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1967 Tasman Series


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#1 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:26

A quick question, for which I can't find a quick answer anywhere that I can think of:

Why were the Levin and Teretonga races not championship rounds that year?

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#2 opplock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 09:26

I wish I could help. I was at Levin and the only international not to turn up was Jack Brabham. I wasn't aware at the time that it wasn't a Tasman round and the circuit history makes no mention of that fact. Neither the Sargent website nor Vercoe's book "The Golden Age of New Zealand Motor Racing" explain why. 



#3 pete53

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 11:38

A quick question, for which I can't find a quick answer anywhere that I can think of:

Why were the Levin and Teretonga races not championship rounds that year?

I have just looked in my "Motor Racing Year 1967" annual and according to their results list for the Tasman series of 1967 both Levin and Teretonga were included. Was there any particular reason why you thought they may not have been?



#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:10

Definitely rounds of the series...

Variations in NZ were very few. One year (1966?) Levin was the NZGP instead of Pukekohe (or was that Wigram?).

It wasn't unusual for some Internationals or Australians to miss Teretonga so they could get to Australia ready for the rounds there.

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 13:18

The Sergent site lists Levin and Teretonga as championship rounds, but says that these races were not eligible for series points.

https://www.sergent....tasman1967.html

#6 opplock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 13:23

The NZGP was held at Wigram in 1974 as a gesture of support when Christchurch was holding the Commonwealth Games. The organisers of that event responded by ignoring the GP. 

 

Levin and Teretonga weren't points scoring rounds in 1967. "I didn't finish but the race didn't count for Tasman points" - Denny Hulme quoted in Memories of the Bear.

 

I'm wondering whether the reason was financial. Was there an overall prize fund? My dad was involved with running the motorcycle races at Levin and I remember him returning from a meeting with Levin Car Club and expressing surprise that they'd only made $500 profit from the international meeting. As the amount was NZ$ this must have been either the 68 or 69 event.Teretonga would have been on a similar financial tightrope.

 

Even the issue of Autosport featuring the Levin report gives no reason.

 

"Neither Levin nor Teretonga count for Tasman points, although all the Australian races do." A clue to a possible financial issue is that Jack Brabham reportedly made a last-minute offer to start for £1,000. This was declined as "the promoters had already spent £4,000 in starting money and were not interested".  


Edited by opplock, 11 March 2019 - 13:34.


#7 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 13:41

I’ve now been through all the race reports in Autosport. They listed the first Australian round at Lakeside as Round 3 of the championship, and so on up to Round 6 at Longford. Like Opplock, however, I couldn’t find any reason given for why Levin and Teretonga were not part of the championship.

#8 opplock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 13:54

I should have paid more attention at the time but being 10 I was more concerned with filling my brand new autograph book. Leaving at the end of the day with the signatures of Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Frank Gardner, Jim Boyd and Richard Attwood was a good start.  



#9 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 18:59

I have just looked in my "Motor Racing Year 1967" annual and according to their results list for the Tasman series of 1967 both Levin and Teretonga were included. Was there any particular reason why you thought they may not have been?


Well, the simple reason that nobody scored points in those two races! :D

It's so easy to overlook, and I never blinked before when I saw a race listing for 1967 including all eight usual suspects, but once I tried to tabulate the points, it was like being hit by the blinding obvious. And, reading source material again, there it was: no points at Levin and Teretonga, simple as that. Obviously, money must have played a role, as Eoin Young wrote in his guest article for the Swiss magazine Powerslide: "... the [Levin] organizers couldn't keep up with the monies paid at the other races", but hold on for a minute: this is not Snetterton or Brands Hatch, this is New Zealand, and over 12,000 miles away from base! This whole Tasman shebang was invented in the first place because it's a bit more expensive than your usual weekend "away" race, and with the idea of pooling resources to make the trip more worthwhile for the Europeans by introducing a mini series with eight races in two months. And, after only three years, two of the eight tracks already bail out, and not only that, they jump on the running boards for a free ride!?!? True, there have been years with only three races in Oz, but the fourth was then invariable cancelled altogether, not run as a "non-points race". Not so here, in 1967: Levin and Teretonga still had full international fields, to all intents and purposes, but for less money!? Now, that can't have sat well with the other tracks, a freeloader's paradise! There must have been a story behind all this!

#10 opplock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 19:40

You might be close to the answer there. However the NZGP organisation would not have allowed them to take a free ride. Their attitude had previously been hostile: 

 

From the report on 19th January 1957 meeting (The Twenty Year History of the Levin Motor Racing Circuit 1956 - 1976). 

 

"The circuit directors had invited top UK drivers Reg Parnell and Peter Whitehead to attend as spectators. Levin only had a national licence and international drivers were unable to compete. They had expressed a willingness to attend, however, the Grand Prix organisation would not allow them to do so, as it was not in their contract and even threatened to withdraw their bond of 250 pounds". 

 

Lotus and BRM did attend the Levin and Teretonga races. Even if the money wasn't as good as for the points scoring races it presumably covered the cost of employing drivers and mechanics. Whatever the reason both Levin and Terrible Tonga were points scoring rounds again in 1968.

 

Levin was 60 miles from the nearest large city (Wellington) and Teretonga more than 100 miles from anywhere. Spectator numbers for the 67 internationals were - Pukekohe 35,000, Levin 17,000. No figures given for Wigram and Teretonga. Hardly surprising that they struggled to find the funds.   



#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 22:27

I wonder if I ever knew about this?

At this distance it's a surprise to me. I always lamented that the series was usually done and dusted by the time the cars left NZ. The Australian rounds barely counted for any change of Tasman Cup winners, though runners up might well change.

So I should have known. But I don't recall it at all.

In '64 there was a 'warm up' event before the Tasman Cup races got under way at Levin, IIRC. Many of the visiting drivers ran at that event without points on offer, so helping to defray the cost of going to New Zealand a little, it was a week before Levin.

And my confusion over Levin and the GP was that Levin's order in the series (usually first race) was traded with Pukekohe one year.

#12 opplock

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:08

The timing of events at both Pukekohe and Levin was dictated by the horse racing authorities. Both circuits were on racecourses and they were banned from holding motor racing events on any date that a horse race meeting was scheduled to take place within (I think) 40 miles. 

 

According to the Circuit History the switch in 1964 was due to the South African GP taking place on 1st January, as a result of which the GP was delayed a week to allow drivers to get to NZ. However this seems to be at variance with the facts. The 1963 SA GP was held on 28th December 1963 and McLaren was at Levin on 4th January 1964. Jack Brabham was the only international to miss Levin.  The 1965 SAGP was held on 1st January. Pukehohe was on 9th Jan, Levin on 16th Jan so I suspect the author has got his years muddled up. 

 

 Vercoe doesn't mention a warmup race. That would have taken place the same weekend as SA GP. Bay Park did hold meetings a week before the Tasman series opener from the end of 1967 through to 1969. The first was contested only by local drivers, Leo Geoghegan competed in the December 1968 race, against 4 Formula A cars and most of the locals. Several of the Tasman competitors (now F5000) competed in the December 69 Bay Park race. After that Bay Park only held Gold Star meetings until joining the international series in 1977 when it was first held for Formula Pacific (Atlantic).

 

If Michael had asked this question a few years ago David McKinney would no doubt have given us the full story. 



#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 13:32

Why, oh why, don't I have my RCNs here?

I'd soon sort this all out if I did.

#14 Michael Ferner

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 20:45

I don't doubt what you say about Levin and Teretonga being way out in the boonies, but that din't change between 1957 and 1967. So, what did change? 1957 was the second time Whitehead and Parnell campaigned down under, so the seeds for the Tasman series were already being sowed. But, it's interesting to note that the GP promoters had them on an exclusivity contract, yet they also raced at Wigram, Dunedin and in Australia - looks like some early form of co-operation between the tracks, which makes sense. Levin and Teretonga joined the international meetings the following year, so I'd wager to guess they had to get involved financially, too. On the same terms? Or some special arrangement for "lesser" tracks??

1957 was also the first year of Gold Star competition in both Oz and NZ, so there was soon a rush developing to get competitive machinery for the local races - another boon for the visitors, who could hope to make a bit of dough on starting money and sales. The internationals, the locals, the promoters - everybody wanted it, and everybody profited. How did CAMS and MANZ get involved? They had to give their blessings for the international meetings, but what made them sanction the series, eventually? It must have been their decision to axe Levin and Teretonga from the list in 1967, was there pressure from the other tracks? Who really made the calls, down under in the sixties?

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 21:16

I don't think the Gold Star made any difference to the fields...

More that it was a logical progression as fields developed. Both New Zealand (from 1954) and Australia (in 1956) had seen good International inclusions in their Grands Prix and the visitors often sold their cars to locals.

And, of course, we were coming into an era where the faster cars were more affordable.

#16 cooper997

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 22:56

There's a comment in Jim Palmer's report in March 67 RCN that reading between the lines appears MANZ could well have been wanting circuit improvements. This could go towards why no points.

 

From Jim "Teretonga International did not count towards the Tasman Champiionship although most drivers thought that it should have, particularly now that the straight has been made longer and passing is easier."

 

As many will be aware, there is an earlier precedent to this during the second Tasman season. The 1965 Lakeside 99 held International status, but was not included in the Tasman.

 

Stephen



#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 02:25

Which, I'm pretty sure, was the result of timing of Longford and the resultant long trip between the two...

Money could also have been a part of it.

#18 cooper997

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 06:38

The following comment appears in the 1967 Australian Motor Racing Annual - the one edited by Bill Tuckey.

 

"For years the tiny, rough track at Levin has been criticised for being - amongst other things - tiny and rough, and this year the race was dropped from the Tasman championship, although several of the overseas men raced there. This title slight , however, had prompted action from the organisers and the track had been re-surfaced and slightly extended to a lap distance of 1.175 miles. Still a dizzy business keeping a lap chart, though!"

 

Stephen



#19 Michael Ferner

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 08:45

Circuit improvements! That makes perfect sense, I guess you nailed it! :up:

And, I for one wasn't aware of the 1965 Lakeside event, thanks for mentioning.

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#20 opplock

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 09:59

Thanks for solving that mystery Stephen. You're right about the lap chart. Having recently read about them I roped my cousin in to do one for the 68 Tasman race. After a couple of laps it got too difficult so we decided to only record the Internationals. It got a lot easier towards the end when only Amon and Courage were still running.

 

The timekeepers refused to time motorcycle practice. Grids were determined by my dad and another member of the motorcycle club. They assigned people to rows based on their past performances. It seemed to work but I remember a discussion when a guy they'd never heard of complained and said he'd finished 2nd in the recent South Island championships. The outcome was that he was promoted from last row to 2nd.



#21 wenoopy

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 10:06

The following comment appears in the 1967 Australian Motor Racing Annual - the one edited by Bill Tuckey.

 

"For years the tiny, rough track at Levin has been criticised for being - amongst other things - tiny and rough, and this year the race was dropped from the Tasman championship, although several of the overseas men raced there. This title slight , however, had prompted action from the organisers and the track had been re-surfaced and slightly extended to a lap distance of 1.175 miles. Still a dizzy business keeping a lap chart, though!"

 

Stephen

Not quite so. The circuit was apparently lengthened before the 1958 "International" race. It had certainly been lengthened when I watched the 1962 race there in torrential rain.

 

The sealed surface broke up badly at the very first Levin meeting in 1956, and published photos lead some later scribes to believe that it wasn't sealed at all, but the organisers (led by the astute Ron Frost) had it fixed before the next meeting was held.

 

Stu Buchanan



#22 cooper997

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 10:07

Michael, Jim Clark was the 'face' for the 1965 Lakeside 99. Appearing in pre-event adverts, functions and on the event programme cover. He won, but didn't have the same array of competition that appeared at the official 1965 Tasman races.

 

Stephen



#23 Michael Ferner

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 10:16

Thanks, Stephen. A quick look at ORC answered many questions, wonder why I didn't think of that before! :blush:

#24 opplock

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 10:52

The circuit was modified during the 1966 off season but presumably too late to change the Tasman decision. 

 

From Circuit History report on 26 Nov 1966 national meeting: 

 

"As well as adding an extension to the circuit at the Box Factory end, the whole circuit has been resealed with plant-mix, giving it, not only a smoother surface, but also a safer grip. ….  Lap times are expected to come down even though the track has been lengthened."

 

No wonder they couldn't afford to pay Brabham £1,000.

 

The change to circuit was minor. Gardner's 1966 lap record was 47.8s, Clark's 1967 lap record 47.5s. The Sergent website states that circuit lengths were 1.77km (1966) and 1.93km (1967). The only change I remember was reprofiling the last corner.   


Edited by opplock, 13 March 2019 - 11:20.


#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 11:40

Come to think of it, Lakeside might have been under a bit of a cloud before the '65 series began...

They raised the level of the straight because of the water level of Lake Kurwongbah being raised, I feel sure that was later in '65 or maybe in '66, RCN will provide that answer.

In that event, it's possible they couldn't provide the necessary guarantees prior to the series to ensure that everyone could be there.

Then again, Longford's date was unchangeable because it was on a specific holiday, and the fact that Longford was held on a Monday meant that it was possible to get there from the other events, but to get back to the Mainland afterwards would be more difficult. Especially to Lakeside.

#26 cooper997

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 05:53

I realise this is moving away from Michael's original post, but think it worth mentioning given some discussion on the 1965 Lakeside 99 is part of the discussion anyway.

 

Hiding somewhere they'll be more to this, but I've just had a scratch through the Qld Motor Sporting Club's 'Lakeside '64' magazine and get the picture that the QMSC possibly made a conscious decision not to go for a Tasman round in 1965. I don't know the exact date for preparation and publication for this mag, but it is mentioned as available in Max Stahl's Bits & Pieces column in Feb 1965 RCN. ILakeside '64 has plenty of comment on touring car racing and precious little on open wheelers. The mindset clearly changing after the success they had getting punters through the gate for the July 1964 Australian Touring Car Championship meeting.

 

There’s also mention of ‘Operation Supercharge’ launched on 30th November 1964 to raise £25000 for circuit improvements during 1965.

 

Given the 4th running of a Lakeside International meeting on 7 March 1965 was down to just a number of weeks after publication, you'd expect a liitle more effort than this appearing within its pages (and the back page event advert)...

Lakeside-64-TNF.jpg

 

Stephen



#27 wenoopy

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 09:31

A quick question, for which I can't find a quick answer anywhere that I can think of:

Why were the Levin and Teretonga races not championship rounds that year?

 Getting back to the original question, the following quote from the October 1966 Motorman" magazine, the only NZ motor racing mag at the time, may help. It was in response to a reader's letter :

 

"The Tasman formula was attacked late last year by Australia , and CAMS gave serious consideration to withdrawing on the grounds that lack of 2.5 litre engines was limiting the number of cars in Australia. After much debate with strong representation from MANZ, this resistance was overcome, and the formula will continue in its existing form in 1967  and 1968. Levin and Teretonga are not Tasman events for 1967, but it is anticipated that this title will be reinstated for 1968." - Editor

 

I think there was a system where the European drivers were guaranteed a fee for running all races, along with a few top Australian and NZ runners, but the rest had to get what they could in appearance money. There was some dis quiet at competitors from both sides of the Tasman not running in all races, but there was no incentive for middle of the field runners to do so.

 

NZer Denis Marwood didn't run the last 2 Aust races in 1967 in the Ecurie Rothmans 2.5 Cooper, because the Sandown promoters wouldn't pay the agreed starting money - a change of promoter apparently - which made this and Tasmania trip uneconomical. Likewise Andy Buchanan (no relation) didn't run his 2.5 Brabham at Longford because he had never intended to. This sniping was all part of the Trans-Tasman rivalry (or antagonism) which still persists to this day.

 

Stu Buchanan    

 

 

 

 



#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 11:05

Bits & Pieces would nominally have to be completed by about January 22 or so, Stephen...

 

That is if the magazine was running on time etc.

 

The work to be done on the circuit, as mentioned, related to the raising of the level of Lake Kurwongbah, the main straight had to be lifted a bit and there was a 'trade' of land between the Strathpine Shire and the circuit because of the revised arrangement with the lake.

 

Ultimately this was to become a big problem, because the paperwork was never finished with the 'trade' and it meant that when Lakeside had to be sold the only logical buyer was the Council because they 'owned' some of the land anyway due to the non-completion of the registrations.