A motor racing mantle was passed on - but don't tell Damon Hill that. At the age of 41, Britain's Nigel Mansell won a Grand Prix for the last time. Returning to Adelaide, the scene of his disaster in 1986 ( October 26), he started on pole and won the Australian Grand Prix for the only time at the eighth attempt. It was his 31st race win in Formula One, the most by any British driver. But his mantle didn't pass on to Hill, who started the race only one point off the top of the drivers' table, thanks to the 30 he picked up when Michael Schumacher was disqualified from three races because his Benetton had an undersized skidblock in Belgium. During today's showdown, Schumacher seemed to have learned a trick from Senna and Prost, who'd shunted each other around to trade world titles in the past. On Lap 36, Schumacher was in the lead with Hill in his mirrors when he locked his brakes into a turn, crossed the run-off area, bounced back off a wall onto the track, then moved across when Hill tried to overtake. The collision put Schumacher out of the race - but it also broke the wishbone (appropriately enough) on Hill's Williams and forced him out at the next pit stop. When Schumacher pulled a similar stunt in 1997 ( October 26), he lost all his points for the season. But today he was given the benefit of the doubt, confirmed as world champion for the first time by a single point. He beat Hill into second place again the following year ( October 22), while our Damon had to wait until the one after ( October 13).
Rugby league's first World Cup final wasn't a final as such. The inaugural tournament was run on a league basis, with only four countries taking part. But when Great Britain drew 13-13 with their French hosts in Toulouse, a play-off was arranged at the Parc des Princes in Paris. In that drawn match, quality winger Raymond Contrastin had scored two tries, while Gordon Brown and Gerry Helme scored one each for GB. Contrastin scored another one today, but Brown and Helme scored three between them as well as completely bossing the midfield. France's big star was their full-back and captain Aubert Puig, who was generally known as Puig-Aubert or by his nickname 'Pipette'. He opened the scoring with a superb penalty from 45 yards, but Britain dominated the first half. David Rose scored a try in the corner and Brown another one with a 'brilliant burst' onto Helme's neat pass. Puig-Aubert's second goal reduced France's deficit to four points at half-time, and Vincent Cantoni's converted try put them ahead early in the second half. But they kept the lead for only a minute before Helme scored between the posts, then Brown got his second. Contrastin's try with 18 minutes left made the final score 16-12, but GB were unlucky not to win by more: Jimmy Ledgard appeared to have kicked a penalty, but the touch judge disagreed - and all-action man of the match Don Robinson had a try disallowed by the British referee. GB regained the Cup in 1960 ( October 8). France have never won it.
A good start for the Robinsons as rugby world champions England beat Canada 70-0 at Twickenham. Former international flanker Andy Robinson made his debut as national coach, and Billy Whizz full-back Jason Robinson scored a hat-trick of tries in his first match as England captain. He was the first former rugby league convert and first mixed-race player to captain the national team. Winger Mark Cueto (two) and substitute Hugh Vyvyan scored tries on their debuts, while Dave Moonlight made his debut for Canada. Andy Robinson's honeymoon continued in the next match against South Africa ( November 20), but that was as good as it got. England won only twice in the 2005 Six Nations and lost 13 of Robinson's 22 matches in charge. He made his debut as Scotland's national coach in 2009 ( November 14).
While England were thrashing Canada, the Scots were having an even easier time against Japan. They hit the ton for the first and only time, winning 100-8 in Perth. Their 15 tries were shared by 11 players, including Chris Paterson, who also kicked 11 conversions and a penalty goal for a personal total of 40 points, just short of the Scotland record ( May 26 1995).
In Dublin, Ireland were taking on far more serious opposition - and beating it. Ronan O'Gara scored all their points in a 17-12 win over South Africa: three penalties and a drop goal as well as the game's only try.
And Australia lost France 27-14 at the Stade de France after trailing only 12-11 at half-time. France outscored them two tries to one, and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde kicked five penalty goals.
Not a favourite date in Evander Holyfield's diary. He lost three title fights today.
In 2004, when he was 42, he was heavily outpointed by Larry Donald in a bout for a vacant North American heavyweight title. His two other defeats were for bigger prizes.
In 1992, Holyfield defended the undisputed title (WBA, WBC, IBF) against Riddick Bowe. It was always going to be a tough ask. Holyfield had a wonderful heavyweight career for someone who was essentially a blown-up cruiserweight (world champion 1986-88). Tonight he came in at only 14 stone 9, thirty pounds lighter than Bowe, who was also three inches taller, nearly five years younger, and unbeaten in 31 pro fights. No great surprise that he spent the whole fight beating Holyfield up. But Bowe had a tendency to flag at the end of every round, and if Holyfield had had the punching power of a natural heavyweight...The 10th round said it all. Shaky after the ninth, Holyfield was battered for the first two minutes but hung in there waiting for Bowe to punch himself out, then came back at him. He did the same in the last two rounds, but Bowe knocked him down in the 11th and won easily winner on points.
Still, it was typical of Holyfield to come back stronger. The following year, he regained two of the titles by inflicting Bowe's only defeat as a professional ( November 6). And in 1999 he went to Las Vegas to re-unify the major titles. Holyfield was world champion according to the WBA and IBF, Lennox Lewis the WBC. They'd fought a draw for all three belts in March. Now the vacant IBO title was added to the mix - while the IBF took theirs away. They withdrew their sanction only minutes before the bout and only days after recent charges of accepting bribes to favour certain boxers ( November 4). Strange timing, weird sense of priorities. The fight itself was tight but unsatisfactory. Holyfield fought with more intensity than in their first meeting, but Lewis showed enough flashes of skill to win on points - without dominating an opponent who was older and worn out by so many hard fights in the past. Even ones he won.
In the less flashy surroundings of Hull, near his home town of Scarborough, Paul Ingle won the IBF featherweight title. In his previous fight, he'd lost an attempt on Naseem Hamed's WBO title ( April 10). Now he fought a war with Manuel Medina of Mexico, knocking him down twice in the second round and once in the tenth on his way to a unanimous points decision. Ingle's career ended the following year, following a brain operation after a fight on December 16.
Two 11-year-old girls played a tennis rally which lasted longer than some entire matches. In the Anaheim Junior Championships in California, Cari Hagey took more than five hours to beat Colette Kavanagh 2-6 6-4 6-2. The opening point of the second set took an estimated 1,029 strokes spread over more than 51 minutes. No other rally on record lasted this long, though there was one which involved more hits ( June 23, 1981).
When winger Chester Williams helped South Africa win the rugby union World Cup, he was the only black player in the squad ( Jun0 10, 1995). Two years before that, he scored a try on his debut as the Springboks beat Argentina 52-23 in Buenos Aires. Another new cap, full-back Gavin Johnson, scored 22 points.
German boxer Jürgen Brähmer won a world title without fighting a fight. When Hungary's Zsolt Erdei gave up the WBO light-heavyweight belt after nearly six years, he won the WBC cruiserweight title eight days after. Brähmer was declared his successor and kept the gift with a unanimous decision over his first challenger.