Posts Tagged ‘Leo Geoghegan’

(unattributed)

The Frank Matich/Glynn Scott Matich SR3 Repco (DNF) homes in on the Phil West/George Reynolds Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti during the 1 September 1968 Surfers Paradise 6 Hour…

As usual, the race was won by the SV Ferrari 250LM, that year driven by the brothers Geoghegan, click on this link for an article about that car inclusive of Surfers wins; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

In a race a bit light on entries- and reduced from twelve to six hours, the Geoghegans won having covered 249 laps from the Bill Gates/Jim Bertram Lotus Elan, 237 and Doug Whiteford/John Roxburgh/Frank Coad Datsun 2000 on 230. Other than David McKay’s ‘Old Red Lady’ 250LM the other fancied sports-racers all retired- the Matich/Scott Matich SR3 Repco, Palmer/Brown Ferrari P4/Can-Am350 and O’Sullivan/Baltzer/Bassett Lola T70 Chev.

I hadn’t realised the significance of this Ferrari 275 GTB as one of three RHD ‘Competizione Clienti’ specification 275’s of a total 1965 production run of ten. The addition to the nose of the car appears to be a camera- I would love to see the footage if it exists?

Chassis #07545, the seventh of the ten cars, was ordered by Britain’s Maranello Concessionaires, it was intended as their Le Mans reserve car- their entries that year comprised a P2 raced by Jo Bonnier and David Piper and a 250LM steered by Mauro Bianchi and Mike Salmon, both cars failed to finish.

The GTB wasn’t completed in time for the 24 hour classic but starred as an exhibit at the 42nd International IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt that September. Maranello sold it in October 1965 to Paddy McNally, then a respected journalist later to make a motza as an equity-holder in Allsport Ltd along with Bernie The Unbelievable (Ecclestone).

SV 250LM goes under its stablemate at Surfers (unattributed)

 

Frank Gardner circa 1966, probably in Australia during the Tasman. Where folks? (Repco Collection)

The GTB featured in an Autosport feature, McNally waxed lyrical about driving the car on the fast uncluttered roads of Europe inclusive of the Col des Mosses in Switzerland. ‘Even at close to 6000 pounds…the Ferrari represents excellent value and it is quite the best car that i have ever driven.’ McNally’s enthusiasm for these machines was genuine, he later acquired #09027 and raced it at Montlhery in the Paris 1000km.

Ford race team boss Alan Mann was the next owner two years hence, along the way he returned it to the factory where the bumpers were removed and big fog-lights installed and then sold it to one of his stars- Frank Gardner.

FG used the car to commute to his race commitments across the UK and Europe- these were many and varied inclusive of Touring Cars, World Manufacturers Championship Prototypes and Sportscars, F2 and the occasional F1 event. It would be intiguing to know just how many km’s the ultra fast GT did in Frank’s short ownership.

The Australian International then brought the car to Australia in the summer of 1967/8 to take up his usual Tasman drive with Alec Mildren, that year he raced the Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 2.5 V8. He sold it to Gallaher International, a British cigarette company- sponsor of the 500 mile Bathurst enduro in 1966 and 1967, who used it as a promotional tool.

Scuderia Veloce team driver Bill Brown bought it next, it was during his ownership that Phil West/George Reynolds raced it to eighth outright and first in class (the only car in the class) at Surfers in 1968. It seems this was the machines only race in period.

Melbourne motor racing entrepreneur/hill-climber Jim Abbott was the next owner, I dare say he gave it a run up Lakeland once or twice on the way to its garage at home- after his death it passed to Daryl Rigg and then to Ray Delaney who owned it for seven or so years using the car extensively. So too did Max Lane including contesting Targa Tasmania in 1993- the car left Australia many years ago as the global investment grade commodity it is.

#07545 in recent years (Talacrest)

Competizione 275 GTB’s…

The competition variants of one of Ferrari’s most sought after Grand Turismo’s was born of Enzo’s swifty in attempting to homologate his 1963 250P sports-prototype ‘in drag’- the 250LM as a GT car to replace the revered GTO. The FIA could see  the 3.3 litre LM- a larger capacity 250P with a roof for what it was and refused to homologate it.

Even as a GT the 250LM won Le Mans of course. Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt flogged their NART entry to death- but not quite and won in 1965 after the more fancied Ferrari P2 and Ford GT40 Mk2 prototypes fell by the wayside with all manner of problems.

As a consequence, needing a GT racer, Ferrari set to modifying the just released in 1964 GTB whose baseline specifications included a sophisticated ‘Tipo 563’ chassis, independent suspension front and rear, aerodynamic bodywork, four-wheel disc brakes, five-speed rear mounted transaxle and the well proven ‘Tipo 213’ Colombo V12- in this car SOHC, two-valve and 3.3 litres (3286cc- 77 x 58.8mm bore and stroke) in capacity.

275GTB prototype and first car built #06003 during the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally crewed by Giorgio Pianta and Roberto Lippi, DNF driveline (unattributed)

Depending upon your source there are either three or four distinct series or phases of build of competition 275’s.

The first are the relatively mild modifications to chassis #06003 and #06021.

#06003 is the prototype, very first 275GTB built in 1964, it was retained by the factory for testing purposes throughout 1965, then modified and entered in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally. #06021- is ‘the third GTB built and the prototype for the 1965 customer competition cars’ according to Peter Sachs who owned it twice. Its first custodian was a Roman, Antonio Maglione who contested at least four Hillclimb events in it in June/July 1965 having acquired it that April.

The second group of three works cars (plus a fourth built to this spec in 1966) designated ‘Competition Speciale’ were extensively modified by a team led by Mauro Forghieri with lightweight tube frames based on the standard Tipo 563 chassis.

The motors were six-Weber carb, dry-sumped Tipo 213 engines to 250LM spec giving 290-305 bhp and had 330 LM Berlinetta style noses with an air-scoop atop the long bonnets.

Other modifications included holes in interior panels, plexiglass windows and the use of magnesium castings for some engine and transmission parts. These cars, also designated 275 GTB/C Speciale, the bodies of which were of course designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti are said by some to be the most direct successors to the 250GTO.

After a DNF at Targa and third in class at the Nürburgring 1000km #06885 was sold by Scuderia Ferrari to Ecurie Francorchamps who raced it at Le Mans in 1965 achieving first in class and third outright- stunning for a GT. The reputation of these ‘275 GTB/C’s was underway.

Ferrari 275 GTB cutaway, specifications as per text (unattributed)

 

Scuderia Veloce line up before the 1968 Surfers 6 hour with Pete Geoghegan’s stout frame back to us. The #17 Ferrari Can-Am 350 DNF in the hands of Jim Palmer and Bill Brown. The West/Reynolds GTB is alongside and victorious Leo and Pete Geoghegan 250LM to the left (Rod MacKenzie)

Gardner’s #07545 was one of ten cars designated 275 ‘Competizione Clienti’ or ‘GTB/C Series 1′, which were built as dual purpose customer road/racers between May and August 1965- they were constructed in parallel with the works cars mentioned above and delivered only to privateers.

The specifications of this batch, very close to production cars included short nose bodies and six Weber DCN3 carbs, rather than the standard three, feeding essentially a standard wet sump Tipo 213 engine. The fuel tank was 140 litres rather than the standard 94 litre jobbie, the spare sat vertically aft of the tank. A higher rear shelf is a visual difference with three air vents in each rear guard a signal of menace. No two cars were identical but most had lightweight alloy bodies.

The final run of twelve cars, the ‘9000 series chassis’ were super-trick, schmick jiggers and are variously described as ‘275 GTB Berlinetta Competizione’ or ‘275 GTB/C’.

They have lightweight long-nose bodies built by Scaglietti which were half the thickness of the 250GTO’s and a specially designed steel and aluminium Tipo 590A chassis which was lighter and stiffer than the standard unit. The suspension and hubs were reinforced, clutch upgraded and a different steering box fitted.

The dry sumped Tipo 213 V12- which allowed the engine to be mounted lower in the frame, was tuned to 250LM specifications with some Electron components incorporated- sump, cam cover, timing chain casing and bell-housing- power was circa 275-282bhp @ 7700rpm. The three big Weber 40 DF13 carbs were a design unique to the car and fitted due to a clerical stuff up by Ferrari who had not homologated the six-carb Weber option.

Out and out racers, these were the only cars referred to by the factory as 275 GTB/C and were the last competition GT’s fettled in Maranello- the Daytona GTB/4 racers were modified in Modena.

Le Mans Esses 1967. The second placed Ferrari P4 of Scarfiotti/Parkes ahead of eleventh placed and first in class Filipinetti Ferrari 275GTB/C #09079 driven by Steinemann/Spoerry (LAT)

 

Ray Delaney in GTB #07545 at Amaroo Park, Sydney in 1981

Credits…

Jaguar Magazine, Repco Collection via Nigel Tait, Rod MacKenzie, Ray Delaney, Talacrest, barchetta.cc, LAT, Stephen Dalton

Tailpiece: 1968 Surfers 6 Hour…

(unattributed)

Borrani’s at the front and Campagnolo’s up the back, ain’t she sweet…

Finito…

(B Hickson)

Leo Geoghegan, left, Lotus 32 Ford, Greg Cusack Brabham BT6 Ford and Bib Stillwell, Brabham BT14 Ford with Bob Jane in the white Elfin Mono a couple of rows back, await the start of the ANF 1.5 race at Warwick Farm 16 May 1965…

This contest was an absolute cracker with Cusack ‘driving the race of his life’ according to Ray Bell. GC set the class record at 1:35.2 whilst ‘tigering’ after an early spin at ‘Creek- he dived way too deep in a late braking manoeuvre on Bib. Stillwell won from Geoghegan and Cusack. Then came Glynn Scott, Lotus 27, the similarly mounted Les Howard and A Felton in a Brabham.

Australian National Formula 1 was the ‘Tasman 2.5 litre’ Formula from 1964 to 1970 inclusive. The next level of single-seater racing was, variously, during this period, ANF 1.5 and ANF 2, putting the rule changes in F2 itself back then to one side.

ANF 1.5 existed between 1964-1968 inclusive, and, effectively as a twin-cam, two-valve formula ‘mandated’ the use of the Lotus-Ford ‘twin-cam’ Harry Mundy designed engine in 1.5 litre capacity, at least for those seeking victory. The engine was of course originally built to power Colin Chapman’s Lotus Elan, albeit it’s race potential was immediately obvious and exploited.

Arnold Glass’ Lotus 27 Cosworth Ford twin-cam in the Longford paddock 1964. Ain’t she sweet- in concept and execution very much a ‘mini’ F1 Lotus 25- daddy of the modern monocoque which first raced at Zandvoort in 1962 (R Lambert)

Mind you, the simple statement above does not do justice to the Cosworth modified four cylinder pushrod Ford engines which were dominant in Formula Junior, and were at 1.5 litres the engine to have in the early sixties before the ANF1.5 class was created in Australia.

The motors (not necessarily modified by Cosworth) were fitted to many small bore single-seaters at the dawn of the sixties and could still give a reasonable account of themselves after the twin-cam era arrived, but usually were no longer winners.

Perhaps the first twin-cams to race in Australia were Arnold Glass and Frank Gardner (Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT6) at the 1964 Australian Grand Prix at Sandown- Arnold’s Lotus was fifth in the race won by Jack Brabham’s Coventry Climax FPF engined Brabham BT7A. Cusack entered a Brabham BT6 similarly engined at Longford and so the bar was shifted in that class as the ‘rush’ to fit the latest and greatest got underway.

 

Lotus-Ford twin-cam. Surely one of the great, enduring race engines despite its road car parentage (Vic Berris)

The problem for the Tasman 2.5’s was the speed of a well driven ‘one and a half’! There were many occasions on which the 1.5’s showed very well in Gold Star competition including winning in the right circumstances.

Some examples of Gold Star top-two performances were Cusack’s second at Lakeside in 1964, Brabham BT6, Leo Geoghegan first in the Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm in December 1964, second at Lakeside and at the Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm in 1965 aboard his Lotus 32 Ford. John Harvey was first at Mallala in 1966 driving the ex-Stillwell Brabham BT14. Max Stewart was second at Bathurst during Easter 1968 in his Rennmax BN2 Ford. Garrie Cooper was second at Sandown in an Elfin 600 Ford with John Ampt, Clive Millis and Maurie Quincey all in Elfin 1.5’s in third, fourth and fifth places!

Fast and reliable is the observation about these machines.

16 May 1965- the initial photograph race’s dummy grid- #7 is the Cusack Brabham, the bit of white beyond Geoghegan’s Lotus. #17 Les Howard Lotus 27, #9 A Felton Brabham and the blue car with the white on the nose is Glynn Scott’s Lotus 27 (B Hickson)

Great drivers won the ANF 1.5 title too- in 1964 it fell to Greg Cusack’s Brabham BT6 Ford, in 1965 Bib Stillwell won in a Brabham BT14 Ford with John Harvey victorious in the same car the following year. In 1967 it was Max Stewart’s Rennmax BN1 Ford which took the honours, whilst Max and Garrie Cooper won jointly in 1968. Max raced a Rennmax BN2 Ford and Garrie Cooper an Elfin 600B Ford.

Max Stewart gets some attention during the Symmons Plains Gold Star weekend in 1967, Rennmax BN1 Ford (oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

With the exception of Stillwell, who was already an established ace- a multiple Gold Star winner when he won the title, the drivers were all ‘up and comers’- the ANF 1.5 Championship was an important part of a  journey onto greater things.

In 1964 and 1965 the championship was decided over one race at Warwick Farm and Bathurst respectively and from 1966-1968 by a series of events.

Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 32 Ford in the Warwick Farm paddock in May 1965 (B Hickson)

ANF 1.5 Championship, Warwick Farm, 6 September 1964…

Leo Geoghegan was the form driver in a top car, most would have their money on the Sydney Lotus 27 Ford pilot to win the race in his home backyard but a practice accident meant he was a non-starter come Sunday.

John Ellacott’s photo below shows Leo’s machine less a corner or two- ‘Racing Car News’ reported ‘a sudden inexplicable brake lock-up at the end of Hume Straight’ as the cause.

Leo’s Lotus is at the end of Hume Straight. What happened? (J Ellacott)

 

Geoghegan’s Lotus 27 Ford at Warwick Farm in one piece! (B Wells)

A good field of nineteen cars entered the race with Greg Cusack, Brabham, Roly Levis in Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT2, Glynn Scott and Arnold Glass in Lotus 27’s the likely lads with Cusack the favourite. Future Lotus GP driver David Walker entered his Brabham Ford FJ.

Cusack aboard his Brabham BT6, WF September 1964 (B Wells)

Despite a spin on lap 2 Cusack easily won the 34 lap 76.5 mile race from Glass, Levis, Barry Collerson’s Brabham, DJ Kelley in a Cooper and the R Price Lotus 18.

Shot below is the duelling Lotus 27’s of a couple of relative veterans, Glynn Scott chasing Arnold Glass. Glass had a recent past which included ANF1 Ferrari Super Squalo, Maser 250F and various Coopers. Glynn’s CV extended just into the next decade and sadly his tragic death at the wheel of an Elfin 600 Waggott TC-4V at Lakeside in 1970.

(B Wells)

Glass with a determined set to his jaw! Pretty car had its knocks, re-tubbed at least once in Glass’ hands, famously landing atop the Armco at Catalina Park on one occasion.

Arnold Glass, Lotus 27 Ford, WF Sept 1964 (B Wells)

(Terry Sullivan Collection)

Doug Kelley’s Cooper leads a gaggle of cars below on lap one- the distinctive rear of the R Price Lotus 18, #25 is Barry Lake in the Jolus Minx- a prominent racer/journalist and #16 A Felton’s Lotus 20, this group are a mix of ANF1.5 and FJ cars.

(B Wells)

ANF 1.5 Championship, Bathurst Easter 1965…

As noted above Greg Cusack won the 1964 ANF 1.5 Championship at Warwick Farm in his Brabham, he set off to Bathurst from his Canberra base to defend his title at Easter 1965.

Unfortunately his weekend was over almost before it started.

He spun on a patch of oil at The Cutting- he almost had the car back under control and then hit Ian Fergusson’s stranded Elfin which was perhaps the source of the oil Greg found.

The car was badly damaged, but he was ok- the championship was won by Bib Stillwell from Leo Geoghegan. In the photo below Leo’s Lotus 32 Ford chases Bib’s Brabham BT14 Ford up the mountain.

To compound Greg’s shocker of a weekend, earlier in practice Cusack was running his Lotus 23 Ford sporty, with that car badly damaged after crashing with brake failure. Again Cusack was ok but the trailer was awash with rooted cars by the weekend’s conclusion- it would have been a long sombre drive back to the national capital at the end of the meeting.

(J Ellacott)

Another photograph of a Stillwell/Cusack Warwick Farm battle…

Here its the 19 September 1965 meeting in the up to 1500 cc 10 lapper. The photo is towards the end of Hume Straight approaching the Creek Corner braking area.

Bib won from Greg and Mike Champion, Elfin Catalina. Leo Geoghegan broke a halfshaft coupling on the line and Cusack spun twice he was trying so hard.

Its was not too long before Stillwell retired after a long successful career which included four Gold Stars on the trot from 1962-1965- this fast little Brabham was then sold to Ron Phillips for John Harvey to race. It was an important stepping stone in Harve’s career fitted as it was with successively bigger twin-cams and eventually with a Repco RB740 V8 to contest ANF2.5 races in 1967.

(J Ellacott)

The photo below is of Harvey in the now RRC Phillips owned Brabham BT16 after purchase from Stillwell, in the Warwick Farm paddock during the 1966 Tasman round.

In a very good showing he was eighth- second of the ANF1.5’s home just behind Leo G’s Lotus 32. The race was won by Clark’s Lotus 39 Climax, a car Leo acquired after the Tasman’s end in his step up to ANF1- a jump Harvey also made a year later in 1967. Both were to have their reliability challenges as Repco Brabham V8 engine users during this period!

(autopics.com.au)

The Elfin Connection…

Whilst the photographs above feature imported marques the ANF1.5 category was a sensational class for the local motor racing industry industry, particularly for Elfin Sports Cars.

Garrie Cooper built a swag of Ford 116E pushrod and Lotus-Ford twin-cam powered Catalina’s, Mono’s and early 600’s throughout the early to late sixties.

Below GC is showing off the prototype Mono Mk2 ANF1.5 at the Edwardstown works in 1967.

This chassis had wider swept back upper wishbones and alloy racing calipers on larger diameter 9.5 inch diameter disc brakes than the Mk1.

Whilst Cooper proved the pace of this car (win in the ANF1.5 class of 1966 Surfers Gold Star round) the unpopular with customers, top upper, boxed, swept back wishbones (look hard) were replaced by more conventional top links- so creating the Mono Mk2B.

(R Lambert)

The same chassis again, ‘MB6550’ this time with bodywork on- isn’t it a pretty little gem of a thang, at Mallala with mechanic and friend Norm Butler alongside.

(R Lambert)

Garrie’s own talent behind the wheel developed considerably in this period as he was contesting ANF1.5 races and his share of Gold Star rounds- honing his skills against the top-liners in more powerful, but not always faster cars.

Garrie Cooper, Elfin 600B Ford chasing John Walker Elfin Mono Mk2D Ford, both ANF1.5’s during the October 1968 Mallala Gold Star round- 4th and DNF in the race won by Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco (J Lemm)

Below the chief is being looked after by Bob Mills during the 1967 Symmons Plains Gold Star round won by Greg Cusack’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco.

GC was out with bearing failure in his Mk2D Mono ‘MD6755’. It is a beautifully composed shot with the local coppers and captivated crowd looking on, or are they St Johns Ambulance chaps?

Love Bob Mills using the Shell dispenser for the BP oil behind his foot- Elfin were a BP sponsored team right from the very start.

(R Lambert)

Plenty of future Australian Aces cut their teeth at elite level in these 1.5s, if I could put it that way, including Leo Geoghegan, David Walker, John Harvey, Max Stewart, John Walker and Alfredo Costanzo.

Alfie broke through in the Mono below and then was ‘in the wilderness’ for a few years as he raced the increasingly uncompetitive car before he re-launched his career with the purchase of the ex-Geoghegan Birrana 274 ANF2 car in 1975-later becoming one of Australias’s greatest in F5000 and F Pacific machines entered for him by Alan Hamilton’s Porsche Cars Australia.

Costanzo, Elfin Mono Mk2B Ford, Lakeside Gold Star round July 1968. DNF the race won by Kevin Bartlett’s Brabham BT23D Alfa  (J Lambert)

Cooper proved the speed of his new design, the spaceframe Elfin 600 Ford, by taking the prototype car, chassis ‘6801’ to South East Asia winning the 1968 Singapore Grand Prix in the 1.5 Ford twin-cam powered car.

He replaced it in mid-1968 with 600B ‘6802’ also 1500 t/c powered, here the car is being tested by Cooper at Elfin’s home circuit, Mallala. Cooper and Max Stewart shared the ANF1.5 Championship, as related earlier, in 1968.

(B Mills)

Cooper’s ANF1.5 class winning Elfin 600B is shown in the BP compound below at Sandown in September 1968.

GC was second outright in the Gold Star race won by Glynn Scott- he of earlier ANF1.5 fame- in the Bowin P3 Ford FVA F2, part of which is on the lower right. See the laurel wreath over the cockpit of the 600- love the atmospherics of this shot.

(J Lambert)

At 6 feet 3 inches Max Stewart was a big, tall, heavy bugger for an open-wheeler dude!

His F5000’s could more readily absorb his body mass and big frame popping out of the cockpit of his smaller cars upsetting their aerodynamic efficiency. He must have given away the equivalent of 20 bhp or so compared to shrimps like Alfie! So his small-car results are all the more meritorious as a consequence.

Below he is at Hell Corner, during the Easter Bathurst Gold Star round in 1968- Max was second outright, winning the ANF1.5 class in his Rennmax BN2 Ford. Somewhat symbolic of the state of ANF1 2.5 racing at the time is that the second to seventh placed cars at Mount Panorama were all 1.5’s.

The engine of Max’ Rennmax was acquired from John Harvey when Ron Phillips fitted a bigger twin-cam to their BT14 thereby providing Maxxy with a very potent motor he put to rather good use!

(D Simpson)

ANF 1.5 was succeeded by ANF2 and that categories evolution to a 1600 cc racing engine class- a logical move given the growing number of Ford Cosworth FVA engined cars in Australia throughout 1968.

Merv Waggott’s 1.6 litre TC-4V four-valve engine broke cover in the same year and was first raced by Max Stewart fitted to Alec Mildren’s Bob Britton/Rennmax built Brabham BT23 copy- the spaceframe ‘Mildren Waggott’ at Symmons Plains in early 1969.

ANF 1.5 was a relatively short lived class, but oh-so-sweet.

Clive Millis all cocked up in his Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford on the way to 6th place in the Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm Gold Star round in December 1968 won by Bartlett’s Brabham BT23D Alfa (R MacKenzie)

Photo and Other Credits…

Barry Hickson, John Ellacott, James Lambert Collection, Ron Lambert, Bob Mills Collection, Stephen Dalton Collection, John Lemm, Rod MacKenzie, Bruce Wells, Dick Simpson, Terry Sullivan Collection, The Nostalgia Forum, oldracingcars.com, Rob Bartholomaeus for some of the photo identification work

Etcetera…

(oldracephotos.com.au/DSimpson)

Superb Dick Simpson shot of Garrie Cooper hiking the inside right, Warwick Farm Esses 1968. Elfin Mono Ford, I am intrigued to know the meeting date, before too long he had swapped his Mono for the new 600.

(S Dalton Collection)

 

The cutaway above is of a monocoque Lotus 27 powered by a pushrod Cosworth Ford 1.5 and is indicative of the type of chassis construction at the time.

Tailpiece: Bob Jane, Elfin Mono Mk1 ‘M6444’ Ford ANF1.5, Warwick Farm Tasman meeting, 13 February 1966…

(J Ellacott)

Finito…

(P Greenfield)

Malcolm Ramsay awaits the start of the ‘Diamond Trophy’ Gold Star race at Oran Park on 28 June 1970…

His car is an Elfin 600C Repco ‘730’ 2.5 litre V8, alongside him you can just see the nose of the cars constructor, Garrie Cooper’s Elfin 600D ‘830’ V8- only three of these Repco V8 engined Elfins were built, John McCormack’s Elfin 600C was the other, and all are ‘Australian Motor Racing Royalty’ to me- about as good as it gets!

The Oran Park round was the third of the 1970 series, a championship which was wide open- reigning champion Kevin Bartlett had finished third in the first Symmons ‘Tasmanian Road Racing Championship’ round behind John Harvey’s old-faithful Brabham BT23E Repco and Leo Geoghegan’s equally venerable Lotus 39 Repco.

Bob Jane, John Harvey, a young Pat Purcell, ? and John Sawyer, side on during the 1970 Symmons round- car wing is BT23E (oldracephotos.com.au)

 

Symmons Plains 1970- changing of the guard- last race for Harvey’s Brabham BT23E Repco, Geoghegan’s white Lotus 39 Repco and almost KB’s last race in the Mildren Yellow Submarine Waggott. Max Stewart in the Mildren Waggott on row 2 (H Ellis)

 

Leo Geoghegan and Garrie Cooper at Symmons in 1970 (oldracephotos)

 

The Mildren Duo- The Sub, Mildren Waggott with Glynn Scott’s blue trailer alongside

At Lakeside for the ‘Governor’s Trophy’ in early June, Max Stewart won from Harvey’s new car, the ‘Jane Repco V8′ built on Bob Britton’s Brabham BT23 jig. It was a modified car with suspension geometry suited to the latest generation of cars and other tweaks. Bartlett DNF’d with ignition problems- and Leo Geoghegan made the championship debut of his Lotus 59B Waggott 2 litre ’59-FB-14’, at long last (or sadly depending upon how you view that wonderful Lotus 39) Leo had a modern car, that 39 had served him so well but had not delivered the Gold Star it was surely capable of- with Repco reliability in 1967 or 1968.

Lakeside, Governor’s Trophy 7 June 1970. Pole-sitter and winner Max Stewart in the Mildren Waggott with Kevin Bartlett in the Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott alongside (G Ruckert)

After Lakeside KB jumped on a plane to the ‘States to chance his arm over there in Indy racing- he raced on and off in the US from 1970 to 1973- we must get him to tell us that story.

Garrie Cooper, perhaps the other driver capable of winning the Gold Star that year also had a poor start to the season with his new Repco 830 Series V8 powered Elfin 600D ‘7012’. At Symmons he retired with a flat battery having failed to set a time in practice and at Lakeside he was ninth from Q5 with a misfire for the races duration.

Malcolm Ramsay was a title contender too- if the Repco planets could be aligned, mounted as he was in Cooper’s first Repco engined 600- the 600C ‘6908’ raced by Garrie in Asia and then sold before returning to Oz in late 1969.

GC Cooper, Elfin 600D Repco ‘830’, Oran Park June 1970- oh to have seen an ace in this chassis (oldracephotos)

1970 was an odd year in terms of Gold Star eligibility…

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport made the following naff decisions during 1969 in an attempt to keep the peace with all interested parties- an impossible challenge of course and provide a formula, or formulae to suit the needs of Australian single-seater racing into the future. A summary of the rules for the next couple of years goes a bit like this;

1970 Tasman Series- Tasman 2.5, F5000 and 2 litre cars and under

1970 Gold Star- Tasman 2.5 and 2 litre cars and under

1971 Tasman- Tasman 2.5, F5000 and 2 litre cars and under

1971 Gold Star- F5000 and 2 litre cars and under

1972 Tasman- ditto as per ’71 Gold Star

1972 Gold Star- F5000 and ANF2 (to make up the numbers)

The impact of the above in 1970 was that those fellas who invested in F5000 could not race their cars in Australia- in particular Frank Matich and Niel Allen, both round winners during the 1970 Tasman could not race their McLarens in Gold Star events- a bummer for them and their fans but a bonus for the rest of the elite grid- Bartlett, Matich and Allen were out of the equation in 1970.

The machinations of the change from the Tasman 2.5 to F5000 category are ventilated at length in this article;

https://primotipo.com/2018/05/03/repco-holden-f5000-v8/

Wearing my Repco bias on my sleeve- 1970 was it, the last opportunity for the Maidstone concern to win either a Tasman or Gold Star 2.5 litre title for their beautiful little V8’s!

Max, second on the grid before the off, Mildren Waggott TC4V 2 litre. A jewel of a car and uber successful chassis (P Greenfield)

And so the title protagonists headed in the direction of Narellan on Sydney’s then western outskirts for the Oran Park round…

John Harvey put his stamp on practice with a 43 seconds dead lap in the Jane Repco with Max Stewart’s Mildren Waggott two-tenths adrift on a circuit Max knew like the back of his hand.

Its interesting that Max/Alec chose to keep racing the spaceframe car rather than the ‘Sub, a monocoque (after KB went away) but I guess Max wore that car like a glove- an extension of his body and he was never more than a bees-dick away from KB in terms of pace, so why not sell the Sub and keep the little Mildren nee Rennmax Waggott?

John Harvey ahead of one of the Elfin 600’s. Jane nee Rennmax Repco V8 – 830 Series V8. Bob Jane obtained the 830 V8’s used by Jack Brabham in the 1969 Brabham BT31- good works motors (L Hemer)

And as most of you know Mildren commissioned an F5000 car which Bartlett raced in the 1970 AGP and throughout the 1971 Tasman Series before the team was, very sadly, disbanded. But lets not get distracted from Oran Park.

Geoghegan did the same time as Max- he had clearly got to grips with the Lotus chassis and Waggott motors quickly having pedalled Repco V8’s since mid-1967. His Repco 830 would have had a smidge over 300 bhp with the Waggott at that stage of its development circa 265 bhp- albeit the 59B would have been a bit lighter overall than the 39.

Leo raced sans nose wings. Lotus 59B Waggott TC4V- yes please. OP June 1970 (oldracephotos)

Bob Muir demonstrated his growing pace with a 43.6 in his Rennmax BN2/3, at this meeting 2.5 Coventry Climax FPF powered- my guess is this was the best Gold Star FPF performance for a couple of years, by then these motors were no spring-‘chookins at all having taken two World Championships on the trot for Cooper/Jack Brabham in 1959 and 1960.

Bob bought a Waggott TC4V 2 litre engine which he popped into this chassis (in specification it is a BN3 but Bob referred to it as a BN2 ‘in period’) before the following ‘Sam Hordern Trophy’ round at Warwick Farm in early September and then later in the year bought the Mildren Yellow Sub off Alec and put the Waggott into that chassis- and somewhat famously rated his Rennmax BN2/3 the better car of the two. (same chassis as the Mildren Waggott).

Garrie Cooper and Malcolm Ramsay were fifth and sixth with a 44.6 and 45 seconds dead respectively, perhaps more could have been expected of the two V8’s but the dudes in front of them were all ‘locals’- if you can refer to an Orange resident as ‘local’ in Max’s case and Melbourne local for Harves! Harvey did plenty of laps at Oran Park before he emigrated to Mexico (Melbourne) when he started driving for Bob Jane .

John McCormack took the next step in his career when he replaced the ex-Jack Brabham 1962 AGP Caversham Brabham BT4 Climax FPF with an Elfin 600C in time for the 1970 Gold Star.

Fitting it with the FPF from the Brabham was sub-optimal but he was in the process of putting together a lease deal on a 740 Series Repco V8 with Malcolm Preston which would take him a further step along the path towards national championships in the years to come.

One day of The Year- that you can race your F5000 that is. Frank Matich on the way to 1970 AGP victory in his McLaren M10B Repco Holden (N Foote)

Preston and Mac developed a lifelong friendship during the Repco Holden F5000 years- Preston was the General Manager of REDCO, the Repco Engine Development Company which assumed the assets (most of ’em) of Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd. and designed, built and maintained the Repco-Holden motors.

That Repco 740 engine was nestled in the spaceframe of Mac’s 600 ‘7011’ by the Hordern Trophy meeting, so he used it at WF, Sandown, Mallala (pole) the AGP at the ‘Farm in November as well as the Warwick Farm Tasman meeting in February 1971.

In 1970 the Australian Grand Prix was a stand alone meeting- not part of the Gold Star or Tasman Series and allowed Tasman 2.5, 2 litres and under- and F5000’s!

Warwick Farm Meister Frank Matich won the race from a strong field in his McLaren M10B Repco Holden- it was the first ‘notch in the belt’ for another world class race engine from the Repco boys, the design of which was led by Phil Irving- he of Vincent and Repco Brabham Engines ‘620 Series’ fame with the assistance of Brian Heard, also ex-RBE.

Queenslander Glynn Scott in his brand spankers Elfin 600B Waggott TC4V, DNF (L Hemer)

Meanwhile, back at Oran Park in June…

Glynn Scott was next up, seventh in a brand new Elfin 600B Waggott 2 litre. Glynn was sure to be quick in this car over the next season or two but his time in it was way too short, only a month later he was killed in an awful accident at Lakeside when he and his friend Ivan Tighe collided, Ivan also Elfin 600 mounted.

Waggott engined Elfin 600’s are rare beasts- this (destroyed) chassis ‘7016’, Gary Campbell’s ‘7122’ (the chassis, then powered by a Lotus-Ford twin-cam  in which Larry Perkins won the 1971 ANF2 Championship) and Ramsay’s ‘6908’ were so equipped.

The Goodwins, unrelated were next, Len in the ex-Piers Courage/Niel Allen McLaren M4A ‘M4A/2’ Ford Cosworth FVA, the Pat Burke owned car soon to become an important stepping stone in the career of Warwick Brown who raced it in 1971 before stepping into another ex-Allen McLaren, M10B F5000, for 1972- fame if not fortune followed.

Ken Goodwin’s Rennmax BN3 Ford in the OP paddock June 1970 (K Hyndman)

Ken Goodwin who had come through Formula Vee raced a beautifully self-prepared Rennmax BN3 Lotus-Ford t/c ANF2- its amazing how many guys did well in these beautifully forgiving motor-cars. Ron Tauranac got the Brabham BT23 design spot on and Bob Britton didn’t bugger things up in his translation of same!

The thirteen car grid was rounded out by the ANF2 1.6 cars of Jack Bono, Brabham BT2 Ford t/c, Ian Fergusson, Bowin P3 Ford t/c and Noel Potts Elfin 600 Alfa Romeo 1.5.

Come race-day there were only twelve starters, unfortunately Muir’s Coventry Climax engine had ‘oil leaks’ which could not be remedied.

Stewart’s Mildren sorted before the off- Glenn Abbey and Alec Mildren look on as Derek Kneller at front and Ian Gordon set final tyre pressures. Waggott 2 litre TC4V engine and FT200 Hewland ‘box (K Hyndman)

Gold Star fields in terms of numbers were always tough, other than in the Formula Pacific and Formula Holden ‘peaks during the eighties/nineties- in 1970 the number of starters were; Symmons 11, Lakeside 17, Oran Park 12, Warwick Farm 12, Sandown 18 and Mallala 12- the AGP, not a Gold Star round had 19 starters with F5000 making the difference in the main.

The field was interesting too- all of the top-liners were racing cars with spaceframe chassis, four had Repco 730 or 830 ‘crossflow’ V8’s, three modern as tomorrow Waggott 2 litres started, with one Ford Cosworth FVA, an ‘old school’ Coventry Climax FPF in the back of McCormack’s Elfin 600 and a smattering of Lotus-Ford twin-cam ANF2’s plus Pott’s 1.5 litre twin-cam, long stroke Alfa Romeo.

Look mum, one hand! Stewart shows perfect control and a gaggle of car down OP’s Main Straight (L Hemer)

The 82 lap race was won by Max Stewart by 17 seconds from the similarly engined Lotus 59 of Geoghegan, then the ‘Elfin-GT Harrison Racing’ 600 Repco’s of Garrie Cooper and Malcolm Ramsay.

McCormack was two laps back in his 600 FPF from John Harvey a couple of laps back with problems.

Than came Ian Fergusson’s monocoque Bowin P3 Ford, Noel Potts Elfin 600 Alfa and Glynn Scott with only 50 laps in his 600 Waggott.

As Max Stewart left Oran Park for home in Orange on the Sunday night little did he know the high point of his 1970 Gold Star season had been reached, he took no points at either of the following Warwick Farm (injector problem) or Sandown (bearing) rounds won by Leo Geoghegan and John Harvey respectively.

John Harvey in the Jane Repco V8 in Warwick Farm’s Esses during practice for the Septmeber Gold Star round won by Geoghegan from Cooper and Muir. Harves Q4 and DNF fuel pump (L Hemer)

In fact the difference between Leo and his pursuers that season was a blend of speed and consistency- lessons from his Repco years!

He won two of the six rounds but scored in all but one. Stewart and Harvey both won two rounds as well but scored points in four rounds apiece. Harves went mighty close though, he recalled recently ‘…at the last round of the Gold Star at Mallala I was so far in front of Leo Geoghegan and Max Stewart I thought I had the race and the series in the bag. However, not to be, the left front suspension broke and took me off the road.’

In terms of qualifying performances, often an indicator of outright speed, Harvey took pole on three occasions with Stewart, Geoghegan and McCormack, the latter at Mallala using his Repco V8, to good effect once.

Geoghegan won the championship with 33 points from Stewart 27, Harvey 25, Cooper 16 and Ramsay 9.

Leo’s 59B before the off with Bob Holden’s Escort Twin-Cam sharing the Castrol tent. OP June 1970, car still in Oz (K Hyndman)

Leo Geoghegan- Lotus 59B…

https://primotipo.com/2018/09/17/leos-lotus-59b-waggott/

Max Stewart- Mildren Waggott…

https://primotipo.com/2018/05/29/singapore-sling/

Bob Muir- Rennmax BN3 Waggott…

https://primotipo.com/2018/08/14/rennmax-bn2-waggott/

Garrie Cooper- Elfin 600D Repco…

https://primotipo.com/2018/03/06/garrie-cooper-elfin-600d-repco-v8/

1970 Gold Star Season…

https://www.oldracingcars.com/australia/1970/

Credits…

Peter Greenfield, Harold Ellis, Lynton Hemer, oldracingcars.com.au, Nigel Foote, Ken Hyndman, oldracephotos.com.au, John Harvey, Graham Ruckert

Tailpiece: Harves and Hottie, Maxxie and ‘Yoko Ono’…

(L Hemer)

Finito…

(H Federbusch)

Greg Cusack Brabham BT6 Cosworth-Ford, Tim Schenken #16 green Lotus 18 Ford and Phil West, red Lotus 20 Cosworth on the outside. Then Kevin Bartlett, Elfin Catalina Hillman Imp on the inside in the distance and lanky Max Stewart, Rennmax BN1 Ford in the dark coloured car on the outside- Warwick Farm’s Creek Corner on 19 September 1965…

Some pretty handy drivers amongst that lot!, thanks to Rob Bartholomaeus and John Medley as well as Ray Bell for identifying the car/driver combinations.

Bell recalls the meeting ‘I thought it must be Cusack out front, but the white nose had me tossed. It turns out he borrowed his car back from new owner, Alan Felton, who had put the stripe there. He made a mess of the start and had to work his way through, this scene appears to be when he hit the front…there’s another Lotus 18 ranging up though, probably McCaughey.’

Fifteen competitors contested the title over 34 laps- 76.5 miles of Warwick Farm, Cusack, the reigning champion (he won at Lowood in an Elfin Catalina FJ in 1964) won from pole in his borrowed Brabham Cosworth from Max Stewart’s Rennmax BN1 Ford, Kevin Bartlett in the McGuire Family owned Elfin Imp and Ralph Sach in Alec Mildren’s Brabham.

Other ‘notables’ contesting the event included Ken Shirvington, Lotus 20B Cosworth and Les Howard aboard a Lotus 27 Ford.

Cusack, Brabham BT6 (Bob Williamson)

ANF2 at that time, from 1964 to 1968 was an 1100cc production-engine based class, it embraced what had been in 1962/3 Formula Junior, and engines of 1000cc free design.

Which sort of begs the question of what the single-seater Australian Formulae of the day were in 1965’ish.

I’ve used the ‘Australian National Formula’ or ‘ANF’ descriptor in my narrative which is not to say the CAMS used it at the time, here it is applied to make clear the classes were Australian ones, which in most cases were different to the categories similarly named in Europe. Here goes;

ANF1…

The ‘Tasman’ 2.5 category reigned supreme from 1964 to 1970 inclusive- the Australian Drivers Championship- the Gold Star, was run to this class. It was our best ever premier domestic elite category albeit however blessed were the Tasman grids, once the ‘furriners returned to Europe our domestic fields were not generally flash in quantity.

An anomaly was 1971 when 2.5’s were out, 2 litres were ok, F5000 was the Gold Star class of the next decade- and Max Stewart nicked the title in his reliable, fast 2 litre Waggott TC-4V engined Mildren nee Rennmax BN3 from under the noses of the new 5000’s. Just thought i’d get this in before you sticklers do- this articles ‘limit’ in terms of discussion is circa 1969/70.

Here is a rare ANF2.5 car!

It’s a Wren Coventry Climax 2.5 FPF commissioned from St Kilda’s Bill Reynolds by Tasmanian Brendan Tapp to compete with the other front-running Apple Isle locals- John McCormack in his ex-Jack Brabham 1962 Caversham AGP Brabham BT4 and David Sternberg’s ex-Clark Tasman 1965 Lotus 32B, both 2.5 FPF powered.

(oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

In essence the spaceframe chassis car raced once or twice at Sandown and Symmons Plains in 1969 before being damaged in a towing accident. Bob Wright then acquired it from Tapp, fixed it and raced it as above before using it as the basis of his ‘Tasma Climax’, later Repco 2.5 V8 engined, sportscar. The chassis was widened for this purpose.

ANF1.5…

1964 to 1968. A production based twin-cam, two valve category which de-facto became a class for the Lotus-Ford twin-cam engine, the quickest of which gave 2.5’s driven in ‘average fashion’ a serious run for their money. ANF1.5 was critical to pad out increasingly skinny Gold Star grids throughout this period.

The national championship was a single race affair in 1964, won by Greg Cusack in a Brabham BT6 Ford at Warwick Farm and in 1965 when Bib Stillwell, Brabham BT14 Ford, prevailed at Bathurst. It was then a series of races in 1966, 1967 and 1968 when the winners were John Harvey, ex-Stillwell Brabham BT14 Ford, Max Stewart, Rennmax BN1 Ford and Max Stewart/Garrie Cooper in Rennmax BN1 Ford/Elfin Mono and Elfin 600 Ford respectively.

Its only in recent times that i have appreciated just how important this class was, and what great racing it provided as both a ‘stepping stone’ for young thrusters and as a destination for some single-seater stalwarts.

(oldracephotos.com.au/DKeep)

Another unusual car above is the ex-David Sternberg ANF1.5 Alexis Mk6 Ford t/c raced by Brian Bowe, here being watched over by a couple of fellows including a youthful, bespectacled John Bowe at Symmons Plains in 1968.

I wonder what has become of this little car generally referred to as the ‘Lotus Alexis’ in Tassie at the time?- he did pretty well in it including a third place in the 1967 Symmons Gold Star round behind Greg Cusack’s Brabham BT23A Repco and John McCormack’s Brabham BT4 Climax- both ANF 2.5 cars.

ANF2…

1964 to 1968. Australia recognised Formula Junior for only two brief years as a championship class, as noted above.

In 1962 Frank Matich won the title in an Elfin FJ Ford at Catalina Park, in 1963 Leo Geoghegan won at Warwick Farm aboard a Lotus 22 Ford- in both years the title was decided over one race.

F2 was a class for cars powered by 1100cc production based engines which embraced what had been FJ.

There were plenty of FJ’s around even though Australia was slowish in picking up the class which exploded globally from its European start in 1958. In Oz the cars raced in Formula Libre in 1960, by 1961 FJ only races were being run in Victoria and New South Wales.

In addition F2 allowed 1 litre race engines, not that I think anyone raced such a machine?

Front row L>R Geoghegan Lotus 22, Jim Palmer Elfin Catalina and Greg Cusack Brabham BT6. Thats Kent Price in the other Geoghegan Lotus on row 2 (B Wells)

The photos above and below are of Leo Geoghegan during and after winning the 8 September 1963, 75 mile, Australian Formula Junior Championship at Warwick Farm. Leo’s Lotus 22 Ford won from Greg Cusack, Brabham Ford and Jim Palmer in the ex-Cusack Elfin Catalina Ford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the photo above that’s Kingsley Hibbard losing his Rennmax Ford comprehensively as he goes over the Western Crossing (of the horse-racing track international folks).

Up front Leo leads Jim Palmer, Elfin Catalina Ford, Kent Price in the other Geoghegan Lotus 20 and then perhaps Greg Cusack alongside Hibbard- in a Repco-Brabham Ford, to give the racer the name on the badge of the car at the time!

Look at those packed grandstands!

(oldracephotos.com.au/Phillips)

Leo’s Lotus 22 Ford won from Greg Cusack, Brabham Ford, Jack Hunnam in a Catalina, David Walker and then Hibbard, who did well to finish fifth after his first lap misdemeanour. Palmer’s car expired after 13 laps.

(oldracephotos.com.au/Phillips)

Many of the FJ drivers fitted Cosworth Ford 1500 pushrod engines to their Elfin FJ/Catalinas, Brabham, Lotus and Lynx chassis and entered Gold Star rounds so equipped, which then made them ANF1.5 cars.

In 1969 and 1970 the ANF2 championship was for cars fitted with 1.6 litre race-engines, so there were two years of the Ford FVA and Waggott TC-4V before the very successful 1970-1977, 1.6 litre DOHC 2 valve production based class. This ‘Lotus-Ford twin-cam’ class was a beaut but it too was in the seventies, not the decade earlier which is our focus.

ANF3…

Apparently from 1964 to 1968 we had European F3- 1000cc production based with overhead camshafts not permitted. How many of these cars did we have ‘in period’, I certainly don’t recall these things rocketing around here in any numbers?

The ‘heyday’ of ANF3 was the 1100cc era from 1969 and especially the 1300cc period from 1972 to 1977- production based and SOHC by then ok. Lets not go there as its outside the sixties period too.

Then there is the 2 litre European F3 period even later when the Gold Star was awarded to ‘Australia’s Champion Driver’, demeaning the award in the process. European F3 as our elite level single-seater category- ya gotta be friggin’ jokin CAMS? Lets not go there either as my blood-pressure tablets are way too light a dose to deal with the angst so caused by such fuck-wittery.

(Stride Family)

Formula Vee…

Formula Vee commenced in Oz in 1965 when ex-VW rallyist and dealer Greg Cusack demonstrated an imported American Formcar whilst Frank Kleinig Jnr is credited as winning the first FV race in Australia at Warwick Farm that December.

However FV historian, John Fabiszewski notes that the first to race Vees were Pat Stride in his Scarab and George Gessophilis in a Nota, in Formula Libre races in Tasmania (what circuit folks?) and Oran Park respectively on the same weekend in September 1965 (what date folks?).

The photograph above is of the only Vee race ever held at Longford, in its final year, 1968. Winner Pat Stride is coming off Kings Bridge in his Gremlin ahead of Mike Bessant- he was third in his Scarab with Lyn Archer second in an Elfin 500.

(R Thorncraft)

Formula Ford…

FF came a bit later of course, created in England in 1967, it commenced in Australia in 1969 with a race at Sandown that November, its first ‘National Championship’, the ‘Formula Ford National Series’ was run and won in 1970 by Richard Knight in an Elfin 600.

The photograph above is of Richard in his Bib Stillwell Ford Elfin 600 at Creek Corner, Warwick Farm during 1970- in a convincing display he won five of the six championship rounds.

Noel Potts, Elfin Catalina Ford 1.5, Warwick Farm circa 1964 (B Wells)

Etcetera…

Quintessential Australian cars of this period in Formula Junior, 1.5 litre pushrod Ford powered ‘Juniors’ and ANF1.5 per-se are Elfins (bias hereby declared) FJ/Catalina/’Works Replica 275 and 375′, Garrie Cooper’s first spaceframe single-seater design, and the monocoque T100 ‘Mono’ which followed it.

Arguably the best two drivers to come through the Catalina were Frank Matich and Kevin Bartlett- which is cheating really as FM had already ‘arrived’ (in sportscars) when he started to race the FJ/Catalina. So maybe my other choice is Greg Cusack.

Applying the same approach to the two best Mono pilots is a harder as there were plenty built and a lotta good guys raced them. On balance i’ll go with John Walker and Alfie Costanzo, you can’t go too far wrong with a couple of Gold Star champions, and AGP winner in Walker’s case.

I did say arguably, happy to enter into correspondence in relation thereto!

(J Ellacott- G Burford Collection)

To me the Elfin Mono is pretty much single-seater sex on wheels.

They were a very competitive piece of kit from 1964 to the arrival of the 600 replacement and also looked the goods. Garrie Cooper’s ‘eye’ for an attractive car should not be overlooked in any and all of his designs.

They were not without controversy in terms of the effectiveness of the ‘swept back upper wishbone’ rear suspension setup of the early cars- Bob Jane’s Mono Mk1 Ford t/c one such example. Here he is shown at Warwick Farm, probably during the 1966 Tasman meeting. Bob’s cars were always superbly prepared and presented, the Mono is no exception.

Credits…

Heinz Federbusch, Ray Bell, Bruce Wells, Dick Simpson, Lindsay Ross’ oldracephotos.com.au, Bob Williamson Collection, John Ellacott via Grant Burford, Stride Family, Russell Thorncraft

Tailpieces…

(B Wells)

Kevin Bartlett clad in a Nomex t-shirt aboard his Lynx BMC from Wally Mitchell’s Lotus 20 Ford during a Formula Junior race at Hume Weir on 23 September 1962. KB was first and third in the two races that day, the other victor was Leo Geoghegan in a Lotus 20.

(D Simpson)

Jack and Ron sold plenty of Brabhams in Australia at the time, surely they were THE manufacturer of ‘small bore’ production racing cars of the sixties.

The photo above is of later ANF2.5 pilot Phil West in a Brabham BT6 (or is it BT2) Ford at Oran Park in 1967, chosen, despite a blemish of age on the negative, as it shows the lines of the car to great effect.

The very first Brabham or MRD and BT2, BT6 and BT14 smaller capacity chassis scored lots of race wins/success/played a part in the success of many careers in Australia including West, Gavin Youl, Greg Cusack, Bib Stillwell, John Harvey, Kevin Bartlett, David Walker, Warwick Brown and others.

Finito…

‘Joisus Harry and the boys look after me pretty well’ is perhaps the thought going through Peter Brock’s mind…

Harry and the Boys are the Holden Dealer Team- Harry Firth, Ian Tate, Bruce Nowacki and others who built and prepared the various Holdens that Australian Touring Car Greats, Peter Brock and Colin Bond raced.

The Birrana 272 Ford ANF2 car Peter is looking after at Hume Weir in 1973 was a Father and Son operation between Geoff and Peter Brock.

This wasn’t new to the touring car ace mind you- the Austin A30 Holden Sports Sedan which thrust the lad from Diamond Creek to fame was run in just that manner but by 1973 he had been a works driver for four years with all of the cossetting- and expectations which goes with it.

Brock has that ‘where the hell is Tatey’ look about him!? Mind you, he may have just spotted a pretty young filly at the burger stand and doing that instantaneous, nano-second process of visual assesssment we all do.

This is another of my whacky-dacky articles in that it started as a mid-week quickie but grew like topsy into a feature as I chased a few tangents- so its not as cohesive as some of my efforts. Its a bit of this and a bit of that, without being a whole lot of any one thing! Bare with me all the same.

Chunky lines of the new Birrana 272 in the Victorian Trophy Sandown paddock. Single top link and radius rod and bottom lower wishbone, coil spring/damper front suspension. Note the ‘stay’ between the front and rear front suspension mounts on the tub (Kym)

I’ve written about this important car- ‘272-002’ and Brocky’s time with it before.

The car is significant in the pantheon of Birranas in that that it was the first monocoque chassis Tony Alcock and Malcolm Ramsay built, as well as the first of a very successful run of Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars constructed by Birrana between 1972 and 1974- noting that production spluttered along into 1978 with a couple of additional cars built in the interim.

In 1972-3 ‘272-002’ was raced by Ramsay, 1971 AF2 Champ Henk Woelders once, Leo Geoghegan and Brock before passing into Bernie Zampatti’s hands in Perth- he still has it, so rather a nice jigger to own in every respect.

Some of the additional photographs of the car were taken in the Sandown paddock during the weekend Malcolm Ramsay contested the ‘Victorian Trophy’ Gold Star round in April, i’m wondering if this was the car’s race debut? Frank Matich won the race in his Matich A50 Repco, with Ramsay seventh- FM took the Gold Star that year, his only Australian Drivers Championship in a couple of decades at the pointy end of Australian motor racing in both sports cars and single-seaters.

For most of the year Malcolm raced the car in South Australia and Victoria- in addition to the Gold Star round at Sandown there was a ‘Repco (fiftieth) Birthday Series’ of five rounds at Calder contested by F3, F2 and F5000 cars- won by Kevin Bartlett’s Lola T300 Chev

Tony Alcock built the first Birrana- the Formula Ford F71-1 initially raced by John Goss and then David Mingay in the garage behind his house in the Sydney suburbs. By the time the later F72 FF’s were constructed he was in partnership with Malcolm Ramsay back in his native Adelaide.

Ramsay had previously raced Elfins and Alcock worked for Garrie Cooper both before and after a sojurn to Europe working for McLaren, Cooper, Cosworth and others- both were mates of Garrie, so in a way it must have felt strange competing with the much respected outfit from Conmurra Road Edwardstown.

Ramsey- is that him sitting on the tub? and 272 at cold, windy Calder during 1972- possibly the August meeting (oldracephotos.com.au/Hammond)

Mind you, the story is that Malcolm approached Garrie to build him a car with some design features he wanted, the ever accommodating Cooper was fully committed with the build of the 620 and MR5 series of cars at the time so really didn’t have the capacity to do a ‘one off’. So Mal decided to do it himself and approached Tony who was at a loose end at the time.

Ramsey, Victorian Trophy meeting, Sandown. Note the injected Lotus-Ford twin cam and its metering unit and breathers on the roll bar. Box FT200, shocks I think Armstrong- half moon steering wheel a distinctive Birrana feature- Frank Matich the other proponent of those in Oz (Kym)

The 272 was an utterly conventional racing car of the period but what was different from the Elfin 600- which had pretty much ruled the small-bore racing car roost in Australia since its 1968 Singapore GP win with Cooper at the wheel, was that the Birrana had a monocoque chassis whereas the 600- a winner in FF, F3, F2 and ANF1 guises was a spaceframe.

The 272 was beautifully built and quick out of the box- its performance when driven by Malcolm and ‘Dame Nellie Melba’ Geoghegan when Leo- the 1970 Gold Star Champion returned from short-lived single-seater retirement to drive the car later in 1972- and Birrana Australian Formula 2 Championship wins in 1973 (273) and 1974 (274). For the record, Birrana national F2 titles were also taken by Geoff Brabham (274) in 1975 and Graeme Crawford (273) in 1976.

Leo first raced the 272 in the Hordern Trophy Gold Star round at Warwick Farm in November only completing 3 laps before having gear lever problems. He raced the car again in the final Repco Birthday Series round at Calder in December and was convinced of the Birrana’s potential so signed to drive one of two works ‘273’ cars- the other raced by Ramsay in 1973.

The 273 took Alcock’s concepts further, the 274 further again with sales and wins aplenty- the full history of Birrana is for another time.

Leo Geoghegan gridding up for the Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm late in 1972- that’s Garrie Coopers ELfin MR5 Repco to the left (S Geoghegan)

 

Brock squirts his 272 around Calder in early 1973 (G Moulds)

At the end of the 1972 season Birrana sold the car to Brock- who made it available for Malcolm Ramsay to race in the opening round of the 1973 championship at Hume Weir whilst Peter attended to Holden Dealer Team commitments.

Malcolm handed the car to Leo who had broken valve spring problems with his 273 Hart motor throughout the weekend including raceday. Geoghegan took a great and somewhat lucky win from the rear of the grid when Tony Stewart’s leading 273 had overheating dramas and had to reduce his pace- the plucky, quick Victorian was second and Chas Talbot, Elfin 600E Ford third.

Tony Stewart’s 273 from Geoghegan in the 272 with an the Skelton Bowin P6 on the outside- and Clive Millis’ abandoned 600B on the inside of the corner. A shame Stewart ceased racing this car after so few meetings- very fast driver, with support from Paul England should have, and could have gone far (ACY)

 

Geoghegan on Hume Weir’s Pit Straight, Birrana 272 1973- race run in tricky conditions including some rain, tailor made for the experienced Leo (ACY)

Brock raced the 272 for several more meetings before he too acquired a 273. Brock’s too short single-seater/Birrana sojurn is told here; https://primotipo.com/2018/05/07/brocks-birrana/ , with some Birrana history here; https://primotipo.com/2016/04/29/birrana-cars-and-the-1973-singapore-gp/

The 272 had a locally built 1.6 litre Lotus-Ford injected twin-cam engine- the Hart 416B variant de-rigeur in Australia from 1973 when all of the top-guns used these motors excluding Peter Brock.

Hewlands ubiquitous 5 speed FT200 gearbox was specified with lower wishbone bottom, top link and radius rod suspension at the front and single upper link, two lower links and twin radius rods deployed at the rear. Roll bars were used of course with cast Birrana uprights, wheels and steering rack finishing off a very nice package.

Wide, shallow, very rigid monocoque chassis, Varley battery beside the gearbox, locally built twin-cam by Peter Nightingale fitted with Globe injection (Kym)

Tailpiece: ‘Formula Birrana’ Adelaide International 7 October 1973…

(ACY)

Geoghegan and Ramsay in works 273’s sandwich the #18 Bob and Marj Brown owned 273 driven by Enno Buesselmann at Adelaide International in 1973, this race was won by Enno after Leo suffered a puncture.

Evolution of the 272 to 273 clear in this shot inclusive of period-typical ‘Tyrrell type’ enveloping nose.

Marque experts rate the 273 the pick of the Birranas with the 274 said to be not really a quicker car- as proved by the pace of Buesselmann’s car when driven by Bob Muir for the Browns in 1974 fitted with 274 nose and rear wing.

Geoghegan crushed the opposition in 1973- demonstrating amazing reliability, he finished all seven of the championships rounds, winning six of them- one in the 272, the balance in his 273. In a busy season, Geoghegan and Ramsay also raced the cars in Asia- this tour is covered in one of the articles linked above.

Bob Skelton, Bowin P6 Ford-Hart from Peter Brock, Birrana 273 Ford, Oran Park 1973 (ACY)

Afterthoughts…

Bob Skelton and the Bowin P6.

An interesting thing looking back at this F2 season is the performance of 1972 ‘Formula Ford Driver to Europe’ (DTE) winner Bob Skelton and his spaceframe chassis Birrana P6 Ford-Hart.

He was, despite being a far less experienced open-wheeler pilot than Leo who had been racing Tasman 2.5’s since 1966, and was racing wings and slicks for the first time- right up Geoghegan’s clacker on raw pace if not finishing record that season in a brand new, unsorted car. Two second placings from four of the seven rounds he finished was his best.

Let’s look a bit closer in terms of raw speed- at Hume Weir both Leo and Bob didn’t record a time- Tony Stewart started from pole on 45.4 seconds with no race times disclosed.

At Oran Park Geoghegan was on pole 42.3 secs, with BS right behind him on 42.5, Brock 44.2.

At Amaroo LG pole 48.7, BS again in second slot with 48.9, PB on 51.9- the last round of the series Brock contested.

At Surfers the cars raced within the Gold Star Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy F5000 race- Skelton bagged the F2 ‘pole’ with 1:9.5 from Leo on 1:10.4 with BS a tenth quicker in the race- the first occasion that happened that season.

Kneeling John Joyce fettles Skelton’s P6 at the Hume Weir opening round (ACY)

 

Symmons Plains grid with Geoghegan and Skelton on the front row. Chris Farrell, Dolphin 732 Ford (Brabham BT36 copy) and Enno Buesselmann Birrana 273 on row 2 with the distinctive #62 black Bowin P6 Hart of Bruce Allison on the right- to the left is Ian Fergusson’s Bowin P3 Ford. The #3 white 273 is Don Eubergang in the ex-Tony Stewart ‘273-007’- then an assortment of Elfin 600’s and a couple of Cheetah Toyota F3’s towards the rear- a very young John Bowe is in one the 600’s (ACY)

From Queensland the circus moved down South to Symmons Plains in Tasmania where Leo put the championship beyond doubt- both did 55.7 secs in practice. Skelton didn’t contest the final rounds in Adelaide or at Calder.

The conclusions to be drawn from the above are firstly that Skelton was a very quick driver- no shit Sherlock- he had won the DTE in 1972 apart from demonstrable pace in the sports and touring cars from whence he came. On raw pace the Bowin P6 was the equal of the Birrana 273 despite being brand new and untested prior to the seasons outset- and in the hands of a ‘wings and slicks’ novice.

It is a great shame Skelton’s single-seater career ended at this point, he deserved another crack at F2 or elevation to the F5000 Big League.

Bob got the babes, or TAA ‘hosties’ air- hostesses as they were before the days of political correctness! Bob Skelton taking a Ford Falcon XA GT Amaroo Park lap of honour after wrapping up the 1972 DTE. Slumming it on Fairlanes are second placed John Leffler and third place-man Bob Beasley- all raced Bowin P4A’s (unattributed)

In fact Skello’s ‘P6-119-72’ was the very first P6 built by John Joyce, completed, according to Bowin records, on 8 September 1972.

After winning the DTE in his trusty P4 Bowin Skelton raced the P6 once or twice in Oz to Formula Ford specifications- the P6 was an FF/F3/F2/Formula Atlantic spec car, four of the latter were exported to Canada in 1973/5, before shipping it to the UK and contesting the Snetterton Formula Ford Festival or ‘World Championship’.

He raced in the UK together with fellow Australians Larry Perkins (1971 DTE winner), John Leffler (1973 DTE winner) Buzz Buzaglo and Peter Finlay- the latter duo were at the time living in the UK and were ‘jets’ in British/Euro Formula Ford. How the Aussies fared is covered in this feature on Buzz I did yonks ago;

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/08/buzz-buzaglo-australian-international-racing-driver-and-the-eternal-racing-story-of-talent-luck/

Bob Skelton and ‘P6-119-72′ in the Snetterton paddock in late 1973, variable rate rear suspension linkages clear, alongside is Larry Perkins’ equally new Elfin 620. Both cars successful Formula Fords models for their respective makers (unattributed)

After shipment of the P6 back to Sydney the Bowin lads removed all the Formula Ford clobber- ‘Kent’ 1600 motor, Mk9 Hewland, brakes, wheels etc and added Hart 416B, FT200, wheels and calipers and wings and the rest and had the car ready- just, for the first 1973 F2 round at Hume Weir.

Hey presto, now I’m an F2! ‘P6-119-72’ in F2 guise with a nice shot of Skletons trick, schmick alloy, short-stroke Hart 416B twin-cam, circuit unknown (MRA)

These days the beautiful, radical P6/P8 Bowins with their progressive or ‘variable rate’ suspension are somewhat maligned on social media- it really is time I attack Bowin as a subject and address the facts armed with statistics in relation to the P6/P8- favourite racing cars of mine!

The colour photo above is Skelton’s P6 in front of Brock’s 273 at Oran Park during the ANF2 Championship round on 5 August- Geoghegan won from Brock and Skelton. Peter’s second place was the best of his two 1973 championship appearances, the final one was at Amaroo Park, also in outer Sydney, a fortnight later where he was sixth.

After that Brock ceased racing the 273- as quickly as he started it- the lure of touring cars was too great, Holden weren’t happy for Brock to race a Ford engined car and no doubt the self-running nature of the program was no fun- and by then not what was required to win in F2.

Mark Fogarty quoted Brock as saying ‘Brock was disillusioned by the formula…in 1972 F2 meant a simple chassis and twin-cam engine, but in 1973 monocoque chassis and supertrick Hart motors were the rule if you wanted to be competitive’. ‘Brock, in between HDT commitments, struggled on…until it became apparent that he was banging his head against the wall without a Hart…’

PB was second in the ’73 Oran Park round, here in his new Birrana 273- unsponsored. Odd the lack of support for the 1972 Bathurst winner (ACY)

Peter Brock and single-seaters.

The opening photograph in this article aroused plenty of Facebook chatter about Brock’s prowess as an open-wheeler driver- the fact is of course we can never be definitive about Peter’s capabilities because he simply didn’t stick at it for long enough to make a determination.

He had good equipment in both the 272 and 273 chassis but the cars were not, as noted above, fitted with the Ford-Hart 416B engine. Good for about 205 bhp, these motors were 15-20 bhp, depending upon accounts, more powerful than the best of the local twin-cams.

Most of the quicks in 1973 had them including Geoghegan, Ramsay, Buesselmann, Stewart, Skelton and Bruce Allison (Bowin P6- a sixth and a fourth Bruce’s best in a car he loathed- the 274 he raced in 1974 was much more to his taste and his results reflected it!) Winter (Mildren Yellow Submarine).

What we do know is that Brock was quick in anything and everything- in machines as diverse as the Austin A30 Holden, Touring Cars of god knows how many number from Holden Monaro GTS350 to V8 Supercars, rally and rallycross cars, Bob Jane’s 600 bhp plus Chevy Monza Sports Sedan to the Group C Porsche 956 Prototype he shared with Larry Perkins at Silverstone and Le Mans in 1984. In all of these cars and disciplines Brock was a winner or at least very competitive.

By all accounts- and so many of us watched him for four decades, so we all have a view- Brock was a versatile, adaptable, mechanically sympathetic, consistently fast and aggressive but thoughtful, analytical racer of elite international level and standing.

That does not mean he would have been an ace in single-seaters, but on balance, my ‘I reckon’ is that he would have been at least the equal of the best Oz resident open-wheeler guys had he focused in part or exclusively in the rarefied end of the sport…

Let the debate begin!

Brock, in Birrana overalls bending Ian Tate’s ear (i think) at Calder in 1973 (unattributed)

Photo and other Credits…

Dean Oliver, Kym, Glenn Moulds, ACY- Australian Competition Yearbook, Mark Fogarty in Australian Motor Racing Annual, Racing Car News, oldracingcars.com, Shaun Geoghegan

Etcetera…

Brian Hart and Hart engines article; https://primotipo.com/2016/10/21/hart-attack/

Brock, Birrana 272 Ford, Calder 1973 (AMRA)

Tailpiece 2…Leo G and Birrana the dominant 1973/4 F2 combo…

(AMY)

I’ve taken a few twists and turns in this article but let’s not lose track of Leo’s superb driving in 1973- Birrana gave him a brilliantly designed, built and prepared car that year and in 1974which he put to very good effect.

A shame was that he didn’t switch into F5000 after his 1970 Gold Star win aboard a Lotus 59B Waggott- Lord knows we needed a few more cars on the grid, but it was great, having read so much about Leo before I first went to a race meeting, to be able too see so many of his F2 races in 1973 and 1974! He was ‘the goods’.

RIP Leo Geoghegan.

Finito…

 

 

(P Greenfield)

Niel Allen blasts 5 litres of fuel-injected Chevy off the line at Bathurst, Easter 1970- McLaren M10B Chev F5000…

Peter Greenfield has beautifully captured Niel at the start of the historic three lap ‘Captain Cook Trophy’ in which Allen set a lap record at Bathurst with a time of 2:9.7 seconds which stood for 32 years until it was taken by John Bowe in a Ford V8 AU Supercar with 2:8.3873 to take provisional pole in 2002. Brad Jones did a race lap of 2:9.5705 in the same AU Falcon.

Whilst the track changed in the interim period as to a much better surface it was slowed by the high speed ‘The Chase’ on Conrod. Not to mention the fact that the last Easter Meeting with outright open-wheelers took place in 1973- the track had simply become too dangerous for cars of that performance envelope as it then was.

The feature event on the program that Easter 1970 weekend was the second round of the Australian Touring Car Championship which was won by Norm Beechey’s Holden Monaro GTS350, click here to read about that race;

https://primotipo.com/2018/04/01/variety-is-the-spice/

Start of the lap record race with an obscured Niel Allen over against the Pit Counter. On this side is John Harvey, Brabham BT23E Repco and in white, Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Repco- there was life in the old dog though, in beating Harves in the racing car 13 lapper Leo did a 2:12.1, the fastest ever time by a Tasman 2.5 car at Bathurst. This meeting must have been just about the last race for each of those cars before John and Leo jumped into the Bob Britton built Jane Repco V8 and Lotus 59B Waggott respectively for the balance of their 1970 Gold Star campaigns- a title won by Geoghegan (Rod MacKenzie)

 

Niel Allen collects one of his trophies for the weekend from Chris Davison (C Williams)

Allen did a qualifying lap of 2:11.2 with a trick flat-plane crank Chev engine fitted to one of the fastest F5000’s on the planet at the time. The 1970 NZ GP winner flew around the treacherous for ultra fast single-seaters, circuit to do his amazing time- 171.7 miles per hour down Conrod in the process, a much narrower strip of bitumen than it is now.

The current Bathurst lap records are held by McLarens.

Shane van Gisbergen did a 2:1.5670 in his McLaren 650S GT3 during the February 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race. Jenson Button did a 1:48.88 in his F1 McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes in the pre-event Vodaphone publicity session he did with Craig Lowndes and his V8 Supercar prior to the 2011 AGP at Albert Park- I do like the symmetry of ‘another’ McLaren single-seater holding the ‘lap record’ even though the time was not set in a race.

I wish.

(zimbio.com)

Credits…

Peter Greenfield, motorsport.com, Road & Track, Wikipedia, Rod MacKenzie, ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley, Craig Williams

Tailpiece: Shane Van Gisbergen, McLaren 650S 2016…

(Road and Track)

Finito…

(WFFB)

Despite being in the middle of built up Sydney, Warwick Farm had its bucolic elements…

And there is nothing more quintessentially country Australian than a windmill- here as a backdrop for Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 59B Waggott prior to the 1971 Tasman round on 14 February.

Frank Gardner’s Lola T192 Chev was victorious that weekend, Leo succumbing to ignition problems. The Lotus was kind to him though, he won the 1970 Gold Star in it with wins here and at Mallala- with the F5000’s about in the Tasman rounds the competition was a bit tougher though.

Geoghegan’s 59B in the Oran Park paddock during the September 1970 Gold Star weekend which he won from Garrie Cooper’s Elfin 600D Repco and Bob Muir’s Rennmax BN3 Waggott. Love the knock on wheels, radiator nostrils and distinctive air exit ducts. Bob Holden’s Ford Escort Twin-Cam behind (K Hyndman)

Dave Baldwin designed the spaceframe 59 as Lotus Components’ 1969 F3 and F2/B customer racing cars, there were a few Formula Fords too. Guys such as Emerson Fittipaldi, Mo Nunn, Roy Pike, Dave Walker, John Miles, Max Mosley, Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt raced the cars with success.

Shades of the 1961/2 F1 Ferrari 156 of course (P Townsend)

As pretty (and effective) as it is possible to get in its Castrol livery, WF 1970. Note the tail of Leo’s works Valiant Pacer Series Prod car behind (P Townsend)

In Australia the Tasman 2.5 litre Formula 1 (ANF1) was being phased out and F5000 phased in over 1970-71 so Leo Geoghegan saw an opportunity to replace his long lived, much loved, ex-Jim Clark Repco V8 engined Lotus 39 with a 59B.

Geoghegan’s Sporty Cars were Australia’s Lotus importer- it would also have made sense for Leo to race a Lotus 70 F5000 machine, not that it was one of their greatest designs mind you. Leo astutely chose the 59B and installed one of Merv Waggott’s new ‘TC-4V’ 275 bhp, fuel injected, DOHC, 4-valve 2 litre engines into the space usually occupied by a 1.6 litre Ford FVA F2 engine.

In a year of consistency he finally won the national title he had been chasing for years in the 39 Repco.

Leo’s car, chassis ’59-FB-14′ is still in Australia, in the Holmes family collection.

Hewland FT200 5 speed transaxle, big oil tank and hub mounted inboard discs (P Townsend)

Etcetera…

Again at the Farm, 6 September 1970 (D Simpson)

Photo Credits…

(WFFB) Warwick Farm Facebook page, oldracephotos.com.au, Ken Hyndman, Peter Townsend

Tailpiece: Geoghegan and Lotus 59B Waggott on Warwick Farm’s Pit Straight in 1971…

(oldracephotos)

Finito…