Stirling Moss sits stoically in Lloyd “Lucky” Casner’s Camoradi International Maserati T61 “Birdcage” in front of the pits just after the start of the Sebring 12 Hours on March 23. 1961. Moss shared this T61 with Graham Hill.
Moss had jumped into his car at the start to find the battery was totally dead, in spite of pre-race assurances that i was fully charged. This was probably an all too typical example of Camoradi race preparation and its minimalist budget. It required a couple of laps to get the battery replaced and for Moss to get out into the race. Although he made it up to fifth place in the first hour, no doubt he was really pressing on which probably did not bode well for the life of his Maserati on the very rough Sebring circuit. Indeed, Moss recorded the fastest lap of the race, which was 2.5 seconds faster than the fastest practice time, set by Wolfgang von Trips in a Ferrari 246SP.
The first few hours saw a series of retirements, including both Moss and Von Trips. The Moss Camoradi T61 had its exhaust system part company with the car right at the manifold. Also at the wayside not long thereafter was the Maserati T63 entered by Camoradi which Moss also tried for a bit, and Cunningham’s T61 of John Fitch and Dick Thompson. The win went to that steady endurance duo of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien in a Ferrari 250TRi/61 with Ferraris taking the first four places.
It is just as well that Moss retired early. The timing and scoring area for Sebring finished the race in total confusion which resulted in various protests and some weeks before the final results could be confirmed.
Photo by Chuck Rogers ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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