Archive for the ‘Who,What,Where & When…?’ Category

Bryan Falloon’s Rorstan Mk1a Porsche at rest in the Pukekohe paddock during the 1972 New Zealand Grand Prix weekend.

I’ve written about this rare car, built by Bob Britton at Rennmax Engineering in Sydney on his Brabham BT23 jig in early 1968. The story of the car is here, including poor Bryan’s demise on this Pukekohe weekend; https://primotipo.com/2020/08/17/rorstan-mk1a-porsche/

The rare colour photograph was too good to simply add to the existing piece.

By 1972 this 1967 spaceframe design – a modified F2 car was an old-clunker among the latest F5000s which made up the bulk of the field. But the impecunious Ian Rorstan / Bryan Falloon combination were having-a-crack.

The car was powered by a Porsche Type 771 twin-cam, two-valve, flat-eight. The design started as a 1962 1.5-litre F1 engine fitted to the Type 804. Engines grew to 2-litres – and here 2.2-litres, as measured by Alan Hamilton – for Porsche 907 sports-prototype use later in the sixties.

Incredibly complex in terms of bevel-drive operation of the camshafts and auxiliaries – Hamilton advises that the factory allowed 240 hours for the assembly of each engine – Rorstan bought the engine off Porsche Cars Australia when looking for a replacement for the geriatric Coventry Climax 2.5 FPF which powered the machine before.

The engine looks bulky and heavy, it is not – of magnesium and aluminium construction, it’s light. The disposition of horizontally opposed cylinders pops the weight nice and low too. The vertically mounted Bosch high-pressure fuel injection pump – driven off the inlet cam – and fuel metering unit add to the impression of size. Inboard of that, hidden, are eight-inlet trumpets.

Note the throttle linkage and small wing – given its shallow shape and chord, you wonder how much downforce was generated.

I’m intrigued to know exactly how Britton mated the engine and chassis, critical of course. Clearly, from the way he has strengthened the roll bar area, by bracing it down into the cockpit, the top horizontal mount heading aft is important.

More questions than answers of course, my curiosity about this car is at least partially stated!

Porsche 771 cutaway, yes it’s wonky, best I could find. Note, inter alia, the bevel-drive to the cams

Credits

Bill Mason

Finito

(G Wiseman Collection)

Stan Jones’ Maserati 250F chasing Len Lukey’s Cooper T45 Climax 2-litre FPF through Tannery Corner during the March 1959 Australian Grand Prix at Longford.

Geoff Wiseman uploaded onto social-media this wonderful colour shot from a spot not often used by the pro-snappers. It is a decent walk from Longford village to Tannery. Isn’t it a beauty?

That’s the race for the lead folks – a battle of old vs new technology, thankfully for we Stan-Fans, the tough-nugget from Warrandyte prevailed- Jones it was from Lukey.

Check it out in this piece here; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/08/stan-jones-agp-longford-gold-star-series-1959/

The short straight leads to the quick left-hander onto Long Bridge.

(G Wiseman Collection)

This time I’ve cropped the shot a bit. I love the way the photographer has framed the action between the spectators, makes you feel kinda-like you were there.

Etcetera…

If I had known the Lukey/Jones shot was going to be posted when I was at Longford in January and March I would have taken a one from exactly the same locale, but I didn’t!

What I can offer are three shots of a planned, but not yet written, modern ‘drivers eye lap of Longford’.

The first above is about halfway along Tannery Straight – towards the corner above, our feature shots. That’s the old Tannery building on the left, these days a lovely home or accommodation.

Jones would have whistled through this flat-biccie right-kink – yes, there is a kink none of the published maps show – at about 160mph.

By this point he has been in top-gear for a long while, Pub Corner is way, way back behind us. Amongst its many tests, Longford had two, long, top-revs throttle openings. The Flying Mile on Pateena Road is the other.

The next one is very deep into the Tannery braking area.

The corner (right) would have been taken in second gear (of five), I’m guessing a corner speed of 50-60mph. He isn’t quite turning in yet, but would be finishing his final shift and having a glance in the mirror, perhaps, before initiating the turn.

The final one is immediately after exiting Tannery – the straight leads to the now non-existent Long Bridge .

The location of the farmers gate is about where Len Lukey is in our first shot. There is a stile to the right so you can easily enter the property and walk up 400-500 metres to the River Esk waters edge.

I don’t think Jones would approach the following left hander before Long Bridge in top, but mighty quick in fourth.

Credits…

Geoff Wiseman, Mark Bisset

Finito…

(NAA)

Look at the jaunty insouciance on Fred Brodribb’s face.

Just love this shot.

The navigator isn’t so keen on photography it seems. I’ve seen plenty of Fuck-Off! looks in my time, and that, my friends is one of them.

Fred is feeling pretty good about life at this point of the 1926 1,000 mile RACV Alpine Trial in Canberra. He and his buddy had the event in-the- bag, but then arrived early at a control in Victoria on the run home, and copped a penalty which dropped them well back among the riff-raff.

Very much my kind of Bentley, #1226 is a rare 100 Supersports clad in lovely James Flood coachwork.

Brodribb Bros, of 372 St Kilda Road, Melbourne were significant Bentley importers and dealers with Fred active in building the marque through motorsport in the twenties.

Brodribbs were wiped out in the Great Depression, along with Bentley in its original form.

This car lived in Australia from 1925 to 1958, then had stints in New Zealand and the United States before ‘arriving home’ in 1989, it now lives in Perth.

(NAA)

This most imposing, sporting Bentley is possibly out front of the Canberra Hotel.

Our fearless leaders moved to the capital in 1927, no doubt the joint was pretty low-rent until post-war.

Credits…

National Archives of Australia, ‘Vintage Bentleys in Australia’ by Hay, Watson, Schudmak and Johns

Finito…

(L Hemer)

Kevin Bartlett, Lola T300 leads the ‘Angus & Coote Trophy’ from John McCormack, Elfin MR5 Repco, Oran Park 1972…

Allan Horsley, the promoter of Oran Park Raceway in Sydney’s outer west, was an energetic, creative guy. Even though this event wasn’t a Gold Star Championship round he attracted a good field of F5000’s to drag in the punters. The Angus & Coote Trophy was provided by a retail chain of jewellers.

The 500bhp V8 roller-skates were spectacular at the (then) short circuit, with Lynton Hemer there to capture the action, his wonderful photos are the inspiration for this article.

Interesting bunch of three Elfin MR5 Repco shots, this one of John Walker with the just visible Max Stewart up his clacker and Garrie Cooper’s works MR5 at rear. Four MR5’s were built, the Ansett Team Elfin cars of Cooper and McCormack and customer cars for Walker and Stewart, all were built to identical specifications fitted with Repco Holden F5000 engines. Walker’s car has the aero as the cars were first built, the Cooper and McCormack (shot below) cars have the ‘Tyrrell nose’ first fitted from the ’72 Warwick Farm Tasman round. Garrie has an airbox fitted, Mac does not. JW, an Elfin man through and through didn’t race the MR5 for long though, he jumped into an A50 Matich which complied with the American regss – the Elfin did not- John did some L&M rounds in the A50. Walker, Matich, Muir, Stewart and Bartlett all competed in the US in 1973 (L Hemer)

McCormack from Muir’s T300. J Mac got quicker and quicker didn’t he? Of the four MR5s, this chassis 5711 was the most successful- ’73 Gold Star and NZ GP win etc. It was a triumph of driving and Mac and Dale Koenneke’s development of what was not the most advanced F5000 design. Mac was further up the Repco queue once Matich retired (L Hemer)

Walkers MR5 5724  note aero comments above. Blade front wing, Walker developed into a very fast F5000 pilot- ’79 AGP and Gold Star winner, the difference in him pre ’73 L&M and post was significant. Confidence is such a big thing! (L Hemer)

With the exception of Frank Matich and his Matich A50 Repco, Lynton has many fine, close-up shots of the ‘Australian F5000 Class of 1972’- I wonder why FM wasn’t present, he was a Sydney boy after all? The answer is probably that he didn’t bother with this non-championship event on May 21, given the Belle Magazine Trophy Gold Star round was only a month hence, here in June.

By then he was on the way to comprehensively belting the Gold Star opposition- he won at Sandown, Oran Park, Surfers Paradise and Warwick Farm with Kevin Bartlett winning at Adelaide International in his Lola T300, and John McCormack at Symmons Plains aboard his MR5. FM won the Gold Star with 36 points from Bartlett and McCormack on 24 and 20 points respectively.

This lengthy article on Matich and his cars focuses a lot on 1971/2 so is useful context to the Australasian F5000 scene of the time, so have a look rather than repeat myself here; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/11/frank-matich-matich-f5000-cars-etcetera/

McCormack from Bartlett (L Hemer)

John McCormack (above) led from the start of the 25-lap event from Kevin Bartlett and Gary Campbell in Lola T300 Chevs. KB’s was a new chassis (HU16) acquired after the Tasman Series, in which he raced his venerable ex-Niel Allen McLaren M10B.

Gary Campbell, ex-Gardner first production T300 HU1 (L Hemer)

Gary Campbell (above) stepped up from the Waggott 2-litre engined ANF2 Elfin 600B/E he raced in the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds into the T300 (HU1) Frank Gardner raced in the Tasman, Campbell took delivery from the final, Adelaide round.

Gardner had notionally retired from single-seater racing but did an event or two in the UK later in 1972 as he track tested the very first Lola T330 HU1, a car purchased by Max Stewart and oh-so-successful in his hands.

Interesting side profile shot of Bob Muir’s T300 accentuates the relative ride height of the T300 with the T330/2 which followed. The presentation of this car had to be seen to be believed. The T300s were always set up with plenty of ride height, as you can see here, Kevin Bartlett observed “It was to do with the wishbone angles, roll centre, etc. The cars were usually set up very soft as the old F2 tub flexed a lot into the bargain. You could feel the strain when the grip was at its best, which wasn’t too often” (L Hemer)

Bartlett passed McCormack for the lead on lap three, with Muir passing Campbell on the same lap.

Muir became a very fast exponent of F5000, perhaps his best work was in the ’73 L&M rather than at home. Bob’s Reg Papps & Sons prepared T300, chassis HU4- ex-Niel Allen after a practice crash ended Allen’s planned racing comeback, was easily one of the most beautifully presented and prepared racing cars in Australia, visually stunning- I waxed lyrical about it here; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/18/my-first-race-meeting-sandown-tasman-f5000-1972-bartlett-lola-and-raquel/

Muir and KB sluggin it out (L Hemer)

Muir passed Bartlett (above) and ran out the winner from Kevin, John Walker’s Elfin MR5 Repco and Gary Campbell with KB setting a new lap record of 40.2 seconds.

In many ways the story of Australian 1972 F5000 racing- the championship Gold Star Series and non-championship Calder based ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth birthday by the way) was FM’s absolute preparedness for the season.

His Matich A50, so named in honour of sponsor, Repco’s fiftieth birthday had won on debut at Warwick Farm’s November 1971 AGP, but then had a disappointing Tasman Series, which he lost to arch-rival Graham McRae’s Leda LT27/GM1 Chev, Graham took four wins to FM’s one.

Frank Matich, Matich A50 Repco from John McCormack’s Elfin MR5 Repco at Surfers Paradise during the 1972 Tasman round, 3rd and DNF in the race won by McRae’s Leda GM1 Chev. Matich won the ’72 Gold Star in the same chassis- A50 ‘001’ (unattributed)

However, Matich was well and truly ready-to-rock at the domestic seasons outset with a very well developed car. Bartlett and Muir were more than capable of giving their fellow Sydneysider a run for his money, but neither had their T300’s early enough to have them honed to the fine pitch Matich had A50 ‘001’.

I suspect Matich did more test miles at Warwick Farm, paid for by Goodyear – he was both a contracted driver and their agent in Australia – than the rest of his fellow F5000 competitors added together. His 1972 results reflected just that.

( L Hemer)

I wonder why Max Stewart (above) raced ye-olde-faithful Mildren Waggott, his ’71 Gold Star winner rather than the Elfin MR5 Repco he had run since the ’72 Tasman?

Maybe the distinctive yellow MR5 wasn’t ready or ‘praps he wanted to give the Mildren Waggott a gallop to showcase its potential to would-be purchasers, Allan Grice bought it shortly thereafter. Maybe he was inspired to do so by Max’s performance at this meeting? In any event this amazing, popular machine was finally outpaced by the post-McLaren M10B series of smaller, lighter F5000’s despite the efforts of its oh-so-talented, lanky pilot.

There are so many shots of the utterly-luvverly Lola T300 in this article it seems smart to expand a bit upon this seminal F5000 machine…

The Lola T190 F5000 wasn’t Lola’s best design but Frank Gardner evolved it into the longer wheelbase, and modified in many other areas T192- and won plenty of races in it in Europe and Australasia.

The car was far from uncompetitive into 1971 too- FG won at Warwick Farm during the Tasman Series, and European F5000 championship races at Silverstone, Mondello Park and Castle Combe. The old racer ran with and beat youngsters such as Brian Redman, Mike Hailwood, McRae and Allan Rollinson.

Gardner on the way to Warwick Farm 100 Tasman victory on 14 February 1971. Lola T192 Chev ‘190/F1/6’ or ‘HU14’- note the winglets aside the cars chassis. WF Esses, car following probably the Matich M10B Repco, brave ‘snapper is Lance Ruting. Car stayed in Oz- sold to Colin Hyams, then to US in 1972  (J Ellacott)

But the laconic racer/engineer wanted something smaller and lighter to stay ahead of the chasing pack, including the new McLaren M18/22, Surtees TS8 and coming Leda GM1.

In a moment of wham-bam-thankyou-maam pragmatic inspiration, he and Lola Engineer, Bob Marston, married the existing Lola T240 F2/Atlanic chassis with a 5-litre Chev and DG300 Hewland transaxle.

The production variant of the prototype became the T300 we F5000 nut-bags know and love. After some testing, the prototype ‘T242’ made its race debut at Thruxton on August 1, 1971.

FG plonked it on pole and finished third behind McRae’s highly developed McLaren M10B, and Hailwood’s works Surtees TS8. It was a statement of intent, the cars performance and looks were the subject of all he paddock chatter that weekend. The queue at Huntingdon started the morning after.

T242 was renamed T300 from the following Silverstone round on August 14, Gardner was again behind Hailwood, this time in second position.

(J Ballantyne)

The photos above show the car in the Snetterton paddock on August 30, 1971.

The chassis was destroyed in an argument over real-estate that very weekend between Gardner, and Redman’s M18 McLaren on lap eight. The T242/300 was badly damaged, rooted in fact – sad as that particular Lola was a very significant one for the company and F5000 as a class.

The key elements of the design- its overall size and packaging, hip-mounted radiators, wedge shape and aerodynamics are all clear.

Lola T300 drawing, poor in quality but useful all the same. Gardner’s prototype machine (Pinterest

Autosport proclaims Gardner/Lola’s ’71 Euro F5000 victory

Gardner raced his replacement car, the first production T300, chassis HU1 (the car he brought to Australia later that year, boofed in practice for the Warwick Farm AGP, was repaired and then contested the ’72 Tasman before sale to Gary Campbell as above) to its first win at Hockenheim on 12 September, in front of Emerson Fittipaldi’s F1 Lotus 56B Pratt & Whitney turbine, and Teddy Pilette’s McLaren M10B Chev.

I hope Eric Broadley paid those two fellas, Gardner and Marston a bonus in 1971 because they created, arguably, the first of the most successful and profitable family of production racing cars ever.

Lola built ‘a million’ T300/330/332/332C/332CS/333 cars and spares, those machines won countless F5000 and single-seat Can-Am races in the hands of just as many champions, journeymen and amateur drivers for well over a decade.

(G Ruckert)

The photo above is the business end of Bartlett’s T300 HU16 at Surfers Paradise in 1972, that’s Bartlett’s red driving suit and John Harvey’s purple crutch alongside!

Key elements of the machine are the injected 5-litre 500bhp Chevy V8, note the magneto and fuel metering unit. The rear of the aluminium monocoque chassis is to the right- the car was designed as an F2, it was a bit floppy.

Torsional rigidity was improved with the T330/332 which followed, but these were not machines in which to have a front-in shunt, as Bartlett experienced at Pukekohe aboard his T330 in early 1974. He was an early member of the Lola Limpers Club joining fellow Australasians Graeme Lawrence and Warwick Brown- all three came to grief in T300’s.

The gearbox is of course the ubiquitous Hewland DG300. Originally designed for ‘effete’ F1 engines, the prodigious torque of 5-litre motors made the ‘box marginal. Sticking to maintenance and lifing cycles of gears, dog rings, crown wheel and pinions was critical to avoid DNFs. The Hewland in yer little namby-pamby Formula Ford (Mk9/LD200) or Formula Pacific (FT200) was ‘set and forget’ to an extent, not so in one of these big, heavy muvvers.

The uprights are magnesium, disc brakes inboard at the rear and suspension period typical- single upper links and inverted lower wishbones, two radius rods- you can see one on the right threading the exhaust system. The adjustable rear roll bar is clear as is the engine oil tank to the right of the left exhaust outlet.

A superb, fast, race winning bit of kit in every respect but nowhere near as forgiving, if that is ever a word to be used in the same sentence as F5000- as a McLaren M10B KB notes…

Bartlett, Harvey and T300 from the front. Not sure if this is the ’72 Glynn Scott or ’73 Tasman weekend (G Ruckert)

Etcetera: The T300 and it’s father before the 1971 AGP @ Warwick Farm…

This is a pre-race publicity shot by Fairfax media.

The only trouble was Frank Gardner boofed HU1 in practice so did not start the race- he would have given Frank Matich a run for his money that day given the speed of the T300 in Europe. But ‘ya gotta be in it to win it’, and FG was not that weekend, despite a stellar record of prior success at The Farm.

The car was rebuilt in Oz around a new tub freighted in from Huntingdon, and raced to an NZGP win at Pukekohe, and three second places during the 1972 Tasman before being sold to Campbell, as related earlier, after the Sandown round.

(R Davies)

Speaking of chassis Robert Davies has superbly captured this rare photo of a nude T300 Chev- its the Allen/Muir/Brown ‘HU4’ in the Sandown paddock during 1972.

I won’t repeat the technical summary from above- devoid of bodywork the small light aluminium monocoque and minimal front impact protection is abundantly clear. The only deformable part of a racing car of this period was the body of the driver…

(unattributed)

Far-canal, that really is a mess. Its the same chassis HU4 shown above.

If you thought about the physics involved in a Formula Ford shunt you probably wouldn’t do it, but Jesus the big single-seaters of this period- F1 and F5000 really were lethal devices.

Balls of steel to race them springs to mind.

I don’t usually publish shots of rooted racers but this one had a happy ending- and adds some color and reality to the glib ‘Lola Limper’ line used earlier on.

Young Australian thruster Warwick Brown graduated from the McLaren M10B Chev with which he cut his F5000 racing teeth in 1972, to the ex-Allen/Muir Lola T300 prior to the 1973 Tasman- third at Levin and second at Wigram showed his mettle and immediate pace in a competitive car. It all came undone at Surfers, the first of the Australian Tasman rounds.

His car got away from him on the fast, demanding, circuit spreading bits of aluminium and fibreglass over the grassy undulations of the Nerang countryside and broke both Warwick’s legs. He got wide onto the marbles on the entry to the flat in fifth right-hander under Dunlop Bridge, and bounced across the grass into the dirt embankment surrounding the circuit.

The light aluminium tub folded back, in the process doing horrible things to Warwick’s feet and lower limbs. He had a very long recovery, made somewhat easier by the promise of a new car from his near-neighbour patron, mining millionaire Pat Burke. In that T332 HU27 he won the 1975 Tasman Series, the only Australian ever to do so.

It’s a story for another time but WB had another two Lola ‘big ones’ in the US in a T332C and T333. If there was a President for Life of the Lola Limpers Club I suspect it was Mr Brown.

Balls of steel, and mind over matter…

Click here for a piece on WB; https://primotipo.com/2017/03/09/wb-for-73/

(T Marshall)

The photo above is of WB at Levin only a couple of weeks prior to its Surfers demise.

Terry Marshall has captured the Sydneysider nipping a right-front during the 13 January Levin International. Warwick was third behind McRae’s GM1 and Matich’s A50- two of the toughest of F5000 nuts.

(unattributed)

Calder in 1972- Bob Jane had no Gold Star round that year but did promote the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ for F5000 and ANF2.

By the look of the clothes of the hardy Victorians it is winter’ish- Calder in the Winter is not a particularly pleasant place usually, i’m figuring the October 15 round with the assistance of oldracingcars.com though.

It looks as though Gary Campbell #4, has made a corker of a start and is seeking a way past KB #5 but then again maybe KB got off like a rocket and and Gary is giving him room as KB jinks right for a way past John McCormack’s Ansett Elfin MR5 Repco.

Over by the aptly placed Repco sign is the Repco-Holden F5000 engined Matich A50 #25 of John Walker- perhaps some of you American readers saw JW race this car in several L&M rounds in 1973 so well?

Bartlett won this 30 lapper in a smidge under 21-minutes from Walker and McCormack, then came Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco and Campbell.

Bartlett won this five round series from Matich and Muir.

L Hemer)

Who would have throughout the T300 as a rally car?

KB negotiates the Warwick Farm paddock during the famously wet 1973 Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round, Steve Thompson Chevron B24 Chev won that day.

(unattributed)

The angle on the dangle.

And they are all angles, just the wildest looking thing at the time – even the Lotus 72 looked conservative alongside one of these babies.

Bartlett on the Calder grid alongside Mc Cormack during the 15 Ocober meeting referred to above.

Photo Credits…

Lynton Hemer, John Ballantyne, oldracephotos.com.au, Graham Ruckert, Terry Marshall, Pinterest, John Ellacott, Fairfax Media

References…

oldracingcars.com, The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece: Double T300 Trouble- Muir from Bartlett, Oran Park 1972…

(oldracephotos.com.au/DSimpson))

Finito…

(B Jackson)

c’mon Alec won’t even notice, our helmets are much the same. Its gotta be quicker with that Eyetalian V8- lookout ‘yerv fried the left front though FG…

Denny Hulme trying to convince Frank Gardner to give him a few Warwick Farm laps in FG’s new Mildren Racing Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8.

The new World Champ raced a Brabham BT23 that summer too- albeit a Ford FVA powered F2 chassis which really didn’t cut the mustard amongst the 2.5s.

Denny was fifth in the 1968 Warwick Farm 100 won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW, while Gardner’s Italian motor busted a camshaft.

That Italian engine: Tipo 33 2.5-litre DOHC, two-valve, twin plug, injected all alloy V8

After Gardner returned to Europe Kevin Bartlett drove BT23D to victory in the 1968 Australian Gold Star Championship, and in winged-form, very competitively in the 1969 Australian Tasman rounds.

The perky rump of FG’s new Brabham (below) on the way to Hordern Trophy victory on the cars race debut in the Warwick Farm Gold Star round in December 1967.

Spencer Martin took the second of his two titles that year after a spirited contest between he and his Brabham BT11A Climax, and the similarly mounted Alec Mildren entry driven by Bartlett.

(unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Brian Jackson via Glenn Paine, The Roaring Season, John Ellacott

Tailpiece: Gardner, Brabham BT23D Alfa, Warwick Farm Tasman, February 1968…

(J Ellacott)

Finito…

Reg Hay, Blackburn, on his way to victory in the 1925 unlimited championship, Longford (K Hay)

All too often we car blokes forget the trail blazed to create or use racetracks by our motor-bike racing buddies.

I knew it was the leather clad brigade who are responsible for the first Longford road-racing meeting in 1953 (and were a key part of the meetings until 1966). Bless them. I didn’t realise their Longford contribution dates back to the twenties- thad’ll be the 1920s folks.

Some of the earliest social runs organised by the Tasmanian Automobile Club (membership 50/50 cars/bikes) were from Launceston to the Blenheim Inn at Longford. Shortly thereafter, inevitably, members wanted to see ‘how fast she would go’. The long, straight road from Perth to Longford, starting at the Perth end was the chosen stretch for these one mile timed runs.

Fifty years later, the other end of that straight stretch (Pateena Road) formed Longford’s Flying Mile.

Quickest car during the first of these meetings was a Mr Heathcote’s Coventry Humber, a heady 72kmh, fastest bike was Percy Harrison’s Griffon, which did 83kmh.

Charles King and L Rosevears, Longford 1925 (K Hay)

 

While I’m getting all misty-eyed about Longford again. Tasmanian Govt Railways H3 crossing the South Esk River at Longford enroute to Devonport, April 17, 1965. Eight of these heavy-freight locos were built for the TGR by The Vulcan Foundry, Newton-Le-Willows, England, and delivered in October 1951. 6 of the 8 were preserved but not this one (G Oliver)

 

Starters before the 5 lap unlimited championship, Longford 1925. #4 Reg Hay won on his Blackburn (K Hay)

Into the twenties race meetings were held at the Longford horse racing track. Built in the 1840s, the thoroughbred track is one of the oldest in Australia, it is 3km from ‘Pub Corner’ in Longford village.

Even though the roll-on, roll-off ferry from Devonport to Port Melbourne only commenced in the late fifties plenty of riders from the North Island made the trip on the smaller ferry with their ‘bikes to race in these twenties meetings “where Victorian star Charles Disney had to fight for his victories against some very quick local first-timers.”

Reg Hay travelled the other way and did much winning on Victorian speedways in the summer, returning to Tassie to win other events including 24-Hour Trials in the cooler months. Later he moved to the UK just before the war to captain the Australian Speedway Team.

When he returned to Tasmania after the war he was the chief starter at Quorn Hall and Valleyfield and then later at Longford and Symmons Plains, I wonder if he ever did some practice laps on the Longford road course…

Rolling start for the 600s at Longford in 1924 (Weekly Courier)

Credits…

‘The Examiner’ Launceston, Kevin Hay, Geoffrey Oliver, Weekly Courier, Sydney Morning Herald

Tailpiece…

Rolling the Longford clock forward 35 years, Australian international Jack Ahearn, with Long Bridge in the background, lines his Norton up for the uphill Newry Corner during the March 1961 meeting.

The Bondi born veteran aces best result was second in the 1964 world 500 championship behind MV’s Mike Hailwood. See here for a piece on Ahearn; https://www.oldbikemag.com.au/jack-ahearn-man-reasons/

Finito…

(NAA)

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.

Credits…

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

Tailpiece…

(NAA)

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?).

Finito…

 

Towards Hell Corner for the first time. Jones’ Maserati 250F, Gray’s blue Tornado 2 Chev with Davison’s Ferrari 500/625 at left. Mildren’s green Cooper T43 Climax FPF 2.0 then Tom Clark’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo 3.4 and Merv Neil’s Cooper T45 Climax FPF 1.7 (M Reid)

The October 6, 1958 Australian Grand Prix was regarded as one of the great AGPs- a battle between the big red Italian cars of Stan Jones and Lex Davison and the booming blue homegrown Australian special raced by Ted Gray.

In the end Davo’s evergreen ex-Ascari/Gaze Ferrari 500/625 prevailed over the 100 miles, while the attacks of Stan’s Maserati 250F and Tiger Ted’s Tornado 2 Chev fell short.

The event took on greater significance over time as it showed the front-engined Italians at the height of their power in Australia before the full force of the Cooper onslaught bit.

Lex Davison dips his fuel level before the off, Ferrari 500/625 (R Reid)

 

Ted Gray during his glorious run in front for two thirds of the race. Tornado exiting Murrays (R Reid)

Lou Abrahams and his team had developed, arguably, the fastest car in the country during 1958. In addition they had improved Tornado’s reliability as they addressed, step by step, shortcomings in the machines drivetrain exposed by the prodigious power and torque of it’s fuel-injected Chev Corvette 283cid V8 fitted later in 1957.

Stan Jones found the consistency he needed to win the Gold Star in 1058 but Tornado was quicker. Lex Davison, the defending champion, wasn’t seen during the Gold Star as the AF Hollins & Co crew took a long time rebuilding the Ferrari’s 3-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine which blew after piston failure during the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore in January.

Gray’s promise was proved with a win in the heat which contained the quicker cars. Not only was the car speedy over a lap, he was also considerably quicker than the opposition down Conrod – 152.54mph from Davison’s 146.74 and Jones’ 139.5

Tension mounts before the start of the second heat. #22 Clark and Davison, then Gray and Jones. The dark car on the outside of row 3 is perhaps Len Lukey’s Lukey Bristol with Ray Walmsley’s Alfa Romeo P3 Chev on his inside. The red car with the white nose-roundel is Tom Hawkes modified Cooper T23 Holden-Repco Hi-Power (R Reid)

 

Tail of the field thru Hell on lap 1- Alf Harvey’s light blue Maserati 4CLT OSCA 4.5 V12 with what looks like, perhaps, John Schroder’s Nota Consul. Harvey’s just rebuilt Maserati won it’s heat but ‘blew a spark plug right through the bonnet’ on lap 16. The Nota was out on lap 10 (ABC)

Early in the race the lead changed between the big three, who cleared away from the rest of the field to lead by nearly a minute at the conclusion of the first 10 of 30 laps- at this point Gray was 8 seconds up on the Jones/Davison battle.

By lap 22 Ted was ahead by a steady’ish 10 seconds but pitted to report erratic handling. A messy, unplanned pitstop ensued during which fuel was topped up and slopped all over the place. A post-race examination showed cracked rear suspension mounts were the cause of the handling misdemeanors. Ted returned to the fray determined to make up the gap but in his haste, and still with his problem, Tornado glanced off the fence on the mountain, then did a couple of slow laps before retiring on lap 24.

Stan Jones then appeared set take a race he deserved to win (he did at Longford in 1959) but he had been shifting gears sans clutch for 7 laps- during his 26th lap the 250F dropped a valve and he was out. Davo completed the remaining four laps to win from Ern Seeliger in Maybach 4 Chev and Tom Hawkes’ Cooper T23 Holden-Repco Hi-Power. It was a happy day for Ern as he prepared both cars, and Tom’s was out of oil with a split sump!

Stan The Man in one of his muscle-shirts while in the lead early on. Maserati 250F exiting Murrays (I think) into Pit Straight (R Reid)

Etcetera…

(R Reid)

Credits…

‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Ors, Ron Reid Collection, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Tailpiece…

(R Reid)

A slightly fuzzy Jones, Davison and Gray through Reid Park in the early laps before Ted cleared out- Maserati, Ferrari, Tornado.

Finito…

(B King Collection)

Geoff Hine’s Bugatti T23 Brescia is shown above during a meeting held on November 27, 1954.

The Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club used a stretch of road at Collinsvale, 20km north-west of Hobart for ‘demonstrations of durability and speed’ as early as October 26, 1924, it is still in use.

On that day the fastest time was set by K Sutherland aboard a 2 3/4 horsepower BSA- the smallest bike entered. ‘A word of praise is due to this young rider, for he is only a beginner’ The News reported. ‘The races were over a distance of a mile, in which there were a number of nasty bends, but except for a few minor accidents, all the events were disposed of satisfactorily.’

Hine raced the Bugatti at various Tasmanian venues including the Brighton Showgrounds where ‘long straights and wide grassy corners were perfect for high speeds’ in November 1953. At Longford he did 23.22 seconds during a Light Car Club acceleration test in May 1954.

T23 chassis ‘2467’ was owned by Herbert Hine for many years. His grandson, Michael Dunbabin, recalls the car in his Darcy Street, South Hobart home garage along with ‘Some old Bentleys and a Rolls Royce. As kids we used to jump up into the Rolls and play with all of the levers and buttons- it was such fun in that dusty, dark garage full of old cars and loads of stuff he bought at the Burns Mart auctions.’

‘After Geoff had finished racing the car it was restored to perfection over many years by my grandfather. He was really skilled, he worked for the Hobart Marine Board as a fitter and turner. He eventually moved from Hobart back to Bacchus Marsh in Victoria where he was brought up. On his death the Brescia passed to his sons, Geoff and Warwick.’

See here for a feature on Brescias, more detail on the Hine car to come; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/27/country-spin/

‘The News’ Hobart 27 October 1924

Etcetera…

I’ve included this November 3, 1951 article published in the Launceston Examiner I found fishing for information on Collinsvale.

That the newspaper felt the need to explain the history of motor racing is perhaps indicative of the local populace’ knowledge of our sport at the time. The piece makes clear the need for a racetrack in the Apple Isle. The use of Longford from 1953 and construction of Baskerville in 1958 and Symmons Plains in 1961 would solve the problem of course.

I note the article records the first road race in Tasmania as taking place in May 1911 and won by JK Heritage, does anybody have more information on this event?

Valleyfield is covered tangentially in this piece on Quorn Hall; https://primotipo.com/2020/12/17/quorn-hall-tasmania/

Credits…

Bob King Collection, Michael Dunbabin, The News

Finito…

 

 

 

 

(unattributed)

Stan Jones pressing on aboard his HRG 1.5 s/c ‘Bathurst’ during the January 2, 1950 Australian Grand Prix weekend at Nuriootpa, South Australia.

Stanley had a rush of blood during a preliminary event. He was engaged in a torrid dice for the lead with fellow Melbourne purveyor of fine automobiles, Bill Patterson, as a consequence both ‘cooked’ their machines. Stan didn’t take the AGP start and Patto retired his MG TC Spl from the feature with head gasket failure.

Click here for an article on this AGP including the HRG; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/10/1950-australian-grand-prix-nuriootpa-south-australia/ and here on Patto; https://primotipo.com/2017/02/02/patto-and-his-coopers/

More Jones, I know. This photo came from a mate of a mate who snapped the print of the HRG on the wall of a most discerning Murray Bridge, South Australia bakery!

Credits…

Love to know who the snapper is, Geoff Harris and Stuart Bowes, State Library of South Australia

Stan’s HRG in the Nuriootpa paddock. Note the hacking of the bodywork necessary to accommodate the blower and associated plumbing (SLSA)

Finito…