30th of November – Today is Mika Salo’s birthday and this shot shows the Finn blasting about the streets of Monte Carlo eleven years ago. What was so special that Sunday making it worth remembering Mika’s drive in the Tyrrell 025-Ford at the 1997 Monaco GP?
A former racer in the early 1960’s in the Springbok series and later team owner in the South African F1 Championship, running drivers like Eddie Keizan and Ian Scheckter with his Alex Blignaut Racing Team during the 1970s. Blignaut was also secretary of SAMRaC, the club that would organise the South African GP. Blignaut died being accidentally electrocuted while repairing machinery on his farm.
Born: 30th of November 1932 in Johannesbourg (Gauteng) , South Africa.
Died: 15th of January 2001 in Honeydew, South Africa, aged 68.
A former South African speedway champion, Trevor Blokdyk raced in European Formula Junior in 1962. When the money ran out, he then returned home to contest the South African championships – and his only Grand Prix – in the ex-Love Cooper. A couple of attempts in European F3 followed, but a massive crash at Albi hospitalised him for three months with pelvic and leg injuries. Nevertheless he presed on with his European career, but never made it past F3. And so he returned to compete a while in South Africa, later retiring into farming. He died suddenly of a heart attack, aged just 59.
Born: 30th November 1935 in Krugersdorp (Gauteng), South Africa.
Died: 19th of March 1995 in Hekpoort (Gauteng), South Africa, aged 59.
A veteran of 110 F1 starts, Mika Salo started his career in F1 with the fledgling Lotus-Team at the 1994 Suzuka round. He got an offer from Tyrrel and stayed with team for three seasons. In 1999 he famously filled in for an injured Michael Schumacher for six races and almost won his first race with a top F1car. But allowing Eddie Irvine past to allow the Irishman topusrue his title chances at least earned him a Ferrari-backed with Sauber. Toyota the hired Salo for the Japanese car makers debutin F1 but dumped him after one GP-season. Apart a couple of races in ChampCar he has since been committed to the LMS-series, first driving LMP1 sportscars and after a stint at FIA-GT now with LM-GT.