Thursday, January 31, 2013

British Driver takes Final lap...

Funny thingy, the old-ER I get, the more I tend to believe I know less ‘bout F1, as have Y’all ever heard of the name Colin Davis? But if you’re a ‘Bloody Brit then you’re not included in the questione - since you’ve probably heard the news on the BBC’s “Red 5” live, or somewhere else - as it’s too bad that you only learn about somebody via their obituary, eh?

As I was unaware that Messer Davis competed in Formula 1, albeit during its infancy of the modern era, when he trundled about la Autodromo Nazionale Monza for what I’d say is probably a pretty unknown entrant these days, the Privateer Scuderia Centro Sud team. As Davis drug his outclassed Cooper-Maserati to eleventh place at Monza in 1959 following his proper F1 debut at that year’s French Grand Prix.

Yet I do recall this Minnowesqe team, as I tend to believe I’d seen Reg Parnell’s name - not to be ‘Cornfuzed with ‘Ol Rufus Parnelli Jones; Hya! Behind the wheel of one of its Maserati 4CL’s; yet as I quickly puruse the team’s honour roll of drivers, Parnell’s is not listed, albeit I recall that he’d served as an Alfa Romeo factory piloto in the series inaugural Grand Prix at Silverstone where Alfa entered four cars...


But the list seemingly reads like a Who’s Who, with a multitude of names, including the likes of: Giancarlo Baghetti, Lorenzo Bandini, Lucien Bianchi - whose Grand-nephew is the current Force India F1 test driver Jules; Joakim Bonnier, Maria Teresa de Filippis - Formula 1’s first female driver; Masten Gregory, Troy Ruttman, Carroll Shelby, Alejandro de Tomaso and Wolfgang Von Trips just to name a few.

While the aforementioned Parnell did indeed drive non-works Maserati’s, albeit not for Scuderia Centro Sud’s revolving cockpit, Reg would later become an F1 team owner along with being team manager for Aston Martin when victorious at Le Mans; but I digress...

And although Davis did indeed compete in Formula 1 briefly, he’s known better for his best racing accomplishment being victorious in the insanely difficult Targa Florio rally, which apparently only six other British drivers did so in the rally’s history, as Y’all may have heard of some of them? With the likes of Peter Collins, Vic Elford, Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Brian Redman and Cyril Snipe as the rest of this Super-7 ‘Bloody Brit winners...

As Davis’s 1964 win links him in the history annals with an F1 world champion and another known as the best never to win the crown With Graham Hill being double world champion with 14-wins, whilst Sir Stirling Moss finished runner-up four times en route to claiming 16-victories.

 Collins was a multiple Grand Prix winner for Scuderia Ferrari - notching three wins for Enzo, where he became good friends with eventual British world champion Mike Hawthorn; whilst Collins  himself was positioned to win the title before handing his Ferrari over to eventual 1956 title winner Juan Manuel Fangio at Monza that year.

Elford & Redman’s names are synonymous with Sports Car racing as both drivers claimed the winner’s laurels in the prestigious Sebring 12-hours and Daytona 24-hours races, whilst Elford also claimed victory in the Monte Carlo Rally, and Shuhzamm, viola! Speaking of the great Brian Redman, lookie thar - Gordon Kirby just magically posted a story about the Brit’s trifecta at Daytona just days after Davis’s obituary…


As six of these seven drivers all made starts in F1 races with the only exception being - at least during the sport’s modern era was the totally unknown to Mwah Cyril Snipe, who reportedly took a two hours nap and still claimed victory in the 1912 Targa Florio…

Yet Davis who mainly raced in Italy and hence went largely unnoticed was shrewd enough to say ‘Fini and simply walked away from motor racing in order of self preservation upon noticing the alarming rate of fellow competitors dying - retiring to South Africa and a broadcasting job instead…

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