P

New Zealand Classic Car - - MOTOR SPORT FLASHBACK -

er­haps, like me, you had high hopes for the sec­ond ver­sion of the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Mclaren and Honda last year. The first time around was stun­ningly suc­cess­ful — from 1988 to 1992, the Mclaren-hon­das won 44 out of the 80 races they started (that’s 55 per cent), and four of the five driver and con­struc­tor cham­pi­onships. This time, not even the great­est PR spin mer­chant would have ex­pected vic­to­ries in 2015, de­spite the tal­ents of Fer­nando Alonso and Jen­son But­ton. I know I’m not alone in rank­ing the Spa­niard in the same cat­e­gory as the likes of Fan­gio, Moss, and Clark, but the fact that ‘Jens’ was there, or there­abouts, puts paid to any sug­ges­tion that he was a lucky world cham­pion (the con­cept of which is ut­ter nonsense, any­way). In 2016, with two guys in their mid 30s, Mclaren ar­guably has as good a driver pair­ing

Denny stuck with the Cos­worth — and he and oth­ers in Brab­hams were ei­ther win­ning or run­ning at the front, so there was clearly noth­ing wrong with the chas­sis. Jack suf­fered a num­ber of did-not-fin­ishes (DNFS), mostly due to en­gine-re­lated is­sues, and re­turned to Cos­worth power dur­ing the mid sea­son but con­tin­ued to work con­struc­tively with Honda to re­solve the prob­lems. In late Septem­ber, he was back with an im­proved Honda and fin­ished just be­hind the win­ning Lo­tusCos­worth of Jim Clark and well ahead of Hulme. If that gave the An­glo-ja­panese combo some hope for an im­proved time of it in 1966, their ex­pec­ta­tion ul­ti­mately proved to be mod­estly wide of the mark. By then, the Cos­worth was pro­duc­ing about 104kw (140bhp), but the Honda was de­liv­er­ing a re­li­able 111kw (150bhp). British Rac­ing Mo­tors (BRM) had also pro­duced a 1.0-litre ver­sion of its won­der­ful 1500cc F1 mo­tor, but it never seemed quite as strong as a Cossie. At the first F2 race of ’66 at Good­wood, it was a Brab­ham-honda one-two — Jack ahead of Denny. It was to be­come the story of the sea­son, but there was more to it — in third and fourth came the Cos­worth-pow­ered Brab­hams of fu­ture world cham­pion Jochen Rindt and his team­mate Alan Rees — more of­ten than not, they were the clos­est op­po­si­tion to the Honda-pow­ered pair, but the Ja­panese had cracked it — win fol­lowed win.

Fifty years ago this month, Denny got his first Honda-pow­ered win on the tricky Rouen cir­cuit, about 140km north-west of Paris. He won again two months later on the Le Mans ‘Bu­gatti’ cir­cuit to ce­ment the run­ner-up po­si­tion in the French cham­pi­onship be­hind ‘the gu­vnor’ to fin­ish a com­plete about-face for the Honda

High achievers

When look­ing back into the ar­chives to see what things Ki­wis were achiev­ing on the world stage in pre­vi­ous decades, I turned to July 1946 and the ex­ploits of Colin Strang. It’s been over a decade now since I first started in­ves­ti­gat­ing and writ­ing about a New Zealan­der who was at the very fore­front of post-war open-wheeler mo­tor rac­ing — his 500cc mo­tor­cy­cle-pow­ered rear-en­gined de­vice, the ‘Strang’, pro­vided a con­cept that was widely copied — most suc­cess­fully by the fa­ther-and-son out­fit from Sur­rey with the sur­name of Cooper. When my re­search into Colin Strang be­gan, I turned to the walk­ing en­cy­clopae­dia him­self — the late David Mckin­ney. Not one to have any time for peo­ple with a su­per­fi­cial con­cept of due dili­gence on mat­ters mo­tor rac­ing, David, for once, was un­able to help. It seems that he’d been there be­fore, try­ing to dis­cover if Strang was a Brit who’d some­how hap­pened to be born here but re­turned to Eng­land at a young age, or if he had been a Kiwi through and through who’d headed off to the UK, never to re­turn.

Per­haps some­one read­ing this will en­lighten us, but what I can tell you is that, 70 years ago this month, Colin, in his Strang, was vic­to­ri­ous at Prescott ahead of the ‘TigerKit­ten’ of Clive Lowes and one John Cooper in the car he’d knocked up with his old man Char­lie. For our hero, it was yet an­other win. He’d al­ready won the sea­son — and cat­e­gory — opener in May, and then the next in early June, fol­lowed by an­other four from seven over the rest of the sea­son. Per­haps one day we’ll solve his an­ces­try!

Rey­nard, and the British Amer­i­can Rac­ing (BAR) F1 team. Phil, who only passed away last Au­gust, was, of course, a di­rec­tor at Mclaren from 1968 un­til his re­turn to New Zealand af­ter the 1975 sea­son, but, prior to that, he’d worked for Jack Brab­ham from 1959 to 1967, which cov­ered the Aus­tralian’s two ti­tles for Cooper and then the two un­der his own name — the first in 1966 for him­self, and the sec­ond a year later for our own Denny Hulme. Phil had very much been a cham­pion of Denny’s skills to an ini­tially du­bi­ous Jack Brab­ham. As a driver, he’d been tal­ented enough to be one of the three fi­nal­ists in the in­au­gu­ral Driver to Europe pro­gramme.

Bill died in April 2012 af­ter a bat­tle with cancer, just short of his 73rd birth­day. He was a very de­ter­mined and com­pet­i­tive driver both here and in Europe, be­fore fo­cus­ing on build­ing rac­ing cars rather than rac­ing them. He never lost the urge to race, though, and his per­for­mances in his lov­ingly re­stored Mal­lock U2 (he mar­ried the founder’s daugh­ter, Su­sanne!) showed he’d lost none of his old skill, but it is the mem­ory of his com­mand per­for­mance at a sod­den Hamp­ton Downs in a Lo­tus FF that will al­ways linger the long­est.

Den­nis Mar­wood held a com­pe­ti­tion li­cence for over half a cen­tury. Orig­i­nally a farmer from Mor­rinsville, he made his name in a Hum­ber 80, but it was the Roth­mans Cooper-cli­max that al­lowed him to best dis­play his tal­ent — cul­mi­nat­ing with a fine fourth in the 1966 Grand Prix. Later that year, he won the Ren­wick 50 with a great drive.

He raced the Eis­ert- Chev when For­mula 5000 was first in­tro­duced here

Deep in thought - Al­lan Mccall with Phil Kerr and Denny Hulme

Left: David Ox­ton vic­to­ri­ous and 2016 His­toric Her­itage Award Right: Jim Palmer - 2016 His­toric Her­itage Award

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.