Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two Remain

Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann at a Mercedes Benz demo at the Goodwood Revival in 2011.  The only time they were
in the same team was with Mercedes in 1954.

In doing the recent post on Porsche's first overall win at LeMans, it dawned on me that two drivers who did the great open road races are still with us.  Both did the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio several times.  Herrmann has the advantage of Moss in that he did the Carrera Panamerica too, which lasted nearly a week, and was even more insane than the Mille.  On the other hand, Moss's first big win was the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (a comparatively easy course) when cars still raced there.

The Targa Florio lasted until 1973, so many drivers now in their 70's who did it are still around.  Vic Elford and Brian Redman, for instance, who both won it.  But Moss and Herrmann are the last living drivers who know what it was like to race for ten hours or more over public roads.  Without a co-driver and usually without a navigator.  Over a course impossible to memorize--even the important segments of it.

I'm glad--grateful--that road racing is much safer now than it was in the '80's and earlier.  But, soon enough, nobody will be around who's earliest memories are not of red-and-white rumble strips and runoff areas.

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