Tasman Cup Revival Race Report

Tasman Revival Warm-up Race

A taster of what’s to come later with 36 Tasman era cars taking to the track for a 5 lap warm-up race.

The conditions had since dried the circuit for racing. We also saw the return of Spencer Martin, who had qualified the ex. Bartlett Brabham BT23D Alfa – named the yellow submarine in its day (owned by Paul Moxham), but didn’t race on Saturday – one would think two-times the Australian Gold Star Champion wouldn’t need the practice anyway!

The race was quick and furious as the as the front three opened a minor gap on the rest of the field, but particularly on the dice for fourth and fifth between New Zealander Robin Wootton (Brabham BT18) and Ken Bedggood (Brabham BT16) who both had one of the battles of the race finishing in that order.

Martin finished in third behind another overseas visitor Phil Harris (Brabham BT23C) and the powerful ex. works Lotus 49 Cosworth DFV of John Smith, although Spencer Martin clocked the fastest lap – 1:39.

They might have been battling in 20th or so place, but the driving and dicing from this next trio was worth watching trackside and mentioning here. Ed Holly narrowly beat the Lotus 35 of Carolyn Dimmer (this car was originally an F2 car before a 2.5 litre Climax replaced the 1 litre in ’67) and the Brabham BT11A of Peter Harburg. A great mid-field dice in the earlier, less powerful of the Tasman cars.

Tasman Revival Driver’s Parade

Just before the driver’s parade took place we saw two cars on track that we hadn’t seen all weekend. Due to difficulty beyond the HSRCA’ s control two containers were being held for over a week some 2 kilometres off Botany Bay. These two containers held some extremely important Tasman cars from the UK inside. News came through during Sunday morning that the containers had just been unloaded, and one was on its way to the track! This was the news that so many were waiting to hear. The container that arrived was a 20 footer with two cars, which were quickly unloaded, checked, and the owners took them out for a few laps practice. They were the Formula One Lotus 18 of John Elliot and the Brabham BT14 of Roger Newman.

The driver’s parade soon took place. They were the likes of Tasman Revival meeting Patron Frank Gardner OAM, and others who were transported around in a large Cavalcade of Morgan’s. There was also a parade of Tasman era cars, which saw some driver’s back in the driver’s seat of cars they competed in, including Mal Brewster who drove the Rennmax BN2 for the first time in nearly 30 years in the parade. Another car we saw out in the parade was Aaron Lewis’ Eagle T2G Indy car.

I should also take this moment to mention some of the other legends of our sport who were there across the weekend, including Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan, Colin Bond, Bob Brittain and John Goss. Cummo mentioned that of all the aging legends and friends of his, almost all have thinning grey hair, bar one – Colin Bond.

A brief break for lunch, then the cars in the Tasman Cup event took to the track and formed in their positions on the grid. Here a photo shoot, and then some minutes later the Australian National Anthem was played. The cars then went on another warm-up lap, allowing late comers such as Spencer Martin to form in the correct grid place.

The prize on offer – no cash, but a chance to hold up the original Tasman Cup trophy. This trophy was commissioned by one Geoffrey Sykes, who sourced the timber base from New Zealand and the Gold cup from Australian mines.

Tasman Cup Revival Race – 15 laps

The highly anticipated race was about to begin. The revs rose, spectators stood, or moved to the edge of their seats, the heart pumped at a million miles an hour – the Australian Flag fell. Martin got off to an absolute flyer, and led into turn one at the end of Hume Straight. Over the top of the turn three rise and down into homestead it was the Dawson-Damer Lotus 49B of John Smith out in front, leading the field of 40 starters, eleven would eventually fail to finish. Both Elliot and Newman, whose cars arrived only hours before the race from the UK failed to finish among those eleven cars.

At the end of the first flying lap in this history making Tasman Cup Revival race the leader was Smith, followed by Martin, then the Brabham BT18 of Harris. Over the coming laps we would see the continued dicing and lead changes between Smith and Martin, which kept all eyes fixed on the action. Behind them a battle commenced for third between Harris and the Elfin 600B of Herb Neal and the McLaren M4A of Lindsay O’Donnell. Neal and O’Donnell then lost a bit of ground to Harris and continued in their own battle with the likes of Peter Addison (Brabham BT23C) and Bob Cracknell (Elfin 600B Twin Cam) in their shadows for the remainder of the race. Ken Bedggood (Brabham BT16) was also in the thick of things at the pointy end running with Neal and O’Donnell till retiring as they entered the final lap.

The leaders were still battling hard with Martin in the lead from Smith, who was starting to mount a challenge to re-gain first place, which he did during the second last lap. Martin fought hard on the heels of the Lotus 49, even gaining some of the 49’s tyre rubber on his nose cone. All these efforts didn’t quite come off as Smith crossed the finish line 3 tenths of a second ahead of Martin to claim the 2006 Tasman Cup.

Top 5 results as follows:

1. John Smith in Adelicia Dawson-Damer’s 1968 Lotus 49B
2. Spencer Martin in Paul Moxham’s 1967 Brabham BT23D Alfa
3. Phil Harris – 1967 Brabham BT23C
4. Herb Neal – 1969 Elfin 600B
5. Lindsay O’Donnell – 1969 McLaren M4A

The top three cars made their way around to the podium, where after some minutes with crew and spectators they were escorted to the podium where Kevin Bartlett made the presentations.

Report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia

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