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Jackie Stewart sets up his Brabham BT11A for ‘Castrol Corner’ the right hander leading onto Surfers main straight…Holdens in the background and his Climax engine puffing oil before his retirement due to oil loss…(John Stanley)

Jackie Stewart in the ‘Scuderia Veloce’ Brabham BT11A Climax ‘Tasman Formula’ car during the Surfers Paradise ‘Gold Star’ Australian Drivers Championship Round on 14 August 1966…

Jackie squeezed in a visit to Australia to drive in both this event and the ‘Surfers 12 Hour’ a week later in between the German and Italian Grands Prix on 7th August and 4 September respectively.

The visit was a welcome respite from the World Championship that year, Jack Brabham dominating in his Repco engined Brabham BT19, with BRM for whom Stewart drove, struggling with their new uncompetitive, complex and heavy P83 ‘H16’.

Jackie won the Monaco Grand Prix in a ‘Tasman Spec’ BRM P261, his 1.5 litre F1 car squeezed to about 2.1 litres, well short of the 3 Litre capacity limit which applied in Grand Prix racing from that year, the nimble car producing the goods on this tight circuit.

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Stewart wins the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix in the BRM P261 1.5 litre F1 car bored to circa 2.1 litres. This was the first Championship race of the new 3 litre F1, the first 4 cars all ‘big bore’ 1.5’s…no 3 litres finishing the race (Unattributed)

In the Belgian Grand Prix three weeks later he experienced an horrific accident on the first lap of the race at Spa, conditions having changed from wet to torrential conditions on this long track, leaving the circuit at high speed on the Masta Kink. He was trapped upside down in the car, the monocoque twisted around him covered with fuel with a broken shoulder, cracker rib and internal bruising, whilst Graham Hill and Bob Bondurant who had also crashed freed him with tools borrowed from spectators …And from that moment starting Stewart on the crusade for driver, car and circuit safety which are amongst his many racing legacies.

No doubt Jackie was looking forward to some racing and the recuperative powers of the Gold Coast sun and surf.

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The rooted monocoque of Stewarts’ BRM P261 after the Masta Kink shunt. The shot clearly shows how the chassis twisted around his body trapping him…he was extremely lucky not to have been killed outright or ‘barbecued’ in a fire, he was liberally doused with petrol, the cars fuel tanks within the monocoque ruptured…no ‘bag tanks’ in those days. 8 drivers crashed without completing a lap…4 at Burnenville, and 4 on the Masta Kink (Unattributed)

Keith Williams…

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Keith Williams at ‘Surfers Paradise Gardens’ Carrara in the mid-1960’s

Jackie enjoyed his successful championship winning 1966 Tasman Season in our summer, campaigning a BRM P261, his 1.5 litre F1 car V8 engine bored to around 2.1 litres, as outlined above, so he was happy to return to Australia to race Jack Brabham and the locals in the ‘Gold Star’ round and Sports Car enduro which comprised Keith Williams ‘Speed Week’.

Williams was a remarkable entrepreneur, he left school at 13 to help supplement the family income pumping fuel at a local ‘Servo’, formed his first business making leather products three years later and soon employed fifty people manufacturing Disney licensed products.

He was an Australian Water Skiing Champion in the late 1950’s, via that sport both making industry products and forming ‘Surfers Paradise Water Ski Shows’ together with Jack Joel.

He built Surfers Paradise and Adelaide Raceways in 1966 and 1970 respectively. Williams was a leader in the tourism industry building ‘Sea World’ on the Gold Coast in 1971 and started the development of Hamilton Island as a global tourist destination in 1978. His remarkable life ended in 2011 after a series of strokes aged 82.

The Surfers circuit was finished in early 1966, the first meeting held on 22 May. The Grand Opening though was ‘Speed Week’ in August, the great promoter holding a number of events over ten days including two weekends of circuit racing described in this article, drag racing, Concours D’ Elegance, motor cycle racing and a speedboat racing event on the nearby Gold Coast Broadwater.

Surfers immediately became a drivers and crowd favourite, its fast flowing nature a challenge for drivers and their machines, the circuit facilities and viewing mounds providing a world class amenity at the time to we ‘punters’.

My only visit was as a spectator on a family holiday, i convinced my dad to deposit me at the circuit for the day of the ‘Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy’ meeting in September 1973, the feature event a round of the ‘Gold Star’, the Australian Drivers Championship, contested by F5000 cars.

The sight and sound of these fabulous cars bellowing through the fast right hander under the Dunlop Bridge, a true test of ‘gonad dimensions’, ‘flat knacker’ at 7500RPM in fifth, unmuffled Chev and Repco V8’s roaring away into the distance, was truly a sight and sound to behold and feel!

Frank Matich was running away with the race in his brand new Matich A52, until the ‘flat plane crank’ experimental Repco V8 ‘shook the shitter’ out of the Varley battery, no spark, no go. John McCormack won the race in his Elfin MR5 and the Gold Star that year, the inherently dangerous nature of the track clear to anyone seeing Warwick Brown hobbling around on crutches that day. Brown joining the ‘Lola Limpers Club’ having comprehensively destroyed his T3oo and his legs in the Surfers Tasman meeting earlier in the year.

But wow! What a circuit it was!

Williams sold it in 1984, the circuit closed in 1987 and is now part of the ‘Emerald Lakes’ canal estate, like so many of our circuits given over to advancing urban encroachment, but that was a long way away in 1966.

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Gold Star Meeting…

Jackie had some idea about the local talent from his very successful Tasman Tour early in the year, he won the series in his P261 BRM, taking four wins, but probably got more than he bargained for.

Kevin Bartlett had stepped up since the Tasman Series from the Mildren Teams 1.5, to 2.5 litre Brabham, Spencer Martin also racing a Brabham BT11A for Bob Jane.

Brabham was there, in BT19 the chassis which carried him to victory in that years World Championship, fresh from his German GP win a week before, the car still fitted with its 3 litre ‘620 Series’ Repco V8.

Leo Geoghegan and Greg Cusack were entered in ex-Clark Lotus 39 and Lotus 32B respectively. Both these cars also Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 litre four cylinder engines.

Jack Brabham Brabham BT19 Repco, Surfers Paradise 1966

In the middle of his successful 1966 F1 campaign, Jack brought BT19 to Oz for the opening of Surfers Paradise…Repco wanted the car there but all the same i expect Wlliams paid handsomely for Brabhams’ presence! Here surrounded by admirers in the Surfers paddock (Unattributed)

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Jack here fettling his Brabham’s Repco ‘620’, rotor button the cause of his DNF. (Unattributed)

Ray Bell, ‘Racing Car News’ magazine reporter at the time recalled the meeting on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’…

‘Jack had pole, from KB, JYS and Spencer Martin. KB lead the way, this to be the drive that made everybody sit up and take notice, he’d not been long in 2.5’s and was leading a Grand Prix Winner and pretender to the World Championsip throne. Brabham managed a lap and a half before the rotor button went and he dropped out…Stewart hounded KB for five laps before outbraking him at Lukey…Bartlett finishing two-tenths behind the Scot ‘ (in an identical car)

‘With KB on pole for the main event , Stewart had something fail in the clutch mechanism and dragged away badly…Martin got the jump, leading KB for seven laps before Bartlett went past into Lukey, Stewart looming in a comeback drive all the while.

On lap fourteen they set a new lap record of 1:13:0, a few laps later JYS passing KB under the bridge…KB coming back at the clutchless Brabham…there was more passing and re-passing until the magneto in Bartletts car failed. Stewart blew his engine giving Martin the win having shaken off Leo Geoghegan to do so’.

If there was any doubt, Kevin Bartlett ‘arrived’ as a Top-Liner that day…serving it up to a Grand Prix winner in absolutely equal cars.

Kevin Bartlett recalled recently…’The dices that weekend live in my mind forever. I knew him well before that meeting, his SV Brabham was the equal of mine. We both knew the cars capabilities, the dice was not out of the ordinary as far as we were concerned, the cars were very close but we gave one another room but if you got the line you would slipstream past. We respected each others abilities, we both DNFd the feature race but laughed about it later. He had no ego.’

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Kevin Bartlett shown in the Mildren Brabham BT11A in the ‘Lakeside 99’ Tasman round, February 1967. He placed fifth in a race won by Clarks Lotus 33 Climax. (autopics)

Surfers Paradise 12 Hour…

Stewart returned from the beach for the second weekend of Williams ‘double header’ to drive the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM with Kiwi Andy Buchanan, I wrote about this car a while back….https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

The entry also included a Ford GT40 for Frank Matich and Peter Sutcliffe, another LM for Jackie Epstein and Aussie International Paul Hawkins, David Piper and  future LeMans winner Richard Attwood raced Pipers’ ex-works Ferrari P2.

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Peter Sutcliffes’ Ford GT40 ahead of the Jackie Epstein/ Paul Hawkins Ferrari 250LM (autopics.com)

Given our paucity of top-line sports cars in Australia of this type, the grid was bolstered by sprint sports cars such as Lotus 23’s, production sports cars and touring cars…including a Mini Moke entered by later Touring Car Ace ‘Bo’ Seton and Charlie Smith, the closing speed of Stewarts LM and the like would have been well over 80MPH!, the Moke having little power and the aerodynamic efficiency of a ‘dunny-door’.

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Jackie Stewarts Ferrari 250 LM blasts past the Charlie Smith/ Bo Seton Mini Moke, the Fazz did 493 laps to win, the Moke 311…lapped just a few times. Speed differentials an issue not just at Le Mans! (autopics.com)

The chequered flag was shown to the Matich GT40, but Scuderia Veloce boss David McKay successfully protested the result giving the win to the Stewart/Buchanan LM. It was not the first time a major event in Australia was clouded by lap-scoring disputes these things not uncommon in those far off, pre-digital days!

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The winning Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM ‘6321’driven by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan, the car winning the race in 1966/67/68 (autopics.com)

Kevin Bartlett and Doug Chivas finished third in the Alec Mildren racing Alfa Roneo Tz2, Kevin Bartlett again recalls…

‘The 12 Hour was tough going for a little 1600, but Doug was on top of his game, a helluva driver who was kind to the car and did the times. It was a tactical race for us, Alec had worked out a plan and the times we needed to do, which we did consistently. I drove a TZ1 years later at an AGP support event but the TZ2 was areodynamically better, it was quicker in a straight line and had a better track and wheelbase which got it out of corners better. The TZ1 handling was not as good, the tyre and wheel package wasn’t as good.’

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Andy Buchanan, Jackie Stewart, dignitary, Frank Matich, Peter Sutcliffe, Kevin Bartlett, Doug Chivas. Matich and Sutcliffe happy at this stage but tears were not far away! KB and Chivas piloted the third place Mildren Team Alfa TZ2 (Kevin Bartlett)

Etcetera…

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Bartlett/Chivas Alfa TZ2, ahead of the John Harvey/ Frank Demuth Lotus 23 and the Cooper T49 Monaco Olds of Tony Osborne/Murray Carter/Ray Gibbs (autopics)

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David Piper/Richard Attwood Ferrari P2 (autopics.com.au)

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Peter Sutcliffes’ Ford GT40 was a customer car owned by Sutcliffe, co-driven by Frank Matich, at the time the outstanding sports car driver in Australia, make that one of the the most outstanding drivers in Australia, his competitiveness in open-wheelers proven in the Tasman Series until he (sadly!) went down the sports car path, finally again seeing the light in the days of F5000…(autopics)

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Early pitstop for the Piper/Attwood Ferrari P2, only 45 laps completed (autopics)

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Photo and Other Credits…

autopics.com.au, John Stanley Collection

Many thanks to Kevin Bartlett for sharing his recollections of both events

Finito…

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Comments
  1. […] Jackie Stewart contested the above, Surfers’ Gold Star 1966 race, this article may be of interest to some in his ‘one-off’ Brabham BT11A Climax drive…https://primotipo.com/2015/02/13/jackie-stewart-at-surfers-paradise-speed-week-1966-brabham-bt11a-cli… […]

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