Mont Tremblant, Quebec (June 27th)

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For the second round at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant, the Can-Am circus was joined by the latest version of the Shadow, a go-kart type of sports racer that had appeared in 1970 under the aegis of Don Nichols’ Advanced Vehicles Systems with George Fullmer at the wheel. For the Mark II edition, however, Peter Bryant, who had made such a hit with his Ti22 last year, had been prevailed upon to re-design and upgrade Nichols’ miniscule toy into something more drivable. The result was a pleasing compromise, revealing traces of both machines, but doing away with the radical valve-spring suspension. Plans call for the employment of Chaparral-built 494 cu. in. Chevrolet engines, which will be maintained throughout the season by ex-McLaren tuner, George Bolthoff. The car is still very close to the ground with but a 4-inch clearance, while the upper limit of the glass fibre skin rises barely 28 inches. Lockheed disc brakes are mounted outboard at the rear but inboard in front, and the latter are cooled by Lotus-type blowers at every pit stop.

Nichols’ 1970 attempt had been heavily bankrolled by Firestone, who had designed and developed the small rubber doughnuts for the tiny wheels. Though it was unknown at the time, Goodyear decided to keep pace and produce similar tyres, just in case. When Bryant’s involvement was announced, the Akron-based firm was more than happy to make their rubber available.

The car to be driven by Jack Oliver is sponsored for the Series by the US refining conglomerate, Universal Oil Products, whose principal aim is to prove that a high performance engine can be made competitive with lead free fuel, which, though not used at Mont Tremblant, is expected to be supplied for the races south of the border.

The new Shadow had progressed from drawing board to race track in four months, with all development work done at Jim Hall’s Rattlesnake Raceway in Midland, Texas.

Politics invaded the second Can-Am round when the CASC suddenly lifted the FIA sanction. There has never been any shortage of drama at the picturesque Quebec facility but the latest stemmed from a power play within the track organization itself, to the extent that the governing body was convinced that the payment of prize money and race expenses was in considerable doubt. The warring parties were soon brought together in the public interest, however, and the race went on as scheduled.

Stewart’s L. & M. Lola had received a front suspension face lift, as well as a change in pick-up points at the rear, with the prime aim being to obtain front-rear handling balance.

Though Thursday was devoted to practice only, it was Hulme at 1 min. 34.9 sec. (100.53 m.p.h.) who headed Stewart’s 1 min. 35.0 sec. Friday saw rain throughout most of the day, which upset Hulme’s stable mate, Peter Revson, who needed fine weather for his only shot at a grid spot, since he was due to fly down to Pocono the next day for a crack at a position in USAC’s inaugural 500-miler in Pennsylvania. Try as he might, however, 1 min. 37.7 sec. (97.65 m.p.h.) was the best he could manage and ended up tied with Cordts. Bob Brown snatched second fastest near the end of the day by six-tenths.

Saturday saw a reversal of Mosport’s first two starting positions for the next afternoon. Hulme lapped in a 1 min. 32.9 sec. compared to Stewart’s 1 min. 33.2 sec. Revson returned earlier than expected from Pocono to take over the third position in 1 min. 35.0 sec. The Shadow had gone through two engines before finally setting the 5th fastest behind Motschenbacher.

Overnight, an epidemic of stomach ‘flu hit the area, with Hulme, Motschenbacher, and many others laid low and feeling generally miserable. Motschenbacher, especially, had to make a supreme effort simply to drive in the race and his fifth place was a mark of his endurance.

At the start, Team McLaren forged into its customary lead with Hulme experiencing no trouble staving off the attack of the L. & M. Lola. Revson held down third with ease, but Parsons, in Tony Dean’s ex-works M8D McLaren, was kept fully occupied with Oliver in the UOP Shadow. The following threesome of Brown, Cordts, and Bondurant held the smallish crowd’s attention, but most were interested in Motschenbacher’s progress. Flaying opted to start last, where he could easily retire if the stomach bug took hold, he moved up with unanticipated despatch, taking over 14th place by lap 5.

The Shadow went missing on lap 12 with erratic fuel pressure and badly overheating tyres. Oliver re-appeared 23 laps later but was never in contention and retired on lap 50, officially due to trouble with the fuel pressure relief valve. By lap 25, Motschenbacher had incredibly moved to 7th, apparently getting stronger with every lap, as Hulme continued to set a torrid pace. Stewart never fell farther than 10 or 11 seconds back, but it was obvious that the L. & M. car simply didn’t have the legs of the McLaren. Parsons was driving smartly, but succumbed to the leading trio on lap 40.

Suddenly Hulme slowed barely keeping Stewart at bay, as the Scot closed right up on the 1970 champion. The next attack was successful and Stewart put the T260 Lola into the lead on lap 52 as Hulme was obviously in trouble. He kept raising the visor on his Bell Star helmet as he crept past the pits and fell further and further behind. There was no way Revson could overtake the leader at this stage, and victory lane echoed to the cheers of the partisan crowd as the Lola took the chequered flag. Hulme collapsed in the pit lane. Stewart’s margin was a convincing 66.8 seconds, Revson finished third, Parsons fourth, and the indomitable Motschenbacher deserved every bit of the tremendous applause he received for taking fifth.

J.M.