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Charles and Frank Purley sold fish before taking over a small electrical repair business which they turned into the Longford Engineering Company Ltd manufacturing munitions at a facility on Longford Road in the seaside resort of Bognor Regis on the south coast of England, not far from Chichester.

It was a profitable but rather short-term business because when the war ended in 1945, the company needed to find something else to do, so they began experimenting with refrigerators and manufactured their first fridge in 1946. They were soon doing so well that they bought a new site on the Shrimpney Road, where they built a mass production facility in 1947. Today the factory site has been turned into a large supermarket and car park, but there is a nod to history with the access road, known as Fridge Way.

 

They changed the name of the company to LEC Refrigeration at the end of 1954 and this expanded quickly, becoming a public company in 1964, generating millions every year. They were making so much money that they bought 50 acres of land and built their own landing strip, known as Lec Airfield. Charles son David was born at the end of the war. He attended a couple of boarding schools, being expelled from one before becoming the Lec company pilot for a few months before falling out with his father and going to work as a member of a demolition gang, working on tall buildings. He then decided that he join the army and signed up at a recruiting office. He spent two years at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst before being commissioned in December 1966, and joining the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment early in 1967 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He survived a close call during training when his parachute became entangled with that of his instructor and he rode his way to the ground on the top of the other instructor’s parachute. Later that year he was sent to Aden where he spent several months in action against rebel forces. While still in he army he was introduced to racing by a neighbour Derek Bell and bought a powerful AC Cobra  sports car, which he would soon write-off at Brands Hatch. He then bought a Chevron sportscar and decided that racing was more exciting than soldiering and resigned his commissioned at the end of 1969 and set up his own Formula 3 team with a Brabham BT28. The team was funded by the family and called Lec Refrigeration Racing. He won his first F3 victory after just a few weeks, beating James Hunt by a tenth of a second in the Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay in Belgium. He would not win again until he returned to Chimay a year later.

 

In mid 1971 he switched to an Ensign and his results improved and he won two races in Britain at the end of the year. For 1972 he concentrated on Formula 2 with a March 722 and finished third at Pau, but he returned to Chimay to win his third consecutive Grand Prix des Frontieres.

 

He switched to Formula Atlantic in 1973 but made his F1 debut that year at Monaco in a March 731. Later that his efforts to save Roger Williamson from a burning car at the Dutch GP led to the award of a George Medal for bravery. He left Formula 1 and spent 1974 racing in Formula 5000 and became increasingly successful and won the British title in 1976.

 

That winter he commissioned designer Mike Pilbeam to build a Lec F1 car nd in 1977 qualified for several Formula 1 races. In practice at Silverstone he suffered a stuck throttle and crashed with incredible violence.  His life was saved by rescue crews at the scene of the crash but it took many months for him to recover from multiple fractures to his legs, pelvis and ribs. He did eventually have a second Lec F1 car built and did one or two events and then raced a Shadow in the 1979 British F1 series but then he quit racing. He underwent a series of painful operations to try to repair his damaged legs and then settled down to run the family business - and to do aerobatics in his spare time. In the years that followed he survived two crash landings, but in the summer of 1985 his Pitts Special stunt plane went down in the sea, off the coast. It was an accident that even David Purley could not survive.

 

 

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William Ronald Flockhart was tall, good-looking, fair-haired and something of a lady killer. He came from a comfortable background in Edinburgh where he attended Daniel Stewart’s College before going on to study engineering at Edinburgh University. After graduating he joined the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), being commissioned in January 1944 and seeing active service in the Italian campaigns later that year. He would remain in the REME until 1951, but whent he war ended he began competing in motorcycle scrambling before switching to cars in 1948, starting out with an MG before trying out single-seaters with a 500cc Cooper. He also learned to fly in a Tiger Moth.

 

He left the army in 1951 and went to work in a textile business in Edinburgh, but racing had by then become a passion and he began competing in Formula Libre and in hillclimbs with pre-war ERAs. Some success led to him being offered a BRM drive in 1953. He left his job and turned professional. He made his F1 debut at the British GP in 1954, sharing a Maserati 250F with Prince Bira. Alhough he did a lot of testing for BRM his F1 career was rather intermittent but it was in sports cars that he really made an impact, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in an Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type in 1956. He appeared a few weeks later at the British GP in a BRM but the engine failed quickly. The Le Mans victory led to an invitation to drive for Connaught at the Italian GP and he made a big impression by finishing third behind Stirling Moss and a Ferrari shared by Peter Collins and Juan Manuel Fangio. He won Le Mans a second time in 1957 but then crashed a BRM at the French GP and suffered burns. A year later he crashed while taking part in practice for a sports car race at Rouen, hitting an ambulance in his Lotus 15 and suffering from crushed vertebrae and broken ribs. He was back in action in 1959 and beat Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren to win the Lady Wigram Trophy in January and finished sixth at the French GP. In the autumn he won the Silver City Trophy F1 race at Snetterton (beating Brabham again).

 

In 1960 he was recruited by Team Lotus after the death of Alan Stacey at Spa and finished sixth at the French GP. At the end of the year he raced a factory Cooper in the United States GP at Riverside.

 

It was then that United Dominions Trust, which was sponsoring the UDT Laystall F1 team asked him to try to break the record of flying between Sydney and London using a World War II Mustang fighter. He had to abandon his attempt after suffering engine problems in Athens.

 

He was back out in New Zealand in 1962 to race for Lotus and to prepare for a second Sydney-London record attempt with another Mustang. As part of his preparations he set off from Melbourne’s Morabbin Airport to fly to Bankstown in Sydney on April 12. He ran into cloud in the Dandenong Ranges, to the east of Melbourne and crashed near the village of Kallista.

 

He was 38. 

 

 

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History has a way of isolating events from one another, leaving future generations to miss the continuity of events and thus it is hard to understand the atmosphere in a certain place at a certain time. This was certainly true of a three week period in 1955 when the motorsport world went through a traumatic period.

 

It began in Monaco on Sunday May 22 when Grand Prix racing returned to the streets of the principality for the first time in five years. Mercedes was dominant with team-mates Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss running 1-2 until halfway through the race when Fangio dropped out with transmission trouble. Moss looked to have victory in his hands but 20 laps from the finish his engine blew. A few minutes later the new leader Alberto Ascari, World Champion of 1952 and 1953, made a mistake at the chicane and his Lancia smashed into and over the barriers and flew into the harbour with a not inconsiderable splash. For a few seconds there was a sense of horror and then Ascari’s pale blue helmet appeared and the driver was quickly taken aboard a small boat, his only injury being a broken nose. The race went on and Ferrari’s Maurice Trintignant scored his first F1 victory – at the age of 37.

 

In Britain the focus was on politics with a general election due to take place on Thursday, May 26. As the British were going to the polls, Ascari paid a visit to Monaza, decided to test a Ferrari sports car and was killed in an inexplicable accident. The same day Sir Anthony Eden became the British Prime Minister, at the head of a strong Conservative government.

 

The World Championship that year included the Indy 500, although none of the Europeans went to America. In fact, it was a triple header of races with Monaco followed on May 30 by the Indy 500 with the Belgian GP on June 5.

 

At Indy Bill Vukovich was in dominant form. He had won the 500 in 1953 and 1954 and was looking for a hat-trick and had built up a lead of 17 secs when on the 57thlap he came up to lap three slower cars, driven by Rodger Ward, Al Keller and Johnny Boyd. Ward lost control and hit the wall and his car flipped and came back on to the race track, hitting Boyd and punting his car into the path of Vukovich. He hit the wall and the car cart-wheeled over the wall, landing on top of a group of parked cars, where it burst into flames. Vukovich was dead.

 

The Grand Prix teams were in Belgium a few days later. Lancia had withdrawn from Formula 1 in the days after Ascari’s death and Fangio and Moss finished 1-2 for Mercedes. The big names then headed down to Le Mans to prepare for the 24 Hours on June 12. History relates that in the late afternoon Mike Hawthorn made a late decision to pit in his Jaguar and pulled across the track rather took rapidly. Lance Macklin in an Austin Healey tried to avoid him and went into the path of theMercedes-Benz of Pierre Levegh, which hit the English car and few into the wall and disinetegrated when it hit a tunnel support, sending wreckage into the packed area in front of the grandstands. At least 83 people were killed (including Levegh himself) and a further 120 were injured, many of them seriously. No-one knows the full total of those killed as some did not survive their injuries but such was the scale of the accident that the injured were sent to 11 different hospitals.

 

The accident led to the banning of motor racing in several countries, although only Switzerland maintained the ban in the long term…

 

 

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Formula 1 has existed as a World Championship since 1950, but there were one or two famous names from the pre-war era who are listed as “Formula 1 drivers”, although there is no official definition of what a “Formula 1 driver” must have done to qualify for such status.

 

One such racer was France’s Raymond Sommer, who competed in Grand Prix racing in the 1930s, winning although he never won a Grande Epreuve, although he did win the French GP in 1936, when it was held as a sports car race. He was also a factory driver in various events for Gordini, Talbot-Darracq, Ferrari and even BRM. They called him "Coeur de Lion" – Lion Heart - a title that he shared with the English King Richard I.

 

Sommer’s life spanned the history of Grand Prix racing until the Formula 1 World Championship came along. He was born in the summer of 1906, a few weeks after the first Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France was held at Le Mans.

 

His father was a well-to-do carpet manufacturer from Pont-à-Mousson, a town in the Moselle Valley in Lorraine. His father Roger had been an aviation pioneer and even manufactured his own flying machines. Raymond’s competitive urges were nurtured with boxing but he was then sent off to study in Manchester to learn English before starting working for the family firm. It was then he decided that he wanted to be a racing driver and he did his first race in 1931, at the age of 24. He enjoyed almost instant success with an Alfa Romeo 8C roadster, winning Le Mans in 1932 and 1933. He did his first Grand Prix races, although not Grandes Epreuves, and won the Grand Prix de Marseille at Miramas in his first year. He was signed by Maserati for 1933 but afterwards tended to run his own Alfa Romeos, winning at Comminges and Montlhery in 1935 with an ex-factory Alfa Romeo P3. In 1936 he won the Spa 24 Hours and was French racing champion in 1937 and 1939. After a war which involved being an active resistant, he tried to get the French government to fund a Grand Prix challenger in the late 1940s with the CTA-Arsenal, designed by the government-owned Centre d’Etude Technique de l’Automobile et du Cycle (abbreviated to CTA) and built by the Arsenal de l’Aéronautique, another state-owned firm. The car was not a disastrous failure as the government-employed engineers refused to listen to engineers who knew about racing.

 

He gave up in 1947 and signed to drive for Ferrari in 1948 but then went his own way again with a privately-owned Lago-Talbot. He was signed to race for BRM in the first race of the new Formula 1 World Championship at Silverstone in 1950 but the team failed to appear and so he raced he raced Ferraris at Monaco and Bremgarten. In Belgium he went back to his own Lago-Talbot andfound himself leading the race at one point as the thirstier Alfa Romeos pitted, but his engine failed. The French GP ended early with an overheating engine but at Monza on September 3, he qualified eighth for the Italian GP and ran well until he suffered a gearbox failure.

 

A week later he went to the little-known Haute Garonne GP at Cadours, in the south-west of France, having borrowed a Cooper he had borrowed from Harry Schell. It was a very minor race with only around 14,000 spectators but he accepted the invitation to help promote the event. He broke down in the first heat but won the second and so qualified for the final and soon took the lead but then on the eighth lap he failed to appear. The word filtered back that he had gone off and the car had somersaulted several times before hitting a tree. Sommer was dead.

 

Investigations would later reveal that he had suffered a steering failure.

 

A year later the organisers at Cadours unveiled a monument in his honour, funded by a public appeal. Later an identical monument was erected in Pont-à-Mousson.

 

 

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Na danasnji dan 1909. godine poceli su radovi na izgradnji spidveja u Indijanapolisu.

 

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MILLER: A call with Uncle Bobby

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Images courtesy Robin Miller

 
 

By Robin Miller | 4 hours ago

 

 

OK, we’re all stuck in lock-down hell – no racing, no sports, no social gatherings, no traveling and nothing to do but browse the internet, read a book or Facetime friends and family.

 

But wait. There is a ray of sunshine in this pandemic: it’s the perfect time for a phone call to Robert William Unser.

 

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, four-time loser at love, self-taught engineer, king of Pike’s Peak and outspoken leader of one of motorsports’ most decorated families is always fun to talk to, but is just getting warmed up at 30 minutes.

 

So what better window to ring Uncle Bobby than now, when all anyone has is time on their hands? At 86, he’s not getting around without his motorized chair and he has trouble hearing on occasion, but his mind and memory are still plenty sharp.

 

And, thankfully, he’s still that uncensored treasure who always says what’s on his mind, regardless of the fallout – just like his old rivals Foyt, Johncock and Jones.

 

We spent an hour discussing the golden era of IndyCar racing: the heroes that are gone, and the ones still kicking that we idolize. So sit back and enjoy the world according to Uncle Bobby as he expounds on the warriors he raced against…

 

A.J. FOYT: “At one time, he was my hero, for sure. He was a good friend in the beginning before he became a bully. I don’t care for the way he acts sometimes but nobody could say he wasn’t an exceptional racer. Maybe not the best, but damn good in everything he drove. And a really good chassis and engine man. A hard-charger and clean. But being a bully made his racing look better.”

 

MARIO ANDRETTI: “First of all, I’m happy – and I hope he’s happy – that we’re friends again. We were great friends for a long time and then mad (at each other) for many years; but now we’re good. He was so good. He was born with that spoon in his mouth for being (a) great racer. Just a natural and exceptionally talented. He came along at the right time and stayed with it. He became a hero.”

 

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Bobby on Mario: “I’m happy that we’re friends again…”

 

PARNELLI JONES: “One of best that ever came down the road, if not the best. It was amazing what he could with a racecar, and he didn’t even have to try hard. But he hung it up way too early. He was too good to quit at that age. He’ll get mad at me for saying it, but he shouldn’t have quit at age 34.”

 

DAN GURNEY: “Only ran against him for a little bit, but he was very good, very clean and very bright. [The] guy had a one-track mind; learned a lot from those English guys and then put it to use over here. So smart on the mechanical stuff – roll centers, camber curve, you name it, he knew it. We made a great team.”

 

AL UNSER SR: “He was untouchable if he wanted to be. If his car was right, he was going to win. He had everything you needed to win races. He wasn’t untouchable, no, but really, really good. I liked the way he drove.”

 

JOHNNY RUTHERFORD: “Johnny was a good race driver, more like a gentleman race driver, and finally got good results with McLaren. He needed that to get him going. He was a charger and crashed a lot in his early years, but he was fast. Really good on ovals but pretty poor on road courses.”

 

GORDON JOHNCOCK: “A good, natural-born racer; good on the high banks. He could make a lot of guys look like dummies because he could go so fast, but he didn’t know how or why. He knew where the steering wheel was and that’s about it. But as good as he was, I never thought Gordy had his heart in it. I don’t think he liked racing like I did.”

 

LLOYD RUBY: “Too good, too fast, and it’s sad day that he never got to drive a car like mine. Nothing would have stopped him from winning Indy many times if he had better equipment. He’s the best guy that never won. He didn’t achieve based on his abilities. But he didn’t know how to help himself. He had no mechanical ability, just a lot of feel.”

 

ROGER MCCLUSKEY: “Good at times, but not all the time. Good racer and a smart guy, but he didn’t know chassis. Helluva sprint car driver. One of my best friends.

 

JIM HURTUBISE: “Could have been one of the greats – a lot like McCluskey. One of the best in the early ‘60s before he got burned, and he was sooooooo brave. But he didn’t like rear-engine cars, got stuck on roadsters, and that was his downfall.”

 

DON BRANSON: “Oh, ****, Pappy was so good. For sure he was one of the strongest on dirt. You couldn’t get rid of him on dirt. He would win a sprint car race and then tell you he was sorry you didn’t win. And damn good on the pavement as well. What a wonderful person.”

 

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Bobby on Branson: “Pappy (at right) was so good — one of the strongest on dirt.”

 

RODGER WARD: “He was my hero in a lot of ways. The guy could drive better than he was getting credit for in his last days. He didn’t want to race anymore by the mid-1960s. But he was amazing in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s before I came along. Unbeatable on the mile dirt tracks. I know A.J. and Rufus thought very highly of him. Rodger treated me really well and helped me when I came along.”

 

WHERE DO YOU RANK ON THE ALL-TIME LIST? “I don’t know. Got my learning from Parnelli Jones. I probably belong in the Top 5. I outdid a lot of guys, made a lot of big changes in my career. Sprint cars did a lot for me. It could have been disastrous, but it worked out. I led a lot of laps and never cared about second place. It was a wonder I was able to quit when I did. Think about how much I loved racing.”

 

BEST CAR? “A toss-up between the 1972 Eagle and 1981 Penske. Never remember a close call in either one of them, and just a delight to drive. I could have lapped the field in that ’72 Eagle while picking my teeth. And nobody had anything for me in ’81 with Roger’s car; it was in a class of its own.”

 

WORST CAR? “That Huffaker. Honest to goodness, father, that thing was really evil. No knowledge on how to fix it. I liked Joe (Huffaker) but his car was trying to kill me. Sent me the steering wheel from 1966 after I went under the guardrail at Phoenix.”

 

BEST WIN? “Had to be in 1968 at Indy because it changed my life. I beat the turbine and people started paying attention to me.”

 

FAVORITE TRACK? “Has to be Indy for obvious reasons. Indy makes your life. It made my life.”

 

FAVORITE WIFE? “I had two. The one I’ve got now (Lisa) and Marsha.” (Editor’s note: Lisa Unser has spent 20 years putting up with Unser and deserves the Silver Star, Nobel Peace Prize and a two-week vacation to Maui by herself.)

 

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Unser at his Indy 500 debut in 1963.

 

DID YOU LIKE SAM POSEY? “You know, I did like Sam. Everybody misconstrues it. He was a nice person and always polite. I had to correct him a lot on the air but it wasn’t mean-spirited. He just needed some educating. And sometimes some deodorant.”

 

GIVE US A STORY NOBODY KNOWS: “Back in the ’60s when Foyt and I were buddies, we went to Ascot Park for a midget race. He was driving for A.J. Watson. On the flight to L.A. I got him drunk and A.J. wasn’t much of a drinker so it was pretty funny. We got to the track and Watson was livid. ‘You got my driver drunk!’ he screamed. Well, Foyt wins the feature and is waving at me on the cool-off lap. I swear he was drunk before that race started, but he sure was impressive when they dropped the green flag.”

 

WHO WILL LIVE LONGER? “Me and Ruf are the oldest at 86. Foyt is 85 and should have croaked years ago with all the things he’s battled, but he’s a tough old bird. I’d like to think Ruf and I will live longer but all I know is that all three of us have had great lives and careers. So has Mario, Johncock, Rutherford and my brother. We’re damn lucky.”

 

 

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26 March 2020

Australian Grands Prix... and other stories

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Time moves slowly in a global crisis, or at least that is how it feels. It is only 11 days since the Australian Grand Prix was supposed to have happened, and it feels like an age ago.

 

Unlike many of my colleagues, I did not rush home from Australia. The Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled on the Saturday, which was the starting gun for the race to go home, but I already had bookings to go to Adelaide on the Monday and decided to stick to the plan and spend some time with old mates in South Australia. That evening I drove south from Adelaide across the Fleurieu Peninsula, an enchanting land between the St Vincent Gulf and the mouth of the Murray River on the Southern Ocean coast. To be quite honest, it is not a place I really want to write about because it would be nice if it remained as it is. But perhaps it will as Adelaide has never been a top tourist destination, with the reputation of being rather a sleepy place compared to the more hooked-up Sydney and Melbourne.

 

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I first visited the area about 30 years ago on my way to the Grand Prix in Adelaide. In those days, the Australian GP was at the end of the year and one would fly down from Japan after the race at Suzuka and there and there would then be 10 days to kill before the action kicked off in Adelaide. These days, the Australian Grand Prix is at the start of the season and usually one is too busy to visit Australia before the race and one has to either rush home or head on to the next race. But this year, with a few days between Melbourne and Bahrain, I decided to spend a couple of days there. I’d forgotten what a pleasant place it is, although it has developed a fair bit since my first visit. It is a region of much variety, with ocean beaches in the south, lakes and river ports, there are gentle rolling hills, charming German towns and numerous wineries. In this part of the world, McLaren is a Vale not a racing team.

 

Back in the day, my host was the motoring editor of the Adelaide Advertiser and so he became the main man when F1 came to town. In 1994 he even got to drove a Formula 1 car up King William Street in Adelaide, without the traffic being stopped - with a police motorcycle outrider in front and another behind.

 

No-one would believe it in these days of health and safety, but I was there at the Town Hall and watched him do it. I wish I had a photo. Perhaps someone out there does.

 

The one thing one learns early on about Australia is that the states are very competitive with one another. Melbourne lays claim to the country’s first motor race in 1904 but in October 1902 theLeague of Wheelmen of South Australia hosted a motorcycle race at the Adelaide Oval. At the same event they held a demonstration run for automobiles. Two years later the first actual motor race in South Australia took place at the Morphettville racecourse. It would be a long time before the first BIG race in South Australia, which was held in 1936 to celebrate the 100thanniversary of the founding of the state. It was called the South Australian Centenary Grand Prix, but was also deemed to be the Australian Grand Prix, and was held at Victor Harbor, 60 miles south of Adelaide on Boxing Day 1936.

 

The Adelaide Mail reported as follows:“The first of the long stream of cars, charabancs, motor cycles and bicycles which conveyed the invading army of 45,000 to 50,000 spectators to the course left Adelaide at dawn,” while the newspaper’s Victor Harbor correspondent reported that “never in the history of the town has there been such a crowd as there was tonight”.

 

Victor Harbor today is a pleasant enough spot, a seaside resort. Once it was important because of all the goods that came down the Murray River to Goolwa, which did not have a suitable ocean anchorage and so everything was sent by train to Port Elliot and Victor Harbor to be shipped out to the world. Later as the railways developed, so the river trade declined and the old ports waned as well. The event did not feature machinery of Grand Prix level but the local racers had some fairly potent cars nonetheless and they were pretty hard core when you see the roads they raced on. You can still see a section of the original road, running alongside what is now Adelaide Road, between what they called Hell Bend and Nangawooka Bend. There is also a plaque to be found on the same stretch, commemorating the event. This was one of the things we did during my stay, before South Australia closed down because of the virus. We had an enjoyable time, pottering about, having lunches and exploring.

 

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I’ve been travelling to Australia each year for 35 years and I had never managed to see a kangaroo in the wild – despite taking some pretty out of the way roads - and so we found a proper bit of bush and saw dozens of them, hopping about and paying us no attention. Each day we watched the news to see the latest developments in the global meltdown. It was decidedly bizarre…

 

You might think that rushing home would have been a good idea, but in fact I was asked to stay away a few extra days because there were family visiting my home and they were worried that I might bring the coronavirus home with me. It seemed pointless to explain that being in France was far more hazardous than being in the wilds of South Australia.

 

If you ever get out that way, it is worth visiting the town of Strathalbyn where there is a quite incredible monument to the motorcycle racer Kenny Blake, who grew up in the town and was killed on the Isle of Man in 1981. The sculpture was built from mechanical parts of all shapes and sizes welded together to create a life-sized motorcycle racer. It’s well worth a detour.

 

On Friday it was time to head home and I set off back to Adelaide with plenty of time in hand, intending to have a snoop around the Adelaide Hills, visit Hanhdorf and drop in at the old F1 track in Adelaide. There was still work going on to take apart all the infrastructure that had been used for the Adelaide 500 Supercars event back in February, but I had a walk around and enjoyed some memories of the good times we had there.

 

So I didn’t get an Australian Grand Prix this year, but I did end up visiting three Australian GP venues…

 

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Robin Miller's Tough Guys: Steve Chassey

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By Robin Miller | 3 hours ago

 

 

Steve Chassey knew what he wanted to do if he got out of Vietnam alive — drive race cars.

 

Following two years on the front lines in the infantry, Chas’ was discharged with honors and headed for Ascot Park to start running his dad’s sprinter.

 

He got a reputation for being brave but always laughed when comparing racing to staying alive in the jungle: “Race cars don’t shoot at you,” he’d always say. And, for the better part of the next 20 years, he was able to make a living behind the wheel as he went from a winner in USAC to a three-time starter in the Indianapolis 500.

 

His last Indy start in 1988 was the most special because he was his own chief mechanic. After he retired, Steve worked at ESPN on Thursday Night Thunder, managed Lola Cars, and sold insurance for racers.

 

But getting from Saigon to Ascot to Indianapolis was a trip few could imagine.

 

 

 

 

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The shortest seasons in Formula 1 history

Date published: March 25 2020

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The 2020 Formula 1 campaign was supposed to be the longest ever. It may end up being one of the shortest, but which seasons would it join?

Chase Carey has claimed that there will be 15 to 18 races this year, but even he must realise that that’s a hugely optimistic number.

Unless they opt for a 2020-21 super season, around 10 looks far more likely. Even if that’s the case, it would still turn out longer than many. Let’s go through them…

7 races – 1950 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first season of the sport was the shortest. It consisted of six races exclusive to F1 and as well as the Indy 500, which was included in the calendar at the time.

There were also 18 unofficial races that the teams and drivers competed in, but these didn’t count towards the World Championship.

These days, a season has to have at least eight races to be considered an official season, so this will remain the shortest for quite some time.

8 races – 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1961

The calendar featured a race more after the inaugural season. Monaco was dropped for the 1951 edition with Spanish and German events replacing it, while the Dutch Grand Prix came in for the former in 1952.

The season reverted to eight races once again four years later, although the schedule had a different look, with races in Argentina and Monaco rather than the Netherlands and Switzerland. The following season was the first without a Belgian Grand Prix, with a second in Italy replacing it.

1961 was originally slated to be a nine-race season but the Moroccan Grand Prix was cancelled for financial reasons. It was also the first time Watkins Glen hosted an F1 race.

9 races – 1953, 1954, 1959, 1962, 1966

F1 really pushed the boat out in 1953 when they expanded to having nine races in a season. It was even set to hit double figures until the Spanish Grand Prix was cancelled. The same thing happened again the following year, with the Dutch Grand Prix letting the team down this time, pulling out for financial reasons.

After hitting the dizzy heights of 11 (!) races in 1958, there were plans to go even bigger in the following year. However, the Argentine race was cancelled as, with Fangio retired, nobody there was interested, while events in Belgium and Morocco were also called off due to disputes regarding money. Alas, back to nine they went…

The South African Grand Prix was a welcome addition the calendar in 1962, proving the only change from the previous year. In 1966, the sport had just had three 10-race seasons in a row, but the withdrawal of that very race brought an end to that streak.

10 races – 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965

The start of the 60s saw double-digit season become the norm, with the 10-race campaign in 1960 kicking things off. It featured the recently added Portuguese Grand Prix, while a race at the Nurburgring was called off after drivers expressed their safety concerns. Once again, the Moroccan race was cancelled due to, yep you guessed it, financial issues.

After a brief return to smaller calendars, something unprecedented happened; the race schedule stayed nearly identical for three years straight. There was a slight change in 1964, with the Austrian Grand Prix replacing the one held in South Africa, but asides from that, the three seasons were identical.

After the 1960s, the calendar grew and grew, with only four seasons having fewer than 15 races ever since.

However, it looks likely that the 2020 championship may well buck that trend, and personally, we’re okay with that.

Hell, if we’re going back to the old days, why not re-introduce the Indy 500 while we’re at it? At least then, Fernando Alonso would finally make that return to the grid he’s always telling us about.

https://www.planetf1.com/features/the-shortest-seasons-in-formula-1-history/

 

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Valjda je u FIA "zakonik" upisano da je 7 trka minimum da bi se nesto (ne nuzno samo F1) priznalo kao svetsko prvenstvo.

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Ima i ovo - vise je neformalni intervju nego film, ali se dobro uklapa sa dokumentarcem gore:

 

 

Andreti i Piter Vindzor se vozikaju po Nazaretu i obilaze mesta iz Andretijeve mladosti - kucu u kojoj je odrastao, skolu koju je pohadjao, crkvu u kojoj se vencao i gde je decu krstio, zacinjeno anegdotama o Kolinu Cepmenu i drugim secanjima na trkacku karijeru.

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