Brabham’s ‘Repco Special’ Speedway Midget…

Posted: July 9, 2018 in F1, Rodways Repco Recollections
Tags: , , , , ,

(N Tait)

Jack Brabham and his ‘Repco Special’, Hay Street, Subiaco, Perth 1962…

With a bit of detective work from West Australians Ken Devine and Billy Hughes this photo from Nigel Tait’s Collection, which was originally thought to be of Jack Brabham in Sydney appears to have been taken during Jack’s 1962 trip to Perth for the Caversham Australian Grand Prix, won by Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T62 Climax. Click here for an article about that meeting;

The speedway midget is ‘definitely Bill Kirkham’s WA7 Repco Special driven by Laurie Stevens…looks like Jack sitting in the car and shaking the proprietors hand’ Billy Hughes wrote. ‘Kayes’ was a Repco aligned engine reconditioner in Hay Street Subiaco, an inner Perth suburb. Clearly Kayes owner Kirkham had enough ‘pull’ to entice Jack back into the cockpit of a speedway car from whence he came!

Jack’s very first race, a speedway event was at Cumberland Oval, Parramatta on 5 December 1947, click on this ‘Loose Fillings’ link to an interesting Terry Wright article on these formative, successful Brabham racing steps/successes;


Nigel Tait Collection,

Tailpiece: Brabham, 22 years old, receives the Australian Championship tray at Kilburn Speedway, Adelaide, 25 February 1949…




  1. Ken Devine says:

    Mark that’s a coincidence we had a Kayes Engineers here in Subiaco who were also Repco agents and ran a Repco Holden engined speedcar for Laurie Stevens.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Ken,
      Perhaps they were a national outfit- I’ve done simple Google searches but not found anything about them so far. I didn’t mean to put the article up, I was trying to save it, lost focus and hit the upload button instead of save- two articles within 24 hours!

  2. Billy Hughes says:

    That photo was probably taken in 1962 at Kayes Eng in subiaco..Jack was in town for the 1962 AGP at Caversham……Kayes were Repco agents..W.A.7..Laurie Stevens midget.

    • markbisset says:

      Cheers Billy,
      I missed Ken’s point earlier, so it’s not Jack at all but rather Laurie Stevens? Just moved a business from Rokeby Road recently to St Georges Tce- where in Subi was Kayes?

  3. Ken Devine says:

    Hi Mark. they were in Hay St but they left there many years ago. That car may not have been Laurie’s as his no was 7+ and had a very distingtive exaust system. I will make some inquiries with the historic speedway people and obtain a photo of his car. Ken

    • markbisset says:

      Hay Street much more gentrified these days- i’ve not been over since early Feb and that was a quick trip. Hope to be over later in the month or early August, will email you when I know to see if we can catch up. Intrigued to know the answer to this mystery- Nigel is usually spot on with his photos- it could be Jack but the photo is not shard enough to really tell. I did a quick Google- am sure you are both right on the car- just a question as to who is sitting in it!

  4. Billy Hughes says:

    Definately Bill Kirkhams car WA7 repco special driven by Laurie Stevens..Exhaust is on the left hand side and you can see the unique rear bumper – cradle around the tail…Looks like Jack sitting the car shaking the proprietors hand…This car later had a more sleek front end from the windscreen forward…Cheers.

  5. Lynn Kirkham, son of Bill Kirkham, died recently and a friend (Gary Russell Brown) sent me a photo of the 7+ car. You can see this here: Lynn coached UWA mechanical engineering students who went on to bring home the outright winner’s trophy from the 2008 SAE Motorsport international competition, after gaining numerous prizes in earlier competitions.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks James,
      Gary has been in touch, when I get his material I will update the piece to include the material you have- wonderful the way the internet works even with an article published a while back!

  6. Gary Russell-Brown says:

    As a close friend of Bill Kirkhams son,(Lynn) I was close to this car. I can add a bit of history including photos of both 7 and 7+ and other Claremont Speedway photos of the period in question if you are interested.


  7. Gary Russell-Brown says:

    I await your response.

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