Peter Windsor revisits 1967
SETTLING DOWN TO MY SUMMER READING LIST
What did I do in the August break? I did what I’d always wanted to do as a kid, but never could because Autosport wasn’t sold in Australian newsagents back then. So I packed my bags, took a couple of Autosports from August 1967, as yet unread, and ordered myself a gin sling. Here are some highlights:
Autosport, 25 August 1967
The front cover famously features the Roger Mccluskey/frank Gardner Ford GT40 at Le Mans. I had no idea that the car was painted gold – and I’d forgotten completely that Mccluskey, a quick USAC driver (who, on 20 August 1967, finished third at Milwaukee behind Mario Andretti and Al Unser), also raced at Le Mans in June. So why don’t we see Helio Castroneves or Will Power racing in Europe
from time to time? The mention of Gardner also reminds me of a conversation I had with Sir John Whitmore just before he passed away earlier in 2017. He was talking about his friendship with Steve Mcqueen, and how it had deteriorated once Steve had sent him the script for Le Mans.
Sir John had told Steve that it was completely lacking in direction and could have included some of the real things that happened, citing, for example, Frank Gardner sleeping in his Alan Mann GT40 overnight, pre-race, to ensure none of the Shelby guys nicked his chassis set-up. Anyway, Steve never spoke to Sir John again until he rang him 13 years later, shortly before he died.
Also in this issue: an advertisement for the upcoming 28 August bank holiday meeting at Brands Hatch – an F2 extravaganza featuring Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart, Pedro Rodríguez, Jean-pierre Beltoise and Jacky Ickx. No Jim Clark, of course (he was a UK tax exile in 1967) – and all the F1 drivers would fly to Brands Hatch direct from Mosport, where they had been at the Canadian GP the day before. No one thought twice about it.
Louis T Stanley arranged for an air ambulance to fly Ian Raby back from Zandvoort (sadly Raby would succumb to his injuries in November); Bob Anderson’s fatal testing accident at Silverstone the previous week was traced to a front-suspension failure; Jean-pierre Beltoise set a new record with his works F2 Matra-fva up the Mont-dore hillclimb in southern France and Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss were scheduled to make guest appearances at the weekend’s Ollon-villars hillclimb in Switzerland; there are descriptions of two new Mclarens – the BRM V12-powered M5A F1 car and the glorious, orange, M6A Canam car. Jackie Oliver, who raced a Lotus Components 41B in F2 that year, as well as deputising for Jim Clark, also writes the F2 race report from Enna while competing in the same event!
Oliver refers to himself in the third person: “Oliver came out late and only managed to get in five laps before stopping with fuel pressure trouble” – and says this of Pedro Rodríguez’s accident: “Beltoise and Rodríguez, fighting for second, contested the same bit of road at 145mph and Rodríguez lost control in a big way, breaking the car in half but managing to maintain second place for some distance on the seat of his pants….ickx had to slow to avoid the two-part Protos.”
Matras dominated the first five positions: Stewart, Beltoise, Ickx, Jo Schlesser and Johnny Servoz-gavin. Alan Rees finished sixth in his Winkelmann Brabham and Roy Pike (Brabham) won the F3 race from Harry Stiller (after whom Sir Frank Williams’ last black labrador would be named in 2001).
Paul Hawkins continued his golden run, winning at Zeltweg in his GT40 with Richard Attwood finishing second in one of my favourite racing cars: a Porsche Carrera 6. Finally, Tony Goodwin, wrote the report from Schleiz in East Germany, where the F3 race was won by another of my heroes – Chris Williams, from Shere, Surrey. As was the style, Goodwin also refers to himself in the third person, and finishes his report by writing: “There is talk of an East German GP for F2 or even F1…” Sadly not.
Autosport, 1 September 1967
This cover features a shot of Jacky Ickx (Tyrrell Matra) leading an understeering Bruce Mclaren (Mclaren M4A) at the Whit Monday Crystal Palace F2 meeting. We learn that Colin Crabbe (who would in 1968-69 support Vic Elford’s F1 career) was “lucky to escape with a burned ankle and cut hand when his GT40 lost a back wheel going into Hawthorns during practice for the Group 4 race at Brands. The car hit the bank head-on at high speed and burst into flames. Crabbe scrambled out as the car came to rest with the entire bottom half of his overalls alight.”
There is also a report on the Brabham onetwo at the Canadian GP by Bob Macgregor. Rain defined the race: Jim Clark should have won but stopped late with dead electrics. He got out of the Lotus 49, dried the ignition, then re-joined with a push-start. Dan Gurney drove slowly down the pitlane, hoping for new goggles, but a mechanic missed the throw and they landed on the V12 engine…
Henri Pescarolo led a Matra one-two in the F3 race at Zandvoort, with Mike Beckwith fifth for Brabham. Simon Taylor covered the F2 Brands Hatch meeting, starting with news of the flight from Canada to England: “Just about the most dramatic thing about the 30-strong entry for the Guards International was that Brabham, Stewart, Hill, Rindt and Chris Irwin made a mad dash across the Atlantic to get to Brands by Monday morning in time for the practice session that had been laid on for them; Hulme and Mclaren stayed in America to prepare for the first Canam round.”
With that, it was time to put down the mags, fold the umbrella and retire to my hotel room. They raced during the August break in 1967, I now appreciated – at circuits all over the world, to and from airports and on to other tracks. And sometimes they never returned.
We enforce the August break today, I think, because most of Europe shuts down, everyone needs some R&R and teams like Ferrari, in any event, find it very difficult to muster-up a workforce. Back then, that was Ferrari’s problem.
Today? It’s our chance to put our world into perspective. And to remember that we still love this craziness we call Formula 1.
THEY RACED DURING THE AUGUST BREAK IN 1967, I NOW APPRECIATED – AT CIRCUITS ALL OVER THE WORLD, TO AND FROM AIRPORTS AND ON TO OTHER TRACKS
These days all the drivers take a proper summer break – but that certainly wasn’t the case in 1967
He’d retired from the 1967 Canadian GP, but Jochen Rindt came back with victory in the F2 race at Brands Hatch
Brabham won the 1967 Canadian GP, then headed straight to Brands Hatch for F2