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The heritage of the Gold Coast Indy


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#1 Falcadore

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 09:54

One thing that struck me this weekend covering the Gold Coast Indycarnival, is the complete lack of recognition of Motor Racing's heritage on the coast.

Keith Williams little, oft flooded but quite exciting Surfers Paradise Raceway, and it's sort of but not really predecessor, the one off Australian Grand Prix, Southport street circuit.

What's eveyone's thoughts, I fondly remember Surfers, its where my journey began. And the thought of Lago-Talbots and the Maybach II running around Southport.

What stories does everyone else have?

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 16:12

Arriving at Surfers in June, 1965... too early for any race meetings, but finding that Kevin Bartlett's sister, Kay, was working there with Keith Williams as they set the place up.

The Lago didn't last long, did it?

#3 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 01:44

I'm sorry - was someone expecting (or even hoping) that 10 would pay homage - or even respect - to history? Puhlease!

Standing (briefly - then kneeling finally lying) on top of the bridge at the end of the straight to get pix of the cars going under me at a meeting in early 1981. I think it was Bruce Allison that day in a F5000 Lola - up against Charlie O'Brien, having his first open-wheel drive in an RT4.

That bridge used to move quite a ways in the slipstream!



Bruce Moxon

#4 john medley

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 06:58

I recall arriving at Surfers Paradise circuit when F5000s were the main attraction ( early 70s ), stopping at a gate near one of the levees , and asking the nice man how one got into the circuit . He told us to drive straight ahead and then turn right up the tar road , which we did. As I commented that we appeared to be on the circuit itself and approaching a large half tyre labelled " Dunlop" , I heard a strange Pock-pock-pock sound increasing in both volume and frequency . Before there was time for any expletive , John Goss ( Matich F 5000 ) rocketed by in the opposite direction about one car width away . They were pretty casual about organizing things in Queensland back then.

Race day saw a dramatic battle up front between Kevin Bartlett, Max Stewart (Lolas) , John McCormack ( Elfin ) until the last smote the fence onto the straight and one of the Lolas spun to a halt ( Stewart ? ) right in front of us near the Dunlop Bridge , KB doing a remarkable job in avoidance. As Stewart backed off we could see the rear right tyre go ripply ( deflating ) , initiating the spin.

An amazing circuit, and no place to go off the hard surface . I recall racing there once , my little 1100cc Formula Junior car completely outgunned in a straight line as usual by more potent stuff , but still timed at 132 mph down the straight ( John Mc Donald's Tornado V8 did well over 160 mph , I recall.). The cloudburst that flooded the circuit right at the start of the Formula Ford race ( which was red flagged after one lap in which 3/4 of the field left the road ) is an enduring memory. I STILL couldnt get through the kink under the bridge without a confidence liftoff.

I went back there to have a look 5 years ago : much of it was still there but very sad. I remember chatting to the man with the Tiger Moth business flying out of there.

#5 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 09:57

My best memory of the old Surfers track was a scruitineer checking the fuel hose into the carby with a cigarette between his fingers! :eek:

#6 Dick Willis

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 09:58

I raced at the old Surfers track a few times, the last in December 86 when we had some Historic races in a meeting promoted, I think, by the Gemini association. The target for me was the above mentioned historic lap record set by John McDonald's Tornado at 1.28 something, I was stoked at the time to knock almost four seconds off it to set a time which has probably never been beaten by a historic car as the track closed, I think, in 1987.

Another memorable event at Surfers was in around 1980 when I ran my methanol fuelled 2.2 litre Datsun 1600 speedway saloon car at the dirt quarter mile circuit within the circuit proper, memorable because I blew the motor to smithereens because of an overrev.

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 10:23

And does anyone remember the hot dogs you could buy at the circuit?

The buns were toasted, they tasted just great!

Of course, eating one while you watched those shenanigans mentioned here made for an interesting dining experience!

#8 Falcadore

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 20:56

Originally posted by john medley
.... I went back there to have a look 5 years ago : much of it was still there but very sad. I remember chatting to the man with the Tiger Moth business flying out of there.


The track has since been ripped up John, preparing the site for a new life. :(

#9 Falcadore

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 20:59

Originally posted by Bruce Moxon
I'm sorry - was someone expecting (or even hoping) that 10 would pay homage - or even respect - to history? Puhlease!

Standing (briefly - then kneeling finally lying) on top of the bridge at the end of the straight to get pix of the cars going under me at a meeting in early 1981. I think it was Bruce Allison that day in a F5000 Lola - up against Charlie O'Brien, having his first open-wheel drive in an RT4.

That bridge used to move quite a ways in the slipstream!



Bruce Moxon


Not just Channel 10, there was nothing in the program, nothing in tourist-y guides, no signposts, no plaques, no commentators remembering who they used to do things, no displays of old cars....

NOTHING

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 21:32

But a guide to the football venue at Carrara?

In a way, I can well understand not promoting knowledge about the Southport circuit... just imagine what could happen on those roads these days!

Where it once included narrow stretches with 'no passing!' zones, today it's all 4-lane or 6-lane divided main roads, loaded down with traffic and commerce and residential areas.

Fear of what some imbeciles might try and do on those roads might well lead to a certain degree of reticence...

#11 275 GTB-4

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 10:13

[QUOTE]Originally posted by john medley
[B]I recall arriving at Surfers Paradise circuit when F5000s were the main attraction ( early 70s )QUOTE]

Memo to self:

scan pics of F5000's from Surfers 1977 - very hot that day - locking wheels everywhere - me having fun with the new camera. :cool:

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 22:57

This was the International race, I guess?

The '77 Gold Star event was held in September, that wouldn't have been all that hot. I was there for that one too, but I don't remember much without prompting... John McCormack won in the McLaren M23.

#13 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 03:39

Speed Week 1966.
I write this after dredging the memory cells, -only from 2 years ago mind you, but they are pretty thin on the ground these days, so treat these facts with the caution they deserve!
The 1966 Speed Week ended with Australia’s first 12 Hour race on the Sunday, 21st August. I didn't visit Surfers 'till '69 so I missed it well and truly. I imagine that the atmosphere would have been very much in party mode as it is with the CART races but perhaps without all the topless girls and not quite so many people! Don McLaren, who was one of Keith Williams' helpers that week, has told me a little about it, (I must glean some more from him). I have also had a lovely chat with the author of the lap chart that was central to the overturning of the results. Now I failed dismally to record his name when we spoke a couple of years ago but I assume from David McKay’s book it must have been Bill Thomas. (He watched the first round the houses race too).
The speed week was not blessed with the same council support that to days event gets, in fact permission was denied for bunting to go up in the main drag of Surfers. However up it did go, at 2am in the morning when nobody was watching!
In case of power failure, Race Control had a backup battery system, but when a spectator reversed their car into a pole, putting out the power temporarily, the back up system failed to act as it should. I imagine that did not help! The GT40 of Bruce McLaren and Peter Sutcliffe was given the chequered flag and David McKay lodged an appeal, the case went to court and he won. The Ferrari LM of Jackie Stewart and Andrew Buchanan was declared the winner. Bill Thomas’ lap chart was the vital piece of evidence.

And the point of all this is that the lap chart still survives!

Falcadore I share your view regarding the coast’s motor racing heritage, there is talk of a museum here again of which cars would be a part, lets hope it happens.

Footnote. David Piper was there too in 66 in a P2/3 with Richard Attwood and he was at last weekends Macau too! (I followed him once around Brands in open practice when he was in the P4, it three wheeled around every corner! Positively terrifying!)

#14 rwills

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 19:01

In case of power failure, Race Control had a backup battery system, but when a spectator reversed their car into a pole, putting out the power temporarily, the back up system failed to act as it should. I imagine that did not help! The GT40 of Bruce McLaren and Peter Sutcliffe was given the chequered flag and David McKay lodged an appeal, the case went to court and he won. The Ferrari LM of Jackie Stewart and Andrew Buchanan was declared the winner. Bill Thomas’ lap chart was the vital piece of evidence.

And the point of all this is that the lap chart still survives!



I just came across this.

Was the Sutcliffe GT40 shared by McLaren or Matich?



#15 johnny yuma

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 02:27

Does anyone remember the "security" at the conclusion of open race meetings circa 1970s ? Certainly nobody had a problem with spectators going for a hoon around the full circuit,my brother and I did a few tyre squealing laps racing our hot Holden and 1961 220s Mercedes, in the company of other "inspired" spectators on several occasions at the end of the day's play.Never an accident,never an angry word or gesture from officialdom. Remarkable !

#16 Catalina Park

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:10

I just came across this.

Was the Sutcliffe GT40 shared by McLaren or Matich?

From what I have read it was supposed to be Mclaren but he couldn't make it and Matich got the drive instead.

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:42

Originally posted by johnny yuma
Does anyone remember the "security" at the conclusion of open race meetings circa 1970s ? Certainly nobody had a problem with spectators going for a hoon around the full circuit,my brother and I did a few tyre squealing laps racing our hot Holden and 1961 220s Mercedes, in the company of other "inspired" spectators on several occasions at the end of the day's play.Never an accident,never an angry word or gesture from officialdom. Remarkable!


I never saw that sorgt of thing happening...

The closest I recall was that I drove Larry Perkins on a lap of the short circuit of the Farm late one night. But it's true that at Tarrawingee, probably at Winton etc, Brock and his mates joined in this kind of frivolity.

#18 rwills

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:18

From what I have read it was supposed to be Mclaren but he couldn't make it and Matich got the drive instead.


All of the books and reports I've seen have Matich sharing the car with Sutcliffe, hence my surprise at seeing McLaren's name on here.

Does anyone have any period local Aus press reports of the race?

Where is the original lap chart referred to previously?



#19 seldo

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 13:22

I seem to recall that it was McLaren....but it was a looong time ago.
One thing that I still recall well is the rather unnerving experience of coming into the main straight and hearing the really ominous sound of Hamilton's Porsche 908(?) or the 275LM of McKay/Brown/ Martin/Ummm, and urgently searching the mirrors for the approaching car only to find that the sound suddenly dissappeared as the source (who was actually 500m ahead) disappeared around under the Dunlop Bridge the full length of the straight ahead. Time and again it was still very disconcerting.
The driver I cannot think of was killed not long after and was a bit of wild-boy as I recall... Paul..Umm...

Edited by seldo, 18 June 2010 - 13:44.


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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 21:05

It was Matich with Sutcliffe, no question of that...

I'll check for that name when I get home David, I would have thought it was only the two drivers. Hamilton's car was some kind of 906.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 21:27

Originally posted by seldo
I seem to recall that it was McLaren....but it was a looong time ago.
One thing that I still recall well is the rather unnerving experience of coming into the main straight and hearing the really ominous sound of Hamilton's Porsche 908(?) or the 275LM of McKay/Brown/ Martin/Ummm, and urgently searching the mirrors for the approaching car only to find that the sound suddenly dissappeared as the source (who was actually 500m ahead) disappeared around under the Dunlop Bridge the full length of the straight ahead. Time and again it was still very disconcerting.
The driver I cannot think of was killed not long after and was a bit of wild-boy as I recall... Paul..Umm...


Hawkins is the name you're struggling for...

Or you were struggling for.

I somehow just had this thread mysteryiously appear on my screen and on reading see the points needing clarification. There were two 250/275LMs in that race, the Scuderia Veloce one was, as mentioned, driven by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan. The second was driven by Paul Hawkins and Jackie Epstein. It had a longer nose on it. David Piper was in another, open, Ferrari.

On the subject of McLaren, the last time he raced in Australia was in the 1965 AGP at Longford, though he did drive in some Tasman Cup events in New Zealand later.

That would certainly have been a strange and unnerving sensation, David, you'd really have to be on your toes if both cars were around at the time!

Edited by Ray Bell, 20 May 2012 - 21:28.


#22 wagons46

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 22:46

All of the books and reports I've seen have Matich sharing the car with Sutcliffe, hence my surprise at seeing McLaren's name on here.


The official programme contained a lift-out section listing events and car-driver combinations, meaning the larger colour section could have been printed quite earlier than the lift-out.

There is no mention of Bruce McLaren in either , but Peter Sutcliffe is mentioned as a sole driver in the colour book and Matich as his co-driver in the lift-out.

It would seem that Bruce Mclaren's possible appearance was ruled out some time prior to printing the programme.




#23 eldougo

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 11:58

Just a few pictures to show this great track

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Posted Image
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.usFrom SCW Nov 1967.

Edited by eldougo, 29 September 2012 - 01:02.


#24 Team Result

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:43

Just a few pictures to show this great track.
Posted Image

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.usFrom SCW Nov 1967.


Agreed, a nice snapshot of Australian motor sport history. Would loved to have heard the 250LM howling around there in the dead of night!
Is that the DJ Bill Gates' lightweight Elan getting away second after the Hamilton Porsche? I think Glynn Scott shared it in one of the 12-hours...or was it Jim Bertram?
As an aside, my wife actually mentioned Bill Gates' name today as she was reading up on the Bee Gees after hearing of Robin Gibb's death, this morning.


#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 22:35

Gates and Bertram in this one, it's '67 with the Hawkins Lola T70 there...

Brique Reed had shared the Porsche with Hamilton in '66, Scotty was in this one, then he helped Matich with the SR3 the following year IIRC.

#26 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 23:22

Just a few pictures to show this great track.
Posted Image

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.usFrom SCW Nov 1967.

Jeez, the speed differential of those cars would be scarey. Especially in the middle of the night!

#27 kevinbartlett

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 00:46

The official programme contained a lift-out section listing events and car-driver combinations, meaning the larger colour section could have been printed quite earlier than the lift-out.

There is no mention of Bruce McLaren in either , but Peter Sutcliffe is mentioned as a sole driver in the colour book and Matich as his co-driver in the lift-out.

It would seem that Bruce Mclaren's possible appearance was ruled out some time prior to printing the programme.


Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

This might help, Buchanan,Stewart,Matich,Sutcliffe,KB,Chivas


#28 ellrosso

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:43

Nice shot KB - has that ever been published anywhere? Never seen that one before.

#29 kevinbartlett

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:00

Nice shot KB - has that ever been published anywhere? Never seen that one before.



Don't know who it's so long ago if I've infringed copyright on someone they'd be old like me now so wtf.

#30 wagons46

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:00

Nice shot KB - has that ever been published anywhere? Never seen that one before.


The driving suits and haircuts sure limit the era in which this photo could have been taken, which we know is 1966.


#31 ellrosso

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:15

No I wouldn't lose sleep over that one KB. By the looks of the flash bulb reflected in the window behind and the quality of the image, I'd reckon it could be a local news photographer's shot.

#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:24

Were you that young in 1966, KB?

I'm certain Dicey Doug was older then too...

The picture really takes you back, doesn't it?

#33 eldougo

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:46

A great photograph it looks like a scene form the movie...." Grand Prix".

Who is the dude in the middle?

#34 eldougo

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:19

At the start.
Hamilton/Scott Porsche leads from Doug/Alex Macarthur Elan and Lister/Seldon Volvo.

#35 Team Result

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 23:34

At the start.
Hamilton/Scott Porsche leads from Doug/Alex Macarthur Elan and Lister/Seldon Volvo.


Eldougo, thanks for answering my question.

The OP and your 12-hour pix reminded me that Keith Williams raced a HK? Monaro a couple of times including the 1968 12-hour. IIRC.

I wonder if any other racetrack owners/promoters have actually competed at their own track?

#36 kevinbartlett

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 00:23

A great photograph it looks like a scene form the movie...." Grand Prix".

Who is the dude in the middle?


If the race was sponsored by JH? Then I seem to remember the presenter was a JH executive.


#37 wagons46

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:04


It was "The Rothmans 12-Hour" in 1966.



#38 kevinbartlett

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 04:45

It was "The Rothmans 12-Hour" in 1966.


Ah! so, I knew I'd seen his 'noggin from somewhere. He was one of the chiefs from the fag company, that I later drove for. Never forget a face, NAMES, now that's another matter.


#39 johnny yuma

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:03

Eldougo, thanks for answering my question.

The OP and your 12-hour pix reminded me that Keith Williams raced a HK? Monaro a couple of times including the 1968 12-hour. IIRC.

I wonder if any other racetrack owners/promoters have actually competed at their own track?

WIKIPEDIA HAS A PAGE FOR THE SERIES PROD SEDANS 12 HOUR,1969 AND 1970
Keith Williams drove a 327 Monaro (HK) with Glynn Scott to place 5th in 1969.In 1970 he drove with Max Volkers
in a 350 Monaro (HT),finished well back in lap count.Lots of interesting names in the results.

Would Williams have done many laps ?

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#40 johnny yuma

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:26

For some quality colour photos at Surfers,Lakeside and Lowood in the sixties,go to

aussieroadracing.homestead.com/Queensland-1960s

Edited by johnny yuma, 23 May 2012 - 05:29.


#41 wagons46

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 06:12


William Holden, were he able, could play the part and be a close look-alike for the 'Man From Rothmans'



#42 Lola5000

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 06:12

One thing that struck me this weekend covering the Gold Coast Indycarnival, is the complete lack of recognition of Motor Racing's heritage on the coast.

Keith Williams little, oft flooded but quite exciting Surfers Paradise Raceway, and it's sort of but not really predecessor, the one off Australian Grand Prix, Southport street circuit.

What's eveyone's thoughts, I fondly remember Surfers, its where my journey began. And the thought of Lago-Talbots and the Maybach II running around Southport.

What stories does everyone else have?

My father raced at the '54 Southport GP in an MG Holden built by H Firth,now owned by I.Tate.

#43 eldougo

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 06:47

That would make your father Mr. Owen Bailey,as in the entry list for said race.Do you have any photos we love to see them.

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:36

Originally posted by Team Result
Eldougo, thanks for answering my question.

The OP and your 12-hour pix reminded me that Keith Williams raced a HK? Monaro a couple of times including the 1968 12-hour. IIRC.

I wonder if any other racetrack owners/promoters have actually competed at their own track?


First, while eldouglas has answered your question, I beat him to it by a fair margin...

Not that this matters, really, except for his answer being incorrect. As I stated, the Gates Elan is the one out there rounding up Hamilton's Porsche.

Here is how it went:

The line-up was Hawkins, Hamilton, Brown/Cusack, Gates, Bartlett, Macarthurs, Holden and Roxburgh etc. The RCN report states that Hamilton was first away... and that Gates in the Elan was well up amongst it, moving up into second spot in half a lap. As the Lola got rolling, the order settled down to Hawkins, Hamilton, Gates, Bartlett, French with a gap to Keran (the P1800 just seen at the right of the pic, which surely jumped the start?) and then the Ferrari. After five laps Gates was in sixth, still ahead of Macarthur.

The Gates and Macarthur Elans were the only ones ever in Australia to have the non-retracting headlights, so looked similar, but Gates' car was a darker colour. The other pointer to it being Gates is that it's coming from a higher position in the line-up.

As for other owners and promoters 'having a go', Bob Jane did a lot of that, I think Belf Jones raced at Mt Druitt, Sid Sakzewski drove his Dodge or Plymouth at Lakeside (I may have to stand corrected on that, it might have been Geoff...), George Murray raced at Oran Park while President of the NSW RRC.

#45 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:02

First, while eldouglas has answered your question, I beat him to it by a fair margin...

Not that this matters, really, except for his answer being incorrect. As I stated, the Gates Elan is the one out there rounding up Hamilton's Porsche.

Here is how it went:

The line-up was Hawkins, Hamilton, Brown/Cusack, Gates, Bartlett, Macarthurs, Holden and Roxburgh etc. The RCN report states that Hamilton was first away... and that Gates in the Elan was well up amongst it, moving up into second spot in half a lap. As the Lola got rolling, the order settled down to Hawkins, Hamilton, Gates, Bartlett, French with a gap to Keran (the P1800 just seen at the right of the pic, which surely jumped the start?) and then the Ferrari. After five laps Gates was in sixth, still ahead of Macarthur.

The Gates and Macarthur Elans were the only ones ever in Australia to have the non-retracting headlights, so looked similar, but Gates' car was a darker colour. The other pointer to it being Gates is that it's coming from a higher position in the line-up.

As for other owners and promoters 'having a go', Bob Jane did a lot of that, I think Belf Jones raced at Mt Druitt, Sid Sakzewski drove his Dodge or Plymouth at Lakeside (I may have to stand corrected on that, it might have been Geoff...), George Murray raced at Oran Park while President of the NSW RRC.

Ray beat me too it, the obvious is Bob Jane who had 2 racetracks to play with.
Clem Smith used to race regularly at Mallala in both the GpN Mustang and the Charger Sports Sedan.
Speedway, Kym Bonython raced at Rowley.
Bill Hambly Clark raced at Skyline,
The Kelleys race at their Qld track.
Bob Sincock raced at Speedway City.
Plenty of ex racers promoting racetracks all over the country.

#46 eldougo

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:06

The writing under this start photo,reads as below RAY.

Thrilling start saw Hamilton first across the start/finish line although Volvo made first break McArthur (Their spelling)Elan was next but soon had worry.

In the report.
Off first was the P1800Volvo,but Hamilton was nearly as quick and went over the start/finish line first with McArthurs Elan tucked behind .

By the third lap Hawkins had cleared out on Hamilton by more than 100 yards then came Gates Elan, Bartlett Alfa, Holden Lightweight S and McArthur Elan.

Info from Sports Car World.




#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:36

I'd just about take money that the Elan in the pic is Gates, eldouglas...

The colour is simply too dark for the Macarthur car, while I don't think Doug was that quick a runner either. I added the RCN info to back me up.

What we need is a photo showing race numbers.

#48 Lola5000

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:00

That would make your father Mr. Owen Bailey,as in the entry list for said race.Do you have any photos we love to see them.

Correct,I've got all of his photos from the period,Southport '54,AGP '56 ,Albert park '58 plus many others,all the cars 250fs,lagos,300s's ,Jaguars,Ferrari cars,touring cars from '58 and many photos of the drivers.
I've been burn't on another forum by a lurker (Ferrari Chatline) and will never post any photos do to this lurkers issues with posting photos,shakes head are all old 60s Maserati owners like that?

#49 GeoffR

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:15

Interesting Youtube vid of the 1968 Tasman series race from Surfers:




#50 jayrrrr

jayrrrr
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  • Joined: December 10

Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:42

I hope it is ok to post this, should help the discussion regarding the Gates Elan, same ring around the headlights as other photo.

http://www.autopics....ibiznez?id=1766

Bill Gates Lotus Elan - Surfers Paradise 1967

Posted Image

Edited by jayrrrr, 25 May 2012 - 11:43.