Given the automotive suspension technology of the mid 20th century, circuits with high speed banking were dangerous places for racers to conduct their business. As I was looking at this photo of Tony Brooks and Masten Gregory dueling at Avus, one of my favorite songs, by Richard and Linda Thompson, popped into my head. While Thompson’s lyrics are meant a metaphor for the perils of love, their literal meaning certainly applies to our selection of photos.
“Let me ride on the wall of death one more time
Let me ride on the wall of death one more time
You can waste your time on the other rides
But this is the nearest to being alive
Let me take my chances on the wall of death”
John Cobb in the Napier-Railton Special at the Brooklands circuit in 1935.
A 19 year old Pedro Rodriguez, in a Porsche RSK, during a USAC event at Meadowdale International Raceway in 1959.
The Alpine A220 of Patrick Depallier and Jean-Pierre Jabouille during the 1969 1000 Kms of Monza.
Pace lap of the 1967 24 hours of Daytona.
Here’s Richard Thompson, sans his ex-wife Linda, performing “Wall of Death”. Enjoy!