Back at the start of our century, Britannia was still ruling the waves and surfing on the knowledge that it had been at the helm of progress for centuries in a row. Let’s face it, it may be hard to believe looking at today’s state of the Brit industry, but nearly every development of importance between 1700 and 1800 was invented or perfected on the British isle.
The steam engine, in its first industrial revolution-appearance, was mainly the child of Thomas Newcomen, an Englishman, and James Watt, a Scott. The first full-scale working steam locomotive was built by a Richard Trevithick from Cornwall, for the Coalbrookdale Ironworks in Shropshire. The first electrical telegraph was devised by Sir Francis Ronalds, who was knighted for it. Hell, those foolish Americans may claim to have had Benjamin Franklin but, honestly, what would electricity be without the groundbreaking work of William Gilbert and Michael Faraday, both good old boys from London.
That the Germans and the French had beaten them to the punch with the internal combustion engine, should have heeded a warning for the Brits. But, at the beginning of the 20th century, they were still on a massive height of all-conquering wisdom.
It was thus no more than fitting that the first purpose built motorracing facility was built in England in 1907; at Brooklands more precisely. The Americans could obviously not withstand the temptation to at least equal the old island and so, in 1909, the Indianapolis Speedway was inaugurated.
It took the European mainlanders about 15 years to jump on the train, but when they did, in 1922, they did with a masterpiece: Monza.
Monza is in essence designed for just one thing: speed. The initial track contained both a 5.5 kilometer road track, where the notion “turns” was deliberately kept to a strict minimum, and a 4.5 kilometer loop. Even for its earliest conception, the marching orders had been clear: straights as long as possible with turns as fast as possible. All in the name of… speed! To allow the Fiat’s, Lancia’s and other Maserati’s to stun the world with their fastness.
During World War II, the track lacked maintenance and degraded. An initial renovation was organized in 1948. But things really got serious in 1954, when the entire track was revamped. The result was a 5,750 meters road track, with still mainly straights and high-speed bends, and a 4,250 meters loop. The latter’s two turns were steeply banked to allow cars to negotiate them flat-out.
The truly unique feature was that both these tracks could be combined into one track. The 1955 and 1956 Grand Prix, as well as those of 1960 and 1961, were ran on that majestic paean to ultimate speed. A lap in those days must have been something extraordinary. Exiting the Parabolica, the driver would slam his throttle wide open. And then kept it that way all along the main straight, through the first banked turn called Curva Nord, along the loop’s back straight, into and out of the second banked turn called Curva Sud, and over the main straight again. About six kilometers of undiluted, uninterrupted and unbridled pure flat-out madness.
The bravest of drivers would not even lift for Curva Grande and stay flat-out all the way up to the Lesmos. It must have been of a magnificence that the world will probably never witness again.
The 1961-race however sowed doubt as to the suitability of these high speeds for modern Formula 1, when Wolfgang von Tripps veered out of the Parabolica. Killing himself and fifteen spectators with him. The fate of the banked section had been sealed… Formula 1 never raced on it again and stuck to the road course.
It did not stop the Formula 1 circus to visit Monza every single year since the official inception of the Driver’s World Championship in 1950. No other track can lay a claim to that effect.
So, as one enters the track-site through a tunnel under the old banking, there is an undeniable sense of crossing a threshold in history. Of entering eternity.
It is the kind of eternity that befits men born as Coxon, Riddall, Jaques, Johnson or Jundt like a Saville Row tailored suit. Men who consider a race successful when their post-race statement sounds something along the lines of: “Well, we grabbed pole. Then we lead for the major part of the race, clocking fastest lap in the process. And, in the end, we brought home another victory.”
When your name is Voigt however, objectives are of a more diffident nature. Being able to declare something along the lines of: “We did not spin or go off once and in the end made it into the top 10”, generally bears testimony of a solid race.
At Monza, Voigt somewhat struggled with that solemn sense of eternity. But still achieved both of the above statements. Should the race have been one lap shorter, he would even have been able to add that our car finished on the lead lap. But then, the length of the race was the length of the race. And that one last lap allowed Jaques and Plaçais to lap our car.
To Voigt’s defense, it should be said that he finished in front of Jundt. An achievement that earned Patsy a serious slap on the back. And a bonus to top it off. Some of the team’s admiration also. But I made sure that was short-lived. Don’t want the brat to get ideas about stardom and such things.
Another thing was that we achieved all of the above in old Marcelo’s absence. Following the race at the Österreichring, I had stuffed the fool with some bottles of Tempranillo that eclipsed anything he had ever tasted before. The old wanker’s lack of moderation when it comes to consuming spirited beverages, did the rest. After a while, the grey Spaniard was so deep asleep that we only had to pick him up. And next thing he knew, he woke up in a dungeon-like shack somewhere in the hills surrounding Ronda.
Where he initially stuck to denying that Voigt’s Ferrari had been slower around Zeltweg than the two other Maranello stallions. And claimed that tuning our car had been the Ferrari-mechanics responsibility anyway. Which equaled an admission, in my book; sufficient probable cause for inquisition anyway. And reason to employ some of the goodies that, already back in the olden days, allowed to discern the truth. Such as thumb screws or a bench clamp befitting a head.
Forgotten tools, they may be. But fail to quickly refresh a drunken haze, they never do. Marcelo soon offered us an exact recollection of the events. How all the Ferrari-mechanics had insisted on using a rather low wing setting with the front wing at 1 and the rear wing at 2. To allow sufficient speed on a fast track like the Österreichring. Crazy Marcelo had however insisted on having both Voigt’s front and rear wing at 3.
Which resulted in Voigt’s Ferrari being about 10 kilometers per hour slower on the fastest part of the track. Voigt may well be the absolute last person on earth to deserve any empathy, but fact was that his wing settings were at least partially to blame for him struggling around Zeltweg. And Marcelo was to blame for that setting.
The old fool had thus received strict orders to not be anywhere near Monza during the race-weekend. Orders, he did not find particularly hard to obey. And even less so once we dropped him in a mansion that two lascivious former households had opened on the outskirts of Ronda, when the salaciousness of their forms started bearing on the households of their employers. A cask of brown Brugal and a sea of Coca-Cola had sealed the deal.
We thus arrived at Monza without the old fool and found a track titillating with the promise of a thrilling race.
Coxon’s victory in Austria and Riddall’s demise at the Zeltweg-track had put both championship leaders on equal points. Both were thus expected to give absolutely everything to outpace the other. It is, already at this stage of the championship, clear that one of the two former will be crowned champion. But to conserve their chances, none of them has the luxury of slipping.
The battle for third was, on the contrary, still wide open as the teams arrived in Italy. Only 9 points separated 3rd placed Johnson from 7th placed Jaques. The quest for the coveted championship’s bronze plaque thus promised to become a thriller. To add to that excitement, Johnson was expected to suffer on the long straights of Monza in his underpowered CMG Racing March. While, just as in Zeltweg, Jaques again disposed of the latest BRM P160 and thus of twelve strong arguments in V-disposition to tackle fast Monza.
As it turned out, Johnson did not even get the chance to worry about any of it all. As the qualification session started, his old Cosworth engine produced only a fraction of the power it was supposed to deliver; which was not that much anyway. It prevented the Californian to put in a decent lap and forced him to the back of the grid. Things even worsened though. As the warm-up lap got underway, the Cosworth now simply refused to start, forcing Johnson to retire before the race had even started.
Jaques gratefully grabbed the opportunity and used his beefy Bourne power plant to secure 2nd. The Canadian shared the front row with Coxon who put his Tyrrell on pole. Grant Riddall, in his trusted Surtees, and Michal Janak in the first of the Ferrari’s shared the second row. Andres Adamovich, who returned at March, and Richard Wilks started 5th and 6th respectively.
Voigt only qualified the Ferrari 17th, almost a full second slower than co-Ferrarista Ryon. And nearly two seconds slower than Janak. Back at the Maranello factory, the crew had concocted a special Monza Ferrari for Voigt, with smaller wings and an overall sleek lower line. The car only proved marginally faster on the long straights, while, after a lot of effort, Voigt only found a rather delicate balance through the fast turns. Which Monza has plenty of. Were we already starting to miss that fool Marcelo?
Still, 17th was disappointing and I felt a certain urge to make Voigt bleed a little for it. Old man Ferrari however convinced me that we would best proceed with the punishment after the race. And keep Voigt as fit as possible for the race itself. I briefly considered to explain the old man all about an incredible motivator called fear. But soon understood that Ferrari was one ally we did not want to miss in this business of autoracing.
During Sunday warm-up, one of the Bourne mechanics succeeded in dropping a sledgehammer on Jaques’ foot. The limb swelled and felt sore whenever pressure was exercised with it, forcing the Canadian driver to adapt his braking technique on short notice.
As the starting flag dropped, Coxon held on to the lead and Jaques held onto second. Behind them, Wilks had a blazing start in the Lotus, shooting from 6th straight to 3rd. Grant Riddall was one down to 4th and had Jundt on his heels. The Swiss had also made a strong start, climbing from 8th to 5th. Sabre, who had started 9th, was running 6th as they approached the Parabolica.
All these good starts were to a large extent courtesy of Janak, Adamovich and Parker who, in turn, had mediocre to horrendous starts. Adamovich lost two positions and was now running 7th. Parker fell back from 7th on the grid to 11th. But it was Janak who got the worst of it. The Ferrari ace missed all his gears and saw an excellent 4th starting spot degrade to a poor 18th.
Parker ran into even more bad luck and lost many more positions, falling back to the lower part of the field.
As they steadied themselves for the Parabolica a second time, both Bos and Whited went off. Luckily for them, the Parabolica has massive sand traps and no metal barriers to speak off. Both managed to avoid hitting anything and continued their races.
Only 3 laps into the race, and Jaques and Coxon were already back to their manic Zeltweg habitudes. Jaques stuck his nose almost under Coxon’s rear wing, looking for a yet elusive tow to pull him ahead of the Tyrrell.
Wilks and Riddall were running 3rd and 4th and had already conceded a small gap to the two leaders.
On lap 5, Jaques took over the lead from Coxon. But how long would that last, many wondered? Not long as it turned out: by the time they stormed out of Curva Grande, Coxon was already back into the top spot.
Wilks, running a solid third at the time, had meanwhile lost control of his Lotus on the exit of the Parabolica. He spun into the barriers backwards. His car was destroyed and so was his race.
Starting lap 6, the running order thus was: Coxon in the lead, with a maniac called Jaques hot in his neck. Riddall was promoted to third as a result of Wilks’ bad tidings. Sabre was up to fourth. Jundt and Adamovich rounded out the top 6.
Grant Riddall’s podium aspirations were dealt a severe blow. Fast Grant lost control of the Surtees on Monza’ blindingly fast back straight, where the cars are virtually flat-out the whole way from the Lesmo’s up to the Parabolica. The Surtees hit the barriers head-on and lost its nosecone. Which must have had a dreadful impact on the car’s handling.
Still, surrender is a notion unknown to El Grant and would, at this stage of the season, beat his championship ambitions hollow. So Grant soldiered on in a distant 9th position.
Voigt had made a pretty good effort of his start. The no man’s bastard kept the car in check, something less evident than it seemed in the heavy Ferrari, and even gained some places.
He then got kind of boxed in behind Janik all the way up to the Lesmos and cars flew passed left and right. As the Ferrari came storming across the start-finish line for the first time, Voigt was running 15th however; a gain of two spots on only his first lap.
Both Patsy and Janik then had a hard time making it passed Bos in the turbine Lotus. A car that sounded like a giant Darth Vader-clone swallowing the opposition, but utterly failed at being fast around corners. Still, the straight line speed of the thing made it a though nut to crack, once behind it. As Bos spun at the Parabolica, both Janik and Voigt moved up the ranks.
I kind of expected Voigt to slipstream his ass passed Janik quiet easily to go chasing for the next victim. But Voigt obviously proved unable and, instead, it was Janik who slowly pulled away.
Jundt ran wide entering the first of the Lesmo’s and scraped the Armco on the outside of the turn. Hlavac, Adamovich and Plaçais went ahead. Jundt was not fazed by the incident and immediately recovered one spot, passing Plaçais on the inside off the flat-out Vialone-kink. It would however turn out to be a difficult race for the Swiss ace.
Meanwhile, Coxon and Jaques were in for another round of trading places up front. Jaques went deeper and later into Parabolica and grabbed the lead. The BRM and Tyrrell then stormed onto the front straight as if glued together.
“Looking good, David,” went Coxon.
“Feeling good, Richard,” replied Jaques.
And the Tyrrell promptly drafted passed the BRM again and was back in command as they entered Curva Grande.
It did not stop the two leaders from slowly pulling away from David Sabre in third, their advantage already just south of 4 seconds.
As they sped along the back straight on the next lap, Coxon was overheard addressing Jaques: “You know, you can’t just go passed and into the lead racing that V12 beast of yours, just because you’re pissed at me.”
“Why not?” A slightly surprised Jaques.
“It’s called assault with a deadly engine. You can get nine points for that shit.”
Jaques again: “You have any better ideas?”
“Sure,” Coxon offered, “it occurs to me that the best way to piss off fast people, is making them look slow.”
And Jaques promptly went ahead of the Tyrrell again through Parabolica. This time, the Canadian made the move stick and seemed able to hold onto the lead for a while.
Just behind them, Sabre put one of his rear wheels on the grass and lost the rear of his Matra in the ultra-fast Curva Grande. The car slithered off the track backwards and slammed into the barriers. The entire rear section was thorn from the car. Sabre’s day was done.
Hlavac was promoted to 3rd in his McLaren. Just behind him, Jundt had another moment with Adamovich and hit the wall.
Canola on Surtees and Parker on BRM were recovering from poor starts and were now on Voigt’s case. The BRM went by first. Voigt tried to hang on to the BRM’s tow, aiming for a slingshot passed both the BRM and Janik’s Brabham. But it was not to be. The BRM even edged away slowly.
It took Canola some more effort to dispense with Voigt. Voigt even achieved to take the position back on several occasions, but finally also had to recognize Canola as his better.
The plan was now to hang on to the three cars in front and see how far to the front they could carry Voigt. Parker and Canola however soon pulled passed and then away from Janik.
And it was back to the Brabham and the Ferrari.
Adamovich and Hlavac touched and lost momentum. Precision hitman Jundt shot ahead the both of them.
Coxon had somehow recovered the lead and was now trailing Jaques. It increasingly looked as if these two would duel for victory, as the duo now had a lead of about 8 seconds over third placed Hlavac.
The Czech McLaren driver was trying to contain a small train of lunatics with Plaçais, Jundt and Adamovich. Watching the four of them feverishly fanning along the main straight to catch a tow, was a sight probably not suitable for minors. It was balls on the table without safety net whatsoever and the tachometer well passed 300.
Plaçais’ Matra caught Hlavac’s slipstream on the straight following Curva Grande. The French ace managed to position himself on the inside for Roggia and made an outside pass through Lesmo Uno. Hlavac defended hard and it all looked a bit shaky but the Matra-driver pulled it off and went into 3rd.
Late-on-the-brakes Adamovich showed just how late he could brake into Parabolica and went passed Jundt.
Plaçais lost third to Hlavac on the main straight, then fourth to Adamovich on the run to the Lesmo’s. He even ended up entering the Lesmo’s wide and lost all momentum, leaving Jundt through. The Matra had gone from 3rd to 6th in less than half a lap and had everything to redo. That also, is racing at Monza.
The craze of the race got to Hlavac and he spun in the middle of the Parabolica. Adamovich, Jundt and Plaçais al managed to avoid the revolving McLaren. Grant Riddall, who had made it back to 7th without nosecone, was less lucky and collected the McLaren. Both the McLaren and Surtees continued their races but Grant fell back to 12th. Even Voigt had him within eyesight now.
Voigt was still running behind Janik’s Brabham and signaled the pits that he thought he would be able to recover a position. But he never succeeded. He stayed close to Janik for some laps. Then got slowed slightly by Bos who was swerving all over the Rettifilo Centro, apparently struggling with a badly battered vacuum cleaner Lotus. It looked as if Bos would leave room on the left side but then, about 10 yards onto the straight, the Lotus moved to the left.
Voigt held back a bit and started moving to the right, to position for the inside of Parabolica. But then the Lotus halted its leftwards movement and glued itself to the exact middle of the track. Limiting Voigt’s options to lap the Lotus.
Voigt slowed but still managed to pull ahead before Parabolica, which kind of illustrates how slow Bos was going at this stage.
The whole event had allowed Janik to increase the gap to just above 3 seconds, were it stayed for several laps.
Then, Voigt’s zeal seemed to softly extinguish; like the flame on a candle when all the wax is burned up. Janik pulled away and the gap gradually rose to 10 seconds.
Coxon went slightly wide and had to let Jaques passed.
Jundt and Adamovich were raving like doped out youngsters. Swarming over the track, hoping to catch a slipstream or, on the opposite, throw the other out of his slipstream. And all the time, Plaçais sat right behind them, on the lookout for an opportunity to unleash the V12-power of the Matra.
Coxon had made it passed Jaques again, only to see the BRM squeeze back through on the inside of Parabolica.
Plaçais made it passed Jundt. The Swiss then glued himself to the Matra’s behind, hoping that the tow of the massive V12 would steer them both back to Adamovich, who had pulled a small gap. With its powerful V12, the Matra however had the luxury to run some more wing and still be fast. It made Plaçais much faster through Curva Grande and David had to let the French ace go.
Then Adamovich went wide in the Lesmo’s and Plaçais shot into 3rd. Adamovich had Jundt back on his shoulders. The Swiss did not waste much time and soon captured 4th. Janak in the leading Ferrari had now caught up with these two Marches and joined the fray.
Bos was increasingly turning into a moving chicane and Jaques had a somewhat hard time finding a way passed. Which allowed Coxon to get some breathing room.
Adamovich’s off at Lesmo seemed to have damaged his car as first Jundt and then Janak went ahead. And Andres now had a hard time containing McLaren-man Hlavac.
Hlavac made a successful move through the inside of Parabolica. As Adamovich was trying to get the cut-back, he suddenly had to be on the watch-out for Ryon who was supplementing the Ferrari-power with some good old pull from Adamovich’s March. Entering Curva Grande, Adamovich nearly cut over the Ferrari’s nose.
The Italian car pulled up again on the run to Lesmo and got the inside line for Lesmo. Adamovich was forced to the outside, lost heaps of time and not only the Ferrari went through, but so did Ray Riddall’s BRM.
It took Jaques about one lap to reel Coxon back in. Then he made yet another pass through Parabolica. Coxon seemed set to slipstream back into the lead on the main straight, then held back and looked like abiding his time. Which lasted about half a lap. The Tyrrell pulled ahead around the outside of Vialone, which was quiet a daring move actually.
Meanwhile, Plaçais, who had dispensed with both Jundt and Adamovich, was working his way back to the two leaders, using every inch of horsepower his Matra rocket had on offer.
Dave Miller retired the Frank Williams March 701.
At the front of the pack, the two roosters were still pulling all kinds of tricks. Coxon was still in the lead but had Jaques swerving in his mirrors. The Canadian was relentlessly looking for a way past the Tyrrell.
With the race approaching the halfway mark, Coxon was adopting slightly more defensive lines, often sticking to and covering the inside.
Holding back a Jaques with his mind set on being in the lead, is not an easy thing however. And not even a Coxon in full defense mode could contain the BRM. In the first of the Lesmo’s, Jaques pulled around and passed the outside of the Tyrrell. The lead changed hands once more.
And it seemed far from over. They were barely exiting the second Lesmo and speeding down towards Vialone as Coxon started mounting his riposte. Jaques’ turn to slightly protect the inside on the run to Parabolica and keep the Tyrrell behind.
Jundt did something very out of character. He spun off in the Parabolica. The car seemed undamaged but David had his work cut out trying to get the March out of the gravel trap back onto the tarmac. When he finally rejoined the race, he had fallen back to 14th. Even shit-bag Voigt had made it passed the Swiss ace.
As they finished lap 28 of 55, Jaques was still in the lead followed by Coxon. Plaçais was running third and was making up lost ground. Number 1 Ferrari-driver Janak was running 4th, with Hlavac and Canola in respectively 5th and 6th. Ray Riddall was running 7th in front of Grant Riddall in 8th, which was a somewhat unfamiliar running order, largely explained by Grant still missing his nosecone. Andres Adamovich and Brian Janik rounded out the top 10.
Voigt was running 11th, just one spot away from a top 10-finish.
Things were starting to take a turn for the worse for Coxon. Trying to hold on to the back of Jaques’ BRM, he carried too much speed into the Lesmo’s. The turbulence caused by the BRM reduced the downforce on the Tyrrell’s front and added to Coxon’s predicament. The car went wide and scraped the barriers during several meters. A nervous silence captured the Tyrrell crew as they feared that the car might be damaged.
The incident allowed Jaques to pull out a slight gap and, independent from having damaged the Tyrrell or not, Coxon would now lack the tow required to make a move on the BRM.
Further down, Grant Riddall was struggling with an obviously unruly Surtees. Grant was running 8th but seemed like slowly gaining on the other Riddall and Thiago Canola. Getting the better of those two would put him in sixth and earn him a championship point, something very necessary if he wanted to keep his championship hopes alive with Coxon now running second. So Grant soldiered on and the way he did it, offered quiet a spectacle to behold.
Coxon was meanwhile clocking fast laps with Jundt-like regularity. He even seemed to slightly reduce the gap to Jaques. But it all happened very very slowly, and the laps were ticking away.
Voigt was having a quiet and lonely race by now, with just one small bit of excitement: lapping the Chacon tractor.
By lap 39, Coxon was back on Jaques’ tail and had a look entering Curva Grande. Jaques defended masterfully without the slightest hint of defensiveness in his line. The BRM went entirely around the outside line through Curva Grande and managed to be faster on that line than the Tyrrell on the inside.
Coxon was benefitting from slipstream again however, and was shadowing the BRM, determined to turn the slightest opportunity to his advantage.
Bad omens were looming over the track however.
As they sped down towards Parabolica, Jaques hit the brakes very late. Too late actually, as the BRM went skittering of into the gravel trap. Coxon duly followed suit and also ended up in the sand.
Jaques succeeded in maintaining momentum, crossing through the sand and onto the strip of grass at the far end of the gravel. He quickly rejoined the track and held on to the lead.
Things looked more dire for Coxon. He lost all momentum going off and got stuck in the gravel trap. It took the Tyrrell what seemed like ages to make it back to the track and when Coxon finally rejoined, Plaçais had gone by and the Tyrrell was down to third.
Jaques was now 14 seconds ahead of Coxon with Plaçais in between them. The Canadian looked set for his first victory of the season.
Grant Riddall had meanwhile made it back to sixth, securing him a point in the championship. He had Ray Riddall behind him. Which had the BRM team out with a board for Ray that read something along the lines of: “Sharing a last name means shit when it comes to team interests…”
Riddall the Faster also made it past Hlavac and now had 2 points bagged.
The McLaren ace was however not going to take it lying down and was soon fighting back.
He had a look around the outside of Parabolica but came just short. Over the main straight, the McLaren was now fully in the slipstream of the Surtees. Hlavac came along side to the right of the Surtees and now enjoyed the better inside line for Curva Grande. The Czech was back to 5th, but was well advised to keep a wide open eye on his mirrors. Fast Grant had certainly not said his last word…
Coxon was meanwhile eating into the advantage Jaques and Plaçais had on him with the appetite of a starving lion. But he was running out of laps…
Lightning Riddall stayed glued to the back of Hlavac’s McLaren. And as they went through Curva Grande the next time, Petr covered the inside line. Which was all an amazing Riddall needed to successfully make a pass around the outside… Without nosecone and front wing, and thus no downforce whatever on his front wheels. It was a move that was surpassed in brilliance only by its boldness.
Those who took Hlavac for a sissy, found themselves sourly mistaken though. The Czech stayed glued to the Surtees’ right rear quarter panel and near succeeded in taking 5th back under braking for Lesmo Uno. The late braking however pushed the McLaren on a suboptimal trajectory for Lesmo Due and Grant held on to fifth.
As the Surtees sped down towards Vialone, the English driver even looked like braking the tow for the McLaren and slightly edged away.
The fast Czech was well back on the Surtees’ buttocks nonetheless, as they raced towards Curva Grande on the next lap. Petr even had a look at an inside move but Grant defended well. Then, into the Lesmo’s, the Czech tried a similar move as the one on the previous lap. But Grant fended it off by braking a tad later on the outside. Then staying ahead around the outside and putting a faster exit out of Lesmo Due to his advantage. All that, with his front wing still missing!
Hlavac now insisted on showing the world just how hard a nut to crack he really was and pulled up on the inside while braking for Parabolica. He made it stick this time around and took over 5th from Grantus Maximus.
The McLaren, Surtees and Riddall the Wiser’s BRM –who was still running behind the former two madmen- now swerved over the main straight like a trio of crazed out bumblebee’s. In the grandstands, an old man called Rimsky nodded approvingly. While as a young man called Kojin had a vision of future toys.
Riddall the Younger was so occupied with keeping Riddall the Wiser behind that he almost hit the wall. He barely kept the car straightened as he came back of the narrow strip of grass and saw the McLaren ease out.
It only took Fast Grant one lap to redeem the distance between him and the McLaren to naught. As they went for Parabolica the next time, he commandingly claimed the outside line. It allowed him to brake a tad later and take 5th back. With only 2 laps remaining, it looked like the two points would go to the Surtees-driver.
Two laps was also all Coxon had left to get back into the lead. And it looked like he was not going to make it.
Hlavac made a small mistake exiting the Lesmo’s and lost traction for a fraction of a second. It was all Grant needed to pull away and take a firm option on the much coveted fifth. To add to his woes, the Czech now had his work cut out with the older Riddall’s BRM. Ray even made it past the McLaren, effectively putting Hlavac out of the points.
Coxon threw away any last chance he had for victory by spinning the Tyrrell. With just one lap to go, he was now 36 seconds behind Jaques and even had to worry about 4th placed Janak in the Ferrari.
Jaques was far from home safe, as Plaçais was now less than a second behind. And had a rocket engine in his Matra.
The Canadian kept it together however and took a well deserved first win of the season. Plaçais took second for Matra and a somewhat disillusioned Coxon took third.
Janak made it home fourth in a solitary Ferrari.
Behind, Grant sealed the deal and took fifth and two important championship points with it. Hlavac on the contrary, was about to lose it all. Petr had gotten the better of Ray Riddall again, but their scrape had allowed Thiago Canola to close in on them.
On the last lap, in the last turn, Canola gave it everything he had braking extremely late on the utter most inside edge of the track for Parabolica, and made it past. Taking sixth and the last point of the race.
A baffled Hlavac was seventh. Ray Riddall took eight for BRM. Janik was ninth. And the top ten was miraculously rounded out by none other than clumsy clown John Patrich Voigt. The patriarch of daftness had nearly earned himself a place in history. But not quiet.
Championship wise Coxon bagged 4 points while Riddall had to settle for 2. Putting the Tyrrell man on 43 points and the Surtees boy on 41 points. With two races to go, and 18 points for the grabs, the championship thus remains wide open.
One thing is sure however. The kindergarten days are gone and none of the top dogs has any margin left for error. Mosport will have to be perfect… For both of them. And in the racing world that means as much as: suspense guaranteed.
Full broadcast of the race is HERE.