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GP Week : Issue 28
Rain stopped play Race management has come a long way. Two previous deluges from history prove the point. The first was in 1979, when Kenny Roberts was battling for his second World Championship, just three points clear of Barry Sheene. Then at Silverstone, the penultimate round, the heavens opened. This was before electronic timing, and nobody could blame the lap scorers for getting confused, as most riders pitted to change tyres, while one in particular, a British national-level rider Steve Manship, soldiered on, having started out on a canny choice of intermediates. By the end, they reckoned Roberts was the winner, with Manship second and Sheene third. Not everyone agreed – especially Sheene. His pit scorers made Manship the winner. Or possibly Marco Lucchinelli, who had been rebuffed from the rostrum. The result was decisive for Roberts’s title, but remained in dispute for years afterwards. The other was 10 years later, at Spa Francorchamps. This time, the race was stopped and restarted. Twice. It was only later that someone pointed out the rules only allowed one restart. The third running was cancelled, and half points awarded, since the required two-thirds race distance had not been completed. That year’s champion Eddie Lawson was the winner, from Kevin Schwantz (who had crashed out of the third leg) and Wayne Rainey. One poignant point: The Clerk of the Course who made the error and sent the riders out on the futile third start was one Claude Danis – the same man who is now the official FIM safety director, whose job includes approving all circuits, including the new Indy track. 40