Posts Tagged ‘1940 Bathurst Grand Prix’

(F Pearse)

One of the amazing things about the internet is the manner in which information is shared, not least photographs from collections which would otherwise never have seen the light of day…

Fred Pearse is one such person who was “an insider enthusiast, a decent man who spannered cleverly for over two decades, here and overseas,” according to Australian racer/historian John Medley.

In the photo above Fred is fettling Dick Cobden’s ex-Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 V12 s/c prior to the South Pacific Championship at Gnoo Blas, Orange in January 1955.

Peter Whitehead won on that particular weekend driving a Ferrari 500/625. See this feature article, largely containing Fred’s photographs, which should be treated as Fred Pearse Collection 1; 1955 South Pacific Championship, Gnoo Blas… | primotipo…

Peter Reynell was left Fred’s photo albums upon his death having looked after him for the last years of his life. “Fred told me quite a bit, it was all a long time ago, but I clearly recall his pride in Col James’ MG Special, he was involved in that,” Peter recalls.

“Don’t forget his involvement in motorsport administration too. He was Clerk of Course at Bathurst and Amaroo Park, was a member of both the Australian Racing Drivers Club and CAMS NSW Boards.”

Peter has posted photos from Fred’s albums progressively on Bob Williamson’s Australian Motor Racing Photos Facebook page which has become an amazing historic resource given the paucity of photographs on so many Australian racing topics. Thanks to Fred and Lee Pearse, and Peter Reynell.

(Reg Light’s 1934 Vauxhall)

While some of the scans aren’t flash, I don’t want rare photos to disappear without trace into the bowels of FB. In some cases I’m not sure of the car/driver/location but with some input from you lot we should be able to solve the puzzles. Please get in touch if you can assist!

The article is primarily snippets, and more substantively about the 1936 Australian Tourist Trophy at Phillip Island and the 1940 Bathurst GP. In the latter case I’ve drawn upon the race report from Medley’s seminal ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’. In addition to these two meetings there are photos on all manner of topics.

John Medley picks up the threads, “Fred Pearse directly or indirectly was involved with many of Australia’s significant racing cars, ask yourself for example about the Altoona Indian with Norton barrels pictures…probable links back to the original Chamberlain earlier with Altoona Indian power, later vertically opposed four-cylinder eight-piston, supercharged two-stroke (in a front wheel drive inboard-braked spaceframe chassis in 1932.” See here; Chamberlain 8: by John Medley and Mark Bisset… | primotipo…

  “WB Thompson’s (below) Midget car engine. Norton barrels and heads on a (1926-28) Indian Altoona crankcase.” (F Pearse)

Bill Thompson and Ted Poole at Wentworth Park, Sydney in 1935 (vintagespeedway.com)

“When speedway was starting in Australia with multiple AGP winner Bill Thomson involved, plus Bill Bargarnie (who did the superchargers on Jack Borretto’s weekes Ford V8 pre-war) and forward to Jack Brabham’s twin-cylinder and Ron Wards’s speedway cars.”

Bob King draws the connections too, “Bill Balgarnie was a Chamberlain employee who later set up the tractor factory in Western Australia for them. He was also Bill Thompson’s riding mechanic and a TT motorcyclist. It makes a lot of sense if the Chamberlain Special Altoona Indian motor found its way into Thompson’s speedway car.”

John Medley again, “Fred Pearse was involved with many of them, as a Reg Light employee and later Peco partner (with Bob Pritchett) and probably in the John Snow/Jack Saywell preparation business (Monza Service in East Sydney) prewar where imported expert ‘Jock’ Finlayson ruined the Saywell Alfa Tipo-B engine – so in time it was lost when war broke out.”

“To extend my previous observations re the Altoona Indian Norton; Jim McMahon was another Sydney-sider who probably looked at Bill Thompson’s/Bill Bargarnie’s work, did several cars himself on speedway and road, produced a Peoples Car postwar (ran the prototype at Bathurst) starred in a film or two and built a side-valve Ford V8 into an OHV motor using motorcycle heads on a Ford block, which, I suspect ended up in the USA in a Lincoln, Nebraska Museum.” wrote Medley.

There are some fragments here rather worthy of follow up with Mr Medley in due course!

(F Pearse)

1936 Australian Tourist Trophy, Phillip Island…

This 200-mile race was held on March 30 and won by Jack Fagan (#2) who also set the fastest time, 3 hours 6 min 15 seconds, or 64mph. Supercharged MG K3 Magnette.

HR Reeve was second in an MG P-Type, with all of the other 15 starters either non-classified or DNFs!

(F Pearse)
The caption reads ‘A diagram showing the new 3 1/2 mile circuit at Phillip Island which will be used for the 200 miles Australian Tourist Trophy on March 30’- the map also shows the original circuit since the 1928 100 Miles road race, aka the Australian Grand Prix.
Fagan MG K3 (F Pearse)

Fagan MG K3 (F Pearse)
(F Pearse)

At a guess this is the accommodation for motorcars behind the Isle of Wight Hotel, site now vacant.

Bill Thompson Bugatti T37A (F Pearse) If the shot was taken during the ’36 TT weekend it was riven by Tom Peters

“Supercharged Bugatti, holder of New South Wales Light Car Clubs speed record at 112mph, Canberra 1935, driver WB Thompson,” wrote Fred in 1936.

Pit setup for K3 and Bugatti (F Pearse)
(F Pearse)

Riley Brooklands or TT Sprite. Article on the Sprite here; Riley Club, Bacchus Marsh Sprints 1937… | primotipo…

(F Pearse)
‘Blown’ Austin 7 (F Pearse)
(F Pearse)

Bathurst Easter 1940 : Bathurst Grand Prix…

The annual Easter meeting was the last until 1946 with the war now six months old, several of the entrants including John Snow, Delahaye , Charlie Whatmore and Arthur Wylie had joined the military with others to follow so the meeting for many at Applecross, Perth in November 1940 duly noted, was the last hurrah.

L-R: John Barraclough, MG NE Magnette, John Snow, Delahaye 135CS, perhaps Tom Lancey’s MG NE Magnette, and Alf Barrett’s winning Alfa Romeo Monza (F Pearse)
Paul Swedberg’s Offy (F Pearse)

The meeting attracted huge crowds despite one of the worst droughts in Australia’s history, petrol shortages and a war which continued to involve greater numbers of Australians.

There were 40 minutes between the backmarker, Alf Barrett, Alfa Monza and limit-man Jolley’s Singer 9 who led the first five laps. An MG T Series battle ensued between French and Nind. Barraclough’s MG NE had a slow opening lap so the faster black similar car of Lancey led the battle but he was ovetaken before the end.

Alf Barrett’s Alfa Monza at rest (F Pearse)

Finally the Barrett Alfa roared away with 150 miles in front of him. Frank Kleinig, Kleinig Hudson Spl was slowed all afternoon by carburettor trouble, Bill Reynolds did well early until his Ford V8 overheated, that engines common affliction.

Crowd interest was provided by Paul Swedberg’s Offy with only a two-speed gearbox and two-wheel (hand) braked who was outgunned on the straights and under brakes but was very quick uphill and under acceleration. Early in the race Swedberg and Snow passed and re-passed one-another but the red and blue Offy passed the Delahaye up Mountain Straight.

Barrett continued to close, “the Alfa Romeo markedly quicker than any other competitor sliding and shuddering on the corners and spraying gravel as Barrett hurled this classic car on those long smooth lines he was to become famous for.”

John Crouch in the Alfa 8C2300 imported by John Snow, not Bathurst 1940 though where he carried number 7 (F Pearse)
Snow, Delahaye 135CS (F Pearse)
Alta in Ford V8 trim “having been driven lightless and unregistered by Bill Reynolds from Melbourne” and “no doubt barely an eyelid was batted!” – Nathan Tasca and John Medley (F Pearse)

By mid-race, Harold Monday, Ford V8 and Crouch Alfa 8C2300, had lost time with pitstops, McMahon’s Willys was about to fail with engine trouble and Burrows Hudson dream run ended in timing sprocket failure. Lancey had dramas too and slipped down the field.

Whatmore led from Kleinig, Snow and Barrett with Swedberg heading for the pits with plug trouble.

Barrett took the lead from Whatmore on lap 31 with Snow passing Whatmore a lap later for second. Jack Phillips withdrew with back trouble (having crashed the car earlier in the week and spending several days in hospital) and climbed out of the car collapsing in agony with Parsons taking over, dropping three places but finishing ninth.

Barrett crossed the line in the fastest time to win from Snow and Whatmore – then George Reed Ford V8 Spl, the John Crouch Alfa, Frank Kleinig, Paul Swedberg, John Barraclough, and Jack Phillips/Parsons Ford V8 Spl. Barrett set a lap record during the race at 3 minutes 4 seconds. Click here for a lengthy feature on Barrett and his Alfa; Alf Barrett, ‘The Maestro’, Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Monza… | primotipo…

Exhaust side of Swedberg’s Offy Midget (F Pearse)
Swedberg’s Offy over the line (F Pearse)
Jim McMahaon’s Willys Special (F Pearse)

Bathurst Etcetera…

(F Pearse)

Peter Whitehead in ERA R10B during his successful 1938 Australian Grand Prix weekend. Click here for a feature on Whitehead and the ’38 AGP; Peter Whitehead in Australia: ERA R10B: 1938… | primotipo…

(F Pearse)
(F Pearse)

John Sherwood, MG NE Magnette during his victorious Bathurst 100 drive at Easter in 1939. Piece on Sherwood here; ‘History of Motor Racing in Australia’ by John Sherwood in 1953… | primotipo…

(F Pearse)

Jack Saywell, Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 at Bathurst in 1939

Etcetera…

Jim Brace, Frontenac Ford (F Pearse)
(F Pearse)

Victor Harbor paddock, December 26, 1936, South Australian Centenary Grand Prix/1936 AGP.

Jim Fagan’s #1 MG K3 and Tom Peters Bugatti T37A- both failed to finish as did Frank Kleinig in Bill McIntyre’s Hudson Spl. Les Murphy’s MG P Type took the win that weekend.

Frank Kleinig’s famous and still existing Kleinig Hudson Spl, an amazing and constantly developed concoction of MG chassis, straight-eight Hudson engine and many other components. Click here for a feature on this car; Frank Kleinig, Kleinig Hudson Special… | primotipo…

(F Pearse)

Its fuzzy but has to be Bob Lea-Wright’s Singer Nine with silverware after the 1934 Australian Grand Prix won in splendid fashion from Bill Thompson’s MG K3 Magnette.

(F Pearse)

Absolutely no idea with this one, but the background appears to be the same for this photograph and the several which follow. Car above front and centre is a Terraplane Special.

(F Pearse)

Mrs JAS Jones’ Alfa Romeo 6C1750 Zagato SS. See here; Mrs JAS Jones Alfa 6C 1750 SS Zagato… | primotipo…

(F Pearse)

MG K3??

(F Pearse)
(F Pearse)
(F Pearse)

Peter Whitehead at Parramatta Park, Sydney in November 1938.

He is aboard ERA R10B during his successful 1938 Australian Tour, not that this event was a successful one for anybody involved, aborted as it was on the evening before the race due to NSW Police concerns about spectator safety. See here; Parramatta Park Circuit… | primotipo…

(unattributed)

Bill Clark’s (?) HRG at Mount Druitt (?) in the mid-1950’s.

Chassis W179 was imported by Tony Gaze and fitted locally with this ‘Bathurst’ monoposto body. It was later purchased by Jack Pryer and Clive Adam: Pryer and Adams – PRAD – and formed the basis of the car below.

(F Pearse)

This group of photos (the two above and the three below) are of Prad 4 being converted from open-wheeler spec to Prad 5 sportscar configuration, engine is a Holden Grey- six fed by three SU carbs. Car for many years owned and raced by Shane Bowden.

(F Pearse)

The photos were taken outside Clive Adams, Lane Cove, Sydney workshop.

(F Pearse)

Photo Credits…

Fred Pearse Collection courtesy of Peter Reynell, vintagespeedway.com

Photo Identification and Comments…

John Medley, Bob King, Nahan Tasca, Shane Bowden

Tailpiece…

(F Pearse)

Dick Cobden’s Ferrari 125 being pushed through the Gnoo Blas paddock during the January 1955 South Pacific Trophy weekend. The youthful driver behind with the Persil whiter-than-white overalls is JA Brabham in search of his Cooper T23 Bristol.

Finito…