To Europe and back
- Mattijs Diepraam
- 8W June 1998 issue, offers are kindly accepted to extend the length of this article!
Skip Barber (Pedro Rodriguez)
Gene Mason Racing March-Cosworth 711 (BRM P160)
1971 Dutch GP
Barber's was an F1 career that wasn't even meant to be. In 1971, at the fairly late age of 35, having won races in the US Formula Ford championship in 1969 and 1970, he came over to Europe to buy a March chassis, replacing the 701 he crashed early in the year. The newly acquired 711 he intended to race in the domestic L&M F5000 series. But before shipping the car back to the States he decided to have some fun and take part in a couple of World Championship Grands Prix. Not surprisingly, he failed to qualify at Monaco but in Holland he made the grid, albeit dead last. And that was also where he finished, 10 laps down on winner Jacky Ickx.
His finest F1 hour came one week earlier, though, when he finished a creditable 6th in the non-championship Jochen Rindt Memorial at Hockenheim (also won by Ickx incidentally).
In total he started 5 GPs, including the 1972 Canadian GP, his last (US 1972) giving his best result: a fine qualifying effort (20th) and a classified finish (16th, 2 laps down). The car lapping Barber in the Gerlachbocht belongs to Pedro Rodriguez, the year's sportscar legend, who was leading the race at the time for BRM. These were to be Pedro's last laps at the front of an F1 field, for a few weeks later he would be killed in a freak sportscar accident, being burnt to death in his flaming Ferrari 512LM after a flat tyre led him to crash out in an insignificant Interserie race at the Norisring.