Five of them went on to race in European F3, essentially budget racing for most of them, living in the back of vans and moving about the continent going from circuit to circuit chasing starting money to keep their cars going.
First to go was Jim Sullivan, now a journalist with a newspaper and a TV station in Newcastle (if I'm not too out of date, anyway...), but then a promising driver of a Sprite at places like Warwick Farm and Catalina. He won the Smith's Industries-AARC Driver to Europe award and went to England to further his racing.
Two who more or less did it together were Wal Donnelly and Barry Collerson. Barry had a long career behind him, having run an MG Special and a Lago Talbot among other things, and was in a modern open wheeler when he made the decision to go.
Not Wal... he was in a Turner sports car. For this prematurely balding driver there was life to be lived and he was going to live it with a Brabham and Michelin maps that would take him to Brno and Pau and other exotic destinations.
Next was a name that will be more familiar. David Walker had a little Brabham 1100 and ran under the Scuderia Veloce banner. No doubt David McKay's influence was more than a small part of the decision he took to join these guys in a European adventure.
Another name you'll know is that of Larry Perkins. His racing at Catalina was done in the days of the Rallycross there, driving the supercharged Torana of the Holden Dealer Team. He'd earlier won the Australian FF series, which qualified him for a trip to the old dart, but from memory he didn't take it right away. Fostered again by David McKay and aided by Carey Thompson, who was funded by the benevolent Gary Campbell (who also sponsored Larry into the Aust F2 series), Larry was to go over there in the seventies, a very different era, and found a home at Ralt.
Now why do I bring this up?
It came to mind tonight when I was talking to Max Stahl. He's editing Barry Collerson's book about his racing adventures (and it must have been an adventure for this jockey-sized driver, who was by all accounts totally dwarfed by his Large Tablet). And then he told me that Wal Donnelly died the other week from cancer.
A lovely guy, Wal was. A determined and proficient racer, he also lived life to the full. He married an Austrian girl and spent a lot of time in Europe over the years, more recently spending the summers in opposite ends of the globe. He also got into yachting, which is where he met Peter and Carol Hopwood... having seen Peter wither away must have done nothing for him as he became aware that a similar fate awaited him.
Here he is working on his Turner's cylinder head in front of the Chermside Caravilla after having troubles in practice for the November meeting at Lakeside in 1965... and getting some attention from Bob Jane and Ian Geoghegan...
Now, perhaps in his memory, I'm asking those of you who perhaps saw one or some of them race in Europe, or who have items of interest about their racing, to tell us something about it all...
I think I have a pic of one of them at Brno, by the way, but I'm not sure where it is...
Edited by Ray Bell, 20 July 2011 - 10:42.