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Video: the ultimate bump-start?

When a modern Formula One car conks out mid-race, there’s not a lot the driver can do to get it going again. And by ‘not a lot’, we of course mean ‘nothing whatsoever, unless he happens to have brought his laptop along for the ride’.

This was not the case back in 1956, when such machines as this rather gorgeous Maserati 250F - which was driven by such greats as Juan Manuel Fangio and Sterling Moss - filled the grid. All you needed back then were biceps the girth of an average man’s waist, and a bit of knowledge.

Like modern F1 cars, the 250F doesn’t have a key. In fact, it has no starter motor. Not even a battery. The only way to get it going is with brute force - a bump start requiring a few burly mechanics to push the car. Once it has a bit of momentum, the driver releases the clutch pedal with the car in gear. Done right, the engine should spring into life.

But historic racer Simon Diffey’s burly mechanics weren’t around to give him a helping had after he span the priceless classic at last month’s Goodwood Members’ Meeting.

So, not wanting to concede defeat, Diffey reached over and manually rotating the left-rear using nothing but sheer strength and force of will. As the car was already warm, Diffey was able to execute a one-man bump start, firing the 250F’s 2.5-litre straight six and getting back into the race.

Respect, Mr Diffey. Big respect.

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