1939: Former World Championship Rally-winning co-driver John Davenport was born. He won the 1,000 Lakes Rally alongside Hannu Mikkola in 1974 – his only win at the top level. After retiring from the cockpit he became Competition boss of Austin Rover, overseeing the Group B MG Metro 6R4 WRC programme and the TWR Rover European Touring Car assault. He’s still on the rallying scene, as a journalist and author.
1943: French Formula 1 hero Jacques Laffite was born. He graduated to F1 in 1974 with Iso Marlboro and went on to contest 176 GPs with two stints each at Williams and Ligier until injury in the British GP at Brands Hatch forced retirement in 1986. He made a comeback in touring cars, finding success in the European Touring Car series and the DTM, with BMW and Mercedes. He also found time during his early foray in F1 to win the 1975 European F2 title for Ecurie Elf.
1973: The first WRC-qualifying RAC Rally was won by flying Finn Timo Mäkinen and Briton Henry Liddon. Their Escort RS1600 led a Ford 1-2-3, with Roger Clark/Tony Mason and Markku Alén/Ilkka Kivimäki completing the podium.
1995: There were jubilant scenes at Chester racecourse as WRC hero Colin McRae performed wild donuts in his Prodrive Subaru Impreza 555 in celebration of landing the world title. The Scot won the Network Q RAC Rally to become the first British driver to lift the title. He finished 36 seconds ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz, with young Englishman Richard Burns completing a Subaru clean sweep of the podium.
1945: Just under 50 years before Colin McRae was performing heroics in the WRC, Britain’s previous great rally hero was born. Tony Pond contested 27 events in Opel, Triumph, Talbot, Datsun, Vauxhall, Nissan and Austin Rover machinery between 1974 and 1986. His giant-killing performances on the British rallying scene, in Triumph’s TR7 V8, were only bettered by his titanic run to third behind the works Martini Lancia Delta S4s on the 1985 Lombard RAC Rally on the debut of the MG Metro 6R4. One of the last of the great British rallying heroes, complete with trademark moustache, he died from cancer in February 2002, aged just 56.
1954: One of F1’s greatest technical minds, Ross Brawn, was born. He worked for Arrows, Benetton, Ferrari and Honda, before picking up the pieces of the beleaguered Japanese firm, rebranding it Brawn and taking the 2009 world title with Jenson Button. After masterminding the team’s sale to Mercedes and running it until the end of 2013, he took a sabbatical. Recent stories link him to a return to F1, possibly in Sporting Director role within the sport’s new regime…
1954: The last edition of the Carrera Panamericana road race, the final round of the World Sportscar Championship, was won by the Ferrari 375 Plus of Umberto Maglioli, the Italian beating the 375 MM of Phil Hill and Richie Ginther by almost 25 minutes. German Hans Herrmann took third in a Porsche 550 Spyder.
1989: Pentti Airikkala took a hugely popular maiden WRC win with victory on the Lombard RAC Rally for Mitsubishi. Co-driven by Irishman Ronan MacNamee, the Finnish veteran finished ahead of a trio of works Toyotas, driven by Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen and Kenneth Eriksson.
1982: Hannu Mikkola became the first man to win the Lombard RAC Rally on four occasions. He guided his Audi Quattro to victory over the sister car of Michele Mouton to add to his win from the year before and his two victories for Ford in 1978 and ’79. It would be 23 years before Petter Solberg became the second man to win the event four times, with Sébastien Ogier becoming the third four-time winner just last month.
1998: In a dramatic final twist, Carlos Sainz lost the World Rally title in the final few hundred yards of the season when the engine in his Toyota Corolla WRC failed within sight of the finish of Rally Great Britain. Briton Richard Burns had already won the event for Mitsubishi, with Sainz’s predicament handing a third consecutive title to Burns’s team-mate Tommi Mäkinen, who’d already gone home after retiring early on.
2001: Richard Burns became the first Englishman to win the WRC Drivers’ Championship, thanks to third place in Rally GB. The Subaru ace, co-driven by Scot Robert Reid, joined great rival Colin McRae as one of only two British champions. The rally was won by the Peugeot 206 WRC of outgoing champion Marcus Gronhölm.
2005: Exactly four years to the day since Richard Burns had conquered the rallying world, he lost his fight against brain cancer, aged just 34. Diagnosed ahead of the final round of the 2003 season, Burns fought bravely against the disease for two years.
1953: South African lady racer Desiré Wilson was born. She failed to qualify for the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1980, but that season won two rounds of the World Sportscar Championship, at Monza and Silverstone, alongside Alain de Cadenet in his Lola-based De Cadenet-Cosworth. She also raced several times at Le Mans and in IndyCar and has been a regular competitor at the Goodwood Revival.
1967: A maiden USAC IndyCar win in the season finale at Riverside completed an incredible year for versatile American Dan Gurney – he’d already won the Le Mans 24 hours for Ford and the Belgian GP at Spa in his Eagle T1G-Weslake. Having already tasted success in NASCAR, he could legitimately lay claim to being one of the greatest all-rounders in racing.
1975: Timo Mäkinen made it a hat-trick of wins in the RAC Rally with victory in a Ford Escort RS1800. Briton Roger Clark finished second, 73 seconds adrift of Mäkinen, with fellow Brit Tony Fowkes third for an Escort 1-2-3.
1934: US ace George Follmer was born. He raced in 11 GPs for Shadow in 1973, with a best result of third in the Spanish GP at Montjuic Park. He also won the Can-Am title in a Porsche 917-10 in 1972 and finished third at Le Mans for the German marque in 1986.
1945: British racer, collector, broadcaster and writer Alain de Cadenet was born. Best-known for running his own team in the World Sportscar Championship, he took third at Le Mans in 1976 and won two races – at Monza and Silverstone – in 1980 with Desiré Wilson and the Lola-based De Cadenet-Cosworth. He continues to compete at the Goodwood Revival in a variety of single-seaters and sportscars.
1957: Irishman Kenny Acheson was born. The former Formula Ford champion and F2 racer contested three GPs with the RAM team in the mid-1980s before switching to sportscars. He clinched the All-Japan Sports-Prototype title in a Porsche 962 in 1987 and won the Brands Hatch and Spa 1,000km for the Sauber-Mercedes team in 1989. He retired from the cockpit in 1996.
1971: Double World Superbike Champion Troy Corser was born. The Australian won the title for Ducati in 1996 and again for Suzuki in 2005. He sits fifth on the all-time WSBK winners’ list with 33 career victories. He’s now a regular in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy historic motorcycle race at the Goodwood Revival.
1995: The only man to win on his F1 World Championship debut (not counting the very first event, at Silverstone in 1950), Giancarlo Baghetti, died aged 60. He took victory in the French GP at Reims in a Ferrari 156 – his first start at the top level. He contested 20 other races, for Ferrari, A.T.S, BRM, Brabham and Lotus, never again standing in the top step of the podium.