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Bert Hawthorne

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#1 MaTT2799

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 19:49

Leafing through this months Motorsport, I see mention of one Bert Hawthorne. Supposedly he was quite highly regarded, and could have gone on to better things. So, can anyone tell me more about the man, his career, and his untimely death?


#2 David McKinney

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 20:55

Very briefly:
Started racing in the mid/late 1960s in New Zealand (though I think he may have been British-born) in an Anglia, earning a good reputation at club level and above. Followed many other Kiwis into the life of a racing mechanic in Europe, I think with Brabham, though I don't think he did any racing on that trip. Built himself a Brabham BT21 which he took back to NZ and raced with some success inthe competitve National Formula category (1600cc twin-cams) against the likes of McRae, Nicholson, Oxton and Ken Smith. Back to the UK and raced in F3 and IIRC Atlantic, then raced very successful in North American FB/Atlantic, as mentioned in the Motor Sport article.
Allan McCall always said the Hockenheim accident was caused by another driver, whom Motor Sport didn't name so I'd better not either.

#3 Mac Lark

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 23:12

He was actually born in Ireland - from Derryhennett if that means something to someone - and came to NZ at the age of 13.

He was good.

Allan McCall told me for a story once that Bert could've gone all the way. When a former Jim Clark mechanic says this sort of thing, I listen.

McCall's Tui Super Vee's were raced by Bert and he did well. In Feb. 1972 he won the Bogota GP in Columbia ( Juan Pablo Montoya's father was apparantly in the same race) and in doing so, gave the Brabham BT38 its maiden victory.

After his death at Hockenheim on April 14, 1972 a memorial was erected by his sister Irene in 1998.

#4 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 04:55

This is what I posted on the Speed's Ultimate Price thread about Hawthorne's death.

He actually died on Friday during practice for the Jim Clark Trophy Race. That would make the correct date April 14, 1972.

I’ve dug out the Motoring News report on the race written by Alan Henry and it adds more info. Hawthorne was circulating in tandem with Bernd Terbeck and both went missing at the same time.
An agitated Niki Lauda called into the pits two laps later to ask why nothing was apparently being done about a car on fire out on the circuit. It was only then that a fire tender and ambulance were sent to the scene.
Henry’s explanation of the accident was that Hawthorne’s Tui slowed leaving the fast chicane on the outward leg and Terbeck could not avoid hitting him. Hawthorne was pitched into the barriers at tremendous speed and the nose of the Tui jammed between the two rails and slid along for some distance, pulling out the securing uprights, before coming to rest on fire.
He concludes that though the car burnt slowly for quite a long time it was subsequently confirmed that poor Hawthorne succumbed immediately to serious head injuries.

#5 O Volante

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 20:14

Anybody around with an idea about birthdate and full name? Thanx in advance :)

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 20:26

He was Herbert William Hawthorne
I could probably get his d/o/b if no-one beats me to itt

#7 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 20:44

A lot of his success came about when he was driving for Fred Opert who thought very highly of him.
Fred Opert also helped Keke Rosberg a lot too.

#8 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 20:48

17th December 1943 - 14th April 1972
Lived near Ards in Ireland, moved to Omihi NZ in 1956.
In the accident at Hockenheim, it is likely that Bert had a drive shaft problem. Terbeck could not avoid him. Bert appeared virtually untouched but an impact a the guard rail post had broken his neck.

#9 O Volante

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 20:50

Whow, that was fast ... only at TNF!!! Many thanks again ... :D

#10 MCS

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 20:50


There's some more here which you may find useful. :)

http://forums.autosp...=bert hawthorne

#11 Gary C

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 21:01

..................and he was sharing a flat with Herbie Blash at the time...