(T Marshall)

Bryan Faloon, Rorstan Mk1a Porsche during the 1971 New Zealand Grand Prix weekend, at Pukekohe, it’s practice, he didn’t race with gear selector problems, twelve months hence he died in this car…

Its strange the stuff buried in the back of your head, this racer and car are a couple of fragments of my earliest racing memories. By the summer of 1972 I was a motor racing fan even though I’d never been to a race meeting, my heroes were Kevin Bartlett and his Mildren Yellow Submarine and Graeme Lawrence’s Ferrari Dino 246T- these attachments came via magazines.

Finally, i attended the Sandown Tasman meeting, the Australian Grand Prix that year. In anticipation of the big day I was keeping a close eye on my heroes Tasman progress via press reports with Sandown the second last of the eight rounds.

KB was going well in an ageing McLaren M10B Chev, the ex-Niel Allen 1971 NZ GP winning car was doing its third Tasman but Bartlett picked up points in three of the four rounds including a splendid wet weather win at Teretonga before heading back across the Tasman to Surfers Paradise for the first Australian round.

Things were not so hot at Team Lawrence however.

Graeme had a new Lola T300 Chev- arguably THE F5000 car of 1972 (McRae GM1 duly noted) so he looked a good bet to take on Hailwood, Gardner, Matich, McRae and the rest of the hotshots in the best cars. The machine was assembled in NZ with an initial sortie at  Baypark yielding a first race win and a DNF later in the day with fuel feed problems.

At the Pukekohe NZ GP Tasman Cup opener he started sixth on the grid about a second aft of McRae’s Leda GM1 Chev on pole but went right to the back of the field on the first lap when his feet and pedals in the tight Huntingdon tub got tangled, and ran on at the Lion Hairpin or he copped a tap up the chuff, depending upon the race account- he let the field go and then started a long climb back through the field.

Up front Frank Gardner in the works T300 took a lead he didn’t relinquish. By lap 52 Graeme and John McCormack, Elfin MR5 Repco had been in a torrid dice for 20 laps in a battle for eighth, and it was then that an awful racing accident occurred involving poor Bryan Falloon and Graeme, shown below.

(T Marshall)

Bruce Sergent described the accident thus ‘…Coming up the back straight on lap 52 Lawrence was slipstreamimg McCormack while Falloon, seeing the red Elfin bearing down on him, pulled to the left at the kink to let him through. At the same split second Lawrence pulled out of the slipstream to pass McCormack and ran into the back of the Stanton-Porsche at 155mph. The Stanton was launched headlong into an earth safety barrier, taking to the air before crashing down onto its wheels again. The Lola was cartwheeled down the track, totally disintegrating on the way. The Stanton looked intact while the Lola was totally wrecked. The head injuries Falloon sustained in the impact proved fatal. Lawrence suffered broken legs, wrists and concussion.’

Back in Australia I read about the high speed accident which befell the Graeme and Bryan. Whilst relieved Lawrence would survive it was the first time I realised this racing caper sometimes goes horribly wrong.

So that incident and Bryan Falloon’s name have been in the back of my brain for decades, this batch of photos took me straight there- whilst I’ve seen a couple of photos of the T300 but I’d never seen a photo of the Rorstan aka Stanton Porsche before- what an interesting car it was too.

Rorstan Racing was a partnership of quarry and truck fleet owner Ian Rorison and Tauranga car dealer Feo Stanton, they had run a number of older cars for a variety of drivers for years, Bryan took the ride prior to the 1970 Tasman.

The car was one of eleven chassis built by Bob Britton on the Brabham BT23 jig he created when asked to prepare the ex-Denny Hulme Brabham BT23-5 Ford FVA  F2 car destroyed in another awful Pukekohe crash in 1968- Denny collided with local racer Lawrence Brownlie, destroying Brownlie’s Brabham, causing him grievous injuries and ending his career prematurely but not instantly in a prang many regard as not exactly Hulme’s finest moment.

The Rorstan Partners bought the wreck sans engine and sent it to Sydney for repair and received back a new BT23 copy they called Rorstan Mk1, chassis number ‘RMR1’ to which they initially fitted a Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 four cylinder engine.

Britton’s own copies were called ‘Rennmax BN3’, Alec Mildren’s ‘Mildren’, whatever the name the cars were built by Britton at Rennmax Engineering using the ‘BT23-5’ jig.

Australian enthusiast/historian Terry Sullivan has written an interesting story on the Rorstan Partners cars and drivers on ‘The Roaring Season’, click here; http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?1824-RORSTAN-TASMAN-SERIES-RACER

For 1969 Rorstan engaged Jim Palmer to drive the machine on the basis that it was to be powered by a 2.5 litre Repco V8 but he exited stage left when it became apparent the car was to be Climax FPF powered- its days were long since past as a competitive Tasman engine.

Dennis Marwood then took the drive, with prior Cooper T66 Climax experience in 1966-1967, he was well aware of the challenge and achieved little in the way of results retiring from the Levin and Wigram rounds. Marwood too decamped, out of the fat and into the flames one might say, in the shape of a fairly agricultural old F5000 Eisert JE67 Chev owned by Ian Rorison.

Bryan Faloon was then approached to drive the Rorstan Climax, he had experience of the demanding 2.5 litre cars aboard an old ex-Stillwell Brabham BT4 Climax in some 1968 and 1969 NZ Tasman rounds. Bryan struggled against a 1970 field of good depth and breadth- a fast mix of 2 litre, 2.5 litre and 5 litre cars.

He was seventh and tenth at Wigram and Teretonga with DNFs in the other two rounds, both due to engine problems at Levin and Pukekohe.

Graeme Lawrence, Ferrari 246T, Max Stewart, Mildren Waggott, Kevin Bartlett, Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott and then Bryan Faloon, Rorstan Mk1 Climax at the Levin hairpin 1970- Lawrence won from Stewart and Frank Matich, McLaren M10A Chev (T Marshall)

Without funds to buy a new car the Rorstan partners parted ways. Feo Stanton then looked at alternative more competitive engines and decided upon a Porsche flat-six from Alan Hamilton, racer and head of Porsche Cars Australia- from that point the car was known as the Stanton 1 Porsche.

Alan picks up the story ‘We assisted Feo Stanton in the purchase of the Type 771 8 cylinder engine from our Porsche 906 along with a large amount of spare parts.’

‘The type 771 engine was developed from Porsche’s attempt at Formula 1 participation. They first modified an
RSK sports car to be a central seater for the then new Formula 2 still using the 1.5 litre 4 cylinder quad cam engine. This car then developed into an open wheel F2 car with the cooling system modified to a horizontal fan on the air-cooled 4 cylinder engine.’

‘In the meantime, Porsche were working on a completely new 1.5 litre, 8 cylinder engine to use in the new F1. Dan Gurney won the French GP and the GP of the Solitude circuit (a non championship race) with this car/engine combination, known as the Porsche Type 804.’

‘Whilst the 1.5 litre version of the engine was retired into history, it spawned the development of its bigger sisters in 2 litre and 2.2 litre capacities. These engines were very successful winning in both under 2 litres, over 2 litres and prototype categories.’

‘My original ‘Bergspyder’ 906-007, ran at the Targa Florio as a 2 litre, 8 cylinder prototype, finishing second overall.’

‘These engines in both 2 and 2.2 litre capacities were used in the Type 907. It should be remembered that in those days, our premier formula was for F5000 cars but the regulations also provided for racing cars with pure race engines of a maximum capacity of 2 litres.’

(T Marshall)

Bobby Britton did all the chassis modifications necessary to fit the engine. The engines were quite complex being the
ultimate development of the original 4 cylinder, quad cam Carrera engine. Just the setting up of the bevel gear drive camshafts took a long time. The factory used to allow about 240 hours to assemble an engine from scratch.’

‘I’m sure that the first race for the car was at Sandown and some of my staff and I joined Feo’s team to watch practice. Bryan Faloon was Feo’s accomplished driver and we all watched as Bryan commenced his first laps. At the start of the second or third lap, a great plume of oil smoke belched from the car as it went past the old pit area between Shell Corner and the start of the back straight. We all kept thinking that Bryan would see the smoke and stop but the trail continued up the back straight, around Dandenong Road corner and onto the main straight, continuing into the paddock area.’

‘My specialist mechanic, Eddy Hackel, quickly removed the oil filter and found it full of bearing material. There was a quick conference with confirmation that we had spare bearings etc, and the decision was made that Eddy and I would try to rebuild the engine in time for the race.’

‘Porsche racing engines were not only air cooled but also oil cooled. They circulate a vast amount of oil compared to conventional race engines. Not only were the oil pipes between the engine and the cooler too small, they had also not been swaged. These restrictions had caused the oil hoses to dislodge from the steel tubes. Never having had any experience with this type of engine, Eddy and I managed to totally dismantle and reassemble the engine overnight and get it back to Sandown in time to be put in the car for the race. I have no recollection of what happened in the race or even if the car raced at the meeting.’

The car missed the first 1971 Tasman round at Levin, had gear selector problems prior to the NZ Grand Prix and failed to start- and also missed the last two rounds at Wigram and Teretonga, that is, entered but did not start.

Hamilton, ‘Subsequently, in the 1972 NZ Grand Prix, Bryan, driving the Stanton Porsche and Graeme Lawrence, driving an F5000, collided, with Graeme sustaining critical injuries. Bryan’s car finished up in the in-field, somewhat out of sight over a rise. When rescuers approached, it was clear that Bryan was dead, probably from the first impact with Graeme’s Lola, the engine was still running and the nose of the car was buried into a bank and a tree.’

‘I obtained the damaged car from Feo Stanton as I wanted the engine and transmission. The chassis went to a friend of mine who wanted to rebuild the car to it’s original condition, before the Porsche installation. The damaged body was given to ‘Women For Wheels’ for fire-fighting practice.’

‘And finally, what happened to the engine? In the rebuilding of the engine after the Sandown incident, Eddy and I discovered that it was really a 2.2 litre unit with around 285 hp. This engine complete with the type 907 transmission was sold to Pat Burke who had purchased the ‘Bingham Cobra’, my original 906-007 1965 Targa Florio factory Porsche.’

‘Pat had also purchased from me, a new 771 engine but without the air cooling ducting, the whole of the fuel injection system, exhaust system, generator and distributor. Pat had sent the Bingham Cobra to Bill Bradley Racing to restore 906-007 back to its Targa condition and now there were original engines available to complete the restoration. Pat had the restored car at one of the Adelaide F1 meetings before it was sold overseas.’

Follow this link for an article about Alan Hamilton and his Porsche sports-racers; https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/

The story/summary of all of the Rennmax BN3s, inclusive of the Rorstan is told here on Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com; https://www.oldracingcars.com/rennmax/bn3/

Bryan during the 1972 NZ GP weekend, Pukekohe (T Marshall)

Etcetera…

(S Dalton Collection)

Donn Anderson’s tribute to Bryan Faloon from the February 1972 issue of ‘Motorman’.

Photo and Other Credits…

Terry Marshall, Rorstan Racing thread piece by Terry Sullivan on ‘The Roaring Season’, oldracingcars.com, Classic Auto News, Stephen Dalton Collection

Special thanks to Alan Hamilton for his recollections

Tailpiece: Rorstan Climax…

(T Marshall)

Terry Marshall captures Bryan in a nice Rorstan Mk 1 Climax slide during the 3 January 1970 Levin Tasman round- DNF engine after 25 of the 63 laps, Graeme Lawrence won in his Ferrari 246T.

Bryan was a talented driver, with the Stanton Porsche better sorted it would have been fantastic to see what he could have achieved in New Zealand that summer of 1972, very sadly, at 28 years young the planets and gods were not aligned in his favour on 8 January.

Finito…

Comments
  1. Jan Mayen says:

    Very interesting story (never heard about car & driver before) which inspired me to do some search. Found this:
    https://fr-fr.facebook.com/classicautonews/posts/bryan-faloontoo-young-too-talented-to-be-taken-so-soonstory-by-allan-dick-photog/826980770793789/

    Really like your blog.

  2. Jonny'O says:

    I was impressed with this post, 2 reasons.
    1- How many brands of Brabham copies did you have in australia? were these copies seen in a good tone by Brabham?
    2- I didn’t know that the Porsche boxes had fitted to any single seat, this was an old question with no answer !!!!

    • markbisset says:

      Jonny,
      Not so sure i want to list them given the number of vexatious litigants around these days, in any event there are more Cooper jigs kicking around than Brabham ones!
      Ron Tauranac seems to have had a ‘relaxed’ attitude to the global copyists and his part sales numbers usually got a kick along in that, more often than not he would sell uprights, wheels, a steering rack and some other odds and sods so he was not being totally pillaged in terms of intellectual property theft which is of course exactly what it was…
      Mark

    • Terry Sullivan says:

      I believe from memory at the time that there were only two brands of Brabham copies made in Australia:

      Rennmax: made by Bob Britton. These were raced as Rennmax or under their owners names or business names. These included Jane, Mildren, MRC and Rorstan.

      Dolphin: Made by Don Baker. Based on Brabham BT36. Three were made.

      • markbisset says:

        I think you have nailed it Terry.
        I remember Tony Stewart, Andrew Miedecke and John Leffler (at Calder) racing Dolphins- who were the original owner/drivers of the three cars i wonder?
        M

  3. prn31 says:

    Hi Mark,

    The Rorstan Porsche has always been a bit of a ‘head-scratcher’ for me. It just seemed so left of centre and until recently I had never seen a photo of the set up with the Porsche engine in it. I always thought that there must have been an easier less complicated way to create a competitive single seater?

    But I guess the car was caught up in the whole Tasman 2.5/ANF1 2.0/F5000 conundrum. Hindsight says a Chevrolet 5 Litre would be the go-to engine, but if you committed to a 2.0 engine, where do you go? Ford FVA, Lotus 1850 or Waggott 2.0? All would have been expensive and if someone came along with a cheap Porsche 2.0 Flat 8 with 280hp for sale – would you go that route? Complicated to set up, parts availability (and cost) and tuning potential would have been big question marks. And that is just the engine, throw in the Porsche gearbox, which was problematic and it really made no sense to run with such a complicated set up.

    I wonder what would have happened if Faloon hadn’t had his tragic accident? Maybe they would have put a Chevrolet F5000 engine in the Rorstan and join the party…!

    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Paul,
      The nuances of this Kiwi story are unknown to me, but;
      .Rorstan seems to have been a ‘smell of an oily rag’ in budget all the way thru, none of their cars seem to have had a great finishing record regardless of steerer
      .Alan Hamilton thought they may have sourced the engine/box via a dealer in Germany, so no doubt the deal was a good one, whilst noting the complexity of the engine AH makes clear
      .Alan said the gearboxes were not a problem with plenty of ratios which pop in and out like a Hewland despite using synchromesh
      .Ray Bell made clear on TNF overnight that Bob Britton adapted the engine to the chassis in NZ, so we can assume that important step was done optimally and we know the chassis were great in good hands, which, by all accounts Faloon’s were very skilful
      .So, all things being equal, assuming the car was sorted and reliable Bryan should have had a good ’72 summer in the Brabham/Rennmax Porsche.
      I don’t think anybody who shoved a Chev or Ford 5 litre into an older spaceframe ever did much, at elite level anyway
      What would we have done in the same circumstances?
      Instal the best engine you could afford which is what they did, but the complexity of the thing was ‘up there’ for all other than the small number of mechanics familiar with them, most of whom would have been in Germany. To be blunt if they could not successfully run an FPF the Porker was a huge leap of optimism and hope.
      It is a wonderful obscurity and ‘mighta-been’!
      m

  4. prn31 says:

    Mark,

    Weren’t the original F5000 Lolas – the T140/142 and T190/192 spaceframes? I guess putting a 5 Litre Chev in a F2 type was asking for trouble. You need to look no further than the monocoque Lola T240/T300 that Frank Gardner developed – it was a bit underdone.

    No argument regarding using the Type 771 Flat 8 Porker – without a team of ex-Porsche factory mechanics on board you were simply asking for trouble. It was indeed a tragic and fruitless folly…

    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Paul,
      The T140/142 were povvo machines to use up surplus T70 parts- blown orf by Dan’s Eagles et al. The T190/192 were monocoque’s- FG did very well in Europe with his self developed T192, he was still winning when in that when he and Bob Marston started racing the T240 aka first T300.
      Mark

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