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1970 Road America Can-Am

Sunday, August 30, 1970
United States
1970 season:

From the Motor Sport Archive

With only a week between the fifth and sixth rounds (and less than that to overhaul the machinery), a number of cars appeared at the Road America circuit in Wisconsin in far from perfect mechanical condition. The Shadow did not appear at all, although Elford did obtain a ride in an older but unsorted Lola T70. Another English driver making his second Can-Am appearance of the year was David Hobbs, who was invited to drive the ex-Chaparral McLaren M12 now owned by Canadian Terry Godsall.

There was considerably less practice and qualifying time than usual at Road America and among the victims of this shortened timetable were Peter Revson and Peter Gethin. Revson had only one hour on the Friday to qualify his Lola before flying out to the Ontario Motor Speedway to qualify the works McLaren for the California 500 on Saturday (report in American Comment) and then returning to Road America for the Can-Am race on Sunday. Nonetheless, he quickly got down to the job at hand and at the time he left for California his Lola was on the front row next to Denis Hulme's pole-winning McLaren M8D. Motschenbacher's M8B was the third fastest qualifier but Gethin was a victim of the very short interval since the Mid-Ohio race. His M8D lost almost all its oil pressure as soon as it went out and he had to wait while the mechanics changed the pressure relief valve before he had another go. When the oil pressure again disappeared almost immediately, the mechanics knew the entire plumbing system was probably still fouled by the contamination that built up during the engine's slow death at Mid-Ohio and they set about a more thorough cleaning and flushing operation than they had undertaken earlier. As a result, Gethin missed most of the first qualifying session and his hopes of starting near the front were completely dashed when it rained for most of the second session. The rain ensured that Hulme, Revson and Motschenbacher were safe in the first three places on the grid, and it was Hobbs who claimed the fourth position in his McLaren. Former Shelby and Ferrari driver Bob Bondurant was next in an older but well prepared Lola T160 (though with only a 7-litre engine) and Gethin had to be content with sixth place. Still, he was a lot better off than Eaton, who was unable to start his BRM when a cylinder head gasket failed during a pre-race warm-up session.