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11-12 May This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the most momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history …..

~11 May~

1898: (11th-12th): The 357 mile (574 km) road race between Paris and Bordeaux was won by René de Knyff in a Panhard.

1900 – Thousands Miles Trial, Welbeck Park

1900: The first competitive English sprint race held at Welbeck Park as part of the Thousands Miles Trial was won by Hon Charles S Rolls, driving a Panhard.

1904: The first Isle of Man speed trial was held on a half-mile hill as part of the eliminating trials for that year’s Gordon Bennett Cup Race. The following day, cars were timed over a flying kilometre on Douglas Promenade. Fastest in both was Australian-born Briton Selwyn Edge (in an 80-bhp Napier), who climbed the half-mile hill at 47 mph and averaged over 53 mph over the flying kilometre. The promenade was so unsuitable for speed events that British driver Clifford Earp’s Napier, returning from its second run, skidded and hit a wall, after which the trials were abandoned.

Studebaker and two OMs at the JCC Double Twelve Race, Brooklands, Surrey, 1929

1929: The Junior Car Club Double Twelve race at Brooklands (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 10th and 11th) was won by G. Ramponi driving an Alfa Romeo, at an average speed of 76 mph.

1947: Ferrari made its independent racing debut at a race in Piacenza, Italy (cover image). Enzo Ferrari entered his Tipo 125 car at the race in Piacenza. Featuring a revolutionary V12 engine, the Tipo 125 led the race with two laps to go before a fuel pump failed and forced it from the race.

1952: Giuseppe Farina won the Naples Grand Prix on a works Ferrari 500F2 from teammate Piero Taruffi and the private Ferrari 166F2/50 of Gianfranco Comotti, who was no less than 5 laps down. The 1950 World Champion took pole position, lap record and led from start to finish.

 1975: The Monaco Grand Prix was won by Austrian driver Niki Lauda giving the new Ferrari 312T its first win.

1985: Duane ‘Pancho’ Carter grabbed the pole position for the Indianapolis 500. Carter entered the history books with a speed of 212.583 mph for four qualifying laps around the 2.5 mile track at Indy. Also that day, Scott Brayton turned in the fastest lap ever at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brayton was traveling at 214.199 MPH in the third lap of qualifying, broke the single lap record previously held by Tom Sneva in the 1984 time trials. He was also the youngest driver ever in the front row.

1986: Alain Prost won the Monaco Grand Prix held on the streets of Monte Carlo, driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2C. Patrick Tambay had a spectacular accident when he and Martin Brundle tangled at Mirabeau, and Tambay’s Lola went right over Brundle’s Tyrrell, caught 6 feet of air and barrel-rolled into the protective Armco right next to some spectators; and in the process almost went over the Armco into a bar next to the track. Tambay walked away from the accident unscathed.

1988: Christie’s sold an Alfa Romeo 8C-35 for $2,850,000 at an auction in Monte Carlo, a record for a Grand Prix car.

1997: The Monaco Grand Prix contested over 62 laps, was won by Michael Schumacher for the Scuderia Ferrari team after starting from second position. Rubens Barrichello, who started the Grand Prix from tenth position, finished second in a Stewart car, with Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. Schumacher’s win saw him take over the lead of the World Driver’s championship from Williams driver Jacques Villeneuve. Ferrari also took over the lead of the Constructors’ Championship from Williams.

~12 May~

1901: Wily Tischbein driving a De Detrich won the Mannheim-Pforzheim-Mannheim race in Germany.

1904: The first and only speed trials staged at Douglas Promenade, Isle of Man were won by S. F. Edge in a Napier with a speed of 57.3 mph.

1935: The Alfa Romeo 16-cylinder Bimotore race cars debuted at the 9th Tripoli Grand Prix in Libya, with two cars driven by Tazio Nuvolari and Louis Chiron finishing 4th and 5th.

1935: The Cape Cod Challenge Cup Race, the first race held at the Marston’s Mills track in Massachusetts, US was won by Sidney Shurcliff in a Ford.

1955: Spanish road racer Alfonso de Portago and his co-driver Edmund Nelson were killed in a crash during the course of the Mille Miglia about 40 miles from Brescia, the start-finish point of the road race. The wrecked Ferrari 335S also claimed the lives of ten spectators, among them five children. Twenty more people were injured. Enzo Ferrari spent 4 years fighting manslaughter charges as a result of the crash, which also ended the Mille Miglia. Italian Pierro Taruffi won that last Mille Miglia, also in a Ferrari 335S.

1957: A.J. Foyt won his first major race, a midget car race in Kansas City, Missouri. He is one of only three men to have won four Indianapolis 500s, winning in 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977. In Foyt’s first championship, a late-fuel stop nearly cost him the race he had worked so hard to win. Fortunately, competitor Eddie Sachs, who had taken the lead from Foyt during the fuel stop, had to a make a fluke tire change in the last few laps of the race, giving Foyt his first Indy 500 crown. Foyt was so overwhelmed by the post-race excitement that he sneaked out for a burger. “We had so many people congratulatin’ us, talkin’ and all that,” he recalled. “Hell, I was hungry, so I just pulled over to White Castle. Hamburgers, I think, were 10¢ or 12¢ apiece.” His 1964 victory was marred by the tragic deaths of fellow racers Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonalds. The 1967 Indy 500 saw Foyt drive a Coyote of his own design to victory. His father, Tony, was chief mechanic. “What really made me feel good,” said Foyt, “is I built my own car, drove my own car, and my father was chief mechanic.” Perhaps Foyt’s greatest achievement was his 1977 victory, when Foyt became the first man to win the Indy four times in front of track owner Tony Hulman. Hulman had acted as a mentor to Foyt, and he rode a victory lap with Foyt after the 1977 race. A.J. Foyt now runs A.J. Foyt Enterprises from his home city of Houston, Texas. He founded the Foyt Race Team in 1965. His multifarious business interests include car dealerships, funeral service businesses, oil investments, and thoroughbred racehorses.

1961: Melvin Eugene ‘Tony’ Bettenhausen (44), a dedicated and fearless driver, winner of the National US-Championship in 1951 and 1958, died. He retired from racing three times but always came back as he found life away from the cockpit boring. Bettenhausen was killed in a crash at Indianapolis while testing a Stearly Motor Freight Special vehicle for Paul Russo. The car smashed into the outside wall of the track and then rolled 325 feet along the barrier. The car came to rest in a grassy plot between the wall and Grandstand A, with the tail of the car on fire. Results showed the accident was caused by an anchor bolt which fell off the front radius rod support, allowing the front axle to twist and misalign the front wheels when the brakes were applied, which drove the car into the wall.

1962: Parnelli Jones, driving his Watson Roadster “Old Calhoun” became the first driver to qualify over 150 mph at the Indianapolis 500, winning the pole position at a speed of 150.370 mph (241.997 km/h). Jones dominated the first two-thirds of the race until a brake line failure slowed him, and he settled for a seventh-place finish. He won the race in 1963, then famously broke down while leading the 1967 race with three laps to go in a turbine car. During his career as an owner, he won the Indy 500 in 1970-1971 with driver Al Unser, Sr.

1962: Nelson Stacy executed a last-lap pass of Marvin Panch to win a 300-miler at Darlington (South Carolina, US) Raceway by two car-lengths. It was the second of four victories for Stacy in NASCAR’s top series. Pole-starter Fred Lorenzen, a teammate to Stacy in a Holman-Moody Ford, was a lap back in third place.

1968: The Spanish Grand Prix was held at Jarama Circuit. It was the first race after the death of former double World Champion Jim Clark, who had died in a non-championship Formula Two event in Hockenheim, Germany. Graham Hill driving a Lotus-Cosworth 49 won the race ahead of Denny Hulme and fellow Brit Brian Redman.

1970: Denny Hulme sustained second and third degree burns to his hands and feet during a cockpit fire in his McLaren during practice for the Indy 500.

1974: The Spanish Grand Prix was held at Jarama Circuit. It was the first race after the death of former double World Champion Jim Clark, who had died in a non-championship Formula Two event in Hockenheim, Germany. Graham Hill driving a Lotus-Cosworth 49 won the race ahead of Denny Hulme and fellow Brit Brian Redman.

1984: To celebrate the opening of the new, shorter Nürburgring, Mercedes organised a race between established (including nine world champions) and up-and-coming racers in street-legal 190Es. The race winner was F1 rookie Aryton Senna

1984: Tom Sneva became the first to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 over 210 mph (338.0 km/h) in his Texaco Star March 84C/Cosworth, driving for the new Mayer Motor Racing team. His one and four lap track records were 210.689 mph (339.1 km/h) and 210.029 mph (338.0 km/h), respectively.

1991: Ayrton Senna driving a McLaren-Honda MP4/6 won the Monaco Grand Prix at Monte Carlo. Ayrton Senna shocked no-one by taking pole position, but second place was a surprise with Stefano Modena taking full advantage of the superior Pirelli qualifying tyres to be second followed by Patrese, Piquet, a disappointed Mansell, Berger, Prost, Moreno, Alesi, and de Cesaris.

1993: Reigning Formula 1 champion, Nigel Mansell passed his Indianapolis rookie test.

1996: The fastest qualification for the Indianapolis 500, taken as an average speed for four laps, of 381.392 km/h (236.986 mph), was set by Arie Luyendyk (Netherlands) in a Reynard-Ford-Cosworth.

2000: Adam Petty (19), the fourth-generation driver of NASCAR’s most famous family, died in a crash during practice for the Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway, US.

2002: The Austrian Grand Prix was held at the A1-Ring. This race is best remembered for its infamous “staged finish”, where race leader Rubens Barrichello, who was running first, was ordered to allow Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher to overtake him under “team orders” and win the Grand Prix. Ferrari wanted their number one driver Schumacher to win the race and collect the maximum points for the Drivers’ Championship. Barrichello let him pass on the last lap at the finish line which greatly upset the spectators. Barrichello had also yielded second place to Schumacher at the line in the previous year’s event.

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