Posts Tagged ‘Brabham BT16 Climax’

‘Start ya bastardo’ seems to be the expression on Glen Abbey’s face…

He and the other Alec Mildren Racing boys are trying to get Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT16 Climax alive for the start of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe on January 7 1967.

It was a tough series for the Sydney crew- 1967 saw the V8 engines multiply that summer, the poor old, venerable Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 litre four potter- Tasman engine de jour for so long was overwhelmed by Repco-Brabham, Coventry Climax and BRM V8’s, the trend started the year before of course.

More would come in 1968 with the Ferrari V6 and BRM V12 adding to the onslaught but by then Mildren had a supply of Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8’s- not that they ever quite did the trick in the Tasman, but they were pretty handy at Gold Star level.

Wigram 1966, FG’s Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5 DNF accident, being hosed off by the 1.9 litre BRM P261 V8’s of Dick Attwood #2 2nd and Stewart #6 winner (unattributed)

 

FG and BT16 in New Zealand 1967, circuit unknown (E Sarginson)

In fact the little F2 based BT16 gave Gardner his best Tasman result ever, equal second.

Jim Clark won in a Lotus 33 Coventry Climax FWMV 2 litre, his yield was five wins, three in Tasman Cup championship events and 45 points, whilst equal second were Jackie Stewart, BRM P261 V8 2.1, two wins, Jack Brabham, Brabham BT23A Repco ‘640’ V8 with one and Frank who was winless but consistently quick throughout.

He was third at Lakeside, Warwick Farm and Sandown- three weekends in a row actually, and fourth at Levin, Wigram and Longford- his only DNF’s were in the NZ GP opening round at Pukekohe and Teretonga with engine and oil line problems respectively. Click here for Tasman 1967; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

So the paddock photo is representative of dramas which came in the 21 lap preliminary on GP morning when a valve and piston came into contact- that was it for FG’s weekend. Stewart won the NZ GP from Clark and Richard Attwood’s BRM P261.

Back to Mildren and Gardner’s plans for the 1967 Tasman.

Frank and Alec figured they needed something light in all the circumstances so an F2 frame into which they could pop their FPF and Hewland HD5 gearbox made sense- FG had raced Alec’s Brabham BT11A’s in the 1965 and 1966 Tasmans, one of them was raced by Kevin Bartlett. In fact 1967 would be KB’s first full Tasman, as against just running the Australian rounds.

Frank’s European commitments didn’t extend to full F2 seasons in 1965 and 1966 but he did a ‘halfa’ season or thereabouts in 1965 racing several cars- a John Willment Lotus 35 Cosworth SCA, Ken Tyrell Cooper T75 BRM P80 and Midland Racing Partnership Lola T60 BRM P80. In 1966 he raced MRP Lola T60 and T61 BRM’s.

Whilst Mildren’s were a ‘Brabham and Alfa Romeo Shop’ (yes i know not exclusively) and the chassis selection may have been a foregone conclusion, perhaps FG’s closeup view- ‘up the clacker’ of Jochen Rindt’s Winkelmann BT16 at Reims for an hour and a half in July 1965 convinced him Ron’s chassis was the go. Jochen won the Reims GP in 1:33.55.7 from FG on 1:33.55.9 in the Midland Lola.

And so it was they did a deal to buy the John Coombes ‘F2-8-65’ BT16 which had been raced by Graham Hill in 1965 and 1966 in Euro F2 until Coombes replaced it with a new-fangled monocoque Matra MS5 midyear. Click here for articles on Euro 1 litre F2;

Lotus 35, SCA and P80 engines; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/06/jim-clark-lotus-35-and-the-cosworth-sca-f2-engine/

and Brabham Hondas; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/30/xxxii-grand-prix-de-reims-f2-july-1966-1-litre-brabham-hondas/

and the F2 Matras; https://primotipo.com/2019/05/24/surtees-matra-1966-and-thereabouts/

FG in Brabham BT19 Repco ‘740’- Jack’s 1966 ‘620 Series’ powered championship machine during the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1967 (M Hayward)

 

Gardner, Ford GT Mk2, Le Mans 1967 (D Friedman)

‘F2-8-65’ was soon in Australia and made race ready by Glenn Abbey for the Hordern Trophy, for some years the traditional Gold Star Championship final, December, Warwick Farm round. Frank won from Kevin Bartlett and Spencer Martin in ‘identical’ Brabham BT11A’s entered by Mildren and Bob Jane.

The 1967 Tasman result was outstanding for FG and Mildren’s, it was again a reminder of his speed, consistency and maturity.

At the end of the summer off he went to Europe for what by then had become his ‘usual cocktail’ of touring cars, sports-prototypes and sportscars, F2 and occasional, usually non-championship F1 drives. To me FG had it all-what a mix of cars, and paid well to do it!

Bartlett in the Mildren Brabham BT11A Climax at Warwick Farm during 1967

The BT11A was one of Kevin Bartlett’s all-time favourite cars so it was no surprise Mildren sold BT16 instead- KB and Spencer went at it hammer ‘n tongs again in 1967- a battle between two mates told here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

Niel Allen was the purchaser albeit the car was usually driven for him by Fred Gibson. From Niel- I think he sold it when he bought Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA at the end of the ’68 Tasman, it went to Col Green then Neil Rear in Perth, in the US now innit for quite some while?

Etcetera…

(D Logan)

FG has crested ‘Lukey Heights’ and is plunging left towards Dandenong Road during the 26 February 1967 ‘Sandown Cup’, he was third behind Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8 and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Climax FPF 2.5.

Credits…

Doug Shaw Collection, Euan Sarginson, Duncan Logan, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece; c’mon baby, please!…

Glenn, Stu Randall and Ian Gordon (?), note the nose of the ‘Scuderia Veloce’ 250LM at left, at that stage the custodian was Kiwi racer Andy Buchanan.

Its a period typical Brabham, skinny (albeit not at all so by the standards of a modern Formula Ford) and sturdy spaceframe chassis with upper and lower wishbones and outboard coil spring/shocks with an adjustable roll bar. Alford & Alder steel uprights- you beaut cast magnesium ones arrived with the 1967 BT23/24.

Wonderul bits of chuckable kit straight outta the box- design by Tauranac and final suspension settings by John Arthur Brabham.

Finito…