28-29 September: This weekend in motor sporting history

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

~28 September~

1930: The first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix run over the 18 mile Masaryk Circuit at Brno. The winning Bugatti T35B was shared by Hermann zu Leiningen and Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen (62.78 mph).
1947: Alberto ‘Ciccio’ Ascari recorded his first automobile racing victory at Modena, Italy driving a Maserati.
1952: Herb Thomas crept to within 174 points of leader Tim Flock in the NASCAR Grand National title chase with a victory in the 100-mile event at Wilson, North Carolina, US.. Thomas averaged only 35.398 mph, and took almost three hours to complete the race. It was the slowest average speed in NASCAR Grand National history.
1959: Rudolf Caracciola (58), who won the European Drivers’ Championship, the pre-1950 equivalent of the modern Formula One World Championship, an unsurpassed three times, died. He also won the European Hillclimbing Championship three times – twice in sports cars, and once in Grand Prix cars.
1969: Team McLaren drivers, Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme finished 1-2 in the only Can-Am event ever held at Michigan International Speedway, US.
1975: Brian Redman drove a Lola-Chevy to victory in the inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix, an event for F5000 cars. As was the norm, prior to F1 setting a tyre print on a new circuit, it must have first hosted another event.
1977: Andrew Cowan, Colin Makin and Michael Broad in a Mercedes 290E arrived at the Sydney Opera House after covering 19,239 miles to win the Singapore airlines sponsored London-Sydney rally – the longest motor race ever held.
1980: Michael Thackwell became the then youngest Grand Prix driver when he took part in the Canadian Grand Prix, aged 19 years 182 days.
1980: Dale Earnhardt led the final 13 laps to Martinsville’s Old Dominion 500, (Virginia, US).an event marred by 17 cautions. Earnhardt averaged less than 70 mph in his fifth career NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National win.
1990: The first 4.8 second pass in NHRA Top Fuel history was made when Gary Ormsby ran the 1/4-mile in 4.881 seconds at Topeka, Kansas, US.
1990: Martin Donnelly’s short and promising career was ended when he crashed his Lotus in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, hitting a guard rail at 140 mph with such force that his car disintegrated and he was hurled onto the track still strapped into his seat. One witness said everyone assumed he had been killed. It took three minutes for medical aid to reach him and an hour before he was stable enough to be helicoptered to hospital with serious head injuries and broken legs. During a long recovery he suffered kidney failure and was on dialysis for weeks and for a while it looked as though his right leg might have to be amputated. But he recovered, although he never raced seriously again.
1996: Mark Martin held off Jack Sprague by 0.78 seconds to win the Lowe’s 250, the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at North Wilkesboro (North Carolina, US) Speedway. Martin started second in a Jack Roush-owned Ford and led the final 73 of 250 laps in his first victory in the series. Butch Miller finished third with Kenny Wallace and Joe Ruttman completing the top five at the 0.625-mile track.
1997: There was no brotherly love between the Schumachers at the Luxembourg Grand Prix, but there was a brotherly shove as less than 200 metres after the start Ralf’s Jordan piled into Michael’s Ferrari and smashed the latter’s front suspension. Two laps later Michael retired, and in so doing severely dented his hopes of a third championship as Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams won the race and took a nine-point lead in the title race with two races (and a maximum of 20 points) remaining. “After Ralf hit me, my car was handling strangely,” Schumacher said. “In the pits we could see the suspension arm was bent. It was a shame that the incident happened with my brother but I don’t think anyone was to blame for what happened as it was not a deliberate move. That’s motor racing.”
2007: Wallace Gordon (“Wally”) Parks (94), the ‘Father of Drag Racing’, died. He was the Founder, President, and the Chairman of the Board of the National Hot Rod Association, or better known by the acronym NHRA. Parks was also an accomplished automobile writer and hobbyist, and co-founder and first editor of the magazine Hot Rod in the late 1940s.

~29 September~

1929: Ernst Henne riding a 750 cc BMW sets a new motorcycle record, reaching a speed of 134.65 mph (216.75 km/hr).
1935: The Czech Grand Prix was the last major event of the season and with Mercedes staying away, it was a straight battle between Auto Union and Scuderia Ferrari. Bernd Rosemeyer won for Auto Union with three Ferraris right behind him, but team-mate Hans Stuck was forced out when hit in the face by a bird. For Rosemeyer there was double cause for celebration; at the victory ceremony he met the girl who was later to become his wife.
1963: Ron Fry won the Oxford M.C. Sprint at Chipping Norton, England, driving a Ferrari 250 GTO.
1968: Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianci won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Gulf Ford GT40. The race was originally planned for June 15 and 16, but had to be delayed until September due to massive protests in France during May.
1974: Earl Ross of Canada became just the second driver born outside the United States to win at NASCAR’s highest level, winning the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Virginia, US. Ross, driving for NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, led the final 79 laps after teammate Cale Yarborough retired with engine failure. He beat runner-up Buddy Baker to the checkered flag by one lap, with third-place Donnie Allison finishing three laps down. Italian-born Mario Andretti, Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Australian Marcos Ambrose are the only other foreign-born drivers with wins in NASCAR’s premier series.
1987: John Foulston, who a year earlier had bought Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Snetterton for £5.2 million, was killed while testing a McLaren IndyCar at Silverstone. He was 40.
1991: Nigel Mansell won the Spanish Grand Prix despite twisting his ankle days before the event playing football. It was the first race to be held at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona and is still widely regarded to be the best. At the start he fell back to fourth in damp conditions but quickly moved back up the field as the circuit dried and cars pitted for slick tyres. Mansell kept his car on the track as others made mistakes and he eventually came out on top in battles with Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger. “When Ayrton spun I was not sure which way he was going to come back, so momentarily I didn’t know which way to go – fortunately I picked the right side,” he said. “With Gerhard it was probably a little bit tougher because we both dived into the corner very deep, we both lost our traction and we were very close.”
1992: Pierre Lartigue and Michel Périn completed a 16,000 km (9,940 mile) adventure to win the first Paris-Moscow-Beijing rally with a Citroën ZX Rallye Raid.
1996: Jeff Gordon racked up his 10th win of the year in the Tyson Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkes­boro Speedway, North Carolina (US). It was the final event in the colorful history of the 5/8-mile oval. New owners Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre would move future North Wilkesboro race dates to Texas and New Hampshire, respectively.
2002: Rubens Barrichello won the US Grand Prix by 0.011 seconds from Michael Schumacher after a staged Ferrari finish backfired. The pair had dominated the race and then came around the banked final corner side-by-side in a show of Ferrari dominance at Indianapolis. However, Schumacher, who had led the race throughout, dropped back fractionally too far and handed Barrichello the win. After the race it was widely believed that he intended to let Barrichello win all along, in order to repay his team-mate for moving over on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix the same year. The theory was denied by Ferrari, but reading between the lines it was backed up by the drivers’ comments. “To win, it was very, very, very good,” Barrichello said after the race. “I got to the last corner, I didn’t know what to do and nothing has been said. Michael was just very kind to, you know, let us finish equally. I guess I pointed a little bit in front, but, you know, what can we say?” Schumacher added: “The end of the race was not planned. We tried to cross the line together but failed by a tiny bit and in fact we did not know who had won until we got out of the cars. I just felt Rubens deserved to win this race.”
2006: Satisfied with his motorsport creation, A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Founder and Chairman Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum released his stake in a multi million dollar transaction to permit a broadening of the institutional shareholder base ahead of a planned initial public offering.

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