Posts Tagged ‘Piers Courage’

Jackie Stewart and a very tidy little unit, Dunlop PR shoot, London 1969…

The model is not bad either. This kinda stuff is a drivers stock in trade but the car organised is a bit low rent? Its Piers Courage’s Frank Willams Racing Brabham BT30 Ford FVA F2 car, BT30-5 i suspect. ‘Yerd reckon they could have rustled up one of those nice little F1 jobbies for the occasion? Jackie’s Championship winning Matra MS80 Ford or Piers’ Brabham BT26 Ford. Both must have been getting fettled for their next event.

Jackie looks happy enough, as he should, its my kind of a days work.

1969 was Piers Courage breakthrough year- he jumped out of the box in the Tasman Series, 3rd in the Series with a win at Teretonga, and was right up Rindt, Amons and Hill’s clacker in an FW Brabham BT24 Ford DFW.

Then he absolutely brained ‘em in FW’s year old ex-works Brabham BT26, the Repco Brabham 860 V8 replaced by a good ole DFV. He was a front runner all year- 8th in the title with seconds at Monaco and Watkins Glen his best results.

1969 Tasman Series Levin. Hi-winged Frank Williams Brabham BT24 Ford DFW is chasing Graham Hill’s works Lotus 49B Ford DFW and Derek Bell’s works Ferrari 246T. Chris Amon’s Dino won from Piers and Frank Gardner’s Mildren Alfa (S Twist/TRS)

In F2 he was a ‘graded driver’, so was not eligible for championship points. He was a front five racer from the start of the year in a Williams BT23C through to its end racing this car (shots with model) BT30-5, his best a win at Enna- the GP del Mediterraneo in late August. His last F2 drive of the year was in Andrea de Tomaso’s de Tomaso 103 FVA in the GP Roma in October, that was a portent of the disastrous year to follow in 1970…

Piers and Sally Courage talking gob-shite with the Victorian Governor Sir Rohan Delacombe and his missus, Sandown Tasman 1969. Piers DNF with half-shaft failure on lap 2, the race won by Chris Amon’s Ferrari 246T (J Stanley)


Getty Images, John Stanley, Steve Twist/The Roaring Season, F2 Index,

Tailpiece: Rare beast those GT40 Roadies- the Mk3, chassis number folks?…




Silvio Moser’s Brabham BT24 Ford racing with Lancia D50 style pannier tanks during the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix…

He retired from the race won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B. Moser is one of those privateers who so enriched GeePee racing in the days when such things were allowed, encouraged even.

Silvio was keen on Brabhams, he raced an ex-works BT20, Denny’s chassis ‘F1-2-6’ in 1968 before buying the car above, BT24/3 after Piers Courage raced it in the 1969 Tasman Series.

bt 20

Silvio is his Charles Vogele Racing Team Brabham BT20/2 Repco. DNF, Daily Mail Race of Champions meeting, Brands Hatch, 17 March 1968. Bruce McLaren won in his M7A Ford (Ed Lacey)

It was the last of the BT24’s built, Jochen Rindt raced the 1967 championship winning design during early season ’68 Grands Prix whilst Jack tried to coax some reliability from the quad cam, 32 valve, powerful but problemmatic ‘860 Series’ Repco V8 engined BT26.

brab rindt

Jochen Rindt’s Brabham BT24/3 Repco, his ’67 spec ‘740 Series’ Repco SOHC V8 powered car beside Jack’s new BT26 powered by the ‘860 Series’ DOHC, 32 valve V8, DNF for both, Monaco 1968. Hill won in a Lotus 49 B Ford (Schlegelmilch)

Dan Gurney also had a steer, the lanky Californian crammed himself into the car at Zandvoort (below) then Kurt Ahrens raced it to 12th in the German GP, the cars only GP finish in 1968.

brab dan

Kurt Ahrens (below)  in BT24/3 during the awfully wet German GP at the Niuburgring, Jackie Stewart triumphed in his Matra MS10 Ford aided by some trick Dunlop wets. Kurt was on Goodyears, finishing 12th in a one off drive on home turf. The cars spec was ever evolving, check out the wing package, the same as that used on the factory 1968 BT26’s, Nurburgring was the only race of the year in which both Jack and Jochen finished a race in the fast but unreliable BT26. Kurt’s cars wing has ‘Fosters Flop’, it’s in full droop mode, the simple support bracket having come adrift on the bumpy Eifel Mountains course.



Frank Williams then bought the car and converted it to Tasman spec by fitting a Ford Cosworth DFW V8, the 2.5 litre variant of the famous DFV. Piers did well in it in the Antipodes, his best result 1st at the Teretonga International on 25 January 1969. Here (below) he is behind Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 49 DFW and the Ferrari 246 T twins of Chris Amon and Derek Bell, the ‘flash’ grandstands nicely juxtaposed against  the cars. Might be on the warm up lap as Jochen’s driveshaft failed on the line, the cars are in grid order.

puk 1

(Ian Peak)

And below Bell’s Ferrari 246T from Hill’s Lotus 49B and Courage’s BT24/3. Courage won from Hill and Amon. Variety of approaches to wings interesting, checkout that crowd and the el-casual vantage points.

puk 2

(Ian Peak)

Courage had a sensational season driving another ex-works Brabham, a BT26 adapted to accept a DFV, he established himself as an F1 front runner in 1969, 2nd at Watkins Glen to Jochen Rindt the seasons highlight.

Frank Williams popped the BT24 into Autosport after the Tasman to sell it, Silvio the eager purchaser. All the hard work had been done, he bought a DFV and slotted it into the spaceframe whence the DFW had been. He needed more tankage though, Tasman races were 100 miles, GP’s 200 miles, hence the pannier tanks, ok for 1969 but no-go in 1970 when ‘bag tank’ rules came into being.

BT24/3 still exists in Switzerland, there is also a replica tagged 24/3.


Silvio’s Brabham BT24 DNF engine, about to be swallowed by Amon’s Ferrari 312 3rd, Hulmes McLaren M7A Ford 4th and Brabham’sBrabham BT26 Ford 6th, Zandvoort, Dutch GP June 1969 (unattributed)


Rainer Schlegelmilch, Ed Lacey/Popperfoto, Ian Peak Collection/The Roaring Season

Tailpiece: Silvio Moser on his way to a great 6th place in his Brabham BT24/3 Ford at Watkins Glen during the 1969 USGP, he is being passed by Jacky Ickx’ latest, works Brabham BT 26 Ford DNF. Rindt won in a Lotus 49B Ford…





‘Don’t worry about the T-Shirt Tim, it was the only one in the cupboard this morning! Go quicker than him and I’ll  make some with your name on them!?’…

FW exhorting Tim Schenken to get more speed from his steed.

Frank Williams raced the De Tomaso 505 Ford in 1970, a car designed for him by Gianpaolo Dallara. But it was shitbox, nowhere near as fast as the second-hand Brabham BT26 Frank ran in 1969 for his great friend Piers Courage. He drove with skill and conviction, second place the seasons highpoint at Watkins Glen in the US GP.

The De Tomaso was slow, too heavy amongst other shortcomings from the start, Piers Courage died in it at Zandvoort. I’m not suggesting a component failure was the accident’s cause but perhaps trying too hard to compensate for its lack of pace was.


Piers Courage, De Tomaso 505 Ford, Zandvoort, 21 June 1970. He qualified the car 9th, was in 7th place on lap 22 when he ran wide into a sand bank, hit a post, overturned the car which then caught fire. Rindt won, the Lotus 72’s first win, no joy for Jochen, his close friend died (unattributed)


Brian Redman raced the car for FW at Clermont Ferrand and Hockenheim, Tim took over the drive at  the Osterreichring, Monza, Mosport and Watkins Glen. He retired in every event except Mosport where he was not classified but qualified 17th, his best ‘result’.


Schenken, 16 August, Zeltweg, Austria 1970, DNF on lap 25 with engine failure, Q19. Ickx won in a Ferrari 312B (unattributed)

Schenken made the most of the opportunity FW gave him, he was recruited by Ron Tauranac for 1971, Jack Brabham retired that winter, Tim was teamed with Graham Hill who drove the problematic BT34. Tim raced the year old but still very quick BT33, his best placings 6th and 3rd at the Nurburgring and Osterreichring respectively.

Bernie Ecclestone bought Brabham during 1972, Tim was uncertain about Bernard Charles ability to run the team and left for Surtees, he was later to rue ’twas not the best career decision i ever made’…


Schenken in the Williams De Tomaso 505 Ford in the rain, Zeltweg 1970 (unattributed)

Credit…REX Shutterstock

stewart spain


Jackie Stewart passes the burning molten alloy remains of Jackie Oliver’s BRM P153 and Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312B, fortunately both drivers escaped with only minor injuries, burns in Ickx’ case, lucky, it could have been much worse…

On lap 1 of the 90 lap 19 April 1970 event Oliver had a suspension failure at the Ciudalcampo, Jarama, Madrid circuit, ploughing into Ickx and puncturing his fuel tank.

The other P153 BRM of Pedro Rodriguez was withdrawn as a precautionary measure, Ollie reported stub axle failure as the accident’s cause.

ickx ablaze

#2 Ickx Ferrari 312B and Oliver’s white BRM P153, inside an inferno. ‘Bag type’ safety bladder fuel tanks mandated from the start of the 1970 season. The FIA at this time, pretty much year by year changed the regulations to improve safety around fuel tanks; safety foam around tanks in ’72, crushable structures around tanks in ’73, selfseal breakaway tank/hose coupling in ’74. (unattributed)


The full horror of the situation confronting the two drivers; Oliver has punched the release on his Willans 6 point harness and is jumping out of the BRM, Ickx is in the process of popping his Britax Ferrari belts…Johnny Servoz-Gavin’s Tyrrell March 701 Ford 5th passes. (unattributed)


Ickx disoriented and on fire in search of a marshall (Automobile Year 18)

ickx running

A soldier beckons in Jacky’s direction. (Automobile Year 18)

ickx on the ground

The soldier, not a marshall puts Ickx’ overalls fire out. At this stage foam is being sprayed on the car fire but the foam extinguishers were soon emptied leaving water only, the impact on the molten magnesium componentry was to make the fire worse. (Automobile Year 18)

Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT33 Ford was on pole, reinforcing the speed of Ron Tauranac’s first monocoque GP contender, but Jackie Stewart won the race in one of his least favourite cars, the March 701 Ford.

The accident happened at the 2nd corner, the ‘Esses Bugatti’, a stub axle failed and Oliver’s BRM rammed Ickx’ Ferrari puncturing its fuel tanks and releasing 45 gallons of avgas, a similar amount aboard the BRM. Oliver got out quickly, Ickx finally emerged with his overalls on fire, the flames put out by a soldier, Ickx suffering as a result of keeping on his fuel soaked overalls.

‘The accident created race havoc, not only the visibility being dangerously reduced for drivers…but the flaming petrol constituted another hazard. The fire-fighting was abysmal, vast quantities of water being hosed on the flames for a long time-a procedure which caused the magnesium elements to ‘gas’ and flare up time and time again. The BRM was still burning at the end of the race, but miraculously no-one was hurt’ the Automobile Year report of the race said.

Stewart didn’t have the race to himself; he initially pulled away from Brabham and Hulme, electronic dramas causing the Kiwi’s demise. Despite spinning twice Jack chased Stewart and Pescarolo, taking second when the Frenchmans Matra V12 seized, he was 5 seconds behind JYS. Only a few metres separated them when Brabham’s Ford Cosworth failed, allowing Jackie to ease off to take victory.

Bruce McLaren was 2nd, McLaren M14A and Mario Andretti in another privately entered March 701, 3rd.

jack spin spain

The 1970 speed of BT33 was reinforced by Jack’s pole. He won the season opening South African GP. Here spinning on the ‘extinguisher foam rink’. He spun twice but despite that was right on Stewart’s tail when his engine blew. Jarama 1970. (unattributed)

Jarama 1970 was also notable for the race debut of Chapman’s latest design the Lotus 72. Jochen Rindt qualified his 8th, John Miles in the sister car did not make the cut. Rindt was out of the race on lap 8 with ignition failure.

It would take intensive development by Colin Chapman and his team to make the car competitive, the cars monocoques had to be ‘unpicked’ to make the suspension changes to eliminate a lot of the anti-dive/squat geometry and many other modifications but by June they had a winning car; victorious for Rindt in the sad Dutch Grand Prix, unfortunately the fire on that day had far more serious, fatal consequences for Piers Courage and his De Tomaso 505 Ford.

The sad reality of days like Jarama and Zandvoort in 1970, look how ill equipped in terms of fire protective clothing the marshalls are in the photos above, was the acceptance that safety standards in every respect; circuits, car construction and race support services had to improve to societal levels of acceptability. Thankfully we are on a different level in every respect today…

rindt spain

Rindt, Lotus 72 Ford, Jarama 1970. Look at the suspension travel on that early 72! (unattributed)


Jochen and Colin making a long joblist during Spanish GP practice. The car which won at the Dutch GP in June was a 72C which shows how much change there was in 2 short months. ‘Sol’ pitboard is Alex Soler-Roig who failed to qualify a Lotus 49C. (unattributed)


John Surtees ran as high as 3rd in his ex-works McLaren M7C Ford but faded and then retired with gearbox problems. Back at base his team were building John’s first F1 car the ‘TS7’ which made its debut at the British GP in July. (The Cahier Archive)

piers courage

Piers Courage during Jarama practice 1970. His Frank Williams De Tomaso 505 Ford non-started after a practice accident. (The Cahier Archive)

Tailpiece: Stewart’s winning March 701 passes the conflagration…

stewart spain 2

(The Cahier Archive)


Automobile Year 18, The Cahier Archive



Rod MacKenzie’s moody, foreboding, evocative image of Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 at Longford in 1968 is one of my favourites…

Clark is exiting Newry Corner on the run towards the ‘Flying Mile’. He started from pole, winning 100 bottles of champagne in the process and finished second in the Saturday preliminary race in beautiful weather but the clouds opened on Monday morning for the Tasman Championship event, ‘The South Pacific Trophy’.

Star of the show was Piers Courage who drove a gutsy, skilful race in the most challenging, treacherous conditions to win the event in his little F2 McLaren M4A FVA ahead of the big Tasman 2.5’s of his close competitors. Pier’s car was self run, his performances in it that summer reignited his career.


Piers Courage in his McLaren M4A F2 car, Newry Corner, Longford 1968. Power was not all on this fast circuit in such wet conditions, but the plucky Brit was giving away at least 130bhp to his 2.5 litre V8 powered opponents (R MacKenzie)

Pedro Rodriguez and Frank Gardner were second and third in BRM P261 2.1 V8 and Brabham BT23D Alfa 2.5 V8 respectively. Clark was fifth in his Ford Cosworth DFW engined Lotus 49, the 2.5 litre variant of the epochal 3 litre DFV GP engine.

Jim Clark chewing the fat with BRM’s Tim Parnell- all the fun of the fair, Longford 1968, Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW ready for action (oldracephotos/Harrisson)

Lets go back to the start of the meeting, marvellous from the Tasmanian’s perspective as the series went down to the wire, Chris Amon was still a potential series victor with only six points between he and Jim Clark with Piers Courage’s third place within Graham Hill’s grasp depending upon how he fared.

Chris Amon blew the sealing rings in the Ferrari’s little V6 keeping his crew busy for the evening whilst Pedro Rodriguez popped an engine too- the BRM mechanics therefore readied the P261 V8 for the race rather than he P126 V12 the Mexican raced in the Saturday preliminary. Piers Courage tapped the nose of his pristine McLaren M4A when the flaggies got so enamoured of the cars they forgot to signal oil on the track! All was well at Gold Leaf Team Lotus.

Lap 1 of the preliminary on Saturday, Geoff Smedley’s amazing colour shot- Clark from Hill, Amon, Gardner and one of the BRM’s- Lotus 49 by two, Ferrari 246T, Brabham BT23D Alfa and BRM P261 0r P126 (G Smedley)

Practice times didn’t mean too much as the teams were focused on race setup for the twelve lap Saturday preliminary race ‘The Examiner Racing Car Scratch’ which also counted for grid positions. In the second session of practice Clark did a 2:12.8, Hill 2:13.6 and Amon 2:13.8. Clark was under Jack Brabham’s record set on the way to his win the year before in his BT23A Repco, Jim won 100 bottles of champagne for pole as stated earlier.

In the preliminary on Saturday the grid formed up with Clark on pole. Hill comfortably won the event run in fine, dry weather from Clark and Amon. Both Lotuses were timed on the Flying Mile at 172 mph but Amon’s 182 mph in David McKay’s ex-works Ferrari P4/Can Am 350 sportscar rather put the single-seaters in the shade! Lets not digress about that car now, follow the link at the end of this article for a long piece about the P4 which Chris raced in the sportscar support events in each of the Australian Tasman rounds.

Hill G leads the pack off Long Bridge on lap 1 of the Saturday preliminary. Hill, Clark, Amon, Gardner, Leo Geoghegan Lotus 39 Repco, a BRM and perhaps Kevin Bartlett Brabham BT11A Climax (R MacKenzie)

Only a couple of supporting races had been run on the Monday raceday when light rain started to fall at about 10am, this soon became heavy. As the rain got harder and the clouds more threatening it was obvious that it was not likely to abate before the 2.15 pm race start time

The track was almost under water at some points where hay bales had broken up and straw was blocking the drains. Efforts by track officials soon had most of the drainage system under control.

A large crowd was of course present on the Labour Day long-weekend. Crews brought the cars out onto the circuit in front of the pit counter and stood together under umbrellas as the drivers went into a huddle with the promoters of the meeting and the CAMS stewards to determine if the race should go on.

Leo Geoghegan and Lotus 39 Repco return to the Longford pits after some exploratory laps. DNS with unsuitable tyres. Its the Courage McLaren by the pit counter (oldracephotos) report that first it was decided that the cars should do a couple of exploratory laps then report their findings.

Geoghegan, Amon, Clark, Hill, Attwood, Gardner, Bartlett and others went out and after looking like motor boats ploughing through the water delivered their thoughts to the meeting. The conditions were so bad various drivers with unsuitable tyres elected not to start having driven some ‘sighting laps’.

Kevin Bartlett recounted his experience in the Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT11A Climax; ‘I did two exploratory laps and the old BT11 couldn’t find traction anywhere. I had an absolutely terrifying 4th gear 720 degree spin across the short Kings Bridge, the one after the Viaduct, missing all the obstacles at the tracks edge. After exiting Pub and in a straight line i did a 360 degree loop. She nearly escaped me over the rail line on the way to Long Bridge. Out of Newry and up the hill to the straight slithering along with no touch felt between me and the bitumen, so i suppose I thought at that moment to do another lap at a very reduced speed then pit’.

Packed car park: Amon’s Dino, the BRM’s of Attwood and Rodriguez, Pedro’s P261 fully covered, the two Lotus 49’s, Piers McLaren, then Leo G’s Lotus 39 and John Harvey’s Brabham BT11A (oldracephotos)


‘What are we going to do boys?!’ Drivers considering their options before the race, the pouring rain exacerbated by drains beside the track which couldn’t cope with the deluge; Clark facing us, Hill’s distinctive helmet clear. Courage with his back to us in helmet, Gardner’s lanky frame partly in shot to the right. Amon in the ‘Firestone’ suit, Harvey? at left with head down (oldracephotos)

‘Once back in the tent Alec, Frank (Gardner) Denny (Hulme Brabham BT23 FVA F2) and i had a talk about the tyres that Denny and i had and after trying to come up with a better tread pattern, such as the ones fitted to Franks car (Brabham BT23D Alfa) but with no result. It was agreed that Denny and i shouldn’t risk a start. I was happy with the call and Leo (Geoghegan Lotus 39 Repco) followed suit. Most of the top guys had the latest Firestone, Dunlop or Goodyear wets but none were available to suit the BT11’s. I consoled myself with the fact that if the new world champion (Hulme) didn’t like the risk i certainly shouldn’t!’

Longford, wonderful circuit that it was, provides no runoff area for a driver to go in the wet (or dry!) should a driver lose control or suffer a bad attack of aquaplaning, and this was the main point in contention.

The ill fated Brabham BT23A Repco ‘740’ of Greg Cusack on Friday or Saturday (oldracephotos)

Greg Cusack in David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco (Brabham’s victorious Longford mount from 1967) had left the road that morning. He lost the car on the greasy road as he went over the hump/bump on the approach to The Viaduct. The car left the road, hit a bank, somersaulted and crashed into a ditch, he was then pinned under the it before being quickly released by officials.

The 37 year old Canberra motor dealer, who had intended Longford to be his last race meeting, was taken to Launceston Hospital with chipped bones to both knees, stretched ligaments and a fractured left wrist. He was lucky it was not a good deal worse. Bib Stillwell organised for one of his planes to fly Cusack and his wife home to Canberra on the Tuesday where he was admitted to hospital.

Whilst Cusack lay in hospital the other drivers were trying to explain the difficulties of Longford which were exacerbated hugely in the wet. ‘Motoring News’ reports at length about the cordial discussions between the drivers and officialdom and all of the competing issues of safety, providing a show and running a race to determine the winner of the Tasman Cup.

The Stewards finally ruled that the race should go ahead but be shortened to 15 laps of the 4.5 mile circuit, (128 miles to 68 miles) and put the starting time back to 4pm hoping the rain would ease and the situation be safer as a consequence. At 4.15pm the sodden cars and their game, uncomplaining drivers were facing the soggiest start ever seen at Longford, one of the most challenging road circuits in the world.

Front row- Amon Ferrari 246T and the two Lotus 49 DFW’s of Hill and Clark, that’s Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23D Alfa nose (oldracephotos)

Soggy start: L>R Amon Ferrari Dino 246T, Hill Lotus 49 and unsighted to the right Clark. Then Rodriguez BRM P261 #11 and alongside Gardner in the light coloured Brabham BT23D, #12 behind him Attwood BRM P126 and alongside him the winner Courage McLaren M4A. L>R in the back row John Harvey’s Brabham BT11A, John McCormack Brabham BT4 and Mel McEwin Lotus 32B (oldracephotos)

Clark’s Lotus 49 got away well, somehow finding traction with the wide Firestones, and he was followed into the right-hander before The Viaduct by Amon and Hill. The drivers took the opening laps cautiously under race conditions and each car was leaving a gap to the other so they could see through the flying spray.

At the end of lap one the order was Clark, Rodriguez BRM P261 V8 on Dunlops, Gardner Brabham BT23D Alfa on Goodyears, Courage Mclaren M4A Ford FVA using new narrow-section 970s, Hill Lotus 49 Ford DFW on Firestones, Attwood BRM P126 V12 on Dunlop, Amon Ferrari 246T back in seventh owing to a run down the escape road at Newry Corner, then John Harvey Brabham BT11A Repco John McCormack Brabham BT4 Coventry Climax FPF and Mel McEwin Lotus 32B Coventry Climax FPF, this car the ex-Clark/Palmer 1965 Tasman Championship winning chassis.

Richard Attwood, a very good 4th in the big BRM P126 V12 on Pit Straight. BRM was testing, by way of eight Tasman race weekends in a row, this new F1 design in 2.5 litre capacity in advance of the ’68 GP season (oldracephotos/DKeep)

‘Attwood found he had more traction on Dunlops than Hill had with the wide Firestones and he slipped under the Lotus for fifth place on lap 2. Both Attwood and Rodriguez had hand-cut drainage grooves in their tyres. A lap later Courage really got his foot in it to take Gardner on lap 3. He then jumped past both Rodriguez and Clark on the next lap while Gardner followed him through and waited for another lap behind Clark before taking the plunge and heading for second. Amon had taken Hill and now, on lap 5, the order was Courage 9.6 secs ahead of Gardner, Clark, Rodriguez, Attwood, Amon, Hill and Harvey. McEwin and McCormack were already in danger of being lapped by the flying Courage.

Hill from Gardner, not sure who and one of the BRM’s, Long Bridge (R MacKenzie)

Courage, driving like a young Stirling Moss in the blinding rain, somehow gained another 9.5 secs on lap 6, putting him 16 secs ahead of second man Gardner in the Brabham-Alfa. Rodriguez had pulled past Clark and on the next lap Attwood whizzed past Clark to take fourth. On lap 9 Courage was 32 secs ahead of Gardner and having a ball out on his own, right foot hard in it. Gardner was 3.5 secs ahead of Rodriguez who was followed by Attwood, Clark, Amon, Hill and Harvey losing a lot of ground’.

Pedro raced the little 2.1 litre BRM P261 V8 having raced the new P126 V12 in the preliminary and had engine failure. 2nd a minute behind Courage just sneaking past Gardner in the final stages (oldracephotos/DKeep)

‘Rodriguez started to close up on Gardner in the closing laps, but nothing could touch Courage. This was his day, it was he who had the best gear on his car and he was darned sure he was going to make it a race to remember. He had pulled 45.5 secs on Gardner by lap 12 while Rodriguez had got within 2.5 secs of Gardner. Hill challenged Amon on the same lap and finally squeezed past in a daring effort on the greasy track to make the Lotus-Fords fifth and sixth’.

Frank Gardner on the exit of Newry, Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Tipo 33 2.5 V8. 3rd a minute behind Courage (R MacKenzie)

‘As Courage screamed down the straight heading for the flag he was over 55 secs ahead of Gardner and he came past the pits jubilantly waving his hand. Gardner by this time, heading for the braking area at Mountford, had Rodriguez looking right at the Alfa V8 pipes. There seemed no way that Rodriguez could slip past, but suddenly a gap appeared as Gardner went a shade wide on Mountford and Rodriguez poured on the power into the short straight and took the flag about 25 yards ahead of the Alec Mildren car. Attwood finished his race fourth after a very steady drive, followed by Clark, Hill and Amon’.

John Harvey coming off Long Bridge in Bob Janes Brabham BT11A Repco ‘740’ V8. This is the car in which Spencer Martin won the ’66/7 Australian Gold Star. Converted to Repco power just prior to the Tasman (R MacKenzie)

Hill, Lotus 49 DFW, 5th on the Flying Mile (R MacKenzie)

‘Courage had the rubber, just the right amount of power for the job and the ability to keep the car straight on a very dicey and greasy circuit. He finished the Tasman Cup Series in a wonderful third place behind Clark and Chris Amon. Then came Hill and Gardner 17, McLaren 11, Rodriguez and Hulme 8, Jim Palmer 7, Attwood 4, Roly Levis and Leo Geoghegan 3, Paul Bolton, Red Dawson and Kevin Bartlett 2, Graeme Lawrence and Ross Stone 1 each’.

Like a duck to water- Courage, right tyres, set up, enough power, precision and bravery. McLaren M4A FVA F2 machine (R MacKenzie)

It was very much the end of an era, the last Longford, the speed of the cars and advancing track safety rules caught up with the place and an inability of the club/government to make the requisite investment. Most importantly Jim Clark, a very popular visitor to Australasia since the early sixties and twice winner of the series in 1965 and 1968 died at Hockenheim in an F2 Lotus 48 in April.

Lotus returned in 1969 but it was not quite the same without the magic and personality of the great Scot.

photo (15)

A very happy but cold and soggy Piers Courage, with wife Sally after his Longford ’68 win. It was a might fine drive which is still remembered by those fortunate enough to see it. (oldracephotos)


Practice and Saturday Preliminary

Richard Attwood, BRM P126, The Viaduct (oldracephotos/Keep)


Lap 1 bunch behind the lead group- Gardner Brabham BT23D, Geoghegan Lotus 39, Attwood BRM P126, Bartlett Brabham BT11A, Rodriguez BRM P126 into The Viaduct (oldracephotos)


Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Repco 740. Leo frightened the internationals in his ‘old bus’ more than once that summer- Clark’s ’66 Tasman mount Coventry Climax FPF engined. Non starter on Monday tho (R MacKenzie)


Chris Amon, Ferrari 246T. Chris learned a lot from his ’68 tour, and applied those learnings well in 1969 winning the title in an updated, four valve, winged  Dino (oldracephotos

Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P126. The V12 engine in this car failed during the race so Pedro raced the ‘backup’ P261 V8 in the championship event- cars which had become wonderful Tasman machines from 1966-8. Winner in ’66 in Stewart’s hands (oldracephotos/Keep)


Graham Hill, Lotus 49 Ford DFW. Perhaps not the best of Tasmans- 2nd at Surfers and Warwick Farm his best results (R MacKenzie)


Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P261 V8 during practice (oldracephotos/Keep)


Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P126, The Viaduct (oldracephotos/Keep)


Richard Attwood, BRM P126. Drove the Oz rounds in the car vacated by McLaren- 4th at Longford deserved, DNF’s @ Surfers and Sandown, overall the P126’s were not blessed with great reliability in the ’68 Tasman (R MacKenzie)

Photo and Other Credits…

Roderick MacKenzie Collection;;

The Nostalgia Forum/Ellis French/Rod MacKenzie and Kevin Bartlett. race report. Geoff Smedley. ‘Canberra Times’ 6 March 1968

Ellis French Collection/Archive

Scuderia Veloce Ferrari P4/Can Am 350…

Tailpiece: Practice- Rodriguez BRM P261 from Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA and Kevin Bartlett Brabham BT11A Climax FPF. Variety is the spice, braking into The Viaduct…



duetto champs

(Bruce Thomas)

The little Alfa Duettos’ DOHC 1570cc would have struggled ferrying this lot, even for a lap…

It’s the victory parade after the 1968 ‘Warwick Farm 100′ won by Jim Clarks’ Lotus 49 Ford DFW from teammate G Hill, with Piers Courage third in his little McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

What driving talent aplenty in this car!

Driving the car is 1960 Australian Gold Star Champion Alec Mildren, Mildren also an Alfa Dealer and incredibly successful and generous race team owner of the 1960-1970 period, the Dutto immaculate in white and wearing a set of ex-GTA wheels, I wonder who owns it now?

Behind Alec is a youthful Alfredo Costanzo, first local home in an Elfin Mono Ford 1.5 and later to be very successful in Australia’s latter F5000 days and the Formula Pacific era in cars owned by Porsche Cars Australia’s Alan Hamilton, another very generous benefactor of the sport.

Brabham, Moss and Clark needing no introduction…

Clark won the race, the Lotus 49 the F1 standard from its ’67 Dutch GP launch, reliability cost Lotus the titles that year, the light, nimble beautiful handling Brabham BT24’s did the trick a second time, Denny Hulme pipping Jack for the Drivers Championship and Brabham Repco winning the Constructors laurels.

In 2.5 litre ‘DFW’ spec the Ford Cosworth powered cars were formidable Tasman weapons, Clark winning the 1968 title and Rindt the fastest man of the series in 1969, if not the most reliable.

clark wf

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 DFW, WF 1968. (Peter Windsor)

The Tasman Series entries in 1968 were as interesting and diverse as ever, the interesting shot below taken as the cars line up for practice in Warwick Farms pit lane shows the business end of the new Len Terry designed 2.5 litre V12 BRM P126. Its Hewland DG300 gearbox just visible behind the Lucas fuel pump mounted to the rear of the ‘box, the Shell ‘el cheapo’ oil catch tank is a nice ‘in the field’ touch!

Richard Attwood in the hotseat retired from the race with gearbox dramas.

Two of the P126’s were entered in the Tasman, Bruce McLaren racing a car in the New Zealand rounds took a win at Teretonga, the cars in the Southern Hemisphere to be race proven, after the abortive H16 program, before the European F1 season but there was always a scramble to drive the old, but light, nimble and reliable 2.1 litre V8 P261…Pedro Rodriguez raced it at WF finishing 6th in a car which had so much Tasman success, Jackie Stewart taking the title in a P261 in 1966.

In front of the BRM is Frank Gardners’ Alec Mildren Racing, one off, Brabham BT23D Alfa. This magic little car powered by a 2.5 litre V8 developed via Alfas’ endurance racing Tipo 33 program. Its twin distributors, fired 2 plugs per cylinder a distinctive visual element of the little DOHC, 2 valve, injected engine. Later in 1968 the car won the Australian Drivers Championship in Kevin Bartletts’ capable, quick hands.

Forward of Frank is Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA. Piers came to Australasia with this car, two engines and did incredibly well, perhaps its not unfair to say he re-launched his career with this self funded Tasman effort. Numerous podium placings were surpassed by an heroic win in hopelessly wet conditions on one of the ‘biggest balls’ circuits of the world, Longford a fortnight after his strong third at WF ahead of many more powerful and equally nimble cars as his little F2 McLaren.

This McLaren stayed in Australia after the Tasman being bought by Niel Allen, and was also raced successfully by Warwick Brown in the formative stages of his career.

WF pitlane

WF pitlane Tasman Series 1968. (Brian McInerney)

Graham Hill was perhaps not as focussed on a win as teammate Clark…get your hands off that young woman you bounder?!

gh pitlane

Graham Hill and friends, Warwick Farm paddock 1968. (Brian McInerney)

Was there ever a bloke from ‘central casting’ who looked more like a dashing, debonair driver than G Hill? He did not have the absolute pace of teammates Clark, Stewart or Rindt but was a driver of incredible ability, the only winner of motor racings World F1 Title/LeMans/Indy ‘Triple Crown’ of course.

His greatest moments were to come in 1968 when he picked Team Lotus up by the scruff of the neck, despite the loss of his good friend Jim Clark, providing the leadership the team needed whilst Colin Chapman recovered from his own grief at losing his driver, friend and colloborator in April, only months after this race meeting.

Lotus’ wins in the Drivers and Constructors Titles in 1968 owe a lot to Hills character as well as his determination and speed.

hill amon courage wf

Hill from Amon and Courage. Lotus 49 DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T, and McLaren M4A FVA. 2nd, 4th and 3rd respectively. WF 1968, the majesty of the place clear in this shot. (Unattributed)

 Jack Brabham had a short 1968 Tasman, his Brabham BT23E was powered by Repco’s latest 740 Series SOHC V8 and competed in only the Warwick Farm and Sandown rounds.

In fact Repco, for all their F1 success didn’t ever have much Tasman glory in their own backyeard…to be fair the primary reponsibility of the Repco Tasman program each year was to sort out the engines for the coming Grand Prix season, but all the same, a few local wins should have been achieved given the resources deployed?

This fabulous car stayed in Australia, acquired by Bob Jane at the Tasmans’ duration, it was raced for him by John Harvey who was always fast in it, but also unlucky, surviving a high speed accident at Bathurst after a component failure, the low point for the team.

jb wf pilane

Brabhams BT23E Repco all ready to qualify with a fresh set of Goodyears. Car in front is the BRM P261 V8 of Rodriguez, Courages’ McLaren body on the deck behind Jack. WF pitlane 1968. (Brian McInerney)

moss Wf 1968

Stirling Moss tells Clark about the fast way around ‘The Farm, both drivers loved the place and won there. ‘Lucas Opus’ spark-box prominent between the Vee of the Cossie DFW. Ford DFV famous as a load bearing member of the car, this shot showing the suspension componentry and its attachment to the engine and ZF ‘box. Suspension itself conventional for the day; inverted lower wishbone, single top link, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper, adjustable roll bar. Front suspension inboard; top rocker visible. Nice. WF Tasman 1968. (Brian McInerney)

The Eyes Have It, Chris Amon absolutely focussed on the task at hand. He came back with another two Dinos’ he ran with the assistance of David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce in 1969, lifting the title in a tremendous and very popular fashion.

In 1968 he was very competitive, winning the first 2 Kiwi rounds at Pukekohe and Levin but did not ultimately have the speed of the Loti of Clark and Hill. The car was a Ferrari 166 F2 (1.6 litre formula at the time) to which was fitted the 2.4 litre DOHC, 2 valve, injected V6 engine from the cars used at the start of the 3 litre Formula 1 in early 1966.

In the 1968 Australian Tasman Rounds Amon mixed the racing of the Dino single seater with a P4/CanAm 350 Ferrari i wrote about a week or so back.

amon eyes

Chris Amon, Ferrari Dino 246T, WF, Tasman Series 1968. (Brian McInerney)

 This shot captures the atmosphere of the Tasman Series generally and Warwick Farm specifically…there is no hassle of the drivers by the appreciative crowd and vice-versa, there would be uproar these days of course. Piers Courage looking relaxed and happy about his 3rd behind the 2 Lotuses of Clark and Hill, and Amon 4 th, still figuring he could take the title with 2 rounds remaining at Melbournes’ Sandown and Tasmanias’, Launcestons’ Longford. Ultimately he fell short of Clark by 8 points, Amon taking 2 wins to Clarks’ 4.

tasman 68 warm down

Piers Courage and Chris Amon on the WF warmdown lap. McLaren M4A FVA and Ferrari Dino 246T. Australian summer male ‘fashion’ of the day on full display. (Bruce Thomas)

Jim Clark savouring the plaudits of the crowd and one of his last wins, Lotus 49 Ford DFW, 18 February 1968…

jim clark wf lotus 49 1968

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 WF 1968. (wirra)

Grid and Results…

RCN 68 WF Tasman 01


amn pilane

Chris Amon in the WF pitlane. Ferrari Dino 246T. (Peter Windsor)

fg wf 68

Superb John Ellacott shot of Frank Gardner in the Mildren Racing Team Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo. WF 1968. (John Ellacott)

gh wf 68

Graham Hill. WF 1968. (Brian McInerney)

1968 WF Tasman cover

1968 WF Tasman event 5

Photo and Other Credits…

Bruce Thomas, Peter Windsor, Brian McInerney, Wirra, John Ellacott

Stephen Dalton for the race program and ‘Racing Car News’ material


rcn surfers 1968

We all have our favourite local motoring and motor racing publications...

When I was a youngster here in Australia it was ‘Sports Car World’ for fast road cars, the monthly letter from noted NZ born but global motoring journo, Eoin Young on the European and American racing scene was not to be missed nor the column of Romsey Quints, a crusty curmudgeon who wrote about ye olde days.

And for racing it was ‘Racing Car News’ supplemented by the global giant ‘Autosport’ which required a tram trip into the big smoke as it wasn’t carried by my local newsagent.

RCN was the bible tho.

It was national, maybe a bit Sydney centric, edited and owned by Max Stahl, an ex-racer who knew everybody from clubbies to visiting World Champions in Australia annually for the Tasman Series. It was chock full of local to global news and events with ‘Stringers’ all over the place making its coverage remarkable at the time.

Delivery of information digitally takes the sense of excitement out of the visits to the newsagent eagerly anticipating these monthly publications arrival instore…having said that the ‘democratisation of the media’ means even ‘Schleppers’ like me can ‘have a go’.

There was not a page of RCN to be missed from Stahls’ editorial upfront to the classifieds up ze back, the paintings by David Atkinson, Colin Anderson and others reason alone to buy the thing.

This cover by David Atkinson captures the action of the 11 February 1968 Tasman Series Round at Surfers Paradise. It depicts Graham Hills’ Lotus 49 DFW leading Leo Geoghegans’ ex Clark Lotus 39 Repco from the Piers Courage McLaren M4A FVA around the ‘Repco Hill’ section of the circuit.

Clark won the race from teammate Hill, Courage in second, a great performance on this power circuit in the little 1.6 litre Ford FVA engined M4A and Leo G, first local home in third place.

RCN survived into the ’80’s but was never the same after Stahl sold it, somehow the thing lost its soul…these days there are print and digital Australian ‘publications’ but none are as good as Racing Car News…

clark and amon surfers

Stunning Roderick MacKenzie shot of Clarks’ Lotus 49 leading Chris Amons Ferrari 246T, Surfers Tasman 1968. Clark won, Amon DNF with an engine failure. Tweed Ranges in the background. Clark won the series and Amon returned in 1969 winning the it in a Dino. (Roderick MacKenzie)

leo g lotus surfers

Leo Geoghegans Lotus 39 Repco ‘740’ Series 2.5 V8 being given a big push, John Sheppard at the wheel and Geoff Smedley at left. ‘Castrol’ colors, Repco installation replacing the Climax FPF 4 cylinder engine lead by Sheppard creating just about the best looking 60’s single seater ever, this is not the cars best angle however! (wolseley680)

hill surfers loading up

Surfers dummy grid. Hill #5 loaded up, the Lotus behind awaits Clark. You can just see the #11 nose of Rodriguez BRM P126 (10th) a Ferrari nose amongst the crowd and the nose, far right of the Courage McLaren. (wolseley680)

Tasman 1968 Highlights…

Photo Credits…

Roderick MacKenzie , wolseley680