ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 29 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   Rear View Mirror

Backward glances at racing history

Where Upon Our Scribe, Sherman,
& Mr. Peabody Once Again Crank Up
The Way-Back Machine for 1961...
by Don Capps, U.S.A.

Which is better known as...the Season of Low Expectations or Britain Sees Red

In this chapter:

  • 1961.05.14 -  XIV Gran Premio di Napoli, Posillipo (Napoli)
  • 1961.05.22 -  IX Grote Prijs van Nederland, Zandvoort
  • 1961.05.22 -  IX London Trophy, Crystal Palace

    From the Streets of Napoli to the Sands of Zandvoort and the Sprint at Crystal Palace...

    While the Big Boys were racing through the streets of Monte Carlo and duking it out, that same day saw another race for the premier formula cars being run through the streets of a coastal city: the GP di Napoli being run on the twisty Posillipo circuit in the outskirts of the Italian city. This was an opportunity for those in the second tier, the privateers - long banished from the grid, to have their moment of glory and collect the big trophy and a bit of loot. The clear favorite was Giancarlo Baghetti making another appearance in the Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilstiche (FISA) Ferrari Dino 156 (0008) using the 65-degree version of the Dino vee-six. However, with only one of their entries accepted for Monaco, the Reg Parnell (Racing)/ Yeoman Credit Racing Team sent the experienced Roy Salvadori to Posillipo in a well-turned out Cooper T53 - Climax FPF.

    The entry list was almost a who's who of privateers of the day: the British being represented by John Campbell-Jones in his Cooper T51, Keith Greene in the Gilby, Ian Burgess in a Camoradi Lotus 18; Rob Walker entered his Cooper T51 (F2/19/59) for Giuseppe Maugeri, Lorenzo Bandini was in the Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper - Maserati as was teammate Massimo Natili, Ernesto Prinoth in a Lotus 18 entered by the Scuderia Dolomiti, Renato Pirocchi in the Pescara Racing Club aging Cooper T 45, Giovanni Alberti in the Scuderia Settecolli de Tomaso - OSCA, and Menato Boffa in another Cooper T45.

    There are a few others on the entry list, but the most interesting was the entry of a team called The Three Musketeers. It was composed of Andre Pilette in one of the Emeryson - Climax cars, and Tim Parnell and Gerry Ashmore in Lotus 18's. It wasn't just the name that is interesting: Ashmore sat on the pole when qualifying ended, much to the consternation of Salvadori and Baghetti who filled out the rest of the front row. Like Monte Carlo, the grid was restricted, in this case to the fastest 13, so six of the privateers sat out the race.

    When the flag dropped, Bandini rocketed through from the second row to take the lead with Salvadori and Baghetti on his heels. However, guile and power soon put these two ahead of Bandini, who a now had Ashmore looming in his mirrors. Baghetti then took the lead and he and Salvadori had a real scrap as the Cooper was often all over the Ferrari. There was an anxious moment as Greene spun the Gilby and ended up in the landscape where Boffa collected him plus using the carom to get Parnell as well.

    The battle up front take an unfortunate turn for Salvadori when he punctured a tire. After signaling his pit that he was in trouble, the tire blew on the next lap and he bent the wheel when he lurched into a curb and stopped. Salvadori leaped from his Cooper, dashed to the pits, got the replacement wheel, rushed back to the car, changed the wheel himself, and re-entered the race! After dropped well back, he rocketed around the circuit and ended up four laps back, having pulled back some of his lost laps.

    Baghetti was in the cruise mode meanwhile, having a two lap lead at one point. Ashmore was now in second, but having to deal with both an inspired Bandini and a broken gear lever. Then, seven laps from the end, Baghetti had brain fade and spun. Narrowly missing mangling the Dino against solid pieces of the local scenery, he eased around to the finish after allowing Ashmore to pull back to within a lap.

    In his second F1 race, Baghetti was now 2 - 0. Needless to say, the locals were delirious. Ashmore was second, followed by Bandini, Burgess, and Roberto Bussinello in a de Tomaso - OSCA entered by Isobelle de Tomaso.

    After packing up the pieces and litter from the streets of Monte Carlo, the GP circus headed from the Netherlands where the next race, the Dutch GP, was only eight days away. With the first qualifying session on Saturday, there was much to be done in the space of only a few days. There was the usual round of grumbling and complaining about the supposed rule stating that there was supposed to be 14 days between Championship events, but the race was contracted to run and Whit Monday and that was that was that. So, with nary a word from the gnomes at the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale) as a comfort, the teams started their trek from the warm, sunny beaches of the Mediterranean to the shores of the windy, cold shores of the North Sea.

    To make Life simpler for everyone - interpret that as cheaper for the organizers - the entry was limited to only those cars invited to practice of which only 15 would receive starting money. The Usual Suspects were invited, of course:

    1, 2, 3 - SEFAC SpA Ferrari, Phil Hill, Richie Ginther, & Wolfgang von Trips (Ferrari Dino 156)
    4, 5 - Owen Racing Organisation, Graham Hill & Tony Brook (BRM P57 - Climax FPF)
    6, 7 - Porsche System Engineering, Joakim Bonnier & Dan Gurney (Porsche 787)
    8, 9 - Ecurie Maarsbergen, Carel de Beaufort & Hans Herrmann (Porsche 718/2)
    10, 11 - Cooper Car Company, Jack Brabham & Bruce McLaren (Cooper T55 - Climax FPF)
    12 - Reg Parnell (Racing)/ Yeoman Credit Racing Team, John Surtees (Cooper T53 - Climax FPF)
    14 - R. R. C. Walker racing Team, Stirling Moss (Lotus 18 - Climax FPF)
    15, 16 - Team Lotus, Jim Clark & Trevor Taylor (Lotus 21 - Climax FPF)

    With the "Reserves" being:

    17, 18 - Camoradi International, Masten Gregory & Ian Burgess (Cooper T53/ Lotus 18 - Climax FPF)

    When practice commenced at mid-morning on Saturday, the weather was cold and very windy. Brabham was credited with the quickest time although his own pits had his several ticks slower. Moss tried the Cooper T53 that Walker had brought along to see if it offered an advantage over the Lotus. The session was run without the Ferrari team and the others took advantage of their absence to tweak the cars in hope of repeating the result at Monaco. Trevor Taylor was called up from the Formula Junior team by Team Lotus since Innes Ireland was still the worse for wear after his shunt at Monte Carlo.

    The second session started in the afternoon with the weather generally cold and overcast. Showers were chill the teams at times during the session. The Ferrari team had arrived during lunch and were soon in the swing of things. Moss, back in the Lotus 18, was quickest as the Dino's were getting in their stride. Just as von Trips was putting down the hammer, a heavy shower hit the track and paid an end to that effort. However, von Trips did equal Brabham's time from the morning session to end up third behind Moss and Gurney.

    Sunday morning saw an unofficial session where the times were not recorded or even noted for the record for that matter. The activity in the Ferrari pit was only a tad above the chaotic as springs were changed, shocks adjusted, suspension altered, tire pressures messed with - eventually being higher than Dunlop suggested with 6.50 x 15 sizes being used instead of the 6.00 x 15 being found on the other teams in the paddock, and rear axle ratios being messed with - being lowered on all the cars at the direction of Phil Hill.

    In the third session, held on Sunday afternoon, in warm if windy conditions, the Ferrari team left no doubt that they were now in charge and intended to take their revenge after several years of being pushed around by the Brits. Perhaps the highlight of the session was the performance of Masten Gregory. Still stuck with a Mark I version of the FPF and so down a number of horses to even the other Climax-powered teams, he flung the Cooper around the track in both sessions, but really got the bit between his teeth and spurs out in this session. When the dust settled he was seventh on the time sheets for the session, ahead of the works Coopers, as well as the Lotus team! And teammate Burgess also did well, placing 12th and ahead such leading lights as McLaren and Bonnier and much quicker than Local Hero de Beaufort.

    But, despite this excellent performance on the Camoradi drivers, the organizers (the K.N.A.C.) stuck to their guns and offered starting money to only the 15 invited cars. They pointed to the fine print which said the reserves started only if one of the invited cars was unable to start. Life is, as they say, like that at times...

    Here is how the grid formed up on the 3 x 2 grid:

  • P. Hill 1min 35.7sec
  • von Trips 1min 35.7sec
  • Ginther 1min 35.9sec
  • Moss 1min 36.2sec
  • G. Hill 1min 36.3sec
  • Gurney 1min 36.4sec
  • Brabham 1min 36.6sec
  • Brooks 1min 36.8sec
  • Surtees 1min 36.8sec
  • Clark 1min 36.9sec
  • Bonnier 1min 37.1sec
  • Herrmann 1min 38.0sec
  • McLaren 1min 38.2sec
  • Taylor 1min 39.5sec
  • de Beaufort 1min 39.8sec


  • Gregory 1min 36.8sec
  • Burgess 1min 38.0sec

    Stirling Moss was greeted by the usual mob as he emerged from the Hotel Bouwes for the day's activities. The turn-out of the Surtees fans was noted as many of those who usually frequented on the bike races were seen about town in their leathers. And, to the immense relief of the organizers, the crowd was huge, perhaps 70,000, and easily the largest turn-out ever, exceeding even that of a recent friendly with West Germany.

    After the usual pre-race festivities, which included some local sports car sprints whose primary purpose seemed to be to ensure that the track got a good oiling, then the drivers being paraded around the circuit in a bevy of Austin-Healey 100's and 3000's after the local races - probably mostly to see where all the oil was, Prince Bernhard and Princess Irene (wearing a head scarf with the Ferrari emblem...) dropping in by helicopter and then shaking hands with all the drivers and various hangers-on, and the obligatory panic on the grid when it was discovered that the Hill Dino was sans clutch - which saw an absolute swarm of tan-uniformed mechanics engulf the car and remedy the situation in less than five minutes as Hill looked on, and then the Clerk of the Course Ted Kolff held up the 30 second to go board...

    When President van Haaren dropped the flag to start the race, Taffy von Trips led the way off the grid with Hill - Graham this time not Phil - in second after a great start as the other Hill - Phil this time - was taking it easy with his new clutch. However, the Hill Ferrari was soon protecting the "six" of his German teammate as they began to separate themselves from the field. There was one car that seemed to step up to the plate and was ready to do battle with the red cars, the green Lotus of Jim Clark. As Clark moved to engage the Ferraris, he sat the fastest lap of the race, 1min 35.5sec 158.060kmph, on the seventh lap.

    While Jim Clark had garnered some attention during his first season in F1 (1960), this was the season that he started to emerge and Zandvoort was the race that is usually pointed to as the turning point. Clark tore after the Ferrari of Hill and passed the Dino on lap 22. Clark held second until he was passed during the 29th lap, but got past again for second on lap 32 and was back to third on lap 35.

    A highlight of all this was Clark trying to put a move on Hill using the inside line which led him to sweep past the pits - and have the mechanics demonstrate some quick footwork - and the excited dropping of signal boards - as the green car came screaming by within centimeters of where they had been. The Lotus started showing some strain from the pace and Clark was now faced with the steering being rather dodgy and when Hill pulled away to close on von Trips, Clark could do little but hope for the best. There was visible relief on the faces of Carlo Chiti and Romolo Tavoni, both of whom had spent most of the race standing in the front of the Ferrari pit area clicking stopwatches, yelling instructions, growling at mechanics as to what to put on the signal-boards, and generally looking as if they had eaten fiberglass for lunch - which would have been preferable to letting the Boss know they had been beaten again...

    After finally shedding the pesky Lotus of Clark after some anxious moments - the result at Monaco being crystal clear in their mind's eye - the Dino duo cruised to the finish of the 75-lap race. After closing to within a second of von Trips, Hill held station and made no attempt to harry his teammate.

    Were it that easy for their teammate, Richie Ginther. After a slow start which saw him engulfed by the next two rows, Ginther had surged back and settled into a series of battles for fourth and/or fifth that lasted virtually the entire race. Ginther and Moss seemed to find themselves butting heads the entire race. In the end, the dark blue Lotus pipped the Ferrari at the line by a mere 0.1sec for fourth place.

    When the race ended, it was realized that not a single entrant had retired from the race, nor had there been a pit stop for any reason! An extraordinary and still unique occurrence in the annals of the Championship. Indeed, the closest to a car entering the pits was the "brush-back" given by Clark during his battle with Phil Hill.

    The aftermath of the race was rather chaotic as the crowds swarmed onto the circuit. Prince Bernhard and Princess Irene waited in vain to present Taffy von Trips his trophy due to the mass of people crowding the area around the pits and the paddock.

    Championship Standings after two rounds:

  • Stirling Moss & Wolfgang von Trips 12 points
  • Phil Hill 10 points
  • Richie Ginther 8 points
  • Jim Clark 4 points
  • Dan Gurney 2 points
  • Bruce McLaren & Jack Brabham 1 point

  • Ferrari 14 points
  • Lotus - Climax 12 points
  • Porsche & Cooper - Climax 2 points

    Meanwhile, there was yet another double-header, the London Trophy being run the same day as the Dutch GP. Usually an event that featured F2 cars, the race was run for F1 this year due to the obvious lack of a suitable junior formula. With teammate John Surtees being the only Reg Parnell car accepted at Zandvoort, Roy Salvadori was the odds-on favorite, being a Palace specialist.

    It was the usual eclectic assembly of privateers with a few of the notables being: the ancient Cooper T39 entered by Team Salvatore Evangelista for John Langton; Alan Trow from the motorcycle side of the sport entered in a Cooper T45; the United Dominions Trust (UDT) - Laystall Racing Team/ British Racing Partnership team being not invited to Zandvoort concentrating on Crystal Palace with two Lotus 18's for drivers Henry Taylor and Cliff Allison; Klaas Twisk in the Cooper T51 entered by The Tulip Stable; Wolfgang Seidel in his Scuderia Colonia Lotus 18; and, Giuseppe Maugeri in a Cooper T51.

    The grid saw 13 of the 14 cars line up on the grid: the Cooper T51 of Graham Eden had its engine fail and non-started. Salvadori took the pole with teammate Taylor and Allison flanking the Jack Lewis H & L Motors-entered Cooper T51 on the front row. At the start, Salvadori was beat off the grid by Taylor, but soon got past on the third lap and won going away, with Taylor settling for second. Tony Marsh in his Lotus 18 made a wretched start, but managed to move through the field to finish third with the Cooper T53 of Shane Summers in fourth. As a note, Salvadori won four races in the course of this race meeting.

    In our next episode: on to the Ardennes by way of the Transvaal and Kent...

    Previous Parts in this Series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

  • Don Capps© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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