(HRCCT)

Norm Beechey and Jim McKeown at Symmons Plains in February 1968…

Both the Chev Nova and injected Lotus Cortina Mk2 were top-liners in 1968 albeit the one race Australian Touring Car Championship was won again that year by Pete Geoghegan’s Ford Mustang from Darrell King, Morris Cooper S and Alan Hamilton’s just arrived in the country Porsche 911S/T. It was Geoghegan’s fourth of five ATCC titles.

The 34 lap event was held at Warwick Farm on 8 September, by that stage Norm had replaced the Nova with a Chev Camaro- he retired with mechanical dramas after 11 laps whilst Jim’s race was over after only 2- axle failure the cause.

(L Ruting)

Photographs of the Camaro SS are not plentiful as it raced for only a short period- four meetings (Warwick Farm twice, Calder and Catalina) from July to September 1968 inclusive of the ATCC race where he qualified on the second row- the car was an ‘in between’.

The Nova raced from Easter 1966 and the Holden Monaro’s with which he became synonomous in the latter stages of his career date from October 1968, the Camaro fitted in between.

The photo above is during the first lap of the 1968 ATCC race with Pete up front, then Norm and the Bob Jane Mustang.

See this piece on the 1969 ATCC; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/01/1969-australian-touring-car-championship/ , and on 1970; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/01/variety-is-the-spice/

Beechey trying to pursuade the Nova to turn in, Paul Fahey and Red Dawson in Mustangs, Rod Coppins in Chev Camaro at Baypark, NZ 1968 (T Marshall)

Etcetera…

(M Rogers)

Beechey and John French, Nova and Cooper S on the Surfers Paradise grid in 1967.

Credit…

Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Lance Ruting, Rod MacKenzie, Steve Holmes- The Roaring Season, Terry Marshall, Mervin Rogers

Tailpiece: Beechey and Geoghegan at Catalina Park 18 August 1968…

(R MacKenzie)

Classic Ford/GM, Geoghegan/Beechey battle. Who won?

Finito…

Comments
  1. Rob says:

    Mark,

    The answer to your “who won” question is Beechey….and Geoghegan! Racing Car News tells us that they competed in two races at the 18/8/68 Catalina meeting, a five lap preliminary and a thirty lap feature, the New South Wales Touring Car Championship. Beechey won the five lapper, albeit at a reduced pace due to John Ward’s fatal crash in a Lotus Cortina. Geoghegan turned the tables in the main race winning from Beechey and Jim McKeown (Lotus Cortina).

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Rob,
      Ya sorta wonder why Norm went thru all the bother of developing a new car and bailing so soon? Maybe it was an insurance policy if he could not do a deal with Holden?
      I’ve not heard of John Ward- what happened?
      M

  2. Rob says:

    Mark,

    New Zealanders John Ward and Rod Coppins (Ford Mustang) were on an Australian racing holiday and had already competed in meetings at Warwick Farm and Lakeside. On the second lap of the 5 lap Catalina race Ward had a coming together with Ken Stacey’s Ford Falcon GT. The Cortina rolled and Ward sustained severe head and chest injuries and died almost instantly. Coppins went on to contest the one-race 1968 Australian Touring Car Championship at Warwick Farm in the month after the Catalina meeting so I assume that Ward was intending to do the same.

    Rob

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