On the weekend of 10-11Th November the WA Sporting Car Club hosted the Perth International Historic Challenge to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Australian Grand Prix which was held at the Caversham Raceway in Perths Swan Valley.
The 1962 Australian International Grand Prix was run on the “D” circuit at Caversham,Which was the old Perth Air Force Base and Air Field.The 62 Grand Prix was held on Sunday 18th November and was won by New Zealand’s Bruce Mclaren in a Cooper Climax.
The original 1962 event at Caversham saw the WA Sporting Car Club secure double world Champion Jack Brabham,who had left the Cooper Works Team to set up and show case to the world his own car design the Repco Brabham BT4 Grand Prix Racer.The Cooper works team sent its number one driver Kiwi Bruce Mclaren.Australias top drivers of the time also competed including John Youl,Bib Stilwell,Arnold Glass and Lex Davison,Grandfather of V8 Super Car Driver Will Davison.
Western Australia was well represented in the 1962 Grand Prix with Bill Downey in his 1940’s Ferrari,WA Sporting Car Club State Champion Syd Negus in his Cooper Repco Holden and Jeff Dunkerton in a Lotus.
The WA Sporting Car Club lost a fortune on running the 1962 event,dispite the big crowed.The club managed to repay every cent over the next three years,in time for the move to Wanneroo at the end of 1968.
Results of event 7,the Australian International Grand Prix 60 lap race were Bruce Mclaren Winner,1 hour 21 minutes and 58.4 seconds.Fastest lap went to Jack Brabham.1st Place Australian was Tasmainia Driver John Youl while 1st place West Australian was Syd Negus.
This years Anniversary Cellibration event saw ne hundred and ninty competitors from England,New Zealand,Neatherlands and Australia compete in Formula Vee,Formula Junior,Historic Touring Cars,Tasman Cars,Historic Sports and Racing Cars,Super Historics and Regularity.The regularity class has a massive field of fifty eight entrants including Australian Ute Racing Champion Grant Johnson who competed in a 1972 Titan Valour.
The Formula Junior class was the show class for the event.This calss was originally introduced in 1958 as an entry level open wheeler catagory using 100 or 1100cc production based motors.Formula Junior cars mimicked the last of the front engined Formula One cars.As Formula One was rapidly changing to the mid engine layout so to did the Formula Junior class and they became the domain of Brabham,Lotus and here in Australia by Elfin.Formula One Drivers who came through the ranks of open wheelers racing Formula Junior were Jim Clark and John Surtees.
All racers were eight laps while the regularity events were given five timed laps.The special event of the two day National race meet was the 1962 Australian Grand Prix Race Re Enactiment which was held prior to Sundayd lunch break.
The WA Sporting Car Club organizing Committee said this years event was a sucsess and with a little more work and a few more major sponsors the event would have the making of a major National Historic Race meeting and they hope the Perth International Historic Challenge would become a regular annual event.
Report by: Shane Cassidy