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1974 Van Heusen Australian Formula 2 Championship


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#1 Paul Newby

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 16:02

In the latest edition of Motor Racing Australia magazine Graham Howard wrote a very interesting article on the above and I will quote the first two paragraphs to set the scene:

"It had a big sponsor and many of Australia's best drivers, some in new, factory-run cars, and it was fiercely contested. But the glamour and professionalism of the 1974 Van Heusen Australian Formula 2 Championship was also a glimpse of the future of major Australian motor racing titles backed by big naming-rights sponsors - except that that future would be for touring cars, not openwheelers.

"For one glorious season, in 1974 Australian openwheeler racing regained its credibility. While Formula 5000 fields dwindled, and sports sedans and touring car racing grew in strength meeting by meeting, the 1974 Australian Formula 2 Championship series promised great racing - and delivered.

Interestingly enough Graham Howard's previous "retro-race article was on the 1972 Tasmas Championship - surely the zenith of F5000 in Australia with plenty of new machinery including works entries and calibre Australian and international drivers competing.

As for Formula 2 in 1974 there were plenty of new cars notably from Birrana. Bowin and Elfin with Hart twin cam engines and drivers the calibre of Leo Geoghegan, Muir and Leffler.

The racing was exciting and it was popular with the crowds, yet the sponsor Van Heusen withdrew at the end of the year, the category lost its moment and then we got Golf engines.

I wasn't around following the sport back then. One question I have for the wise old men is why did this happen - was this the start of the demise of openwheeler racing in Australia??

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#2 Mac Lark

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 04:22

What an intersting question.

From this side of the Tasman I can tell you that open wheel racing went through similar problems with dwindling F5000 fields.

We went to Formula Atlantic based 'Pacifics' in 1976, something Australia didn't do for another few years.

As a result the Tasman championship died in 1975 and was never revived.

I believe that played a huge part in the demise of Antipodean open wheeler racing.

And while I personally loved the 5000s, I sometimes wonder where NZ/Australia racing might have gone if The small block Chev were as reliable then as they are now.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 12:32

I don't think engine reliability was such a factor...

But that's not the answer Paul's question either.

Truth is, the seeds of touring car growth (and the begin of the openwheeler decline) were sown in 1964. Instead of touring cars being an also-ran category, there was some intense competition for the outright placings by a bunch of different cars.

At the same time, only two or three likely winners were there for the bigger openwheeler category, with never more than about six cars running in the one race, while the smaller cars that made up the balance of the fields were headed up by a similar two or three fast cars and a bunch of stragglers.

The next year we had three Mustangs, still with a bunch of Lotus Cortinas and Mini Cooper Ss snapping at their heels, while little had changed in the openwheeler ranks. Except that Matich was gone and the Davison equipe was gone.

1966 brought some better tidings as Geoghegan and Cusack both got 2.5s, but now Stillwell was gone and the tintops were getting stronger all the while.

And the annual fling at Bathurst for production cars led to the introduction of more and more races for these cars. Which didn't have starting money discussions with circuit owners.

As for Van Heusen, that was introduced by Grace Bros anyway, through Hans Tieperman. It was only going to be there while Hans could hold their interest.

Worth considering, Mac Lark, is what might have happened if NZ had stuck with the F5000s. A couple of your drivers, at least, wanted it to be that way.

And as for your suggestion that F5000 playing a huge part in the demise of openwheeler racing, I would strongly disagree. The reverse is true, for they brought back interest, they challenged the tintops for spectacle and got the people in.

#4 Mac Lark

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 20:33

Never said F5000s played a huge part in open wheeler decline.

In fact I said I loved them.

What I said was that I believe the end of the Tasman championship played a huge part in the decline.

You are right about a couple of KIWIs at least wanting to keep the 5000s going.

The'pro 5000' and 'pro touring car' brigades soon dubbed our new cars 'Formula Pathetics' and although they ran here for the best part of 2 decades, they never really captured the publics imagination.

Near the end of the 5000 days, the only imagination that could be captured was the hope amongst the dwindling crowds that the noise offered by the few competitive 5000s would be matched by a race spectacle.

Perhaps the real answer as to why openwheeler racer declined in both NZ and Australia can be put down to a combination of these 2 things:

1. A growing F1 schedule which meant that drivers the calibre of Clark, Stewart, Hill, Rindt and the 4 Antipodean stars could no longer afford the time to come south at Christmas.

2. The seemingly natrual attraction for most Kiwis and Aussies toward 'big banger' saloon cars.

The fact is that these 2 events closly coincided. Add to that factor the retirement of Jack Brabham and the death of Bruce McLaren so each country had lost their national hero because it was around them that the Tasman series was founded.

MAC

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 21:50

Certainly that's closer to it...

Apart from that, it was harder to get F1 drivers into F5000 cars. Though they did run in them in the early stages, after a couple of years F5000 became something they'd shy away from.

Surtees, Hailwood and Walker, for instance, came here with them. But that was about the end of it apart from Amon in the Talon.

What you said, by the way, was that the Tasman ended because of the formula change in NZ, and that dwindling fields and a perceived unreliability of the Chevys spelled the decline... so my comment was about F5000 in Australia and how it might have been more sustainable if NZ hadn't gone to Pacifics.

But Frosty was always keen to show he had the muscles over the Australian delegates...

#6 Mac Lark

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 23:17

Ray the Tasman championship ended in 1975.

Warwick Brown was the last Tasman champ.

We didn't go to Pacifics until 1976/77 so the 1976 Jan/Feb races still ran to their original dates - as F5000 - but was no longer the Tasman championship.

So the end of F5000 didn't lead to the end of the Tasman Championship - it had already ended.

As for Frosty (RIP) - well I don't believe he ever viewed 5000s as being purists racing cars.

#7 Bondy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 02:02

Hi Paul,

I was a little young, lol, but i do remember as a 5 year old, pics of Sonny Rajahs Julius Marlow March with spotted Helmet, lol, it was hard to miss in magazines.

The Van Heusen series did continue in 1975, however it wasnt part of the Formula 2 Championship, it ran as a series for this class at Calder and Hume Weir.

Some great names in the 1974 Series, they may bring back some memories :)

Leo Geoghegan Birrana 274
Bruce Allison Birrana 274
Chas Talbot Birrana 274
Wolfgang Prejawa Birrana 274
Neil Rear Birrana 274
Enno Buesselmann Birrana 273 (Later raced in the Series by Bob Muir)
Graeme Crawford Birrana 273
Don Uebergang Birrana 273
Malcolm Ramsay Birrana 273
Dean Hosking Birrana 374
Paul King Birrana 374
Bob Minogue Elfin 600B
Paul Hamilton Elfin 600
Roger Harrison Elfin 600C
Alfredo Costanzo Elfin Mono
Tony Maw Elfin 623
Ken Amos Elfin 623
Johnnie Walker Elfin 622
Mike Stillwell Elfin 622
Craig McAllister Elfin 622
Ian Douglass March 733
Ken Smith (NZ) March 732 (Later to Ken Shirvington, who was previously Rennmax Mounted)
Sonny Rajah (Malaysia) March 732M
Max Stewart March 722
Tony Stewart Brabham BT36
Kurt Seeburg Brabham BT36
Darryl Pearsall Lotus 39
John Leffler Bowin P8
Ian Fergurson Bowin P3A (Appeared in Bowin P6 for final Round)
Ray Winter Mildren
Bob Muir Rennmax BN6 (also raced by Terry Quartly)
Terry Hook Rennmax BN3 (Muir raced the car in Rd 1)
Chris Farrell Lola T360 (Raced By Graeme Lawrence after Rd3, then Bartlett in Rd5))
Rob Butcher ASP F3
Barry Lock Kaditcha



Curt

#8 Paul Newby

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:00

THis thread has veered into F5000 territory, which is interesting in itself but I'm more curious as to what motivated Van Heusen to put up so much money for the F2 C'ship especially when F5000 was still a credible series and why did they pull out from sponsoring the National series at the end of the year. Plus details on the subsequent fallout and the demise of F2 to the "Golf era."

#9 Bondy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:26

I will need some help here, lol,

In 1978 the Formula rules changed, u think it was 78, and there was much discussion i think in about 1976, about which class to keep Formula 3 or Formula 2. In the end it went to Formula 2, using single cam engines, im going by mem, so Ray, help me out here, lol.

In 1978 they had a Rothmans sponsored series for the then new rules spec Formula 2 class held at Amaroo, but as Ray im sure would have reported on these races i will let him feed more info into the story as he will know alot more than me.

In 1979 Australian Formula 2 got its Championship back, and the arrival of Golf engines, i know John Bowe had one in the Elfin 792, my mem is going, lol.

The F2 series lost some of its main drivers for 75, and in 74 they had a few F5000 drivers competing in it, but for 1975, F5000 not only had rounds of the Tasman and Gold Star, there was alos the Toby Lee Series that had good money and attracted most of the main F5000 runners.

I'll try remember more for you paul, or hopefully the rest of the establishment can help :)



Curt

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:27

Why not back F5000 that year?

Because Hans Tierperman had drivers in F2 and none in F5000.

The 'Golf era' was the result of a move to rationalise the openwheeler categories. There was one too many, CAMS decided it was better to upgrade ANF3.

At the time, the F3 upgrade backers were going around saying how expensive FAtlantic engines were...

#11 Mac Lark

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:32

I still can't get over the fact that Max Stewart could get in a March 722 let alone be quick in it.

I'm sorry this veered into F5000 but the there is 1 reason i can give why 5000s are fondly recalled - by most - and the Atlantics/Pacifics and vHF2 cars aren't - by most.

Sex appeal.

Same for the Golf powered cars and, interestingly, also for the Formula Holden/Brabham/4000s.

#12 Paul Newby

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:35

Ray, can you tell us a bit about Hans Tierperman. I can't say I've ever heard of him. Did he have the final say as to where the Van Heusen money went. Is that why it ended at the end of '74?

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 04:12

Hans was the man with the budgets from Grace Bros menswear departments... and he loved racing.

In the end he was more committed to FFord, so that was where the last of the GBs sponsorships went.

I think he wanted to be seen as someone who was helping Australian drivers to make good.

Look at a pic of a GBs sponsored car... see the different brand logos over it? They're the people who put in the actual cash, Hans just got it out of them and directed the show... and it seems van Heusen had more to spend than others.

Or simply wanted more bang for their buck?

#14 Paul Newby

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 07:22

Ray, this is interesting. I don't know what they call this - association sponsorship or something, but its now pretty prevalent in V8Supercars in Australia. Get a major retail chain as principal sponsor and get all their brand suppliers to chip in and get exposure on the car or the drivers. That way the retail outlet gets heaps of exposure without putting up the money or giving the suppliers more favourable sales rebates or whatever.

#15 Allen Brown

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 10:32

Originally posted by Bondy
Hi Paul,

I was a little young, lol, but i do remember as a 5 year old, pics of Sonny Rajahs Julius Marlow March with spotted Helmet, lol, it was hard to miss in magazines.

The Van Heusen series did continue in 1975, however it wasnt part of the Formula 2 Championship, it ran as a series for this class at Calder and Hume Weir.

Some great names in the 1974 Series, they may bring back some memories :)

Leo Geoghegan Birrana 274
Bruce Allison Birrana 274
Chas Talbot Birrana 274
Wolfgang Prejawa Birrana 274
Neil Rear Birrana 274
Enno Buesselmann Birrana 273 (Later raced in the Series by Bob Muir)
Graeme Crawford Birrana 273
Don Uebergang Birrana 273
Malcolm Ramsay Birrana 273
Dean Hosking Birrana 374
Paul King Birrana 374
Bob Minogue Elfin 600B
Paul Hamilton Elfin 600
Roger Harrison Elfin 600C
Alfredo Costanzo Elfin Mono
Tony Maw Elfin 623
Ken Amos Elfin 623
Johnnie Walker Elfin 622
Mike Stillwell Elfin 622
Craig McAllister Elfin 622
Ian Douglass March 733
Ken Smith (NZ) March 732 (Later to Ken Shirvington, who was previously Rennmax Mounted)
Sonny Rajah (Malaysia) March 732M
Max Stewart March 722
Tony Stewart Brabham BT36
Kurt Seeburg Brabham BT36
Darryl Pearsall Lotus 39
John Leffler Bowin P8
Ian Fergurson Bowin P3A (Appeared in Bowin P6 for final Round)
Ray Winter Mildren
Bob Muir Rennmax BN6 (also raced by Terry Quartly)
Terry Hook Rennmax BN3 (Muir raced the car in Rd 1)
Chris Farrell Lola T360 (Raced By Graeme Lawrence after Rd3, then Bartlett in Rd5))
Rob Butcher ASP F3
Barry Lock Kaditcha



Curt

Curt

This is a fascinating list. Could you post up more about the races and about some of these cars? Do you have results for the races? I'm interested as many of these cars also appeared in the 1974 Gold Star series so I'm trying to identify individual cars. I know about the Bowin P8, the Mildren, most of the Elfins and a few of the Birranas but nothing about the Rennmax cars, the ASP, the Kaditcha and those two Brabhams.

Allen

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 10:48

Haven't we been through the BN3 and BN6 stuff before, Allen?

Maybe not... what about an excerpt from a little story about a Rennmax?

UNIQUE in many ways, the Rennmax monocoque of 1974 was Bob Britton’s bold statement that he could build a car that wasn’t a clone of something from England.


GREATEST among the successes of the Rennmax marque have been the many wins that have fallen to the Formula Vees, two models of which took many owners to victory over many years.

These cars were very different to other Vees of their time. Featuring neat spaceframes and attractive bodies, they looked the part and they performed better than just well. But when they first went on the market they weren’t even given the name that was to become synonymous with their creator, Bob Britton.

Bob, with Peter Gray, was one who aspired to build 500cc motorcycle-engined racers, but although he associated with the likes of Bob Joass (builder of the Jolus) and Ron Taurenac (who, as builder of Brabhams and Ralts, hardly needs introduction), and fabricated some nice frames for various people, he never took a car to completion.

It was only when Noel Hall came to him with a very bent near-new Cooper Climax that Bob as able to manufacture a car. And that, naturally, used many of the parts from the wreck.

“It was a nervous time for me,” Bob told us, “when Noel took the new car out onto the circuit at Bathurst, and straight away he booted it full pelt up Mountain Straight.” Totally untried, the car made its debut on a circuit that forgave no-one.

Most of the work he did at his backyard workshop in Croydon Park in those days was repairs. The frame of the first Rennmax had its roots in measurements taken from the Lotus 18 that had to be straightened, and some judicious photographing and measuring of Stirling Moss’ Lotus 21 in the pits at Warwick Farm.

The next Rennmax was virtually a Lotus 20 with 22 suspension, again benefiting from a jig-making opportunity created by somebody’s violent excursion from the accepted path.

This car, dubbed by others (but not Bob) as the BN1, saw service in the hands of drivers like Peter Williamson and Kingsley Hibbard in Formula Junior (1100cc) and slightly larger form.

But were they really BN1s? “Someone once explained to me how they worked out all the model numbers, but I just made ’em and sold ‘em. I didn’t even put chassis numbers on ‘em!”

Greg Cusack then came along wanting to market Formula Vees. Cusack was the Volkswagen dealer in Canberra, and with his offsider, Bruce Burr, committed Britton to the design and construction of a batch of cars for this new class he was helping to promote.

They sold as CB Vees, but before long the owners – not Britton – decided to call them Rennmax Vees because Bob provided any parts or repairs they might need.

Simultaneously there were repairs to the cars of others, and construction of the Matich SR3 largely took place under his roof. In this busy atmosphere, the repair of Cusack’s Brabham BT14 was a job Bob took on, and from this car he created a copy for the lanky Orange AMI dealer, Max Stewart. Well, not quite.

Parts of that car came from the rear end of the John Harvey Brabham that was in to be altered to take the Repco V8. It was, in fact, a bitza, and the only one ever made.

This was a very successful car, and was dubbed the BN2. It ran in the secondary Racing Car category, ANF1.5, with a 1.5-litre twin-cam Ford engine, and Stewart raced it everywhere, twice winning the Australian Championship and bringing himself to the notice of Alec Mildren.

Today Bob laments that he never built more of the BT14-based cars. “I could have gone on making them for years, they were a very nice car,” he says.

But another engine-swap operation brought the BT24 Alec Mildren wanted fitted with an Alfa V8 into the shop, so a jig was produced for that one too. From this came the model others called the BN3, and quite a number saw service. Mildren had one for Stewart to drive, which later went to Grice, but in Max’s hands it won two more F2 titles and the 1971 Gold Star.

Was Taurenac concerned that three titles had gone to a copy of the cars he made?

“He told me that he and Jack had gone up to Sweden to see the car Ronnie Peterson was running. They were thinking of having him drive for them, and they wanted to see this car Ronnie’s father had built,” Bob explains. “They got there and found the most perfect copy of their own cars. Everybody did it, Ron wasn’t worried! He just told me to make sure I charged them full price!”

It was during this period that Bob expanded the number of components he made uniquely. Though his chassis were copies of some very good designs, the detail work in some of the bolt-on bits was of his own creation.

For instance, he manufactured his own steering racks. These lightweight units, featuring a cam-adjustment to compensate for wear, are today used on many cars built by others.

Uprights for the BN3 were fabricated out of sheet steel, while he cast and machined his own alloy brake calipers.. The wheels he designed and made for them were a work of art.

Made with a tiny cast aluminium center boss, they were made of a series of spinnings riveted together, epoxy sealing them where they needed to be airtight, and elongated holes giving them a very different appearance. Ever wider tyres demanded wider wheels, however, and the wider they were the more difficult the making became.

But to the creative mind of Bob Britton, even these weren’t good enough. “Anyone can make a casting and machine it,” was his expression of his feelings about why he needed to make his wheels differently to anyone else.

As he prepared to make his first monocoque openwheeler, he laboured over the issue of what to do with wheels. He tried getting sections rolled as production steel wheels have, he pondered the problem until he got to the solution.

Based on a 4-spoke centre casting, there were pads at the ends of the spokes to which were riveted a welded and spun sheet alloy cylinder with a bead at one side, a lip at the other. The outer bead was a casting that slipped on after the tyre was fitted, sealed with Silastic and bolted through the flange to an inner cast ring.

It was light, it was different, and it was actually safer in that the tyre couldn’t slip into a wellbase if deflated. It wouldn’t need retaining pegs, either.

His fabricated uprights were improved, too. Instead of featuring spun cones radiating from the bearing housing, they were a complex box section – much stronger. And the chassis was quite unlike others of the time.

The first car was laid down for Doug Heasman, who had previously owned a BN3. This was the one that was called a BN6. Before it was finished, though, Bob rethought the rear of the chassis and shortened the monocoque.

Three of the BN7s were built, for Terry Quartly, Andrew Miedecke and Ross Switzer. The monocoque section was shorter than usual, beginning at the steering bulkhead and running alongside the driver’s body. Very stiff tubular frames riveted in at each end, making a very strong chassis. Heasman’s car had the mono sections run to half way along the engine bay, the others had it end at the rear cockpit bulkhead.

Unique to this car was a bellhousing that formed the rear bulkhead. It was full width at the base where it mated with the spaceframes, while the bellhousing on the Heasman car was full width at half-height and had different mounts.

The front suspension was wide-based wishbones with the rack bolted to the front of the frame above the master cylinders.

Rear suspension mounts were bracketed to the bellhousing, with parallel links at the bottom and a single top link, there were the usual radius arms to the back corner of the tub section, just inside where the single radiator hung on the right hand side.

Original thoughts were to have tiny radiators in the mono sections and duct air through, but high pressure buildup in front of the rear wheels cruelled that plan.

The car was small. The driver’s feet stuck out the top of the frame, so the bodywork had its cockpit bubble start forward of this point to give clearance and to also stiffen the body at its weakest point.

Britton took a long time getting this car into production. Perhaps it took too long, for his rethinking of the wheels had taken many months. When they were done, however, they became somewhat popular for all types of cars. They had the additional benefit that the strong outer edge was less prone to be damaged than other rims.

It was early in 1974 when the first car hit the circuit, Quartly’s car driven by Bob Muir to third place on its debut – despite a horsepower deficit.

The car that was to take the battle to the dominant Birranas of the day, though, was Miedecke’s. ‘Mad Andy’ had Grace Brothers backing and was looking at taking out the new Van Heusen F2 series that was to bring the class good prizemoney and encourage growth in the formula.

So they were up against stiff opposition from the beginning of that series, and it could have been seen as a portent of good things to come when Miedecke took out the first round at Calder from Geoff Brabham’s Birrana.

But it wasn’t. Miedecke was the only one to run the Rennmax in the series – Quartly sold his to WA, Switzer only ran in Queensland and the Heasman car wasn’t finished – and he failed to score and then the Sandown race was rained out and there would be no points for his third place. Calder again for Rd 5 saw him second on the grid, but his oil pump failed, so a third place in Tasmania kept him third in the series.

Then a heat win at Calder was a nice change, but fourth behind the Birranas and the Clive Millis Elfin in the final did little for the points. Finally he wrapped up the year with a second place at Phillip Island.

He finished behind the two leading Birranas, the 274s of Brabham and Alf Costanzo. “They were able to drive away from Andrew, gaining a little bit each lap,” Britton remembers. “Thinking about it now, I’d say we needed a bit more front wing to improve the turn-in, those Birranas had that big nose, remember?”

But Britton didn’t have the opportunity to help develop the car. Working alone, and also developing the new Formula Vee, this was a shortcoming even the fire of the Miedecke determination couldn’t overcome.

It was a repeat of the problems encountered with the Repco conversion done for Harvey. “I was too busy with Matich at the time that I couldn’t work with them to get it sorted out,” Bob told us.
But was the BN7 a failure?

No, not in the slightest. Miedecke kept on and took three wins our of four races in pot-boilers at Oran Park’s first two meetings of 1976, the third one resulting in a second place after starting at the rear. Then he was dominant (in an admittedly reduced field) when the F2 title races began at Calder, losing only when the engine overheated. An easy pole at Hume Weir was followed by more mechanical bother. But both heats fell to him at Oran Park, but before the series went any further he sold the car and took up a drive in the Don Baker Dolphin, a Brabham copy.

Where the car really succeeded was rather more esoteric. It showed that Britton could build a car that wasn’t a copy. It embodied so many of his own ideas and diverged from the norm in so many of its features that it pleased him. It was his last attempt at a car aimed at any National awards.
Britton was to continue to reap successes with Vees, to keep on repairing cars for people, even built another Sports Car.

He and the extreme pressure of top-line racing had, however, seen their last. Today he enjoys a life of doing what he pleases. Still having all his equipment and a big workshop, he can build things for himself without relying on racing people for a living. He works a five-day week and occupies his spare hours with his projects.

Has he really built his last racer, though? Will the BN7, or whatever it should have been known as, be the last?

“I think I’d like to build a super light car with one of these four-cylinder motorbike engines,” says the creative Britton, “it always irked me that I could build a chassis that I could toss around the workshop, then you’d have to bolt a heavy lump of iron in the back…”

The lesson of the BN6/7 cars is that there is always another way of doing things.


Well, it might be a bit more than an excerpt. I only left off the heading and the author's name... to avoid copyright infringement of course...

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 11:07

A little bit of work on Bondy's list...


Leo Geoghegan Birrana 274
Bruce Allison Birrana 274
Chas Talbot Birrana 274
Wolfgang Prejawa Birrana 274
Neil Rear Birrana 274
Enno Buesselmann Birrana 273 (Later raced in the Series by Bob Muir)
Graeme Crawford Birrana 273
Don Uebergang Birrana 273
Malcolm Ramsay Birrana 273
Dean Hosking Birrana 374 - Corolla engine
Paul King Birrana 374 - Corolla engine
Bob Minogue Elfin 600B - Corolla engine
Paul Hamilton Elfin 600 - the original 600
Roger Harrison Elfin 600C
Alfredo Costanzo Elfin Mono
Tony Maw Elfin 623 - Ford 1300 engine
Ken Amos Elfin 623 - not sure of this one
Johnnie Walker Elfin 622
Mike Stillwell Elfin 622
Craig McAllister Elfin 622
Ian Douglass March 733
Ken Smith (NZ) March 732 (Later to Ken Shirvington, who was previously Rennmax Mounted)
Sonny Rajah (Malaysia) March 732M
Max Stewart March 722 - with downdraught head*
Tony Stewart Brabham BT36
Kurt Seeburg Brabham BT36
Darryl Pearsall Lotus 39 - car built for flat 16... had FPF and Repco V8 earlier
John Leffler Bowin P8
Ian Fergurson Bowin P3A (Appeared in Bowin P6 for final Round)
actually 'Fergusson'
Ray Winter Mildren
Bob Muir Rennmax BN6 (also raced by Terry Quartly)
Terry Hook Rennmax BN3 (Muir raced the car in Rd 1)
Chris Farrell Lola T360 (Raced By Graeme Lawrence after Rd3, then Bartlett in Rd5))
Rob Butcher ASP F3 - Corolla engine
Barry Lock Kaditcha

All engines unless otherwise mentioned were the familiar Lotus-Ford twin cams. Stewart's was a locally built (maybe in NZ?) variation with downdraught inlet ports and carbies.

#18 Bondy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 11:16

Hi Allen,

I have the results for the 1974 and 1975 Series, also the 76 i think, will have to double check that :) Im still trying to do that Aussie F5000 list for you, im getting there :)


Curt

#19 Paul Newby

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 03:35

Ray
That Bob Britton / Renmax article was one that you wrote for MRA not that long ago, right? I hadn't read it before but do recall the photo of Bob Muir in the Renmax at Oran Park.

The ANF2 series you were referring to was 1975 surely, that was when Muir was driving the Renmax and Geoff Brabham entered the fray. Was this still sponsored by Van Heusen, or are we talking about a non national F2 series run in Victoria?

As for Bob Muir, back in '74 when he was given the call to drive the Brown owned Birrana he was racing F5000 in America, wasn't he? What was the story there? Also didn't Muir take this Birrana over to England to race - what was the rationale there?

I always get mixed up between Bob Muir and Brian (Yogi?) Muir - I believe the latter is no longer with us. Are you able to illuminate us on both these largely unknown drivers that were prominent in overseas racing and are now largely forgotten in the rollcall of top Aussie drivers from the past.

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 04:03

Originally posted by Paul Newby
That Bob Britton / Renmax article was one that you wrote for MRA not that long ago, right? I hadn't read it before but do recall the photo of Bob Muir in the Renmax at Oran Park.

The ANF2 series you were referring to was 1975 surely, that was when Muir was driving the Renmax and Geoff Brabham entered the fray. Was this still sponsored by Van Heusen, or are we talking about a non national F2 series run in Victoria?

As for Bob Muir, back in '74 when he was given the call to drive the Brown owned Birrana he was racing F5000 in America, wasn't he? What was the story there? Also didn't Muir take this Birrana over to England to race - what was the rationale there?

I always get mixed up between Bob Muir and Brian (Yogi?) Muir - I believe the latter is no longer with us. Are you able to illuminate us on both these largely unknown drivers that were prominent in overseas racing and are now largely forgotten in the rollcall of top Aussie drivers from the past.


I was just reading this morning that Brian Muir drove a Lola T70 at the Norisring in 1979... a one-off drive, as far as I know (anyone know if he drove it any other time?), the car was owned by 'Gartland' by the way.

Brian 'Yogi' Muir commenced racing in the late fifties, I think his first car was an Austin A30. He got into Holdens and somewhere in there had a run in a Lotus 11 at Bathurst. When the EH Holden came out he had already had his first trip to England and was itching to go back again. The S4, however, indelibly linked him in most mid-sixties minds to our top touring car racing here and almost won him the ATCC in 1964.

Then he won the AARC/Smith's Industries trip to England and raced a bundle of tintops there. He was called in to drive at Le Mans when a number of the regular Ford drivers were unavailable or dead, and again later when Peter Brock needed a co-driver in 1975 for his BMW.

I'm not sure when he died, but he was racing BMWs and Capris in the BTCC through that period IIRC, and there might have been a Camaro in there somewhere. Earlier he'd driven Mustangs and, I think, Galaxies, and also had an outing or two in a Lotus 30 or 40.

If you want, cruise down Raymond Road at Neutral Bay and seek out number 33... that was where he lived in the S4 days. Better yet, find Ray Eldershaw and ask about him, Ray having built his engines and been his confidant for a number of years.

Bob Muir, on the other hand, started out in Vees in '65/'66, graduated to quicker stuff and surprised me when he took a lot of interest in how well Max Stewart was going with his Rennmax/Mildren Waggott. I never really considered him to be a challenger to Max, but I guess I was wrong, as he certainly improved and was among the top drivers by the time he'd gone through is Rennmax days and got into the T300. Later he was to move into tintops as well, sponsorship being easier to get and I guess the private money supply getting harder.

A small man, almost jockey sized, he is still a used car salesman as far as I know. And I'm not sure when he got out of F5000. Brian Muir, as the name 'Yogi' might imply, was much larger.

I think he had sold his car before Bob and Marj Brown got him to drive the Birrana. He certainly showed he had the stuff to match it with whoever came along in that. I'm not altogether sure why the Browns wanted to go to England. Malcolm Ramsay did explain it once, I think they had business interests there. Anyway, that's the reason that the car's designer, Tony Alcock, died in 1975.

But back to basics...

It's Rennmax, Paul... please note that. 'Renn' as in the German for 'race'...

And the article, as is clearly defined by the dates used ("It was early in 1974 when the first car hit the circuit, Quartly’s car driven by Bob Muir to third place on its debut"), with the conclusion being, as stated, in the early rounds of 1975.

Yes, the van Heusen series of 1975 was only in Victoria. At Calder and Hume Weir, both under Bob Jane control, IIRC.

I can see what John Medley meant...

#21 Bondy

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 07:40

Ray, is the Ray Eldershaw you are referring to, the father of Glenn? I know a Ray Eldershaw from karting, and hes sons race karts.

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 07:57

Strange, I don't ever remember meeting his kids, but I think his son's name is Glen or Glenn...

His wife's name, IIRC, is Aileen. They live somewhere in the northern part of Sydney (moved further out from Willoughby) and Ray owned the business called Circle Track Wheels at Seven Hills for a long time.

Fastidious engine man... in his mid-sixties now I guess.

#23 Allen Brown

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 21:14

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Haven't we been through the BN3 and BN6 stuff before, Allen?

Don't think so - I've search and I've searched but I can't find it (and I don't remember it either but the Atlas F1 search is more reliable than my memory :) )

#24 Allen Brown

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 21:15

I found this entry list in the 1974 Sandown Park Tasman program. It looks like they were reserves for the main race.

I've added car identities where I can figure them out and notes below on my sources.

13 Cameron, Brian: (B. Cameron) 1.6-litre Brabham BT36 - Ford 4
16 TBA, : (B. S. Stillwell Ford) 1.6-litre Elfin 622 [72-420] - Ford 4
19 Buesselman, Enno: (B & M Brown) 1.6-litre Birrana 273 [273-009] - Ford 4
20 Bekker, Werner: (Werner Bekker) 1.6-litre Elfin 620 - Ford 4
30 Uebergang, Don: (D. Uebergang) 1.6-litre Birrana 273 [273-007] - Ford 4
33 Quartly, Terry: (Veedub Motors (Volkswagen)) 1.6-litre Rennmax BN6 - Ford 4
34 Millis, Clive: (C. Millis) 1.6-litre Elfin 600B [7019] - Ford 4
69 Seeberg, Kurt: (Ken Dykes Racing) 1.6-litre Elfin 600 - Ford 4
79 Feltham, Paul: (Richardson Engine Reconditioning) 1.6-litre Birrana 273 - Ford 4
82 Shirvington, Ken: (K.W. Skirvington) 1.6-litre Rennmax - Ford 4
84 Minogue, Bob: (R. A. Minogue) 1.6-litre Elfin 600B - Ford 4

Notes
Cameron - nothing known about this car
Stillwell - presumably Mike Stillwell's Elfin 622 (see Blanden & Catford 'Elfin' p113)
Buesselman - see Birrana thread on 10 Tenths
Bekker - could this be the ex-Perkins 620FF [72418] - see Blanden & Catford 'Elfin' p112
Uebergang - see Birrana thread on 10 Tenths
Quartly - a brand new BN6 - see Ray's post above. Note that the program definitely calls it a BN6, not a BN7, as does the Surfers program
Millis - presumably the same 600B he bought new in 1970 (see Blanden & Catford 'Elfin' p84)
Seeberg - no idea; presumably a 600B
Feltham - no idea; Feltham was said to have ordered a 274 (RCN March 1974) so it's not clear what this 273 was
Shirvington - no idea
Minogue - no idea but program says 1598cc, implying a Ford; Minogue ran a Elfin MK11B in 1970

Can anyone add anything?

Allen

#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 21:57

Minogue cleaned up in a 600B in F3 at one stage... this was why I said Corolla-powered. I don't recall him having a Ford-engined car, but that doesn't preclude it happening.

The 620ff would require a lot of alteration to suit ANF2... brakes, wheels, fuel tank, plumbing, gearbox, probably radiator, all sorts of stuff.

As for the BN6 and BN7 stuff, remember that these were external designations. Britto only accepted them as an afterthought. Many would have thought there was no difference between the two, but there was. The length of the tubs and the rear bellhousing cum bulkhead made them a different car altogether. I would not bet either way at this stage, on reflection, which one Quartly had. I'd have to check photos or with Bob... even though I have put in that story that it was a BN7.

Wasn't Brian Cameron's car the one that Bob Holden was to race later? A red BT36 (or 36 copy?)... I'm sure there was some Bob Holden involvement there, and Bob raced it at the odd meeting in Sydney.

Could Feltham have borrowed a temporarily available car as he awaited his own's completion?

#26 Graham Howard

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 05:17

researching the '74 Van Heusen story I tried to find both Hans Tiepermann (GBs) and Michael Compton (VH marketing mgr). I found a lot of very helpful rag trade people, but could not get to HT, and no-one knew what had happenned to MC. Current management of Van Heusen explained it was just a brand name, not a particular factory as such, and that the brand had been sold from Melbourne to its current Sydney owner abt 1975, and there were no records from the F2 sponsorship era. VH could have sponsored the '75 AF2 series but it seemed to me two things unsettled them - one was decision by several circuits not to run a '75 F2 round, and the other was Calder made them a better offer; sponsor stealing was not unknown in those days. I have no evidence for the latter suggestion, other than mutterings by competitors at the time. I had hoped to get the real story from either HT or MC, but had to go without it. I tried to find Doug Hicks, who worked for Bob Jane at that time, but also had no luck.
Grace Bros did look past F/Ford, and was in fact looking specifically to F5000 - this was why Leffo bought a P8 Bowin, so he could do an F2 season with it then convert to F5000, and Leo Geoghegan was also thinking abt F5000 and according to Chequered Flag talked seriously to Matich abt the A53 before Goss bought it.

#27 Alan Lewis

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 07:40

Originally posted by Ray Bell
...Brian 'Yogi' Muir commenced racing in the late fifties...


Spooky coincidences #3,402 :

Today, 11th September, is the twentieth anniversary of the death of "Yogi" Muir - at least according to the first Peter Higham Guide.

I don't have the source to hand to verify, but my addled memory says a heart attack was the cause.

Got to dash to work now, but I might be able to add a bit more tonight...maybe.

APL

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 15:24

Originally posted by Graham Howard
.....Grace Bros did look past F/Ford, and was in fact looking specifically to F5000 - this was why Leffo bought a P8 Bowin, so he could do an F2 season with it then convert to F5000, and Leo Geoghegan was also thinking abt F5000 and according to Chequered Flag talked seriously to Matich abt the A53 before Goss bought it.


Graham... first a very large welcome to the forum...

And thanks for the needle about the F5000 aspect of GB's sponsorship... netting them a Gold Star in the end. Sometimes it's hard to keep all these things in focus.

I'm almost sure, and I posted about this just yesterday, that Leo had a drive of an Elfin MR5... do you recall that?


Alan... your 'addled memory' isn't too bad.

#29 Alan Lewis

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 20:06

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Alan... your 'addled memory' isn't too bad.


Splendid! I'll have another pint then.

APL

#30 Reinhard Windeler

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 20:50

Originally posted by Alan Lewis
Today, 11th September, is the twentieth anniversary of the death of "Yogi" Muir - at least according to the first Peter Higham Guide.

Brian Muir (b. 30 June 1931 in Sydney) at 52 years of age died of a heart attack on his way home from the Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone where he had finished round 11 of the European Touring Car Championship in 10th place sharing a BMW 635 CSi Coupé with Frank Sytner.

#31 normbeechey

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 01:20

I have just stumbled across what appears to be photos of the restored ex-John Leffler Bowin F2 at Wanneroo (see link)

http://www.highoctan...album=19&page=4

Ray, I seem to remember that Leo Geoghegan had a drive of one of the Ansett Elfins at AIR around 1972ish. I don't think the meeting was a round of the Gold Star or anything as I think the two Ansett cars were just about the only F5000's running. There was a pic in RCN race report at the time showing Leo getting sideways onto the main straight.

Leo had a good dice with the other car which I presume was driven by John McCormack (I can't remember).

Chris.
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#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 01:47

You're right... April 8, 1973...

Leo drove the Cooper car, set fastest lap in his chase of McCormack.

And there are some nice detail suspension pics of the Bowin there... are they recent pics?

Nice to see it restored, if that's the case...

#33 normbeechey

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 08:11

Ray,

The Gallery name says "2003 - Historic Touring Car Championship" which looks like this race meeting: http://www.racetime....au/?event=b0332 although the Bowin doesn't seem to rate a mention. It may have been a static display.

Didi you see this photo?: http://www.highoctan...lbum=19&pos=385

The drivers name seems to be Mathew Lloyd.

Chris.
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#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 08:40

No, I didn't, but I'd recommend it to everyone visiting this thread...

It really does show up the car's lines... a very neat thing.

And to think, it was also a F5000. In fact, it started life as one!

#35 FIL

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 10:55

Norm,
To the best of my recollection, the Bowin wasn't racing that weekend... I was looking for it during the regularity trials and historics races, but didn't spot it there unfortunately.

If you check the Racetime site, you'll see John Bowe still holds the lap record at Wanneroo in the Ralt RT4, with a time of around 53.44 seconds, set in the early 80's...

There's been talk for some time of a few restored Lola's and Ralt's taking a shot at that time either later this year, or perhaps they will wait until the track has been resurfaced now (due to happen around december-january)

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 12:04

Fastest lap ever at Wanneroo was 52.11...

Alf Costanzo in the Lola T430 in the final practice session for the AGP of 1979. A Formula Holden would eat that...

#37 FIL

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 15:47

Well, you learn something new everyday :-)

I'm guessing because that wasnt a race lap, it's not in the official records...

On another note, Tony Ricciardello's Formula Nippon was running around the 56-57 second mark in testing when it arrived in the country, not bad for his first drive... And Arron Caratti has since been posting 57 second laps in his Formula 3 car... However, that will probably come down with more time in the car.

And I hear Gary West has posted times in the 54 second range in his Lola, on old tyres, running a Wolf ECU which has since been replaced by a MoTeC unit, which has seen his times improve at other tracks...

Can't wait for these guys to go at it to try to break the record :-)

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 21:57

Seeing as you seem to have your finger on the pulse...

What times does the TS Special replica do?

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 22:59

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Seeing as you seem to have your finger on the pulse...

What times does the TS Special replica do?


'No answer!' came the stern reply?

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#40 Mac Lark

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:00

Interesting that Ray has revived this thread because I've been having some dealings with Werner Bekker recently.

He told me he'd raced in this series and I see his name mentioned a few times.

I've not met him but he sounds like a fine fellow - he's paralysed, I think as a result of a plane crash rather than a racing car accident.

Anything to add anyone?

MAC

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:05

Didn't he run a BMW engine?

He was never competitive...

#42 Mac Lark

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:25

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Didn't he run a BMW engine?

No idea - our paths have crossed somewhat 'accidentally'

He was never competitive...


Fair enough - at least he had a go. I think he mentioned something about a shoestring budget.

#43 Mac Lark

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:27

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Didn't he run a BMW engine?


No idea - our paths have crossed somewhat 'accidentally'

#44 FIL

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 14:30

yup... no answer on that one... i don't know what times the TS does....

I do however have some new photos.... At the SuperTruck meeting at Wanneroo on the weekend, there was a special class for 'historic open wheelers', which included the Bowin, a Ralt RT-4, and some other tidy old classics....

the general photo album is at http://www.highoctan...com/supertrucks and i'll try to get some shots on here in a day or so.....

#45 275 GTB-4

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:19

Well, after searching for a non-existent Formula 2/Libre thread/folder...I give up...

So...can anyone identify this F2 being restored in Australia ?? :up:

http://spaces.msn.co...mbers/derbydog/

#46 David McKinney

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:25

An Elfin?

#47 eldougo

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 11:37

:)
Ray .
I seem to remember a Van Heusen series race at Amaroo Park or am i thinking of some other F2 series. :

#48 Allen Brown

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 11:55

I published the 1974 results a while back but the 1975 ones never arrived :(

Allen

#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 13:34

Originally posted by David McKinney
An Elfin?


Not an Elfin...

At least going by the front upright. Elfin always gussetted the top of the Spitfire uprights.

Yes, Doug, there was a van Heusen round at Amaroo at least one year.

#50 Bondy

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 22:04

Re 1975 F2 Results....

Allen, im back on the job of the stats, so i'll email them to you on the weekend. I made a return to Karting so my research time kind of came to a grinding holt, lol.

There was a F2 series at Amaroo in 1978 sponsored by Rothmans......

As for the perth F2 i thought it was Elfin, lol i was thinking 622 by the bodywork and WA did have a few over there, Mick Moylan, Graham Head etc...... Geoff Nicol???? Rod Housego.... I dare say there was only 2 there and the cars changed hands a few times.....