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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.