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Posts Tagged ‘1964-1969’

Tasman Series Photo Gallery 3: Pits and Paddock 1967-1969

Here is our third post featuring images from the Tasman Series by photographer Brian McInerney.

This time we take a look in and around the Pits and Paddock. As you can see, things have changed!

These photos are special, because this is the first time they have been published in any medium for 40 years.

Brian is a professional photographer and in the 1960s he was the young assistant photographer at Channel Seven in Sydney. For each of the Tasman Series races in 1967, 1968 & 1969 he acquired a press photographer’s pass and had complete access to the drivers and the track.

As a result he has a truly remarkable collection of images of the Tasman Series stars, including Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Derek Bell and the local heroes.

Its only three weeks until the Tasman Revival at Eastern Creek, so make sure you grab your tickets.

Images: Brian McInerney, Fine Image Gallery ©

Via: MotorsportRetro.com


Matich SR4: Winner of 1969 Australian Sports Car Championship driven by Frank Matich

Few Australian made racing cars have the credentials of the SR4.

Its racing history speaks for itself; 19 starts, 19 pole positions, 15 wins, 8 lap records and only one defeat (second due to throttle spring problem requiring a stop). A car that was faster than the Formula One cars of the era, driven by one of Australia’s best ever drivers.

Built in Sydney by Henry Nehrybecki for Frank Matich to take to the 1968 CanAm series, it raced only in Australia, unlike its equally famous sister car, SR3. It totally dominated the class and lead to coining of the phrase “doing a Matich” (i.e. to take pole, to win, take the fastest lap and also the lap record).

The frame is made from tubular steel and weighs only 81 pounds (35 kg), extremely light considering the power of the engine, which was 550 BHP as raced. The gearbox is a Hewland LG500 with 4 forward gears and reverse. The gearbox is the only major item not made in Australia since the uprights, wheels, brakes and even the steering rack were locally produced. The body is made from fiberglass though the original intention was for this to be aluminium.

The engine was a 760 series 5 litre Repco Brabham quad cam racing engine developing around 550 BHP. (Shorter block 3 litre 860 series engines were used for Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme’s Repco Brabhams in 1968).

The SR4 was retired from racing at the end 1969 since there was little else to be achieved for it in Australia. Also a year had slipped by making a later foray into CanAm series futile. In any case Frank Matich had his eyes on the emerging F5000 series.

The car was cosmetically restored by Don Halpin while still owned by Repco during the eighties and was for many years displayed at the Birdwood and then the Launceston auto museums. It was never possible to undertake a full and running restoration since the engine in it was very much incomplete. Acquisition of a complete and running engine from Les Wright some years ago made the full restoration feasible and this was carried out by Jim Hardman. The engine in the car is actually an ex Jack Brabham Indy engine of 4.2 litres, though of the same external appearance as the 5 litre version originally fitted. Naturally this has been set up to operate on petrol as opposed to methanol as per Indy. A 5 litre engine is now in preparation.

Nigel Tait, managed the restoration and movements of the SR4 over the last years of Repco’s ownership and subsequently during ACL’s ownership, and purchased it from ACL in July 2005.

In 2006 a full chassis restoration was undertaken since it was 38 years since it was constructed. It is a testament to Henry Nehrybecki’s workmanship that it was found to be in excellent condition with only minor repairs needed and only one tube required replacement to upgrade the seat belt mountings to modern standards. Jim Hardman undertook most of this work including making new aluminium skins and undertray and reassembly.

The car has been taken to a number of circuits for display and demonstration and has been driven by John Bowe and Brian Sampson and as well as by Nigel Tait and Jim Hardman at various events. Due to its historical importance and the scarcity of critical engine components for the quad cam engine (which may well be the only one still running) there are no plans for the car to revert to all out racing.


Brian McInerney Photo Gallery 2: Tasman Series 1967 – 1969

Here are some more wonderful images from the Tasman Series from 1967 – 1969 by photographer Brian McInerney.

They are an absolute treat, because this is the first time they have been published in any medium for 40 years.

Brian is a professional photographer and in the 1960s he was the young assistant photographer at Channel Seven in Sydney. For each of the Tasman Series races in 1967, 1968 & 1969 he acquired a press photographer’s pass and had complete access to the drivers and the track.

As a result he has a truly remarkable collection of images of the Tasman Series stars, including Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Derek Bell and the local heroes.

Brian is set to releases a series of Tasman Series framed prints, so watch this space.

Images: Brian McInerney, Fine Image Gallery ©


Tasman Series: Warwick Farm 1965

Round Five: WARWICK FARM

Sydney Grand Prix

Date: 14th February 1965

45 Laps of 3.621kms (162.945kms)

The 1965 International 100 at the Farm was a notable triumph for the flying Scotsman Jim Clark, who not only established lap and race records, but overcame the loss of third gear very early in the race.

Clark had been in devastating form leading up to the International, with three consecutive wins in the Tasman series, but at the unofficial practice session on the Friday, the leading drivers had sounded a warning that Clark wouldn’t have things all his own way. First, Graham Hill, had scorched round in 1:35, well inside the 1:37.4 record, and he was closely followed by Frank Matich, 1:35.6. Bib Stillwell got down to 1:34.8 and McLaren returned 1:35.8, Clark replied with a 1:34.7 lap. This spurred Graham Hill to a 1:34.2 lap in the next session and Matich to 1:34.3. Matich cut his time to 1:32.8, Hill returned an even 1:33, and Clark and Brabham 1:33.5.

At the end of the day, it was apparent that several cars were suffering from overheating due to leaking sealing rings, and there was some concern that compressions were too high for the 100-octane fuel. (more…)


Race Programe Covers: Tasman Series 1965

Check out these images of the original race program covers from 1965.

The second year of the Tasman Championship consisted of four races in New Zealand and three in Australia. Points could only be gained from three of the New Zealand races which had to include the New Zealand Grand Prix. All three Australian rounds counted for championship points.

The 1965 Tasman Series was won by Jim Clark

The 1965 Tasman Series featured the following events.

1. Pukekohe – NZ

2. Levin – NZ

3. Wigram – NZ

4. Teretonga – NZ

5. Warwick Farm – AUS

6. Sandown – AUS

7. Longford – AUS

Images: TasmanSeries.com


Tasman Legends: Frank Gardner

Frank Gardner was a regular Tasman competitor throughout both the 2.5 litre and Formula 5000 Tasman Championships. He drove various cars for the Alec Mildren team in the ’60s and had the best overall Tasman record for “local” drivers. Mainly competed in Europe where he was regarded as one of the best test drivers and carried out these duties for the Lola factory.

He was best known as a Touring car racing and Sports car racing driver, but he also participated in nine World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 11 July 1964. He scored no championship points. Gardner also participated in numerous non-Championship Formula One races, including a third placing at the 1965 Mediterranean Grand Prix, fourth in the 1965 Race of Champions and third in the 1971 International Gold Cup.

In 1966 Gardner finished second in the 1000 km Spa round of the World Sportscar Championship. In 1967 he also finished second in the European Formula Two Championship and second in the British Autocar Formula 2 Championship. In 1970 he was third in the British Formula 5000 Championship and in 1971 was Champion.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Gardner had podium finishes in the Australian Grand Prix – second in 1966 and 1972 and a third in 1967. He finished third in the 1967 and 1972 Tasman Series. He won the British Touring Car Championship title on three occasions in 1967 (Ford Falcon Sprint), 1968 (Ford Escort) and 1973 (Chevrolet Camaro), and was runner-up in the BTCC in 1970. In 1975 he finished second at Bathurst in the Hardie-Ferodo 1000.

After returning to Australia in the mid-1970s Gardner won the 1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship driving a highly modified Chevrolet Corvair. That championship victory led into a team management role when he retired from full-time driving. After running the Allan Grice Touring Car and Sports Sedan team in the late 70s, it rolled into a factory touring car preparation for BMW in the Australian Touring Car Championship, a team he would run from the programs toe in the water inception with a BMW 318i turbo Sports Sedan in 1980 all the way until 1987 when Gardner’s operation was unceremoniously replaced by Peter Brock’s former Holden Dealer Team operation, although that relationship broke down after a single season. During that time his team won the 1985 and 1987 Australian Touring Car Championships with Jim Richards. Shifting to a privateer Ford Sierra team Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera won the 1988 Bathurst 1000. When BMW returned to the Australian championship in 1991 it was with Gardner’s team. The factory BMW team continued with Gardner, switching to (Supertouring cars in 1994) at the helm until 1998, winning the 1994 (with Longhurst), 1995 and 1997 (with Paul Morris) Super Touring titles.

When the race team was shifted in 1998 Gardner became involved in driver training. Gardner passed away in August 2009.

Via: Wikipedia and 2008 Tasman programme.

Images: Autosport Forums


Brian McInerney Photo Gallery: Tasman Series 1967 – 1969

Here are some wonderful images from the Tasman Series from 1967 – 1969 by photographer Brian McInerney.

They are an absolute treat, because this is the first time they have been published in any medium for 40 years.

Brian is a professional photographer and in the 1960s he was the young assistant photographer at Channel Seven in Sydney. For each of the Tasman Series races in 1967, 1968 & 1969 he acquired a press photographer’s pass and had complete access to the drivers and the track.

As a result he has a truly remarkable collection of images of the Tasman Series stars, including Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jochnen Rindt and the local heroes.

Brian is set to releases a series of Tasman Series framed prints, so watch this space.

Images: Brian McInerney, Fine Image Gallery ©


John Stanley Photo Gallery 2: Tasman Series 1966-1968

Here is another ripper set of photos from the brilliant John Stanley.

Included are some excellent shots of Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodrigues, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Piers Courage.

Visit Johns site at John-Stanley.com


Tasman Legends: Frank Matich

Always a very quick driver who often outqualified the overseas competitors in the ’60s , especially at Warwick Farm. He also competed in Formula 5000s, first in a McLaren and then in a Matich, a car he built and designed himself. A winner of the Australian Drivers Gold Star and twice winner of the Australian Grand Prix.

Here is a story about Matich by Ray Bell

“Anyone who followed racing in the sixties and early seventies knew the name of the best driver in Australia. Frank Matich. Undisputed, even though at times he was restricted to sports cars. Everyone knew that if he had an open wheeler he’d better everyone else. (more…)


Tasman Series: Australian Grand Prix Lakeside 1969

Round Five: LAKESIDE                 34th Australian Grand Prix

Date: 2nd February 1969

67 Laps of 2.4kms (160.8kms)

This year there was only one week between the last race in New Zealand and the Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside, Queensland. Unlike previous years when cars were freighted to Australia by sea, they now had to be sent by air, for the South African Grand Prix had forced the Australian three Tasman races forward one week to give to give two clear weeks between the last Tasman and the SAGP.

Only Ferrari and Piers Courage managed to get themselves sorted out in time, while Lotus had all sorts of problems with customs and freight. It was apparent that Ford Australia weren’t behind the Lotus effort this year, for they had to do most of their own organising right from administration down to transport for drivers and mechanics. Ferrari, on the other hand, had the services of David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce to help them over the tricky spots and this deal also included workshop space and transporters. No wonder the Ferraris were better prepared for Lakeside than Lotus. (more…)


John Stanley Photo Gallery: Tasman Series 1968-1969

Here are a series of remarkable photos courtesy of John Stanley

Visit John’s site here


Tasman Series: Surfers Paradise 1968

Round Five: SURFERS PARADISE

Rothmans 100

Date: 11th February 1968

50 Laps of 3.219kms (160.950kms)

After a welcome two weeks’ break, the International drivers were soaking up the sun in Surfers Paradise, ready to meet the next four-week challenge in Australia. Chris Amon had a handy lead and only needed another win to put him in a hard position for anyone apart from Clark to catch. Graham Hill joined Jim Clark to make Team Lotus more formidable, and Richard Attwood arrived to team with Pedro Rodriguez in the BRM’s.

Hopes were high in all quarters. BRM, flushed with success at Teretonga, were looking forward to a more trouble free run in Australia. The Gold Leaf Team Lotus (as they were now known) were confident their two-man team would improve their already excellent chances of picking up points for the series, and Chris Amon had a new four-valve engine flown out which produced more power and gave the rear of the car more streamlining, owing to its compact shape. The Alec Mildren team now had two cars as well, as they brought Sydney driver, Kevin Bartlett, into the series in their older Brabham-Climax to back up Frank Gardner. Then there were the loners, Leo Geoghegan in the Lotus 39 Repco V8 and Greg Cusack in the Scuderia Veloce Brabham Repco V8. And right in there too just to upset the apple cart were those troublesome two, Piers Courage and Denny Hulme in the Formula Two cars which had proved so fantastically quick. (more…)


Tasman Series: Warwick Farm 1968

Sydney Trophy

Date: 18th February 1968

45 Laps of 3.621kms (162.945kms)

Jim Clark and Graham Hill in the super-tough Lotus-Ford V8s drove a brilliant team race to completely overcome the opposition when the Tasman Series played to a crowd of over 35,000 at Sydney’s Warwick Farm. Clark the 100 mile race from start to finish, and moved into the points lead for the first time since the series started seven weeks earlier.

Run in 90 degree temperatures the race saw every Australian 2.5 litre car retire with mechanical failure, which gave local car honours to brilliant Italian-born Alfredo Costanzo in a 1.5 litre Elfin-Ford. During the race the circuit was awash with oil from the cars of such notables as Brabham, Geoghegan, Rodriguez and Gardner, but Brabham set a new outright record of 1:29.0 secs during a futile chase after pitting to replenish his oil supply. However, Australian Frank Matich broke Brabham’s new record when he took his SR3 Repco V8 on to a greasy circuit two races later and set an incredible new record of 1:28.5 secs despite an engine miss that has haunted the car. (more…)


Tasman Series: Longford 1964

1964 was the first season of the famous Tasman Series for 2.5 litre Formula One Cars.

The trip to the super fast 4.5 mile Longford circuit in Tasmania hosted an impressive entry list of cars and stars.

The Aussie attack was naturally spearheaded by Jack Brabham with support from Frank Matich and Bib Stillwell, all driving Repco Brabhams. Frank Gardner, Bill Patterson, John Youl and Lex Davison were all entered in Coopers.

The ever popular 1962 World Champion, Graham Hill was in attendance, no doubt being his witty and charming self. Hill was an early favourite,  running a Repco -Brabham BT4.

The Kiwi contingent included Bruce McLaren in a low slung Cooper T70, Tony Shelley in a Lola T4 and Jim Palmer in a Cooper T53.

The meeting got of to a somber start when US driver Timmy Mayer crashed heavily during second practice and died instantly. He was just 25.

Of course the show must go on and when the race began Jack Brabham hit the front with Hill and Matich in hot pursuit. (more…)