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THE BIG RACE MOVES WEST
James Murray
November 28, 1960
Californians greeted a new major sport Sunday as the world's best drivers gathered at Riverside for the U.S.'s only Grand Prix event. Stirling Moss took first place, but it was Jack Brabham who provided the day's real drama
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November 28, 1960

The Big Race Moves West

Californians greeted a new major sport Sunday as the world's best drivers gathered at Riverside for the U.S.'s only Grand Prix event. Stirling Moss took first place, but it was Jack Brabham who provided the day's real drama

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Brabham burst into the lead at flagfall, and Moss motored along behind him for the first four laps. But on lap five Brabham's little green Cooper rolled in for the first of two pit stops to combat a fuel leak into the car's bellypan.

"Every time the petrol hit the exhaust pipes," Brabham said, "the flames blew me out of my seat."

As Moss took the lead Brabham dropped down through the 23-car field to 16th place on lap 12. There he finally had everything sorted out and was ready to pursue Moss.

Brabham's handicap inspired in him a determination that must always be there but which he rarely shows. Summoning up his deepest reserves of skill and courage, he prevented the race from deteriorating into a simple runaway dash by the gifted Moss.

Fast, futile chase

At the finish Brabham was making up four seconds a lap on Moss, although he hadn't a chance of catching him, and was breathing hard on the third-place man, his teammate Bruce McLaren. ( McLaren, a New Zealander, placed second for the season in the world rankings and Moss third.) Ahead of McLaren and 38 seconds behind Moss at the end was Britain's Innes Ireland in a Lotus. Finishing fifth, the Swede Joakim Bonnier complained, partly in anger and partly in wonder, about Brabham's bare-knuckle tactics in slamming past him to get into fourth place.

Moss, who hadn't been aware of the commotion behind him, said he was surprised the victory had been so easy. He was piqued to discover that Brabham had achieved the fastest lap of the day during the long chase, and aggrieved that his pit men hadn't so informed him so that he might have tried for the distinction himself. A proud man, Moss is jealous of his reputation as the world's fastest Grand Prix driver. But he really needn't have worried. Moss's winning average speed was a record-breaking 99 mph for the 75 laps. As long as England has him, in English cars, it may take more than a horsepower edge to swing the balance of racing power to the Continent.

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