From the Archive – Behra to Rossi


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Jean Behra was born 95 years ago this week, a childhood hero of Nigel Roebuck and a man who ‘never knew the meaning of fear’ according to DSJ. Enzo Ferrari, whose employment of Behra ended in such controversy, was also born this week, in 1898.

Born exactly one year before Behra was Tony Crook, racer and long-time custodian of Bristol Cars.

Double world champion Graham Hill would have been 87 this week, and Peter Gethin, who appeared for Embassy Hill Racing in the British Grand Prix of 1974, would have been 76.

Two greats of American racing celebrate birthdays on the same day, Saturday February 20. Roger Penske, a talented racer but better known for his hugely successful eponymous race team, celebrates his 79th birthday, while Bobby Unser turns 82.

American racing lost one of its heroes 15 years ago when Dale Earnhardt Sr crashed fatally at Daytona.

Le Mans winners Alexander Wurz, 42, and Andy Wallace, 55, celebrated birthdays, while winner of the second 24 Hours of Le Mans – after coming so close the year beforeFrank Clement died 46 years ago. Another nearly man of La Sarthe, Richard Lloyd, would have been 71.

Ferenc Szisz, winner of the 12-hour 1906 French Grand Prix at the 64-mile Le Mans road course, died in 1944.

Pre-war racers Georg Meier, who raced for Auto Union amid motorcycle success, and Charlie Martin died a year apart aged 88 and 84.

Stephen South, a driver Adam Cooper always admired, turned 64, and Giovanni Lavaggi celebrated his 58th birthday. Driver of “outrageously big cars”, Count Louis Zborowski was born in 1895.

Most recently, Valentino Rossi, arguably the greatest motorcycle rider of all time, turned 37 as he prepares for yet another season near the front of MotoGP.

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