Discover the momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history ……….
1908: The first Cactus Derby, a 511 mile desert road race from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona (US) began and was won by F C Fenner and H D Ryus driving a White steamer.
1958: Bob Welborn, the king of NASCAR’s Convertible Division, claimed one of his nine hardtop victories, outrunning Glen Wood at Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, North Carolina (US). Welborn, an occasional competitor over 13 seasons in NASCAR’s premier series, started from the pole and led 117 of 150 laps on the 1/3-mile asphalt track. Wood held on for second with Buck Baker third.
1965: Red Line 7000, an action film about young Daytona stock car drivers and the women who loved them, was released in the US. Directed and written by Howard Hawks, the film starred James Caan, Charlene Holt, and featured Laura Devon and Gail Hire. Advertised under the tagline: “Meet the Speed Breed!”, Red Line 7000 featured several exciting racing sequences but suffered from a tepid screenplay, and was neither a critical nor a commercial success.
1968: The Springbok Championship Series Rand Daily Mail 9 Hours race at Kyamlami, South Africa was won by Jackie Ickx and David Hobbs in the Gulf Mirage M1.
1969: New Zealander Bruce McLaren drove his McLaren M8B-Chevrolet to victory in the final Can-Am race of the year, in College Station, Texas, to clinch the Drivers Championship. Amazingly, the McLaren team won all 11 races that season.
1972: Arturo Mezario and Clay Reggazzoni drove a Ferrari 312PB to victory in the 9 hour endurance race at Kyalami, South Africa. It was the twelfth win in 12 races this year for the 312PB.
1986: Bobby Rahal won his first national auto racing driving title. He had earned $300,000 for six victories, including an Indy 500 win.
1999: Claude Ballot-Lena (63) died from cancer. He won the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of Spa and was one of the first Europeans to race in the NASCAR Winston Cup series.
2002: Eddie Irvine ruled out a switch to rallying after testing with Colin McRae’s Ford team. Irvine, who had been released by the Jaguar at the end of the season, said: “The experience has shown me that I can’t just jump into a rally car and be quick.”
2003: In California Shirley Muldowney (63), 3-time Top Fuel champion, ended her 30-year racing career with a loss in the 2nd round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.
2003: With a fourth-place finish in the Pop Secret 400 at Rockingham’s North Carolina Speedway, Matt Kenseth wrapped up his first NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. Bill Elliott scored his first win of the season in what would be Rockingham’s final autumn race.
1968: Jim Hall’s Can-Am driving career was ended by injuries suffered in an accident during the Stardust GP Can-Am race in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Denny Hulme in a McLaren M8A-Chevrolet won the race and the championship.
1992: Ford won the NASCAR Manufacturers Championship.
1995: In the Friday Afternoon session for the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide, Mika Hakkinen in his McLaren suffered a rear puncture heading towards Brewery Bend, causing him to spin over the curbs and crashed heavily. Hakkinen was given an emergency tracheotomy at trackside, before getting rushed to hospital. As with Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident the year before at Imola, information wasnít coming forth and some feared the worst. Thankfully Mika recovered well from the accident and went on to become a double World Champion. With today’s safety features, like HANS and lateral cockpit protection, Mika would have walked away unscathed.
1996: Atlanta Motor Speedway (US) hosted a banner day for the Labonte brothers as Bobby Labonte rolls to victory in the NAPA 500 and Terry Labonte finishes fifth to clinch his second championship in NASCAR’s top series. Bobby Labonte led 147 of 328 laps from the pole to score his first win at the 1.522-mile track, where he went on to post five more wins in his career. Dale Jarrett finished second while Jeff Gordon took third, ending up 37 points behind Terry Labonte in the final standings. The two brothers took a side-by-side victory lap together after the checkered flag fell on the ’96 season.
2003: Four leading international rally drivers were banned from Britain’s public roads after being caught speeding in warm-up trials for the UK leg of the 2002 World Championship. Most were caught by a speed trap set up on a 2-mile section of the B4242 in Neath, West Glamorgan, between rally headquarters and a testing area. Magistrates also imposed fines totalling £7,350 and a total of 57 penalty points on 17 rally drivers who committed 37 offences between them.
2008: The fallout from the Max Mosley libel case continued with Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre claiming the “arrogant and amoral” judgments of Mr Justice Eady were “inexorably and insidiously” imposing a privacy law on the British press. Dacre said in the case brought by Mosley against the News of the World, Eady “effectively ruled that it was perfectly acceptable for the multi-millionaire head of a multi-billion sport that is followed by countless young people to pay five women £2500 to take part in acts of unimaginable sexual depravity with him. The judge found for Mosley because he had not engaged in a ‘sick Nazi orgy’ as the News of the World contested, though for the life of me that seems an almost surreally pedantic logic as some of the participants were dressed in military-style uniform.”