The picture above hangs on my wall in the writing studio and is the next post in “The Vault”. It shows Jack Brabham (#16) leading Jim Clark (#6). Two legends in the history of Formula One.
This is Zandvoort and the 1966 Dutch Grand Prix, the fifth round of the World Championship. In the previous races Jackie Stewart won the opener at Monaco, with John Surtees taking the spoils at Spa. Jack Brabham in his Brabham-Repco then took victories in the next two races at Reims for the French Grand Prix and Brands Hatch.
Here at Zandvoort the Ferraris and Cooper-Maseratis disappointed in qualifying. Mike Parkes had been the best placed Ferrari and he was starting fifth on the grid. The Brabham-Repco’s of Brabham and Hulme were sitting first and second respectively followed by the Lotus-Climax of Jim Clark.
It was in this race that Jim Clark showed why he was such a worthy champion. His Lotus was a two litre car, whereas the Brabham’s were three litre and he certainly took the race to the more superior car. Straight from the off he chased the Brabham’s for well over twenty-five laps, hunting them down and hassling them into the turns. Denny Hulme managed to overhaul Clark and move into second place but then suffered ignition problems which eventutally saw him drop out the race on the thirty-seventh lap. Clark went hunting for Jack Brabham.
Brabham himself was baulked by back-markers in the race which allowed Clark to weave his magical way into the lead. It was not going all Clark’s way as he suffered vibration problems due to a damaged water pump.
With fifteen laps remaining, Jack Brabham began to eat into Jim Clark’s fifteen second lead. Clark pitted so that he could top up with water. He found himself pushed down behind the BRM of Graham Hill and had to settle for third place. Lorenzo Bandini managed to obtain one point for Ferrari, finishing in sixth place.
Jack Brabham managed to lap the entire field on his way to a hatrick of victories, he would be celebrating again in the next race at the Nurburgring.
Critics and fans had said that Brabham was too old to be challenging for a World Championship at the age of forty. He would put on a false beard and use a walking stick to limp his way onto the grid to mock these critics.
He would go on to win the 1966 Formula One World Championship, his last.
Sir John Arthur ‘Jack’ Brabham graced our world until 2014, when he passed away aged eighty-eight after a long battle with illness. He raced against the greats, he is one of the greats and belongs to that select group of drivers who are triple world champions.
That was the story behind the 1966 Dutch Grand Prix.
Every picture tells a story.
See You At The Chequered Flag.
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