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#156 1967 British Grand Prix

2021-09-17 01:00

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#156 1967 British Grand Prix

On Sunday, July 9, 1967, the tenth edition of the Trento-Bondone is held. This is a classic international speed hill climbing competition reserved for

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On Sunday, July 9, 1967, the tenth edition of the Trento-Bondone is held. This is a classic international speed hill climbing competition reserved for sport prototypes, two-seater races and gran turismo cars which counts towards the European Mountain Championship. German driver Gerhard Mitter wins again this year in a Porsche 2000. He sets a new record with a time of 11'17"53, at an average speed of 91.926 km/h, improving the record he set in 1966 by 33.47 seconds. Several favorable elements have contributed to the collapse of the previous record: the road is in perfect condition, the sun is shining but the weather is not humid, and the mechanical means have progressed. The record has been beaten not only because of Mitter’s merit, but also of his opponent - Ludovico Scarfiotti - who, after an excellent race with the new Ferrari Dino, finishes in second place just 11.9 seconds from the winner. Eighty-seven drivers take part in the competition along Trento's steep mountain hairpin bends, starting at Montevideo and finishing at Vason, on a 17.300-kilometer course with 132 curves, a 1.300-meter elevation and an average incline of 7.5%. The fight is particularly lively between the Porsche drivers, as proven by the multiple victories achieved in the previous three rounds of the Championship, and those of the Ferrari Dino, the nimble cars of the Maranello manufacturer entrusted to Ludovico Scarfiotti and Guenter Klass’ driving skills.

 

However, the Abarths insert themselves brilliantly in this duel, quite unexpectedly after the rather disappointing results of Saturday's trials. Thanks to Schetty and Ortner, the Abarths finish third and fifth respectively, while the fourth place belongs to Klass’ Dino. In the overall standings, the Porsche team wins all the places from fifth to tenth. One of Porsche's best drivers, Rolf Stommelen, who was leading the European Mountain Championship after the first three races, goes off the road about halfway through the course, toppling over in a meadow below. The driver fortunately reports only very slight bruises. Other retirements include Quester (Porsche), one of the favorites before the start, due to a tire blowout, and Casoni (Ferrari Dino) due to a broken gearbox. Many records are broken in the other groups as well. The overall standings of the 1967 European Hill Climb Championship after the fourth round are as follows: Gerhard Mitter is in the lead with 26 points, followed by Stommelen with 22 points, and both Adamich and Scarfiotti with 6 points. In view of the recent result and the race coinciding with the British Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari issued a communiqué on Wednesday, July 12, 1967, announcing that it would not participate in the seventh edition of the Cesana Sestriere hill climb race to be held on Sunday, July 16, 1967.

 

The Maranello team was supposed to field two cars, one entrusted to Ludovico Scarfiotti and another to German driver Klass. Following multiple discussions with those in charge of the racing department, Enzo Ferrari decides not to participate because there isn’t enough time to properly fine-tune the Dino cars, especially the unreleased two-seater model that made its debut the previous week in the Trento-Bondone. This problem has already occurred in previous years: for commercial and prestige reasons, Ferrari takes part in all the most important events in motorsport. But the calendar is packed with events and there are few people. The preparation and tuning of a race car is a delicate, time-consuming affair. Thus, from time to time, the Modenese manufacturer is forced to make painful but unavoidable sacrifices when there is more than one commitment at the same time. The British Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 15, 1967. Franco Lini, Ferrari's sports director, and engineer Mauro Forghieri, the Technical Director, have already left for London with a team of mechanics. A painful withdrawal, especially since missing the Cesana-Sestriere race means leaving the field open for Porsche to make a new statement. Ludovico Scarfiotti is especially sorry and states:

 

"I wanted to be there, because I already won last year's edition and the one in 1965. It is a nice race, which has always brought me luck. I had even booked a room at the Principi. I had to cancel it at the last minute".

 

Scarfiotti has won the mountain championship numerous times. This event takes place in a half-dozen trials in the French, Swiss, Italian, Austrian and German Alps. The Italian driver had finished second at Trento-Bondone on Sunday, July 9, 1967, behind Mitter and his Porsche, therefore:

 

"I was counting on a rematch. Never mind. Now I will prepare for my next commitments, the Mugello circuit in Tuscany and the Brands Hatch 500 km".

 

The theme of the Sestriere race is the struggle between Porsche, Abarth and BMW. Drivers from the three manufacturers arrive at the Hill and begin their first training sessions, in anticipation of official practice, scheduled for Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16, 1967, before the official competition.

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On Saturday, July 15, 1967, the British Grand Prix is held at Silverstone. In 1967, the choice of the Royal Automobile Club (R.A.C.) falls on Silverstone. With the help of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (B.R.D.C.) and most of the country's car clubs, the British Grand Prix is held on the great open spaces of the airport circuit. Entry is by invitation and all the big teams are present, along with a larger number than usual of private owners, with some newcomers getting a chance to try their hand at the sixth Grand Prix of the 1967 season. Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme will drive the two newer Brabham BT24 cars, like they did in the French Grand Prix, with the only difference being that the dashboard layout has been altered so that the instruments are closer to the steering wheel. This is because they want to gain a few more inches of space for a larger fuel tank, as there is a possibility of the existing tank capacity not being able to support the 80-lap race. Jackie Stewart is entered with his newer, slightly lighter and thinner B.R.M. H16-cylinder; Mike Spence will drive one of the earlier models; Chris Irwin will race in another of the older machines. The first two drivers are entered by the Owen Organization, and the third by Reg Parnell, who also enters Piers Courage driving his B.R.M. 2-liter V8 Tasman.

 

These four drivers undergo several shuffles between each other during practice, and the shifts are visible in the practice timetable. Jim Clark and Graham Hill will drive the two Lotus 49s (the 49/2 and 49/1, respectively), both of which have undergone gearbox strengthening since their last appearance. Both V8 Cosworth engines are given an additional linkage system for the slide throttle controls in an effort to have better control of the 410-engine horsepower. The cars also feature a new mode of clutch operation, with the hydraulic cylinder on the right side of the sprocket housing acting on an exposed pushrod that slides forward. John Surtees is the only one running the Honda V12, whose outside has remained unchanged since its last appearance at Spa but features a new and improved engine. Chris Amon is also alone with the 1967 Ferrari V12, number 003, as in the French Grand Prix. Dan Gurney and Bruce McLaren are entered by Anglo American Racers with the two cars used at Le Mans, but they have a noticeable change to the plastic tubes on the metering unit. As the Anglo-American racers, Dan Gurney will use the newest car (number 104) whose titanium front suspension rocker arms are replaced by standard steel ones, not because of a failure but as an experiment to seek better rigidity. Bruce McLaren, instead, will have the oldest car (number 102) in his car.

 

Cooper is attending with a three-car team: Jochen Rindt will race with a new car, equipped with a 36-valve V12 engine experimented at Monaco earlier in the season; Pedro Rodriguez will run with the usual 1966 car; Alan Rees is given the car which is normally kept as a reserve, with a modified 1966 chassis and internal rear brakes. The rest of the entries are private owners. Jo Siffert will run in the V12 Cooper-Maserati of the Walker/Durlacher team, but because the engine is awaiting inspection, it is fitted with an old, borrowed engine. Bob Anderson drives his Brabham-Climax 4-cylinder since he cannot purchase a V8 engine due to a lack of money. Bonnier is driving his red-and-white V12 Cooper-Maserati, and David Hobbs is entered in Bernard White Racing's 2-liter V8 B.R.M. Guy Ligier is the newcomer, driving the 1966 V8 Brabham-Repco which Denny Hulme won the Monaco Grand Prix in earlier in the season. Rounding out the grid is Swiss driver Silvio Moser in the V8 Cooper-A.T.S. built by Alf Francis for Fritz Baumann, a Swiss garage owner. The car combines the front half of the purpose-built Cooper to incorporate the 16-cylinder Climax engine, with the rear half of the Francis. Darlington attempts an entry with a 1966 McLaren, but does not succeed.

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There are two practice sessions: the first is held on Thursday, July 13, 1967, and the second on Friday, July 14, 1967. It is important to note, however, that many teams have already held private sessions at the Silverstone track and should therefore already be prepared for the competition. The existing lap record, a 1'29"8, belongs to Jack Brabham and his Repco V8-powered car, set in May 1966. Therefore, when practice begins, all drivers are expected to be able to improve this time and some may go as low as 1'25"0. The first practice session is held from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM on Thursday, July 13, 1967. The B.R.M. team comes out on time for morning practice with the three cars equipped with 16-cylinder engines making a pleasant sound as they go around the circuit. But Jackie Stewart is not convinced by his new car’s handling and there is speculation about which of the earlier 16-cylinder engine-equipped models he will use. Jochen Rindt is spectating: the Cooper mechanics are still working relentlessly to complete the new car, with the Austrian driver hoping to be able to take part in the afternoon practice session.

 

Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme are very competitive and set the pace. Jim Clark, in his Lotus 49, is the only driver who seems to be able to get close to the two Brabham drivers. However, the Lotus has problems that puzzle Chapman and Duckworth, since the engine had proven to be perfect on test. The two engineers are focused on solving this issue and will have no time left to adjust the chassis to the circuit conditions. Despite all the problems, Jim Clark laps in 1'27"8, holding his own against Jack Brabham. The Australian driver laps sets an extraordinary 1'26"6 lap, improving his own 1966 time by more than three seconds. Meanwhile, Bruce McLaren experiences problems with the differential of his Eagle-Weslake, which is disassembled in the pits to be modified. Not only the Cosworth engine, but the Honda engine too makes a terrible sound and does not run smoothly. By the end of practice, Jack Brabham's performance is marred by a fuel pump failure. In this first session it is surprising that the ten fastest times are all below the former lap record.

 

The second practice session runs from 4:50 PM to 5:50 PM: the unusual time is caused by the tight schedule of the organization, which has to fit in numerous events in addition to the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Jackie Stewart swaps his car with Mike Spence's in order to take part in the afternoon practice session, but the British driver is not too satisfied. As a matter of fact, Mike does not run many laps before a front suspension support collapses while he is braking at Copse; the driver takes the car to the grass and ends his session there. Bruce McLaren spends most of the time waiting for his differential to be modified and then reassembled, so the New Zealander only manages to run one lap at the end of practice. Dan Gurney maintains a good pace, but not as much as hoped; the American driver is not very happy with his Eagle's brakes. The Cooper team loses hope of completing the new car before Friday's practice; therefore, to make sure that Jochen Rindt can complete a few laps, the team allows the Austrian driver to drive the first of the 1967 cars with an old V12 engine, which has a lighter chassis and a Hewland gearbox.

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Team Lotus makes a slight improvement to Jim Clark's car, but the engine continues to sputter and doesn’t run properly on all eight cylinders. Despite this, Jim Clark sets the fastest time: a 1'26"5, beating Jack Brabham's time from the morning by a slight margin. Chris Amon is very consistent in his Ferrari and seems to be doing well. Though the car gives the impression of great strength and power, the New Zealander is not fast enough. One hour is not enough to make any improvement on the previous session's ranking, so the overall picture remains roughly the same: the overall pace is fast, but not as much as expected before practice. The weather is sunny during Thursday practice, but on Friday morning the sky is gray and overcast, with a hint of rain. Overnight, Duckworth was able to solve the problem of the two-stroke oil being fed into the Cosworth engines. Duckworth discovered the presence of a tiny drain hole in the fuel injection bypass system which let too much fuel through; blocking this hole solved all ignition issues.

 

Blocking is easily done: the simple fix involves tapering a safety pin to the diameter of the tiny hole and tapping it into the hole, until it is closed. With the possibility of rain on the horizon, all contenders for the front rows of the grid come out as soon as practice begins at 11:00 a.m. Jochen Rindt drives the new 36-valve Maserati-powered Cooper and seems satisfied, Jackie Stewart is back in his B.R.M. with his front suspension repaired, and everyone is ready to make a last-ditch effort to rank in the top four - those who form the front row. Jim Clark starts and his mastery, combined with Chapman's motoring prowess, puts him ahead of most of his competitors. The Cosworth V8 can now use all eight cylinders: Clark runs his first lap and sets a 1'26"6, then a 1'26"4, followed by a 1'25"7. The Scottish driver is then hampered by a slower car, setting a time of 1'26"1 which prompts him to return to the pits. There, he finds Colin Chapman smiling, who tells him:

 

"That helped get the engine started properly, now we'll try to make the car manageable".

 

In this early stage, no other driver can come close to this time. Clark's car is brought to the back of the pits and adjustments are made to the suspension geometry. This leaves time to adjust the second car for the team's newcomer, Graham Hill. Meanwhile, Jackie Stewart arrives in the pits with his new B.R.M.’s front wheels tilted inward at an unusual angle and a collapsed front suspension structure, so the car is retired. Race numbers are changed: Stewart takes the 16-cylinder-engine car that Chris Irwin had driven, while the British driver takes the Piers Courage’s V8-engined car, who becomes a practice spectator. The impending rain has not arrived, so all the drivers who can get out on track do so. Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Dan Gurney, and Chris Amon are the fastest, although Graham Hill begins to make the second Lotus 49 work. After adjustments to the 49/2 are made, Jim Clark goes out again. The aim is not to run laps in hopes of getting a good time, but to set a certain number of laps, as has happened before. Before changes are made to the suspension, Clark drops down to 1'25"7, and then starts with a 1'27"0 lap to get acquainted with the car and the track. His next lap is a 1'25"6, then he passes some slower cars and sets a 1'26"0, but sets a 1'25"5 and 1'25"3 on the next laps, before coming back into the pits.

 

Colin Chapman is equally pleased with his number one driver and feels they are beginning to make progress with the Lotus 49. Dan Gurney and the two Brabham drivers are very close to each other and are fighting for the second fastest time. Every now and then the Honda gives signs that it can do well, but is never really competitive despite John Surtees’ talent. The only Ferrari that still looks powerful and reliable is Chris Amon's, which continues to improve. Jim Clark sets a 1'25"3 with an average speed of 198.8 mph, and the trend indicates that anyone not driving at an average of 193.1 mph will not be in the running for the front row. In the meantime, Jochen Rindt manages to put the new Cooper-Maserati V12 in the small group of leading drivers, with a time of 1'27"4 at an average of 194 mph. Toward the end of practice, Graham Hill begins to run his Lotus 49 and make it as fast as Jim Clark's, and he lowers his time to 1'26"0 for two consecutive laps, still remaining far behind the Scottish driver's performance, but being the second fastest overall. However, the British driver is not happy with the way his car feels, which he feels is too twitchy, so he settles for the time he set and returns to the pits, but a rear radius arm support breaks as he is approaching, causing the car to suddenly turn right.

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Graham Hill hits the banking and destroys the front of the car: the right front wheel and suspension are ripped off, along with the radiator. The chassis, instead, is severely torn at the point where the front wheel assembly detaches. This accident shatters a wooden advertising sign and wreaks havoc on track; practice is therefore postponed for ten minutes to allow the stewards to clear the way. At this time Jim Clark is on the track and runs over some of the debris on his way back to the pits. A piece of cardboard with nails also sticks to his front tyre, puncturing it. This event marks the end of the Lotus team's activities as they retire to work on the two cars. However, no one can beat their times in the remaining half hour, so Jim Clark and Graham Hill remain in first and second place on the grid, with the two Brabham drivers alongside. Team Lotus needs another car, which is unfortunately not available, although there are 49/3s and 49/4s under construction at Norwich. So the wrecked car is brought back to home base and an exceptional rebuilding job begins. As there are no problems during qualifying, all twenty-one drivers who took part in practice are allowed to start. Yet the grid is reduced to twenty participants, as the B.R.M. does not have a spare car for Piers Courage, and Jackie Stewart remains in the 8302, which Chris Irwin had started practice in.

 

Mike Spence returns in the 8303 while the car with the newer 16-cylinder engine is withdrawn; Chris Irwin will drive the only V8 B.R.M. car owned by the company. Lotus isn’t the only team with lots of work to do: a tie rod breaks on Bruce McLaren's Eagle-Weslake during a short optional timed practice session late Friday afternoon. An overnight work session will allow the team to install the spare engine on the car. In the meantime, in Norwich, Lotus mechanics build a new car; when they arrive only a bare monocoque chassis with brake lines fitted is available. As this car was supposed to be the 49/3, a highly modified car that would be a Mark II version of the Lotus 49, the parts do not fit and many parts need to be produced. In addition, the failure of the rear spoke arm assembly is attributed to faulty welding rather than a design error, so the mounts of the 49/1 and the car under construction are all reinforced with gusset plates. On Saturday 15 July 2967, at 3:00 p.m., the British Grand Prix takes place, and 120.000 people turn up in Silverstone to watch the race. Many are in the paddock, which makes the arrival of the Lotus team van containing Jim Clark's beefed-up car and Graham Hill's new car (built from parts of the car involved in the accident and new parts) rather difficult. Colin Chapman sums up the fact that he was able to provide Hill with a car for the race by stating:

 

"Sixteen of us did three weeks' work in one night".

 

During the morning, as the crowds begin to arrive, more racing takes place. There is also a parade featuring old cars and former drivers, with some authentic car/driver combinations such as Chiron in a Bugatti, Duncan Hamilton in a Jaguar D-type, Tony Brooks in a Vanwall, Baron von Graffenried in a Maserati, Fangio in a Mercedes-Benz W196 and Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Mille Miglia, just like the 1955 victory. Prior to the start of the British Grand Prix, the competitors are given a few warm-up laps. Fuel consumption is a critical factor for some of the cars and a lot of refueling is done before the start, creating a general sense of disorder as the cars gather on the dummy grid. Graham Hill's car is filled with fuel over the limit and petrol spills into the cockpit, while Bruce McLaren tightens an oil fitting under the Weslake engine, and Dan Gurney tries to change a wheel, but is prevented from doing so by the authorities. At 3:04 PM everything is more or less under control and the twenty cars move onto the actual starting grid. They are ready to start, surrounded by the sound of roaring engines and clouds of smoke created by the tyres, unleashing their power as they try to gain grip.

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The two green and yellow Lotus 49s run away from the pack side by side and even the most sceptical spectator would be convinced that these are the most powerful Grand Prix cars ever seen. At the end of the first lap, Jim Clark finds himself comfortably in the lead, followed by his team-mate, with Jack Brabham, Chris Amon, Dan Gurney, Jackie Stewart and Denny Hulme following them. Jo Bonnier fails to complete the opening lap. Graham Hill begins getting used to the behaviour of a car he has never driven, but Jack Brabham overtakes him and moves into second place on lap two. As the other cars continue the race, Mike Spence comes into the pits with fire burning right behind his head. The ignition wiring harness and transistor box are on fire due to electrical heating, but the fire is quickly extinguished and the mechanics begin fitting a new unit. In the meantime, Jim Clark gradually pulls away from the pack, as Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, Dan Gurney and Denny Hulme, whom are all close to one another, begin to fight behind him. Jackie Stewart cannot keep up with this group and is followed by Pedro Rodriguez, John Surtees and Bruce McLaren. After only six laps, Jim Clark has a significant lead while the other drivers are closer than ever to each other. Denny Hulme is not happy to stay at the back of the pack and overtakes Dan Gurney on lap seven; later, on lap nine, he overtakes Chris Amon.

 

The pits are busy: Jochen Rindt sees oil smoke in his mirrors and stops to find out why: oil from the collection tank is falling onto the exhaust pipes. The Austrian driver is sent back out on track but returns again before he is convinced and starts racing again. But at this point Rindt finds himself far behind the others. Graham Hill overtakes Jack Brabham and on lap 10 Jim Clark is ahead of his team-mate in the pit area, followed by Brabham, Hulme, Amon and Gurney. Further back is Pedro Rodriguez, who in turn is ahead of Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees. Chris Irwin continued alone, with Hobbs, Rees, Ligier, Anderson and Moser in tow. Jo Siffert retires his Cooper-Maserati of the Walker team on lap 10 due to engine problems. In the meantime, Mike Spence re-enters the race and Jochen Rindt shows good pace, but both are far behind the others. Graham Hill seems to have gained confidence in his untested Lotus 49 and begins to pull away from the two Brabhams and close the gap on Jim Clark, who is leading the pack. The circuit is very oily and slippery and though Denny Hulme sets a new record on the third lap in 1'27"0, the leader's pace drops to 1'30"0.

 

Graham Hill continues to close in on Jim Clark, while Jack Brabham is still ahead of Denny Hulme and Chris Amon is still ahead of Dan Gurney. No other drivers are really in the race, although Bruce McLaren manages to place the second Eagle-Weslake ahead of Pedro Rodriguez's Cooper-Maserati. On lap 13 an ominous cloud of smoke comes out of the Weslake engine, and at the end of lap 14 McLaren returns to the pits with a broken engine and retires. On lap 12 Jim Clark overtakes Moser and on lap 14 Bon Anderson is joined by the Scot's Lotus. Denny Hulme is not happy to be behind his team boss, so he overtakes him on lap 14 and moves up to third, while Graham Hill approaches Jim Clark. Having completed the first twenty laps (a quarter of the distance) Jim Clark and Graham Hill are behind each other but far behind Hulme, while Brabham is closely followed by Amon and Gurney. On lap 20 Jackie Stewart retires with transmission problems, leaving Pedro Rodriguez alone in seventh place, followed by John Surtees' Honda and Chris Irwin, who are still on the same lap as the Lotuses, while Hobbs and Rees have already been lapped. The Team Lotus cars put on a show, comfortably ahead of any opponent.

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Denny Hulme is far from the trio following him, so the top three remain in the same order, with Jack Brabham, Chris Amon and Dan Gurney in tow, though the Eagle shows signs of not being able to keep up. The new Cooper-Maserati seems competitive and is running at high speed, but the engine makes a nasty noise, leading Rindt to switch it off and park the car on the grass at Copse on lap 26. Meanwhile, Graham Hill catches up to Jim Clark and takes the lead. The Scottish Lotus driver slows down slightly but keeps his position, without sticking to his teammate. On lap 30 Jim Clark finds himself three seconds behind Graham Hill: on lap 29 Hill overtakes John Surtees' Honda at a favourable moment, while Clark is forced to wait for another opportunity. Gurney's Eagle runs into trouble with the clutch slipping and loses contact with Amon's Ferrari, leaving Brabham and Amon in close company. The Brabham-Repco V8 vibrates a lot causing the rear-view mirrors to break, so Jack Brabham does not see Chris Amon, who follows close behind. Dan Gurney's problem gets worse and comes into the pits on lap 34 due to a clutch slip that cannot be fixed. This leaves only six cars on the same lap: the two Lotuses in front, Hulme in third place, closely followed by Brabham and Amon, with Rodriguez further back in sixth place, but with a good pace.

 

The atmosphere calms down mid-race, and the commentators’ conversations in the loudspeakers prove it, as they had been too busy reporting the events up to this moment. For ten laps the situation remains unchanged, with Graham Hill and Jim Clark fully in command of the race, followed at a distance by Denny Hulme, then Jack Brabham and Chris Amon. The Scuderia Ferrari driver makes an effort to overtake Brabham, who is doing everything he can to protect himself and, in the meantime, also protects Hulme from an attack by the New Zealander. Amon sees stones and dust being thrown from the rear wheels of the Brabham as it carelessly cuts corners. A large amount of oil is also sprayed from the Repco engine onto the front of the Ferrari. Brabham quickly overtakes the slower cars (such as Surtees' at Copse) while Amon is blocked by the British driver's Honda. Pedro Rodriguez is lapped by the leaders on lap 47 and, apart from Surtees, all the drivers at the back have already been lapped twice. On lap 55 spectators at Becketts report that Graham Hill's Lotus has stopped with a broken suspension: in the Team Lotus box there is disbelief among the mechanics, who speculate that it may be the same problem that occurred during practice. Jim Clark passes the finish line alone, while Graham Hill drives slowly towards the pits, with the left rear wheel tilted due to the loss of the large Allen screw that blocks the inner end of the upper transverse link.

 

Colin Chapman immediately realises what has happened and within about 60 seconds screws on another bolt. Graham Hill returns to the race but has lost two laps due to slow driving, and now finds himself in seventh position. Jim Clark is back in the lead with Denny Hulme in second, ahead of Jack Brabham. Chris Amon is in his slipstream and pulls alongside him from time to time to attempt an overtake, but the Australian driver manages to defend himself. Ten laps after restarting the race, Graham Hill passes the pits and a loud noise is heard from the engine; shortly afterwards, the British driver stops on the grass on the outside of Copse and walks back to the pits to report the engine failure to his mechanics. The duel between Brabham and Amon continues during the second lapped Honda of John Surtees, while Jim Clark laps Guy Ligier for the third time. On lap 71, Pedro Rodriguez laps the British driver's Honda too. The Japanese car is having a difficult race and is also tricky to handle due to a faulty limited slip differential. In the final laps Chris Amon tries to put pressure on Jack Brabham, but the Australian driver does not give in. Just as lap 76 begins, Amon makes an extreme overtake attempt at Woodcote corner and manages to pass Brabham. When the two cars exit the corner, they are side by side, with Amon on the inside. The Ferrari driver has a small advantage over Brabham as they accelerate past the pits.

 

Almost in front of the Ferrari pit box, Amon is ahead of the Australian driver, and as he takes the Copse corner for the first time since the start of the race, a roar of applause can be heard coming from the Scuderia Ferrari pit staff. There are only a few laps to go and Chris Amon is unlikely to catch Denny Hulme. Jim Clark is now about 13 seconds ahead of Hulme. The whole Lotus team is almost too overwhelmed to rejoice; the mechanics don't know whether to cry or lie down and sleep, after their efforts to rebuild the cars. Only Hulme, Amon and Brabham are on the same lap as Clark, while Rodriguez is only a lap further back, finishing fifth in the old Cooper-Maserati. Irwin and Hobbes have driven very smoothly and consistently in cars that could not have the same pace as the others; Rees is pleased to have made it to the end of his first Grand Prix race. Jim Clark wins the British Grand Prix, edging out Denny Hulme and Chris Amon. Jack Brabham crosses the finish line in fourth place, followed by Pedro Rodriguez and John Surtees. The world classification sees Hulme first with 28 points, Brabham and Clark in second position with 19 points, and then Amon with 15 points. The next round is the German Grand Prix scheduled for 6 August 1967.

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The following day, Sunday 16 July 1967, over 120 drivers will take part in the seventh edition of the Cesana-Sestriere Trofeo Amoco hillclimbing race, counting towards the European Hill Climb Championship. For the interesting event, the organisers of the Automobile Club of Turin have put in place an impressive security service, multiplying the number of posts and race marshals, mobilising personnel, fire brigades (many of them in fire suits) and emergency vehicles. There’s even a helicopter at the hill to intervene promptly in case of need. A large police force is also in place. On the other hand, spectators cannot stop along the 10.400-kilometre route (with an elevation gain of 683 metres) but only at the start and finish areas, above the road. An unwelcome yet very convincing test of this meticulous apparatus takes place during the official practice sessions on Saturday 15 July 1967. These are the only practice sessions, since the furious downpour on Friday had caused the cancellation of the first scheduled practice session. During the Saturday practice, Claudio Maglioli and then Nanni Galli have accidents on the road.

 

Fortunately, nothing more is needed, as the two riders are absolutely unharmed. Maglioli crashes into a low wall and his Fulvia HF goes sideways on the road. Galli’s accident is far more spectacular and he is miraculously without serious consequences. In taking his Alfa Romeo 33 into a tight bend on a small bridge just over a kilometre from the finish line, Galli hits the right-hand side with the front of the car, toppling over. The young Tuscan driver gets out of the driver's seat alone, his car reduced to a wreck. It is a true shame because the Model 33 had shown great climbing skills in the two previous test climbs, approaching the times of the highly favoured Porsches. In the meantime, the Stuttgart company's top racer, Gerhard Mitter, unofficially improves Scarfiotti's record. If the weather conditions are favourable on Sunday, it is likely that the strong German driver, who currently leads the European Hill Climb Championship, could do even better. The start will take place from Cesana at 10:30 a.m. with the small touring cars; the race should end shortly after 2:30 p.m.

 

On Sunday 16 July 1967, German driver Rolf Stommelen, driving a Porsche 2000 Prototype, wins the seventh edition of the Cesana-Sestriere Trofeo Amoco hill climb race, valid for the European Hill Climb Championship. He topples the record (5'09"6) held by Ludovico Scarfiotti, lowering it by 7.3 seconds and with an average speed of 123.850 km/h. It is a great feat, one that highlights the young Stommelen's great ability (he also won the Targa Florio this year) and the continuous progress of the 8-cylinder Porsche. The latter also takes second place overall with Gerhard Mitter, who was predicted to win. Mitter probably owes his teammate’s 2.5-second delay to a slightly unhappy start: it seems he had initial difficulty in engaging the third gear, and in these short trials even a few lost moments are enough to compromise the result. It is a pity that Scarfiotti and Klauss' new Ferrari Dino were missing, because we would have witnessed an exciting confrontation, and perhaps someone might have completed the 10,400 kilometre climb separating Cesana from Colle in under five minutes. After all, after Saturday's official practice, Porsche's sports director Von Hanstein had said he hoped at least one of his drivers would achieve such a result, which would have been truly sensational.

 

Third place overall goes to Nanni Galli in the Alfa Romeo 33. The young Tuscan driver's placing deserves more than just a mention. Galli had wrecked his car in training due to a road accident, which miraculously had no consequences for the racer. During the night, Galli had requested a second 33 from Milan to take part in the race. The car arrived in time at Cesana but was not race-ready, as it was a circuit type car: heavy and without suitable gears. The organisers authorised Galli to race on the sole condition that he was found in perfect psycho-physical condition (i.e. not suffering from anything as a consequence of Saturday's accident) after a thorough medical examination. The doctor examined the driver and X-rays ruled out any injuries. Galli was able to start as planned, achieving an excellent placing, completely deserved given the circumstances. This episode exalts Nanni Galli’s sporting spirit but also shows the meticulousness of the organisers of the Automobile Club of Turin, who set up the race with an extraordinary abundance of emergency equipment. Austrian driver Dieter Quester, official driver of the highly anticipated new BMW two-seater race car, crashed violently into an external protection while in a serpentine not even two kilometres from the finish line: the front part of the BMW crumpled but the driver was able to get out of the cockpit safely.

 

The marshals were around the car with fire extinguishers just a few seconds later. There would have been no need for this, but sadly recent experiences have taught us that the zeal of rescuers is never excessive. Because of Quester's car cluttering up the road, two racers (two of the most talented: Mario Casoni in a Ferrari Dino and Peter Schetty in an Abarth 2000) were forced to slow down, compromising their respective classifications. The two completed the race anyway,  but rushed back to the starting line asking to be allowed to repeat the race. The excellent race director Dr Renzo Aimaretti quickly consulted with the stewards, and Schetty and Casoni were allowed to try again, placing fourth and fifth overall respectively. This was also a clever sporting interpretation of the situation, contributing to the perfect regularity of the race. In the afternoon, winners and vanquished were celebrated at the Principi di Piemonte, and awarded by the president of the Turin A.C., Dr Emanuele Nasi.

 

Federica Dondo

 

Translated by Livia Alegi


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