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Thread: Derek Bell and "the start"--the short story and the lesson.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Boulder, CO

    Default Derek Bell and "the start"--the short story and the lesson.

    The following excerpt comes from his autobiography, p. 30 of "Derek Bell My Racing Life (Derek Bell with Alan Henry)."

    If you've read this before but don't quite remember where, you likely saw it on Allison Hines--"Eagle Woman"--front page, which dates you as a GPL era driver...but what of it? I think she also copied it, about the same time, over to the front page of VROC (the GPL server list/forum), so you could have seen it there as well.


    Picking it up as he wrote it [paraphrasing mine here--"there were also some serious moments, one of which stuck in my mind...".]:

    "It concerned an incident on the grid at Teretonga, the final round of the New Zealand leg of the [Tasman] series, before we went over to Australia. I was on the second row of the grid behind Chris [Amon-polesitter] and Jochen [Rindt], while Graham [Hill] was right behind me on row three. I was still really a raving young Formula 2 driver and, when the flag dropped, I just let the clutch in with a bang. Jochen appeared to move at the same moment, but the Lotus only lurched forward a few feet. It had broken a drive shaft!

    Of course I just slammed into the back of him. Boom! He shot forward again, so I dipped the clutch thinking that he was really starting this time. Boom! I hit him again, vaulted over one of his rear wheels and was away. That Dino 246 certainly was a tough little car; you wouldn't want to pull a stunt like that in most of today's single-seaters. Despite the fact that the impact[s] had deranged the steering, I still managed to finish fifth.

    After the race, Jochen didn't say a word. It was Graham who raised the subject. We were sitting at a party that same evening and he said casually, 'What the hell were you up to today?'. So I tried to make a joke of it and replied, 'Oh, I was trying to get rid of your team-mate,' knowing full well that there was some aggro between him and Jochen.

    Graham just fixed me with a stare. 'It's not funny,' he said firmly, 'it's just stupid. If I'd let my clutch out as well there would have been the most monumental accident. You don't go when flag comes down, you go when the bloke in front of you goes.'

    After a moments reflection, it all seemed very obvious. I always remembered that comment and have reminded various young drivers, including my son Justin, that it is a point worth thinking about. You can't win the race on the starting grid, but you certainly can lose it with manoeuvres like that!"


    That last ^^^ has to be one the most well known...and well often disregarded...mantras in racing (even more-so in simracing). And I'm just as guilty as all the rest.
    Last edited by Christopher Snow; 06-28-2018 at 12:06 AM.

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