Posts Tagged ‘Oran Park’

I love watching busy test sessions such as this.

It’s the Thursday or Friday before the second round of the Australian Formula 2 Championship at Oran Park, New South Wales on August 5 1973.

The Birrana Cars onslaught is underway, Malcolm Ramsay and Tony Alcock’s 272 impressed all in 1972 including Leo Geoghegan who drove the car late in the year and was happily seduced back into single-seaters with a works Birrana 273 Ford-Hart 416-B 1.6 for 1973.

Leo mopped up that year winning six of the seven Australian Formula 2 Championship rounds despite opposition from Tony Stewart and Enno Buesselmann in 273s, Bob Skelton’s Bowin P6 and Ray Winter in the old darlin’- the ex-Gardner/Bartlett Mildren Yellow Submarine. Of these Skelton was quick everywhere and led Leo at Amaroo and Symmons, missed the last two rounds and ultimately could not convert the potential of the variable-rate suspension Bowin.

But all of that is in the future, the flurry of activity centres on Leo’s car and a back to back test between Goodyear and Bridgestone tyres- who is the the Goodyear tech looking closely at the right front- i am being assertive with my identification of people but in some cases ‘i think’ should be used- just letting you know rather than write it ten times.

Check-shirt man is Bruce Cary, the driver at left is Ray Winter, to his right in the short sleeved shirt is Bruce Richardson- the car in front of Leo’s is Tony Stewarts, the guy in the Singapore Airlines T-shirt is Malcolm Ramsay and the car at the end of the pitlane is one of the black Bowin P6s- either Skelton’s or Bruce Allison- Bob liked the car more than Bruce!

Goodyears in the first shot, Bridgies here.

All of the Birranas are superb racing cars- FF, ANF3, ANF2, F Pac and the mid-engined Speedway machine, Adelaide strikes again! Those who have driven both cars either say the 273 was a better car than the tidied up in the body and bracketry 274, or its equal- Bob Muir gave Leo ‘absolute buggery’ in the 274 bodied 273 owned by Bob and Marj Brown in 1974 didn’t he?

Note the mounts on the nose to accept another small wing- in search of more front bite.

Business end with Varley battery and oil catch tank- forward of them is a Hewland FT200 five speed transaxle and the Brian Hart Ltd, Harlow, Essex built ‘416-B’ Lotus-Ford DOHC, two valve, Lucas injected four cylinder motor.

This engine was aimed at the large American Formula B market, where all of the British tuners fought a pitched battle and in much smaller numbers Australian F2.

The ‘ducks guts’ variant was alloy blocked, the late Peter Nightingale, who looked after Leo’s and Geoff Brabham’s Harts amongst others quoted 200bhp @ 8500rpm and 130lb/ft of torque @ 7500rpm for the 1973 iron block variant and a ‘minimum’ of 200bhp @ 8500rpm and 125lb/ft of torque @ 8500rpm for the 1974 alloy block.

Line ball call but the alloy block was lighter and in the very best of hands every liddl’ bit counts.

No idea who blondie is but the vertically challenged fella looking at the engine in front is ex-Repco immensely talented engineer and multiple Australian hillclimb champion Paul England looking at Tony Stewart’s Jack Godbehear built engine.

Oh yes, come raceday Leo won from Peter Brock’s 273 and Bob Skelton, i am intrigued to know what tyres the works 273 raced…

Credits…

Brian Caldersmith, Peter Nightingale on The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece…

Leo is ready to boogie- fuel check and off. Bearded Ramsay, tall isn’t he, wandering past.

I’ve often wondered what Tony Alcock could have achieved in his second European stint, as most of you know he was in that plane, on that day, and in those circumstances with Graham Hill in 1975.

Finito…

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(Rod MacKenzie)

Graeme Lawrence ‘bang on line’ as Kevin Bartlett remarked upon seeing this shot of the Kiwi champions Lola T332 Chev going through Oran Park’s new ‘twiddly bits’ during the 1974 Australian Grand Prix…

There is something great about seeing a racing cars mechanical elements isn’t there? Rod MacKenzie has captured them beautifully in this shot.

These Lola’s are favourites of mine as some of you would know, and a topic about which I have written at length, specifically Peter Brennan’s restoration of Lola T330 ‘HU18’- Lella Lombardi’s old bus. So I won’t bore you with the technical details again, it’s all in this series of articles, attached is the link to the first of them;

https://primotipo.com/2014/06/24/lellas-lola-restoration-of-the-ex-lella-lombardi-lola-t330-chev-hu18-episode-1/

There is so much to see back there starting, of course, with 5 litres of fuel injected Chev, say 520bhp in period. The poor Hewland DG300 5 speed transaxle coped, just, as long as it’s components were adequately lifed, the ‘box was originally designed around ‘effete’ 3 litre F1 engines, not, big, butch Chevs.

The beefy sliding spline driveshafts are clear as are the big inboard brake calipers and ventilated cast iron discs. These Lolas were beautifully finished, all of the steel fabrications were finished in shiny nickel plating.

Suspension is period typical at the rear; single upper link, two lower links, the earlier T330 you will see via the link above had inverted lower wishbones. Uprights were magnesium alloy, fore and aft location provided by radius rods. The shocks are double adjustable alloy bodied Koni’s. Adjustable roll bars were of course also fitted front and rear. Rod MacKenzie’s shot is so sharp you can see Graeme has the rear bar set at full soft, trying to get rear end bite out of Oran Park’s slower turns no doubt.

The big airbox is clear, within 12 months most of the T332’s on the planet had converted to an all enveloping engine cover cum airbox to better flow air over the car and onto the rear wing, this development was first made by the Haas/Chaparral crew in the US on Brian Redman’s car.

Big, wide Goodyears put the power to the road, the wheels are Lola’s own 14 inch diameter cast magnesium jobbies; within 12 months 15 inch American Jongbloed’s were de rigour on these beasts.

A car of beauty indeed!

Graeme was very successful in it; he came within a bees-dick of winning the ’75 Tasman Series in a last round shoot out at Sandown with fellow T332 pilots, Warwick Brown and John Walker, that story is told here, the battle resolved in Warwick’s favour, the only Aussie to win the coveted Tasman Cup;

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/12/the-mother-and-father-of-lucky-escapes-john-walker-sandown-tasman-1975/

Graeme also won the Kiwi Championship, the Gold Star with Lola in 1974/5.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, Terry Marshall

Tailpiece: ‘Team Lawrence’ and trusty T332 after a Tasman Levin win in 1975…

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(Terry Marshall)

The circumstances for the upload of these two photos by Rod and Terry Marshall were in honour of the recent passing of Graeme Lawrence’s late father Doug, helping Graeme out of the car above. He was an integral part of his sons motor racing from the start. Clearly there is deep respect and affection amongst former competitors and their crews on both sides of the Tasman for Doug Lawrence. RIP Sir.