra before the first chicane, as Ickx passed Amon. Jochen did the March by the second chicane, so as the crowd cheered them to the echo as they entered the stadium, it was Ickx, Rindt, Regazzoni.

A classic duel ensued, but Jochen got the last two laps perfectly right and led Ickx across the line by seven-tenths of a second. “A monkey could have won in my car,” he said. “Thank you Colin.”

He didn’t like Ickx, and privately took great pleasure in beating him, but on the podium he offered him the champagne-filled trophy to sup from.

“Jochen was a great character,” Ickx said in 2008. “Like Stewart, one of the first real professionals entering in a new era. They were both turning the page of the Sixties with all the philosophy about racing, security, sponsoring, the basic idea to make money out of racing and not just being a sport or chivalry from the old times. They were going on very well, I must say.”

And he fondly remembered his duel that day with Jochen. “Hockenheim was based then on slipstreaming, so it was easy to overtake. The idea to touch wheels and all these things was hardly acceptable, because if you had any kind of problem…” He mimed running over another car’s wheels and taking off… “If you go up… you never know which shape you were coming back on the asphalt. So when you were on a course like Hockenheim you had to give a sign to the other where you are expecting to come. Look on your right, look on your left… Basically it was a gentleman’s approach. Changing your line to make sure they don’t overtake you, these things were not existing at the time.”

Formula 1 writer Gregor Messer remembers that race like it was yesterday. “August 2, 1970 — that was when I went to my first Grand Prix.

“The 50 laps were full of tension, with Jochen fighting Ickx, and Regazzoni and Amon. When it was over we were really glad that Jochen — our hero! — had won.

“Then a friend suggested we go to the paddock. And there was this huge crowd around the Gold Leaf Team Lotus truck. Jochen was still in his overalls, with a cigarette dangling from his lips, wearing sunglasses. He had a lot of patience and was sitting in the cab of the truck signing autograph after autograph. I still have the picture on the page that my brother tore from the programme, which we got Jochen to sign. There were two big photos in it, one of Jochen and one of Stewart. After we’d got Jochen’s autograph my brother forged Jackie’s on the other photo!”

Jochen Rindt at Brands Hatch in 1970

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Charismatic Rindt, here at Brands Hatch in 1970, drew crowds

Jochen’s custom was to give his laurel to the mechanics. Mechanic Dave ‘Beaky’ Sims took it and laid it at the spot where Jimmy had perished. Jochen would have appreciated that, no question.

So now he had 45 points to Brabham’s 25, Hulme’s 20 and Stewart’s 19. Nobody could ever have known it that day, but Jochen had scored the final F1 points of his life. Had done enough to secure the title.

Normally he was happy-go-lucky, but the wing failures of 1969, and the deaths of Gerhard Mitter at the Nurburgring that year and sports car racer Hans Laine there in 1970, and of McLaren and especially Courage, weighed heavily upon him. It was almost as if he felt that he was living on borrowed time.

Dan Gurney was himself feeling lonely and isolated, driving for McLaren alongside Denny Hulme in the terrible aftermath of Bruce’s death and contemplating his own future in a sport in which he’d lost too many friends. He and his wife had talked to Jochen after Zandvoort, when the Austrian had suggested that he could be next.

“Evi and I were talking to him about Lotus,” Dan said. “He said it was so easy to win races like this, that he was going to hang in there even though the cars were an unknown entity as far as reliability was concerned, and that if he made it to win the championship he would retire.”

There was no respite at home, either. Jochen and Nina continued to argue, surrounded by pressures on their marriage. She had spent a lot of the summer with Sally Courage, and inevitably it all weighed heavily on a young wife who had now seen in the most brutal detail imaginable just what could happen on the race track.
https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/arch ... n-you-and/

A few extra pics of Jochen.....

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#1477

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

On This Day.....

MAY 1st.


We all know that it will be exactly 30 years since the untimely death at Imola of one of the very greatest racing drivers in the history of motor sport, Ayrton Senna, and just the day prior that of Roland Ratzenberger

However, sadly May 1st has been a day that has seen other motor racing and motorcycling greats leave this world. Certainly not as big a name or as well known as Senna but none the less..... here is a look at four others.


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Left to right Ayrton Senna, Mike Nazaruk, Brian Shawe-Taylor, John Heath, Geoff Duke

Motor sport have published an article referring to those 'other four that left us on May 1st

Mike Nazaruk
On May 1, 1955,
in a sprint car race at superfast Langhorne Speedway, Mike Nazaruk was racing hell for leather, despite a nasty bout of flu, for that was the only way he knew how to conduct any automobile. He was running second, behind Charlie Musselman – what a name! – and the two men were not only among the finest and bravest sprint car and dirt track racers of the time but were also fierce rivals. Indeed, they had come to blows before. But there was grudging respect between them, for they were both World War Two vets, they were both hard men who knew what risking death looked like and felt like, and they were both categorically unprepared to give the other any quarter that day or any day.

Nazaruk overtook Musselman at Langhorne 69 years ago in what has been described by those who saw it as a hair-raising, heart-stopping, even spine-tingling move, then, little by little, he inched his way to a lead of about 100 yards (91.5 metres). A few laps later, perhaps distracted by a wild out-of-control moment for Ted Nyquist, or maybe laid so low by flu that he momentarily fainted – we will never know – he appeared not to slow or turn in as usual, his car hit the wall not once but thrice, one hard bang after another, then it somersaulted out of the stadium. Nazaruk was killed instantly.

Mike Nazaruk leads at the start of 1953 Indy Car race at California State Fairgrounds
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Ten years earlier, aged just 23, he had been demobbed, having fought with conspicuous courage in the infamously bloody World War Two battles of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. When he then decided that only sprint car racing on dirt tracks could match the adrenaline rush of armed combat, the word that other drivers soon began to use to describe him was most often ‘fearless’. They were not wrong. In 1953 he had a god-almighty shunt in a sprint car race at the Minnesota State Fair. He would have been thrown clean out and some distance had not his left foot remained hooked into the pedal box, which meant that he was instead dragged like a rag doll from his still fast-moving wreck until it eventually came to a stop. He was taken to hospital, where his multiple wounds were extensively bandaged, and he was told to remain for a week-long rest cure. He refused, discharged himself, drove 600 miles (967km) to his home in Indianapolis, washed and changed, then drove a further 120 miles (193km) to Cincinnati, where he entered a 100-lap dirt track race for midget cars – and won it.

In truth he was not only fearless but also fearsome. He used to intimidate his rivals deliberately and aggressively, in the manner of prizefighters, staring them out and growling: “Don’t try to get between me and the chequered flag because, if you do, you won’t like what happens to you.” No wonder they called him Iron Mike, a soubriquet he earned decades before the ruthless and vicious boxer Mike Tyson ever did.


John Heath. May 12t 1956
John Heath was a very different kind of cove. On April 29, 1956, almost a year after Nazaruk had met his maker, Heath was in Italy, competing in his second Mille Miglia, having raced a Jaguar XK120 to 40th place in the same event the year before. This time his ride was an HWM-Jaguar, and he had decided to tackle the 992 miles (1596km) on his own, with no co-driver. During the night it rained heavily, and two men lost their lives: first Ivo Badaracco crashed his Alfa Giulietta, killing his co-driver Max Berney, then Helmut Busch crashed his Mercedes-Benz 300SL, killing his co-driver Wolfgang Piwco. A couple of hours later, shortly after dawn, Heath ran his HWM-Jaguar too wide on a turn, tripping it over a fence and into a ditch. He was taken to hospital with broken arms, shattered ribs, and extensive internal bleeding. He fought the good fight for two days, but he died on May 1. He was 41.

John Heath in 1956 Mille Miglia and portrait inset
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Heath was a prudent racer rather than a flamboyant one, but his influence was significant. He it was who had founded Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM) in 1938. Then, after World War Two, assisted by his new business partner George Abecassis, also a racer, he moved the business to nearby Walton-on-Thames, 20 miles (32km) south-west of London. The two men raced the HWMs that they also designed and built, and they fielded cars for up-and-coming British aces, including Stirling Moss and Peter Collins. HWM exists still, on the same plot in Walton-on-Thames, as an Aston Martin dealer.

Like Senna, both Nazaruk and Heath lost their lives as a result of racing accidents. Like them all, Brian Shawe-Taylor breathed his last on May 1, but in his bed, in 1999, at the age of 84. Born in 1915, in Dublin, the son of Agnes Mary Eleanor Shawe-Taylor (née Ussher) and Francis Manley Shawe-Taylor, who was the Magistrate and High Sheriff of County Galway, at the age of five he moved with his mother to Shrewsbury, England, following the murder of his father by the IRA (Irish Republican Army).

Brian Shawe-Taylor in 1951 Goodwood Trophy
Brian Shawe-Taylor suffered his career-ending accident shortly after this picture was taken, in an ERA at the 1951 Goodwood Trophy
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After World War Two, in which he had served in the Royal Artillery, he raced an ERA for a few years – and he lodged an entry for it for the 1950 British Grand Prix, the first ever championship Formula 1 race. His application was refused — the organisers told him that his car was too old and too slow — but he was determined to find a way to race in that historic event by hook or by crook and in the end he succeeded, by persuading his friend Joe Fry to let him share his Maserati, which Fry had qualified in 20th place. On race day they both had a go in it, finishing 10th, albeit lapped six times by Giuseppe Farina’s winning Alfa.

Shawe-Taylor was back at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix the following year, 1951, this time in a newer ERA than the one that he had unsuccessfully tried to race in the previous year’s event. He qualified it 12th and finished in the same position as he and Fry had achieved in their Maserati the year before – 10th – coincidentally also lapped six times by the winner, Froilan Gonzalez (Ferrari). Shawe-Taylor’s racing career came to an abrupt end when, in the 1951 Goodwood Trophy, in that same ERA, he crashed and was seriously injured. But he recovered and continued to prepare and repair racing cars at his Cheltenham garage for many years afterwards.

Did any other major racers die on May 1? I cannot think of any other drivers on four wheels; but riders on two wheels, certainly, yes, one of the very best.

Geoff Duke May 1, 2015
Lancashire-born Geoff Duke passed away peacefully on the Isle of Man, on May 1, 2015, aged 92, having previously won six TT races on the island on which he later made his home, and many more big motorcycle races besides. His send-off may not have been as extraordinary as that of Ayrton Senna, whose funeral was attended by three million mourners, was broadcast live on Brazilian television, and followed three days of state-sanctioned national mourning. But Duke’s cortege drove a whole lap of the long and legendary TT course, albeit at a fraction of the pace at which he had so often ridden it, so majestically, more than half a century before.

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Geoff Duke on his way to victory in the 1950 Senior TT
https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/arti ... -on-may-1/

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#1478

Post by Michael Ferner »

Good, good, very good, Chris! :bow:

'xcept... :mrgreen:

For one thing, I think Mr. Shawe-Taylor finished eighth at the 1951 British GP, not tenth. The other thing, great racer though that Geoff Duke was (and he DID also compete on four wheels, remember?), but he actually won "only" five TTs*. Which, in my humble opinion, are still worth much more than the 26 Joey Dunlop won, but that is another matter...


* Oh, and he won them "in" the island, not "on"... :wink:
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#1479

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

Michael Ferner wrote: 1 month ago Good, good, very good, Chris! :bow:

'xcept... :mrgreen:

For one thing, I think Mr. Shawe-Taylor finished eighth at the 1951 British GP, not tenth. The other thing, great racer though that Geoff Duke was (and he DID also compete on four wheels, remember?), but he actually won "only" five TTs*. Which, in my humble opinion, are still worth much more than the 26 Joey Dunlop won, but that is another matter...


* Oh, and he won them "in" the island, not "on"... :wink:
I agree totally with you that Shawe-Taylor finished 8th and not 10th in the 1951 British GP. I have Rozier finishing 10th in my records so good spot there and thank you for the correction.

However, re Geoff Duke I still claim he won 6 TT races....although he won them in 5 years (He won both the Junior and Senior TT in 1951).
I just checked back on several sources all saying Six, including the official IOMTT Database here : https://www.iomtt.com/tt-database/event ... de_id=1057

They show (and credit him with) Six TT wins as follows :

TT55 SENIOR TT TT
Posn No Competitor Machine Time Speed
1 0 Geoff Duke Gilera 2.41.49.8 97.93


TT52 JUNIOR TT TT
Posn No Competitor Machine Time Speed
1 0 Geoff Duke Norton 2.55.30.6 90.29


TT51 JUNIOR TT
Posn No Competitor Machine Time Speed
1 0 Geoff Duke Norton 2.56.17.6 89.9

TT51 SENIOR
Posn No Competitor Machine Time Speed
1 0 Geoff Duke Norton 2.48.56.8 93.83

TT50 SENIOR TT
Posn No Competitor Machine Time Speed
1 0 Geoff Duke Norton 2.51.45.6 92.37


TT49 CLUBMANS SENIOR
Posn No Competitor Machine Time Speed
1 0 Geoff Duke Norton 1.21.53.0 82.97


Another thing not often mentioned about Geoff Duke I admire is that he was the last to win the 500cc world title on a single cylinder bike. (a Manx Nortona favourite bike of mine)


.
A lovely tribute to Geoff here on the Duke Videos website
we celebrate the incredible career highlights of Geoff Duke, six times World MotoGP Champion and six times Isle of Man TT winner.



Re in the island or on the island, I still maintain he competeted in the TT on the IOM circuit. But the circuit is IN the Isle of Man He lived in and died in the Isle of Man and in business provided shipping services TO the IoM.,
Oh, and he was honoured by the IoM when they named part of the TT course after him / in his honour..Im confused. Whatever works for you. And I reserve the right to use whatever format I would right it and which may differ depending on what day of the week it is.
Even though you might be inside the library, you study at the library.

There is a British Council learning English website which explains all about prepositions of place.
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org ... 20lines%20(including%20rivers%2C%20borders%2C,and%20islands.

In Australia we dont speak proper English. (We speak 'Strylian)

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#1480

Post by Michael Ferner »

Well, you're certainly not the first one to make the mistake, and while I wouldn't have expected the usual internet suspects like wikipedia to get it right (and am not really surprised at the snafu on the Duke's Video site... despite the name! :wink:), I would have hoped for the TT database to show better judgement. Sadly, it seems, it's been built and run by 'statisticians' or mere 'data collectors', rather than historians or real enthusiasts who care about their subject.

To wit, despite its confusing name, the '"Clubmans TT" was not a TT race, it was an amateur event run expressly for "riders not entered in the Tourist Trophy races" (as explicitly mentioned in the regulations)! The powers that be certainly invited confusion by not only holding those races often in the middle of TT week (mostly for organizational reasons), but also by giving them that ambiguous name at first (which was later changed into a somewhat less confusing "Clubmans races" or "Clubman events", but by that time Joe Public stuck to the original name). In order of importance, it came third behind the TT and the Manx Grand Prix, and in fact amateur riders were invited to qualify for an entry to the Manx by doing well in the Clubmans.

A few period clippings may serve to document that, a long time ago this was common knowledge. Somehow, some things were much easier before the advent of the internet and the wikipedia know-it-all crowd. :(

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#1481

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

Thanks for the edyookayshun and I now sit here enlightened.. Interesting indeed and all you say makes sense. Sadly I put my faith and trust in the official TT database thinking. Indeed I chose that source to ensure correctness. Even his Bio on the official site states 6 TT wins. That was the basis of my challenge to your mention of 5.

Like you I now shy away from quoting or referencing anything on Wiki from previous erroneous info and bad experiences.

Thanks for taking the time to explain it and open my eyes. :thumbsup:

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#1482

Post by erwin greven »

Brian Redman: "Mr. Fangio, how do you come so fast?" "More throttle, less brakes...."
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Joined: 19 years ago
Real Name: Erwin Greven
Favourite Motorsport: Endurance Racing
Favourite Racing Car: Lancia Delta 038 S4 Group B
Favourite Driver: Ronnie Peterson
Favourite Circuit: Nuerburgring Nordschleife
Car(s) Currently Owned: Citroën C2 1.4 (2006)
Location: Stadskanaal, Groningen
Contact:

#1483

Post by erwin greven »

Brian Redman: "Mr. Fangio, how do you come so fast?" "More throttle, less brakes...."
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