Daily: 21st July 2011

21 July, 2011 at 00:00 (GMT+01:00)

By Colin McBain

Guten tag and welcome to this fortnight's Memorable Moments post, which includes clips from the German Grand Prix, as well as the lowdown on another important sporting event going on at the moment - well, it's important to me anyway.  The last few weeks have been like Jekyll & Hyde here in Edinburgh weather-wise.  Two weeks ago it was torrential rain and thunder, last week it's been beautiful sunshine and this week we're back to torrential rain and thunder.  Global Warming.  There, I've said it, can we move on?

Before we take a glance at some glorious highlights of German GPs gone by, I thought I'd mention one other sporting interest I spend my time watching and enjoying.  This week sees the 18th PDC World Matchplay Championships take place at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.  The World Matchplay, which has been staged every year since 1994, is one of the biggest darts events in the calendar and it's a tournament that every professional player worth their salt wants to win.  The defending champion is Phil 'The Power' Taylor, cited by many to be the greatest darts player of all time - his statistics speak for themselves.  However, he's hit a bout of poor form lately - he hasn't won a major TV tournament in over a year, which is unheard of for a player of his reputation and ability - which makes him vulnerable going into this year's tournament.  But don't dismiss him yet: he may be in his 50s but there's life in the old dog left.  Please note: Phil Taylor is a human, not a dog.

And what a start to a tournament we've had?  For a start, we had a superb 9-dart finish from Canadian 3-times World Champion John Part.  For those of you not in the know, a 9-dart finish is described as winning a game, starting with 501 points and working your way down to 0, in nine darts, which is the least number of darts required to win a leg.  Just like getting a hole-in-one in golf, a 147 maximum in snooker or a 300 game in ten-pin bowling, it doesn't happen often but when it does, it's exhilarating.

Other notable favourites who are tipped to do well in this tournament include:

  • Reigning World Champion Adrian Lewis, who has also recorded a 9-darter during the World Championship final at the Alexandra palace, London.
  • James Wade, winner of 7 major titles and is already on a high after winning the last TV tournament, the UK Open at Bolton
  • Scotland's Gary Anderson, who recently won the Premier League Darts at his first attempt - no mean feat, when you consider he had to play seven of the best players in the world twice over fifteen weeks in such high-profile venues as the O2 Arena in London, the SECC in Glasgow, The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham and Wembley Arena in London.
  • Raymond van Barneveld, the first man to truly challenge Phil Taylor's dominance in the game and is himself recipient of 5 World Championships and 5 9-darters in competition.

So with Phil Taylor not at his best, several top players have a chance to win a major tournament, so this year's World Matchplay could prove to be a very wide open affair.

And now onto a sport we're all interested in - the Grand Prix of Germany.  It's had a long history, from the old Nürburgring in the 50s-70s, the old 'straights-and-chicanes' Hockenheim in the 60s-90s, the truncated (and also boring) Hockenheim in the 00s and the new Nürburgring in the 10s, so there's plenty of moments to choose from.  I have therefore reduced the selection to these, one moment from each version of each race track:

  1. This is what happens when a back-marker doesn't look in his mirrors.  In 1982 we witness a square-up between Nelson Piquet and Chile's Eliseo Salazar.  And the commentary's fun to listen to as well.
  2. 2010 saw Ferrari make all the headlines for all the wrong reasons.  Felipe Massa's radio communications seemed to suggest that the team was using team orders - directly or indirectly - which was banned at the time.  He let through his teammate Fernando Alonso - who was ahead of Massa in the World Championship standings at the time, interestingly enough - to finish 2nd in the race.
  3. Niki Lauda survived a terrifying accident at the old Nordschleife in 1976.  The severe burns he suffered are still visible today and it was down to the help from other drivers, who stopped on-track, that his life was saved.
  4. In this clip, Niko Rosberg takes us through a lap of the current Nürburgring whilst tracing the circuit blindfolded with a marker pen.  Any excuse to make a feature interesting, huh?

So what does the 2011 race at the Nürburgring hold?  It's generally not a popular circuit with drivers and fans alike; on the other hand, perhaps the new overtaking aids will push everyone's opinions in the opposite direction.  We'll just have to wait 'til Sunday to find out.

cmcb

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