(Smith)

I love pit row scenes. Its where it all used to happen before the activities and those allowed to perform them were policed. Occupational health and safety etc…

Here its Saturday practice during the 1972 Sandown Tasman Round, the Australian Grand Prix that year on 19 January. I’ve written an article about this meeting, see the link here;

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/18/my-first-race-meeting-sandown-tasman-f5000-1972-bartlett-lola-and-raquel/

Boy, there is some talent focussed in and around Max Stewart’s Mildren Waggott 2 litre.

Big Maxxie towers over the top- its his car, he raced it for Alec Mildren for several years then bought it upon Alec’s retirement from the sport and won the ’71 Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship in it. Max knows every centimetre of that liddl baby.

Up the pitrow is Stewart’s Elfin MR5 Repco. I wrote about this car a short while ago-here; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/24/maxwells-silver-hammer/

Max retired the MR5 with engine problems in the AGP the following day.

The short fella with the big arse leaning over the Mildren on the other side is Paul England, a legend. Ex-Repco Research in the Charlie Dean Maybach days, builder of the Ausca Holden Repco sportscar, Cooper T41 competitor in the 1957 German GP, multiple Australian Hillclimb Champion and proprietor of Paul England Engineering in Moonee Ponds- Dame Edna’s Melbourne home suburb of course.

I wonder who the ‘Firestone’ driver is leaning against the (unsighted) pit counter. Fourteen year old me is somehere on that pit counter at this  very moment. I’ve got my eyes on both the cars and marauding Light Car Club officials looking for prats like me who are not ‘sposed to be there.

One of the ‘works’ Elfin MR5 Repco’s with its new Tyrrell nose is blasting past on circuit in 3rd gear making a glorious fuel-injected 90 degree V8 basso-profundo bellow. Not sure if its Garrie Cooper or John McCormack.

The stocky little dude in the blue T-shirt behind Max’s MR5 rear wing is ‘Lugsy’ Adams- then a top mechanic but very soon to be a quick touring car driver, and several years after that an F5000 constructor/driver. Remember the Adams GA1 Chev? Its his driver Warwick Brown he is talking to- WB is in his formative McLaren M10B Chev F5000 days but is soon to be one of its enduring talents in both Australasia and the US.

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Tony Stewart tells the crowd how it was after winning the ’71 Examiner 1000 at Symmons Plains. I think that is his well known engine-builder and father in law Jack Godbehear alongside? (oldracephotos/Harrison)

And the fellow aboard the Mildren Waggott? Its Tony Stewart, no relation to Max…

He was a shooting star, out of Formula Vee, he funded his racing with a series of car yards in the Box Hill area of Melbourne. He progressed to an Elfin 600 Ford F2 car, notably winning a very wet Gold Star event at Symmons Plains in September 1971 ahead of a field of sodden F5000’s and ANF2 cars.

Tony had some races in Paul England’s Dolphin Ford- a BT30/36 Brabham copy and several races circa 1973/4 in an F2 Birrana 273 Ford Hart before disappearing from the scene.

He was one of those guys who had the makings of a champion, I’m intrigued to hear from any of you who know the ‘Tony Stewart Story’. He didn’t stray from the used car trade though. He established ‘Car City’ a massive emporium of competing dealers on a huge former apple orchard site on the Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. He saw the new auto retail approach on a trip to the US and applied it in Melbourne’s outer east. Bumma really, he made his money AFTER his racing stage rather than when he needed it to feed his passion most!?

Tony raced the Mildren Waggott in the all of the Australian Tasman Rounds- Surfers Paradise Q15 13th, Warwick Farm Q12 8th, Sandown Q19 12th and Adelaide Q16, non-classified. It was tough in a 2 litre car by then amongst the 5 litre heavy metal but was still valuable experience in longer races for the young driver.

The more ya look, the more you see in these pitlane shots…

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Paul England makes final adjustments to Tony Stewart’s Elfin 600 Ford before the off at Symmons- he is about to have a great day at the office! (oldracephotos/Harrison)

The 1971 Symmons Plains Gold Star ‘Examiner Trophy’ Round won by Tony Stewart on 26 September…

1971 was a bit of a transitional year between the old 2.5 litre Tasman Formula and F5000. The 5 litre beasties were quicker than the smaller cars but in a year of speed and reliability Max Stewart won the championship with one win and plenty of consistency from to Kevin Bartlett’s three victories in his McLaren M10B Chev.

The Series went down to the wire, to the last round October at Mallala, South Australia. Any of Kevin Bartlett, Max Stewart or Gold Star debutant Alan Hamilton could have taken the title, in the end Max did it with third place behind McCormack and Hamilton. KB looked the goods until engine failure intervened late in the race.

In a strange turn of events and happy circumstances for him, Tony Stewart won at a very wet Symmons Plains, the penultimate ’71 Gold Star round.

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Kevin Bartlett aboard his ex-Niel Allen McLaren M10B ‘400-02’, a very successful car in the hands of both top drivers. KB looks thoughtful- he is contemplating the challenge of 500bhp in the wet on slick tyres (oldracephotos/Harrison)

A good field of 17 cars entered for the race at the ‘Apple Isle’ but a grid of only 8 cars started as a consequence of non-appearances and accidents in practice.

John McCormack, Elfin MR5 Repco snatched pole late in the second session ahead of Alan Hamilton, McLaren M10B Chev, the similarly mounted Kevin Bartlett and on equal fourth quickest Max Stewart’s Mildren Waggott 2 litre and Colin Hyams Lola T192 Chev.

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No shortage of helpers to get Warwick Brown’s Pat Burke owned McLaren M4A Ford Cosworth FVC 1.8 to the grid. Famous car- Piers Courage’ ’68 Tasman mount, he won the final Longford round in it. Then to Niel Allen who raced it successfully before a huge Lakeside prang. Re-tubbed by Bowin in Sydney- then to Pat Burke. Left Australia many years ago, who owns it now? (oldracingcars/Harrison)

Then came Warwick Brown, McLaren M4A Ford Cosworth FVC 1.8, then Tony Stewart, Henk Woelders Elfin 600E Ford, Jack Bono and Garrie Cooper Elfin 600D Ford who did not practice. The latter three cars were all ANF2 cars- 1.6 litre Lotus/Ford twin-cams.

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Colin Hyams, Lola T192 Chev, before his warm-up off. Ex works/Gardner car purchased by the Melbourne businessman after the ’71 Tasman. He had the car repaired, after its Symmons off, in time for the final Gold Star round at Mallala in October, in which he was 4th (oldracephotos/Harrison)

The start of the race was delayed by heavy rain which had practically flooded the circuit. The weather was so poor the drivers were given a warm-up session to get used to the conditions before the off. KB spun his McLaren on the main straight on dry tyres, he had no wets. Colin Hyams also spun his Lola T192 Chev, down a slope into a clump of trees, bending the ex-Frank Gardner ’71 Tasman Series mounts chassis.

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Start of the very wet ‘Examiner 1000’, Symmons Plains: car at the rear the Cooper Elfin- no sign of Bartlett. At far right is Ross Ambrose’s Elfin 600 Ford who DNP having run bearings on the Friday but clearly started. To Ambrose left is winner Stewart’s Elfin 600 (oldracephotos/Harrison)

Eight cars started the ‘Examiner Trophy’ Gold Star round…

McCormack, Elfin MR5, Bartlett, McLaren M10B, severely hampered without wets but in search of valuable points, Max Stewart, Mildren Waggott, Tony Stewart Elfin 600 Ford, Warwick Brown McLaren M4A Ford FVC, Garrie Cooper Elfin 600D Ford, Jack Bono Elfin 600B Ford and Alan Hamilton’s McLaren. KB elected to start from the back of the grid given the 500bhp/slicks/wet track phenomena he was dealing with.

From the flag Hamilton led, Max Stewart, Brown, Tony Stewart, McCormack, Bono, Cooper with the hapless Bartlett last. Hamilton lapped KB for the first time in two laps.

The Melbourne Porsche importer/dealer drove a strong race in his new McLaren M10B Chev, the chassis was Niel Allen’s spare tub which was assembled and sold upon his retirement from the sport and used by Hamilton in his first single-seater season very effectively.

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Alan Hamilton’s McLaren M10B Chev- the Melbourne businessman jumped out the Porsche 906 Spyder and 911’s he was racing and very quickly adapted to the rigours of 5 litre cars. He came back to the class 6 years later but its a pity he didn’t stay in the category longer when he was younger and as another strong contender at a time Gold Star grids were skinny. Warwick Brown progressed to this chassis in 1972. Hamilton now owns both this car ‘400-19’ and Bartlett’s ex-Allen ‘400-02’ (oldracehotos/Harrison)

With a third of the race completed Hamilton lapped second placed Brown for the second time. Tony Stewart moved into third place as his namesake Max wrestled with a sticking throttle slide- he pitted early, went out again and nearly demolished the car with another spin. With the conditions not improving Bartlett was hamstrung by inappropriate tyres for the races duration.

On lap 38 the races drama continued with Hamilton having an off, drowning his injected Chevy in the process and losing five laps. He pitted, but was out of the running three laps later the engine soaked.

This left Warwick Brown 20 seconds ahead of Tony Stewart but the McLaren was overheating, it was losing water, ironic given the conditions. So, Tony Stewart was in the lead.

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John McCormack ahead of his Elfin teammate, Garrie Cooper. Mac’s MR5 ‘5711’ is the first MR5 completed, Coopers 600D ‘7012’ started life as his Repco ‘730/830’ V8 engined 2.5 litre 1970 Gold Star mount and was, with the ANF1 formula change, converted to an ANF2 car- he raced it in Asia in ’71 then sold it to Bruce Allison- an important stepping stone for the speedy Queenslander (oldracephotos/Harrison)

Tasmanian, John McCormack adapted steadily to the conditions and started putting on the pressure in his new Elfin MR5- a combination which proved very competitive over the following three or so years, and took 2nd place as Brown spun in the final stages, Warwick recovered quickly to fill 3rd place.

So, in a drive of speed and consistency Tony Stewart’s ANF2 Elfin 600 Ford won from McCormack’s Elfin MR5 Repco, Brown, McLaren M4A Ford Cosworth FVC, Elfin boss Garrie Cooper’s Elfin 600D ANF2, Jack Bono, Elfin 600 Ford ANF2 and Max Stewart Mildren Waggott. Max had only completed 55 of the 68 laps but the soggy one point gained won him the Gold Star!

It was the last time an ANF2 car won a Gold Star round- a splendid drive by a driver of considerable finesse in the most trying of conditions.

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Tony Stewart on the way to a speedy but lucky win, Elfin 600 chassis ‘6806’ an early build 600, I wonder who owns it now? (oldracephotos/Harrison)

Photo Credits…

Ian Smith, oldracephotos.com/Geoff Harrison

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com, Australian Motor Racing Year 1972

Tailpiece: Max Stewart in the soggy, Symmons pits…

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The famous Mildren Waggott soon to win the ’71 Gold Star, that’s Bartlett’s McLaren M10B behind (oldracephotos/Harrison)

Comments
  1. Rob says:

    Mark,

    I’m going to stick my neck out and say that this was the ONLY time that an Australian Formula 2 car won a Gold Star round.

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Rob,
      In Perth for a flying visit so limited time- I’ve a feeling Leo won one @ WF in his Lotus 32, 27 maybe circa ’65?
      Have a flick thru ORC for a couple of years will pick it up if the old memory is right.
      M

      • Martin says:

        Pretty good guess Mark, seeing as its before your time.
        I only have a vague recollection of the race so had to check ORC. Yep, Leo won the 1964 Horden Trophy at the Farm, last round of the Gold Star. Stillwell and Matich both dropped out, Greg Cusack was second in an Elfin 1500 (maybe a Catalina?), with the 2.5’s of Tresise and Davison third and fourth.
        I’m also going to stick my neck out, ….. I think this was Leo’s first start in the Lotus 32, and it was still in Geoghegan’s black livery.

        John Harvey also won a Gold Star round a few years later, in the 1500 Brabham.
        However if Rob meant in the F5000 era, don’t think there were any other wins for an F2, although Ray Winter did lead at very wet Surfers Paradise in the Mildren Mono fitted with a Twin-Cam.

        Martin

  2. prn31 says:

    Hi Mark,
    I interviewed Alan Hamilton in 2016 and he told me what happened at the wet Gold Star race at Symmons Plains; “Tony saw the blue flag being waved and he thought they for him to pass someone. He came out hit the side of the McLaren – I was 50mph faster than him – and I shot off into the puddles.”
    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Paul,
      A great insight!, I don’t think that has found its way into the race reports of the time.
      I’m a big fan of Alan Hamilton- his speed in 1971 showed he had what it took at the top level of single-seater racing, its a shame he did not have the time to commit for a couple of more seasons then when he was a bit younger than when he returned circa 1978.
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Mark

  3. Rob says:

    Mark & Martin,

    Geoghegan’s Lotus 32 was running under the Australian 1½ Litre Formula at the time of his Warwick Farm Gold Star race win in 1964, with AF2 limited to 1100cc at that time. Ditto, Harvey’s Brabham win at Mallala in 1966. The AF2 capacity limit was not increased to 1600cc until 1969 when the Australian 1½ Litre Formula was phased out. Sorry about the semantics, but having stuck my neck out I need have to try and save it.

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Ha ha!
      Consider it duly saved Rob- the devil is always in the detail!
      I’ve learnt something- I didn’t realise ANF 1.5 and ANF2 co- existed.
      A well driven 1.5 is a seriously quick little car- love to have a steer of one one day.
      And Martin’s race wins are not ones I recalled either. RCN will answer the ’32 first race’ question.
      Go well,
      Mark

  4. Rob says:

    What we have all forgotten is that the 1987 and 1988 Gold Star awards were ONLY for AF2 cars.

    Rob

  5. Ray Bell says:

    Rob, Leo Geoghegan won a ‘Gold Star’ round in the Lotus 32, the Hordern Trophy race at Warwick Farm in 1964. Glyn Scott won a Sandown Gold Star race in the 1600cc Bowin. I think there was one other.

  6. Ray Bell says:

    Apologies, I didn’t see the later entries. Yes, it’s just semantics to say they weren’t F2. The three formulae we had at the time were ANF1 – 2.5 litres; ANF1½ for 1.5 litres; ANF2 production based 1.1 litres. So the Lotus 32 was from the secondary formula even if that wasn’t titled F2.

    • markbisset says:

      I think we were all on the same page of thinking about ‘tiddlers’ which won Gold Star events.
      To Robs point about the Gold Star being awarded for F2 I had forgotten that- and want to! I think at that point we should have abandoned the award rather than ‘lower the bar’.
      A whole topic in itself is what the structure of single-seater racing in Australia should be- if Thunder 5000 or similar gets up the Gold Star will be back where it belongs in terms of status- here’s hoping but I am not expecting that miracle to happen.
      Glynn Scott’s Bowin P3- now that’s a car I would love to own! FVA powered so it is a ‘tiddler’ but really Tasman 2.5 than ‘F2’.
      Finally, did Ray Winter’s F2 ‘Sub’ lead the soggy Surfers AGP Max won (’75?) or is that wishful thinking on my part of another favourite car!?
      Thanks chaps,
      M

      • Martin says:

        Apologies Mark, for getting your hopes up!
        I’ve checked thru “The History of the Australian Grand Prix” and “Australian Competition Yearbook” and neither report mention Ray Winter leading at any point during the wet 1975 Surfers AGP.
        My previous comment is a recollection from the telecast (ABC?) of the race, and I still have an image in my fading brain-cells of the Mildren Mono in front of Max Stewart’s Lola T400 (Max had spun), However Leffler in the Bowin P8 had led from the start. Would love to find a video of the race, can’t find anything on youtube.
        The “Yellow Sub” was also one of my favourites at the time, seems it was just a wishful memory.

        Martin

      • markbisset says:

        Yes Martin,
        In my eyes The Sub and it’s drivers can do no wrong- the same applies to John Leffler mind you.
        The Bowin P8 is much maligned, it reminds me I have an 80% complete article on that car(s) I must complete. What a win that would have been, the electrics were drowned weren’t they.
        Mark

  7. Leon Sims says:

    I’m familiar with some of Jack Godbehear as he is mentioned in my book “The History of Rob Roy Hill Climb”. He competed there often in a 500cc Clubman in the 50s.

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