Full Monty in Melbourne
or; Fastest Pit Lane Changes in the World
Article is written by and copyright (c) 1999 Jeff Rose,
by Inky Black
One team arrived at the 1999 Melbourne GP with the oldest cars in the
business. Why show up, when there's not much chance to race a 1967 BRM? And
even less chance for their back-up car, a 1958 Maserati. But the BayWatch
All-Girl Pit Crew wasn't there to race... They were there to win. And the
BayWatch team, the team that usually had a wet T-shirt contest, had this time
promised the "Full Monty."
A 1967 BRM? The best this car had ever done was third at Spa with Jackie
Stewart behind the wheel. The Maserati? A forty-year old racer that Marie
Theresa de Fillipis brought in tenth at Spa in 1958. Both cars featured some
updated shock absorbers. Big Deal.
And both cars had an old Group 7 engine installed. Big Deal! It was a fuel-
injected Ford 427 cubic inch V-8 (which may not be entirely legal.) With fuel
additives (not entirely legal) the cars got a whole bunch more bhp than the
3.0 litre cars. The crew listed the engine as a Trabant V-4 so inspectors
would only find 3.5 of the seven litres (not legal.) Crayola Crayons, melted
and dripped into the combustion chambers, hid the extra half litre; and
tightened things up around the old rings. The turbocharger, clearly marked
"anti-polluting gizmo," was well-hidden under bodywork with the extra four
Everyone would agree the Pit Crew from Down South, USA had brought some
interesting racing cars. But getting these cars through inspection was going
to be tough.
First, a little sweet talk for the inspectors. And sweet talk with a
"southern twang." Recall that these girls speak good Down-South American
English. Down-South would be pronounced "Day-ow-won Say-outh" by any self-
respecting Southerner; although they would take about a minute longer to say
it than you just did.
Second for the inspectors would be a nip of moonshine. Yep, and home-made
deep in the woods from Grandpa's original recipe. Then, as the cars were
being inspected, an impromptu "Wet T-Shirt contest." The distractions might
be enough to get the cars on the course.
A wet t-shirt contest? That sounds odd, but not out of place with the
BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew. Famous had become the impromptu splashes at the
Daytona 500. And more famous, a wet t-shirt audition for the Sylvester
Stallone F1 movie.
So this "Wet T-Shirt stuff" has become legend with the BayWatch All-Girl Pit
Crew, and it's time to separate the tree from the tissue paper, so to speak.
The girls started racing in Florida near their hometown of Bountitudes Beach.
And they raced all the dusty and dirty tracks between Daytona and Charlotte.
After a hot race one hometown day, a bucket of cooling water was dumped on
BayWatch driver Cha Cha Chitwood. Pretty soon all the girls took the plunge;
because it felt good, and because the fans loved it. Mostly practical, the
impromptu splash became a great way to attract sponsors.
Now Cha Cha had a lot more personality than she had bust size. So she stuffed
some extra "marketing" into the "commercial sector." Sponsor money increased
and a legend was born. The rest of the girls were like Cha Cha, just regular
american southern racing girls. Fast in cars, slow in school, and with a lot
more personality than bust size. Although a couple of the girls needed a heck
of a lot of personality to accomplish this. For those fond of details, the
BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew used souvenir scarves from an Elvis Memorabilia
shop to stuff into their oversize brasseries.
It was all for fun. No-one cared that the girls wore racing nomex, not t-
shirts. And no-one cared that the fancy-pants BayWatch name was just glitz.
The girls biggest sponsor was still Elmer's 24-Hour Diner and Used Car
Emporium. It was a good team; the girls had talent and personality; and Elmer
When Elmer bought the team cars at a Reposession Sale he told the crew,
"You'll have to race Formula One because they're the only cars we've got."
"The good part..." he continued, "is Europe doesn't know that moonshine is a
Arriving at Melbourne with the cars, the rookie crew had to make an impact;
create as much commotion, and commote as much creation as they could. This
meant pulling out all the stops, and putting in all the scarves.
Wheeling the BRM into inspection the girls used every stunt they knew to
distract the inspectors. Even some real wet t-shirt contests with some real
pit babes. And the ruse seemed to work as the inspectors, after conferring
with the FIA, cleared the car to race. This surprised the girls a pretty good
bit; "Wowie!" they could race! But the other brake shoe was about to drop.
The FIA had a trick up their sleeve. The grid was already complete with only
22 cars allowed. No technical details here to haggle about. "Sorry girls,
there was nothing they could do."
Cha Cha went to the FIA to file an appeal. Sitting in the pits unable to
race, the other girls worried about the next step.
"Take all of our clothes off? Yuck, that's not fun." Fun is stuffing Elvis
memorabilia into an oversize brasserie. What had they been thinking when Cha
Cha said "Next race we will give 'em the Full Monty!" "Gawd," anything would
be better than doing the "Monty" in Melbourne. The girls passed the jar of
moonshine and thought "What have we done?" and "What are we about to do!"
"Ricky" Ricardo Rosset stopped in to cheer them up. He did his best Fidel
Castro wins at Monza impression... "and zee hole in zee helmet iz for zee
ceegar!" Yet the girls still worried, "Would they have to do the Full
The other crews went about their business. Pit lane went back to work. But
with a little less activity than usual. "It was quiet, too quiet." thought
Cha Cha as she walked back down pit road.
And after the quiet comes the storm. Trouble brewed in the grandstands, then
spilled into the pits. In minutes a crowd of spectators had flooded pit road
and sat down in some kind of protest. Crew chiefs looked on in wonderment.
And the FIA, just days from the start of the first race of the year, was
staring down the double-barrels of a bunch of indignant broads.
The BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew was clueless; a phrase that sounds suspiciously
familiar. They didn't know, but the crowd was on their side. The pit babes
had gone into the seats and riled fans into a protest. Now the "babes" took
their place at the front of pit lane. Arms crossed; lower lips stuck out; "No
one moves till the BayWatch Team gets to race!"
The FIA appeared, and appeared shocked. They spoke with some crew chiefs,
then stood around with their arms crossed and their lower lips stuck out. It
was a standoff; the two sides eyed each other.
It was Eddie Irvine who changed sides first and joined the protest;
arms crossed; lower lip stuck out. You know that Jackie Stewart was
not far behind. Soon all of the racing crews had filtered across the
unmarked line and were standing with their arms crossed and lower lips
stuck out. Or they were chatting up a pit babe.
The FIA chief walked over to the BayWatch pit and eyed the '67 BRM and '58
Maserati. Slowly he shook his head and winced. Each of the girls got a pat
on the back as he stepped out onto pit road. Here he examined the restless
crowd for a minute. Raising his arms, he extended two fingers on his right
hand. A peace sign? The crowd restled some more. Then three fingers on his
left. "Twenty-three." The girls were in! And the crowd applauded.
Talk about a sigh of relief; the crew didn't care about racing anymore. They
just weren't ready to "strip" in front of thousands of fans. "Strip?" said
Cha Cha, "What are you talking about?"
The crew shot back, "In Bountitudes you said we'd give 'em the 'Full Monty!'"
Cha Cha hung for a moment, then shrieked at that. "I never meant that. I
meant we'd give 'em the beef... the works!" She laughed, "I meant bring our
cars, and show 'em how fast we can go... Take our clothes off? Whattarya
So the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew came to Melbourne to win and win
they did. Not the race, no, never a chance of that. They came to win
some sponsors and some respect. And to show off a couple of famous
cars. The crowd went crazy as the BRM rocketed down the straights.
And the crowd groaned as it cornered like a greased pig on linoleum.
They qualified last, put in three racing laps, and retired to get the
heck out of the way. Being 23rd, they were off the charts and didn't
make any official standings. But we can tell you the cause for
retirement was "brake fade, bigtime."
It was Coulthard who won the race, as Hakkinen returned the favor from
last year. (If wrong, it's because we do this write-up before the
race. We hate to be late for the post-race cocktail party.) But
unlike last year it was a fine race and the teams were all pretty
close. It's going to be another great year to watch Formula One.
His other Travel and Humour Articles
can be found at Aloha from the Nervous Nineties.