Events on February 23rd
Interesting and notable events from the history of motor sport.
The FIA was created in Paris, France.
Tasman Cup round 7, Petrie, Australia won by Jack Brabham in a Brabham-Climax.
Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Communist guerrillas in Havana, Cuba.
In a bizarre twist, Argentine racing champion Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Communist guerrillas in Havana, Cuba, one day before the second Havana Grand Prix. Members of the July 26 Movement (M-26-7) and followers of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the kidnappers hoped to make a political statement by kidnapping the world-famous Fangio before he could defend his title at the Havana Grand Prix. "We wanted to show that Cuba was living in a situation of war against the Bautista tyranny," explained Arnol Rodriguez, a member of the kidnapping team.
In a moment fit for a Blake Edwards film, revolutionary Manuel Uziel, holding a revolver, approached Fangio in the lobby of his hotel and ordered the racecar driver to identify himself. Fangio reportedly thought it was a joke until Uziel was joined by a group of men carrying submachine guns. Fangio reacted calmly as the kidnappers explained to him their intention to keep him only until the race was over.
After his release to the Argentine Embassy, Fangio revealed a fondness for his kidnappers, refusing to help identify them and relaying their explanation that the kidnapping was a political statement. In the meantime, the Havana Grand Prix had been marred by a terrible accident, leading Fangio to believe that he had been spared for a reason.
Years later, Fangio would return to Havana on a work mission. He was received as a guest of the state, and he expressed his gratitude with quiet eloquence, "Two big dreams have come true for me: returning to Cuba and meeting Fidel Castro."
Daytona Beach, Florida. The last race held on the Daytona beach & road course was won by Paul Goldsmith
Paul Goldsmith survived a duel with Curtis Turner and a missed turn on the last lap to win the last race held on the Daytona beach & road course. Goldsmith and Turner had a tremendous duel until 9 laps to go when Turner spun after being trapped behind a lapped car. Turner's spin gave Goldsmith a 10 second lead, but with his windshield wipers not working, Goldsmith drove past the North turn on the final lap and continued up the beach. He made a quick 180 and beat Turner to the line by 5 car lengths. The former Motorcycle champ & Indy 500 veteran was driving Smokey Yunick's Pontiac.
Stardust International Raceway, Las Vegas, Nevada held it last race before the Casinos rolled into town.
Springvale, Victoria, Australia. The last ever round of the Tasman Cup was won by John Goss.
John Goss went into the record books as the final race winner in Tasman series history, taking his Holden/Repco powered Lola T332 across the line first in the Formula 5000 race on the Sandown Park circuit. Warwick Brown won the final championship. The series started in 1964 for 2.5 liter Formula One and switched to Formula 5000 in 1970. Beginning in 1976, New Zealand and Australia held separate series for Formula 5000 and the Tasman Cup name was retired to the mantle of history.