(R MacKenzie)

When shots of a bloke at the same circuit pop up randomly a week apart whilst looking for other stuff its an omen right?…

The photographs of Bob Muir a year apart at Warwick Farm aboard his Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott and Lola T300 Chev (below a bit) say much about his fast ascent during this career phase.

The first shot is during the F5000 Tasman 1971 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ in The Esses- he is on the way to sixth amongst the 500bhp beasties in the little, lithe, nimble 275’ish bhp 2 litre Waggott powered ‘Sub- the speck in the distance is, I think, Ken Goodwin’s Rennmax BN3 Ford DNS, it must be practice as he didn’t race. Frank Gardner won come raceday in his works Lola T192 Chev.

Bob raced a Rennmax Formula Vee initially after a dabble in a road Austin Healey Sprite and after showing immediate pace progressed through a Lotus 23B Ford in 1968/9 to a Rennmax BN3 which was raced with a Coventry Climax 2.5 litre FPF and later a 2 litre Waggott TC-4V acquired from Alec Mildren as the long time team owner and patron wound down his race operations.

The Waggott was then transferred to the Sub, when he bought it- his first meeting with that motor fitted appears to be the Mallala Gold Star round in 1970.

Jack Bono, Elfin, from Bob Muir, Mako then Elfin, Nota, uncertain and then probably Ken Goodwin, Rennmax back up the road Warwick Farm 1967 (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

Muir, Lotus 23B Ford, Warwick Farm 1968 (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Muir, Rennmax BN3 Waggott during practice for the Oran Park 1970 Gold Star round- Q4 but DNS after a run bearing (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

Money was always tight as Muir’s motor-dealership provided the funds to race, he did so when he could afford to.

Throughout 1970 he ran his Waggott engined BN3 at Warwick Farm and Sandown for strong thirds stepping into the Sub for the first time at Mallala in October and then the AGP at Warwick Farm in November where a blown tyre caused an accident in the race won by Frank Matichs’ McLaren M10B Repco-Holden.

He sensibly did not contest the Kiwi 1971 Tasman rounds as by then the ‘more modern’ F5000’s had eclipsed the 2 litre cars which could still, in the right circumstances, give a good account of themselves the year before- he raced at the Farm for sixth

Contradicting myself, Max Stewart won the 1971 Gold Star in the Mildren Waggott despite Bartlett’s McLaren M10B being demonstrably the quickest car that season- reliability let him down, and Bob would have given Max a shake had he the wherewithal to run the Mildren. His sole GS 1971 appearance was at Oran Park in Ken Goodwin’s BN3 fitted with his Waggott which blew in testing so he didn’t race, by June the Sub was advertised for sale in Racing Car News ‘Sell as is. Needs rebuild, engine repair’- Ray Winter bought it and did very well in it as an ANF2 car fitted with, in time, a Hart 416-B Lotus-Ford twin-cam. The Sub in period only had aces behind the wheel- Gardner, Bartlett, Muir and Winter.

Bob had bigger plans to have a crack at F5000 with a new car rather than the ‘hand me downs’ he had raced hitherto.

Muir’s Lola T300 Chev, DNF battery from 1972 Tasman Champ Graham McRae, Leda GM1 Chev 4th. Matich won from Gardner and Bartlett- Matich A50 Repco, Lola T300 Chev and McLaren M10B Chev (L Hemer)

Niel Allen’s misfortune created an opportunity for Bob.

Allen missed racing after his retirement at the end of the 1971 Tasman so he acquired a new Lola T300, chassis ‘HU-4’.

Whilst testing the car he lost control of the twitchy jigger- quite a different beast to the McLaren M10B had jumped out of twelve or so months before. Muir bought the car when Niel said ‘enough’ and rebuilt it around a new tub- he was ready for the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds where he was immediately quick- Q4 at both Surfers and Warwick Farm.

This was mighty impressive as the competition were ‘match fit’ having done four rounds over the five preceding weeks so the fact that a young fella had jumped right into these thoroughly demanding machines and was immediately on ze pace was a mighty strong effort.

Great Dick Simpson shot shows Bob hoiking an inside left at Oran Park with Kevin Bartlett’s T300 up his clacker during the 1972 Gold Star round. Bob Q2 behind Matich and DNF tyre/brakes. Matich, A50 Repco won from Bartlett and Max Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Lynton Hemer’s shot of Muir heading thru BP and onto Oran Park’s main straight during the 1972 Gold Star round highlights some key aspects of the T300 design- the F2 T240 derived aluminium monocoque chassis, mid-ship, hip mounted radiators the ducting of which gives this whole series of cars (T300/330/332) their thoroughly sexy look- the cars worked rather well too. 5 litre Chev sits reasonably high, in this case fed by four 48IDA Weber carbs (L Hemer)

He spun at Surfers, had a battery problem at the Farm and an engine failure at Sandown’s AGP from Q5 but a point had been made despite not having the dollars to do the final Adelaide round.

His Gold Star appearances were similarly sporadic- Sandown Q2 and second behind the dominant Frank Matich A50 Repco, Q2 and DNF at Oran Park and that was it apart from some ‘Repco Birthday Series’ events at Calder.

He went jumped up into the big league in 1973 contesting most of the US F5000 ‘L&M Championship’ in a new Lola T330 Chev. The car was bought by Australian Garry Campbell and, a bit like the Allen Lola twelve months before, Campbell crashed in testing at Oran Park- Bob repaired it with the assistance of John Wright, later to be a very fast F5000 driver himself and shipped it to the US with a couple of nice, strong Peter Molloy 5 litre Chevs.

He hooked up with Chuck Jones and Jerry Eisert (the exact nature of the commercial relationship is not entirely clear) and together ‘Jones-Eisert-Racing’ attacked the L&M.

In an amazing run of raw pace Bob qualified fourth at Michigan International on 20 May for third in heat and DNF final, then off to Mid Ohio for Q3 and DNS heat and final and then off to the demanding Watkins Glen, a circuit on which he had not competed before for Q2 behind Jody Scheckter and ahead of Brett Lunger, Brian Redman, Peter Gethin, Mark Donohue, Tony Adamowicz, David Hobbs, Kevin Bartlett, John Walker, Vern Schuppan, Frank Matich and others.

Whilst Jody Scheckter was THE find of the series Bob’s performance was amazing, to say the least

His seasons in the US and the UK in F5000, Formula Pacific and a fleeting but impressive F2 appearance or two- is a story for another time.

Michigan International during the 1973 US L&M F5000 Championship, 20 May. Lola T330 Chev- a Peter Molloy Chevy at that. Scheckter, Trojan T101 Chev won from Derek Bell, Lola T330 Chev and Peter Gethin, Chevron B24 Chev. Muir Q4 3rd in heat and DNS final (M Windecker)

 

Etcetera…

 

(J Lemm)

Still wearing Bartlett’s usual #5, Bob sets to work on the Sub during the October 1970 Mallala Gold Star round- his first meeting in the car. Rare photo semi-nude.

 

‘Racing Car News’ June 1971 read it and weep…

 

(oldracephotos.com/Hammond)

Cruisin’ the Calder paddock during one of the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth) F5000 races during 1972, Lola T300 Chev. KB won this four or so championship rounds title from Frank Matich and Muir- all events held at Calder title.

 

(L Hemer)

Bob during the 1972 Warwick Farm Tasman round, not sure if it was practice or the race which was wet- Lynton has captured the reflections beautifully.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, oldracephotos.com/Dick Simpson/Hammond, Lynton Hemer, John Lemm, David Cutts

Tailpiece…

(oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

The Muirs Sports Cars Mildren Yellow Submarine leads Teddy Pilette, Team VDS McLaren M10B Chev through the Warwick Farm Esses during the 1971 ‘100’ Tasman round- sixth and fifth respectively- a good dice, there were two seconds between the cars at the races end. Gardner won in his works Lola T192 Chev from Chris Amon, Lotus 70 Ford and Bartlett’s Mildren Chev.

Finito…

Comments
  1. Lynton Hemer says:

    A nice potted history of Bob Muir’s move into the big time, at a confused moment in Australian Open Wheeler evolution.
    He did all this at a time when aerodynamics were effectively experimental, engine sizes were being shifted around, slick tyres were appearing, and local builders like Rennmax, Bowin, Elfin et al, were producing pretty decent cars to try to match the overseas products.
    To be a small privateer in that era would have been so frustrating.
    To see your commitment in a two litre car come to nothing as the F5000s rose to prominence, with the ‘small’ engine builders unable to keep up, would have been disheartening, notwithstanding the fact that Leo and Max pinched two Gold Stars while the 5000s were getting themselves organised !
    The importance of Niel Allen in all of this can’t be overlooked.
    His first retirement allowed Kevin Bartlett and Alan Hamilton to get hold of half-decent McLaren M10Bs, and his second retirement got Bob Muir the Lola.
    And not to forget, Warwick Brown, who went via the ex-Allen McLaren M4a to the ex-Allen ex Hamilton M10B.
    That photo by Dick Simpson of Bob bumping up the inside wheel at Oran Park is a pure pleasure to behold.
    Just one minor correction. That photo of Bob Muir and Graham McRae in the esses at the Farm came through my lens; Rod McKenzie was always on the other side of that single row of Armco.

    • markbisset says:

      Lynton,
      Great to hear from you- I attribute when its not you and not when it is you!!! I knew it was either you or Rod, wrong guess this time! Now fixed pal.
      I agree with your analysis too, I wrote a long piece about the Repco Holden F5000 engine, about half of the article is about the discussion and politics of whether we should go 2 litre or 5 litre over about 2 years. As you will recall CAMS decided 2 litre and then recanted to F5000, and then as you say, Leo and Max ‘nicked’ a Gold Star each with their Waggott’s as the 5 litre boys found reliability- mind you they were always fragile in engine, CWP and gears themselves.
      So Bob did well to negotiate his way thru all this, as you say, and largely self-funded too- hopefully this article will find him, it would be great to get his perspective.
      I discovered a piece i’d finished ages ago, and forgotten about, on the Angus & Coote Trophy at OP in 1972 using a whole swag of your shots you popped on TNF- shall pop it up in the next few weeks.
      regards,
      Mark

  2. Rob says:

    Mark & Lynton,

    Things appear to have become a little muddled with regard to the Gold Star wins by the 2 litre Waggott-powered cars of Leo Geoghegan and Max Stewart. Whilst it is true that Max won his 1971 Gold Star against 5-litre opposition, the same cannot be said of Leo’s 1970 win. That year’s Championship was for Australian Formula 1 cars of up to 2.5 litres. It was not until 23 February 1971 that Australian Formula 1 was changed to include 5 litre cars (as well as cars with engines of up to 2 litres).

    The confusion may have arisen due to the fact that the 5 litre cars were permitted to contest the 1970 Tasman Championship, the 1970 Australian Grand Prix and the 1971 Tasman Championship alongside the 2.5 litre cars.

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Quite right Rob,
      Suss the Repco F5000 article for the politics in full and this piece which is a summary of the 1970 Gold Star within which is a table of Gold Star/Tasman eligibility from 1970 to 1972.
      https://primotipo.com/2019/07/05/oran-park-diamond-trophy-gold-star-1970/
      The two blokes who sat out the 1970 Gold Star with their F5000’s were Matich and Allen in McLaren M10A Chev, modified in most respects to M10B specs and M10B Chev respectively. Both were mighty fast in the 1970 Tasman, I would have had my money on one of them taking the Gold Star that year had the cars been eligible.
      Mark

  3. david cutts says:

    Mark in the formula Vee pic Bob is driving Mako chassis 1. Bob and Terry Quartly were the factory team in early Vee days. He drove a Rennmax a little later.Chassis in the pic were Elfin, Mako, Elfin, Nota, Last car in pic is probably Ken Goodwin in the Rennmax.

  4. Rob says:

    Mark,

    Regarding the image captioned “Muir, Rennmax BN3 Waggott, meeting date unclear, Oran Park 1970……”, I see that the same photo at http://www.oldracephotos.com/shop/product8341#9987_F_Muir_70 is captioned as “Bob Muir Rennmax Waggott 2.0 Oran Park 28/6/70”. The program for that meeting has Muir entered in a No. 8 Rennmax for the Diamond Trophy, which was listed as “Gold Star, Round 3, Australian Drivers’ Championship”. The Racing Car News meeting report states that Muir qualified fourth for the Gold Star race but then ran a bearing later in the session and was unable to start.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Rob,
      Have updated the caption- its a shame it would have been interesting to see how he went. Somewhere on Facebook in the last 12 months Bob wrote that he felt the BN3 was a quicker car than the Sub.
      Mark

  5. […] My ode to the seminal defining ‘smaller F5000’ and ‘underpinner’ of Lola profits for the better part of a decade is here; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/18/my-first-race-meeting-sandown-tasman-f5000-1972-bartlett-lola-and-raquel/ oh, yes, and ode to Bob here; https://primotipo.com/2019/12/09/bob-muir/ […]

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