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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:32 pm 
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Location: CT
There was a time when we were just plain crazy......

https://youtu.be/IrPkjkoFevQ

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:10 am 
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And we still do it!..aka Isle of Mann TT and just for the glory of winning. :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:56 am 
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Frank, as young lad sort of remember bits and pieces...One of the first club events at Oulton Park not far from our home in Cheshire UK, still fresh tarmac and the smell of fresh cut trees, still the short track at that point. Dad had donated his time as a scrutineer (tech inspection) so while he worked the tech line I wandered.
My boy hood hero Sir Stirling Moss was there racing a 500cc Cooper-JAP formula car, well Stirling would go by and a what seemed like an eternity the rest of the field would finally go by. He was such an incredible fast driver and made it looked easy. Got to meet him a few years ago at Lime Rock Historics...still my Hero!
I had positioned myself at a corner called Old Hall a right hander, this TR2 came into the corner locked up and spun off on the right side rolling over then back onto it's wheels and continued back across the track finally coming to rest. The Marshalls all ran over to the car, no driver!
The driver was standing on the other side of the track were he had rolled and been thrown out...Seatbelts, roll bars what were they! The thinking in those days that your survival chances were better if you got thrown from the car.
Pictures of Stirling in a Cooper, photo credit unknown.
Colin
the older one

"Stirling, this right side wheel may come off, do your best old chap"


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:05 pm 
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And the front crash "crumple zone" in that Cooper was Stirling's legs! :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:42 pm 
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Haha! And you'd better believe that was on his mind a lot, John!

Great story, Colin. I envy you those great experiences in those days; the Golden Age of motor racing might well be considered the 1930s thru the 1960s, interrupted by WWII. You were in the right place at the right time.

Moss was one of my heroes too, especially in the mid-'50s after he drove his magnificent 10hr/8min Mille Miglia victory beside my favorite sports writer Denis 'Jenks' Jenkinson. I got to see that Mercedes 300 SLR and Sir Stirling at LRP too; one of the highlights of my lifetime. It was a very rare occasion; Moss avoided LRP like the plague because it was the home turf of John Fitch (another of my heroes). Fitch had been personally responsible for inadvertently costing Stirling his only chance at a world championship due to the 1955 LeMans disaster.
What happened was this:

After Fangio had suffered a season of broken cars and small crashes, Moss was finally leading him for the 1955 World Championship points. Moss had won the Mille Miglia setting an all-time record. Moss was leading the entire field by a full lap at LeMans. Pierre LeVegh, Fangio and Fitch were his Mercedes team mates and the Mercedes team was dominating the field, so, regardless which of them won, the team points would have pushed Moss into his only World Championship.

When LeVegh crashed into the grandstands at 110mph, killing or maiming nearly 300 French spectators ('the greatest disaster in motorsports'), Fitch suggested that Team Mercedes withdraw from the race in respect for the dead. They did, and Moss never again got even close to the incredible Juan Manuel Fangio for a championship. The Brits dubbed Moss "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship", and they were right. Moss never willingly spoke to Fitch again and refused to visit Fitch's LRP raceway while Fitch was alive.

For those not familiar with the JAP 500 series, John Albert Prestwich was a brilliant English engineer who designed a remarkable series of air-or-water-cooled engines at the turn of the century. They were rugged, dependable, long-strokers with huge torque and were fitted to aircraft, boats, motorcycles and 'other' racing vehicles (Including the thrilling little Morgan 3-Wheelers). For awhile they were considered so excellent, they were offered as an option in the Brough Superior, the world's finest motorcycle. JAPs were distinguishable from a distance by bright red lettering "JAP" on some external engine case or valve cover. The innovative Brits created a whole racing series around these magnificent engines, resulting in the incredibly lightweight 'bulb' you see Sir Stirling sitting in. Most were chain driven rear-wheel cars, altho some experiment was made for front wheel drive. Like John observed, if you ever crashed one, you were the first one at the scene.


Attachments:
File comment: 94 y/o American Hero John Fitch, founder of LRP, professional racer, WWII fighter ace, POW, inventor of Fitch Barriers and Corvair-powered Fitch Roadster (at LRP, once his boyhood farm)
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File comment: The JAP, Matchless and AJS motorcycle engines gave these weightless little machines terrifying speed. Morgan 3-wheelers were literally inches off the ground, with fewer wheels than a GoKart
Cadwell Park 2014 049.jpg
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File comment: A Brough Superior, the most-expensive motorcycle ever made, powered by a JAP V-Twin. Lawrence of Arabia owned 8 of these 120mph monster bikes and died on one.
iu-1.jpeg
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File comment: The wildly exciting Morgan 3-Wheeler. Chain driven rear wheel was powered by that wonderful JAP engine out front. This driver is smiling because the "Moog" is not moving. This is a water-cooled JAP engine. The hole in the case is for the starter hand-crank.
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File comment: Some common JAP engines circa 1900
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Last edited by Frank T on Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:31 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:33 pm 
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Frank, some photos of the Merc at the LRP 2015 Historics, Stirling did some exhibition laps that I missed. I think I wuz in the beer tent.
Colin
the older one
Photos©CWG2015

Nice video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJsdw-pof1o


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:54 pm 
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Perhaps the fastest 300SLR of all time.
For those who don't know, the car's racing number designates the exact minute it left the platform, all alone, to begin the 1955 Mille Miglia race. Moss and "Jenks" flagged-off at precisely 07:22; the car ahead of them had left at 07:21 and the car behind started at 07:23, etc.

World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio had started at 06:58, 24 minutes ahead of Moss. Altho each car raced the circuit and the clock rather than each other, Moss caught and overtook Fangio that evening. It was Moss' finest race.

Missing from this specific car is a very important historical artifact. Can anyone guess what it was?

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Last edited by Frank T on Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:13 am 
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Anybody guessing.....?

Give up....?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:44 am 
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OK, here's the all-important item which is missing from this historic Mercedes Benz 300SLR. It is Denis Jenkinson's personal invention to help guide Moss around 1,000 miles of back country Italian roads, in the day and night, without verbal communication. Jenks was a writer at heart (and my favorite) and he put his natural talent to good use with this idea. He charted every mile of the circuit so he could tell Moss what was coming and how fast they could afford to go. He wound his notes on a scroll encased in a home-made window and turned the device as they passed each landmark. It worked so well they beat the World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the finish by half an hour. Jenks' device would become the inspiration for the late 1950s HALDA SPEED PILOT and later GPS devices. This is the actual device, and here's what the world says about it:
* * * * * * * * *

"What you see before you is one of the most coveted pieces of automotive history. While not actually a car part at all, it would solidify the legend of Stirling Moss, the famed driver who was knighted by the British Crown in 2000 for his contributions to Motor Racing. Sir Stirling would win many races over the length of his career, but none would be more remembered than the 1955 Mille Miglia. The Mille Miglia, for those unfamiliar, is a roughly one-thousand mile race through the public streets of Italy which- save for 6 years during World War II- was run annually from 1927 until 1957, when it was deemed unsafe after a crash killed Ferrari driver Alfonso de Portago, his co-pilot, and nine spectators. Prior to Moss, no Englishman had ever won the race; save for German teams in 1931 and 1940, the race had been completely dominated by the Italians, who had an understandable “home court” advantage, these being the roads they drove on a daily basis. Two passengers were allowed in each car. While most drivers drove in teams, some chose to go it alone, though Moss did neither. He chose as his navigator British automotive journalist Denis “Jenks” Jenkinson. While many would question Moss’ choice of co-pilot, Jenks had a plan. Six different times over as many weeks, interspersed with Moss’ busy race schedule, Moss and Jenkinson would drive the route in its entirety, though they would have to do so at more civilian speeds, as the roads were not closed as they would be on race day. (This would lead to a number of collisions, including an ammunition laden military vehicle and a wayward sheep.) During these practice runs, Jenks would “map” the route on a device of his own invention- a paper scroll encased in a waterproof aluminum and perspex tomb- which would later be known as the “roller map.” Eventually, every single turn, dip, and straightaway in the 992.329 mile course would be chronicled, in order, on the rolls. While the roller map may have been completed, there was another problem. Moss was to be driving the now legendary Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, but considering its open pipes where either door would usually be and lack of a roof (or even a windshield) there would be no way for Moss and Jenkinson to hear each other in the cockpit. They attempted to set up an intercom system, to no avail. Instead, the two men came up with a series of intricate hand signals which only they could decipher. Moss, Jenkinson, and the Roller Map would cross the finish line in 10 hours, 7 minutes, and 48 seconds, a full 31 minutes ahead of second place finisher and teammate Juan Manuel Fangio. Moss’ time meant he had averaged 97.90 miles per hour, a time and speed which would never be matched in the history of the race".



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Attachments:
File comment: The 'miraculous' 1955 forerunner of the Speed Pilot and GPS, Denis Jenkinson's scroll notes for the Mille Miglia.
tumblr_l59zky4yQ61qzn1d3o1_640.jpg
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:03 am 
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And by the way.....after being scared out of his wits for 10hrs, Denis Jenkinson set about to write his memoirs of that race. It became a classic car article entitled "With Moss in the Mille Miglia". I found it in our school library and read it when I was about 11, and it left me breathless. The article was printed in every car magazine in existence at that time, including my favorite (Sports Car Graphic). Years later Jenks also wrote a book, "The Racing Driver", in which he related more details about his incredible experience in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Ironically, he credits Mercedes teammate John Fitch with having given him the idea for his Roll Map. So Fitch, who Moss would later come to regard as his nemesis, actually caused Moss' success in the '55MM in the first place.

Jenks described his vain attempts to keep his posterior attached to the passenger seat. He estimated himself airborne under negative Gs for a cumulative 8 hours of the 10 hour ordeal, and being compressed downward into the seat by positive Gs for much of the remaining 2 hrs. He was seldom a race car driver himself, being unable to afford the sport; he loved motor racing and had tried his hand at being a motorcycle sidecar 'monkey' a few times but didn't like making a living at it. He had won a 1947 sidecar championship but felt it just wasn't his future. This was his first actual ride-along in a full-bore Grand Prix racing car. After sidecar racing, he felt he had all the nerve he needed to ride with Moss.

Jenks' report is filled with incredible thrilling moments (passing crashed and burning cars, narrowly missing stray animals at 100+mph, having their full fuel tank spray him with gasoline at speed), but a few still stand out in my mind today, 60 years-on; he described cresting bridges so fast the car left the ground completely and, at more than 120mph, carried itself thru the air for several hundred feet. At that moment there was absolutely no control over the car; nothing you could do to it would effect its flight. But if you turned the wheel even slightly, the car would careen off the road as soon as the front wheels touched back down. Jenks described the first time that happened (never happened in slow practice) and, as he and Moss suddenly realized they were completely airborne for a very long moment, they silently glanced over at each other with wide eyes. That happened at many bridges.

The high-geared, Desmodromic-valve 300SLR was capable of over 170mph. The tiny abbreviated windscreen provided only a small patch of safety for their heads; lean up too far and the wind would pin you back against the seat and literally prevent you from breathing. The blast had already ripped one pair of eyeglasses off his head; Jenks described an event when they peaked the mountains and beginning to fly down the downhill side. The car was doing 160mph down a miles-long single-lane blacktop straightaway out of the mountains. Jenks felt slightly weightless and was aware of frequent space btwn himself and the seat. On Moss' side there was a ragged cliff; on Jenk's side there was an open drop-off several hundred feet deep. There was no guard rail or even a Post&Cable fence; it was wide open. He was so close to the edge he could look over the door and not see any roadway under him. At 160 mph, Moss reached down and shifted UP into top gear for more speed. Jenks looked over at him incredulously and the wind slammed his head back against the seat, stealing his breath away and ripping his goggles away from his eyes. Now (he said), he was blind, couldn't breathe, was floating above his seat and was literally inches away from certain death on either side of the road. He decided not to distract Moss.

A decade later he confessed that downhill continued to give him nightmares for the rest of his lifetime.


Attachments:
File comment: Jenks and Moss.....before
Jenks and Moss 1955 Mille Miglia.jpg
Jenks and Moss 1955 Mille Miglia.jpg [ 21.93 KiB | Viewed 116 times ]
File comment: Jenks and Moss.....1,000 miles later
Jenks and Moss  win 1955 Mille Miglia Mercedes SLR.jpg
Jenks and Moss win 1955 Mille Miglia Mercedes SLR.jpg [ 29.76 KiB | Viewed 116 times ]

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Last edited by Frank T on Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:00 pm 
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Hey Frankie, if you want to look the part you could order one of these. Maybe have in time for Christmas...I would like to borrow it from you!
https://petrolicious.com/shop/pacto-carrera-helmet

Colin
the older one


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:54 pm 
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WOW! What a deal! For a mere $1,000 I can own something to look at, which I can't use for driving or motorcycle riding? Excellent! :thumbs_up:

Actually, Juan Manuel Fangio is reputed to have only ever carried a single item with him as he traveled from track to track; a small hatbox containing his helmet, goggles and gloves. His team came along later with his trunks full of other clothes he wanted, but he never let his 'tools' out of his reach.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:52 pm 
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Frank, incredibly You Tube has a video of that first event at Oulton Park. That first corner, Old Hall, is the first corner out of the pits right at the beginning of the video....Oh so many trees to hit! I wuz out there wandering some where....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ghri1Wrhf0&t=10s

Colin
the older one


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:27 pm 
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Oh! I see you! I see you!
You're sitting on the roof of the beer truck @06:30!

Well done, old boy! You had your priorities right even at age 5! 8)


Aha! So this is the course which has Druids corner? I've heard about it many times but never before learned which course it was which launched racing cars up an embankment and 10ft into the air, only feet from picnicking spectators.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:19 am 
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Frank, this is a later photograph taken by my Dad. Three of your favorites headed up Clay Hill. You can see the new circuit coming in on the right. That right hander is called Knickerbrook, note the pond just to the right at the corner exit, saw a few close calls there. Guard rails? We don't need no stinking guard rails!
My Brother must have more photos somewhere, I'll have to check.
Colin
the older one


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oulton park ah-clay hill-lres.jpg
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