"Hell, it was the sort of mistake any of us could have made in those circumstances."
The 1965 Race of Champions was the first running of the Non-Championship race meeting known as the Race of Champions, held at Brands Hatch in Kent, England. The race was won by Mike Spence for Team Lotus over two heats, after Jim Clark crashed out in the second heat while under pressure from Dan Gurney in their battle for the lead. Neither Clark nor Gurney were classified as both retired from one of the heats.
Hosted during the long four month break between the South African and Monaco Grand Prix in 1965, various members of the Formula One paddock arrived at Brands Hatch for the non-championship meeting. Championship leader Jim Clark was the star name of the field, also entering in the supporting British Saloon Car Championship race held on the same day. Other big names entering the race included Graham Hill and future F1 legend Jackie Stewart for BRM, John Surtees for Ferrari and future Race of Champions winner Bruce McLaren.
The I Daily Mail Race of Champions was also the first time that the teams had run their cars competitively since the South African Grand Prix two months before, and also saw a drastically reduced entry list from the first race of the season. The race itself, it was decided, would be held over two heats, with the BSCC running in between the two battles. Numerous teams and drivers entered both events, with Team Lotus a prominent in both. Several teams also entered reserve drivers although none of them would be used, although three privateers did run in the second heat after disqualifications and withdrawals.
Below is the entry list for the 1965 Race of Champions.
Pole position went to Clark in the as ever well prepared Lotus-Climax, with is time of 1:34.9 unbeaten in the session. Hill was next for BRM with Mike Spence taking third, while Jo Bonnier and Jack Brabham set the same time for fourth in the two Brabham-Climaxs.
Furtherdown, Surtees took seventh in the sole entered Ferrari, with McLaren in tenth. Frank Gardner, whom would also be competing in the BSCC race, took fifteenth in his Brabham-BRM, while Jo Schlesser in the only Lola-Ford Cosworth completed the qualifying grid in twentieth.
* Bloor, Hawkins and Rhodes were reserve entries so did not set a time in qualifying.
Before the race, Alan Rees withdrew his Roy Winkelmann prepared Brabham-Ford, as the car was not ready to take part in qualifying, and could not register as a reserve. Likewise, Ferrari's second car, that of Lorenzo Bandini, was withdrawn after the Italian driver failed to set a time in the qualifying session. Otherwise, the grid was unchanges, with the starting order the same for both heats, although a reserve entry would start from the slot allocated to the car it replaced if required.
Heat I saw Jim Clark paint a dominant display over the Kent circuit, beating his closest competitor, Dan Gurney, by over 20 seconds. Gurney himself had had an intense race, battling his way past half the field to take second in the first 40 lap race. Off the line, Clark and Mike Spence had streaked ahead of second placed Graham Hill, as the two Lotus 33s set about taking a decisive lead in the first heat. But Spence had begun to fall off the pace of his legendary team mate, allowing John Surtees, having swung his way through the field, to take second.
Sadly for Surtees, his pace would also deteriorate as the race went on, dropping him back to sixth by the finish, splitting the BRMs of Hill and Jackie Stewart. This meant that Spence was promoted back to third, which he held until the end of the first Heat. Furtherdown, accidents claimed Bob Anderson and Mike Hailwood, while Jo Schlesser was disqualified for obtaining outside assistance in rejoining the race after a spin.
After the chaos of the Saloon Car race had been cleared from the circuit, the Second Heat started, with the three reserve drivers stepping in. Rodney Bloor replaced the disqualifed Schlesser, Aussie Paul Hawkins stepped in for Masten Gregory after his retirement in Heat ! with a driveshaft failure, and John Rhodes entered instead of Ludovico Scarfotti, whom withdrew after the first heat. Otherwise, the order remained unchanged, with the grid lined up the same as it had been for the first heat.
Once again, the two Lotuses stole the show from the start line, with Spence and Clark pulling ahead of Hill in the centre slot, taking first and second on the road. Spence soon fell to Gurney, however, whose spirited performance meant he was soon challenging Clark for the lead. Furtherdown, John Taylor slid wide on the run out of Druids, rejoining after a bounce through the grass behind the pitlane.
After a spin for Jochen Rindt caused a stir (the Austrian running high in the order at the time), focus returned to Clark and Gurney at the front, with the American ace desperate to find a way past the super Scotsman. However, a rare mistake by Clark, under pressure from Gurney, caused him to run wide out of the final corner, sending the Lotus into the marshall post neaarby. Clark was unhurt after an accident that split the chassis of his car, with the former World Champion helping the clean up operation after the race.
Gurney should, therefore, have gone on to win the race, but fell to an ignition failure just moments after Clark's accident, handing victory to Spence in the second Team Lotus car. A relaxed race from the Englishman meant he took the first Race of Champions victory on aggregate, having finished third in the first heat and won the second. Jo Bonnier and Frank Gardner swept acorss the line after their own quiet races to take second and third in the heat, although they would ultimately slip to third and fourth respectively after Stewart finished fourth in heat II.
|3||12||Jo Bonnier||Brabham-Climax||79||+1 lap||4||8th/2nd|
|4||18||Frank Gardner||Brabham-BRM||79||+1 lap||15||9th/3rd|
|5||9||Bruce McLaren||Cooper-Climax||79||+1 lap||10||12th/5th|
|6||11||Jo Siffert||Brabham-BRM||79||+1 lap||12||11th/6th|
|7||10||Jochen Rindt||Cooper-Climax||78||+2 laps||9||13th/7th|
|8||22||John Taylor||Cooper-Climax||77||+3 laps||17||14th/8th|
|9||21||Ian Raby||Brabham-BRM||75||+5 laps||16||15th/9th|
|10*||25||Paul Hawkins||Lotus-Climax||37||+43 laps||-||DNS/10th|
|11*||26||John Rhodes||Cooper-Ford||31||+49 laps||-||DNS/11th|
|Ret||8||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Climax||68||Oil leak||5||4th/Ret|
|Ret||16||Richard Attwood||Lotus-BRM||65||Water hose||11||10th/Ret|
|Ret||1||John Surtees||Ferrari||46||Fuel injector||7||6th/Ret|
|DSQ†||19||Jo Schlesser||Lola-Ford Cosworth||18||Disqualified||20||DSQ/DNS|
- The results are based on timing, with the times from the second heat taking precendence over those from the first.
- * Hawkins and Rhodes were classified as finishers on aggregate as they completed the race distance in the second heat, despite not starting the first.
- † Schlesser was disqualified from the first Heat after requiring outside assistance to rejoin the race. This meant he was unable to enter the second heat as well.
- First Race of Champions.
- First win for Mike Spence in a Formula One car.
- Last entry for a Lola T55 at a Grand Prix of any sort.
- Debut for several drivers in a Formula One level race, including:
- ↑ David Tremayne, 'The life of Jim Clark', Motorsport Magazine (April 1993), via http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/halloffame/jim-clark/jim-clark/, (Accessed 04/02/2016)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1965_Race_of_Champions
- ↑ http://btcc.wikia.com/wiki/1965_BSCC_Season
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 http://www.chicanef1.com/race.pl?year=1965&gp=Race%20of%20Champions&r=1&type=h1q
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 http://f1.wikia.com/wiki/File:Brands_Hatch_Race_Of_Champions_(1965)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 http://atlasf1.autosport.com/99/bra/preview/horton.html
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