image

Jack Brabham dipping under brakes as he approaches ‘Pub Corner’ in his Cooper T51 Climax on the first lap of the ‘Longford Trophy’ in  March 1960, wonderful Ellis French shot…

Jack retuned to our Australian summer as the reigning World Champion, he didn’t disappoint the Tasmanian crowd winning the race from the similar MkIV T51s of Alec Mildren and Bib Stillwell.

In those pre-Tasman 2.5 formula days Australian National Formula 1 was run to Formula Libre rules, but 1960 Coopers of various models and capacities were the dominant marque. There were still sportscars amongst the single-seaters including Doug Whitford’s ex-works Maserati 300S, sold to Doug after the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park when Officine Maserati brought five Maseratis to Melbourne- thee F1 250F’s and two 300S.

The ‘Australian Motor Sports Annual Review 1960/61’ has a report of the 1960 Longford Trophy and notes with superb understatement that ‘Possibly no circuit in Australia offers so many scenic attractions and quite so large a variety of racing hazards as that at Longford in Northern Tasmania.’

The article continues ‘Although racing has been carried out at Longford for several years, it was only after the selection of the circuit for a Gold Star race in 1958 that Longford became known to Australians outside Tasmania…One of the advantages Longford holds over any other mainland circuit is full government and community support. Unlike other states where motor racing is viewed with concern for safety or as a noise disturbing nuisance and a Sabbath breaker, Tasmania views motor racing as a vital tourist attraction and as such, gives it the fullest support’.

Improvements to the track since the 1959 meeting resulted in a faster, more even surface with a softened approach to the railway crossing in Longford township.

Longford 1960 grid shot

John Ellacott shot of the front 2 rows gridded up: Brabham #4, Stillwell #6, Miller in yellow, all Cooper T51 Climaxes and Arnold Glass in the Maserati 250F, evocative!

 

Australian Tourist Trophy contenders with the J Wright Aston Martin DB3S and Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S up front with Harry Cape’s MGA Coupe and the #18 Gorringe/Watt MG Holden on grid 2 (J Barnes)

The 1960 meeting was a double-header with both the Formula Libre Longford Trophy and Australian Tourist Trophy for sportscars, won by Derek Jolly’s ex-works Lotus 15 Climax FPF 2 litre, the ATT was a great race with a big field, check out this photo heavy feature; https://primotipo.com/2018/05/17/1960-australian-tourist-trophy/

Jack Brabham’s Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.5 had been secured by the promoters and was the same chassis with which he had won the NZ GP at Ardmore in January from Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T45 and Stillwell’s T51- click here for that NZ7 GP; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/16/chief-mechanic/

Brabham had a good summer also winning The Lady Wigram Trophy, Light Car Club of Tasmania Trophy at Longford, the Repco Trophy at Phillip Island in mid-March before heading back to Europe.

Jack’s practice time of 2:38 was a second clear of Bib’s 2.2 litre T5, a welcome addition to the grid was Alec Mildren’s new Cooper T51 Maserati, the frame of the car was adapted by Mildren and mechanic Glenn Abbey to fit a four cylinder, DOHC Maser 250S sportscar engine running on methanol- the soon to be 1960 Australian Gold Star champion did 2:46. An article about this car is here; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

Longford Trophy 1960 start

Stillwell gets the jump off the line, Glass at rear, Brabham on this side (John Ellacott)

Stillwell got the jump from the start and led for the first three-quarters of a lap before Brabham passed him in his more powerful Cooper. On lap 3 Jack did a 2:34, an average of 105.19 mph and on the following tour recorded a top speed on the Flying Eighth of 157.9 mph. Brabham reduced his pace and led comfortably from Stillwell, Mildren and Arnold Glass’s ex-Hunt/Stillwell Maserati 250F.

The punch of Mildren’s Maserati engine was demonstrated when he sailed past Stillwell’s Coventry Climax engined T51 on the Flying Mile, at about the same time Bill Patterson’s 2 litre T51 passed Glass with Jon Leighton’s Cooper T45 Climax being challenged by Glynn Scott’s similar ex-Mildren machine- both of these cars were powered by 2 litre Climaxes. Towards the end of the 17 lap 45 minute 40 second race Brabham allowed Mildren to close up to within 100 yards of his car, magneto failure spoiling Patterson’s good run.

Brabham won from Mildren, Stillwell, Glass, Leighton and Scott, the Glass Maserati was the only front-engined interloper amongst the dominant mid-engined Coopers.

Glynn Scott, Cooper T43 Climax 1.7 with Jon Leighton’s Cooper T45 2 litre behind him- the red car is Ern Tadgell’s Lotus 12 Climax aka Sabakat (J Barnes)

Allen Brown’s wonderful archive ‘oldracigcars.com’ states that the car Jack drove at Longford was probably the first of two cars he used during his successful 1959 F1 season, chassis ‘F2-4-59′- he drove it in the early part of the year, it then became a spare when ’27-59’ appeared at Zandvoort.

When Jack’s Australian season ended the car was sold to Bib Stillwell who then had two Cooper T51’s to choose from, his Gold Star campaigns had started to become more serious and ultimately were very successful from 1962 to 1965- four titles on the trot in Cooper and Brabham chassis.

Brabham returned to Europe to successfully defend his world title whilst the Gold Star championship was won by Alec Mildren’s Maserati engined T51.

Brabham Cooper T51 Longford 1960

Brabham in his Cooper T51 Climax at Longford in 1960. I think the gent in braces at the rear is Jacks’ father, this chassis 1 of 2 he used in his successful 1959 GP season (oldracephotos)

Allen Brown’s wonderful archive ‘oldracingcars.com’ states that the car Jack drove at Longford was probably the first of two cars he used during his successful 1959 F1 season, chassis ‘F2-4-59′- he drove it in the early part of the year, it then became a spare when ’27-59’ appeared at Zandvoort.

When Jack’s Australian season ended the car was sold to Bib Stillwell who then had two Cooper T51’s to choose from, his Gold Star campaigns had started to become more serious and ultimately were very successful from 1962 to 1965- four titles on the trot in Cooper and Brabham chassis.

Brabham returned to Europe to successfully defend his world title whilst the Gold Star championship was won by Alec Mildren’s Maserati engined T51.

Longford scene 1960

Kevin Drages’ panoramic view of part of the Longford paddock in March 1960, looking across to Mountford corner with the Pit Straight on the right. Cars are green Derek Jollys’ Lotus XV Climax and the ‘Kenley Vincent Spl’.

Etcetera…

Brabham Longford media interview 1960

(Kevin Drage)

‘Modern media scrum’, Jack tells the press how it was post race.

JB’s British Racing Drivers Club badge proudly worn on his overalls, the car is a Humber ‘Super Snipe’, in those days British prestige cars were very popular in Australia, the Germans steadily whittled them back by the early seventies.

Bill Patterson Cooper T51 Longford 1960

(Ellis French)

Bill Patterson’s Coopers T51 by two.

Patterson went on to win the Gold Star in 1961 and soon after retired from driving but supported others for decades via his Ringwood, Melbourne, Holden dealership, click here for a feature on Patto and his many Coopers; https://primotipo.com/2017/02/02/patto-and-his-coopers/

Jack Brabham and BIb Stillwell, Longford 1960

(Kevin Drage)

Jack Brabham and Bib Stillwell swapping Cooper set-up notes…or Bib is buying Jacks car!?

Stillwell was a good Brabham customer over the years acquiring many Coopers including the car Jack drove at Longford that weekend and, later, Brabhams, both men very successful drivers and businessmen. Bib feature article here; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/20/matich-stillwell-brabhams-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1963/

Bib Stillwell Cooper T51 Climax Longford paddock 1960

(Ellis French)

Bib Stillwell’s Climax engine being fettled in the Longford paddock.

(J Barnes)

Tornado 2 Chev won the 1958 Gold Star round at Longford with Ted Gray at the wheel, but by 1960 the marvellous 283 cid Chev engined beastie was an also-ran amongst the hordes of Coopers typified by Stillwell’s T51 at right- Ted didn’t start in the Longford Trophy feature and was unclassified in the LCCT Trophy a couple of days later. The D Type Jaguar without a rear wheel is David Finch’s car- note to the left Doug Whiteford’s Maser 300S ‘Rice’ trailer.

(J Barnes)

All the fun of the fair- who can help with the bike/rider identifications?

(J Barnes)

Ron Hodgson and David McKay in their Jaguars before the touring car race- who won this encounter?

(J Barnes)

Alan Jack cruises through the Longford paddock in his ex-Patterson Cooper T39 Climax whilst in the distance you can see Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S and trailer and further still Arnold Glass’ 250F.

Sticking with the T39 theme, the Jack and Lynn Archer cars sandwich Ron Phillips’ ex-Whitehead/Jones Cooper T38 Jaguar which raced so well in the Australian Tourist Trophy.

(J Ellacott)

 

(J Barnes)

Its a pity John Barnes got the shakes because this Light Car Club of Tasmania Trophy start shot really would have been a cracker but I still like it for its atmospherics.

Red #13 is Ern Tadgell’s Sabakat or more correctly Lotus 12 Climax ‘351’ about which I have written a lot. #9 and #20 are the Patterson and Scott Coopers Types 51 and 43- the Cooper in front of Scott’s is Mildren’s Maserati engined machine. The front engined car at left is the Glass Maser 250F and yellow machine to its right is Austin Miller’s distinctive Cooper T51.

Meanwhile in the simply superb panorama below we can take in the starters stand and beach umbrella, anxious mechanics, the old tram which served as race HQ, the flags and wonderful casual, bucolic air of this wonderful part of the world.

The cars- Sabakat at left, then Gray’s Tornado and one of the Coopers at right.

(J Barnes)

 

(J Barnes)

What a great shot, probably the grid of one of the Tasmanians only events perhaps, Ellis French identifies the cars as the #12 George Tattersall, Buchanan, #14 R Ward, MGA Twin-Cam and #30 on row 2 the Mel McEwin in the Melmac Healey Spl, green car alongside the Hines #11 MG Special, red #18 is Mick Watt MG Holden Spl and #101 a Triumph TR not listed in the program.

(J Barnes)

She looks unbelievable!

I wonder what, or who it is which has captured the attention of Brabham’s crew. Who are they BTW?

Brabham Senior- Tom, and Esso’s Reg Thompson watch proceedings from the far left- look at those monster 58 DCO Webers, circa 235bhp from a 2.5 FPF tops at the time.

(J Barnes)

Photo and Reference Credits…

Ellis French, John Ellacott, oldracephotos.com, Kevin Drage, ‘Australian Motor Sports Annual 1960/61’, John Barnes

oldracingcars.com

Jack Brabham Cooper T51 Climax on the approach to Pub Corner Longford 1960

Tailpiece…

Lets finish on the same note as we started, an Ellis French shot of Brabham, this time ‘panned’ into the braking area on the entry to ‘Pub Corner’, Longford 1960…

For international readers Tasmania is a wonderful place to visit.

The scenery is stunning on all of its coasts, the mountains in the middle worth climbing, the ‘Overland Trail’ in the Cradle Mountain- Lake St Clair National Park worth walking. Hobart, a centre of culture and ‘Foodie Stuff’ is worth a stop for ‘Mona’ alone, a gallery of contemporary art and you can still see a lot of the Longford circuit, not far from Launceston, including the ‘Country Club Hotel’ with heaps of racing memorabilia.

Finito…

Comments
  1. […] Here in the paddock you can see the Leaton Motors livery of Frank’s car really clearly- that’s Aussie’s Cooper to the right and a Maserati 250F behind. Its Arnold Glass’ car, he was fourth in the Longford Trophy behind the three Cooper T51’s of Brabham, Mildren and Stillwell. A wonderful, relaxed, bucolic Longford scene. Another link, about this meeting; https://primotipo.com/2015/01/20/jack-brabham-cooper-t51-climax-pub-corner-longford-tasmania-austral… […]

Leave a Reply to Chief Mechanic… | primotipo... Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s