‘My signature shot, Jim Clark Lotus 49 Ford DFW and Chris Amon Ferrari Dino 246T. Two of the best drivers of their time. Taken early in my photography journey. Not only is it a record of the 1968 Surfers Tasman race, the pic is pretty well balanced and shows the scenic aspect of the old Surfers Paradise track. I describe in the Tasman book, the trauma experienced in getting to and from the race’ (R MacKenzie)

 

I finally bought the Tasman Cup bible at Sandown a while back, what a ripper book it is!…

 

There are some heavy dudes involved in it. Publisher Tony Loxley has assembled a swag of ‘in period’ talent- journalists, photographers and drivers to contribute, forty in all. I blew my tiny mind when I got it home and penetrated the thick plastic, protective cover to unveil content rich words and images. That Sunday afternoon was completely shot.

At $A95 it’s a snip, nearly 500 pages of beautifully printed and bound hardcover with about ninety percent of the (900’ish) images unfamiliar to me. Mucking around with primotipo I’ve seen plenty of shots in the last four years or so- it was awesome to view a vast array of unseen images, some from the archives of ‘snappers ‘I have met online’ who have kindly allowed me to use their work on my ‘masterpiece’.

Which brings me to Rod MacKenzie’s work.

I’ve used his images before but the material in the Tasman tome is sensational for its compositional artistry. So I gave him a yell and said you choose two photos (Clark and Muir) and I’ll choose two (Gardner and Walker) to showcase the work and support this article. The photo captions are Rod’s, his ‘artists notes’ if you will. We plan some occasional articles going forward, many thanks to Rod.

 

‘Frank Gardner, Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo negotiates Newry Corner at Longford, Tasmania 1968. Perhaps one of the wettest races i have attended. At least i was taking photos, not driving! This pic has its own appeal, i just pressed the button. Frank’s skills were tested and you can see the race was on public roads with spectataors in the most unsafe areas. Fences were barbed wire, no run-off and badly cambered roadway.’ (R MacKenzie)

 

Rod writes about his work…

‘We all have favourites.

In over fifty years of motor racing photography some of my earlier photos remain dear to me.

However, the photos were not quite as important as the spectacle of close racing between highly skilled ‘pilotes’ in competition with their cotemporaries.

They at the time were the source of income to attend the many race circuits and were sold to magazines in Australia and overseas.

Now the photos have become most important.

These photos are now historical records of these men and some women whose exploits have been written about and add reality to reports and clarity to memories.

I also endeavoured to photograph many of the competitors ensuring not only ‘the stars’ were captured.

Without the photos, memories become clouded and distorted. Not by intent, but by the passage of years.

My photos of several Tasman Series spent some time in the proverbial shoebox during a period of having a new family to bring up.

They were revisted to be included in two books (so far) from Tony Loxley of ‘Full Throttle Publishing’ about Formula 5000 and The Tasman Cup and have been included in many other books now. I have released some of the photos on social media and they are still appreciated judging from some of the comments received.

I take pride in my photos as i try to add ‘something’ above and beyond a picture ‘of a car on asphalt somewhere’. A good black and white photo in my view is more difficult to produce than a colour photo and just suits the history of races.

My photos should convey the ‘atmosphere’ of motor sport- the drama, the commitment, the excitement, the humour, the unusual, and the extraordinary when that is possible.

Consequently my shots can be moody and dark, bright and clear, or show incidents capturing moments of drama.

They generally also have content to ensure recognition of the location of the subjects. The content may be from background, the cars, the weather or the occasion.

Together, Mark Bisset and i plan a small series of ‘favourites’ chosen between us from my vast collection.

These random photos will continue to appear as time and subject allow, and i also invite you to sample a few more from my http://www.rodmackenziecollection.com/ website and Facebook Group.

Until the next offering, enjoy the photos here’.

Rod MacKenzie

 

‘One of those shots that work even when most things are not right for composition. The car is too far away, the foreground is irrelevant, the background does not relate to much. BUT John Walker, Matich A50 Repco, in a 1973 wet Tasman race came undone at the Warwick Farm Causeway, and used the short circuit to recover. The pic shows how lost he seemed to be!’ (R MacKenzie)

 

This weighty addition to my shelves got me tangentially thinking about what ‘The Essential Library of Books on Australian Motor Racing History’ comprises. I reckon its these works, in no particular order…

.‘The Official 50 Race History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard (and others)

.‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley

.‘Lex Davison: Larger Than Life’ Graham Howard

.‘David McKays Scuderia Veloce’ David McKay

.‘John Snow: Classic Motor Racer’ John Medley

.‘As Long As It Has Wheels’ James Gullan

.‘Phil Irving: An Autobiography’

.‘Jack Brabham Story’ Brabham and Doug Nye

.‘Tasman Cup 1964-1975’ Tony Loxley (and others)

.‘History of The Australian Touring Car Championship’ Graham Howard and Stewart Wilson

.’Historic Racing Cars In Australia’ John Blanden

The above books don’t cover the Repco Racing story in anything remotely approaching full. Two that sorta do are Malcolm Preston’s ‘Maybach to Holden‘ and Frank Hallam’s ‘Mr Repco Brabham’ but both have warts. Malcolm’s is good, mind you, my Repco Brabham Engines buddies say it has quite a few errors. Hallam’s book is 70% insight and 30% arrant bullshit, but you need a fair bit of Repco knowledge to separate, page by page, the gold from the crap. I’ve stayed clear of marque specific books- Catford on Elfin and King on Bugatti for example, as I’m trying to get spread of topics from a small number of books not a long list of works…

I’m really interested to hear from you all on additions or deletions to the list.

The debate isn’t ‘my favourite books on Australian motor racing’ but rather the minimum number of books which most thoroughly tells the history of Australian motor racing. What books should a young enthusiast with limited funds buy is perhaps the filter to apply to your thinking?

Whilst the biographies listed may seem specific- they are, but they also cover heaps of related racing stuff over the period of the subjects life, so have great breadth.

Pre-war Oz racing books are thin on the ground, few were written- in that sense Medley’s and Gullan’s books are gold. So too are the relevant chapters of the ‘History of The AGP’ which provide lots of context in addition to the race reports themselves.

Howard, McKay and Medley were/are enthusiasts/racers who have wonderful historic perspective and deep insight that only masters of subject matter have. Bringing all of the threads about a topic together and drawing conclusions is hard, all have that ability.

All of the books listed are out of print except ‘John Snow’ (Medley still has copies) ‘History of the AGP’ and ‘Tasman Cup’, but all can be obtained with patience on eBay. The only one which is a bit on the exy side is Phil Irving’s book, the prices of which are high given huge global Vincent enthusiast demand in addition to us car guys.

In any event, all debate on the topic is invited, and yes, lets hear of your favourite books as well…

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie Collection

Tailpiece: Bob Muir, Lola T300 Chev, Warwick Farm 1972…

 

(R MacKenzie)

‘Action! Getting close to Bob Muir’s Lola T300 in the Esses at Warwick Farm in 1972. This remains my favourite Warwick Farm location although getting it right was really difficult. There were only a few places that were close enough to warrant an uninteresting background.

So we have the best location, best looking Lola, and a great photo that shows Muir’s speed and commitment at the most difficult section of the ‘Farm’.

Finito…

Comments
  1. Phil Rowe says:

    Great article featuring some of Rod’s best shots. I am always amazed at the wonderful images captured by Rod particularly at Warwick Farm’s Esses, with the powerful and fast subjects passing just a metre or so from his body while he looks through the lens! Very brave!

  2. Bob King says:

    Mark, re your Essential Library of Motor Racing Books on the Australian scene, I must add one; John Barraclough’s ‘When I Grow Up” – certainly an essential read. Another essential read, but only peripherally Australian, is my late friend Eoin Young’s ‘It Beats Working’ – there is quite a bit of Tasman stuff in this great book.

  3. Wayne Giles says:

    There are so many wonderful racing books available. Here’s a list of part of my collection (I’ve included a couple of New Zealand books because they’re just a jump over the pond). Sorry they’re in no particular order (it’s how they site in my library)

    Australian Motor Racing Annual No. 1 to 1976
    Geelong Speed Trials 1956 – 1985 Andrew Cotton
    Phillip Island To Fangio – The History of the Light Car Club of Australia Bob Watson
    Australian Competition Yearbook – 1971 to 1978
    Formula 5000 Thunder – The Titans Of Road Racing – 1970 to 1982 Ray Bell/Tony Loxley
    History Of Australian Grand Prix – 1928-1939 John Blanden
    Tasman Series Memoirs 1968-1971 – A Photographic Selection from Bill Pottinger (NZ author)
    V-6 Ferraris of Tasman Cup 1968-1970, The (No. 246) Paolo Marasca (Italian author)
    Adelaide Alive! – The Grand Prix Years 1985-1995 Stuart Sykes
    Australias Elfin Sports and Racing Cars John Blanden
    Formula 5000 in New Zealand & Australia Wolfgang Klopfer
    Formula One In Melbourne – The First 10 Years Stuart Sykes
    Glory Days – Albert Park 1953-1958 Barry Green
    Historic Racing Cars In Australia – 1 John Blanden
    Historic Racing Cars In Australia – 2 John Blanden
    Holden – The Official Racing History Stewart Wilson
    Lotus – The Historic Sports & Racing Cars of Australia Mark Schagen
    Ford – The Racing History Stewart Wilson
    1K.06 – Bathurst 1000 to 1K.09 – 2009 Bathurst 1000
    ATCRA – 1988 Australian Touring Car Racing Annual Ray Simpson
    Australian Touring Car Championship – 25 Fabulous Years Graham Howard / Stewart Wilson
    Australia’s Greatest Motor Race – 1960-89 – The First 40 Years Graham Howard / Stewart Wilson
    Bathurst – 50 Years of The Great Race
    Bathurst – Celebrating 75 Years of Racing At Mount Panorama
    Bathurst 1982/83 – 1 to 1987/88 – 6
    Book Of Australian Motor Racing, The Bill Tuckey
    Legends Of The 48-215 Joel Wakely
    Official History Australian Touring Car Championship, The – 50 Years
    Official History Of The Great Race, The – Bathurst 500/1000
    Ultimate Excitement, The – The Motor Race Photography of Nigel Snowdon
    V8 Bathurst 1997 & 1998
    V8 Clipsal 500 Adelaide – 10 Years Of The Greatest Race On Earth
    V8 Supercars – The First Decade
    V8 Supercars – The Whole Story
    V8 Supercars Yearbook 2004 to 2008
    Aintree Down Under – Warwick Farm and the Golden Age of Australian Motor Sport
    Fast Tracks – Australia’s Motor Racing Circuits – 1904 – 1995 Terry Walker
    Historic Racing Cars Of New Zealand Graham Vercoe
    Lakeside – The Early Years Richard Crostan
    Bathurst 500 – 1963 – 1964 – 1965 – 1966 – 1967 Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst A9X Toranas – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst Chargers and Pacers – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst Group A Commodores – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst GT-HO Falcons – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst GTS Monaros – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst Hardtop Falcons – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst Rotary Mazdas – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst XD and XE Falcons – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Bathurst XU-1 Toranas – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Hardie Ferodo 500 – 1968 – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Hardie Ferodo 500 – 1969 – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Hardie Ferodo 500 – 1970 – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Hardie Ferodo 500 – 1971 – 1972 – A Photographic History Stephen Stathis
    Australian Competition Yearbook – 1979 – Number 8
    Australian Motor Racing Yearbook – 1979/80 – Number 9 to 1995 – Number 25
    Longford – Fast Track Back Barry Green
    Phillip Island – A History Of Motor Sport Since 1928 Jim Scaysbrook
    Annual, The – Australian Motorsport – 2005 – Number 1 to 2011 – Number 7
    Automobile Engine Tuning – High Performance and How to Obtain it Phil Irving
    Half A Century Of Speed – Great Australian Motor Sport Photography from 1905 to the 1950’s
    Barry Lake
    Sound And The Fury, The Bill Yuckey
    Bathurst – Cradle of Australian Motor Racing – The Saga of Australia’s Famous Racing Circuit 1938 – 1973 John Medley
    Big Rev Kev Kevin Bartlett/ Jim Shepherd
    Mark Webber – Two Steps Forward
    Moffat At The Mountain
    Falcon Files, The Aaron Noonan
    Falcon Hardtops – XA XB XC Coupes – Bathurst Hardie Ferodo 500 – 1973 to 1979 Autopics
    Ford Falcons – Bathurst 500 – 1967 to 1972 Autopics
    Holden Commodore Group C – Bathurst 1000 – 1980 to 1984 Autopics
    Holden Torana SL/R 5000 L34 – Bathurst Hardie Ferodo – 1974 to 1977 Autopics
    Pacers & Chargers – Bathurst Hardie Ferodo 500 – 1969 to 1973 Autopics
    CAMS – The Official History – Celebrating 60 Years 1953 – 2013
    Dick Johnson – Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Do That
    Mark Skaife – Diary Of A Champion
    Mark Webber – Aussie Grit

    In addition I have a number of books detailing the Australian motor industry. Such as:
    Bolwell – An Australian Icon
    Ford Australia – The Cars and the People Who Built Them
    Building Car In Australia – Morris, Austin, BMC and Leyland 1950-1975
    Valiant by Chrysler – The Finest of the ‘3’ – A History of the Chrysler Valiant in Australia 1962 – 1981
    Holden – The Archives Collection

  4. Martin says:

    Mark,
    Seems you have opened Pandora’s box.
    Looking at your list, I have half of them, and still need to add “David McKays Scuderia Veloce” and “Historic Racing Cars in Australia” when an affordable copy pops up, plus must catch up with some recent releases like the Geoff Smedley book. Would love to see a good Repco book (not a hint!).

    Noticed in Wayne’s list “The V6 Ferraris of Tasman Cup 1968-1970” Paolo Masrasca
    Bit of a disappointment, the English reads like its been translated with Google, it took a while to get used to Enzo being referred to as “the Drake”, and even with my limited knowledge noticed a few errors, but the photos are great.

    A plug for a couple of favourites.
    Driven to Succeed the Alec Mildren Story – Barry Green
    Hawkeye – Ivan McLeod, not about local racing, however Paul Hawkins is only one of two drivers to throw a GP car into the habour at Monaco!

    Rod’s photos are brilliant, cant have too many!

  5. Murray Lord says:

    Interesting thread – I look forward to reading the suggestions. I’d put the 50 Race History of the AGP at the top of the list.

    How about Fast Tracks by Terry Walker, which contains maps of almost all Australia’s racetracks.

    • markbisset says:

      Murray,
      A agree, it’s a master-work, it blew my tiny mind in ’86 or thereabouts when it was first published. It may have been long overdue but it was the goods in every way and is still a standard reference tool for me on most Oz topics.
      Mark

  6. Terry Sullivan says:

    Here are some more from a quick scan of my bookshelves. I hope they haven’t been mentioned above. In no particular order.

    Bill Tuckey – The rise and fall of Peter Brock
    Frank Gardner – The racing drivers manual
    Bill Woods – Legends of speed
    Evan Green – Journeys with Gelignite Jack
    David McKay – Behind the wheel
    Bill Tuckey – Dick Johnson the Unforgiving Minute
    Bryan Hanrahan – Motor racing the Australian way
    Evan Green- The world of motor sport
    David Hassall- The Peter Brock story
    Garry Sparkes – Allan Moffat’s Racing RX7 Mazda
    Tim Brown – Strike me pink – Torana LJ racing
    David McKay and John Smailes – The bright eyes of danger
    Phil Murray – Gelignite Jack Murray
    Dick Johnson – The Autobiography
    Bryan Hanrahan- Allan Moffat’s Scrapbook

    • markbisset says:

      Terry,
      Frank’s book and Bryan Hanrahan’s are both favourites, FG’s for being so practical as I made my first tentative F Vee steps and Hanrahan’s for opening my mind to Australia’s motor racing history as a very young teenager- despite the errors in said book!
      Mark

  7. Bill Hollingsworth says:

    Legends of the 48/215 by Joel Wakely ( owner of Boomerang Motors) focuses mainly on Spencer Martin and the Boomerang Motors FX Holden but is a wonderful insight into motor racing at that time and the beginnings of SM’s wonderful career.

  8. prn31 says:

    I’m surprised that one celebrated (and collectable) book hasn’t been mentioned – Evan Green’s; “A Boot Full of Right Arms,” which covers his exploits in a Leyland P76 in the 1974 World Cup Rally. It is a fantastic read by one of Australia’s best ever motoring writers. In a similar vein is John Smailes; “Bright Eyes of Danger” on the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. Incidentally he has a new book on the same subject; “Race Across the World” which is being released later this year.

    Another fine book, though not strictly Australian is “To Finish First” by the late Phil Kerr. Kerr was a Kiwi who was business manager for Bruce McLaren from 1959, then went on to work for Jack Brabham’s new team and finally back to McLaren where he stayed until 1975. It is a much better read than Tyler Alexander’s book on his time at McLaren.

    Finally you mentioned Spencer Martin – there is a Muscle Man profile on the “Smooth Operator” in the latest Australian Muscle Car magazine (issue #104) at newsstands now.

    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Paul,
      Have got a couple of Evan’s books including that one- no doubt you have an Alfa one he wrote in the seventies. Phil Kerr book is one I must buy, time to buy AMC- Spencer retired way too early in my opinion. You can’t argue about exiting at the top of your game tho.
      Mark

  9. Douglas Atkins says:

    A wonderful concept to highlight our important motor racing heritage.
    Motor sport photography is never an easy assignment … especially considering all weather conditions and the obviously required camera skills!
    Thanks for the wonderful images and insightful commentary Rod.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s