13-14 January: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~ 13 January ~

1918: Barney Oldfield won 2 of 3 main events at Ascot in Los Angeles, California, driving the Miller “Golden Submarine”, but with the fully enclosed body removed.

1952: The Interlagos Grand Prix, Brazil was won by Juan Manuel Fangio in a Ferrari 166.

Juan Manuel Fangio

Juan Manuel Fangio

1957: The Argentine Grand Prix held at Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez was won by Juan Manuel Fangio in a Maserati. Fangio and Behra raced away into the distance as the rest of the field floundered. Moss’s throttle linkage broke on the startline and he lost 10 laps having it fixed. The Ferraris were all suffering terribly with clutch problems-both Collins and Musso burnt theirs out, whilst Hawthorn’s was slipping badly. Both Collins and von Trips took over Perdisa’s Ferrari in an attempt to stop the Maseratis,but were powerless to stop them taking the first four places. Moss rejoined and set fastest lap on his way to 8th place.

1969: Production of James Garner’s movie “The Racing Scene”, about his American International Racing’s (AIR) 1969 racing season, was announced at the grand opening of AIR’s new offices in Hollywood, California, USA. Unfortunately, AIR would cease operations before the season was over.

555e5333c21541974: Former world champion Denny Hulme, who had announced his decision to retire at the end of the season a few weeks earlier, won the season-opening Argentina Grand Prix, his last F1 victory. It did not go down well with a huge 120,000 crowd, including President Peron, which for 50 of the 53 laps had cheered local hero Carlos Reutemann before he was forced to retire. Reliability was a major worry as only six of the 26 starters completed the race.

1980: Buenos Aires was again the venue for the first round of the F1 championship, and Alan Jones’ win in his Williams Ford set him on his way to that year’s drivers’ championship. Conditions were harsh, and sections of the track had to be relaid overnight after drivers complained it was falling apart during qualifying; unsurprisingly, the repairs disintegrated from the tenth lap onwards making the surface slippery and 15 cars retired. Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg were second and third respectively, both standing on the podium for the first time, while Derek Daley took a career-best fourth.

2007: Danny Oakes, one of America’s leading Midget Race Car drivers winning 100s of races in the 1940s and 1950s across the US, died. He won the Turkey Night Grand Prix and 3 West Coast Midget Championships in 1945. In 1947, he won the American Automobile Association. Midget title and the United States Auto Club Pacific Coast Midget championship in 1959. At age 40, he tried to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 from 1952 to 1955, without success. But as a mechanic, he put many others into the winners circle and earned the reputation as one of the best mechanics in the Indy pits. As chief mechanic in 1963, for 1952, 500 winner Troy Ruttman, his car finished 12th and driver Johnny White, brought Oakes his best finish of 4th in 1964. He quit driving midgets in his mid-60s, but continued his racing career into his 70s as a throttle man in offshore boat racing. He was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.

2011: Sammy Swindell won the third night (Thursday) qualifying feature of the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway, Tulsa, Oklahoma, US. Jerry Coons Jr. was second followed by Nick Knepper, Steve Buckwalter, Shane Golobie, Jason Leffler, Levi Jones, Tracy Hines, Andrew Deal and Tim McCreadie.

~ 14 January ~

1967: The Levin International race in the Tasman Series was won by Jimmy Clark in a Lotus 33. He also set fastest lap and was hounded for much of the race by Jackie Stewart in a BRM P261. Stewart finished a scant 2.5 seconds behind at the finish, with Richard Attwood taking the third spot.

1979: The first running of the Paris-Dakar Rally ended with Cyril Neveu winning the motorcycle category on a Yamaha 500XT. The dream of the ‘Ultimate Rally’ actually began back in 1977, when the French motorcyclist Thierry Sabine got lost on his bike in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. Sabine returned to France still in thrall to this landscape. He then plotted a route starting in Europe, continuing to Algiers and crossing Agadez before eventually finishing at Dakar, Senegal. Sabine coined a motto for his inspiration: “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.” Courtesy of his great conviction and that modicum of madness peculiar to all great ideas, the plan quickly became a reality. Thierry Sabine’s dream took shape on December 26, 1978, as 182 vehicles (80 cars, 90 motorcycles and 12 trucks) turned up in the Place du Trocadéro for a 10,000-kilometre (6,214-mile) journey into the unknown, destination Dakar. The encounter between two worlds sought by the event’s founder unfolded on the African continent. Among the 74 trail-blazers who made it to the Senegalese capital, Cyril Neveu, at the helm of a Yamaha 500XT, would be the first winner of what would go on to be called ‘the greatest rally in the world’. Did you know that in 1979 all the vehicles that took part were classified together, although they would compete separately in subsequent editions of the race and that Cyril Neveu won the rally despite not winning any individual stages, taking the lead on the sixth stage after Patrick Schaal (Yamaha) fell and fractured his little pinky-finger. Betcha he took a lot of shit for that one.

1979: Darrell Waltrip beat the rain to win the season opening Western 500 NASCAR Grand National race at Riverside International Raceway. Waltrip led the final 14 laps in his DiGard Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, taking the checkered flag 3 seconds ahead of David Pearson in the Wood Brothers Mercury. Thunder clapped and rain began to fall in the closing laps. Cale Yarborough, Western Grand National star Bill Schmitt and polesitter Donnie Allison rounded out the top five.

Thierry Sabine

Thierry Sabine

1986: The founder and organiser of the Dakar rally, Thierry Sabine (36), was killed when his Ecureuil helicopter crashed into a dune at Mali during a sudden sand-storm. Also killed onboard was the singer-songwriter Daniel Balavoine, helicopter pilot François-Xavier Bagnoud, journalist Nathalie Odent and Jean-Paul Lefur who was a radiophonic engineer for RTL. He was featured in the movie A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later that came out in 1986.

1989: Nick Fornoro Jr. won the 50-lap Coors/Casey’s Truck World Niagara Indoor Midget Racing Series feature race at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York, US.

1994: Former world champion Nigel Mansell, 40, showed his adaptability in Indycar when he smashed the track record at the Phoenix International Raceway, a circuit where a year earlier he had crashed and injured his back. Testing a Newman-Haas Lola-Ford, he became the first driver to lap the world’s fastest one-mile oval in under 20 seconds, averaging around 180 mph. “”It’s much better here than it was last year and it is not raining and it is not such a zoo,” he droned. “The car is fabulous. Very encouraging.”

1999: Thomas Binford (74) died of cerebral hemorrhage in his office in Indianapolis, Indiana. Binford was a founding member of the United States Auto Club (USAC), one of the sanctioning bodies of auto racing in the United States. From 1956 to 1979, USAC sanctioned the United States National Championship, and from 1956 to 1997 the organization sanctioned the Indianapolis 500. Today, USAC still serves as the sanctioning body for a number of racing series. Binford was also a former USAC president and the Indy 500 Chief Steward.

2001: Vic Wilson (70), British racing driver who participated in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, scoring no World Championship points, died after an accident at Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

2003: The Arrows team went into liquidation, putting an end to an outfit who struggled since they were formed from members of the Shadow team in 1978.

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