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You were there: Guards Trophy Sports Car Race 1965

Submitted by on August 19, 2009

It was so different then.

Nowadays the prima donnas of Formula One are strictly contractually tied down to racing only in the Bernie and Max show and they can’t race in any other categories even if they want to. Of course it wasn’t always like this and pre 1980 even the highest echelon racing drivers were masters of all classes and they did sports cars, touring (saloon) cars and even minor single seater classes as well as Formula One.

In fact Jim Clark was killed in 1968 driving a Lotus in a minor Formula 2 race at Hockenheim. Even more astonishing is that they often raced in minor supporting races at the Grand Prix meetings. I can still clearly remember the sight of Jim Clark pushing his Lotus Cortina  through corners at Brands Hatch on two wheels to win the saloon car race an hour or so before going out and doing the full length British Grand Prix . And in those days Grand Prix were three hour affairs.

I was reminded of all this when I came across some photos taken at Brands Hatch in August 1965 at the Guards Trophy sports car race . This was at the end of August – in the middle of the Formula One season but as it was a non Grand Prix weekend a full complement of top echelon drivers turned out to compete.

One of the photos is of Bruce McLaren and his brand new McLaren Elva Oldsmobile Mk 1 literally in the paddock at Brands. He’s just put on the numbers and Dan Gurney has come across for a look at the new car. Contrast this scene with today -no motorhome, no security, no spin doctors or minders, and the car off loaded from a van literally into a paddock.

It wasn’t a bad day for Bruce. He came home second to John Surtees in his Lola T70 Chevrolet and Jackie Stewart was third in the second Team Surtees Lola. The second photo shows John Surtees, his car and a driver I can’t recognise doing a victory lap on a trailer towed by a farm tractor. Things were certainly so different then.

John Shingleton

Images: John Shingleton

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