Rear View Mirror
Backward glances at racing history

By Don Capps, U.S.A.
Atlas F1 Columnist

Rear View Mirror

  • The Number One Hit on the Billboard Hot 100, 2 April - The Ballad of the Green Berets, SSG Barry Sadler
  • 2 and 3 April: Le Mans Test Days, the Trials

    The Ford teams were represented by no fewer than eight of the GT40 cars in various guises. The Shelby American International (SAI) team showed up two of the Mark II cars, now numbered 2 and 3. These were the second (chassis no. 1012) and fifth (1011) placed cars at Daytona given the latest mods and flown to France. Interesting to those who track such things, the SAI cars were using Halibrand wheels - 8 ½ inches and 9 ½ inches wide at the front and rear respectively. However, mounted on the wheels were the latest Firestone Indy tires (9.65 x 15 front and 12.80 x 15 rear). More than a few Scribes stroked their chins at that observation.

    Alan Mann Racing was running the same lightweight GT40 cars used at Sebring, now numbered #15 (AM GT-2) and #16 (AM GT-1). Apparently they were given a quick trip to the wash rack, packed up, and flown to France. Scuderia Filipinetti had its two new GT40 cars, 1039 and 1040. For the Trials, both were carrying the #12. Ford France was running GT40 1007, which had been used as a show car. And, finally, the Essex Wire team was running 1038 as #11, a brand new GT40 fresh off the line at Slough.

    Most of the press attention which was focused on the Ford camp was directed at the new Ford GT car, the 'J Car.' The SAI team was running one of these new cars at the Trials in an attempt to push the envelope. The #1 'J Car' (J-1) was very different from the GT40 and the Mark II cars. It was designed from the outset to take advantage of the new rules laid out in the current Appendix J, hence its moniker as the 'J Car.' The roof was much narrower, the aerodynamics much improved, and the weight reduced through the use of a honeycomb construction using thin sheet metal to create the chassis. The numbers offered to those interested as the price to build a three car team 'J Cars' was something in the neighborhood of $300,000 to $400,000. These were numbers that few could even comprehend, much less imagine.

    The idea of the 'J Car' came about after the 1965 Le Mans race. Only five days after the race, Roy Lunn suggested that Ford take a hard look at the new Appendix J as it was proposed and start with a completely clean sheet of paper. The idea was shelved as the whole racing effort was re-evaluated and reorganized. When the racing effort was given the green light in August 1965, the initial analysis showed that the proposed 'J Car' would be on the order of about 300 pounds/ 135 kilograms lighter than the Mark II. This plus a better drag coefficient on the ultra long Mulsanne Straight and other improvements could add up to perhaps as much as savings of 10 seconds a lap according to the engineers conducting the study. In October, the 'J Car' project was given the go ahead.

    The construction of the new chassis using the honeycomb aluminum sheets bonded with an adhesive was very much an experimental project when it came to automotive use. Kar Kraft received both technical assistance from Brunswick Aircraft Corporation and the use of their ovens to cure the bonded frames.

    The bodywork was the result of work in the wind tunnel using clay models. A full scale clay model was constructed and used to make the molds for the bodywork for the actual cars. This same mockup was shown the Press in December when Ford announced the new design.

    On 1 March, the first chassis - J-1, was completed. Bruce McLaren drove it for a few laps at the Ford test track at Dearborn. On the first runs, J- used the two-speed automatic transmission. The car was then flown to California for testing at Riverside. McLaren and Ken Miles did a series of test sessions from 15 through 19 March. This resulted in some modifications to the bodywork and other changes to make it more race-worthy. It was just shy of the 300 pound/ 135 kilogram weight-savings goal. After the Riverside tests, J-1 was send to Le Mans for the Trials.

    Unfortunately for Ford, Ferrari decided to give the Trials a miss, as did Chaparral. The direct comparison which Ford had hoped to make with the Ferrari P3 and the 2D would not happen. This, naturally, did not please the Ford bosses. Then, on top of that, the first day of the Trials was wet. Frustration and a bit of foul temperament was displayed by a few in the Ford camp. The new tires which the Mark II cars were running were wider than those in the past and little was known about running them in wet conditions. Just when and how much they would aquaplane were question marks on the seemingly endless checklists carried by the Ford engineers.

    However, the Show must go on. Walt Hansgen was quick to take the track in Mark II 1011. This was the first appearance of Hansgen on the SAI team. Ken Miles took the track in 1012 as Hansgen was on his second lap. As the two circulated, it started to drizzle. Hansgen pitted to fit rain tires. While awaiting the tires to be fitted, Hansgen was approached by one of the Ford officials - Homer Perry, and asked to ease off on his lap times. Perry warned Hansgen that he was going too fast for the conditions.

    Miles in Mark II 1012, found the sand and ruined a Gilmer belt. There was not another one immediately available, so 1012 was parked in the paddock as efforts were made to another one. Meanwhile, Bruce McLaren was driving the 'J Car' and only managed to complete 12 laps. Things were not looking very good for Ford.

    Hansgen took the track once again and was lapping very quickly. Indeed, only Hansgen was lapping consistently at the sub-four minute mark, one lap being 3min 49.5sec, which was very quick. SAI team official Carroll Smith brought Hansgen in and repeated the warning that Perry had given him: slow down. He was told to keep his laps in the 3min 50sec bracket at best since the object of the exercise was to set the cars up for race conditions not sprints. In only a few laps, Hansgen lapped at 3min 48.5sec and then went even quicker with a flyer of 3min 46.8sec! Although the rain and drizzle had now ended, the track surface was still holding water at various places.

    As Hansgen brought 1011 past the pits to complete his 21st lap of the session, the car suddenly snapped out of control. Hansgen apparently regained enough control to head for the escape road. Unfortunately, he hit one wall lining the road and then bounced him into the other wall, all at over 130mph. Unfortunately, the escape road was not a true 'escape road.' After barely 50 meters the road was blocked with a wall of dirt. The Mark II hit the wall just before the wall of dirt, flipped, and ended up on its roof just short of the dirt wall. Fortunately the car did not catch fire. The car was badly damaged - almost crushed, and 1011 had to be cut apart to extract the critically injured Hansgen. This process took over 20 minutes after the rescue teams arrived on the scene. After being sent to the local medical facilities by ambulance, Hansgen was then sent by helicopter to the American military hospital at Orleans. He never regained consciousness and died five days after the crash. Hansgen was 46 years old.

    On Sunday, a somber Ford team once again took the track. The remaining Mark II, 1012, now had a replacement Gilmer belt, one being finally located. Miles, McLaren, and Lucien Bianchi did the driving duties with Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart getting some seat time to compare the Mark II with their lightweight Alan Mann GT40s.

    Bruce McLaren also put in laps with J-1. He was joined by Chris Amon and Amon soon the fastest lap of the weekend - 3min 34.4sec, about 226kmph. The fastest lap of the Mark II was 3min 36sec by Ken Miles. Stewart was next up with 3min 38.6sec in AM GT-2. The best Ferrari time of the weekend was set by 'Beurlys' in the Ecurie Francorchamps P3-bodied P2 at 3min 41.6sec. Sadly, even with dry conditions on Sunday, Hansgen was still credited with the ninth fastest lap of the weekend, which was an indication of just how fast he was going in comparison to everyone else.

    Outside the Fords, there were the usual interesting entries which seem to be attracted to Le Mans like moths to an open flame. There was a Matra with a two-litre BRM which managed to circulate at 3min 52sec with Jo Schlesser at the wheel, not bad since it was about six seconds quicker than the best of the Porsche Carrera 906 entries! Needless to say, the Germans were Not Pleased at this.

    The Alpine Renault 1300 managed to lap at an average of about 200km/h, Mauro Bianchi pushing the little car faster than it looked. In the one-litre Alpine, Henri Grandsire got in a lap of 4min 12sec, which is flying for such a teeny little car. Then again, not having to try avoid it in the dead of night with a big whacking Ford Mark II or a Chaparral on the Mulsanne Straight might give one a slightly different view of such things I suppose. Ditto the enthusiasm for the CD - Peugeot, now with a 204 engine reduced to 1,150cc and installed in a transverse configuration as is the production 204. It managed to lap at 4min 47sec due to being dogged by handling problems and various others plagues.

    On the Friday following the Le Mans Trials, Ford did a survey of the cars in its racing program. It makes for interesting reading:

    With Shelby American International in Los Angeles:

  • 1015: Mark II - Being rebuilt for Alan Mann Racing
  • 1032: Mark II - Scheduled for a rebuild as a SAI entry
  • 110: X-1 - Scheduled for a rebuild as a closed car for SAI
  • SP-1: Mark II - Being constructed by Alan Mann Racing at SAI; to be renumbered GTX-1
  • SP-2: Mark II - Being constructed by Alan Mann Racing at SAI; to be renumbered GTX-2
  • SP-3: Mark II - Being constructed by Alan Mann Racing at SAI; to be renumbered GTX-3
  • 1046: Mark II - Being constructed for Holman & Moody as a Le Mans entry
  • 1047: Mark II - Being constructed for Le Mans as a spare
  • J-1: J Car - Scheduled for development work during May, a reserve entry for Le Mans

    With Holman & Moody in Charlotte:

  • 1016: Mark II - Being rebuilt after Sebring for Le Mans as H & M entry
  • 1031: Mark II - Being rebuilt after Sebring for Le Mans as H & M entry

    With Alan Mann Racing in Byfleet:

  • 1012: Mark II - Being rebuilt for Spa race and then as Le Mans entry for AMR

    With Kar Kraft in Dearborn:

  • J-2: J Car - Being constructed as a reserve entry for Le Mans

    2 April: Oulton Park - XXI B. A. R. C. '200'
    45 laps of 4.443-kilometer/ 2.761-mile circuit for a race distance of 199.935 kilometers/ 124.234 miles

    The first F2 event of the year gathered all the real contenders on the same grid for what promised to be a very interesting event. The Brabham Racing Developments team was fielding the Honda S800 for both Jack Brabham and Denis Hulme. The S800 had been seen a time or two in 1965, but despite a second place at the penultimate season-ending race at Albi most were not certain that the Honda was capable of sticking together long enough to go the distance.

    When the grid was finally determined, many were nodding and saying, "I told you so..." because there was Jim Clark on the pole in his Ron Harris - Team Lotus 35 (35-F-3) - Cosworth SCA. Clark was 0.8sec clear of Brabham's BT18 (F2/18/66) - Honda S800. Filling out the last place on the front row, was Clark’s teammate Peter Arundell in another Lotus 35 (35-F-4). Sitting on the second row were Graham Hill in the John Coombs Brabham BT16 (F2/8/65) - BRM P71. Next to Hill was Jackie Stewart in one of the new Matra MS5 (MS5/03) cars entered by the Tyrrell Racing Organisation. The Matra was using the BRM P71, but could also use the Cosworth SCA - which Tyrrell also had in the transporter just in case.

    In what could only be described as an amazing coincidence, for the second year running the opening F2 round was canceled! In 1965, the rains at Silverstone flooded the track, making it worthy of hosting perhaps hydroplane races, but not F2 races. This year it was once again a problem with precipitation, but instead of rain it was snow! The race was forced to be canceled when the track was completely blanketed with snow. The teams packed up and returned home to prepare for Goodwood and hoping for better weather.

    3 April: Hickory Speedway, the Hickory 250 - Hickory, North Carolina
    250 laps of 0.4-mile dirt track for a race distance of 100.0 miles

    The next event in the quest for the NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing) Grand National Championship was the Hickory 250, 100 miles on the tight Hickory Speedway dirt oval. Hickory was the first dirt track of the GN season. The field was 26 cars crammed onto this very short track. The surprise pole winner (75.117mph) was Elmo Langley in the Langley-Woodfield Ford Galaxie - and a 1964 Ford Galaxie at that. Along side the # 64 car of Langley was the # 41 car - Curtis Turner in a Wood Brothers Ford Fairlane. On the second row were Ned Jarrett (# 11 Bondy Long Ford Galaxie) and David Pearson (# 6 Cotton Owens Dodge - a 1964 model) with Richard Petty (# 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere) way back in the 16th starting position.

    Turner grabbed the lead at the start from Langley, but Langley led a lap before Jarrett pushed by for the lead. Jarrett led until lap 142 when Pearson got by for the lead. Petty managed to lead several laps before Turner assumed the lead. It looked as if Turner had the win, but a fierce charge by Pearson allowed the Dodge driver to lead the final two laps for the checkered flag. At the finish, Pearson was four seconds clear of Turner.

    The race took 1 hour 27 minutes 41seconds for an average of 64.428mph. Pearson collected $1,000 for his efforts. The attendance was estimated at 14,000.

    1st:   David Pearson, Cotton Owens Dodge
    2nd:   Curtis Turner, Wood Brothers Ford Fairlane
    3rd:   Bobby Isaac, Junior Johnson Ford Galaxie
    4th:   Ned Jarrett, Bondy Long Ford Galaxie
    5th:   Paul Goldsmith, Bob Cooper Plymouth
    6th:   Elmo Langley, Langley-Woodfield Ford Galaxie
    7th:   J. D. McDuffie, J. D. McDuffie Ford Galaxie
    8th:   Leroy Bolton, Toy Bolton Chevrolet
    9th:   Roy Tyner, Truett Rodgers Chevrolet
    10th:   Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Plymouth

    6 April: The ACCUS (Automobile Competition Committee of the United States) announced its decision on the matter of the Ford 427 SOHC engine.
    After pondering the question of the Ford SOHC engine for several weeks, the ACCUS announcement was something of a compromise. The members of the Committee got out their pencils and did some math. The maximum displacement for a stock car engine was 427-cubic inches and the minimum weight 4,000 pounds. After doing some calculations, the numbers came out to 9.36 pounds per cubic inch of displacement, with the suggested minimum weight now pegged at 3,996.72 pounds.

    The Fords could run the 427 SOHC engine in the Galaxie with a 119-inch wheelbase. The engine was allowed only one four-barrel carburetor. Plus, the car would have to weigh 10.36 pounds per cubic inch, or a minimum weight of 4,423.7 pounds. The Ford 'Wedge' engine could now used two four-barrel carburetors on cars using either a 116 or 119-inch wheelbase. These cars would be allocated 9.36 pounds per cubic inch up to the maximum displacement. Parallel to this, the Mopar Hemi was still restricted to only one four-barrel carburetor, but the Hemi was now eligible for all cars whether they used the 116 or 199-inch wheelbase. The restrictions on the longer wheelbase for the Hemi (and Ford SOHC) on the Super Speedways was dropped.

    Needless to say, Ford did not take the news very well. Effective immediately, the teams scheduled to participate at the races in Columbia, Greenville-Pickens, and Winston-Salem were ordered to stay home. This left defending Grand National Champion Ned Jarrett sitting home along with Curtis Turner and Bobby Isaac. NASCAR President Bill France questioned the decision since even Ford had announced that the 427 SOHC was not going to be used in those races anyhow. Ford also announced that it would consider what further action to take and inform NASCAR in the next several days.

    Few doubted that Ford would announce a boycott. The only question was as to the date it would begin. Not many fans were thrilled on this latest turn of events. When the anger was turned on Bill France, he deflected it by saying that it was the ACCUS that made the decision, not him. Whoever was to blame, for the second consecutive season, NASCAR was embroiled in controversy that left few pleased with the situation.

    7 April: Columbia Speedway - Columbia, South Carolina
    200 laps of 0.5-mile dirt track for a race distance of 100.0 miles

    The 10th race of the Grand National season saw the Ford boycott start with a Ford on the pole! 'Tiger' Tom Pistone - hailing from Chicago, Illinois, managed to put yet another 1964 Ford Galaxie on the pole of a Grand National event. His pole-winning lap was 72.202mph. Sitting next to Pistone on the front row was J. T. Putney in a Chevrolet! The second row had Buddy Baker (Buck Baker Chevrolet) and John Sears using his 1964 Ford Galaxie to serve as a bookend for the two Chevrolets.

    Not until the sixth starting position did the GN regulars start to appear - David Pearson and his Cotton Owens Dodge. And he shared the row was yet another Chevrolet, Stick Elliott in the Toy Bolton-entered car. The independents filling the front of the grid had the crowd of 11,000 cheering and promoter Buddy Gooden wiping his brow after counting the gate. There were almost 4,000 more fans present than at the race a year ago when the Mopar teams were conducting their boycott.

    At the start, Pistone kept the lead and led for the first 53 laps before David Pearson finally got by. The surprising Putney led a lap, Paul Goldsmith then passed the Chevrolet to lead 16 laps before Pearson took command and the rest of the way. Paul Goldsmith made a race in the final laps and finished only a car length behind Pearson when the flag fell. In third was 'Tiger' Tom who got a loud round of cheers from the fans.

    Along the way crowd favorite Tiny Lund parked his Lyle Stelter 1964 Ford Galaxie when it overheated. Buck Baker followed Lund into the garage area when the water pump on his Oldsmobile failed. Son Buddy Baker crashed his Chevrolet just short of the halfway mark.

    Richard Petty managed to qualify only 18th when he left the track and ran down the embankment qualifying. As a result, the Plymouth suffered not only cosmetic damage, but the brake system required some major work before he could race. Although he managed to get the car repaired, the Plymouth was not at its best by a long shot. These short dirt tracks put more of a strain on the brakes than most realize.

    In the pit area watching the race were Ralph Moody, Bobby Isaac, Ned Jarrett, and Curtis Turner.

    Pearson collected $1,000 for the win. The average speed was 65.574mph. Pearson now had two in a row. With Petty starting to flounder a bit, the Spartanburg, South Carolina driver was making a run on the GN title.

    1st:   David Pearson, Cotton Owens Dodge
    2nd:   Paul Goldsmith, Bob Cooper Plymouth
    3rd:   Tom Pistone, Tom Pistone Ford Galaxie
    4th:   J. T. Putney, J. T. Putney Chevrolet Impala SS
    5th:   John Sears, L.G. DeWitt Ford Galaxie
    6th:   Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere
    7th:   Roy Tyner, Truett Rodgers Chevrolet Impala SS
    8th:   Leroy Bolton, Toy Bolton Chevrolet Impala SS
    9th:   Wendell Scott, Wendell Scott Ford Galaxie
    10th:   Henley Gray, Henley Gray Ford Galaxie

  • The Number One Hit on the Billboard Hot 100, 9 April - (You're My) Soul and Inspiration, The Righteous Brothers
  • 9 April: Greenville-Pickens Speedway - Greenville, South Carolina
    200 laps of 0.5-mile dirt track for a distance of 100.0 mile

    For the third race in a row there was a 1964 Ford Galaxie on the pole! This time it was Tiny Lund setting the fastest speed in qualifying - 68.650mph, in the Lyle Stelter entry. Needless to say, many were scratching their heads over this unusual turn of events, not the least of which were the Ford fans. Joining Lund on the front row was David Pearson with Paul Goldsmith (Bob Cooper Plymouth) and J. T. Putney in his Chevrolet.

    This race turned into a straight fight between Pearson and Lund during the first half of the race. Lund led the first 39 laps, but was passed by Pearson on lap 40. There was a caution when Putney spun. To everyone's surprise, the Stelter pit crew beat the other pit crews and put Lund back in front. However, Pearson took the lead on lap 85 and held it until the end. Pearson had an average speed of 65.850mph for the distance. The Goldsmith Plymouth was in the hunt with Lund and Pearson it experienced electrical gremlins and retired at the quarter distance mark. The combination of a car losing power and Pearson just being that good allowed Petty to slip by Lund for second place.

    Pearson won his third in a row and collected another $1,000 for his efforts. There was no official announcement about the attendance, but most observed that it seemed off. It was definitely nothing close to the crowd that showed up in Columbia for the Thursday night race. While some credited the lack of fans in the stands to the next day being Easter, many were thinking that the second boycott in as many years was the real culprit.

    1st:   David Pearson, Cotton Owens Dodge
    2nd:   Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere
    3rd:   Tiny Lund, Lyle Stelter Ford Galaxie
    4th:   Neil Castles, Buck Baker Plymouth
    5th:   Jess Hawkins, Hubert Howard Ford Galaxie
    6th:   Henley Gray, Henley Gray Ford Galaxie
    7th:   J. T. Putney, J. T. Putney Chevrolet Impala SS
    8th:   Clyde Lynn, Clyde Lynn Ford Galaxie
    9th:   John Sears, L. G. DeWitt Ford Galaxie
    10th:   Gene Cline, Gene Cline Ford Galaxie

    11 April: Pietermaritzburg - XIV Coronation '100'
    Two heats of 33 laps of 1.803-mile circuit for a heat distance of 59.499 miles and a race distance of 118.998 miles

    In the first heat, John Love was forced to start from the rear of the grid due to missing the practice session when an electrical problem forced his to stay in the paddock. The trouble was eventually traced to a faulty transistor box which was duly replaced. Dave Charlton and Piet de Klerk in the Otelle Nucci Brabham BT11 - Climax FPF battled for the lead in the early laps. However, Love was clearly Motivated and he screamed through the field and was battling with the lead duo within a mere 10 laps.

    Love soon had the lead and drew out a lead of about 30 seconds. Charlton inherited an uncontested second when the gearbox in the de Klerk Brabham broke. After a good battle, Clive Puzey was third in his Clive Puzey Motors Lotus 18 - Climax FPF from the Scuderia Scribante Lotus 21 - Climax FPF of Jackie Pretorius. In the second heat it was Love all the way - game, set, and match. After Puzey and Pretorius retired, Tingle and Jefferies moved up the standings.

    1st:   John Love, John Love Motors Cooper T79 - Climax FPF
    2nd:   Dave Charlton, Scuderia Scribante Brabham BT11 - Climax FPF
    3rd:   Sam Tingle, S. A. Tingle LDS Mark 3 - Climax FPF
    4th:   Tony Jefferies, John Love Motors T55 - Climax FPF
    5th:   Rauten Hartmann, Rauten Hartmann Netuar - Peugeot
    6th:   Barry Neunborn, Volsona Racing Team Volsona - Alfa Romeo
    7th:   Leo van Popering, Leo van Popering LDS Mark 1 - Lotus LF

    11 April: Goodwood - II Sunday Mirror Trophy
    42 laps of 3.862-kilometer/ 2.4-mile circuit for a race distance of 162.204 kilometers/ 100.80 miles

    The Easter Monday meeting at Goodwood fared better than the Oulton Park race. The entry was generally the same, the only notable addition being Jochen Rindt in a Roy Winkelmann Racing Brabham BT18 (F2/22/66) using the usual Cosworth SCA. The Tyrrell Matra was looking rather better than it did at Oulton Park. There it seemed a tad 'rough' in its appearance. Like the John Coombs team, Tyrrell was using the BRM P71 although the engine seems a few horses shy of the SCA this season. However, the Honda was definitely a real screamer.

    Denis Hulme put his BT18 (F2/19/66) on the pole a time of 1min 23.0sec. Jack Brabham in his BT18 (F2/18/66) and Jackie Stewart in the new Matra MS5 (01) set the same time and shared the front row with Hulme, but both were a full second off the pole time. Stewart was in the Cosworth-powered Matra after he realized that the BRM P71 just wasn’t up to the task on this day. This left Ickx to struggle with the BRM-powered car. On the second row were Graham Hill in the Coombs BT16 (F2/8/65) and Jim Clark in his Ron Harris Lotus 35 (35/F/4).

    The start was about the closest anybody got to Brabham and Hulme except when the duo were lapping through the field. Although Stewart managed to hang close to the Brabhams in the early laps, his day almost came to an end when the throttle stuck open and he had a huge spin - managing to run the car over some of the curbing at the side of the circuit. Naturally, this did the car little good and he came in to retire. With Ickx struggling with the BRM-powered car, Ken Tyrrell waved the young Belgian in and put Stewart in the car. In the meanwhile, Clark had a tire blow and the resulting damage put him on the sidelines.

    The performance of the Honda engine in the Brabhams was far beyond what any of the teams had expected. Keith Duckworth and his crew started on a program to squeeze a few more horses out of the SCA. The teams were praying that the Brabham performance was a fluke, but the smartly turned out team and the air of quiet confidence was rapidly squashing that notion.

    1st:   Jack Brabham, Brabham Racing Developments Brabham BT18 - Honda S800, 58min 50.2sec 102.79mph
    2nd:   Denis Hulme, Brabham Racing Developments Brabham BT18 - Honda S800
    3rd:   Jochen Rindt, Roy Winkelmann Racing Brabham BT18 - Cosworth SCA
    4th:   Alan Rees, Roy Winkelmann Racing Brabham BT18 - Cosworth SCA
    5th:   Graham Hill, John Coombs Brabham BT16 - BRM P71
    6th:   Jacky Ickx/ Jackie Stewart, Tyrrell Racing Organisation Matra MS5 - BRM P71
    7th:   Josef Siffert, Joakim Bonnier Cooper T82 - BRM P71
    8th:   Frank Gardner, Midland Racing Partnership Lola T60 - Cosworth SCA
    9th:   Bob Anderson, Bob Gerard - Cooper Racing Cooper T82 - Cosworth SCA
    10th:   Roger Mac, The Chequered Flag Brabham BT16 - Cosworth SCA

    Fastest Lap: Denis Hulme, Brabham BT18 - Honda   1min 22.2sec

    11 April: Bowman Gray Stadium - Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    200 laps of 0.25-mile track for a distance of 50.0 miles

    The big news at Winston-Salem was that the 1964 Ford Galaxie pole streak came to an end, but only barely. Although one of the venerable Fords was not on the pole, one was on the front row. 'Tiger' Tom Pistone put his # 59 1964 Ford on the pole next to David Pearson in his Cotton Owens 1964 Dodge. Bobby Allison in a 1966 Ford and Elmo Langley in a 1964 Ford sat on the second row. There were 22 starters on his tiny track. There was so little room in what passed for the infield that the cars had to exit the track and use the parking lot for the pits.

    The announced attendance was 4,200, about of that of the Spring race in 1965 and significantly down from the 15,000 in the August 1965 race. The Ford boycott was not even official yet and already the crowds were thinning at the gates. For the smaller tracks, having the gate drop off by such large numbers made life for the promoters even more difficult. For most the visits of the Grand National cars to the tracks were a big draw, one of the sure ways for a promoter to pad the account by a bit to offset those week night rain-outs or other such calamities.

    At the start, Pistone got the jump on Pearson and took the lead. For six laps they battled and on lap 7 Pearson took the lead and held it until the end of the 200 laps to win his fourth in a row. However, they did not call Pistone 'Tiger' for nothing. He hung onto Pearson until the bitter end, being the only driver on the lead lap with Pearson. The Dodge that Pearson drove was normally used as a 'show' car, but was pressed into service for this event. The car was good enough to set a new record average speed for the race: 51.341mph. The victory was worth $850.

    The entertainment of the race was provided by two unlikely contenders for that role: Richard Petty and J. T. Putney. Competing for fourth place on this incredible track, Putney and Petty made contact on the 64th lap. Although Petty got fourth place, he was forced into the 'pits' - a part of the stadium parking lot, to pull the bodywork away from the tire. This cost Petty two laps. Petty then ripped through the field and with only 30 laps to go, he finally caught up with Putney.

    After trailing Putney for a few laps, Petty applied a little nudge as they entered the third turn and Putney went very, very high and Petty was now in fourth place. Gathering up the car and now having the Red Mist firmly in place, Putney roared down the short straight into the first turn - without lifting the throttle. Putney narrowly missed the rear bumper of the Petty Plymouth, but he did collect the wall with a resounding smack. Despite the driver and car both being rendered senseless by the crash, the yellow flag was not shown. Putney returned to the fray after losing many laps in the pits, eventually winding up 12th and collecting $140 of the purse. Track officials wisely kept the two separated after the race.

    1st:   David Pearson, Cotton Owens Dodge
    2nd:   Tom Pistone, Tom Pistone Ford Galaxie
    3rd:   Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere
    4th:   Bobby Allison, Betty Lilly Ford Galaxie
    5th:   Elmo Langley, Langley-Woodfield Ford Galaxie
    6th:   Cale Yarbrough, Reid Shaw Ford Galaxie
    7th:   John Sears, L. G. DeWitt Ford Galaxie
    8th:   Hank Thomas, Hank Thomas (?) Ford Galaxie
    9th:   Buck Baker, Buck Baker Oldsmobile
    10th:   J. D. McDuffie, J. D. McDuffie Ford Galaxie

  • The Number One Hit on the Billboard Hot 100, 16 April - (You're My) Soul and Inspiration, The Righteous Brothers
  • 17 April: Pau - XXVI Grand Prix de Pau
    80 laps of 2.769-kilometer circuit for a race distance of 221.520 kilometers
    Trophes de France - Round 1

    The annual run through the streets of Pau saw all the Serious Players show up, plus the Usual Suspects from the Continent. Once again, it was Denis Hulme on the pole with a time of 1min 26.0sec, but only by 0.1sec from his boss, Jack Brabham. As at Goodwood, Jackie Stewart was on the outside of the front row with the Cosworth-powered Matra MS5 (01). As at Goodwood, Graham Hill and Jim Clark shared the second row only this time it was Clark nipping Hill by a mere 0.1sec to line up behind Hulme and Brabham.

    The short circuit allows the organizers to set a limit on the size of the field - 20; however, with 21 entries to battle over those 20 spots on the grid, the Wooden Spoon was not awarded since Seppi Siffert managed spin the Jo Bonnier-entered Cooper T82 and render it hors de combat. Hill was a tad worried when his very 'special' short stroke P71 self-destructed during practice leaving him to soldier on with a more pedestrian version of the P71.

    Prior to the race, there was some hope in the hearts of many of those assembled when Black Jack failed to appear for the first practice session. He was, it seemed, stuck in the UK by an inopportune snow storm. Hope was crushed when he managed to arrive for the final session of practice. The race ended about three corners after the flag fell. The only car that escaped being lapped was the Coombs Brabham driven by Hill; and, that was a fate he barely escaped at that. Once again, Stewart took over the Ickx car.

    Stewart lasted a mere three laps before a fuel injection link didn't. The main entertainment of the race was the charge of Stewart through the field from ninth to his eventual fourth place at the finish. Another potential challenger battling problems was Clark. The battery went flat and he spent two laps in the pits having it changed. Along with the Stewart dash through the field, the fevered pace of Clark once he was going was a marvel to watch. He did manage to equal the fastest lap of Hulme.

    Only eight of the 20 starters managed to make it to the finish. About a half dozen of those who retired managed to find a part of the urban scenery bounce off of at some point and provide the hard working mechanics with new reasons to ponder exactly what it was that led them to take up this line of work...

    1st:   Jack Brabham, Brabham Racing Developments Brabham BT18 - Honda S800, 1min 59min 14.1sec 68.42mph
    2nd:   Denis Hulme, Brabham Racing Developments Brabham BT18 - Honda S800
    3rd:   Graham Hill, John Coombs Brabham BT16 - BRM P71
    4th:   Jacky Ickx/ Jackie Stewart, Tyrrell Racing Organisation Matra MS5 - BRM P71
    5th:   Alan Rees, Roy Winkelmann Racing Brabham BT18 - Cosworth SCA
    6th:   Jo Schlesser, Matra Sports Matra MS5 - BRM P71
    7th:   Jim Clark, Ron Harris - Team Lotus Lotus 35 - Cosworth SCA
    8th:   Guy Ligier, Ford France SA Brabham BT10 - Cosworth SCA

    Fastest Lap: Denis Hulme, Brabham BT18 - Honda and Jim Clark, Lotus 35 - Cosworth SCA 1min 26.3sec

    17 April: North Wilkesboro Speedway, the Gwyn Staley Memorial - North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
    400 laps of 0.625-mile track for 250.0 miles

    On the Friday before the race at North Wilkesboro - the 15th, Ford finally made it official and announced that it was withdrawing its support from the Grand National series. Ford cited the weight problem if it used the 427 SOHC engine and that it felt that its cars were at a distinct disadvantage under the new rules to the Mopar teams. To ensure that there was no breaking of ranks, Ford ordered all the factory teams to marshal their cars and equipment at the Holman & Moody facility at the Charlotte airport. Ford was not about to risk having one of the teams campaign as an independent. However, as they say, the Show must go on.

    The pole went to Jim Paschal in his Friedkin Enterprises Plymouth with a speed of 102.045mph. Sharing the front row with Paschal was points leader David Pearson. On the second row were Tom Pistone - just missing from keeping the front streak of the 1964 Fords going, and Richard Petty. The 37 car field started the race in front of a crowd of only 6,000 fans. This was at least 2,000 less than the Spring race of 1965 far below that of the 1964 Spring race - 17,000.

    At the start Paschal led Petty for 117 laps until Petty held the lead for six laps and Paschal led the next 20 laps. Petty and Paschal traded the lead back and forth three times from lap 145 until lap 347 when the Hemi engine in the Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere blew and left Paschal safely in the lead. The pace that Paschal and Petty ran was so fast that at the end Paschal had a six lap cushion over the second place car. The winner's share of the purse was $4,950 which Spencer pocketing $2,225 for second.

    Pearson was running strong, but his engine blew and despite finishing only 382 laps was still third! Scott was another four laps back. It was a grueling race and the carnage in the garage area was testimony to the difficulty of surviving 400 laps on this difficult track.

    Many of the crowd groaned and lost interest when Tom Pistone crashed his #59 1964 Ford Galaxie after only 25 laps. For his efforts, Pistone got all of $5 from the purse. Another front-runner that fell out die to mechanical problems was Paul Goldsmith in the Nichels Engineering Plymouth. Goldsmith was running with Pascal and Petty when the brakes started to fade and then failed altogether just a few laps short of the halfway mark.

    1st:   Jim Paschal, Friedkin Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere, 2hr 50min 22sec 89.045mph
    2nd:   G. C. Spencer, G.C. Spencer Plymouth
    3rd:   David Pearson, Cotton Owens Dodge
    4th:   Wendell Scott, Wendell Scott Ford Galaxie
    5th:   Henley Gray, Henley Gray Ford Galaxie
    6th:   John Sears, L. G. DeWitt Ford Galaxie
    7th:   J. D. McDuffie, J. D. McDuffie Ford Galaxie
    8th:   Neil Castles, Buck Baker Plymouth
    9th:   Bill Seifert, Bill Seifert Ford Galaxie
    10th:   Gene Cline, Gene Cline Ford Galaxie

    Next Time, April Aggravation, Part 2


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    Volume 7, Issue 23
    June 6th 2001

    Atlas F1 Special

    Jean Alesi's New Start
    by Timothy Collings

    Team Connaught: Remembrance of Things Fast
    by Thomas O'Keefe

    The Newey Saga

    Why It Really Matters
    by Roger Horton

    The Point of Lauda
    by Karl Ludvigsen

    Canadian GP Preview

    The Canadian GP Preview
    by Ewan Tytler

    Technical Preview: Montreal
    by Will Gray

    Focus: Piquet in Canada
    by Marcel Schot


    Elsewhere in Racing
    by Mark Alan Jones

    The Canadian GP Quiz
    by Marcel Borsboom

    Bookworm Critique
    by Mark Glendenning

    Rear View Mirror
    by Don Capps

    The Weekly Grapevine
    by the F1 Rumors Team

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