My first visit to the Indianapolis 500 was back in 1981, when Bobby Unser, then 47 years old, won the race for the third time. It must be said that his victory was a contentious one, Unser being accused of passing several cars 'under yellow' as he rejoined the track after a pitstop, and the following day he was given a 'one-place' penalty.
That morning I was on a flight to New York when the pilot, learning of the United States Auto Club's decision, immediately decided to share it with his passengers. "So therefore, ladies and gentlemen," he concluded, "the winner of the Indy 500 is... Mario Andretti!"
I can still hear the whoop of delight through the cabin, and the following weekend, in Monaco, Andretti - congratulated by one and all - was still understandably high on it. Months later, though, after a protest by Unser's Penske team, USAC - somewhat curiously - reversed its decision, and 36 years on Mario is still sore about it.