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24 January in Race History: Amon Wins Argentine Grand Prix

Formula 1 bridesmaid Chris Amon never won a world championship race, but he did win a few races called grands prix.

One of those was the 1971 Gran Premio de la Republica Argentina, where he steered his wailing Matra MS120 to beat first hear winner Rolf Stommelen’s March and Carlos Reutemann’s McLaren Cosworths. That demonstration race earned Buenos Aires a return to the world championship from ‘72.

Also in South America many years before, Giuseppe Farina drove his Maserati 8CL to victory in the 1948 General San Martín Grand Prix at Mar del Plata, while Giuseppe Farina and Umberto Maglioli won the 1954 Buones Aires 1000 World Sportscar race in a Ferrari 375MM.

Over in New Zealand meanwhile, Ron Flockhart took his BRM P25 to 1959 Lady Wigram Trophy and more recently moving across to Orlando, Florida. Tony Stewart won the 1998 and Eddie Cheever the ’99 Indy 200s. Staying in Florida, there were two Daytona 24 Hours on this day – David Donohue, Antonio Garcia, Darren Law and Buddy Rice won in a Riley-Porsche in 2009, while Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray took 2015 honours in a Ganassi Riley-Ford.

Moving on to the Monte Carlo Rally, Erik Carlsson took his 851 cc Saab 96, the smallest car ever to win, to victory in 1963. The Monte was part of the World Championship by the time Sandro Munari took his spectacular Lancia Stratos HF to double victories on this day in 1975 (above) and ‘76, while Henri Toivonen joined his dad on the honours list as took another Lancia victory driving the fearsome Delta S4 in 1986. And Sebastien Ogier won in 2016 with in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Off the track on the day that Tony Trimmer, Jo Gartner and Scott Speed share birthdays, three different drivers broke the world flying mile speed record within a 30-minute period today in 1905. Louis Ross first raised the mark to 153 km/h in his Wogglebug steamer, five minutes before Arthur Macdonald’s Napier 6 (below) upped it to 167 km/h. H L Bowden then drove his Mercedes Flying Dutchman at 175 km/h. Bowden’s mark was disallowed by the Automobile Club de France because his machine weighed more than 1,000kg!

20-year-old Jenson Button became the youngest ever F1 driver when he signed a five-year deal BMW Sauber today in 2000. And Eddie Jordan sold his F1 team to Russian Canadian Alex Shnaider’s Midland Group today in 2005. That Silverstone-based team subsequently sold to Force India, then became Racing Point and this year morphs into Aston Martin F1.

Also on this day in 1936, Indy 500 veteran and 1933 AAA champion Al Gordon died in a crash at the Legion Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles.