5-6 June: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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


~5 June~

1909: The first competitive event took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a gas-filled balloon race. In the handicap division, Charles Walsh’s “Hoosier” was declared winner as his balloon floated to Westmoreland, Tennesse.

1932: The tenth Gran Premio d’Italia was run at Monza to the 5-Hour International formula and was part of the 1932 European Championship. Fifteen of the best European drivers took the start. The prime battle occured between Nuvolari in the brand new lightweight 2.65-liter Alfa Romeo monoposto and Fagioli with the 16-cylinder Maserati. Continuous position changes made this a very exciting race to watch while all records were broken during this extremely fast race. The main contenders were Chiron and Varzi in 5-liter Bugattis, Nuvolari, Campari, Borzacchini and Caracciola with Alfa Romeos plus Fagioli with the 16-cylinder Maserati. Alfa Romeo proved to be superior and won. Fagioli’s Maserati was consistently the fastest car but inadequate pit organization cost him the race, while the two Bugattis once more were a great disappointment and broke down as in the past.

1948: Stirling Moss celebrated his first racing success when he won the 500cc class with his Cooper with a run of 58.78 seconds over the course which was being used for the first time, at Stanmer Park, near Brighton. With a gradient of only 1 in 10, it was sometimes rated as a hillclimb, sometimes as a speed trial. Bob Gerard made the fastest run (50.87 seconds) in a 2-litre ERA, then crashed into several parked cars past the finishing line, at which point the meeting was abandoned.

1955: Mercedes dominated the Belgium Grand Prix as main rivals Lancia pulled out following the death of Alberto Ascari. Juan Manuel Fangio won from Stirling Moss with Giuseppe Farina – racing in his last grand prix – finished a distant third.

1960: Racer Jim Clark made his Formula 1 debut driving a Lotus in the Dutch Grand Prix. Clark, who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965, was a versatile driver who competed in sports cars, touring cars and in the Indianapolis 500, which he won in 1965. He was particularly associated with the Lotus marque.

1964: Bruce McLaren won the USAC-sanctioned sports car race at Mosport, Ontario, Canada, driving a Cooper-Oldsmobile.

1966: A. J. Foyt crashed in flames during practice for the Rex Mays 100 Mile Race at Milwaukee, ending his supreme reign of the USAC championship trail of recent years.

1972: Richard Tharp drove the “Blue Max” Mustang to the quickest Funny Car quarter-mile elapse recorded (6.37 seconds) while taking the Funny Car win at the NHRA Longhorn Nationals in Dallas, Texas, US.

1977: The most pitstops yet during a World Drivers Championship race were witnessed by the spectators of the Belgian Grand Prix, which was run off on a drying track. World Champion James Hunt gambled on slick tyres, but was lapped before he realises his error. Gunnar Nilsson (Lotus, John Player Special/Ford Mk 3) emerged as the surprise winner from Niki Lauda (Ferrari, Ferrari 312T2) and Ronnie Peterson (Tyrrell, Tyrrell/Ford P34). Vittorio Brambilla (Surtees, Surtees/Ford TS19), Alan Jones (AVS, Shadow/Ford DN8A) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (MRD, Brabham/Alfa Romeo BT45B) filled out the top 6.

1983: Tyrrell’s Michele Alboreto scored his second win at the Detroit Grand Prix and first points of the season, after inheriting the lead from Nelson Piquet with just nine laps to go when the Brabham driver stopped to replace a deflating rear tire. The tight downtown street course took away much of the advantage of the turbocharged cars, and Alboreto’s win for Cosworth-Ford was the last of the season’s three non-turbo victories. It was also the last for a normally aspirated engine until the turbos were outlawed after the 1988 season, and the last of a record 155 wins for the legendary Cosworth DFV and also the last victory for the Tyrrell team.

1983: Ricky Rudd notched his first win in NASCAR’s premier series, taming the road course at Riverside (California, US) International Raceway. The victory was also the first of many to come for Richard Childress Racing and its famed No. 3.

1990: New Hampshire Motor Speedway a 1.058-mile (1.703 km) oval speedway located in Loudon, New Hampshire (US), opened. It has hosted NASCAR racing annually since the early 1990s, as well as the longest-running motorcycle race in North America, the Loudon Classic. Nicknamed “The Magic Mile”, the speedway is often converted into a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) road course, which includes much of the oval.

1994: The Rex Mays 200 Mile Race was flagged after 192 laps because of rain, with three Penske Racing Penske/Ilmor PC23s in front: 1st Al (Jr.) Unser, 2nd Emerson Fittipaldi and 3rd Paul Tracy! Fourth comes Michael Andretti (Ganassi, Reynard/Ford 94I), fifth Nigel Mansell (Newman-Haas, Lola/Ford T94/00) and sixth Robby Gordon (Walker, Lola/Ford T94/00). The 26 starters completed an incredible 4,782 of 4,992 possible laps (or close to 96 %!), when only one driver (Stefan Johansson) retired, and that in the closing stages of the race. The 42,254 spectators at the “Milwaukee Mile” must have witnessed more overtaking during that 97 minute race alone than in decades of Formula One Racing.

~6 June~

1960: Jack Brabham won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort driving a Cooper-Climax.

1961: Ray Barfield drove his Aston Martin DB3S to win in the 6-hour ‘Le Mans’ race, winning from Bob MacDowall in a TR3A and Vic Johnson in an Austin Healey. Barfield set a race record distance of 187 laps, about 385 miles.

1964: The first McLaren race car, a modified Cooper with an Oldsmobile engine, made its debut at Mosport Park, Ontario, Canada and took victory in the hands of designer Bruce McLaren.

1968: Richard Petty drove a Plymouth to the 80th win of his career, prevailing in a 200-lap main event at Smoky Mountain Raceway in Maryville, Tenn. Petty’s win was the fifth of what would be a 16-win season and a third-place finish in the points standings.

1982: Starting from seventeenth position on the grid, Northern Ireland’s John Watson driving a McLaren-Cosworth MP4/1B, stormed through the field to win the first Detroit Grand Prix, at America’s sixth different Formula One venue.

 1990: British rally driver Tony Pond became the first to average 100 mph around the Isle of Man TT Motor Bike race circuit in a standard production car – a Rover Vitesse. This record stood until 2011.

2003: Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland became youngest driver to compete in an FIA World Championship Rally when aged just 18 years 61 days he drove his Ford Focus WRC in the 50th Acropolis Rally in Athens, Greece.

2004: Mark Martin ended a two-year drought with a come-from-behind ­win in the MBNA 400 “A Salute to Heroes” at Dover International ­Speedway, Delaware (US).

2019: The fastest lap at the Isle of Man TT races in the TT Zero class, 18 minutes 34.172 seconds, was set by Michael Rutter (UK) in Douglas, Isle of Man, UK. Rutter completed the one-lap race for electric-powered motorbikes in an average speed of 121.909 mph (196.193 km/h). It was his fifth TT Zero victory.

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