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Newz Forum: PFL:AUTO: Graham Hill Sportznewz Racing Profile

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posted on Apr, 16 2004 @ 06:05 PM
When Graham Hill's private plane crashed on to Arkley Golf Course on a foggy night in November 1975, a nation lost an institution, the character who epitomized motor racing to the man in the street.Sportznewz takes a look at a racing legend.As Hill had taken off from Marseilles the future held great promise; to the intense relief of his friends, he had finally hung up his helmet after a record 176 Grands Prix starts, 14 victories, and two World Championships. He was the only man ever to have won the Triple Crown: the World Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

Graham Hill joined Smiths, the instrument makers at the age of 16. He served a five-year apprenticeship and was called into the Navy at the age of 21. Two years later he returned to Smiths. During this time he had taken up rowing and met his future wife Bette. One day he saw an advertisement in a magazine for a new racing school which said that anyone interested could drive a racing car at Brands Hatch for five shillings a lap. Hill went down and raced four laps and as he would later remark "everything changed." The school was called the Universal Motor Racing Club where he suggested to the owner that he was willing to exchange his labor as a mechanic in exchange for letting him drive one of the race cars. Unfortunately he was taken advantage of and the owner soon left without Hill ever getting close to driving a race car. Hill would not give up on his dream and soon entered into a similar arrangement with another person he had only just met. This time he actually did race one of the cars and soon this new school, taking advantage of Hill's limited success, had its first group of students. Hill being the veteran of a handful of races and besides the owner the only other employee, would be their instructor! Hill was now ready for bigger and better opportunities and at one race he hitched a ride back to London with one of the other entrants, a man by the name of Colin Chapman.

He started at Lotus working for Colin Chapman as a mechanic and was paid one pound a day. Unable to convince Chapman for a chance to race one of his cars he actually quit Lotus temporarily before finally convincing Chapman. After much cajoling he was elevated to full-time driving and in 1958 he made his debut in Formula 1. That could only happen today if he had a couple extra million in his back pocket! After limited success and too many mechanical failures for his tastes, Hill left for BRM in 1960. In 1962 He won his first race at Zandvoort and went on to claim the World Championship. The next two years he continued to battle for the title but his remaining years at BRM was marked by mechanical failure. In 1967 he returned to Lotus and formed a "super team" with double World Champion Jimmy Clark. After Clark's tragic death at Hockenheim, Graham Hill scored victories in the next two Grand Prix races and was crowned World Champion. The next year was not a good year for Hill and was marked by his last win at Monaco. This was his fifth win on this difficult circuit; a record that was not surpassed until Ayrton Senna captured his sixth victory in 1993. At Watkins Glen he was injured in a terrible accident that saw him confined to a wheelchair. After he recovered from his injuries he continued racing but without any further success, eventually starting his own team. In 1975 Graham Hill was killed when the plane he was piloting went down after getting lost in the fog. The world would never again see the famous helmet with the rowing stripes. But in 1993 his son Damon Hill resurrected that famous icon in Formula 1.

With his flowing locks and Errol Flynn mustache, Graham Hill was the life and soul of any party. A man who was always active, full of boundless energy, he was capable of exchanging jokes with the best comedians and appeared on television with the British comic duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. When he died, even people who had never met him wept.


Wins 14
Pole positions 13
Fastest laps 10
Total races 176
Seasons 14
Total points 289
World Champion 1962, 1968
Front row starts 42
Podiums 36
Total driven: Laps 8768
Total driven: Km 44046
Leading: Grand Prix 32
Leading: Laps 1102
Leading: Km 4750

[Edited on 18/7/04 by TRD]

posted on Apr, 16 2004 @ 06:34 PM
i had the pleasure of watching grahm hill drive at the glen many time during th elate 60's, to me he was my first f1 hero, one of the publicity stories that always made the rounds just before the race was that he would try to get a drivers license and always fail the test, he also has a cameo role in the greatest racing movie ever made "Grand Prix"...i still have the beer soaked ticket stubs from those races, can you believe $20.00 for the weekend, camping included, you could tour the paddock for a nickel, sadly those days will never return


posted on Apr, 16 2004 @ 06:42 PM
Toejam that's a great story! Well i never had the pleasure of seeing him drive but i have seen footage of him and read a bit about him and he was a fantastic driver,i did see his son drive though Damon Hill..


posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 07:13 AM
I think some people don't relise what the man achieved. He was a fantastic driver and the only one to win the Big 3'..the World Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

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