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21-22 July: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~21 July~

Louis Rigolly in his car which first exceeded 100 mph in 1904

1904: Louis Rigolly, driving a 15-litre Gobron-Brillie on the Ostend-Newport road in Belgium, became the first man to break the 100 mph barrier in a car by raising the land-speed record to 103.55 mph.

1946: The first post-war speed event in Germany took place at Ruhestein. Hermann Lang, driving a 2-litre BMW, which had been built for the substitute Mille Miglia on a closed circuit in 1940, won it.

1962: Ned Jarrett (cover image) posted a dominant win, leading 191 of 200 laps from the pole position to prevail at Rambi Raceway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, US. Joe Weatherly took second place, one lap down, and Jack Smith was third, four laps off the pace. Jim Paschal, who led the other nine laps in the latter stages of the race, gave the lead back to Jarrett on the 161st lap, then retired two laps later with engine failure.

1962: Jim Clark in a Lotus-Climax 25 won the last British Grand Prix staged at Aintree. Innes Ireland was out of luck on race day when his car failed to get off the line with a gearbox problem and that allowed Clark to get into the lead with Surtees, Gurney and McLaren chasing. Jack Brabham made a good start in his private Lotus to be ahead of Hill’s BRM. Hill retook the position on the seventh lap but otherwise little changed in the early laps. Clark built up his lead with Surtees second while Gurney ran into clutch trouble and so dropped behind McLaren and later G Hill and Brabham. There was very little action for the rest of the afternoon and Clark won by nearly a minute.

1968: The first ever side by side run by two British built top fuel dragsters, took place at the Santa Pod Raceway, Northamptonshire (England).Tony Densham in Commuter Vs Rex Sluggett’s Tudor Rose.Sluggett red lit, smoked the full quarter and ran 9.312/176.78. Densham ran a 9.036/163.93. (Jon Spoard) This was also the first ever side by side nine second match race in the UK.

1973: Gerrard Larrouse and Henri Pescarolo drove a Matra MS670 to victory in 6-hour endurance race at Watkins Glen, New York, US. Matra clinched the World Championship of Makes title. This is the final sportscar race to see a works Ferrari entered.

1974: Bobby Unser drove an Eagle powered by a Drake-Offenhauser engine to victory in the USAC Championship event at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, US.

1982: At Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, USA, Jaguar executives viewed the Group 44 XJR-5 GTP racer for the first time.

1987: The Ferrari F40 was unveiled at the factory in Maranello, Italy by Enzo Ferrari, in a ceremony commemorating his company’s 40th year. Speaking through an interpreter, the 89-year-old Ferrari announced, “A little more than a year ago, I expressed my wish to the engineers. Build a car to be the best in the world. And now the car is here.” Ferrari’s engineers had designed the F40 to be the fastest road vehicle ever built. The F40 came with no floor mats, no stereo, no power locks or windows. Its only frill was a vanity window displaying its massive V8 engine, but this too was a part of the remarkably light composite body, molded of plastic, ceramic, and metal. While the car had no electronic braking system, it was capable of 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and could hold a top speed of 201 mph, making the F40 the first production sports car to top the 200 mph barrier. While the car had no electronic braking system, it was capable of 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and could hold a top speed of 201 mph, making the F40 the first production sports car to top the 200mph barrier. Like all of Ferrari’s great cars, the F40 has enjoyed a successful career in sports car racing around the world.

1990: Days before his 40th birthday, Rich Vogler competed in a nationally broadcast ESPN Thunder Joe James / Pat O’Connor Memorial sprint car event at Salem Speedway. He was leading the race at the time, when his car crashed with just over a lap to go. Vogler was de-helmeted in the accident, and as a result was fatally injured. Because of USAC rules on a red flag reverting to the previous completed lap, he was declared the winner of the event following his death, which was his 170th win.

2002: Michael Schumacher secured his 5th World Drivers’ Championship title at the French Grand Prix, equalling Juan Manuel Fangio’s record set over 40 years before. McLaren-Mercedes drivers Kimi Räikkönen and David Coulthard finished second and third respectively.

2007: Lewis Hamilton was involved in a spectacular 170mph smash in qualifying for the European Grand Prix.

2007: The overall Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) record, also known as ‘The Race to the Clouds’, an annual automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, a distance of 19.99 km, was set by Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima from Japan who clocked a time of 10:01.408 driving the 1000 hp mid-engined Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special. He broke the previous record (set in 1994 by Rod Millen) by less than three seconds. The winning time in 1916 was 20:55.40, set by Rea Lentz.

~22 July~

Georges Lemaître in Peugeot 3hp at 1894 Paris-Rouen race.

1894: A Peugeot driven by Frenchman Albert Lemaître won the Paris-Rouen race and the first prize of 500 francs. It was sponsored by Le Petit Journal, who declared that ‘the competition is open to all types of vehicle, providing they are not dangerous, are easily controllable by the driver and do not cost too much to run’. Entries included those that declared themselves to be powered by gravity, weight of the passengers, hydraulic propulsion, compressed air, levers, a combination of liquids, a series of pendulums, pedals, electricity and compressed gas. The first to cross the finishing line was Comte de Dion’s ‘steamer’, but the jury disqualified him in view of the competition’s requirements of economy and manoeuvrability. Given that it weighed 2 tons, consumed 16 cwts of water and fuel, and needed two people – driver and fireman – to keep it going, the decision seems to have been a sensible one.

Automobiles lined up in front of Mount Washington Hotel, 1905 Glidden Tour

1905: The second Glidden Tour concluded with a return to New York City after a route through the New England States. Thirty-three contestants had started the tour on July 11. Jams Glidden and the Touring Committee of the AAA had drafted a set of rules for the tour that assumed sportsmanship and proper conduct on the part of the participants. The comfort of the Glidden tourists was a prime concern; and the excellent preliminary work done by the AAA included a thirty-two page tour packet with detailed maps, road directions, and pertinent information on hotel, garage, and baggage truck accommodations. The winner was Percy Pierce in a Pierce-Arrow. Others finishing with clean scores were Ezra H Fitch (White), Ralph Coburn (Maxwell, S. B. Stevens (Darracq), and J. C. Kerrison (Cadillac). No official observers were carried, the contestants as a whole observing the performance of the competing cars, and at the end of the tour voting for the three entrants whose cars, in their opinion, had made the best records. In addition, the Glidden Commission employed a formula which took price, equipment and general touring conditions into consideration in awarding the trophy. First-class certificates were given to twenty-two contestants who completed the tour and arrived at all night controls before the official closing time. Four second class certificates were awarded to others who completed the tour, but failed to make one or more of the controls in time.The Glidden Tours provided numerous people with their first glimpse of a horseless carriage; and in many towns and villages along the tour route, citizens came out in force to wave at and welcome the drivers and their automobiles. The Glidden tourists were not received as warmly everywhere and were often greeted by local constables lying in wait in speed traps. Drivers often lost their way when the confetti trails marking routes were changed or eradicated by locals, and they also had to be on the lookout for more serious practical jokes such as poles being placed across the road.

1962: Bill Krause won a sports car race in Pomona, California, US driving a Maserati Birdcage. Jack McAfee, in his last race, finishes second in a Porsche RSK.

1984: Harry Gant held off Cale Yarborough at the finish for his fourth victory in NASCAR’s top series, winning the Like Cola 500 at Pocono Raceway, Pennsylvania (US). Gant led 107 of the 200 laps and outran Yarborough by .34 seconds to the finish line. Pole-starter Bill Elliott came home third.

1984: Niki Lauda won the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in a McLaren MP4/2-TAG. Derek Warwick finished second in a Renault, with Ayrton Senna third for the Toleman team.

2006: The Mongol Rally, run as a charity event, began with 167 cars setting off from London. 117 teams made it to Ulan Bator in Mongolia.

2007: After being declared fit to race after a crash in practice, Lewis Hamilton spun off in a torrential downpour at the European Grand Prix at Nürburgring, eventually coming home ninth – ending his run of nine successive podiums – behind race winner Alonso.

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