BRM has a monocoque that has not yet been debugged. Ferrari has a very promising one. Unfortunately, Surtees, after lapping superbly in it, limped in Saturday with something broken in the suspension and had to switch to an older space framer. Friends prayed that the new car would be repaired by race time, although Surtees looked menacing enough in his space-frame vehicle.
"We have spent a lot of time experimenting with the monocoque," said BRM's Rudd, mournfully, "and in the meantime haven't been able to do justice to the other ones. So here we are with last year's cars."
But, oh, how they flew. On Friday Graham Hill, whose luxuriant guardsman's mustache endears him to Anglophiles, lowered the Glen's lap record from 1:15 to 1:13.4 and in all the remaining practice time no one else, not even Jim Clark, did as well. Officially, that is. Clark was credited with 1:13.5, but watches held by his own pitmen caught him in slightly better time than that given Hill.
Surtees' red streak earned a 1:13.7—all the more welcome since the enduringly .glamorous Ferraris had been absent from the two previous U.S. championship races. Ginther's BRM did 1:14 flat. Jack Brabham and Dan Gurney, driving Brabham's own cars, completed the ring of potential Clark-baiters by lapping in 1:14.2 and 1:14.5 respectively.
If the less well-mounted 15 drivers posed no real threat, they at least promised lively scrapping among themselves for lesser positions. Among them were Phil Hill, still struggling, as he has been all year, to get the ATS going, and Rodger Ward, the former Indianapolis "500" champion, who likes to take an occasional flyer in road racing.
Thus, confident of a fine fast fight, 58,000 persons, the largest crowd in Watkins Glen's history, gathered Sunday afternoon, many of them drawn there by Clark. Their confidence was abruptly shaken at Clark's failure to start. The cars were lined up two by two. Engines came alive. All but Clark's. A high-pressure fuel pump was not functioning and, as Clark called heavily on the battery, not only did the car not start but the battery went dead. The car was given a push start, but that is not legal for a race start, and the engine soon had to be shut off.
Had the battery been revived? The thousands who could see these frantic gymnastics devoutly hoped so, but seconds before the green starting flag was to fall, the Lotus, sickeningly, had to be pushed aside and a new battery installed.
By the time wee, woeful Jimmy got away, Graham "Hill in the car that had seemed so suspiciously fast to Rudd was far ahead, and the other elite drivers were pushing him as rudely as they had wanted to molest Clark.
A bright, clustered race
There followed, for many laps, as beautiful a race as one could want. Bunched at first like a cluster of bright, tiny waterbugs were Hill, his teammate Ginther, Surtees in the space-frame Ferrari and then the Brabhams of Gurney and Builder Jack.