It was hard to believe it was the 15th of July when the cars lined up for the 1961 British Grand Prix at the Aintree circuit.

The skies were solid grey and the heavens had opened just 15 minutes before the start of the 225 mile race over a gruelling 75 laps.

Conditions were, quite simply, appalling. As if the torrential rain wasn’t enough, continuous spray from the track all but blinded the tail-enders.

It was to prove a fateful combination for British driver Henry Taylor, racing for the Laystall team.

Cars line up at the start of the rain-swept British Grand Prix

Cars line up at the start of the rain-swept British Grand Prix

It was only the fifth lap when his Lotus-Climax came sideways out of the Melling Crossing and crashed into an advertising hoarding.

Taylor was badly injured when a wooden stake from the hoarding pierced the side of his car. The accident made him give up single-seater racing altogether to concentrate on rallying.

The Ferrari driven by Taffy von Trips takes the chequered flag at Aintree

The Ferrari driven by Taffy von Trips takes the chequered flag at Aintree

He took part in the Monte Carlo Rally and was at the wheel when the Ford Cortina made its rally debut.

The 1961 Grand Prix also marked the last on British soil for legendary driver Stirling Moss. His career was ended by an accident in a non-championship race prior to the 1962 season.

The Aintree race through the rain ended in a clean sweep for Ferrari. First was Rhineland nobleman Wolfgang Alexander Albert Eduard Maximilian Reichsgraf Berghe von Trips – better known to racing fans as Taffy von Trips.

Giancarlo Baghetti covered in spray in his Ferrari after retiring due to an accident on lap 27

Giancarlo Baghetti covered in spray in his Ferrari after retiring due to an accident on lap 27

The German driver was diabetic and had to eat high-sugar snacks during races.

In second and third place were Americans Phil Hill and Richie Ginther, both in Ferraris. Jack Brabham was fourth in a Cooper-Climax.

Von Trips had led for most of the race after starting from fourth position on the grid. The win maintained his challenge for the 1961 drivers’ World Championship.

But it was all to end in tragedy two races later at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Stirling Moss speeds through the rain at the British Grand Prix

Stirling Moss speeds through the rain at the British Grand Prix

Von Trips only needed third place to clinch the title, but collided with Jim Clark’s Lotus on the first lap.

His Ferrari careered across the grass verge before bouncing into the air, spinning around and then landing right side up back on the track. Fourteen spectators as well as von Trips were killed.

German driver Taffy von Trips on the podium with Ferrari team-mate and future world champion Phil Hill

German driver Taffy von Trips on the podium with Ferrari team-mate and future world champion Phil Hill

Henry Taylor’s Lotus-Climax which crashed on the fifth lap of the British Grand Prix

Henry Taylor’s Lotus-Climax which crashed on the fifth lap of the British Grand Prix

The popular German aristocrat was described as ‘a great driver and a great loss to sport.’

Out of respect to his team-mate, Hill did not race in the final Grand Prix of the season at Watkins Glen in the USA, but still won the title.

 

 

Many more unmissable images from the Sixties feature in Clive Hardy’s brilliant new book Around Liverpool and Merseyside in the 1960s – published this July.

Echo readers can pre-order their copy at the bargain price of £9.99 plus £1.99 P&P. Just go to inostalgia.co.uk/shop or ring the order hotline on 01928 503777.

Orders will be dispatched in the week beginning July 9th 2018.

Don’t miss out on the remarkable story of an unforgettable decade!