Posts Tagged ‘Brabham BT22 Repco’

(W Byers)

Bob Jane, Elfin 400 Repco ‘620’ 4.4 V8 entering KLG Corner, racer Ross Burbidge tells us, 12 February 1967…

It’s a very early race for Bob in his brand new Elfin, this car notable in several ways not least for the fact that it was the first to be fitted with a customer Repco Brabham engine V8- I’ve written a feature on it so let’s not repeat ourselves;

https://primotipo.com/2018/04/06/belle-of-the-ball/

What struck me about William Byers’s photo and the unusual angle and locale in which it is taken is the degree of difficulty in sighting these big Group 7 sportscars through the corners. Admittedly Bob was a ‘short-arse’- mind you there was plenty of bounce in every ounce- but I bet the problem was the same for tall fellas like Dan Gurney.

Who won the sportscar races that day- had Matich debuted the SR3 at this point?, it certainly raced at the Farm and Sandown Tasman rounds that summer- Frank would certainly have given Bob a run for his money if present.

(W Byers)

The top-guns of the meeting were the Tasman 2.5’s of course.

We have photos of second placed Jack Brabham, Brabham BT23A Repco ‘640’, (above and below) Denny Hulme’s similarly engined fourth placed Brabham BT22, sixth placed John Harvey in the 1.65 litre Ford twin-cam powered ex-Stillwell Brabham BT14, and Spencer Martin’s Bob Jane owned Brabham BT11A Climax but not Jim Clark’s victorious Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8- he won five of the eight Tasman rounds that year. A pity, but hey, let’s be thankful for some marvellous photos.

(W Byers)

1967 was the Tasman Series Repco had a red-hot go to win, two cars, one each for Denny and Jack with both drivers contesting all eight rounds- but the might of the F1 World Championship winning team did not triumph over Jim Clark and the very reliable, fast, special 2 litre FWMV Coventry Climax engined Lotus 33 of the Scottish ace.

In 1966, 1968 and 1969 Repco had limited Tasman campaigns, 1967 was the one they should have won, you might say, I’ve covered this series before, so no point repeating the many problems which cost the Maidstone outfit dearly.

Arguably the most important aspect of the Tasman for Repco was to blood their new for 1967 F1 engine- the 740 Series V8- in advance of the GP season, than win the series itself. In the event Repco’s Norm Wilson designed 700 Series block was not quite ready so Jack and Denny raced with ‘640 Series’ motors- the new 40 Series, exhaust between the Vee two-valve heads and 600 Series (Oldsmobile F85 modified) blocks.

(W Byers)

 

Denny had a rather successful 1967 season didn’t he!, taking the F1 drivers title and finishing second to Bruce in the Can-Am Championship aboard one of McLaren’s M6A Chev papaya coloured machines.

The car above, a BT22, is essentially a BT11 frame fitted with BT19 suspension- Allen Brown writes that ‘F1-1-64’ was used by BRO until Denny’s F1 car for 1966 BT20 was ready. Fitted with a Repco-Brabham V8, it was raced by Denny in the Tasman and then sold to Rorstan Racing, who fitted a Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 and ran Aussie Paul Bolton in it, it’s present whereabouts is unknown.

Jack’s BT23A was built on the redoubtable BT23 F2 jig/frame.

BT23A has never left Australia thank goodness, and been very much in the news in the last twelve months with its acquisition by the National Motor Museum from Peter Simms who restored and then raced the car for decades.

It’s post Brabham race record was with Scuderia Veloce, the car driven by Greg Cusack and Phil West before being sold to Brian Page.

(W Byers)

John Harvey (above) drove the wheels off this ex-Bib Stillwell car, the first BT14 raced ‘FL-1-65’, then owned by Sydney car dealer Ron Phillips in 1966.

Prepared by Peter Molloy, the Brabham BT14’s Lotus-Ford twin-cam engine progressively got bigger and not too long after this shot the car was given ‘a birthday’, it was the recipient of a Repco-Brabham 640 Series 2.5 litre V8 fitted with the assistance of Rennmax’s Bob Britton, allowing Harves to run with the ‘big boys’.

In fact the combination is sorta related to Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A shown below.

(W Byers)

The very gifted Sydneysider won both the 1966 and 1967 Gold Stars aboard this Bob Jane owned Brabham BT11A ‘IC-4-64’ Coventry Climax FPF- his dices with the similarly mounted Kevin Bartlett in Alec Mildren’s car were highlights of racing for enthusiasts of the period.

When Spencer decided to retire at the end of the 1967 Gold Star campaign Jane offered Harves the ride, and acquired the Brabham BT14 from Phillips. It’s 640 engine was fitted into the BT11A- like the BT14 it was not designed for a V8 motor, and raced by John in the 1968 Australian Tasman rounds.

Harvey in the Bob Jane Racing Brabham BT11A Repco during the 1968 Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round (unattributed)

 

 

 

 

Nice overhead shot from the Longford pits of the Repco 640 or 740 Series V8 installation in the BT11A

Jane then bought Jack’s 1968 Tasman mount, the BT23E at the series end for John to race in ’68 with Harvey very lucky to survive a huge shunt at Easter Bathurst in that car after a rear upright failure.

Harvey and Molloy had largely sorted the BT14 Repco by the end of the ’67 Gold Star, he had won a feature race in it at Oran Park. It does make you wonder why Bob didn’t race that car as it was rather than do the engine swap they did and develop the BT11A afresh- no doubt it all made sense at the time?!

The Jane Estate owns BT11A, the BT14, re-engined with a Ford/Lotus twin-cam is i think still in Peter Harburg’s hands in Australia.

William’s camera also captured some other interesting cars during that meeting.

(W Byers)

Bill Gates superb Lotus Elan 26R, Ross Burbidge tells us Gates raced both this car and an Elan Series 1, both of which are still alive and well in Australia. Ex-Geoghegan car originally?

Queenslanders will know the story better than I but its said that race promoter Bill Goode had the Bee Gees, the Gibbs brothers, performing between events at his Redcliffe Speedway and introduced them to Bill who promoted them on his radio show on 4BH Brisbane thereby assisting them in their climb to global success.

(W Byers)

Ross Burbidge says this is the last time Pete Geoghegan ran his first Mustang at Lakeside.

He won the 1967 one-race Australian Touring Car Championship in the Australian, John Sheppard built, Mustang ‘GTA’ back at Lakeside on 30 July 1967 from the Brian Foley and Peter Manton Cooper S’s after various of the other V8’s fell by the wayside with mechanical dramas. The shot above is on the entry to ‘Hungry’ or then KLG corner.

Great Scots: Lakeside 1967, winner Clark Lotus 33 Climax chases Stewart BRM P261 (Tasman Book)

Hulme, Clark and Stewart, Tasman 1967…

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

Photo Credits…

William Byers, oldracephotos.com.au, ‘Tasman Cup’ Tony Loxley and Others

References…

Ross Burbidge, oldracingcars.com.au

Tailpiece: Bob Holden, Improved Touring Morris Cooper S…

(W Byers)

Bob Holden won the 1966 Bathurst 500 in a Series Production Cooper S, co-driving the works BMC Australia car with rally-ace Rauno Aaltonen.

In a year of dominance the Cooper S took the first nine placings in the race! This car, not the same machine, is built to Improved Touring rules, the category to which the Australian Touring Car Championship was held at the time- mind you Bob didn’t return that July to contest the title race. He is still racing…

In the background Denny’s Brabham BT22 is being pushed past with perhaps the light coloured car Frank Gardner’s Mildren Racing Brabham BT16 Climax?

Finito…

(R Goldfinch)

Denny Hulme acknowledges the plaudits of the crowd upon his retirement from the February 1967 Australian Grand Prix at Warwick Farm…

The ‘Creek Corner Mob’ were a notoriously loud, knowledgeable group of spectators, ‘the bugler’ in particular always comes up in conversations about the place with Sydney enthusiasts even now.

Denny’s Brabham BT22 Repco ‘640’ V8 retired on lap 41 of the 45 lap race with a burst radiator hose, the race was won by Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 2.1 V8. In a troubled weekend the Brabham Repco lads started raceday further out west at Sydney’s Oran Park attempting to sort fuel injection and handling dramas before heading back to the ‘farm for the race. Jack was fourth aboard BT23A Repco ‘640’.

Love this Bruce Wells portrait of Denny on the ’67 WF grid. Note the ducting used in the hotter races of that year to get cool air into the centre of the 640 and 740 Repco’s- aimed at the fuel metering unit (B Wells/TRS)

 

Stewart, Clark, Hill- BRM P261, Lotus 33 Climax, Lotus 48 Ford FVA, then Jack and Leo Geoghegan- Brabham BT23A Repco and Lotus 39 Climax with Denny alongside the pit counter on the row behind, Brabham BT22 Repco (B Wells/TRS)

Its weird the way your brain works, or mine does anyway?!

The first thing which popped into my mind when I saw Denny’s salute was the famous post 200 metre Mexico ’68 Olympics medal award ceremony, brave ‘Black Power’ medal presentation dais salutes of gold and bronze medallists Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

It was ‘big news’ in Australia as Peter Norman, a great Australian athlete, was the silver medallist who bravely stood with, and in support of the Americans and their cause. Norman was punished for his actions by the Australian Olympic Committee’s ‘forces of conservative darkness’ for the rest of his life.

Denny’s pose and actions are in an entirely different context (to say the least) but its funny the stuff which sticks in a childs mind only to pop out fifty years later. The Olympics scene resonated with me at the time, no doubt meeting Norman at a school holidays athletics training camp in the early seventies added to the potency of the moment, times of great social upheaval and progress as they were.

Peter Norman’s obituary; https://www.theguardian.com/news/2006/oct/05/guardianobituaries.australia

Credits…

Roger Goldfinch, Bruce Wells/The Roaring Season

Tailpiece: Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Mexico 1968…

Finito…

Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart, Levin NZ Tasman 1967 (Digby Paape)

Denny Hulme Brabham BT22 Repco and Jackie Stewart BRM P261, the natty tartan attire of the BRM Equipe a contrast with the more casual Australian approach…Hulmes’ engine is Repco ‘640 Series’ 2.5 litre; original ’66 series Olds ‘600 Series’ block with the ’67 F1 Championship winning ’40 Series’, exhaust within the Vee, heads. Definitive Repco 1967 F1 Championship winning variant is the ‘740 Series’, Repco’s own ‘700 Series’ block and aforementioned ’40 Series’ heads. Early and very important 1967 F1 testing days for Repco, engine making its debut the weekend before at Pukekohe (Digby Paape)

Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart awaiting adjustments to their cars setup, Levin, New Zealand, Tasman Series 1967…

Digby Paape took these fantastic, evocative shots of Stewart, Hulme and Jim Clark…’I was 22 at the time, my father had been president of MotorSport NZ, and though I was unknown on the North Island I felt I could go anywhere with my Contax, i was masquerading as a journo for the ‘Hutt Valley Motoring Club’, I took all the shots @ F8 @ 250th of a second. Each car only had a couple of mechanics, it was hard to know what was being said. Later on I was the Radio NZ and TVNZ commentator for these and other events, Levin was always hot and the action was close. Close enough for good shots without a telephoto lens’.

Stewart beat Clark in the first Tasman round at Pukekohe the previous week, winning the NZ Grand Prix, the two drivers the class of the field at Levin as well, despite intense pressure Clark won the 50 mile ‘Levin International’ by less than a second from Stewart’s BRM. Richard Attwood was third in another BRM P261 and Frank Gardner fourth in the first of the four cylinder cars, a Brabham BT16 Climax. Denny Hulme retired with ignition problems.

It’s interesting to reflect upon the year to come for each of the drivers?…

Denny Hulme, Brabham BT22 Repco, 1967 NZ Tasman, Levin

Denny Hulme, Brabham BT22 Repco, Levin NZ, 1967 (Digby Paape)

It was a tough Tasman for Denny and his team leader Jack Brabham…

They had great unreliability from the new, exhaust between the Vee Repco 640 Series engines, mainly centred around fuel injection and ignition dramas, but the object of the exercise was really to get the engines race worthy for the 1967 GP season in any event.

Jack did have a good win at Longford, the power circuit in Tasmania and last round of the Series.

Repco sorted the problems, the new Repco (as against the 1966 Oldsmobile blocked 620 Series) blocked 740 Series Repco reliable early in the GP season.

Denny broke through for his first GP win at Monaco, but there was no joy in the victory as Lorenzo Bandini perished in his Ferrari in a gruesome fiery accident, which, finally helped galvanise action to improve safety standards on the worlds’ circuits.

image

Hulme en route to his first Grand Prix victory, Monaco 1967 in his Brabham BT20, still fitted with the ’66 series ‘RB620’ engine. Jacks car was fitted with the new ‘740 Series’ the engine blowing early in the race. Hill and Amon second and third in Lotus 33 BRM and Ferrari 312 respectively (unattributed)

In a season when five different drivers won a Grand Prix, his consistency paid off, he won the title from Jack with Jim Clark third in the epochal Lotus 49.

1967 CanAm Road America

Can Am Road America 1967 parade lap: #4 Bruce McLaren, Hulme alongside in the other McLaren M6A Chev, Dan Gurney Lola T70 Ford behind Bruce, Jim Halls’ winged Chaparral 2G Chev easy to pick…and the rest maybe some of you can help me with the caption? Denny won the race from Mark Donohue and John Surtees , both in Lola T70 Mk3B Chevs (unattributed)

In a full season, Hulme was recruited by his compatriot Bruce McLaren as his teammate in the CanAm series. Robin Herds’ McLaren M6A Chev was a stunning car and started the teams domination of the series which finally ended when Porsche joined the series, and ruined it! with its 917/10 in 1972.

Denny narrowly lost the series to McLaren but the relationship started a commitment to the team by Denny which endured to the end of his career and saw him race the teams’ F1, CanAm and Indy Cars through to the end of 1974, when he finally returned to NZ.

Jim Clark, Lotus 33 Climax, NZ Tasman, Levin 1967

Jim Clark, Lotus 33 Climax, Levin 1967. ‘R14’ was the last of the trendsetting Lotus 25/33 series built, the first ‘modern-monocoque’ making its debut in Holland 1962…Clarks 2 litre V8 was giving away some power to most of his serious competition, the 2.1 litre BRM’s and 2.5 litre Repco’s but his driving abilities were more than up to closing the deficit (Digby Paape)

Clarks Lotus 33 ‘R14’ was a chassis which had been kind to him…

He first raced it at Brands Hatch in July, and, fitted with the super, trick, only 2 litre version of the Coventry Climax FWMV V8 had served him well in 1966, he drove the car when the heavy ‘H16’ engined Lotus 43 was unsuited to the circuit or circumstances. His best result against the new 3 Litre F1’s was a strong third in Holland.

He won the Tasman series in ‘R14’, assisted greatly by the unreliability of the Brabhams and the BRM P261’s which had been so dominant the year before.

He raced a Lotus 43 in South Africa, the first GP of 1967, then ‘R14’ for the last time at Monaco, finally getting his hands on the Lotus 49 at Zandvoort. By that time he was a British Tax exile so the first time the Scot saw the car was when he drove it in Holland, he hadn’t even tested the thing!

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 Ford, Dutch GP June 1967

Jim Clark on his way to a debut win with the Lotus 49 Ford, Dutch GP, Zandvoort June 4 1967…both engine and chassis changed the face of GP racing in an instant (unattributed)

The car was ‘right’ from the start, he won on its debut, and a further four 1967 races, but Dennys’ consistency got him over the line that year.

The Lotus 49 package was dominant in 1968, but sadly Clarks’ ’68 South African GP triumph, off the back of his 1968 Tasman Series win , was his last, he died tragically in a Lotus 48 FVA  as a consequence of probable tyre failure in the Hockenheim F2 race in April.

The king of the 1.5 litre formula proved he was also king of the 3 litre formula in 1967, and anything else he drove!

Graham Hill heroically galvanised the team after Clarks death, winning the title in 1968, and provided leadership Chapman initially did not, grieving for Clark as he understandably was.

Jackie Stewart took two Tasman Series wins…

Mechanical woes, particularly weaknesses in the cars crown wheel and pinion cost him victories, but his speed was apparent and close to Clark’s. Unlike Jim, who had the F1 Lotus 49 to look forward to, BRM persevered with the heavy, complex and slow ‘H16’ engined BRM P83/115 in 1967.

It was to be a long, character building year…a second and third in Belgium and France respectively but retirement in all eight of the other championship rounds.

Jackie Stewart, BRM P83, Nurburgring 1967

Jackie Stewwart wrestling his big BRM P115 ‘H16’ BRM, Nurburgring 1967. He was running fourth when the transmission failed, ‘yumping’ hard on the ‘tranny at the ‘Ring! Hulme won the race in his light, nimble Brabham BT24 Repco (unattributed)

He had won his first Grand Prix in the little P261 BRM in Italy in 1965 but it was then a ‘long time between drinks’ in F1, his undoubted speed finally reflected in wins when he departed to Team Tyrrell which started running Ford DFV engined Matras in 1968, his first title coming in 1969.

image

Team Tyrrell ran Matra F2 cars in 1967, Jacky Ickx taking the Euoropean F2 title, and Jackie Stewart, pictured here in an MS7 FVA at ‘Oulton Park’ took one championship win…and critically the team took the view the cars would be successful in F1 (Eddie Whitham)

What duels there may have been as Stewart matured as a driver and took on his friend and countryman Clark?…mind you we saw it in the 1967 Tasman as they were in essentially cars of equal performance, albeit JYS BRM often did not run for long enough for the duels to occur…

As Digby Paape says ‘how lucky we were to see the international drivers in current F1 cars as we did in those wonderful 2.5 Tasman years, the equivalent of seeing Schumacher in that years winning Ferrari’…

Photo Credits…

Digby Paape, Eddie Whitham, Doug Shaw Collection

Tailpiece: Pukekohe 1967…

Love the hats on the gals at the motor racing!

Clearly they have a penchant for ‘Rice Trailers’- it seems said equipment made the trip across the Tasman as well as the two cars, not the happiest of Tasmans for the Repco-Brabham crew despite an ‘all out’ effort to take the Tasman Cup.

Finito…