Brian Redman on 1975 Long Beach win: “Everything worked out fantastically”

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Although the actual date anniversary occurs later this year (September 28), 2015 still marks the 40-year anniversary of the birth of a classic.

The winning driver was Brian Redman. The car was a Lola T332-Chevrolet entered by Haas Racing.

The race? A then first-time Formula 5000 event in what was then a dumpy, rundown, city called Long Beach, Calif., and known as the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Forty years later, Long Beach is the undisputed gold standard of street racing in North America, and second or third in the world. It revs up again this weekend for the 41st running, now featuring the Verizon IndyCar Series on a shorter course.

But some 40 years after the original, Redman’s still around to relive the memories, and the Englishman was all too happy to do so when I spoke to him at Sebring last month chatting with him about another of his past wins – the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring – that had happened earlier that year.

Redman today, reunited with his Sebring-winning BMW. Photo: BMW

The Long Beach field was grand – names such as Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Tony Brise, Tom Pryce, Jody Scheckter, David Hobbs and Gordon Johncock were among the luminaries in the 44-car field – but the area itself was far from it.

“As you probably know, Long Beach was an enormous entry,” Redman recalled, in an exclusive interview with MotorSportsTalk. “World Champions from all over the place were in it.”

“Yet the track and surrounding area were really decrepit, terrible! It was mostly old people’s homes and brothels!

“I remember in practice one day I was standing, watching the cars go past, and a little old lady from one of the homes was watching with me, turned to me and said, ‘Tell me sonny, are those real men in those cars?’ I said, “I don’t really know, I think so!’”

Redman recalled the track itself. Elements from the original 2.02-mile, 13-turn track are still in play today, notably Shoreline Drive and what is now the Turns 9-10-11 complex.

Practice nearly broke Redman’s car before he even had the chance to race.

Redman’s winning F5000 car on display last year. Photo: Tony DiZinno

“The track was very rough,” he said. “Going up to the pit straight, uphill, was very bumpy. And then after the pit straight, into Turn 1, I don’t think you came completely off the ground, but the car went very light. It was in second gear. For a fraction of a second, once it landed, you could open the throttle wide before you had to got back on the brakes for the next left-hander.

“Well towards the end of practice, I did as usual … I went up a little bit, down, flat in second and it turned sharp right! Fortunately I didn’t hit anything. I came into the pits and told Jim Hall, ‘I think something’s broken in the differential.’ He said, ‘Well we’ll take a look at it, but I sure hate to change anything the night before the race.’ Anyway they opened the gearbox, and the Wiseman limited slip had broken. So they changed it.”

Brise had the pole and Redman set off with the repaired car, hoping it would stick for the race, even with Hall – the noted Chaparral design wizard that he is – skeptical it would work.

Then the drivers in front of him started falling like dominos.

“The race started, I think Mario was leading, Tony Brise, Graham Hill’s protégé, was second and Al Unser was third. I was fourth,” Redman said. “But I was OK. I was fairly happy. I knew it would be a long, hard race.

“Anyway the first thing I see, Mario is out with a broken gearbox. Then Tony Brise is out with a broken driveshaft. Then Al Unser’s in the wall, so I’m leading! Unbelievable!”

The twinkle in his eye emerged, a smile appeared… and then Redman immediately shifted gears to remembering how he had to keep his own car in shape to avoid falling victim to the same fate as the others in front of him.

“Jody Scheckter was second and closing a bit. But so what happened, my differential broke again on the 10th lap, so I had to take it easy. There was nothing else I could do.

“Instead of going flat out in second gear up the hill to the pit straight, and flat out down into Turn 1, I’d have to go in gently and open the throttle without going flat out.

“And that’s how I drove the race, and we finished, and won it!”

What happened next only adds to the legend.

“Of course they couldn’t find the ‘race queen’ after the race, and we had Boraxo sponsorship for the first time,” Redman said. “It wound up the wife of our sponsor became the ‘race queen!’

“After I get out of the car, I see the victory podium was a back of a truck! I remember saying on the podium, I was so lucky that it kept going. Everything worked out fantastically.

“And because of that, we got the Boraxo sponsorship for 1976.”

Long Beach, of course, got Formula 1 for 1976, as Chris Pook’s grand master plan of the city’s emergence on the world stage came to life following the successful F5000 race. F1 ran through 1983 and while rumors of its return have endured, the race is firmly an IndyCar stronghold now – as it’s been since 1984.

But Redman endures in history as the track’s only F5000 race winner, but more importantly, the inaugural winner of one of North America’s grandest car races.

It’s an honor he distinctly appreciates, and one we do as well as Long Beach adds more to the history books this weekend.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Anaheim 2


The Triple Crown format shook up the results in the Monster Energy Supercross round at Anaheim 2 with no rider dominating, but in the end two wins and a fifth-place were enough to give Chase Sexton the overall victory. It was the second 450 Supercross win of his career coming a little more than a year after he won his first in San Diego.

This year San Diego was not nearly as kind. Sexton crashed on the first lap of his heat and his Honda was center punched by another rider. The damage sent him into the Last Chance Qualifier and a poor gate pick contributed to his fifth-place finish last week.

Sexton showed he was more than ready to put that behind him Saturday night in Angel Stadium by winning the first of three races in the Triple Crown format. Entering Race 3 as one of three drivers who could have secured the overall win, he chased down Jason Anderson on Lap 4 and led the final 10 laps.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here 250 Results

Ultimately Anderson dropped to third in the final Supercross moto of the season in Anaheim 2, but strong results in the first two races secured second overall. Anderson won the second race and his 5-1-3 fell two positions shy of the overall win.

All questions about whether Ken Roczen would need an adjustment period as he switched from Honda to Suzuki have been answered: He did not. Sweeping the top five in his two Supercross Main events and in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown, he amassed enough points with his results of 2-3-4 to score his first podium of the season.

Click here for 450 Triple Crown Race 1 | Race 2 | Race 3

Cooper Webb steadily improved his results during the Triple Crown, but a seventh-place finish in the first race proved to be too much to overcome. He finished fourth in Race 2 and charged to second in the final race to secure fourth overall.

Dylan Ferrandis showed a lot of consistency with results of 4-6-5 to round out the top five.

Eli Tomac was one of the three riders who might have secured the overall victory by winning Race 3, but he pressed too hard while trying to pass Webb for second. He jumped wide midway through the race and landed on a Tuff Blox. After getting violently pitched from his Yamaha, he found that it was slightly damaged when he remounted and could only salvage sixth-place points with finishes of 3-2-13.

It was enough for him to maintain the overall lead in the points’ standings by four over Sexton and Webb.

Click here for Round 1 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Levi Kitchen didn’t win a battle on Saturday night, but he won the war. He established in the top five in Race 1 with a fourth-place finish and then swept the runner-up spot in the final two motos. That first SuperMotocross victory of his career with a previous best of seventh in Supercross this year in Anaheim 1 and a third in Motocross last year at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado. It was a much-needed morale boost for Kitchen, who finished 21st last week in San Diego.

The night was disappointing by Jett Lawrence standards. He suffered falls in the first two races and stalled one another occasion, but was able to overcome those problems each time with results of third and sixth. That put him in a position where he had a shot at the overall if Kitchen stumbled just a little in the final moto. Lawrence won Race 3, but still does not have an overall Triple Crown win in the Supercross 250 division. With only one more Triple Crown on the schedule before he climbs on a 450 for the outdoor season, time is running out.

Click here for 250 Triple Crown Race 1 | Race 2 | Race 3 | Last Chance Qualifier

The Triple Crown always shakes up the Supercross results and Anaheim 2 was no exception.

Stilez Roberston capitalized on mistakes by Lawrence, RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo during Race 2 and won. That victory, coupled with a third in Race 3 and a sixth in the first main, was enough to give him the final position on the podium. In this format the results are added together and the lowest number wins. Robertson tied Lawrence with identical results of 10 accumulated points, but Lawrence’s win in the final race relegated Robertson to third.

With a total score of 15 (5-4-6), Mitchell Oldenburg was a relatively distant fifth. The 18 points he earned are enough to keep him fourth in the standings and with McAdoo and Hampshire experience trouble in the race, he was able to close the gap on second in the standings.

Click here for 250 West Overall results | 250 West rider points

After missing last week’s Main, Max Vohland finished with results of 7-8-4 in the Anaheim 2 Supercross race and rounds out the top five.

McAdoo and Hampshire both lost ground in the championship standings with difficult races.

McAdoo was able to salvage sixth-place points (17) and that allowed him to leapfrog Hampshire (12). Proving that even bad days are not that bad for last year’s 250 East champion, Lawrence left Anaheim 2 with a points’ lead of 16 over second-place.

2023 Results

Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 2: Ken Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s