(P Maslen)

Paul Hawkins appears reasonably fleet of foot, first dude on the left…

And so he should too- the Australian international had far more experience than the locals at Le Mans run and jump starts. What great panoramic, colourful, atmospheric photographs these are.

The first few cars lined up in the 3 September 1967 twelve hour enduro are the Hawkins/Jackie Epstein Lola Mk3 Chev, Alan Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906, Bill Brown/Greg Cusack Ferrari 250LM, Bill Gates/Jim Bertram Lotus Elan and then the white Kevin Bartlett/Doug Chivas Alfa Romeo GTA.

Whilst Paul was quick to the car, the task of affixing his Willans six-pointer was tricky when getting his Heavy Chevy started even in the calmness of a paddock, let alone with a schrieking 2 litre Porsche flat-6 blasting past and reinforcing his tardiness. Not that the notion of outrunning the Porsche over twelve hours should have been an issue- the Gates Lotus is also fast away whilst at far right is the red John Keran Volvo P1800S.

(P Maslen)

 

Hamilton from Hawkins, 5 litres of Chev V8 is hard to deny!, end of lap 1, he will grab the lead before the fast right hand swoop under Dunlop Bridge (P Maslen)

The last Le Mans 24 Hours with a running start was the 1969 event when Jacky Ickx famously walked to his John Wyer Ford GT40 before carefully fitting his belt- and winning the following day with Jackie Oliver.

The tragic irony of Ickx’ protest was that the ‘unbelted’ John Woolfe died in his Porsche 917 in a first lap accident- safety and seatbelts were the end of that bit of racing spectacle, fair enough too.

Lone ranger, Ickx, Le Mans 1969 (unattributed)

David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce 250LM was almost ‘rusted to this race’. It was never the fastest thing entered but it won in 1966- crewed by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan, in 1967 with McKay’s regular team drivers of the day, Bill Brown and Greg Cusack at the wheel and in 1968 piloted by the brothers Geoghegan- Leo and Pete.

In second place behind the Brown/Cusack 250LM in 1967 was the Lola with 468 laps and third the Hamilton/Scott Porsche 906 with 460- the winners covered 490 laps of reliable, fast Ferrari motoring.

Surfers Paradise International Raceway was opened in 1966 with a bang- ‘Speed Week’ well and truly put Keith William’s circuit on the map in terms of both the motor racing community and the Queensland populace.

I wrote an article about that meeting a while back, check it out here; https://primotipo.com/2015/02/13/jackie-stewart-at-surfers-paradise-speed-week-1966-brabham-bt11a-climax-and-ferrari-250lm/

‘Speed Week’ in 1967 included the Gold Star race won by Spencer Martin from Paul Bolton, both aboard Brabham Climax’ the Sunday before, the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Saturday 2 September and the Rothmans 12 Hour the following day- the race started at 10am, Des White’s ‘Racing Car News’ account of the race sets the scene, ‘Sunday dawned just perfect, sunshine, a cool breeze, and the circuit looked great after a massive clean up following Saturday’s AGP for Motor Cycles’.

‘The garbage trucks removed the rubbish, several ambulances had removed all the leather clad bodies that had been lying around under Dunlop Bridge, and some six police cars had removed many of the exuberant but unfriendly Ned Kelly types from Repco Hill.’ This article is for the most part a truncated variant of Des’ great work in the September 1967 issue of ‘Racing Car News’.

Thirty-seven cars entered the meeting with a somewhat disappointing nineteen fronting for practice- notable absentees were Australia’s large population of Lotus 23’s and local clones thereof, the three Elfin 400’s of Bob Jane, Noel Hurd and Niel Allen. Frank Matich was taking in some Can-Am rounds in his Matich SR3 Repco at the time- all of the cars mentioned were/are ‘sprinters’ rather than purpose built endurance machines so perhaps the lessons of the previous year in terms of the longevity required had been heeded and the driver/entrants therefore stayed away.

The ninth placed Ron Thorp/Ray Strong AC Cobra ahead of the Scuderia Veloce Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Ferrari 250LM, the pair completed 416 laps compared with the winners 490 (B Williamson)

In 1966 there were five ‘outright contenders’ entered- the Stewart/Buchanan and Epstein/Hawkins Ferrari 250LM, Piper/Attwood Ferrari 365P2, Sutcliffe/Matich Ford GT40 and Hamilton/Reed Porsche 906 whereas in 1967 there were only three, the Scuderia Veloce 250LM, Porsche Cars Australia 906 and Hawkins/Epstein Lola T70 Mk3 Chev- unfortunately the Scott-Davies/Harvey/Tuckey Lola T70 Chev Spyder failed to take the grid after terminal engine failure in practice. The car suffered piston and rod failure and after replacements flown in from the US were fitted on Saturday night the car dropped a valve during a practice session before the start ending a rather unpleasant weekend for the crew.

Fastest in practice was the Hawkins Lola T70 on 1:16.3 from the Hamilton 906, 1:18.7, then the SV 250LM on 1:20.6 before getting into the ‘class cars’- the Gates/Bertram Lotus Elan 1:27.0 then the Mildren Alfa GTA on 1:28.7 and Macarthur brothers Lotus Elan on 1:29.30- also under the 1:30 mark was the Bob Holden/Don Holland Cooper S Lwt on 1:29.7 seconds.

The Hawkins/Epstein Lola (chassis number SL73/112) had not long prior led the Reims 12 Hour for 3 1/2 hours but its Hewland LG500 gearbox cried ‘enough’ but not before setting a lap record on this very fast circuit of ‘147mph, done at 1 o’clock in the morning with full tanks, and included a speed of 200mph on the straight’ Des White observed. That race was won by the Guy Ligier/Jo Schlesser Ford GT Mk2B. The big Lola was clearly the quickest car in the Surfers race but over the ensuing years the success of these wonderful machines in endurance racing was hampered by the brittle nature of the Chev engines most entrants used and the Hewland box.

Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM (C Anderson)

 

(Mixed bag here, again on the main straight- the #37 Charlie Smith/Noel Hall MGB, #18 Daimler SP250 shared by Peter Whitelaw/Ian Jenkins/Peter Ganderton and the only Holden entered- the Max de Jersey/Bill Birmingham 48-215 (P Maslen)

 

Its got a touch of Sebring about it in terms of variety: Calvert Holden 48-215, Ron Thorp AC Cobra, Charles Smith MGB and Phil Barnes, Morris Cooper S during the contests early laps (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

Alan Hamilton made a great start at the flags drop- 10am, his 906 jumping sideways as he applied all of the 2 litre engines flat-6 power to the very abrasive Surfers tarmac- KB also got away well in the Mildren GTA as did the Gate’s Elan but the Porsche succumbed to the big Lola at the end of the first lap.

Bartlett slipped under Bill Gates as the 250LM eased into third place during lap 5, a dice developed between the John French driven BMC Australia MG Midget and the Elans whilst the Harry Gapps Renault 8 Gordini engine blew after 24 minutes of racing and was the first retirement.

At 10.30 the Lola led from the Porsche and Ferrari then Bartlett in the GTA, the Holden/Holland Mini Lwt and Doug Macarthur in the family’ Lotus Elan. The first of many pitstops for the Hawkins Lola took place at 10.45am when 3 pints of oil were sloshed into the oil tank- a poorly fitted rocker cover was leaking badly.

Hamilton’s leading Porsche had completed 43 laps in the first hour, a lap clear of the Cusack/SV Ferrari and Hawkins Lola on the same lap as the Italian V12. Bartlett was 4 laps back in fourth, then Holden on the same lap as KB with Ron Thorp’s AC Cobra a lap in arrears.

The T70 pitted again at 11.16am for 8 pints of oil and a replacement rocker cover gasket- the stop took 12 minutes 54 seconds. The Whitelaw Daimler SP250 pitted with lots of steam and leaking brakes whilst the class leading Thorp Cobra came in for a front end check.

(C Anderson)

 

The batch of three photographs above and below are of the John Keran entered Volvo P1800S crewed by John, Colin Bond and Max Winkless. On circuit the car is driven by Keran- the two pitlane shots show John staring down the camera and he and Col Bond discussing the progress of the car.
The rally men, mind you Bond was racing on all kinds of surfaces then in tourers, sporties and his Rennmax Peugeot s/c single-seater, did well- fourth in the Improved Production under 2 litre class won by the Datsun Racing Team Datsun 1600 Sports with the Victorian pair of John Roxburgh and thrice Australian Grand Prix winner, Dog Whiteford behind the wheel (P Maslen)

 

(J Keran)

 

Keran, Bond and who is it in that Team Total shirt to the right? (J Keran)

At 11.30am the Hamilton Porsche led with 65 laps completed from the Ferrari and Bartlett Alfa GTA with the Holden Mini in fourth as the Lola hung around the pits. The John Roxburgh Datsun was in sixth on the same lap as the Thorp Cobra with the two Datsuns seemingly having a good grip on the 2 litre Improved Production class as the Barry Tapsall/Henk Woelders car headed John Keran’s Volvo P1800S.

At 11.45 Kevin Bartlett pitted for fuel and oil and handover to Doug Chivas but the little, lightweight Alfa would not answer the starter- pushed behind the pit counter for closer attention there the machine stayed, ‘the engine tighter than tight’.

Hamilton took his first pitstop bang on noon- four tyres went on and 22 gallons of fuel and Glynn Scott went in, the stop took 3 minutes 24 seconds, at that stage the 906 had done 87 laps, the Ferrari 86, then Bob Holden, Paul Hawkins, John French, John Roxburgh and Ron Thorp followed.

The Thorp Cobra pitted again with brake problems and at 12.16 Greg Cusack handed the SV 250LM over to Bill Brown after the Ferrari was filled with 32 gallons of fuel, 6 pints of oil and four, fresh Firestones, the slick stop taking two minutes.

Around the same time the Harry Cape Triumph GT6 pitted to have its rear light taped after a bingle and the Holden Mini Lwt had its rocker-post replaced- the Hindmarsh Elfin retired over at Firestone- the field was falling away whilst Doug Whiteford took over the class leading Datsun 1600 from John Roxburgh at 1pm together with 20 gallons of fuel and 4 tyres.

Barry Ferguson/Max Stahl ‘Racing Car News’ entered MGB, Max being the much loved racer/editor/proprietor of RCN (C Anderson)

 

Peter Maslen, the enthusiast who captured these wonderful images images wrote of the photograph above as ‘One of the finest drives I ever saw. When Alan Hamilton dropped the Porsche into a ditch around the back of the circuit, he was encouraged to recover it- Glynn Scott took over and they came in third. This picture now holds pride of place on my study wall’. It is a marvellous shot of the Porsche 906- he has managed to capture the determined set of Scott’s jaw, local open-wheeler and sportscar ace rather nicely (P Maslen)

 

I suspect its the first of the pit-stops for the Hawkins Lola with the 1:21.2 being given to Alan Hamilton in the now leading Porker 906 (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

Des White records that the Lola T70’s first ‘scheduled’ stop was made just on 1pm when 45 gallons of avgas and 4 pints of oil were taken onboard in 3 minutes 15 seconds- Paul remained at the wheel and set off at undiminished pace after the Ferrari and Porsche which was about 10 laps in front up the road.

Glynn Scott took the Porsche 906 to a 3 lap lead after three hours of racing at 1pm having completed 129 laps- he was a lap ahead of the Ferrari and ten laps ahead of the Lola on 119 laps. The works MG Midget of John French and Brian Foley was fourth on 115 laps, and doing amazingly well given its recent build and therefore hasty preparation, 3 laps clear of the Volvo Coupe now just 1 lap clear of the Whiteford Datsun 1600 after its pitstop, the Macarthur Elan was still in the race and running well.

Epstein Enterprises Lola T70 Mk3 (C Anderson)

 

The Bartlett/Doug Chivas Alfa Romeo GTA ‘RHD’- the second of Alec Mildren’s two GTA’s (P Maslen)

 

Ross Bond’s legendary Austin Healey 3000 in its more formative specifications in a long, successful race career and the John Keran Volvo P1800S (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

Alan Hamilton took over the 906 at 2.03pm for a top up of fluids and driver change, losing 3 minutes 10 seconds and in so doing allowed the Ferrari 250LM into the lead- then Bill Brown pitted the Ferrari to change over to Greg Cusack, that stop took 2 minutes 45 seconds, in the process re-entering the race a lap and a half behind Hamilton- both cars were well clear of the Lola which was in Jackie Epstein’s hands after a 7 minute stop.

Alan Hamilton niggled Cusack in the 250LM for several laps looking for a way past to increase his advantage finally getting alongside on the outside of Lukey- Greg held his line, the Porsche left the road, shot over a low mound and hit the Armco. The Victorian regained the circuit after 30 seconds but as the car entered Shell Straight the rear fibreglass body panel blew open and was ‘dragged along like some weird insect in the middle of a mating dance’ as White poetically put it!

The flustered pilot pulled off at Firestone, his race seemingly run but he was pursuaded to return the car to the pits for repairs- the team made good the rear panel with a combination of rivetted aluminium, race-tape and wire, they lost 17 minutes in the process with Glynn Scott determined to make up the lost time (in one of his photo captions White wrote that the 906 lost a total of 1 1/4 hours in the pits in total- not sure what is correct).

250LM at rest (C Anderson)

 

The Lotus Elan 26R crewed by disc-jockey Bill Gates and Jim Bertram (P Maslen)

 

Mroom-waaahhhrr. Scotty on the hop 906- where on circuit folks? (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

By this stage the ever reliable ‘Old Red Lady’ as David McKay referred to his adored car was in a lead which was all but impossible to peg back.

By 3pm the LM had completed 212 laps and had a 22 lap lead over the French/Foley MG Midget which was in a stunning second place from the Hawkins/Epstein Lola- which had also been back to the pits during the 906 time standing still. The Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 still led its class and was fifth outright at a time the Porsche was back in ninth after going back to the pits for a further 49 seconds of repairs.

The French/Foley Midget pitted near 4pm with a broken scavenge pump whereupon the crew worked to convert the gallant little car from a dry to wet sump- this marvellous effort was in vain when the oil pump shaft broke at 4.20pm.

Scott pushed the robust 906 along very quickly- lapping in the regular 1:20’s, by 5pm he was back in sixth with 251 laps on the board, he was in sparkling form no doubt buoyed by his victory in the NSW ANF1.5 Championship aboard his old Lotus 27 Ford at Catalina Park in mid-August over Max Stewart and Phil West amongst others- Tapsall’s Datsun had completed 253 laps and Keran’s Volvo 255. With five hours to run even the third placed Roxburgh Datsun 1600 Sports looked likely to be caught by the flying Porsche.

The Tapsall Datsun pitted at 5.10pm for fuel and tyres but refused to start and was taken behind the pit wall where the battery and starter motor were replaced. Hamilton jumped back into the 906 at 5.38 pm having taken on 20 gallons of fuel and was after the third placed car- now only 4 laps away- a quick, high speed spin under the Dunlop Bridge at 6.50pm did not diminish his intent.

Not too hard to tell which car was artist Colin Anderson’s favourite! The winning 250LM (C Anderson)

 

A routine fuel and tyre stop for the victorious 250LM and below that the rumbling Lola in the Repco Hill to Castol corner section of the circuit prior to ‘Rothmans Straight’- the main straight(P Maslen)

 

Hard to tell but I think its Doug Chivas in the Mildren Alfa GTA, therefore practice, perhaps KB can advise (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

By 7 pm the Cusack/Brown Ferrari 250LM led the Hawkins/Epstein Lola T70 by over 25 laps having completed 374 circuits of the challenging Nerang layout- by then the speedy 906 was only a lap adrift of the leading Datsun and gaining fast. The Holden/Holland Cooper S Lwt followed on 326 laps, a lap clear of the Volvo.

Henk Woelder’s, later Australian F2 Champion aboard Bill Patterson’s Elfin 600E Ford, exited his Datsun after again replacing the car’s battery and starter motor- only fifteen cars remained in the battle at this point.

Glynn Scott took over the 906 again at 8pm after a 3 minute 49 seconds stop for fuel- his first flying lap in the dark was a 1:21.2, about 5 seconds quicker than the Ferrari and 10 seconds better than the big rumbling Lola- both of these machines being stroked along to the finish in ‘secure’ positions of course- Scotty had a big spin under Repco after 3 laps but kept on pushing all the same.

Woelders’ Datsun re-entered the fray but was black-flagged for running without rear tail-lights- Whiteford’s similar car (#28 rather than Woelders’ #29) was shown the flag- ‘a nasty scene was avoided’ as ‘Dicer Doug’ was not a man to be trifled with, and the Woelders machine was put away for the rest of the night.

MGB pitstop, probably Max Stahl (C Anderson)

 

The rumbling Lola in the Repco Hill to Castol corner section of the circuit prior to ‘Rothmans Straight’- the main straight (P Maslen)

 

From right- #7 works, new French/Foley MG Midget which is extant, de Jersey/Birmingham Holden FJ, #14 Hallam/Pare Ford Anglia, #15 Lister/Seldon Volvo 122S, #28 Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 Sports, #4 250LM, #8 Holden/Holland Morris Cooper S Lwt (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

By 9 pm with one hour left to run the Ferrari had completed 448 laps, 20 laps ahead of Paul Hawkins who was at the wheel for the final stint, Glynn Scott was still lapping in the low 1 min 21’s in his series of inspiring stints and was by then up to third outright with 417 laps- 11 adrift of the curvaceous Lola.

Hawkins pitted for the last time at 9.25pm, the two and a bit minutes stop handed Glynn another 2 laps with Hawkins circulating in the 1:26’s to go easy on the car, Des White finished his wonderful article on the race with ‘The race finished in the cold dampness of 10pm and the Ferrari coasted into the presentation area, quickly joined by the Porsche which received and rightly deserved all the ovation it received followed by the big mean, green machine, the Lola.’

‘The results were just about what one must expect in an endurance event, the Ferrari taking out its second Rothmans 12 Hour, while both Hawkins and Hamilton vowed to be back next year with the same teams, for as Hawkins stated- ‘Its time we won this thing.’

Alan Hamilton was and is a tall fella so lopping the lid off Porsche 906 ‘007’ made sense especially in an Australian sprint racing context- the bulk of our sportscar races were short. Here looking all pristine in practice entering ze pits, she looked a bit more grungy and used post-event (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

Three Minis were entered in the Sports Racing under 2 litre class, this one is the Phil Barnes/Jeff Leighton Morris Cooper S- they completed 238 laps and placed seventh in the class won by the Hamilton/Scott 906, the best placed Cooper S was the BMC works entry raced by Bob Holden and Don Holland to fifth with 437 laps completed (P Maslen)

 

250LM and 906 early in the contest, main straight (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

(P Maslen)

The results of the race, to the first three finishers in each class are as follows; (source RCN)

Outright

Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Ferrari 250LM, Paul Hawkins/Jackie Epstein Lola T70 Mk3 Chev, Alan Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906

Sports Racing over 2 litres

250LM, T70, Max de Jersey/A Shaw Holden FJ

Sports Racing under 2 litres

906, Bob Holden/Don Holland Morris Cooper S Lwt, David Seldon/Gerry Lister Volvo 122S

Improved Production over 2 litres

Ron Thorp/Ray Strong AC Cobra, Peter Whitelaw/Kevan Woolf/P Ganderton Daimler SP250

Improved Production under 2 litres

John Roxburgh/Doug Whiteford Datsun 1600 Sports, Chris Smith/Noel Hall MGB, Ray Kearns/Brian Lawler/Col Wear Volvo 122S

Ron Thorp on the hop, AC Cobra (Bowden Collection)

Afterthoughts…

Surfers Paradise owner/promoter Keith Williams tried very hard to establish this race, first over twelve hours duration in 1966/7 and then six hours in 1968/9 as fixtures on the Australian racing calendar.

Forty cars raced in 1966, 27 in 1967, 29 in 1968 and 23 in 1969, in the latter years Australian ‘Pony’ cars swelled the numbers and of course endurance events in Australia quickly evolved as Series Production/Group E Touring Car events in the late sixties with huge entries. ‘Sports prototype or racing sportscar’ numbers in each of the SPIR events were 8, 3, 4 and 7 from 1966 to 1969, which I understand on one level in the sense that the local population of such cars in Australia were sprinters rather than endurance racers. Having said that one could have run your twin-cam or Olds or Chev with a softer cam and used less revs for this event- all of which assumes the funds to do so of course.

The entry of cars from Europe was problematic given the distance involved without payment of generous subsidies and why would the Americans bother given the size of the Can-Am purses?

Sportscar construction spiked a bit in Oz in 1970/71 with the release of 2.5 litre Repco Brabham V8’s as the Tasman 2.5 Formula ended but so engined Rennmax’ and Elfins were fitted with motors which struggled over 100 miles let alone six hours- and so it was that Williams’ valiant attempts withered on the vine.

A pity.

Credits and References…

Peter Maslen, oldracephotos.com/Phillips, John Keran Collection, Bowden Collection, September 1967 Racing Car News

Superb drawings by Colin Anderson scanned from RCN

Tailpieces: Paul Hawkins T70 Mk3 Chev, Surfers…

(oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

An all time Top Ten Racing Cars pick for me- been on the list for forty years too so its unlikely to slip off it. A big arsed but oh so curvaceous, busty, buxom, broad- it oozes sex if you get my drift.

Twiggy it ain’t.

(unattributed)

Funnily enough Paul had a sprint win in the car before leaving Australia.

He contested the 34 lap, 76 mile ‘Gallaher GT Trophy’ race at Warwick Farm the weekend after Surfers on 10 September and had a terrific weekend, winning the race and a couple of five lappers as well. Niel Allen’s Elfin 400 Chev was 3 seconds a lap quicker in practice than Paul- and Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23B Ford twin-cam was half a chance too but come raceday Allen lost a tooth off the crown wheel relinquishing the lead to happy Hawkins.

Paul shortly thereafter bought the Lola from Epstein and had some club successes in it back in the UK before having a very successful Springbok tour with it that November/December 1967.

At this stage of his career Hawkins was both a sportscar ace for hire- Porsche, Ferrari and John Wyer spring to mind, and did good business racing modified GT40’s and Lolas out of his own workshops in Finchley, North London.

As most of you will be aware the gifted Australian lost his life in a semi-works T70 Mk3B Chev whilst contesting the very wet Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park on 26 May 1969- he left the track and hit a tree at Island Bend.

Finito…

Comments
  1. Jeannomiller says:

    According to wikipedia 1966 and 1967 were 12 hour races (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Rothmans_12_Hour)

  2. jeff says:

    Bill Gates/Jim Bertram ( not John)

  3. Terry Sullivan says:

    Another great article Mark.

    But I was disappointed you didn’t include this iconic photo of Jackie Stewart in the Ferrari “dicing” with the Mini Moke…….

    http://autopics.com.au/66441-j-stewart-a-buchanan-ferrari-250-lm-smith-seton-morris-mini-moke-rothmans-12-hour-sports-car-race-surfers-paradise-1966-photographer-john-stanley/

  4. […] I did a quickie on this race a while back but it’s now a 3800 word feature thanks to the upload of many photographs on social media by Peter Maslen and Lindsay Ross (http://www.oldracephotos.com/content/home/) and discovery amongst my magazine collection of the September 1967 issue of ‘Racing Car News’, which has a beautifully written race report by Des White- click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2018/08/28/1967-surfers-paradise-6-hour/ […]

  5. bill HOLLINGSWORTH says:

    I think you have mistaken the De Jersey Holden for the Munyard FX Holden which came third in the over 2 litre class. This was an outstanding result for the Tasmanian team in their improved production grey motor car which still runs at Baskerville today, although Geoff has unfortunately passed away after having the car restored to race condition.

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