On several years the French Grand Prix was held at a mountainous circuit just outside of the city of Clermont-Ferrand, home of the Michelin tire company. This circuit was called the Circuit de Charade, but was also referred to by the name of its nearby city of Clermont-Ferrand and, in honor of one of the circuit’s founders, Circuit Louis Rosier. In 1965 the Grand Prix was held at Charade on June 27th and, seen above, was won by Jim Clark with a Lotus 25-Climax. The chef steward provides an artistic wave of the flag and Jim Clark gives a victory signal as Team Lotus chief Colin Chapman salutes his driver.
The 1965 race was the first Grand Prix to be held on the Clermont-Ferrand circuit and thus required many of the drivers to explore its many corners and grades over its length of just over five miles – often thought of as a kind of mini-Nürburgring. During practice Graham Hill and Mike Spence with their BRM and Lotus, respectively, each had an “off” with damage to their cars. Part of the problem at Charade was logistics. If a car, due to either accident damage or mechanical failure, was stopped out on the this largely public road circuit there was no way to get back except on the circuit itself, so several drivers gave “lifts” to those of their competitors who were stranded somewhere. Clark had two mechanical failures with his Lotus 33 in practice and had to take out the spare car, a three year old Lotus 25. Result: pole position…
After the start it was clearly going to be a Jim Clark race as he quickly opened up a lead over Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari 1512 which had the added advantage of Bandini holding up both Jackie Stewart and the others for a bit. However, Stewart in his BRM P261 was soon up into second but could make no indent on Clark’s position, shown here, whose lead was over 26 seconds at the finish. That is the way it ended with Bruce McLaren’s Cooper 77 taking third.
Photos by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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