1969: A Year That Witnessed Greatest Race Ever

Editorials News | Jul-30-2019

1969: A Year That Witnessed Greatest Race Ever

Le mans 1969 is considered to be the greatest race that is run anywhere all over the world. Also famous as the last Le Mans dash, it came forward in 1969, one driver defied the mass scramble at the 24hr race's start. It has been 40 years since the Le Mans 24-hours sports car marathon. Drivers lined up opposite to their cars on the start/finish straight and after the flag fell they ran across the track. The day witnessed deaths of many as everyone ran for positions. In the scramble to make a good getaway, many "ignored" the opportunity to strap themselves in. Even though the race went twice around the clock, the opening seconds were frantic. Several Cars blasted away into a stream of high-speed traffic and collisions were commonplace.
The 24-year-old Belgian was an established grand-prix driver at that time (he finished fourth in the 1968 world championship for Ferrari, winning the French grand prix), but even in these perilous times he thought the traditional "Le Mans start" unnecessarily dangerous.
The event was so memorable for all negative reasons that it is still read. on 14 June 1969, almost 44 drivers dashed to their cars. Ickx, a driver got to his Ford GT40, climbed in and tightened his belts. He was not that good in his performance at the beginning and was 13th on the grid but by the last time he made "safety-first" a point that he followed and within minutes he was proved right.
Another driver who was a British amateur, John Woolfe qualified his 21st in his fearsome Porsche 917 and had made up plenty of places after getting off to a fast start. He was elected at that time to begin the race, despite having a far more experienced team-mate, because he had friends and family in the grandstand.
Towards the end of the opening lap of the race, Woolfe because of putting two wheels on the grass lost control and careered into the barrier. Some drivers reported that part of his door had flown off earlier in the lap and at last Woolfe died instantly.
The race was a deadly one and is a dark day in history that proves how human beings go crazy in competitions and risk their lives so easily.

By: Prerana Sharma
Content: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2009/may/31/le-man-series-motor-sports

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