28-29 October: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Momentous motor sports events that took place during this weekend in history …….

~28 October~

1923: The Sitges Circuit, the first permanent racetrack built in Spain, opened. It was similar in configuration to

Brooklands. The event was for 2-litre GP cars and was won by Albert Divo in a Sunbeam defeating Count Louis Zborowski in a Miller, with a winning speed of 96.91 mph. No prize money was awarded. Unpaid construction overruns caused the builders to seize the gate receipts, leaving the organizers with no money to pay the drivers. As a result, the track was forbidden to host international races again. Drivers also complained about the entry and exit from the bankings claiming the transition from straight to banking and back again was poorly designed. Catalunyan Automobile Club and the Penya Rhin continued to hold races in 1925 with little success. It was sold to Edgard de Morawitz in the 1930s. The last known race held on the oval was in the 1950s. The track and surrounding land is currently an operating chicken farm. Because of the high quality of construction, the track and buildings still stand more than 90 years later and are in excellent condition.

1945: The first post World War II English sprint races were held at Filton Aerodrome, near Bristol. Class winners included Bob Gerard in an ERA and Sir Alec Issignosis in the ‘Lightweight Special’.

1951: Three drivers were within striking distance of the World title coming to the final round of the 1951 season, the Gran Premio de España in Pedralbes: Juan Manuel Fangio (27 points), Alberto Ascari (25) and José Froilán González (21). Ascari was the quickest in qualifying but a poor tyre choice, against the advice of Pirelli, left the Ferraris struggling. Fangio won the race in style and with it the championship.

1962: Rex White rallied for what would be his 28th and final victory in NASCAR’s top series, leading just the final three laps in the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Georgia, US. White, the 1960 series champion who competed in partial schedules for the next two seasons before his retirement, outran runner-up Joe Weatherly by 12 seconds at the finish. Marvin Panch took third as the final car on the lead lap.

1999: A Jaguar sports car that won the 1956 Le Mans 24-hour race was sold for £1.71m at auction at Christie’s in London. The Ecurie Ecosse D-type was driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson to win the famed endurance race for Scotland in 1956. It had been in Scottish ownership ever since, and was sold at auction by Sir Michael Nairn, who runs a Scottish engineering company.

~29 October~

1956: Racer Louis Rosier (50) died. A very tactical racer, Rosier participated in 38 Grands Prix, who won many post-war races non-championship races in his Talbot-Lago as well as Le Mans in 1950 . He was the French Champion from 1949 to 1952, but was fatally injured when he crashed his Ferrari sports car during the Coupe du Salon meeting at Montlhery.

1967: Bobby Allison survived heavy attrition to prevail in the American 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, notching the eighth victory of his career in NASCAR’s premier series. Allison finished a lap ahead of runner-up and pole-starter David Pearson, who clinched a 1-2 sweep for Holman-Moody Fords. Paul Goldsmith took third in a Plymouth, followed by A.J. Foyt and Gordon Johncock. Former grand prix champion Jimmy Clark finished 30th in another Holman-Moody entry, retiring with engine failure in what would be his only NASCAR start. Only 13 of the 44 cars were running at the finish.

1975: Sir Alfred Owen of BRM, died aged 67. He sponsored the Formula_One BRM racing cars and received the Ferodo trophy as the man who had done the most for British racing in 1963. He was proprietor of the BRM motor racing team from the early-1950s to 1974. It was passed on to the man who married his sister Jean, Louis Stanley.

2000: John Force won his tenth NHRA Funny Car championship. Angelle Sealing became the first woman to win the NHRA Pro Stock Bike title.

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