2-3 September: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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Momentous motor sports events that took place during this weekend in history …..

~2 September~

1946: George Robson, winner of the 1946 Indianapolis 500, died from injuries suffered the previous day when he crashed during a race at Lakewood Park in Atlanta, Georgia, US.

1950: Mike Hawthorn, driving a Riley Nine, won the 1,100 cc class at the Brighton Speed Trials for his first racing victory. At the same event, Raymond Mays, driving a 2-litre ERA, won the standing-start kilometre event – the last sprint event of his career.

Juan Manuel Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio

1956: Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio seemed to have lost his 1956 championship chances in the final round at Monza when his Ferrari suffered terminal engine and suspension damage in the Italian Grand Prix. However, British driver Peter Collins, in a remarkably selfless gesture, gave his car to his teammate, allowing Fangio to finish second and clinch his fourth world title just three points ahead of Briton Stirling Moss, who was destined never to win the World Drivers Championship – he finished runner-up four times in a row from 1955 to 1958.

1957: Speedy Thompson won the Southern 500 held at the Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, United States aver­aging 100.094 mph. It was the first Southern 500 to average better than 100 mph. Bobby Myers was fatally injured in a three-car crash on the 28th lap.

Speedy Thompson - 1957 Southern 500
Speedy Thompson – 1957 Southern 500

1963: Donna Ma Mims, driving an Austin Haley won the Class H Production Race in Thompson, Connecticut, US to become the first woman to win a SCCA Class Championship.

1969: Willy Mairesse, race-car driver for the Ferrari team, died in Ostend, Belgium, from an overdose of sleeping pills. His career had been a continuing disappointment, with zero wins from 12 grand prix starts and only seven points. He left the Ferrari team in 1963 and was only 40 years old at the time of his death.

1984: Willy Mairesse, race-car driver for the Ferrari team, died in Ostend, Belgium, from an overdose of sleeping pills. His career had been a continuing disappointment, with zero wins from 12 grand prix starts and only seven points. He left the Ferrari team in 1963 and was only 40 years old at the time of his death.

2001: Michael Schumacher broke Alain Prost’s record of race wins to become the most successful race winner in the history of Formula One. Schumacher took the lead after half a lap and went on to win from David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella. Despite his record breaking victory, the race will be remembered for a massive accident involving Luciano Burti and Eddie Irvine in the fast left-hander before Blanchimont, Burti’s Prost losing its front wing and smashing into the tyre wall at speeds approaching 150mph.

~3 September~

1922: The first Autodromo Nazionale di Monza track was officially opened, with the maiden race, the second Italian Grand Prix, run a week later. It was built from May to July 1922 by 3,500 workers and financed by the Milan Automobile Club, which created the Società Incremento Automobilismo e Sport (SIAS) to run the track.

Cars racing across the bridge at Monza (1925)
Cars racing across the bridge at Monza (1925)

1923: Jim Davis, riding an Indian, won the 100-mile main event motorcycle race at Kansas City, Missouri, US.

1924: Dario Resta was killed at the age of 42 when his racecar crashed at the Brooklands racecourse in England while trying to establish speed records at various distances. Resta was driving a Sunbeam when a belt on his car broke on the second lap which punctured his tyre sending him out of control. He crashed through the fence and his car caught fire.

1939: The first and only Yugoslavian Grand Prix was held at Kalemagdan Park in Belgrade. Won by Tazio Nuvolari, this race marked yet another victory for the great Italian champion, and was the last Grand Prix event before World War II. Nuvolari’s win was particularly stunning in light of the German domination of Grand Prix racing during the late 1930s, backed by massive funding from the Third Reich.

Nina Farina - 1950 Italian Grand Prix
Nina Farina – 1950 Italian Grand Prix

1950: Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina won the Italian Grand Prix to become the first winner of the newly instituted drivers’ championship. The Ferrari 375F1 4.5 litre car make its debut, with Alberto Ascari at the wheel, but the car retired with engine trouble. Philippe Etancelin, driving a Talbot-Lago T26C, who was placed 5th, became the oldest at the age of 53 years, 248 da to earn points in a Formula 1 championship race.

1962: Larry Frank drove to his only victory in NASCAR’s premier series, winning the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Southern Carolina, US despite a scoring mixup that left his triumph in dispute. Junior Johnson went to Victory Lane after taking the checkered flag, but officials ruled Frank as the winner at 11 p.m. the following night after a scoring recount. The decision pushed Johnson to a second-place finish. Marvin Panch, David Pearson and Richard Petty completed the top five.

1973: David Pearson became the first racing driver to earn one million dollars in career earnings, after finishing second in the Southern 500 stock-car race in Darlington, South Carolina.

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David Pearson – 1973

2003: Ralf Schumacher discharged himself from hospital against doctors’ advice after he was involved in a heavy accident in Monza, where his F1 car lost both rear and front wings at the second Lesmo corner. He was taken to hospital for precautionary checks and remained overnight for observation.

2004: Michael Schumacher suffered a huge accident during testing at Monza when the left-rear tyre of his Ferrari blew out at the end of the start/finish straight. Schumacher hit the barriers with the front and rear of the car, but left the accident unscathed.

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