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3-4 November: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~3 November~

1901: The first motor race in Japan was held. Three – each two/three/and four wheelers, were raced in Tokyo. They were American “Thomas Auto-Bi”, “Thomas Auto-Tri”, and a French “Gladiator” quadricycle. The measured speeds were 36 km/h, 25 km/h, and 29 km/h, respectively, around an oval course of Ueno Park, Tokyo.

Glidden Trophy

1904: Charles J Glidden donated a trophy to the American Association to be awarded to the winner of the upcoming Glidden Tour, a reliability run for automobiles. The original Glidden Tours were held from 1902 until 1913. The tours were gruelling events: cars broke down, were damaged by accidents, and encountered nearly impassable roads. Drivers and teams did repairs on the run and helped out other drivers having difficulties. The tours went several hundred miles in the US and occasionally into Canada with time limits between check points and a point scoring system to determine a winner of each event. The time limits caused some problems with the inhabitants of where the tour travelled through as scared horses, caused personal and property damage and sometimes appeared to not care.

1962: David Piper and Bruce Johnstone drove a Ferrari 250 GTO to victory in the Kyalami 9 Hours race in South Africa.

1968: David Piper and Bruce Johnstone drove a Ferrari 250 GTO to victory in the Kyalami 9 Hours race in South Africa.

1982: FIA declared that beginning in 1993, all cars must have flat bottoms. Ground effects chassis were outlawed.

1985: Bill Elliott landed a season sweep of events at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Georgia, US), clinching his 11th win of the year in the Atlanta Journal 500. Elliott, who led 175 of the 328 laps, finished 4.25 seconds ahead of runner-up Cale Yarborough. Darrell Waltrip, who foiled Elliott’s championship hopes two weeks later at Riverside International Raceway, finished third.

1985 Australian

1985: Keke Rosberg signed off from Williams with victory in the inaugural Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide in front of 110,000 and in 30 degree heat. He survived a collision with Ayrton Senna midway through the race – Senna rammed the rear of Rosberg’s car, sustained damage to his own front aerofoil, returned after repairs, retook the lead but then had to retire with engine trouble. If Rosberg was diplomatic, Nigel Mansell was not, labelling Senna “a total idiot”. Niki Lauda’s farewell ended when his McLaren spun into a wall … he left saying “now it’s time to grow up and start some sensible work”. The late drama was provided by the Ligiers of Jacques Laffite and Philippe Streiff which collided on the penultimate lap when behind Rosberg. Streiff misread his pit signals and believed he was being caught by another car and so tried to pass Lafitte and the only succeeded in hitting him. Laffite came second while Streiff limped across the line at which point his wheel fell off.

1991: World Champion Ayrton Senna was declared winner of the shortest Grand Prix in history. With the 1991 title already decided in the previous round at Suzuka, the closing race of the season ended up drowning in the streets of Adelaide, Australia. Literally. With downpours so heavy that the cars were aquaplaning down the straights, the race was stopped after 14 laps for safety reasons.

1991: Davey Allison led the final 60 laps to win the Pyroil 500 at Phoenix, Arizona, US. Rusty, Mike, and Kenny Wallace all competed in the race, the first triple brother act in Winston Cup racing since 1961.

2002: With three races left in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, Tony Stewart led Mark Martin by 146 points. The series arrived at North Carolina Speedway, and Johnny Benson won his first and only Cup series race. Mark Martin finished second, while points leader Tony Stewart finished a distant 14th. Martin was poised to gain significant ground in the points standings, but his car failed post-race inspection due to an illegal left front spring. Martin was docked 25 championship points, and crew chief Ben Leslie was fined $5,000. Two weeks later, Stewart clinched the championship two weeks later at Homestead by a 38-point margin (more than the penalty difference). Martin’s team appealed the penalty, and considered filing a lawsuit against the spring’s manufacturer, claiming the spring was defective from the factory. According to NASCAR rules, springs were to have 4-1/2 coils, while Martin’s had 4-3/8 coils. The appeal was denied, and for the second time in his career, Martin’s chances at a title were derailed by a rules violation.

2007: Building work began in Abu Dhabi on the world’s first Ferrari theme park. It took three years to develop the park and officially opened to the public on 4 November 2010. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi covers an area of 86,000 square metres and has the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa.

~4 November~

1904: The Indianapolis Auto Racing Association staged its first races at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds (US) – Carl Fisher won the 5-mile handicap race in a Premier and Jan Clemens won the 100-mile feature race in a National, setting a dirt track record for that distance of 52.93 mph.

1905: Jan Clemens won the 100-mile feature race at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Indiana, US.

1961: The first races were staged at the Kyalami track near Johannesburg, South Africa.

1962: The first Mexican Grand Prix, run at Mexico City, 7,300 feet above sea level, was won by Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor, sharing a drive in a Lotus Climax at 91.31 mph.. The race meeting was marred by the death during practice of local driving prodigy Ricardo Rodríguez. The circuit would later be renamed the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez to honour him and his brother Pedro. Pole-sitter Clark suffered a flat battery and so required a push start to get his engine going. However, due to a lack of communication between the starting officials, the start flag was waved while marshalls were still on the track. For John Surtees, the delay caused a cylinder to burn out and his race was over before it even started. The race stewards decided that the push start had been illegal (despite it being caused by race officials) and black-flagged Clark’s car on lap 10. Clark’s Lotus team-mate Trevor Taylor was lying third, behind Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren, and Clark took his car over during a pit stop. The Scot put in a superb drive to claw back the 57 second deficit on the leaders, passing both with over one third of the race distance still remaining. Clark completed the remainder of the race with very little opposition, scoring an easy win. This would prove to be the final time that a Grand Prix victory would be shared by two drivers, a situation that was relatively common in the 1950s. Also notable was the participation of German driver Wolfgang Seidel, who competed despite having had his FIA licence suspended over two months previously. The Porsche works team did not attend, Porsche having withdrawn from at the end of the 1962 World Championship season. Despite the starting confusion, the race earned the Mexican Grand Prix full World Championship status from 1963, which it would retain until 1970.

Horace Gould

1968: Grand Prix driver, Horace Gould (50) died. Gould was a burly motor trader from Bristol who graduated from a Cooper-Bristol to the ex-Prince Bira Maserati 250F and then a newer version of the same model. The resourceful Gould based himself for much of the racing season at Modena, scrounging odds and ends from the Maserati factory parts bin. He was an indefatigable, larger-than-life personality with enormous enthusiasm and determination to surmount any setback. He survived to retire from racing, dying some years later from a heart attack.

1990: Dale Earnhardt took the lead in the 51st lap and never looked back, pacing the rest of the 312-lap Checker 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona, US. Ken Schrader finished a close second, 0.67 seconds back, with Morgan Shepherd third. The victory allowed Earnhardt to snatch the points lead away from Mark Martin, who finished 10th on the mile track in the desert. Two weeks later in Atlanta, Earnhardt sealed the fourth of his record-tying seven championships in NASCAR’s premier series.

1990: The 500th Grand Prix was held in Adelaide. The Australian Grand Prix was won for the second race in a row, by Brazilian veteran Nelson Piquet in his Benetton, giving the triple World Champion back to back wins for the first time since he won the 1987 German and Hungarian Grands Prix while driving for Williams-Honda. He took a 3.129 second victory over Nigel Mansell after the Englishman had tried a passing move under braking for the hairpin at the end of the Brabham Straight which almost took out both cars, Mansell somehow managed to pull his Ferrari up in time to just miss Piquet and the lapped Brabham-Judd of Stefano Modena as they turned into the right hand hairpin. After making the best start, but being blocked in by the slow starting Berger, Alain Prost drove a steady, but for him unremarkable race other than a rare mistake when he ran wide at Brewery Bend late in the race while trying to stay ahead of the charging Mansell. Prost ran in 5th for most of the race, but eventually finished 3rd after Senna crashed out of the lead on lap 61 with gearbox trouble, and after Berger had also run wide at Brewery Bend and had to back off to conserve his tyres. Berger finished 4th, 9.6 seconds behind Prost. Rounding out the top six were the Williamses of 1989 Australian Grand Prix winner Thierry Boutsen, the last driver on the lead lap and in his last race for Williams, and Riccardo Patrese. In Mansell’s late race pursuit of Piquet following a stop for tyres, he repeatedly broke Gerhard Berger’s 1987 lap record of 1:20.416 (set in the turbocharged Ferrari F1/87), and eventually lowered it to 1:18.203 on lap 75. In his efforts to stay ahead of Mansell, Piquet set his fastest race lap on lap 79 with a time of 1:18.527, and also emulated Prost and Berger’s earlier feats by running wide at Brewery Bend on lap 80 which allowed Mansell to close within two seconds. Piquet’s fastest lap, set on the tyres which he had started the race on, was also the second fastest lap of the race. In the post race interview with the top three finishers, Piquet said with a smile that after his lap 80 off which allowed Mansell to close up to him that he had to “drive like hell” over the last lap and a half, and that the “shit almost hit the fan”, referring to Mansell’s last-ditch overtaking move which almost took both cars out. The victory allowed Piquet to claim third spot in the drivers championship in a countback after equalling the 43 points of Gerhard Berger (Piquet scored 2 wins compared to Berger who failed to win a race). It also allowed the Benetton team to secure third in the Constructors’ Championship over Williams, equaling its best finish from 1988. The race was Riccardo Patrese’s 208th Grand Prix start in what was the 500th World Championship GP held. This meant that the Italian had driven in 41.6% of all Grands Prix held since the World Championship started in 1950. Patrese had started his F1 career with the Shadow team at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1977.

1990: Dale Earnhardt (cover image) took the lead in the 51st lap and never looked back, pacing the rest of the 312-lap Checker 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona, US. Ken Schrader finished a close second, 0.67 seconds back, with Morgan Shepherd third. The victory allowed Earnhardt to snatch the points lead away from Mark Martin, who finished 10th on the mile track in the desert. Two weeks later in Atlanta, Earnhardt sealed the fourth of his record-tying seven championships in NASCAR’s premier series.

2001: Townsend Bell, the 2001 Indy Lights champion, won the final CART Indy Lights race ever run, at California Speedway in Fontana, California.

2002: Brazilian CART champion Cristiano da Matta signed a two-year contract to drive for Toyota. “I have accomplished one of my goals by winning the CART drivers’ championship title,” he said. “Now I am ready for the next challenge.” His CART success came with a Toyota engine, hence the deal. But he struggled to adapt managing a brace of sixths, and after his form fell away in 2004 he returned to the US.

2005: A1 Grand Prix made its first long haul trip as the series headed to Sydney, Australia. Two Boeing 747s were used to transport 250 tonnes of equipment from Estoril to Eastern Creek.

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