Posts Tagged ‘Brabham BT23A 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…

(P Newbold)

Jackie Stewart eases his BRM P261 chassis ‘2614’ into the Sandown Paddock after practice…

It wasn’t going to be a great day at the office for the plucky Scot. He started well, passing Jack Brabham on lap 9 for the lead but the crown wheel and pinion gave up the ghost on lap 11 of the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax V8.

I think the car behind Jackie is Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT22 Repco-  right of picture behind the attractive chick with white ‘flairs’, eagle eyed Holden fanciers will spot Repco’s HR Panel Van, one of two which carted the two team cars of Jack and Denny around the country that summer.

(P Newbold)

Clark ponders changes to ‘R14’ a chassis which was very kind to him in Australasia that summer- he won five of the eight rounds and took the Tasman Cup for the second time.

The chassis went back to Hethel with Jim, he raced it in the early F1 races of 1967- for the last time at Monaco before the race debut of the epochal Lotus 49 Ford DFV at Zandvoort on June 4.

https://primotipo.com/2014/09/28/jim-clark-lotus-33-climax-monaco-gp-1967-out-with-the-old/

(M Feisst)

Stewart was the reigning Tasman champion, the ex-F1 BRM P261 still had the speed to win the Tasman, but, stretched to 2.1 litres, the V8 put out that little bit of extra power and torque which stretched the transmission beyond its comfy limits. The cars Achilles Heel caused too many retirements that summer but the other Great Scot took two wins on the tour all the same. Click here for an article on this engine and series of cars; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

JYS with Light Car Club of Australia, the lessee/promoters of Sandown,  President Arnold Terdich- Arnold is the son of 1929 AGP winner Arthur Terdich, he won in a Bugatti T37A (P Newbold)

 

Stewart’s BRM P261 ‘2614’- jewels of long-lasting racing cars. Amongst the greatest of 1.5 litre F1 cars, then ‘gap fillers’ as the outrageous 3 litre P83 H16 was developed in 1966/7 and formidable Tasman cars fitted with 1.9 litre and finally 2.1 litre P111 BRM V8’s- the gearbox was not designed with so much power and torque in mind… (M Feisst)

Jack suits up below for the off with the omnipresent Roy Billington in attendance. I wonder when his time with Jack started and finished?

One of the things all these shots have in common is the very casual nature of racing at the time. The current World Champ is there for all to see and say ‘gedday mate and good luck!’

In fact he didn’t have good luck at all- he was out with ignition dramas having completed 27 of the races 52 laps with Denny retiring a lap earlier due to selector failure in the Hewland ‘box- not a happy home weekend for Repco at all!

It wasn’t that simple though, the weekend proved a long one for the Brabham and Repco boys.

In 1967 the tyre-war was on in earnest with Dunlop, Firestone and Goodyear vying for honours. Jack’s car was fitted with some wider 15 inch wheels made by Elfin (or perhaps more accurately Elfin wheels cast by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation) to take the latest, wider Goodyears. To do so, changes were needed to the rear suspension.

(F Nachtigal)

Jack did the quickest time on Friday and then the Repco lads popped in a fresh motor overnight- he then set pole on Saturday from Stewart and Hulme.

On Sunday Jack won the 10 lap preliminary from Stewart at a canter but as the BT23A crossed the line the Repco engines timing gear broke. With that, the crew set about another motor change in the limited time available, popping another RBE ‘640 Series’ 2.5 litre V8 into the svelte Ron Tauranac designed spaceframe chassis.

Jack and Jim both made ripper starts but Clark’s 2 litre Lotus was soon overhauled by Hulme’s 2.5 litre Brabham and Stewart’s 2.1 litre BRM. Brabham and Stewart then tussled before Jackie passed Jack- who then retired a lap later near Dandenong Road. It transpired that a soldered ignition wire pickup had come off the flywheel- repaired later, Jack re-entered the race completing 27 of its 52 laps.

1967 Tasman Series…

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

http://www.oldracingcars.com/tasman/1967/

Etcetera: Sandown…

Here are a few more photographs from that meeting- Peter Newbold was patrolling the paddock and so too was Mike Feisst who visited the Warwick Farm and Sandown Tasman rounds whilst on a trip over from New Zealand.

Between them, their pit shots capture the flavour of the times in a manner which on-circuit stuff on its own never entirely does.

As you will see, the entry for that meeting was truly mouth-watering in its variety and depth!

RBE 640 V8- the 1966 ‘600 Series’ Olds F85 block and new for 1967 ’40 Series’ exhaust between the Vee heads. Gearbox is a Hewland HD5 (M Feisst)

Brabham’s BT23A Repco awaits Jack and Roy Billington.

Despite passing into David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce after Jack had finished with it, this car probably under-achieved really.

Greg Cusack and Phil West raced it for David but by then the mantle of local aces had shifted from the retired Bib Stillwell to Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett and Leo Geoghegan. Put any of those fellas in BT23A at that time and a championship could have been won assuming a measure of Repco 2.5 litre reliability, a quality not necessarily plentiful…

https://primotipo.com/2017/01/04/scuds/

(M Feisst)

 

Bob Jane had only just taken deliver of his Elfin 400 Repco ‘620’ 4.4 litre V8 from Garrie Cooper and his merry band of Edwardstown artisans- the 1967 Tasman round support races were his first serious events in a car which had a rather chequered and tragic history, click here for the story; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/06/belle-of-the-ball/

(M Feisst)

The Touring Car entry was ‘top shelf’ as well and led by crowd favourites from Melbourne, Norm Beechey above in his Chevy Nova and Sydney’s Pete Geoghegan below- the latter still racing the first of his two Mustangs.

Who won the battles on that weekend folks?

(M Feisst)

Pete’s ‘Stang is lining up for scrutineering, by the time I started racing a decade and a bit later the concrete pad was still in the same spot albeit there was a permanent roof providing the poor marshalls with some necessary protection from the elements.

That paddock was ‘heaven on a stick’ from a spectators viewpoint- so much was compressed into a small space but it was a pain in the tit as a competitor, it was as tight as a mackerel’s bum with a halfway decent entry list of cars. When things got too tight we Formula Vees were banished to an area of our own on the outside of Shell Corner (turn 1) which made us all grumpy at the time! And yer could no longer easily see all the other goings on.

Geoghegan’s Mustang in 1967; https://primotipo.com/2017/10/17/he-came-he-saw-he-conquered/

(M Feisst)

Leo Geoghegan bought the ex-works Lotus 39 Climax Jim Clark raced throughout the 1966 Tasman at the duration of the series racing it during the 1967 Gold Star Series without much success due to recurring engine dramas.

Having said that the car behaved itself rather well on this weekend as Leo finished second in the race to Clark albeit he was 50 seconds back- this was the highest place finish by any local driver throughout the series.

It was not the last time Geoghegan gave the internationals a run for their money in this car either. Leo passed Frank Gardner in the latter stages of the race and was then lucky when Martin’s BT11A Brabham gifted Leo second with half-shaft failure.

Frank Gardner was third in Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT16 Climax FPF- an F2 chassis with a big-beefy FPF popped into the frame, Chris Irwin was fourth in the other 2.1 litre BRM chassis ‘2616’, then Kevin Bartlett, in Mildren’s other car, the ex-Gardner Brabham BT11A Climax which KB drove so hard and well in 1966/7. Then came John Harvey, three laps adrift of KB in Ron Phillips’ Brabham BT14 F2 car powered by a big 1860 cc Lotus-Ford twin-cam.

Leo contested the 1967 Australian Tasman rounds with the Climax fitted and then gave the car ‘a birthday’- John Sheppard and the Geoghegan lads adapted the chassis to take a Repco ‘740’ 2.5 litre V8, this created one of the sexiest ever open-wheelers to race in Oz, whilst the car was uber fast reliability remained an ongoing issue. The story of this machine is here; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/12/jim-clark-and-leo-geoghegans-lotus-39/

(M Feisst)

Peter Mabey eases himself out of Frank Matich’s brand-new and sinfully good-looking Matich SR3 Oldsmobile V8.

Later that year FM raced two of these chassis, Repco ‘620’ 4.4 litre V8 engined, in the Can-Am Series, the SR3 story is tangentially told in this piece on its successor, the SR4 Repco; https://primotipo.com/2016/07/15/matich-sr4-repco-by-nigel-tait-and-mark-bisset/

(M Feisst)

Gay Cesario brings a little bit of Italo-French style to the Sandown pits with his Abarth Simca 1300 GT.

The speedy Italian acquired the car in his native country and then drove it from one end of Italy to the other, both car and family migrating to Australia in the mid-sixties. Click here for the story; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/13/abarth-simca-1300-gt/

(M Feisst)

The two BRM P261’s of Stewart- ‘2614’, on the truck and Chris Irwin ‘2616’ on terra-firma. Nifty looking and aerodynamic full rear bodywork atypical by then.

Engines of the cars are to different specifications, Jackie’s is fitted with an exhaust within the vee motor and Irwin’s the more classic cross-flow set up with the former ‘de-rigueur’ in F1 in 1967- Ferrari, Repco-Brabham, Honda and BRM produced engines of that specification. That Stewart’s car is fitted with the exhaust within the vee arrangement tends to suggest it was the quicker at the time. Irwin’s car is about to be scrutineered.

One of the P261’s raced at the Phillip Island Historic Meeting not so many years ago driven by Rob Fowler, I think- man what a car at bulk-revs singing its way down the main straight and into Southern Loop- and well driven. Personal bias hereby declared.

(M Feisst)

I suspect Mike Feisst had a ‘heads up’ as to the garages in Melbourne where some of the Tasman cars were being fettled over the weekend- for sure this shot is not at Sandown Park.

The Aston DB4 GT Zagato has Victorian plates, I wonder which of the two (?) which came to Australia in period it is. It looks well used which is rather nice. Laurie O’Neill had one which Doug Whiteford and Pete Geoghegan gave a bit of a gallop, but wasn’t there another too? Intrigued to know which chassis this is and whereabouts the shot is taken. Check out this article on the cars; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/22/aston-martin-db4gt-zagato-2vev-lex-davison-and-bib-stillwell/

Flinders Street Station maybe for the photograph below, in Flinders Street itself down towards the ‘Banana Alley’ vaults?

The Holden FC aft of the Aston DB4 GT provides valuable context- I reckon yerv always got to see the exotica of the period juxtaposed with the transport we plebians used at the same time to see just how marvellous they were. My mums new Morrie 1100 was plated JEN-108 in 1965, so I’m thinking this Aston is perhaps a 1966 drop, James Bond plate duly noted?

(M Feisst)

 

(M Feisst)

Their was a bit of chatter online about this chassis being Graeme Lawrence’s McLaren M4A Ford FVA but I reckon Mike Feisst’s photo is also at Sandown and the car is an Elfin Mono- an outboard suspension second series car.

Two such were entered in the Sandown Park Cup by Ian Cook (7th) and Jack Hunnam (DNF) with Hunnam’s Mk2D the most likely choice I think. Having said that my friend, and Mono racer/restorer James Lambert will correct me if I have goofed! The engine is a 1.5 litre Lotus-Ford twin-cam, these very quick machines ran in the ANF1.5 category- effectively Australia’s F2 at the time.

(M Feisst)

Motor Racing Royalty in Australia in the mid-sixties was David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM.

It was always, even in 1965 when it first arrived new from Maranello, a bit heavy to beat the sprinters but the car won three Surfers Paradise Enduro’s on the trot and was steered by some great drivers including McKay himself, Jackie Stewart, Spencer Martin and the brothers Geoghegan.

(M Feisst)

I’ve written about this wonderful machine, now owned by Ralph Lauren (what a waste of a RACING car) at length too;

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

I think Kiwi Andy Buchnan was racing, and owned the car at this stage in 1967?

(M Feisst)

Hillman had a great reputation in Australia at the time the ‘Grunter’ was popular aided and abetted by its 1968 London-Sydney Marathon win. The ‘Coventry Climax’ engine inspired Imp I always thought was a thinking mans alternative to the Mini- as ubiquitous in Australia as anywhere else on the planet.

The ‘works’ Improved Production Imps were raced (and built?) by Melbourne’s Graham ‘Tubby’ Ritter and youthful man-about-town Peter Janson. Norm Beechey had an occasional steer of these things as well- on this weekend the cars were raced by Ritter and Bruce Hindhaugh in car #22- the latter of Gown-Hindhaugh Engines in Elgar Road, Box Hill.

(M Feisst)

Alec Mildren added the teams second Alfa Romeo GTA to the trailer of cars sent from Sydney to Melbourne- both Kevin Bartlett and Gardner raced the car with FG twiddling the wheel that weekend.

Another favourite car, I wrote an article about these rather special Autodelta built ‘105 Coupes’ a while back, it is a tome about Alec Mildren Racing and Bartlett too; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/27/the-master-of-opposite-lock-kevin-bartlett-alfa-romeo-gta/

Love the Ford ‘Cusso’ towcar behind (M Feisst)

No doubt those wheels are very light but there is something very ‘povvo’ about that aspect of a Porsche 906 at least visually?

Alan Hamilton would have been outgunned that weekend aboard the first of his 906’s with the Matich, Jane and Niel Allen (Elfin 400 Olds) big vee-eights present but this car always punched above its weight and was driven exceedingly well by the gifted son of Porsche importer Norman Hamilton. Click here for a feature on Hamilton and his cars;

https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/

(M Feisst)

The Morris Cooper S was a mainstay of Touring Car Racing globally at the time of course, not least in Australia where Mini Kings included Peter Manton and Brian Foley- others who spring to mind include Don Holland and John Leffler- Leffo starting a career in the BMC products which all the way through to winning a Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship in an F5000 Lola T400 Chev in 1977.

This car is Jim Smith’s- later the owner/racer of the crowd pleasing, ex-works Rover 3500 Repco Holden V8.

In the background you can see the nose of Hamilton’s Porsche 906 sneaking past (M Feisst)

Seeing Leo Peter Woodwards’s ex-Geoghegan/Niel Allen Lotus 26R reminds me I’ve written a track test of me mate David Mottram’s Lotus Elite Super 95, I must pop it up.

Whilst most folks wax lyrical about the Elite as one of the best looking cars ever, I agree, for me the slightly more butch Elan 26R is a contender albeit not strictly a road car of course. See this short article about the car here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/15/perk-and-pert/

Peter Woodward later won the Australian Sportscar Championship in the one-off Elfin 350 Coventry Climax FPF. He ‘nicked’ the championship in 1970 taking points in two of the three rounds from Frank Matich who did not race the awesome SR4 all season and Niel Allen in the 5 litre Chev F5000 engined Elfin ME5.

What became of this 26R after Peter Woodward finished with it?- to John Fraser in Queensland, but perhaps some of you can fill in the gaps. Is the car still in Australia?

Credits…

Paul Newbold, Mike Feisst on The Roaring Season, Frank Nachtigal, oldracingcars.com, sergent.com, Terry Sullivan, Dale Harvey, Rob Bartholomaeus

Tailpiece: All Eyes on Australia’s Finest…

Which is as it should be of course!

Jack steers BT23A-1 through the gravel Sandown paddock towards the grassy Esso compound only a few more steps away. He wore that gold ‘Buco’ (i think) helmet a lot in 1967! It may be summer in Australia but by the look of the adoring kiddos its a chilly Melbourne day.

Photos of this place bring back many happy memories of roaming the Sandown paddock just like these youngsters, although i was never as nicely dressed as the brothers in yellow and wearing a tie!

Finito…

(P Maslen)

It’s probably not actually, Jack would be hitting it more vigorously and the marshals wouldn’t be so relaxed, quite aggressive little critters tigers…

What is he up to though?

I’ve read the race reports, Jack did clip Homestead Corner during the race he finished- the 1967 Australian Grand Prix, so perhaps this is a perfunctory wheel alignment before being towed away.

Keen eyed Aussie enthusiasts will note David McKay’s presence behind Brabham, if he has the look of ‘an old chook at a christening’ about him it’s because he has done a deal to buy BT23A-1 Repco from Jack at the end of the series and is keen to see the champ has not shop-soiled the merchandise.

(P Maslen)

Jack was fourth in the race behind Stewart, Clark and Gardner in BRM P261, Lotus 33 Climax and Brabham BT16 Coventry Climax respectively.

It wasn’t a happy Tasman for the Repco boys- with a full-works effort of two cars a plethora of problems meant Jack and Denny took only one win between them- at Longford for Jack.

Still the GeePee season was in front of them, which would be an altogether different kettle of fish!

https://primotipo.com/2015/09/03/life-magazine-the-big-wheels-of-car-racing-brabham-and-hulme-30-october-1967/

Credits…

Peter Maslen

Tailpiece: Doting David looks upon his new car, delivery only another week hence after Sandown…

(P Maslen)

 

Finito…

image

(Gasking/Repco)

‘Scuds’ was the nickname of David McKay’s Ferrari, Porsche and Volvo dealership on Sydney’s North Shore…

Here is the team with its Brabham BT23A Repco ‘740’ 2.5 V8 at Warwick Farm in 1967’ish. Not sure of the exact date, but it looks warm and Cusack carried #7 in the Hordern Trophy on 3 December 1967 so my tip is that weekend. He finished behind Frank Gardner’s Alec Mildren owned Brabham BT23D Alfa Tipo 33 V8, its race debut and John Harvey’s Brabham BT11A Climax.

Mind you, Cusack carried the same number in the 18 February ’68 Tasman Round won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Greg was out on lap 4 with brake problems. Upon a closer look, the car in the shot below, during the Tasman round does not have the green band at its noses tip, so let’s go for the shot above as pre Hordern Trophy.

From the left is the beautifully liveried Holden HR Station Wagon tow car, it’s probably toting the big 186cid 3 litre ‘six’ and ‘three on the tree’ manual tranny. Mechanic Bob Atkin, later a Director of SV, then El Supremo McKay and driver Greg Cusack. Greg was a very successful Ford dealer himself in Canberra. He was said to have been as quick as anyone on his day but ‘those days’ didn’t happen often enough! The trailer is a ‘Rice’ rated then and eagerly sought after now.

Top period shots, luvvem!

image

Cusack at the Farm during the ’68 Tasman round in the SV BT23A (oldracephotos.com)

Credits…

Michael Gasking Collection/Repco, oldracephotos.com, oldracingcars.com

image

(John Arkwright)

Check out the view Maxxy!

Niel Allen and Max Stewart having a contretemps at Skyline, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, Easter 1969…

The bucolic terrain of New South Wales Central Tablelands stretches into the distance, the view probably not what the two drivers were focussed upon at the time. The race was the ’69 Bathurst Gold Star round, the field of which was substantially reduced by this first lap prang. The incident happened when Max misjudged his braking behind John Harvey, locked a brake and boofed the fence in his Mildren Waggott 1.6. Niel was right up Max’ chuff in his ex-Piers Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA 1.6 and couldn’t avoid him. Out of shot is Queenslander Glynn Scott’s Bowin P3 FVA who also joined in the fun!

image

Nice butt shot of Harvey’s BT23E; note wing mounted to cars uprights at rear, ‘RB740’ ‘between the Vee engine’ and oil cooler up in the breeze (oldracephotos.com)

Here (above) is a shot of Harve’s Bob Jane owned Brabham BT23E Repco, it was Jack’s works ’68 Tasman car, sold to Bob at the end of the series then raced by John in the following years. In fact it wasn’t a lucky car for Harvey, he had a big accident at the same Easter meeting in ’68 when an upright broke, rooting the car and John. He was in hospital for quite a while after the prang, his speed undiminished when he returned to racing Jane’s stable of racers, sports-racers and tourers.

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Harvey’s BT23E at Bathurst after his big practice accident on 14 April 1968 (Dale Harvey)

Click here for an article on this car;

https://primotipo.com/?s=brabham+bt23e

These fellas are favourites; property developer Allen was later as quick as Australia’s F5000 ‘Gold Standard’ Frank Matich without nearly as many seat miles, Stewart a multiple ‘Gold Star’ (1971/4) and AGP winner (19734/5) and Harvey a winner in everything he raced; speedcars, single-seaters, big sportscars and touring cars, the Bathurst enduro included.

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Start of the Bathurst ’69 Gold Star race: front row comprises Max’ yellow Mildren Waggott, Niel Allen McLaren M4A FVA and on the inside Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco. The blue car behind is Glynn Scott’s Bowin P3 FVA and Harvey’s red Brabham BT23E, the torque of which clearly gobbled up Stewart and Allen on the steep climb up the mountain for Max to nearly run into him heading down the mountain. The white car is Henk Woelders’ 3rd placed Elfin 600 Ford t/c. You can just see Jacks red Brabham on the outside beginning his charge. He had fuel feed problems in practice so was off grid 7 with times well below the cars potential (Neville McKay)

The race was won by Jack Brabham’s F3 based Brabham BT31 Repco on a rare Gold Star Australian appearance fitted into his European program. This little jigger was powered by a 2.5 litre ‘830 Series’ SOHC, 2 valve Repco V8. Easter Bathurst is an historically significant meeting in Repco terms; it was Jack’s last Repco race and win in Australia. Brabham’s last International Repco races were those contested by he and Peter Revson in the USAC Championship that year in Brabham BT25’s powered by Repco ‘760 Series’ 4.2 litre DOHC, 4 valve, methanol fuelled V8’s.

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Brabham between Skyline and The Dipper, BT31 Repco during the race (Dick Simpson)

Check out, rather than repeating myself these articles on the BT31;

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/26/rodways-repco-recollections-brabham-bt31-repco-jacks-69-tasman-car-episode-4/

and on Brabham’s 1969 and 1970 seasons;

https://primotipo.com/2014/09/01/easter-bathurst-1969-jack-brabham-1970-et-al/

This article was inspired by Lindsay Ross uploading quite a few images of this meeting on his oldracephotos.com Instagram page, check it out, they pop up a post every day or so. It seemed an idea to put the images floating around of this meeting in one place. I’ve an Instagram page too, as well as Facebook, just key ‘primotipo’ into the respective search engines and follow the prompts. The FB page has quite a lot of shots I don’t use on primotipo so may be worth a look every few days.

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Brian Page in BT23A with ‘740 Series’ Repco, DNF with broken exhaust on lap 15 in the ex-Brabham/Scuderia Veloce machine (oldracephotos.com)

The first lap accident ruined what could have been an interesting race, Jack cruised to an easy race win by 1.5 minutes from Harvey’s car and Henk Woelders F2 Elfin 600B Ford t/cam.

Historically interesting is that this meeting was on the weekend of 7 April 1969, high-wings were banned globally at Monaco on the GP weekend of 18 May 1969, so it’s interesting to see the ‘Australian State of the Art’ in terms of fitment of said aero devices immediately before they were banned. Brabham tried the ‘bi-wing’ below setup on his BT31 in practice but raced with only a rear wing fitted.

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Of arcane interest, perhaps (from the master of the arcane and tangential) is that all of Jacks ‘works’ Repco engined Tasman cars competed in this race bar one…

Brian Page’s BT23A(1) is JB’s ’67 Tasman car, Harve’s BT23E(1) is the ’68 weapon and Jack raced BT31 the car, late arriving in Australia, which did the ’69 Sandown round only.

Missing is BT19(F1-1-65) the chassis in which Jack won the ’66 World F1 Drivers and Constructors titles, and in 2.5 litre ‘620 Series’ engined form, raced in the ’66 Tasman Series, putting valuable pre-GP season race miles on Repco’s ‘brand-spankers’ V8 at Sandown and Longford.

The only car not in Oz now is BT23E(1) which was, and still may be in the US.

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Jack Brabham guiding BT19 (F1-1-65) into The Viaduct, Longford on his way to 3rd place during the South Pacific Trophy on 7 March 1966, the third race for the new RB ‘620 Series’ V8. The race was won by Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261

Whilst on the arcane it occurs to me is what a versatile, influential and successful design Ron Tauaranac’s BT23 space-frame was in the Brabham Pantheon…

’twas Ron’s clean sheet design for the new for ’67 1.6 litre European F2; it’s variants won a million F2 races over the following years in the hands of aces like Rindt but also in the care of privateer ‘coming-men’. Mind you it didn’t ever win the title despite winning 6 of the ten championship rounds in 1967, ‘graded drivers’ like Rindt were ineligible for championship points. Matra and Lotus took the ‘works entry’ approach more seriously than Jack and Ron during these years, in any event, as a customer racing car the BT23’s won lotsa races, the 1968 Rindt driven BT23C the most successful car of the year.

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Jochen Rindt typically all ‘cocked up’ on the way to a win in the 9 July 1967 ‘GP de Rouen-les-Essarts’, Brabham BT23 Ford FVA. 1.6 litre F2 formula one of great chassis, it not engine diversity, Ford’s Cosworth FVA won every title from 1967 to 1971. F2 was 2 litre from ‘72 (unattributed)

From an F1 perspective the ’67 World Championship winning BT24 Repco was a ‘beefed up’ BT23, to the extent that Ron initially raced his BT24’s with an FT200 Hewland, the Maidenhead gearbox gurus ‘F2 box’ but found that tranny overstressed with ‘740 Series’ Repco V8 torque tearing away at its gizzards, its CWP in particular. I won’t bang on about the BT24 now as I’m in the process of writing an article about the ’67 Brabham/Repco winning season and go into much BT24 detail. Suffice it to say that the F2 BT23 begat the F1 BT24, my favourite Brabham.

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Denny Hulme jumping his BT24 Repco at the Nurburgring during his ’67 Championship winning season. He won the German GP by 40 seconds from Jack (unattributed)

From an Australian viewpoint the BT23 Repco Tasman cars were very important as they provided much needed cars on skinny local grids…

The Tasman Series 2.5 Formula grids were ‘chockers’ with cars and stars, the domestic championship contained quality but not quantity. Budgets for these relatively expensive cars were hard to find in the sixties and Australia’s march to Touring Car domination was already well underway so ‘taxis’ were starting to absorb sponsorship budgets previously devoted to real racing cars.

Funnily enough, even though there was a swag of Repco engined BT23’s running around it was Alec Mildren’s, one off, 2.5 litre Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8 engined BT23D(1) which took a Gold Star. Frank Gardner raced this car in the ’68 Tasman, it was then taken over by Kevin Bartlett, the Aussie ace took the ’68 Gold Star in it. Repco never won a Gold Star title, a topic to explore at some stage during the Repco series of articles I am gradually writing with Rodway Wolfe and more recently Nigel Tait’s help.

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Simply sensational Dick Simpson shot of Kevin Bartlett in BT23D Alfa, Hell Corner Bathurst Easter 1968, KB was walking away with the race until a broken rear upright ended his run. Dominant in this car in ‘68/9 (Dick Simpson)

Delving deeper into this BT23 tangent, whilst a BT23 Repco never won a Gold Star, a BT23 Waggott nee Mildren did…

Denny Hulme raced a works F2 Brabham BT23(5) FVA in the ’68 Tasman Series comprehensively boofing the car in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe on 6 January, the series opening round.

Denny’s chassis was Jochen Rindt’s Winkelmann Racing entry in ’67, he won 9 Euro F2 races in it including the Rouen event pictured above. Another car (BT23-2) was sent from England for Denny to race in the rest of the series. Feo Stanton and Ian Rorison of Rorstan Racing bought the wreck and sent it to Rennmax Engineering in Sydney for Bob Britton to repair.

Instead of doing so Bob made a jig from the bent frame and sent a new chassis, the Rorstan Mk1 back to the Kiwis. Seven cars were built on the BT23 jig; the Rorstan, Mildren, two Rennmax BN2 and three BN3’s. Of these the Mildren, so named by Alec Mildren, the Sydney Alfa Romeo dealer, team owner and former Gold Star champion was the most successful. The Britton jig was also put to good use over the coming years repairing cars like Harvey’s bent BT23E!

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Max Stewart ‘harry flatters in top gear’ heading down Surfers Paradise main straight and about to guide his 2 litre Waggott powered Mildren missile under the fast right hander and Dunlop Bridge. 9th in the ‘Surfers 100’ Tasman round in 1970 against the F5000’s. Graham McRae’s McLaren M10A Chev won the race but Bartlett’s 2 litre Mildren Mono Waggott was 2nd on this power circuit (Dick Simpson)

So…the Mildren pictured resting against the Skyline Armco fencing at this articles outset is a BT23 design. Max Stewart was prodigiously fast in the Mildren Waggott, he was one of those guys who seemed to get quicker as he got older, in ’69 he was quick, by the mid-seventies he absolutely flew in his Lola F5000’s. He was one of the very small number of blokes in Oz who squeezed absolutely everything out of these, big, demanding, fast, spectacular, fabulous 500bhp V8’s.

Bartlett, Matich, Allen, John McCormack, Bruce Allison, Warwick Brown, John Walker and Stewart in my book were the F5000 aces with Matich, if I have to pick one, the first among equals. Mind you, on sheer speed Alf Costanzo who came relatively late to the F5000 party could have been ‘the one’. Its an interesting topic to debate, end of F5000 tangent!

One of the pit sights which always amused me, and admittedly small things amuse small minds was big Max, he wasn’t a ‘fat bastard’, but he was 6’2”, crammimg himself into one of his cars before setting off for the dummy grid. If there was a taller bloke than Max in F5000 globally I’d be intrigued to know his name. He must have given away at least 10Kg to the rest of the grid before he even plopped his arse into the tight aluminium monocoque confines of the F5000 Lolas in which he excelled.

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Max was big of stature and heart; here he is after winning the Rothmans International Series ‘Sandown Cup’ on 20 February 1977, his last big win, Lola T400 Chev, sadly not too long before his untimely death at Calder, 19 March 1977 (Ian Smith)

By the time Merv Waggott was building 2 litre variants of his superb DOHC, 4 valve, Lucas injected, bespoke aluminium blocked engines they were outright winners in 2.5 litre Tasman Formula events in the hands on the Mildren Duo, Messrs Bartlett and Stewart. The first Gold Star for F5000 was in 1971; Max’ Mildren Waggott won the Gold Star with about 275bhp from his close mate Bartlett in a much less nimble and reliable 500bhp McLaren M10B Chev in a year of speed and consistency. I don’t care what anyone says, F5000’s driven to their limit were always a little brittle.

So, to join the dots, a BT23 design did win the Gold Star albeit called a Mildren. Stewart’s Mildren Waggott and Bartlett’s Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott are tangents too far for this article and a wonderful future topic, there is a sensational article to be written there with Kevin Bartlett’s first-hand assistance on both chassis’ and engine if I ask him nicely…

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Merv Waggott changing plugs in his baby, Wigram 1970. Bartlett’s Mildren Mono ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott (Bill Pottinger/the Roaring Season)

Merv Waggott changing plugs in one of his superb jewels. An all alloy, DOHC, gear driven 4 valve Lucas injected circa 275bhp 2 litre engine. Its in the back Of Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren ‘Yellow Sub’ Waggott, shot is in the Wigram paddock, 1970 Tasman round on 17 January on 7 December. KB had a lousy meeting, not setting a practice time and DNF on lap 6 with engine dramas, Stewart was 3rd though in his car, Matich the winner in his McLaren M10A Chev.

The Waggott 2 litre engine was first built in late 1969 and initially developed circa 250bhp, its output later circa 268-275bhp with about 160 lbs/ft of torque. It raced to a win in KB’s hands in the ‘Sub upon debut in the ’69 ‘Hordern Trophy’ at WF, KB won again at the 1970 Warwick Farm Tasman round ahead of all the F5000’s and 2.5 Tasman Formula cars.  2 litre Waggotts won Australias’ Gold Star in 1970 for Leo Geoghegan (Lotus 59) and Stewart in ’71 as noted above.

An article about Merv and his creations is a wonderful feature for another time. Briefly for international readers Waggott’s Sydney shop built race winning engines from the 1950’s, checkout the article below on the WM Special/Cooper T20 Waggott Holden twin-cam 6 cylinder raced by Jack Myers and tested by Stirling Moss in the late ‘50’s as some background.

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/10/stirling-moss-cumberland-park-speedway-sydney-cooper-t20-wm-holden-1956/

Winding the clock forward, as the ANF1 2.5 litre formula spluttered on in the late sixties a ‘battle to the death’ was fought for the new ANF1 category in Oz between opposing forces who supported either F5000 or 2 litre F2. The latter to commence in Europe from 1 January 1972, F5000 commenced in Europe in 1969 and was born in the US as Formula A earlier still.

Waggott engines were initially of 1600cc, then later 1860cc and used the ubiquitous Ford Cortina block, same as Cosworth’s 1’6 litre FVA wherein Keith Duckworth tested his design ideas in advance of finalising his DFV design. In 1600 form the Waggott would have been Euro F2 legal, it used a production block as the regs required. The 1.6 litre F2 started in ’67 and ended in 1971 when it grew to 2 litres. There were a few FVA’s racing in Australia, the 1.6 Waggott more than a match for them, no Waggott’s, sadly, ever raced in Euro F2.

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Lance Ruting studio shot of one of the engines, Ford block by the look of it so 1600 or 1860 (autopics.com)

Waggott 2 litre engines used a bespoke aluminium block as the stock cast iron Ford block maxxed out at about 1860cc. Beyond that the pistons kissed! Mike Hailwood’s Surtees TS10 won the ’72 Euro F2 Championship running Brian Hart built Ford BDA’s of 1850cc, those competitors running greater capacity than that had unreliability. The final Euro 2 litre F2 regs required production blocks from 1972-75 until ’76 when ‘racing engines’ were allowed. So, in the earliest years of the class the Waggott was ineligible.

Merv’s engines could have raced in F2 from ’76 but he had long before told CAMS to ‘shove it’ after F5000 was chosen (probably rightly given the backing of Ford, Holden and Repco who were building V8’s/wanting to develop an F5000 variant of the Holden engine in Repco’s case) as Australias’ new ANF1 from the 1971 Gold Star competition.

Had the ingenious, beautifully built little engine been Euro F2 Championship legal in 1972 Sydney’s Waggott Engineering had the winning engine! The engines were tried, tested championship winning donks ready to pop into any car. 275bhp and a big fat torque curve, Kevin Bartlett quoted the usable rev range of 6800-8750rpm, would have done the trick in 1972, the BMW M12 changed the F2 game from ’73 of course.

A wonderful ‘mighta-been’ all the same. Merv could have ‘stolen the F2 march’ in 1972 in much the same way Repco did in F1 with its Olds F85 production block based ‘620 Series’ V8 in 1966…

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Max Stewart on the way to winning the ‘Angus & Coote Trophy’, the 1971 Oran Park Gold Star round on 27 June. Mildren Waggott 2 litre, Graeme Lawerence was 2nd in a Brabham BT30 FVC, the little cars succeeding as the F5000’s fell away (Dick Simpson)

Credits…

John Arkwright, oldracephotos.com, Dick Simpson, Dale Harvey, Bill Pottinger/The Roaring Season, Ian Smith, Neville McKay, autopics.com.au

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com, F2 Register

Tailpiece: A Lotus to end an article on Brabhams…

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Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco with ‘830 series’ Repco V8, started from the Bathurst ’69 pole but out on lap 12 with a gearbox problem, his time would shortly come with this car, winning the JAF Japanese GP later in 1969 amongst a classy field (oldracephotos.com)

Click here for an article on this ex-Clark chassis;

https://primotipo.com/?s=lotus+39

Finito…