Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tail Of The Clermont-Ferrand

Original Clermont-Ferrand circuit (as seen in the video link).  It was later shortened and straightened.

Another belated Pilote discovery: the original Charade Circuit at Clermont-Ferrand.  The video is of the 1965 French Grand Prix, and high quality for home movie film.  It gives a fine feel for the course.  (The engine sound overdubbing is a bit off-putting in places.)  Clermont-Ferrand is in France's Massif Central--thus its Tail-of-the-Dragon-like configuration.  The tight curves and switchbacks are packed into 5.0 miles.  Its abandonment by Formula 1 was doubtless because of inability to provide adequate passive safety.  Difficulty in passing must have made it unpopular with competitors too.  But it looks like fun to drive.  Circuit aside, this race was one of those Jimmy Clark performances that left other drivers shaking their heads (pole, fastest lap, led all laps, 20-second margin of victory).

Here are a few stills for additional flavor:

See?  It's a high-speed Dragon.  The second car in frame must be a "Harley" (holding up traffic).   ;-)

This is a fairly famous picture of Colin Chapman giving Jimmy Clark a virtual "high five" upon victory.  It became a
trademark Chapman gesture: greet a winning driver at the finish line like this or, later, a toss of his black JPS cap.

Before racing cars were reliable: Richie Ginther gives Jo Bonnier and Innes Ireland a ride back to the pits on his Honda
RA-272, so they can all DNF in relative comfort.  This may be 1965, but Ireland is still doing it Old School: driving in
a polo shirt instead of a two-piece cotton fire-resistant suit.  

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