Momentous motor sports events that took place during this weekend in history …….
1904: The Indianapolis Auto Racing Association staged its first races at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds – 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.
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 The Porsche works team did not attend, Porsche having withdrawn from motor sport at the end of the 1962 World Championship season.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.
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was a burly motor trader from Bristol who graduated from a Cooper-Bristol to the ex-Prince Bira Maserati 250F and then a newer version of the same model.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: The 500th Formula One 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.
2001: Townsend Bell, the 2001 Indy Lights champion, won the final CART Indy Lights race ever run, at California Speedway in Fontana, California.
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.
2009: It was revealed the 20 top Formula One drivers pocketed $134.8 million even though four of them went unpaid, and that did not include sponsor income. According to Tom Rubython of Sports Pro magazine, Jenson Button might have been forgiven for feeling a little hard done by though. He took home $5 million, taking a pay cut to help his Brawn team make it to the grid, while his Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen made $45 million.
1895: Automobile Club de France was founded and organized 34 intercity races during the first 8 years of its existence. Among them were the first international race, the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris in 1898 won by Charron in a Panchard, and the first race to include a woman, the 1901 Paris-Berlin, with Madam Camille du Gast , also driving a Panchard.
1950: The first Pebble Beach Road Races (California) were staged, with the main event won by Phil Hill in a Jaguar XK120. The races were managed under the auspices of the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America), as were most races from that day to this. The route was originally 1.8 miles (2.9 km) long, but was lengthened from 1951 onwards to 2.1 miles (3.4 km). Not all of the “track” was paved; the original 1950 route consisted of both paved two-lane roads and sections of dirt or loose gravel.
1952: Joe James, who competed in two Indianapolis 500s, died on this day after an accident three days earlier at San Jose Speedway. A native of Mississippi, that year he was the AAA Midwest Sprint car Champion with six victories to his name. On October 17 he was crowned as the champion at a banquet in Dayton, Ohio. Sixteen days later he was blinded by the sun, failed to see a yellow flag and ran over a wheel on the track. His car flipped and he suffered massive head injuries. A Joe James Memorial Auto Race , set up in 1953, ran every year until the track was closed in 1999.
1966: David Piper and Richard Atwood drove a Ferrari 365P2/3 to victory in the 9 hour sports car race at Kyalami, South Africa.
1967: Bobby Allison fended off Richard Petty by a car-length to win the Western North Carolina 500 at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway (North Carolina, US), closing out the season with a two-race win streak. Allison, who prevailed the week before at Rockingham, started from the pole and led 262 of the 500 laps — including the final seven — on the half-mile asphalt track. Petty, who led 95 laps, settled for second with David Pearson third as the final driver on the lead lap. Amazingly, only six of the 30 starters were running at the finish.
1978: Richard Petty appeared to win the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Atlanta, Georgia, USA, but after the scoring was rechecked, the win was given to Donnie Allison. This was Allison’s last career victory.
1987: Sports car and Grand Prix driver, Adolf Brudes von Breslau (50) died. Brudes began his racing career on motorcycles before switching to cars, taking third place in the 1940 Coppa Brescia just before Italy’s entry into the Second World War. He started racing again after the war and took part in the 1952 German Grand Prix in a Veritas RS-BMW after which he competed in many varied production car events, mainly for Borgward.
1989: On a rainy day in Adelaide the 1989 Australian Grand Prix was stopped after only one lap due to excessive rain. On the restart, Ayrton Senna led the field from pole, but retired after 13 laps. His buddy Thierry Boutsen gained the lead after starting 3rd on the grid and scored his second Grand Prix win. Boutsen had earned his first win in Canada earlier that season.