25-26 December: This Weekend in Motorsport History

Discover the most momentous motorsports events that took place this weekend in history …….

~25 December~

1931: Timekeeper Ernst Christ had his plans to build a racetrack in his home town of Hockenheim, Germany unanimously approved by the municipal council. Building work began in March 1932, and only two months later, on May 25 1932, the first motorcycle race in Hockenheim got under way. The essentially triangular course began on the edge of the town and headed out into the forest roads, before looping back on itself.

1977: Future World Superbike champion Colin Edwards received his first motorcycle, a Suzuki JR50, as a Christmas present at the age of 3.


~26 December ~

1958: Colin Chapman met Jim Clark for the first time during a race meeting at Brands Hatch, England. Chapman won with Clark second, both driving Lotus Elises.

1978: The first Paris-Dakar Rally began. 182 vehicles (80 cars, 90 motorcycles and 12 trucks) turned up in the Place du Trocadéro in Paris for a 10,000-kilometre (6,214-mile) journey into the unknown, destination Dakar. The encounter between two worlds sought by the event’s founder, French motorcyclist Thierry Sabine, unfolded on the African continent. Among the 74 trail-blazers who made it to the Senegalese capital, Cyril Neveu, at the helm of a Yamaha 500XT, would be the first winner of what would go on to be called ‘the greatest rally in the world’. Did you know that in 1979 all the vehicles that took part were classified together, although they would compete separately in subsequent editions of the race and that Cyril Neveu won the rally despite not winning any individual stages, taking the lead on the sixth stage after Patrick Schaal (Yamaha) fell and fractured his little finger.

1986: President Ronald Reagan granted NASCAR legend Junior Johnson a presidential pardon for his 1956 moonshining conviction. In response to the pardon, which restored his right to vote, Johnson said, “I could not have imagined anything better.”

1992: Jan Flinterman died in the Netherlands, he was 73. He entered just one grand prix – the 1952 Netherlands Grand Prix – but drove two cars. He started the race, at Zandvoort, in a Maserati A6GCM but retired when his differential failed after six laps. 

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