Track back -- 50/30/20/10 years ago

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1975 — Jody scoops GP win at Kyalami

Tyrrell ace secures home victory but loses out in snow-hit Race of Champions

It didn’t look too promising. Desperate for success at his home grand prix on March 1, Jody Scheckter’s South African bid got off to a bad start when he crashed during Thursday’s practice. After his car — a brand new Tyrrell 007 with a number of revisions by designer Derek Gardner — was mended, Saturday morning’s practice session saw it lose power: there was no choice but to replace its DFV.

Not to worry, after lining up third on the grid, the East London man was mighty, hassling the pole-sitting BT44B Brabham of Carlos Pace before taking the lead on the second tour. There he would remain for the balance despite a prolonged assault from hard-charging Carlos Reutemann in the other BT44B. Scheckter’s team-mate Patrick Depailler held on for third ahead of an exhausted Pace, and Niki Lauda was a disappointing fifth for Ferrari in the new 312T. Scheckter’s older brother Ian impressed in his Lexington Tyrrell 007, outpacing Mark Donohue (Penske PC1), Tom Pryce (Shadow DN5) and Jacky Ickx (Lotus 72E) only to plunge into the catch-fencing after 55 laps.

That same month Pryce scored his first victory for Shadow, at the Race of Champions on March 16. The Welshman steered his UOP-backed car to pole ahead of a mixed bag that included four F5000s. Reigning F1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi complained of the dangers of allowing F5000 drivers to run in the same race as “professionals”.

During the 35-lap race Pryce seemed oblivious to the greasy conditions — caused by a snow flurry just before the off and a new surface that had not yet bedded in.

Ickx assumed the lead at the start as Tom Belso’s F5000 Lola and Jochen Mass (McLaren M23) collided at the first corner. Second-placed starter Scheckter soon took the lead and remained there until half-distance, when he retired with a broken DFV. Pryce, who’d been gradually hauling Jody in, inherited a lead he was to hold to the end. The Surtees T16 of John Watson finished second. Third was Ronnie Peterson’s Lotus 72.

***

Also this month in 1975:

— Ashley on fire

Ian Ashley takes his Lola T330 to victory in the opening round of the European Shellsport F5000 series at Brands Hatch. From the second row of the grid, he storms into the lead at the start and leads all 35 laps. David Purley is second on his debut in the Ford GA-powered Chevron B30: Damien Magee finishes third in a Trojan.

— Modus Opera

Tony Brise is in a class of his own at Brands, easily winning the second round of the John Player Formula Atlantic encounter in his works Modus. Jim Crawford is second despite his Chevron 829 being hit by poleman Richard Morgan’s similar car at half -distance: Morgan finishes sixth.

— Bullish AMC

With a win at Riverside, after a second place in the Daytona 500, Bobby Allison takes the lead of the NASCAR series in his hitherto unfancied Penske AMC Matador.

— Foyt in front

AJ Foyt wins the sixth California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway in his self-built Coyote-Ford. The Texan lifts the opening round of the USAC series with a totally unchallenged drive, leading every one of the 40 laps, with Bobby Unser a distant second in his Eagle; Steve Krisiloff is third in his similar car. Of the 33 starters, only 10 make it to the finish.

***

1985:

Peugeot’s victory in Portugal is scored by Timo Salonen/Seppo Harjanne — but only after the Audi Quattro of long-time leader Walter Röhrl loses time towards the end with suspension and diff problems. Audi has halved its efforts in the face of the mid-engined cars, with only two entries: for Röhrl and Stig Blomqvist. But the big surprise of the event is Massimo Biasion in a Jolly Club Lancia 037. The Turin make has disappointed fans by not entering a works team, but ‘Miki’ defends Italian honour with an inspired performance in his aged machine. He goes on to claim second once Ari Vatanen’s 205 T16 ‘Pug’ has dropped out. Röhrl ends up a very angry third.

***

1995:

Just a fraction over 2sec covers the first four finishers after 90 manic laps of downtown Miami during the Indycar World Series season-opener. Reynard driver Jacques Villeneuve takes the chequer, the 1994 Rookie of the Year gaining the lead with a rapid pitstop two-thirds of the way through the race. He leads to the flag despite heavy pressure from Mauricio Gugelmin, Bobby Rahal and Scott Pruett, the latter representing Firestone as the tyre giant returns to the Indycar series after a 20-year hiatus.

Poleman Michael Andretti builds up a comfortable cushion during the early stages only to be tripped up by Eliseo Salazar while trying to put a lap on the Chilean: he ends up in the wall. Andretti later says: “When I tried to pass, I thought it was Christian Fittipaldi. Christian knows what he’s doing and wouldn’t have made that kinda mistake. If I’d known it was Salazar, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Rahal is impressive, rising from 11th on the the grid thanks to some slick stops and aggressive driving.

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