David Mist wasn’t a motor racing photographer but he took some interesting shots on assignments allocated to him by the advertising agency USP Benson…

The client on this occasion was Shell, the ‘talent’ the Scuderia Veloce racing team owned and operated by David McKay and perhaps the Warwick Farm circuit itself. Mist’s gigs incuded the ’63 and ’67 AGP weekends, ‘the 1965 Shell Racing Series Scuderia Veloce Racing Team’ and a meeting at Catalina Park, Katoomba. Click here for a link to an article which includes background on SV; https://primotipo.com/2017/01/04/scuds/

Its David McKay on the grid, above, with driver Greg Cusack and Greg’s Elfin Catalina Ford FJ circa 1964. It won the 1964 Australian Formula 2 Championship, at Lowood, Queensland, chassis ‘6310’ is now owned by the National Motor Racing Museum.

Cusack came through the world of rallying and burst onto the racing scene with speed in a Lotus 23, an Elfin Mallala sportscar, the Catalina above and then into a Brabham BT6 Ford. During this time he progressively built a significant automotive retailing business, a Ford dealership in Canberra. Perhaps this dual focus of business and racing mitigated against ultimate motor racing success but he rose right through the ranks to race McKay’s Brabham BT23A Repco Tasman 2.5 Formula car.

Interestingly this very chassis, Jack’s 1967 Tasman weapon- ‘BT23A-1’ has recently been acquired by the National Automobile Museum, which is good and bad! Good in that it stays in Australia, bad in that it now becomes a static museum exhibit rather than occasionally raced as it has been by Peter Simms for the last 30 years.

The Tasman meetings attracted enormous crowds, here the crush is around Graham Hill’s Lotus in 1967.

Sticking with Graham, here he is no doubt leaning against his courtesy car for the weekend. Its a big Datsun/Nissan Cedric, I wonder what GH thought of it? I wrote an article about the Prince/Nissan R380 racer a short while ago which tangentially talks about the rise and rise of the Japanese manufacturers in Australia in the sixties. Click here to read it;

https://primotipo.com/2017/12/08/prince-datsun-make-that-nissan-r380/

The popularity of touring car racing in Australia began in the fifties and has exploded exponentially since. Sadly. Sadly in that the ascension has been at the expense of the purer forms of the sport- single seaters and sports-racing cars. Still, the market has spoken and we enthusiasts of the Real McKoy have to suck it up and remember the glory days of the fifties to seventies, and even then other than at Tasman time, grids could be pretty shitful in quantity if not in quality.

One of the touring car greats as a racer, personality and crowd pleaser was Norm Beechey, winner of the 1965 and 1970 ATCC in Ford Mustang and Holden Monaro 350 respectively, here aboard his Chev Impala in 1963.

He was a member of the SV squad at the time, winning the NSW Touring Car Championship in this car on the ultra tight, Catalina Park circuit. McKay is alongside the car together, I think with Claude Morton, Norm’s mechanic. David is in driving gear so he’s not quite retired. I’m guessing this as the 1963 Australian GP weekend in February, McKay finished a splendid 4th in his Brabham BT4 Climax in that race behind Brabham, Surtees and McLaren.

Who is the spinner below though?

Its a Brabham BT2 or BT6 Ford I think, our friend has lost the back of the car turning into the right-hander on the entry to the Farms pit-straight. Its probably an SV sponsored car so guessing the BT6’s of either David Walker or Greg Cusack, year circa 1963/4. The other car, dunno. Keen to hear from those with a theory or answer…

Photo Credits…

All shots by David Mist

Comments
  1. Rob says:

    Mark,

    It would seem that the title won by Greg Cusack in the SV Elfin was the 1964 Australian Formula II Championship rather than the 1964 Australian Formula 1.5 Championship. According to Australian Motor Sports, October 1964, Cusack won the Australian 1½ Litre Championship at Warwick Farm in an SV Repco Brabham. July 1964 Australian Autosportsman has Cusack winning the 1964 Australian Formula II Championship at Lowood in an SV Elfin FJ.

    Cheers,

    Rob

  2. Bill Hollingsworth says:

    I have never understood the animosity towards touring cars. The improved production and series production classes created more enthusiasts than any other classes in the history of Australian motor racing. The only class to rival it were the formula 5000s. People do like a spectacle they can relate to. Popularity is not a crime.

    • markbisset says:

      Cheers Bill,
      The market has spoken in Australia for fifty years- Touring Cars of whatever ilk are what the majority of Australians like.
      I’m not interested in them and in the main don’t write about them- every now and again a taxi topic grabs my attention and I knock something out.
      We are all race fans but we all have our preferences, in my case it’s single-seaters and sports-racers.
      Hopefully Thunder 5000 will get up, but it won’t because it’s not what the V8 Supercar mob want, miracles happen tho…
      Mark

      • Bill Hollingsworth says:

        It is a shame that the Thunder mob have created yet another class. I watched the F5000s last weekend at Mallala and wondered why there is not an Australia/NZ series with them. Plenty exist, the whole car can be built with reproduction parts and they get the crowd on their feet. Why on earth the Thunder mob chose the Coyote motor is beyond me which makes it just another one make series. Stick with the original and the best, it’s not rocket science.

      • markbisset says:

        Bill,
        I’ve written but not yet published an article about the structure of single-seater racing in Australia but my lawyer tells me the Formula 4 related bits I’ve written are defamatory to the CAMS President/Board so I sorta lost interest in the topic,can’t be bothered toning it down.
        I’m certain we simply cannot support a spectacular, costly category like Thunder 5000 in the same way that we couldn’t support F5000- the Tasman races were great but the Gold Star fields skinny- back in the 70’s.
        Thunder 5000 would work if the V8 Supercar mob wanted it as part of their bill and ‘funded it’ in terms of running some cars but why would they?
        I love Historic 5000 but it is just that- old F5000’s driven in the main by talented amateurs in their 50’s (Tweedie, Berryman and a couple of others excluded), it’s not an elite contemporary category driven by the best young elite, or elite aspirant drivers, which is of course the plan for Thunder 5000…
        Mark

  3. denislupton says:

    I think that’s Gavin Youl in the MRD , Warwick Farm 4-2-62, Can send verifying photos if needed,
    Or ring 03 93310560.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Denis,
      That all makes sense- I wrote about that car a while back, as you may have seen. Would love to talk to you sometime about ‘all things Brabham’, your own exploits and Ian Cook! However, I have made promises to way too many people on too many topics @ present!
      Thanks for your interest and response.
      Mark

  4. Terry Sullivan says:

    I’m inclined to believe it is Gavin Youl as no one else comes to m8nd from that period.

    The other car #5 is Les Howard in the Nota BMC.

  5. Barry says:

    Just a correction re. the BT23a now in the national museum. The car was restored and owned by Peter Simms not Brian.

  6. Ray Bell says:

    Mark, it’s all too short…

    One thing which stands out to me is that you mention Cusack building a successful Ford dealership in Canberra. It’s true that he had that success, but it was a successful VW dealership (he rallied VWs) before Ford crossed his palm to change camps. This was at the same time as Ford similarly enticed Bib Stillwell to change from Holden to Ford.

    It’s interesting that Cusack won the ANF2 title in 1964 in that Elfin. For that one race, Leo Geoghegan fitted an 1100cc engine to his Lotus 27 and should have been pretty unbeatable at Lowood. He had it pretty much in the bag before some kind of fuel starvation set in. In the meantime, Greg was driving the wheels off the drum-braked Elfin, a car he truly loved driving.

    Later in the year, of course, he won the ANF1½ title at Warwick Farm after Leo biffed the fence in practice in the 27 and became a non-starter. In 1965 he became the class of the field in ANF1½ racing and everyone who was there remembers the day he took the lap record at Warwick Farm down to two seconds better than anyone else could do in chasing down Stillwell and Geoghegan.

    Oh, and the first pic, it’s Bob Atkin to the left of the car. Mechanic, driver and entrant in the one shot.

    And the Beechey shot, that would be Catalina Park, wouldn’t it?

    • markbisset says:

      Ha-ha, it’s my mid-week quickie but you have fleshed it out beautifully!
      All those small-bore Elfins were forgiving chuckable things weren’t they- Mk1 Mono the only ‘tricky’ one ‘praps?
      I reckon Bib swapped to Ford circa 1965, his dealership site in Kew (buildings still there as part of Trinity Grammar School) is close to where my mum still lives, and where I am sitting now actually.
      I’ve thought about doing a feature on Cusack but don’t know enough about him to tackle it- if you ever felt so disposed?!
      You may well be right re Catalina, I don’t have your frame of reference, I’ve used the captions I found but they are often incorrect.
      Go well,
      Mark

  7. Bill Hollingsworth says:

    The Thunder mob will be like formula Brabham where a class is created that leads nowhere so the young talented drivers will rightly see it as a cul de sac. The F5000 racing in NZ has large fields of great racers. F5000 was the longest running top formula in Australia. There is at least one major historic race meet in every Australian state each year so the calendar is there. The muscle car masters in Tassy only had ten entries this year.

  8. Ray Bell says:

    Beechey never raced the Chev at Warwick Farm, but he did at Catalina. Nor did he ever race the Lukey Galaxie at the Farm, but Davo did.

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