Launceston artist, gallery owner and teacher, Mary Jolliffe, aboard her Gremlin Formula Vee in 1968.

The shot made me chuckle. I wish I had one of my grandmothers pose for a shot in my Venom Vee a decade later. My old man ‘useter say there were only two brands of the the new-fangled radial tyres to buy, Michelin X and Pirelli Cinturato- these are Cints.

Launceston boy, Pat Stride, ex-RAF pilot, by day an air-traffic controller, built a number of Gremlins during the mid-sixties to mid-seventies, both single-seaters and sportscars.

Jolliffe, one of Tasmania’s best known water colourists, opened the Mary Jolliffe Art Gallery- a gallery, studio and art school, at 118 St John Street, Launceston in 1965. A decade later she was an immensely popular teacher at the Kalori Marist Brothers College in Burnie.

One of Pat’s former work colleagues wrote this brief piece about him when he died in 2014. ‘Pat Stride arrived in Australia on November 1st, 1963, along with 21 other hopeful  ATC recruits  who were destined to become short term course 22, the first of many  Australian ATC courses comprising personnel  recruited overseas, mainly in the UK.  Pat was accompanied by his wife, Wendy, and three children under 10 years of age, Trish, Jeremy and Andrew. Prior to his emigration Pat had been a pilot in the RAF, flying  Vampires, Meteors and Sabres, mainly in Germany.’

Kings Bridge, Longford during the final, 1968 meeting. The only Vee race held at Longford was won by Pat, here in the Gremlin ahead of Lynn Archer in Brian Roberts’ Elfin 500 and Mike Bessant’s Scarab. For we Longford nutters it’s an interesting and unusual shot as it gives us a great view of the approach to Kings- in the distance, well behind the final car is the Viaduct (Stride Family)

‘Having passed the theoretical ATC training he commenced field training in Melbourne and completed this in Launceston where he went on to be rated in both aerodrome and approach control. Being of an entrepreneurial nature, when an opportunity arose to establish a caravan park situated at the Tasmanian terminal of the catamaran service from Welshpool in Victoria he and Wendy embraced it with enthusiasm.  After 9 successful years they were shattered to learn the catamaran service was about to be withdrawn and chose this time to retire.

Pat had one enduring passion, other than for his family, and that was for speed. He was an avid racing car driver, building and competing in his own cars with a significant degree of success. This continued well into his eighties and his last road car was a Mazda MX5 sports.’

The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration was after migrant success stories in sport, the arts and entertainment for PR purposes. It is in that context that Mary and Pat, both Brits, were sought, photographed and doubtless an article was written and published somewhere.

I quite randomly found other photographs of the same ilk of Bernie Haehnle; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/13/bernie-haehnle-rennmax-mk1-fv/ and Henk Woelders; https://primotipo.com/2018/12/30/henk-woelders/

How the connection between Mary and Pat was made, who knows, Launceston is a small place now let alone in the mid-sixties. Mary owned the car built and raced by Pat.


National Archives of Australia, Stride Family, Stride tribute piece from Rob Tanner via Geoff Harris



Same locale as the opening shot, Pat’s home in suburban Lonny seems about it. Low res (bumma) shot of Pat at the wheel of ‘the Formula Vee Scarab Gremlin he designed, built and drove for Mary Jolliffe.’ I wonder what the correct name for the car is? Andrew and Jeremy Stride do the brmmm-brmmmmm thing with Dad.

Great stuff, a quintessential Oz outer-burbs sixties shot many of us can relate to!

In an earlier article I wrote ‘FV Historian John Fabiszewski notes that the first to race Vees (in Australia) were Pat Stride in his Scarab and George Geshopulous (later Geshos) in a Nota, in Formula Libre races in Tasmania (what circuit folks?) and Oran Park respectively on the same weekend in September 1965 (what date folks?).



  1. Peter Finlay says:

    George Geshopulous later shortened his surname to Geshos. We have been great friends over the years. George operated a VW wrecking yard behind the Nota works in Smith St Parramatta. His car was displayed at the AARC F. Vee presentation in the Round House at Uni NSW, Kensington.

  2. Peter Finlay says:

    All well here thanks Mark. Unfortunately, I don’t have a precise record of the dates of the AARC Round House meeting or the Oran Park race meeting where George competed. They would have to be in late 1966 I think. I will contact Colin Piper who used to assist in the AARC office and keeps his finger on the pulse.

  3. bill HOLLINGSWORTH says:

    The picture of Pat Stride is in the driveway of his Reid street house in Kings Meadows, I grew up a couple of streets away. Mike Bessant worked as a mechanic at the family owned
    Shell service station in Kings Meadow. His brother Robin was a top Tasmanian touring car driver. .

  4. Bob Morrow says:

    Mark in those days Michelin X & Pirelli Cinturato were the only radials you could buy.

    • markbisset says:

      Hi Bob,
      In the pre-Jane T Marts days? When did Bob open the first T-Mart- where??

      • Bob Morrow says:

        Well Mark that is interesting. If my memory serves me correctly Bob got onto Tyres because he wanted an alternative/better tyre than the only available for Jaguar , Dunlop. He scouted around & found , I think , Continental & imported some of them. He was surprised at the cost of an imported tyre compared to the locals as the Australian tyre market was a very much a closed ship. So off he went & got into the tyre market , importing from Europe , Japan & Taiwan. He was only interested in wholesaling then but after a while Dunlop cracked the shits & told their dealers that if they bought any tyres off Bob Jane they would not supply them. This was legal at the time so Bob was forced into retail . The first T-Mart was in Sydney Rd Brunswick {surprise , surprise ] & as it took off he then went into franchising , one of the first to franchise in Australia.

  5. Peter Finlay says:

    I ran XAS on my Vee at Bathurst AHCC 1967 and in my first circuit race there at Easter the following year. I kept a set to uses as “wets” but never had to employ them.

    • markbisset says:

      At one stage I laboriously worked out the tyre rules for FF since day dot, and put the list into an article. Which one? Hmmmm. . It would be interesting to do the same for Vees!

  6. Rob says:


    I have checked the 1965 Australian National Calendar as published in the 1965 CAMS Manual and it shows that Oran Park had a meeting scheduled for 5 September. There is no date shown for a Tasmanian meeting in that month.


    Rob Bartholomaeus

    • markbisset says:

      That’s great Rob,
      I’ll have a squizz to see if my patchy RCN can assist. I guess it’s possible the Tassies ran a clubby that was unlisted @ the start of the season? Important bit of Vee history if we can find the proof.

      • Glenn Moulds says:

        Mark, very interesting article. I can’t add much to the Tasmanian Vee history but I have done quite a bit of research of the early NSW scene which might clear up a few things.

        The first appearance of a Vee in a NSW race entry list was Oran Park 5 September 1965 (Ted Proctor in a Nota in a mixed Racing Car event) but I have doubts that he actually ran at that meeting. There was no mention of him in any report of the day (not conclusive admittedly) and there are no photos of the car from the Lance Ruting proofs I have seen of that meeting. Again not conclusive but Lance did manage to get a shot of most cars at that time. Proctor was then entered two weeks later at Warwick Farm 19 Sept but did not appear. This meeting was the first NSW event to have a defined Vee class amongst the Racing Cars but of the three entrants (Proctor, Bob Beasley in a Cee Bee (later Rennmax) and Alan Felton in the original Formcar) only Fenton appeared so he effectively won his class! This Formcar was the car demonstrated by Greg Cusack at the July (postponed to August) Warwick Farm meeting and was lent to Felton because Cusack borrowed back his former 1.1 Brabham from Fenton for this meeting.

        Bob Beasley in the Cee Bee and George Geshopoulos in a Nota then both raced at Oran Park 21 November 1965 – there are photos of both at this meeting. I know John Fabiszewski discussed this with George who recalled his first race in the Nota but I think George may have confused the Sept ember meeting with November, easily done when trying to remember specific details 50 odd years later!

        At the 5 December 1965 Warwick Farm meeting there were seven cars entered in the Vee class – all started and the winner of the class was Frank Kleinig in his Kleinig. The first exclusive, all-Vee race in NSW was 13 February 1966 Warwick Farm which had eleven starters and was won by Terry Quartly in the Jay Bee (later renamed the Bono).
        If anyone can add to this please do.

  7. bill HOLLINGSWORTH says:

    Lifted from the Tasmanian Historic Race page on facebook.
    Vale – Pat Stride.

    The HRCCT Inc is saddened to hear of the recent passing of Pat Stride. Pat, an expatriate Englishman and former RAF pilot was an Air Traffic controller at Launceston and in 1965 his first own design car, The Scarab Formula V, made it’s debut at Symmons Plains.

    Pat and Mike Bessant campaigned two of these cars with great success. Pat also built the Gremlin Sports and F2 cars.

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