2-3 May: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history ……

~2 May~

1909: The fourth Targa Florio, held at the Grande Circuito delle Madonie over 148.8 km (92.5 mph), was won by Italian Francesco Ciuppa driving a SPA at an average speed of 54.780 km/h (34 mph).

1926: The second Tripoli Grand Prix held on a circuit just outside Tripoli was won by François Eysermann in a Bugatti T35.

1948: The second Grand Prix des Nations run over 44 laps of the 1.8 mile urban race track located between the lake (Geneva) and the Nations square was won by Giuseppe Farina in a Maserati 4CLT, at an average speed of 64.6 mph (103. km/h).

1954: Herb Thomas (cover image) rolled to victory in a Fabulous Hudson Hornet on Langhorne (Pennsylvania, US) Speedway’s circular mile dirt track. Thomas led the final 75 of 150 laps to collect a $1,685 winner’s prize. Al Keller finished second, one lap down, with Dick Rathman third as part of a top-five sweet by Hudsons. Pole-starter Lee Petty, who led the opening 75 laps, faded to a ninth-place finish.

1959: A Cooper-Climax T51 driven by Jack Brabhan won the International Trophy held at Silverstone, England.

1959: Junior Johnson rolled his Ford in practice, but drove the hastily repaired machine to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Hickory Speedway, (North Carolina, US). Johnson finished two laps ahead of runner-up Joe Weatherly.

1964: The 16th BRDC International Tropy run to Formula One rules, was held on at the Silverstone Circuit, England. The race was run over 52 laps of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, and was won by Australian driver Jack Brabham in his own Brabham BT7.

1972: Buddy Baker became the first stock car driver to finish a 500-mile race in less than three hours en route to winning the Winston Select 500 at the Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama. Two years earlier, Baker had become the first racer to break the 200 mph barrier on the same track.

1976: The Spanish Grand Prix was held at Jarama. Austrian Ferrari driver Niki Lauda driving a Ferrari 312T2 was initially declared the winner extending his Drivers’ Championship lead to 23 points. After crossing the line first James Hunt had his McLaren M23 disqualified in post-race scruitineering. Swedish driver Gunnar Nilsson took his Lotus 77 to second place with Carlos Reutemann finishing third in his Brabham BT44B. McLaren appealed the disqualification and in July the appeal was upheld and Hunt re-instated as winner of the Spanish Grand Prix.

1985: Attilio Bettega (32) died on the 4th stage of the Tour de Corse when he lost control of his Lancia and crashed into a tree which simply ruptured into the driver’s seat and killed him instantly. His co-driver Maurizio Perissinot survived the crash uninjured.

1986: Henri Toivonen (29) died during the seventh kilometre of the 18th stage of the Tour de Corse, Corte–Taverna, when his Lancia went off the side of the road at a tight left corner with no guardrail. The car plunged down a ravine and landed on its roof. The aluminium fuel tank underneath the driver’s seat was ruptured by the trees and exploded. The explosion happened within seconds of the crash, and Toivonen and his co-driver, Sergio Cresto would not have time to get out had they still been alive.

1999: Michael Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix and set fastest lap. David Coulthard was second, 4.265 seconds back and Schumacher’s teammate Barrichello was third, 1 lap down. Giancarllo Fisichella had a great drive from 16th on the grid to finish 5th behind Damon Hill and ahead of Jean Alesi.

~3 May~

1927: Dr. Havranek and F Skopal both died during practice for Zbraslav to Jíloviste hillclimb just outside Prague. Havranek lost control on a curve and upturned his Bugatti. His mechanic Frantisek Skopal was dead on the spot Dr. Havranek died few days after in hospital.

1953: Bill Stroppe won the first Phoenix National Road Race, Arizona, US driving a Mercury-powered Kurtis 500-S.

1958: The Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone was won by Briton Peter Collins driving a Ferrari 246.

1970: The National Drag Racing Club (UK) held a one-day meeting on the old aerodrome at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. Amongst those present were Dennis Priddle, Bill Weichelt, John Siggery, Harold Bull, Phil Elson, Brian Gleadow, Tony Dickson and Brian Chapman. Gate receipts at Martlesham were £2319.19s.6d.

1981: Ray Cooper drove a Lola T582 to victory in the FF2000 race at Brand Hatch, England.

1981: The first “San Marino Grand Prix” was held at Imola, although several non-championship Formula One races and the 1980 Italian Grand Prix had previously been held at the circuit. Didier Pironi held the lead until late in the race, before dropping back due to mechanical trouble, and was passed by Nelson Piquet, who eventually won the race.

1981: NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison outran Buddy Baker down the stretch for victory at Talladega Superspeedway (Alabama, US). Allison, who started from the pole, took the lead for the final time on the last lap to win by one-tenth of a second; the two traded the lead seven times in the final 12 laps. Darrell Waltrip finished third in a 1-2-3 sweep by Buicks.

1987: Nigel Mansell driving a Williams FW11B won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. It was Mansell’s eighth Grand Prix victory, his first (of two) at the Imola circuit. Mansell finished 27 seconds ahead of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 99T. Third was Italian driver Michele Alboreto driving a Ferrari F1/87. The win gave Mansell a one point lead in the championship over French McLaren driver Alain Prost.

1987: An infamous day in NASCAR history. Bill Elliott earlier in the week had qualified his 9 Coors-Melling Ford Thunderbird at a record 212.809 mph (a record which still stands today) for the Winston 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway. Davey Allison qualified third, while father Bobby started second alongside Elliott in the Miller Buick. Bobby Allison on lap 22 hit a piece of debris, cutting his right-rear tyre, turning the car sideways, lifting it into the air, and crashing vertically into the spectator fence near the start finish line. The car landed back on the track and collided with a number of other competitors. Davey was ahead of his father at the time. Bobby Allison was not injured, but the crash slightly injured several spectators and the race was red-flagged for two hours and thirty-eight minutes. This incident led to the requirement of smaller carburettors, and later, carburetor restrictor plates on engines at Daytona and Talladega to reduce the top speeds.

1992: Advertised as the Grand Prix of the Olympic Games, the Spanish Grand Prix held at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, was won by Nigel Mansell in a Williams-Renault FW14B.

1992: Davey Allison kept a firm grip on the championship points lead with a victory in the Winston 500 at Talladega, Alabama (US). Allison nipped Bill Elliott at the finish line to give Ford a victory in all nine races to date in the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup season.

2008: Kyle Bus­ch spun Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the lead with two laps to go and enraged a sell-out crowd at Richmond, Virginia (US) in the Crown Royal 400.

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