16/2/1969

Tasman Cup series, Sandown Park, Victoria. Chris Amon won the penultimate round in the F2-based Ferrari Tasman.

Jochen Rindt was on pole, 1.4 seconds under Jack Brabham's lap record, but only two tenths faster than the V6 Ferrari. Hill was third on the grid, half a second further away, with Courage another three tenths down and Brabham equal on that time but on the third row alongside 'Cousin' Derek and ahead of Leo Geoghegan, Frank Gardner, KB, Lawrence in an M4a, Allen's M4a and Costanzo in yet another M4a, all FVA-powered. Havey and Levis (FVA Brabham) headed the various Elfins and slower Brabhams that surrounded Scott's Bowin FVA, Col Green's ex-Mildren BT23 Climax, Macrow's Cheetah twin cam and Don Fraser's Cicada 2.5 BRM. Bringing up the rear was an unusual spot for Clive Millis in the Rennmax, fully ten seconds off the pole pace. It was fortunate that Fraser didn't start, but it would hardly have been noticed until he was due to get in the way of the leaders about lap four, and by then Amon was heading Rindt after passing him on the first lap and Courage had dropped out after two laps. Graham Hill had pitted with throttle linkage problems. Cars started to drop like flies. Eight races in nine weeks was a tough call, and this was round seven. I think, looking in hindsight, that the DFVs were getting tired, for their is no other reason that they wouldn't have shone more on this power circuit compared to the V6 in the Ferrari. But Rindt was clear of Brahbam. All the same, the toll was real. Costanzo blew Tony Osborne's FVA and coasted to a halt, undoubtedly crestfallen and very guilty about the cost that Tony had to bear, for Alfie was new to this sponsored drive business and knew the costs. Lawrence also retired, leaving the littlies lead to Levis, while Garrie Cooper's Elfin, sporting a suspension mounted high rear wing, was the first resident Australian home in 8th place. Niel Allen's fate is not reported in RCN, but he did set a new class record (1:08.5) and filed in eleventh. Geoghegan had a fuel leak before the start, Bartlett's fate is not mentioned, nor Green's or many more. It was a tense race rather than an exciting one. Amon had the running and Rindt was always within striking distance. But at the end Rindt was unable to pull back the three or four seconds that the lead had grown to and even missed out on lapping Brabham, who was in third place and went back a lap when Amon went by with two laps to run. Gardner was fourth from Bell, who had stomach problems after sampling the delights of some local oysters and Hill recovered to sixth. Eighth was Levis from Cooper, Scott, Malcolm Guthrie and Allen.

Ray Bell

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