Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RETRO: Phoenix’s last Grand Prix - Two-decades ago almost slipped past (Con’t)

Can it really be 20+ years ago that Phoenix, Arizona held its third and final Formula 1 race around its Downtown Streets...


I seem to recall having been dropped off by Mi Madre to spend the day on my own on Friday, even being loaned her instamatic camera to record the day’s events, of which I don’t really remember these anymore...

As I seem to recall more the ‘Fly-yellow Lamborghini Contach on display, being surrounded by some “Floosies,” Err high fuhlootin’ models... Not to mention having to run multiple Gauntlets ‘O FREE cigarette hawkers... With Marlboro and Lucky Strike being overly pushed upon the crowd! As I know some Arizona Boyz who still fondly reminisce ‘bout the plethora ‘O FREE five “Ciggee’s” mini-packs they acquired that weekend in The Valley of the Sun.

Although I do still recall that after a most enjoyable day in the SUN, having taken a bevy ‘O masterful action packed photographs... As Mi Madre picked me up, she inquired: Didn’t you put film in the camera? SHEISA! OH F%%K!!!

As this year I was most enamored by the beautiful Benetton-Ford’s, as the B190-B Autopolis liveried chassis were my absolute favourite that March, even having had ‘Juan drawn for Mwah by No Fenders Artiste Dave. As these were the Pre-Sckewmaaker (M. Schumacher) cars ‘O Triple World Champion Nelson Piquet and future CART “SuperSub” Roberto Moreno; as I even recall Dave climbing atop some ‘Verboten electrical sub-stations in order to snap a few pics ‘O these F1 Landsharks for Mwah!

Whilst I was also PREVIOUSLY smitten by “Stevie Johnson’s” (Stefan Johansson) lovely  Onyx ORE-1 and Ivan Capelli’s Leyton House March of the ’89 USGP. But the Benetton was my Numero Uno pic this year, followed by the Tyrrell 020 and the Gary Anderson penned Jordan 191.

And I also recall that the Gold Grandstand bleachers were practically EMPTY, and as soon as the race had started, the ticket “Sentry’s” had disappeared and our posse ‘O five Amigo’s sat in these OVERPRICED, high fulootin’ seats for the remainder of the race, before later walking onto the racetrack’s city streets surface afterwards.

And I believe it was a fairly boring event? As “ARROGANT” (Ayrton Senna) in his McLaren MP4/6-Honda V-12 simply ran away and HID from the resta duh field en route to another victory; YAWN! With his Arch-nemesis “The Professor,” aka Alain Prost’s Ferrari runner-up, albeit never seriously challenging Ayrton. Whilst Piquet took the podium’s final step upon running a Non-stop race thanks to his Pirelli’s rubber. As ironically, Prost’s second-place finish would be the highest result for the 642 chassis that season...

Also flooding back into le Memory-banks is spending time with Miguel reviewing the Vintage Formula One Grid, most notably thee ‘Wee Scot’s, aka Sir Jackie, nee Jackie Stewart - as I stood alongside JYS’s marvelous World Championship winning Tyrrell. While on the opposite spectrum of these petrol-mobiles was the miniscule GM solar powered winning entry of an Australian solar challenge...

And although he’d shocked the F1 Fraternity the year prior with his front-row start - Minardi’s Pierluigi Martini, who’d finished just outside the points in seventh-place the year prior, was classified P9, the first runner listed as Retired, with just eight finishers out of 26-starters...

-          Yet, the Minardi M191 was powered by la Scuderia-motive power, nee Ferrari’s  Tipo 037 3,499cc Normally Aspirated 65-degrees V-12 lump that the “Works” team was utilizing in the evolutionary 642-model. As Giancarlo Minardi had miraculously managed to obtain a supply of customer engines that season.

Thus, Martini’s Scuderia powered racecar, along with its Pirelli tyres - enabled the Italian to outscore Bertrand Gachot; 4-points, (Jordan) JJ Lehto; 4-points, (Scuderia Italia) Michael Schumacher,; 2-points, (Jordan, Benetton) Mika Hakkinen; 2-points (Lotus) and the “Brundell Brothers,” a.k.a. Martin “BillyBob” Brundle (2-points) and Mark Blundell, (1-point) whilst being teammates at Brabham.

As Martini tallied six points - finishing Eleventh Overall - ahead of those “B-I-G” Names in the point’s standings for Gran Primo Piloto’s... Which wasn’t too shabby for the continuously underfunded (“lowly”) Minardi Squadra! While I’m guessing that Moreno took little solace in scoring four-times MORE points that season then DER TERMINATOR (Michael Schumacher) en route to Tenth-place Overall, eh?

As its interesting to Mwah, how ironically 20yrs ago, Ayrton Senna not only won his third and final Formula 1 Drivers World Championship, but; it was also the final Championship won by a twelve-cylinders ‘lump... Of which when you hear the word twelve-cylinders you usually think of Ferrari - which makes it even stranger that the feat was accomplished by the rival Japanese Auto Giant Honda instead.

As I guess it’s even more symbiotic that all of this also surrounds the release of the epic Asif Kapadia SENNA Documentary, eh? As your humble scribe saw it on the Big Screen two decades after his last live sighting of thee Brazilian Wonder!

Not to mention it being the debut of some plucky Irishman named ‘EJ’s debut as a Grand Prix Constructor. As those beautiful Jordan 191’s in bright green 7Uplivery were piloted by some F1 BADBOYZ known as DE CRASHERIS ‘N PEPPER SPRAY! As in Andrea de Cesaris and Bertrand Gachot, who’d eventually make way for somebody named Michael Schumacher!

Whilst its even sadder to think that JJ Letho, whose BMS Scuderia Italia (Dallara/Judd V-10) I managed to snap a picture of as it sat abandoned inside the cacophony ‘O Jersey-barriers after having retired... Was just sentenced to two-plus years in Jail for the death of a friend during a late-night boating accident in Jyrki Juhani J√§rvilehto’s Homeland...


With another ‘Finn making his Grand Prix debut named Mika Hakkinen in the revitalized Lotus T-102 Ford/Cosworth - who’d ultimately notch up the most Drivers crowns for Finnish drivers to date, with two to his credit; 1998-99 at McLaren. While Kimi Raikkonen and Keke Rosberg each secured the Drivers title once apiece... 

As the only two drivers still on the F1 Grid - remarkably two decades later were DER TERMINATOR ‘n ‘RUBINO; as ‘Herr Schumacher’s legacy is already well known, whilst his ex-Wingman Rubens Barrichelllo spent a most discontent 19th Formula One season puttering ‘round the back end of the grid for Team Willy, aboard the much maligned Williams FW32/Cosworth V-8 - whose radical super-steep driveshafts not only caused a myriad of reliability issues, but also saw the team’s Technical Director Sam Michael leave his post in dismay...

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why did this event go bust? How much were the tickets?

    ReplyDelete