The Belgian Boys

Ferrari, Jacques Swaters, Jean Blaton, Willy Mairesse, klemcoll, Spa-Francorchamps

We are in the pits on May 1, 1967 before the 1000 km. Race at Spa-Francorchamps which counted for that year’s International Manufacturers Championship. This group all look concerned, probably with the stunning qualifying pace of the Chaparral 2F from Jim Hall’s team which was driven by Phil Hill and Mike Spence to pole. Standing at the left in dark glasses is Ferrari’s famous Belgian importer and leader of the Équipe Nationale Belge team, Jacques Swaters. To his left is his wealthy customer and excellent “gentleman driver” Jean Blaton. Blaton raced under the nom de course of “Jean Beurlys” because his family objected to his racing. Then to Blaton’s left is his co-driver, Ferrari, Mairesse, Blaton, klemcollthe very fast and incredibly brave Willy Mairesse. Swaters has entered a Ferrari 412P, the version sold to the Ferrari importers of the prior year’s factory 330P3, now with carburetors rather than fuel injection but with updated bodywork of the factory’s new 330P4, so it was sometimes called a P3/4. Seen at left is the Swaters yellow entry  in its the Belgian national racing color. The attractive lady on the pit counter seen between Swaters and Blaton is Swaters’ wife Monique de Bousies.

Race day dawned with rain which was forecast to continue. The Chaparral which had not run in the rain with its wing operating chose to be conservative, so at the start it was Jackie Ickx in John Wyer’s Mirage M1-Ford followed closely by Mairesse in the Belgian Ferrari. After the first refueling stops, Ickx was still in the Mirage while Blaton took over the Ferrari. But he was no match for his young countryman in the Mirage and Ickx motored away, eventually putting the Blaton Ferrari a lap down. The weather was still awful and at the next fuel stop Dick Thompson replaced Ickx, but he would drive for only an hour before the very fast Ickx could get back in. Mairesse now took over the Ferrari, Blaton, Mairesse, Spa-Francorchamps, klemcollBelgian Ferrari, seen at the left, at their pit stop to try to gain back the lap from the Mirage, but he went off on his first lap, destroying the Ferrari, but escaping without serious injury.

Ickx then replaced Thompson and cruised to the win. The Chaparral had retired and second place went to a works Porsche 910.

Photos from the JJF Archive ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more of our photographs please go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx

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