Ian-S wrote: Everso Biggyballies wrote:
I was there at Paddock Bend (Brands Hatch) in 1976 for the British GP..... when the incident with James Hunt crashing out, the race being stopped and restarting happened, as featured in the Rush movie.
I am sure I have written in greater detail of the weekend elsewhere in the forum, but I am sure I will have a copy somewhere in the files for my still a 'gunner happen' project 'book of my motor sport memories'
It (the book) will happen one day, but I will look for the draft copy relating to the Brands weekend weekend, and post it here.
Top or bottom? I was there at the bottom of the dip, although I was only 4 at the time
I found my ramblings of the event that I mentioned.... We also were nearer the nottom of Paddock than the top. IIRC there was a 'proper crandstant towards the top.....
I was with a group of other mates and we had for a couple of years all turned up in an old transit van which we parked in the field behind Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch for the british GP....we used to set up and build our own grandstand from scaffolding and lie planks along the top and sit up in the top. We used to use the same set up for Silverstone but on the entry to Abbey when it was a real corner.....right where Barry Sheene had his 'biggie'.
We decided to pitch far enough round to be able to see up to Druids as well so we were on a bit of a slope. We used to go the Friday night before to set up and ensure we got a good spot.
Rif raf with their 44 gallon drums and planks looked on in awe as we assembled this 'thing' which was more built more on the 'She'll be right' principle of max people, beer space, and 'effect', than to a plan........ and would be built to how 5 pissed idiot teenagers, who had been released from home for the weekend, would build it.
Each of us remembered how we did it the year before differently. It got modified between support races on Saturday.........By Saturday night we had a perfect errection!
We were by racetime in a sea of people, sat up in our 'corporate suite'. We had a few extra guests who we had invited....... basically it was the best 'pulling' device a guy could have.(for pulling babes not the other type of pulling teenage boys do....) Anyway as the cars were lined up on the straight ....all the sirens were going - 10 mins, 5 mins before the warm up, a few guys just started climbing on for a better view. We all of course had the top row of seats( the plank ) with enough beer for us not to need to come down for more. We hadnt actually thought about the increasing need for somewhere to put the used stuff without getting down. ......
We had a really excellent view and could see the cars coming over the crest into Paddock Hill Bend and all the way up to Druids and were back about 20metres from the fence.
People were asking to come up on our scaffolding, and the answer to those that asked that was basically dependant on Bust size! Others just climbed on. It was seriously overloaded but common sense was not part of our judgement skills in those days.
I was a fanatic Lauda supporter from when I saw him race a Malboro BRM V12, also at Brands a couple of years before.. He was on pole, albeit in a Ferrari by then. All my mates were much more patriotic and followed James Hunt, alongside on the front row..... They were also 1st and 2nd in the WDC although Niki was doing it pretty easy.
As Niki led the field away on the warm up and into Paddock I was the idiot standing up on my 'podium' going WOOHOOO so loud when Niki went past I swear he looked at me as he came down the hill before weaving off up the hill. I sat down again when about 1000 people turned and looked at me. And I thought they were all so f****n jealous !
You could hear the cars going out round the back of Hawthorns towards Dingle Dell. In fact Hawthorn is a short sprint from Druids when you are keen. (No monster plasma screens in those days) .
Anyway the cars were all lining up on the grid, just out of sight, in the dip of pit straight. This seemed to start a flurry of people climbing up and hanging off 'our' stand. It had suddenly become a tower of people! What the hell....we were all furiously sucking on our beers and Marlboro or John Player Special promotional sample ciggy packs that the promo girls handed out. We had swapped a couple of light ales for a bundle of extra ciggies from one of the girls. It was cool to smoke in those days. I was trying to adjust the lens and settings on my camera and was oblivious to many of the extras.
The revs screamed and the race started ..........woohoo two Ferraris came into sight. Regga had started brilliantly from the second row to be on the outside of Niki going round the start of Paddock. Hunt tucked in behind. Almost straightaway though Niki and Clay were wheel to wheel. Niki won the 'touch up' and carried on up the hill, but the Camber of Paddock was against Regga etc and he lost it in a half spin. James was right behind, and just clipped Clay as he passed. James car flipped right up onto 2 wheels. He was so close to flipping over.
At that moment I was half standing on the platform, on the point of getting the best picture of my life..........
All of a sudden the people hanging off our stand plus everyone else all lurched and leant forward to see the action that was developing, and almost in slow motion this tower of people overbalanced as one of scaffolding clamps slipped.
We all just crashed and fell, bottles exploding, cans flying everywhere, not to mention people shouting and swearing, bodies tangled like a giant game of Twister. I cant really remember more of the incident with James. The race was red flagged.... While they were rebuilding race cars we were all laughing, arguing, apologising, and drinking. How no one got hurt I dont know. Well I know why I didnt. I landed on someone. Probably someone with big boobs
We started straight away to rebuild it much to a few peoples dismay. We decided to make it smaller, otherwise it wasnt going to happen. We could hardly stand let alone build. Some guy who we had squashed before seemed to want to help so we handed responsibility to him. He seemed to know about these things so we let him be project leader.
Within 5 minutes we had the best half as high and still high enough looking stand you could ask for. We gave the guy beer and a seat of honour! If he was game to sit in/on it so were we!
We were sort of busy rebuilding and generally talking more of our exploits as the race was on pause. The rest of the race all I remember is Regga and Laffite (the other two apart from Hunt that used spare cars at the restart) retired. At that point i think the word was James was trying to use a spare car rather than the original, repaired. Once the race restarted I do remember Niki was doing most of the race easy, until he slowed with I think a gear change/ linkage problem and Hunt passed and went on to win. And then he didnt!
I believe actually that this was the catalyst to the rule which calls for a red flagged race to be called the lap prior......... that was ultimately a Bernie Loophole to allow cars damaged in a start incident that sparked a red flag, to be able to start...ie dont diminish the spectacle unless its a last resort!...... if James had not taken part in the restart of the British Grand Prix.......... well it would take a braver man than me (gung-a-din) to go and tell the crowd that!
Well I guess that is my account of the 1976 British Grand Prix .