• United States Grand Prix

Moss signs off season with big payday

ESPNF1 Staff
November 20, 1960

With the world champion and runner up already decided, the United States Grand Prix was a chance for the chasing pack to claim third place. In the end, it was Stirling Moss who blitzed the rest of the field to win in style and net himself a huge cheque for $7,500.

Ferrari decided to give the final race of the season a miss, leaving the British cars to cement their growing reputation at the Riverside circuit in California's Moreno Valley.

Moss qualified on pole, but was out-gunned by world champion Jack Brabham at the start, who took a convincing lead. On the fourth lap John Surtees spun and was hit by team-mate Jim Clark, ending both their races. Brabham, wary of running out of fuel, had over-filled his tanks and a lap later felt hot flames up his back. Fuel had gushed through a breather pipe on to the hot exhaust causing a flash fire that then extinguished itself.

Brabham pulled into the pits to investigate, but the mechanics could not diagnose the problem and sent him back out, only for it to happen again, forcing him to make a further pit stop. This allowed Moss to take the lead, which he never relinquished.

With the explosive Cooper finally fixed, Brabham battled back to take fourth place, behind Innes Ireland and Bruce McLaren. With his win, Moss snatched third place in the world championship from Ireland by just one point.

As winner of the race, it fell to Moss to cut the celebratory cake, which was in the shape of a racing car. He solemnly sliced off the left rear wheel and mischievously handed it to a distinctly unamused Colin Chapman.

It had been a notable season for the decline of front-engined cars, the rise of Lotus and the arrival of new stars Jim Clark and John Surtees. It had also been a season that had witnessed terrible tragedy at Spa.

Through it all, wily Australian Jack Brabham and the Cooper Car Company prevailed once again to take the world title in style.

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