peterwindsor.com

…chance doesn't exist; there's always a cause and a reason for everything – Elahi

Archive for the tag “Australian GP”

Rob Wilson Picks Eight!

IMG_1817Regular readers of this site will be familiar with the GP Tours logo to your right.  It’s there because I’ve been a GP Tours fan for many years.  I like the people who run the business from Newport, California, and I like the tours they generate. They’re about race fans travelling with other race fans to some of the greatest circuits in the world – Monaco, Spa, Silverstone, Austin and many more.

What I’m particularly excited about this year is a new free-to-enter competition they’ve put together, the prize for which is a fully-catered trip for two to the 2015 Monaco GP. How to win? Choose your top eight finishers for each of the 2014 F1 races; points will be awarded when you select the right driver for the right finishing position, with bonus points if you make your choice prior to FP1 or Q1. Go to http://www.gptours.com/pick8 for more details – and where you’ll find the list of runners and riders and your entry form for the 2014 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Who to select for Melbourne?  On our YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/peterwindsor) you will find recent interviews with three of Autosport’s top journalists – Edd Straw, Glenn Freeman and Ben Anderson.  I asked all three to predict their AGP winner, so that should be of help.

In addition, I asked Rob Wilson (above, with a disguised F1 Racing Editor, Anthony Rowlinson, pictured after a recent TRE filming session) for his top eight. Rob is not only one of the world’s leading driver coaches and regular guest on The Racer’s Edge but also a remarkably perceptive motor racing observer. His list is a little specialized, as you would expect with a guy who also plays bass for Grand Prairie, but he nonetheless diligently exercised his grey cells when we asked him for his selections. And don’t forget that Rob has worked closely with ten of the F1 drivers who will be starting the 2014 season in Melbourne. This is his top eight for the Australian GP:

1  Kimi Raikkonen

2 Sergio Perez

3 Valtteri Bottas

4 Jenson Button

5 Felipe Massa

6 Nico Rosberg

7 Esteban Gutierrez

8 Kevin Magnussen

Obviously Rob’s counting on a few of the fancied runners (Lewis, for example, and Fernando) having mechanical dramas and he’s also clearly discounting the Renault runners at this stage (although he did nominate Daniel Ricciardo to finish P9).

Anyway, that’s Rob’s list.  Now you have a go.  There are 20 races from which to accumulate points, so don’t be too discouraged if you don’t get it right first time. (Indeed, seeing as how I think Lewis is going to win in Melbourne, I guess this is something I should be saying to Rob!).

Disclaimer:  Although I’m a GPTours fan, I should make it clear that I work with the company at selected races on the F1 calendar, talking to the guests and interviewing drivers.

 

 

Sunday, February 10, 1963

The Australian Grand Prix at Warwick Farm, nr Sydney, Australia…

We drove to The Farm in our Morris Cowley, me in shorts, long socks and short-sleeved shirt, my Dad in his point-to-point attire, complete with cloth cap and shooting stick.  White-coated marshals directed us to our car park, nodding approvingly at our “Reserved” label and at the little cardboard grandstand tickets that hung from strings tied through our buttonholes.

I jumped from the car, taking in the smell of crushed grass, barbeque and beer.  I sprinted over to a programme seller.

“One please.  How much?”

“Two and six.”

“Dad?  Do you have two and six?”

The programme was printed on glossy, white paper.  I was there.  It was happening.  It was the Australian Grand Prix.  Warwick Farm.  Sunday, February 10, 1963.

I scanned the entries:

Car No 1: RRC Walker Racing (Dvr Graham Hill) – Ferguson

Car No 2: Bowmaker Racing Team (Dvr John Surtees) – Lola

Car No 3: Bowmaker Racing Team (Dvr Tony Maggs) – Lola

Car No 4: Ecurie Vitesse (Dvr Jack Brabham) – Brabham

Car No 5: Scuderia Veloce (Dvr David McKay) – Brabham

Car No 6: BS Stillwell (Dvr Bib Stillwell) – Brabham

Car No 8: Ecurie Australie (Dvr Lex Davison) – Cooper

Car No 10: Bruce McLaren (Dvr Bruce McLaren) – Cooper

Car No 11: Alec Mildren Pty Ltd (Dvr Frank Gardner) – Cooper

Car No 12: Bowmaker Racing Team (Dvr Jim Palmer) – Cooper

Car No 14: Scuderia Veloce (Dvr Chris Amon) – Cooper

Car No 15: J Youl (Dvr John Youl) – Cooper

Car No 16: Independent Motors (Dvr Tony Shelly) – Lotus

Car No 17: Total Racing Team (Frank Matich) – Elfin

…and so on.  I knew nothing about practice days back then, nothing about how the grid had been defined.  From our seats, though, high up in the grandstands, a good 500 yards from the circuit, Dad’s old binoculars (actually my grandfather’s and therefore the pair that had seen service in Burma) allowed me to watch the new World Champion, Graham Hill, climb from his dark blue Ferguson even as the starting grid began to take shape.  I was shocked by the dark patch of sweat that ran from top to bottom of his light-blue one-piece overalls.  I was in the shade, munching my Mum’s sandwiches, dipping into our Esky for a quick gulp of iced water;  the drivers were out there, under a torrid Sydney Sun, sweating and drinking water even as they sheltered beneath Les Leston umbrellas.

And there – on the left! – there is John Surtees, the driver on pole position.  He seems to be putting ice or something inside his helmet.  And next to him is Bruce McLaren!  They appear to be laughing about something.  They’re chatting and joking and pointing to something down at the other end of the grid.   In car number 5, David McKay, our local hero, sits quietly in his Brabham.  Amazingly, he is starting third, alongside Surtees and McLaren.  And what’s that little red car – number 17?  Ah yes.  That’s another local.  Frank Matich.

“It says here in the paper,” interjects my Dad, “that Matich was fast enough in practice to start fourth but will be moved further down the grid because he’s only driving a 1.5 litre car.   Sounds as though he did a jolly good job.”

F. Matich.  Total Team.  I would remember the names.

It was a long race – 100 miles of non-stop heat, noise and action.  The “something at the back of the grid” turned out to be Jack Brabham, starting his new turquoise-coloured car in amongst the also-rans after numerous problems in practice.  It was Jack, though, who drove emphatically through the field, winning the AGP for the Dowidat Spanner Trophy.  Surtees finished second after a late-race spin, ahead of Bruce, the excellent David McKay, the polished Bib Stillwell and the press-on Graham Hill in the Ferguson.  I couldn’t undertstand, back then, why Graham’s car looked so different from the low-line Lolas, Coopers and Brabhams.  I didn’t appreciate four-wheel-drive back then, even if front-engined cars seemed to fill most of the motor racing books I’d been lucky enough to read.

Afterwards, when the packed race-day schedule was over and the shadows were longer, we walked across the track to the paddock area.  My exhilaration left me breathless.  “There’s David McKay!”  “And look Dad!  Over there!  There’s Bruce McLaren!”

“Be quick now, Pete.  We must get home.  Mum’ll be waiting for us.”

“Can’t I get an autograph?  Do you think they’ll mind?”

“Of course, but remember to be polite.  Don’t interrupt and remember to call him ‘Mr McLaren’.”S2270028

I was but a nine-year-old.  The Beatles had yet to enter my field of perception, as had Jim Clark.  I knew nothing of the F1 World Championship that would follow this short series of Australasian races;  I read only the monthly Australian motoring magazines, for at Swains or at Angus and Robertson’s there was little else to study.

I had discovered, though, a world that stretched my imagination to new heights, to new limits.  That world seemed untouchable – but somehow I had to follow it.  From Sunday, February 10, 1963 onwards, school-bound though I was, I could think of little else.09-13-2010_22

S2270032

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: