Archive for the ‘News/Events’ Category

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Richard Davison uploaded this YouTube footage of his son Alex’ driving his ex-Holland/Theodore Racing-Alan Jones/Jon Davison Lola T332 Chev ‘HU34’…

Crank up the volume, their is nothing quite like 5 litres of highly tuned fuel-injected Chevy. Very interesting looking at the smoothness of a top-line pro driving one of these beasts at lap record pace. It looks deceptively easy?! Not!

The footage is at the Phillip Island Historic Meeting in March 2015.

Credits…Richard Davison, Motorsportlegends

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Yes the F1 cars are fast, the ultimate and marginally less ugly, let’s not say attractive, than last year…

One of my sons is not a big race fan and hadn’t been for 2 years, and seeing and hearing the F1’s for the first time turned to me and said, and sadly it’s easy to have a conversation whilst the cars are circulating now, ‘What the fuck have they done to the cars!’

Precisely.

Still it was a fun day, the AGP program is packed with events and displays; support categories include V8 Supercars, Carrera Cup, Historics with Brabham the featured marque. And the F1’s, let’s not call them Grand Prix cars, ‘Petite Prix’ cars perhaps.

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Many car club displays, not much stuff we haven’t all seen before but still adds to the show and Albert Park is huge so there is lotsa space to fill!

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Touring Cars aren’t my thing but the V8 Supercars are interesting these days with Mercedes, Volvo and Nissan part of the show and providing diversity in addition to the local tribal followings of Holden and Ford. The cars are fast, loud and spectacular. Arguably the third best ‘Taxi’ series in the world behind NASCAR and the  German championship.

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Mad. And fantastic.

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Really good historic display, as noted above Brabham are the featured marque paying respect to JB with his recent passing. BT19 Repco, his 1966 Championship winning mount and well featured on primotipo in the past is the star of the show.

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

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RAAF ‘Roulettes’ elite squadron flying Pilatus PC9 aircraft and the McDonnell Douglas F/A 18 Hornet ‘demo’ are always much anticipated.

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This shot is of the V8 Supercars and shows the proximity of the City of Melbourne to Albert Park, it’s a walk or short tram ride depending upon where you stay. Gritty, trendy St Kilda my pick as a local especially for the young or young at heart. It’s an easy walk to the circuit being on its doorstep with plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants as well as being right on Port Phillip Bay, if the weather is beach friendly and it usually is in early March.

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Elfin Owners Club Display, from ‘black to back’ cars; F2 622 Ford, 600 FF, 500 FV, pink nosed F2 600 Ford, red ‘Mallala’ Ford Sports. Superb cars they are too!

Most of you are from far away, it’s a race and place worth visiting.

If you had 2 weeks leave I would; arrive in Cairns and visit and dive ‘The Great Barrier Reef’, have a few days in Sydney and then ‘back to back’ the Phillip Island Historic Meeting with the AGP doing some touristing out of Melbourne in the week between. Hope some of you come next year let me know if you do, happy to be a tour guide.

 

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Leo Geoghegan victorious in the 1969 JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) Grand Prix. Lotus 39 Repco.

One of Australia’s racing greats of the 1960’s and early 70’s, Leo Geoghegan died of cancer aged 78 on 1 March…

Leo won the Australian GT Championship in 1960, (Lotus Elite) the Australian Formula Junior Championship in 1963 (Lotus 22 ) the Australian Drivers Championship, the coveted Gold Star in 1970 in Lotus 59 Waggott and the AF2 Championship in Birranas’ 273 and 274 in 1973 and 1974.

Internationally he won the JAF Japanese Grand Prix in his Lotus 39 Repco in 1969. It was in this car, raced by Jim Clark in the 1966 Tasman Series in which Leo stepped into the premier 2.5 litre ‘Tasman’ class, initially Coventry Climax powered and later with Repco V8’s that Leo more than held his own against the visiting Internationals in what was progressively an older car.

The Geoghegans’ held the Lotus franchise in Australia for many years, it was in a new Lotus 59 powered by one of Merv Waggotts’ 2 litre DOHC engines in which Leo finally won the Gold Star in 1970 after years of plugging away in the evergreen ’39.

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Hamming it up for photographer Bruce Wells at Warwick Farm, before the ‘WF 100’ Tasman round February 1966. (Bruce Wells)

Leo and his brother Ian or ‘Pete’ were crowd favourites throughout the 60’s in particular, Leo mainly in open wheelers and Pete in Touring Cars in which he was 5 times Australian Champion.

Most of you outside Australia (85% of you by the way) won’t be aware of the Geoghegans’, this lovely period movie by Castrol ‘The Racing Geoghegans’ positions them nicely into the pantheon of Australian Racing in their day.

 

Leo was concentrating more on Touring Cars as the lead tester/driver for Chrysler into the early ’70’s in their Valiant Pacer/Charger ‘Series Production’ program but returned to open wheelers when offered the ‘works drive’ by Birrana’s Malcolm Ramsay, these jewel like cars a story in themselves, in AF2 in 1973 and in 1974.

The 1974 AF2 series was one of the most competitive domestic Australian open wheeler championships ever (series sponsorship attracted both the top up and comers and F5000 stars) Leo winning the title against the very best…to watch him in these cars, I didn’t get to see him in his Tasman days, was to see a bloke at the top of his game, a very smooth, precise line driver and aggressive with it. His battles with Bob Muir in another Birrana in ’74 spring to mind especially a very soggy Calder. A magic driver for sure.

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Leo in the ‘Warwick Farm 100′ Tasman round February 1966. He finished 7th in the 1.5 litre Ford/Lotus engined Lotus 32. Race won by Jim Clarks’ Lotus 39 Climax, the car Leo acquired at the end of the series. (Bruce Wells)

Ray Bell ‘in period’ journalist with ‘Racing Car News’ had this to say about Leos’ commitment and precision, writing in ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2002.

‘It’s time to look at Leo a little more closely. Maybe at Warwick Farm, his real home circuit and in the Lotus 59, equipped with a nice toey Waggott TC4V engine and good enough to win him the Gold Star… let’s wander over to Homestead Corner… the cars are whistling through, taking that line that clips the two apexes and is so important for their speed down Hume Straight.

Lap after lap, Leo is precise and fast. But look there, on the outside edge of the circuit, where he drifts to between the apexes… see the white line, and then the drop of two inches or so where the bitumen’s been laid over an old entry road? Watch Leo’s rear tyre as he drifts out there…

The wheel had only a couple of inches on the white line… the rest of the tyre was hanging out there with two inches between the tread and the bitumen… two inches from disaster at that speed… every lap!’

One of the greats. RIP.

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Leo G in the racesuit, Fuji paddock JAF GP 1969. Lotus 39 Repco. Engine here is Repco ‘830 Series’ 2.5 Tasman V8, the ‘ultimate version’ of the Tasman Repcos’ , circa 295bhp@9000rpm. Packaging of this later Repco engine not as ‘neat and cohesive’ as the exhaust between the Vee ‘740 Series’ pictured below. (Unattributed)

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Leo in the Lotus 59 Waggott at WF approaching the ‘Northern Crossing’. AGP November 1970. 3rd in the 2 litre Lotus behind the winning Frank Matich McLaren M10B Repco F5000 and Graeme Lawrence’2.4 litre  Ferrari Dino 246T. (Rod Mackenzie Collection)

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Quintessential combination for many years, Leo G and Lotus 39 Repco…1969. (John Stanley)

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Wonderful portrait of Leo G by Rod MacKenzie in 1970. (Rod MacKenzie Collection)

Tailpiece…

Wonderful ‘Alec Mildren Racing’ film about the 1969 JAF GP won by Leo Geoghegan and contested by several Australians including the Mildren Racing pair, Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart.

Etcetera…

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Black helmet and black T-Shirt…Leo G Lotus 32 Ford 1.5, Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm December 1964. This was a huge win, the little 1.5 beating the big 2.5 Climax engined Tasman cars in this ‘Gold Star’ round. (Richard Austin)

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Leo G (left) & Jackie Stewart Warwick Farm Tasman round February 1967. JYS won the race in his BRM P261, Leo 5th and holding the trophy for first local resident home in his Lotus 32 Ford 1.5. (Dale Harvey)

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Leo, Lotus 39 Climax heading for 5th place during the 1967 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ Tasman round, Kevin Bartlett? perhaps behind, Brabham BT11A Climax 6th. (Unattributed)

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Leo and Pete Geoghegan won the Surfers Paradise 6 Hour in 1968 in the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM

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Leo G in his Lotus 39 Repco & Chris Amon Ferrari Dino 246T on the cover of MRA 1968. In this form the car was about as good as a 60’s open-wheeler looked. The conversion from Coventry Climax 2.5 FPF to Repco ‘740 Series’ 2.5 Tasman V8 was done by Geoghegans’ crew lead by John Sheppard, the marriage between chassis and engine superbly executed.

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Leo Geoghegan leading his compatriot Max Stewart during the 1969 JAF GP. Lotus 39 Repco 2.5 & Mildren Waggott 1.6. Race was F Libre. (Unattributed)

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Leo campaigned this Lotus 59 Waggott in 1970 and 1971, winning the Gold Star in the 265bhp 4 cylinder, DOHC injected four valve engined car in 1970. Here at Warwick Farm (lyntonh)

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Geoghegan manhandling his Chrysler Valiant RT Charger around Warwick Farm in October 1971. These cars were powered by 265cid in line 6 cylinder OHV, triple Weber 45DCOE engines…together with the Ford Falcon GTHO and Holden Torana GTR XU1 comprised a much loved period of Touring Car racing in Australia. Shortcomings of the Charger were its 3 speed ‘box, 4 speeder from 72’ and under-developed relative to the opposition. Leo G chief test driver/developer and lead driver for Chrysler, cars built at a long since closed factory in Tonsley Park, Adelaide. (Jeff Nield)

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Leo Geoghegan and Enno Buesselmann, Sandown 1973. Both Birrana 273 Hart Ford T/cam. (autopics)

Photo and Other Credits…

Bruce Wells, theroaringseason.com, lyntonh, Dale Harvey, autopics.com.au, John Stanley, Rod MacKenzie Collection

The Nostalgia Forum, RayBell, Motor Racing Annual

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Alfa Club of Victoria Concorso…300 Alfa Romeos’ dropping olio onto the Wesley First XI Turf…

The Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Victorias’ annual Concourse and preceding dinner… has become ‘Bigger Than Ben Hur’ in terms of quality of organisation, cars, location, attendance and guest speakers.

This years concourse was held at Wesley College, St Kilda Road, Melbourne on 30 November, the guest speakers at the nearby Parkview Hotel dinner the evening before were former Australian Racing Champions Kevin Bartlett and Alfredo Costanzo.

The ‘dialogue’ with the drivers was ably conducted by Melbourne longtime Alfista and racer John Emery, it wasn’t ‘hard core’ given the audience, too many road car types present for that sadly!, but the following are a few snippets from their comments or quick chats with each of them separately.

Parkview Hotel St Kilda Road

Crappy iPhone shot of Kevin Bartlett left, and Alf Costanzo, right being ‘interviewed’ by John Emery, Parkview Hotel 29 November

I covered KB’s early history in the Alfa GTA article of last week, see https://primotipo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1037&action=edit …he spoke fondly of his mentor Alec Mildren and the way Alec extracted the best from him which was around advice and encouragement, not actually how to drive, Mildren himself was the Australian Gold Star winner in 1960.

‘I was really lucky he gave me the chance to test, Glenn Abbey gave me the call, I don’t even remember the circuit but there were three or four other guys who also had similar credentials. But I guess they saw potential and a willingness to work hard and learn’.

Bartlett spoke of the evolution of the Lola F5000 cars from the T240 F2 based, twitchy, torsionally floppy T300 through to the T400 and ultimate variant of the T332, the 332C and what a competitive car it was. Costanzo chipped in about that cars understeer and said he, having also owned a T332, preferred the ‘twitchy and slightly more nervous’ T430, the ex-VDS/Brown car Alfie raced for Alan Hamilton so successfully in 1979/80.

Both noted that Warwick Brown happily went back to a T332 after the 430’s were sold despite his success in that model. (Rothmans Series 1977).

Bartlett related a funny anecdote about building a twin-turbo Jaguar XJS for Australian media magnate, the late Kerry Packer.

Kerry wanted to drive the ‘weapon’ from Sydney to Canberra, KB confessed that the gearbox whilst up for sprint meetings wouldn’t survive that journey…so Packer had his ‘chopper shadow the car on the trip, as you do!

Inevitably the car ‘cacked itself’ near Bowral, the chopper scooping up the legendary KP and delivering him to the capital on time. KB organising for his most wealthy clients car to be returned to Sydney…the silver lining in this relationship the very successful ‘Nine Network’ sponsorship of Bartlett’s Camaro in Touring Car Racing after his second F5000 ‘Big One’ when his Brabham BT43’s rear wheel failed at Sandown in 1979 made continued single seater racing not such a good idea.

Bartlett Sandown 1979 Brabham BT43 Chev

Bartlett in the Sandown pitlane 8 September 1979. Saturday practice, the following day KB had a rear wheel failure cause another big accident going thru ‘The Causeway’ breaking his legs, hospitalising him, destroying the car and ending his cherished single seater career…there were, however, touring cars to conquer. Car now has rear/side, rather than front mounted water rads’, Lola airbox, a variant of the nosecone used on KB’s T400 Lola and later rear wing. Jim Hardman in black anorak listening to KB’s issues and together working out the necessary tweaks! (Mark Bisset)

I asked KB whether Alec considered commercial sponsorship of his team to assist with the budget, as an alternative to ‘Alec Mildren Racing’ withdrawal from the sport but ‘it simply wasn’t his style’ so KB and Max Stewart were ‘on their own’ from 1971 both continuing to be successful but clearly the ‘Mildren Family Team’ was special in every way not least it’s competitiveness and influence on the professional teams which followed its lead.

Bartlett and Alfie are 3 years apart in age, KB born in 1940, Alf 1943. Their careers have ‘reverse parallels’ in some ways, KB a paid professional at 25, and on his own at 30, Alf on his own until 1979, when at 36 he became a paid professional…Unsurprisingly the ‘sweet spots’ in their careers were as paid professionals able to focus on just the driving rather than the more difficult commercial and organisational elements necessary in running your own team.

KB had an opportunity to test F1 for Brabham in 1970, ‘yes we should give him a run’ Ron Tauranac said but the fee was $60000 even then, as KB said, ‘I didn’t have $6k let alone $60k back then’ it’s a shame as the BT33 was a rocket in 1970 and still ok in 1971.

Bartlett Oran Park 1978

Bartlett in the one of a kind Brabham BT43 Chev ahead of Alf and John Walker at Oran Park , Rothmans Series 1978, both in Lola T332’s, Walker in KB’s old car. Warwick Brown won in another T332C, or rather a T333 Single-Seat CanAm car converted to F5000 for our Series before returning to the US whence it was converted back. See this shot of the Brabham in its original form here, mind you the nose had already been changed at this point…with the car in its final form above. (Glenn Moulds)

Two blokes who took to F5000 in Australia, having come out of smaller single-seaters like ‘ducks to water’ were Alf and Bruce Allison, immediately competitive…and both in Lola T332’s, Allison in the car KB sold to buy his T400, ‘HU22’. (KB’s T330 ‘HU22′ rebuilt after its Pukekohe early ’74 shunt around a 332 tub)

Not everybody who drove these animals of cars, mastered them…’it always focussed my mind the day before wherever I raced these cars because they could always bite you’, said KB.

One wag at the Parkview Hotel after listening to Alf speak, very amusing he was too, and who watched many of his early racing efforts said that ‘he bounced that Mono (Elfin Mono) off every fence in Victoria, he didn’t even book overnight accommodation at the country circuits as he never expected to race on Sunday!’

By 1975 he had the car in which to strut his stuff finishing second in the AF2 Championship that year in the Birrana 274 Ford Leo Geoghegan drove to the series win in 1974. Geoff Brabham won the title in a similar 274.

‘At the end of the year I sold the car and bought the ex-Bob Evans 1974 European F5000 Championship winning T332 ‘HU36′ for a lot less than I sold the Birrana! Brian McGuire had a good season in it in the UK in 1975 and was to race it again and then the Brits admitted F1 cars to their series so he bought one of those and sold the Lola cheap, all race prepared and ready to go. I even won a couple of KLM tickets late in the season so got a trip to the UK as well’

In a sad ending for Aussie McGuire, he died in the Williams FW04 he bought instead due to a component failure at Brands in 1977.

‘The T332 was a great car, I did well in it but I preferred the T430 which was a bit more nervous, the turn in was better. The McLaren was better again, no quicker than the Lola in a straight line but it put its power down much better, it was quicker through the corners.’

Costanzo, McLaren M26 Chev Sandown 1981

Costanzo at the old Sandown pit counter 1981. Mclaren M26 Chev, Jim Hardman in the white top. A talented engineer, his self designed and built Hardman JH1 Ford victorious in the 1980 AF2 Championship in Richard Davisons’ hands. Car @ rear is the Bryan Thomson owned Mercedes Fowler/Chev sports sedan then driven by John Bowe.

The McLaren Costanzo spoke of was the M26 F1 car converted to ground effect F5000 specification by Tiga Cars and raced by Alan Hamiltons’ Porsche Cars Australia Team in the dying days of F5000 in Australia.

These are a few vignettes in two phenomenal careers, it was a pleasure to meet them both and watch them work an audience in the same way they used to work the spectators on race day!

Racers both and great blokes to boot…

TZ1 and 6C 1750

All the fun of the fair..big crowds, this is early in the day. Alfa TZ1 Replica beside 6C 1750 Zagato. ‘Lola Limper’ Bartlett checking out the cars in brown shirt and cap.

Lawson and Little Alfa

John Lawsons’ Alfa 6C 2300 Spl left, with the ex-Lex Davison ‘Little Alfa’, shortened 6C1750 ‘Normale’ chassis’ , supercharged. Successful and famous Aussie special raced by Davo from circa 1946 to 1952. car originally Davisons’ fathers road car.

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Giuliettas’, St Kilda Road buildings at rear

Park scene Wesley

Swag of ‘105’s…a very pleasant Concourse location, Wesley College, Melbourne…

Photo Credits…

oldracephotos.com, Glenn Moulds

on track

Ian Ross Lola THL1 Hart, Peter Brennan Arrows A1B Ford & John Bowe March 741 Ford on circuit

This exciting event was organised by the Sporting Car Club of South Australia on the sunny weekend of 12/13 April.

A Hillclimb up Windy Peak , Belair, was held on the Saturday ,the ‘main event’ a sprint meeting  at Victoria Park on the CBD fringe on Sunday using a circuit encompassing part of Wakefield Road and the permanent section of the Adelaide GP/ Clipsal circuit.

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There was a large display of road and competition cars at Victoria Park, Adelaide’s old CBD horse-racing facility now converted to a public park

The meeting was a big hit with both spectators and competitors,  SCCSA’s Peter Whelan commenting that ‘the event fills a gap in the local Motorsport calendar and was a commercial success albeit the date will likely be shifted towards the end of the year in 2015′.
Their were some tremendous displays of cars in Victoria Park with the F1 cars the highlight of on-circuit activity. Mike Bennetts ex Graham Hill ’58 Lotus 12 Climax, the ex Stuck March 741 driven by John Bowe, Paul Faulkners’ex Jones Williams FW07, Peter Brennans’ex Patrese Arrows A1B, and Ian Ross’ ex Jones Lola THL1 all exciting to see and hear.

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Mike Bennetts’ Lotus 12 Climax ‘353’, Graham Hills ’58 GP car

The event was a wonderful celebration of Motorsport and a reminder of South Australia’s place in Australian motor racing’s rich past, the Australian Grand Prix contested on road circuits in Nuriootpa, Lobethal, Victor Harbour and Port Wakefield as well as the Adelaide GP circuit, and of course Mallala , a permanent facility built on an ex RAAF base.


 

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Amazing ‘Gilbert’ F5000/USAC car & Peter Whelans ex Patrese/Millen Macau GP/Malaysian GP winning Chevron B42 Ford

 

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Artist in residence…all the fun of the fair

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Superbly restored by Mike Bennett, Lotus 12

 

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John Bowe March 741 Ford, Peter Brennan Arrows A1B Ford

 

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Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider …with hardtop

 

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Cockpit of the ex-Hill Lotus 12 with the gear selector for the Lotus ‘Queerbox’, or sequential gearbox to the left

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Bowes March 741 Ford, Sean Whelans Ralt RT4 Ford, yellow Lola T140 Chev, white Lola T560 Ford on the ‘dummy grid’

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Paul Faulkner’s Williams FW07 Ford & Brennan’s Arrows A1B Ford with the Ross Lola partially obscured on the ‘dummy grid’