Riverside

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The tenth and final race of the 1970 Can-Am series was held at the Riverside circuit in California and proved to be an all-too-realistic repeat of the Laguna Seca event: Elford and the Chaparral 2J again stormed around the 3.3-mile-long course in record-shattering times that no one else could approach; the Chaparral’s performance again sparked controversy over its legality; the Chaparral again provided its own temporary solution when it failed before the race was two laps old; and Hulme’s McLaren was again chased to the chequered flag by Oliver’s Ti22. Going into this final race, both the qualifying and race lap records belonged to Hulme in his 1969 McLaren M8B, the former at 1 min. 34.03 sec. (126.342 m.p.h.) and the latter at 1 min. 35.23 sec. (123.19 m.p.h.). Virtually all the fast times were set on the first day of practice when the weather was unusually cool for Riverside at this time of year and in only 10 complete laps (barely half of them flying, timed laps) Elford made the pole position his own private preserve with a new qualifying record of 1 min. 32.49 sec. (128.446 m.p.h.). Hulme was over two seconds slower at 1 min. 34.69 sec. and he was followed by Revson at I min. 35.10 sec., Oliver at 1 min. 35.52 sec., Amon at 1 min. 35.92 sec. (having switched from Firestones to Goodyears), Gethin at 1min. 36.28 sec., (having engine problems), and the BRMs of Eaton and Rodriguez at I min 37.18 sec. and I min. 38.57 sec. respectively (although Eaton did not start because the same suspension casting that failed at Laguna failed again in practice).

The pre-race warm-up session again produced drama for the Chaparral but on this occasion it also embraced the McLaren team. The Chaparral’s problem came in the form of a broken crankshaft on the auxiliary two-stroke engine that drives the ground effect fans and virtually the entire three hours before the start of the race were needed for repairs. The McLaren team’s problem came in the form of a sick engine in Hulme’s car and although the only spare was running 500 r.p.m. down, the mechanics had it installed and running within two hours.

It took less than 30 seconds of the first lap to show that while the McLaren repair was complete and effective, the Chaparral’s was not. Hulme, making a major effort, passed the big white shoebox before the first turn; Oliver went through at the second turn and by the end of the first lap the Chaparral was back in sixth place. By the end of the second lap the Chaparral was in the pits–its auxiliary engine dead–and to all intents and purposes out of the race. One lap later Revson, too, was in the pits with a split water hose and also finished for practical purposes. Oliver then began a race-long pursuit of Hulme and although he narrowed the gap to 5.5 sec. at one point, Hulme was again in full command and took the chequered flag 8.2 sec. in front. Amon ran third for most of the race after Gethin retired with a blown engine on the 22nd lap but on the 56th lap the March ran out of fuel and Rodriguez took his BRM through to third place. Amon was fourth, Lothar Motschenbacher fifth in his McLaren M8C.

And so the fifth year of the Can-Am series ended with Hulme scoring his sixth win of the year, the McLaren team’s 22nd victory in 23 Can-Am races, and their fourth consecutive Can-Am championship. The Riverside results also put McLaren cars in the first three places in the championship. Hulme winning the title with 132 points, Motschenbacher taking second place with 65 and Gethin third with 56. Dave Causey was fourth with 47 points in his Lola, Jackie Oliver took fifth with 45 points despite competing in only four races in the Ti-22, and Tony Dean, the giant-killer at Atlanta, nailed down sixth place in his Porsche 908 with 44 points.—D. G.

Results:
Can-Am – Round 10 – Riverside
1st:D. Hulme (7.6 McLaren M8D) ………………………….. 1 hr. 40 min. 24.7 sec. – 120.284 m.p.h.

2nd:J. Oliver (7.6 Norris Ti-22) ……………………………… 1 hr. 40 min. 35.6 sec.

3rd:P. Rodriguez (7.6 BRM P154) ………………………….. 59 laps

4th:C. Amon (8.0 March 707) ………………………………… 59 laps

5th:L. Motschenbacher (7.6 McLaren M12) ………………. 59 laps

6th:B. Brown (7.6 McLeagle) ………………………………… 57 laps

7th:T. Adamowicz (7.6 McLaren M12) …………………….. 57 laps

8th:D, Causey (7.0 Lola T163) ………………………………. 56 laps

9th:A. Dean (3.0 Porsche 908) ………………………………. 56 laps

10th:R. McCaig (7.0 McLaren M8C) ……………………….. 56 laps

Fastest lap:J. Oliver ((7.6 Norris Ti-22), 1 min. 36.23 sec. – 122.33 m.p.h.

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