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19-20 November: This Weekend on Motor Sport History

19-20 November

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1922: Coppa Florio VI run over 432 km of the Medio Madonie circuit on Sicily was won by André Boillot driving a Peugeot in a time of 7 hours 9 minutes.

 1954: Ford Robinson was killed during the Carrera Panamerica when his Ferrari crashed at 208 mph on the Tehuantepec straight in Oaxaca, Mexico.

1961: Al Keller (41) died as a result of injuries sustained in a fiery Champ Car crash at the Arizona State Fairgrounds track. Keller drove in the Indianapolis 500 when it was part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960 but he was more famous for racing in the NASCAR series from 1949 to 1956 with 29 career starts. He won two races during the 1954 season and was the first driver in the history of NASCAR’s top division to have won a race in a foreign-built car, winning the 1954 Grand National road-race at the Linden Airport in New Jersey. He was also involved in the crash that killed Bill Vukovich in 1955.

1981: Nimrod Racing Automobiles was officially launched at Goodwood, England, with James Hunt and Sterling Moss performing demonstration runs in their Aston Martin powered cars.

2004: BAR boss Dave Richards was shown the door after Honda bought a 45% stake in the team for around $150 million. Although he had guided Jenson Button to third in the drivers’ championship, it was his dispute with Button over a contract that many believe led to his departure to be replaced by Nick Fry. “”I am the one person who came out of that affair undamaged,” Richards said. “This was a mutual decision. It is the right time for Honda and the right time for me to move on. I am proud of what I and my team have done. In effect, we had a five-year plan to revitalise the team and that has been delivered in just three years.”

2009: Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen confirmed he was taking a one-year sabbatical from Formula One adding it was uncertain whether he will return in 2011 – he did not. He was replaced by Fernando Alonso at Ferrari and says he prefered to take a year off and wait for a place with a competitive team after failing to reach a deal with McLaren, who opted to sign Jenson Button to partner Lewis Hamilton.

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1960: Stirling Moss won the season-ending United States Grand Prix at the Riverside International Raceway in California from Lotus team-mate Innes Ireland. But the event failed to capture the imagination of the US public despite local Dan Gurney’s involvement and only attracted a crowd of 25,000 people. A PR blunder by organiser Alec Ullmann did not help as he alienated all the local media who consequently ignored the event. Ullmann lost substantial sums on the event but paid Moss’s winnings of $7500 and all other creditors out of his own pocket. Gurney endured a miserable race and retired on lap 18 with an overheated engine. Bruce McLaren finished third ahead of newly-crowned world champion Jack Brabham. With nothing at stake, Ferrari opted to stay away but allowed drivers Taffy von Trips and Phil Hill to race with other teams.

 2004: Michael Schumacher had to make more room in his bulging trophy cabinet when he was voted Germany’s greatest sportsman of the 20th century in a national television poll. Schumacher beat footballer Franz Beckenbauer and tennis legend Boris Becker to the award and said: “I would never have expected an honour like this. It’s a total surprise.”

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