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The time capsule


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 20:51

I was putting a few words together regarding John Youl this week and I needed to chase up a couple of facts...

So, naturally enough, I phoned Geoff Smedley, who raced against Boyce, John's father, and prepared the Coopers John drove so successfully for that short period between 1961 and 1964.

In particular it had bugged me when I started looking for the end of his career that he simply stopped racing mid-season. He'd been second in the Gold Star for two years running, then he just gave up in the middle of the series? Why?

Because Boyce had suddenly died and John had to take on the responsibility of running the property... a property which had been in the family's hands since it was an original land grant some time in the 19th century.

But what was particularly noteworthy was Geoff's telling of looking around the old homestead that day. "I went into the workshop where I used to prepare the race car," he told me, "and it was just untouched from when he gave up racing."

Geoff mentioned pieces hanging on the walls, notes of gear ratios and templates for wishbones, all sorts of things that accumulate in a workshop where a leading car is being prepared.

Fortunately he decided he must go back and video this sight. So he'll also be taking still pictures and we'll post them up on this thread along with Geoff's descriptions of everything. I'm sure you guys would like to see that...

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#2 cooper997

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 03:54

We could probably make jokes about things standing still in Tasmania. But I actually love the place even though I've only been there once in 2005.

Ray, Tasmanian Motorist mentions John's retirement in their November 1964 issue. There's no mention of Boyce, but it certainly makes mention of his "definite retirement" and how with a lack of rear brakes at the then recent Lakeside Gold Star meeting (probably Sept 13th, 1964 meeting - should be a report in RCN Oct 64), he loaded up the engine too much and eventually ran a bearing. Clearly Geoff was the man on the spot at the time, but maybe the engine failure also played into his thought process when added to his father's passing. And the "definite retirement" decision was made.

I look forward to seeing Geoff's photos from the Youl time capsule.

Stephen

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 21:27

I'll have to ask Geoff next time I talk to him...

In the meantime, one of the Youl family snapped this in the workshop and sent it to him:

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#4 HistoricMustang

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:35

Ray, this thread is what TNF is/was all about.

Thanks so much and you know what I mean.

The times they are a changing. :rolleyes:

Henry :wave:

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 20:06

Thanks, Henry...

Fortunately we're not the only ones. Geoff will eventually get more pics for us, we'll get his descriptions of items left lying around these past 45 years and I'm sure many here will enjoy it all.

In the meantime, I'll just have to find out what's written on that card to the right... it's about modifications made to the Cooper in Geoff's time with it, I'm sure it's real good stuff.

#6 cooper997

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 01:51

Those Cooper information signs certainly look like they've spent a good few years perched on the wall. I too would like to be able to read the mods done by Geoff. Look forward to seeing more when Geoff gets back to snap the Youl history at Symmons Plains.

Stephen


#7 Smedley (Geoff)

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 01:21

Sadly I was not with John on his last outing at Lakeside in 1964 , this was my intention but Total had applied pressure for an immediate start and I was with Matich at that meeting. Lakeside had always been laid down as John's final race but I did witness his problems and felt a pang of guilt over the outcome. Smed.

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 06:25

Of note, Geoff, your two cars started from the front row of the grid...

Matich on 56.4 (a blinder of a time in that era, the lap record was 58.7), Youl on 58.0, Stillwell and Davison were on the second row on 59.0 and 59.3, the latter time being the same as Greg Cusack did in the 1.5... and that was a little while before Greg started to really fly in his Brabham.

Youl led away and held sway for just three laps. Matich kicked the record down to 57.7 right after that, but only lasted ten laps before an oil line let go and coated the rear of the car and the circuit. Youl had an easy lead then over Davison. As the circuit cleared up from the oil, Davison closed and started to pressure John, but crashed as they chose one side each around Noel Hall's Rennmax.

Youl now led handily from Stillwell, who had Cusack clinging to his tail. Kerry Grant was to close and pass Cusack, while Stillwell was probably getting signals that the gap ahead to Youl was slowly reducing as the engine of the Cooper started to smoke a little.

Des White records that lap 30 was Youl's last... and we know that's 'ever'. "...and on lap 30 retired to the pits with a rear brake line adrift. The Cooper, a veteran of many near record breaking thrills at Lakeside, now joined the group of non-finishers quickly gathering in the pits."

During the remaining 20 laps, Stillwell had an easy run to the flag. Grant had to once again give best to Cusack, Arnold Glass was fourth ahead of Barry Collerson after Glynn Scott spun near the end.

What could have been, Geoff? John Youl obviously came very close to winning his final event...