Posts Tagged ‘Craven A International’

(R Meyer)

Leo Geoghegan’s Holden 48-215 from Frank Hamm’s Jaguar Mk5, Bathurst, Easter 1959…

I’m not sure if this is the parade lap described below or a race but the presence of the sportscar in amongst the touring cars suggests the former.

The stunning series of photographs are uber-rare ones from the inside of Conrod Straight, the cars have just cleared Forrests Elbow and are winding up in top gear. The kid standing on the fence is Rick Meyer, his father took these wonderful rare photos trackside, ‘locals’ photographs.

The Easter meeting was the Gold Star round traditionally- there are a huge number of past, current and future top liners or champions amongst the entry list. ‘Currents’ include Stan Jones, Doug Whiteford, Ross Jenson, Curley Brydon, Jack Myers, Jack Murray and David McKay. ‘Future stars’ are Len Lukey, Alec Mildren and Bill Patterson- Gold Star winners in 1959, 1960 and 1961 respectively, Lionel Ayers, Glynn Scott, Arnold Glass, Frank Matich, Ron Phillips, Ron Hodgson, Doug Chivas, Leo Geoghegan, John French, Des West, Max Volkers, Brian Foley, Ian Geoghegan, Brian Muir and ‘Ken’ Bartlett- no doubt Kevin Bartlett learned the value of clean, clear hand-writing on entry forms when he perused the race program at the circuit!

The photo below is from the same spot and shows reigning World Champ Jack Brabham on the 2 October 1960 weekend when the local boy returned to Australia having retained his F1 drivers title, to win the ‘Craven A International’ from a classy field of locals.

The Cooper T51 Climax leads the similar white-coloured machine of 1961 Australian Gold Star Champion, Bill Patterson. Patterson was second in the race with Bib Stillwell, also T51 equipped in third- he is probably that flash of red car behind Patto.

(R Meyer)

The photo below is again Geoghegan who is about to take, perhaps, Barry Gurdon’s Austin on the run down Conrod, or is it a Triumph Herald? By this stage Leo’s car is very quick and much modified- light weight, it has a Repco Hi-Power cylinder head and multiple SU carbs, is fitted with an MG TC gearbox, slippery diff and disc front brakes.

The introduction of the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1 January 1960 run to Appendix J regulations would reign-in the ‘costs out of hand’ development of touring cars without in any way constraining the appeal of tin-top racing to either spectators or owner-drivers.

(R Meyer)

Beautiful picture of the Les Wheeler funded, Gordon Stewart designed and built Stewart MG…

Believe it or not this very advanced car was concepted and constructed in the early fifties around a tubular steel spaceframe chassis, MG TC engine and brakes. With a Bob Baker built body, modified in the nose here, it first raced at Mount Druitt in 1955.

(R Meyer)

The engine was 1350cc in capacity and fitted with a Laystall crank and locally made rods. By the time the car appeared lots of serious stuff from Europe was racing locally so it missed the boat a bit as a potential ‘outright’ contender but its 1957 Gordon Stewart driven 142 mph made it the fastest TC speed ever over Bathurst’s Flying One-Eighth!

Here, Dick Willis says the car is supercharged ‘B-Series’ BMC powered, still with Gordon at the wheel. This car is extant and a wonderful feature article, such is its conceptual design and execution, for another time.

(D Willis)

A bit more from Dick Willis, here the Stewart MG crew- ‘Ecurie Cinque’ at Mount Druitt probably in 1958. ‘Jim Robson (at right) of Silverdale fame was a technical writer for Riley (Nuffield) before the war writing workshop manuals etc. After the war he emigrated to Australia and soon struck up a friendship with the like, Nuffield minded, Gordon Stewart- Jim was one of the team who developed the Stewart MG…’

Credits…

Rick Meyer, Dick Willis, Paul Newby

Tailpiece: Finish as we started, neighbour still with hands on hips and the obedient Rick still on and behind the fence!…

(R Meyer)

Cars are Horst Kwech’s RM Spyder (Buchanan body) and Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S during the Easter 1960 meeting.

Paul Newby explains that Horst Kwech built the RM Spyder whilst working at Regional Motors in Cooma- New South Wales sub-alpine country, hence the ‘RM’. It comprised a Buchanan bodied upside-down Singer chassis powered by a Repco Hi-Power headed Holden ‘Grey’ six-cylinder engine and still exists in Canberra.

Finito…