In 1967 I was in West Palm Beach in Florida for 3 weeks on business. While there I took in a "motor rodeo" at the local oval. There were four Mustangs performing high-speed manoeuvres, spins and jumping over one another using ramps. I also was lucky enough to catch a round of the SCCA National Championship (road racing), which included a race for Formula B cars with 1600cc engines including Brabhams Coopers and Lotuses. And it was in the wet!
I fulfilled an ambition in 1967, the Monaco Grand Prix. I went with a friend from work. We went by coach with Page & Moy overnight from Ostend, two Belgian drivers changing on the fly, a four-wheel drift when one nearly missed an exit on La Périphérique in Paris (a round of applause from the coach), a courier coming onto the coach at the first hotel to give us the practice times. My hotel was in the road immediately behind the main grandstand. In qualifying Brabham set out on his final timed lap just before the chequered flag fell. I was timing it on my new Breitling Chronometer. "Jack's just got pole" I told my friend, "1m27.6s". A few minutes later it was announced over the loudspeakers. We viewed the race from the main grandstand, Tribune H-Heracles-rang B-place-09. On the 81st lap Bandini didn't come round. Hulme had been drawing away from him but Bandini was getting "Go faster" signs in Italian from his pit. There was a plume of smoke at the Chicane. After the race the remains of Bandini's Ferrari came back to the pits on the back of a lorry. Unfortunately my photo, due to failing light, is too poor to reproduce. We then walked round to the Chicane. There was red paint on both sides and a cast iron bollard on the quayside 'protected' by straw bales which had ripped the fuel tank open. The bollards were removed by 1968. A guardrail backed by sandbags and truck tyres were in place, see photo, p88, 1968 Autocourse. In next morning's Nice-Matin in 1967 the headline read "Lorenzo Bandini grièvement brulé dans son bolide en flammes".
The BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch in 1967 gave me the first sight of a winged car, the Chapparal 2F. The previous year's 2E was "the car that changed motor racing forever" (The Official Chapparal Website). Phil Hill and Mike Spence duly won the race.
In 1967 Graham, Ann and I decided to go to the Italian Grand Prix in the middle weekend of our holiday on the coast at Chiavari. We camped right by the circuit about where the first chicane is now. The Caribinieri put a rope up so you couldn't go up to fence to watch the cars flash by. We got soaked to the skin during Saturday practice in the woods between Lesmo and the pits. Drying out back in the tent we heard the engines restart. Ann told us to go back to watch practice while she cooked the dinner. What a girl! Lap charting the race in the Lesmo grandstand Clark led on laps 4,6 and 13 before dropping back to 1 lap behind due to a puncture. By lap 20 he had unlapped himself. By lap 61 he was back in the lead. On the final lap he had dropped back to third due to a fuel pump problem. Brabham had led on laps 16 and 60. Surtees now led Brabham. Jack made a desperate attempt to slipstream past Surtees to the finish out of the Parabolica final bend, see photo, p129, 1967 Autocourse. Surtees was driving with the Honda engine in a chassis rapidly constructed by Eric Broadley, quickly dubbed the Hondola, the only Lola chassis to win a Grand Prix and Surtees last Grand Prix victory. The only other 2 shots I have are during practise from the main grandstand.
The 1968 Race of the Champions at Brands Hatch saw the first appearance of the Cosworth-powered McClaren, which went on to win the race driven by Bruce himself. These were the days when paddock access was less restricted allowing me get this casual shot of Pedro Rodriguez.
For the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, I went with Graham and Ann again. We camped a few hundred yards toward Spa from La Source. This race saw the introduction of wings into Formula 1. The Ferrari team had a collection of red metal rectangular plates on the pit counter which they proceeded to bolt to the cars like a Meccano set. The Brabham team appeared late with wings already fitted. I believe they had been doing some private testing at Zolder. Jack failed to set a time due to an engine failure. Saturday practice was affected by heavy rain and we will always remember the magical atmosphere with the music from the film " Grand Prix" coming over the loudspeakers. Stewart ran out of fuel with one lap to go and McClaren, his car sporting a small spoiler over the gearbox, won as any challenge from Rodriguez evaporated with his fuel. This of course was the full road circuit and both Graham and I drove the circuit via Stavelot and Malmedy in his Cortina Mk1 when the road was open to public traffic. For the race we were in Tribune J. Lechat opposite the pits.
1968, Brands Hatch, Paddock. The winner, Jo Siffert
Leaving the Brands Hatch car park after the BOAC 500 (6 hours) in April we switched the car radio to hear "...killed at Hockenheim today". We had to wait an hour to find out it was Jim Clark. At the 1968 British Grand Prix the wings were getting taller particularly on the three Lotus 49Bs and they were mounted on the outward end of the rear suspension. Oliver had replaced Clark at Lotus. The works cars of Hill and Oliver took the first two grid positions and Jo Siffert, in Rob Walker's private entry, was in 4th place. The three cars led by the end of the first lap with Hill in the lead by the end of the third lap. He retired after 26 laps and Oliver after 43 laps leaving Siffert to lead Amon in the Ferrari 312 home by 4.4s from 3rd place on the grid.
1968, Oulton Park, Paddock. Jack inspects a rear end problem in the Brabham
For the Gold Cup at Oulton Park I stayed with John Daines who had been my chief computer operator in London. He lived in Tarvin. On race day we had lunch at his house and, going in by the back entrance, parked on the grassy bank at Knickerbrook and sat on the roof of my Bond Equipe GT4S to watch the racing. Stewart in the Matra won from Amon in the Ferrari. Both Brabhams retired with oil leaks.
1968,Crystal Palace, Paddock. Keith Schellenberg's Bentley
The 1968 London to Sydney Marathon set off from Crystal Palace in November. As a BARC member I had a pass to the paddock. With Graham and Ann we drove into the paddock via the circuit. We looked at the 100 or so cars assembled. The most interesting entry was Keith Schellenberg's 1930 Bentley Sports Tourer. There were entries from the Royal Navy, the Army, established rally teams and at least one Grand Prix driver. Keith retired in Eastern Turkey and Andrew Cowan won in the rugged, reliable but not generally loved Hillman Hunter. Lucien Bianchi led in a Citroen DS21 a 100 miles from the finish but retired when there was a collision with a non-participant car. The wonderful little Crystal Palace circuit was lost to motor racing when the grandstands were completed for the athletics track. Earlier in the year in June we were at formula 2 race there. Graham Hill, in an identical car to the one in which Jim Clark perished, shed a rear wheel coming up through the relatively slow Anerley Ramp. The magnesium wheel had sheared off at hub. I remembered seeing a media shot amongst the trees at Hockenheim of a wheel from Clark's car in a similar state.
1969, Racing Car Show. London to Sydney Marathon winning Hillman Hunter
I always tried to visit the annual Racing Car Show. In 1969 the London to Sydney Marathon winning Hillman Hunter was on display. I also have shots of the final winged versions of the Brabham-Repco BT26 and the Lotus-Cosworth 49B.
1969, Brands Hatch, Paddock. Jack and Jacky with Ron Tauranac
For 1969 Jacky Ickx joined Jack at Brabham, Jochen Rindt having joined Graham Hill at Lotus. Cosworth engines had replaced the rather fragile four-cam Repcos in the Brabhams. Jackie Stewart in a Matra-Cosworth beat Hill by 7 seconds. Rindt, after registering fastest lap, and the Brabhams all retired.
1969, Zandvoort, Main Straight. The DAF Works Band
For the 1969 Dutch Grand Prix we went to Zandvoort. Graham, Ann and I camped in the dunes between the sea and the circuit. In a bar in Zandvoort we met members of the Lucas fuel injection team. We bumped to the same guys in a bar at another meeting. For the race we were in the Tarzantribune. Jackie Stewart won in the Matra-Cosworth. Siffert was again the best Lotus finisher. Hill was 2 laps down and Rindt retired after 16 laps with a halfshaft failure. After a night back in the bar with Bols gin we felt very green on a canal and harbour trip in Amsterdam the next day. Ann got a photo of Graham to prove it. He looked green!
The 1969 British Grand Prix could be known as "The race of the 4-wheel drive car". Team Lotus turned up with 2 Lotus 63s for Hill and Miles, Matra with an MS84 and McClaren an M9A for Derek Bell. Stewart, in practise, damaged the conventional MS80 after snicking a loose kerbstone in Woodcote Corner, puncturing and spinning off into an earth bank. He took over Beltoise's sister car, leaving Beltoise with the MS84. Hill had a failure in the 63 and reverted to a 49B which had been sold to Jo Bonnier. Bonnier took over a 63 for the race. Stewart lapped the field, Hill finished two laps down after stopping for fuel 6 laps from the end, Beltoise finished 6 laps down, Miles 9 laps down and Bonnier and Bell retired after a few laps. The last hurrah four 4-wheel drive? Some did try a few more races.