Motoracer The game

All about racing

Brian Redman Part II

brianredmanDespite never achieving recognition as a true racing great, Brian Redmond did win three consecutive F5000 championships with the Haas/Hall team, between 1974 and 1976. The opposition at the time was serious with the All American Racers, Shadow and Vel teams all imposing competition. It was a phenomenal epoch for motor racing Stateside and the duels between Redmond and Mario Andretti for the ’74 and ’75 titles were fantastic to watch for the neutrals.

One of the most memorable weekends of Redmond’s career was at the Riverside circuit in 1975. Competing at the sharp-end for the championship, Brian endured a serious crash during the opening day of practice when one of his tire’s failed. Redmond recounts “the last race of the year at Riverside was perhaps one of my worst experiences in motor racing. In the first practice session on Friday morning I was exciting the very fast Turn Nine. Just as I was in the apex, my left front tyre burst. The car shot across the track and hit the outside cement wall at over 100 mph. My head bounced back and forth so hard it broke the plexiglass screen on the sides of the cockpit”.

With his primary car a wreck, Redmond had to enter the race proper in his less competitive spare car. These were not the days of at least three or four identical spares to cater for all eventualities. In the first competitive race Brian was sent into a spin by rival Richard Petty as he came out of Turn Seven. He spun harmlessly in the dirt and gravel though and re-joined the race. However, worse was yet to come as his throttle stuck on the next lap and his car went into the outer retaining wall.

The F5000 finale took place immediately after and Redman remembers how “I dragged myself out of the Camaro, my blue driver’s suit black with sweat. I was exhausted from trying to keep my head up (with the muscles severely strained from the two earlier accidents) but duty called and I went straight to the grid and climbed into the Lola F5000 car.

Redmond managed to hold himself together and finish the race in the third spot which was enough to secure the championship. On the last lap a broken gudgeon pin locked the oil pump and the car just made it over the finishing line. A final stroke of luck that afternoon. And it was no less than Redmond deserved. He may not be recognised on the pantheon of all-time great racing drivers. He maybe lacked a little killer instinct. But it is hard to argue that any driver ever had more talent than Redmond and few could rival him as a true gentleman.