Events on February 19th
Interesting and notable events from the history of motor sport.
Malcolm Campbell set a Land Speed Record of 206.956 MPH in his Bluebird at Daytona.
The Australian Grand Prix, Warwick Farm, won by Jackie Stewart in a BRM.
Stewart blasted off the line to get a clear lead immediately from Clark, Brabham and Hill, but Hill got Brabham into Creek Corner. Both Cook and McEwin pitted on lap one, the first with clutch trouble and the second with gear selection bothers. By lap 3, when everything had settled down the order was Stewart already 3.5 secs ahead of Clark, then Hill, Brabham, Gardner, Hulme, Martin, Geoghegan, Irwin, Bartlett, Bolton, Scott and Champion. Geoghegan was starting to worry Martin, while Hulme was attacking Gardner and Irwin was dropping right out of it.
On lap 10 Bolton made the first of several calls at the pits with overheating problems, and Hill was comfortably holding onto Clark. By lap 16, when Bolton called in again, Stewart was 9 seconds out from Clark. Geoghegan was right in Martin's ear, and although Martin had lost his clutch 10 laps ago and had started the race on half-worn Firestones, he would not let Geoghegan through. All the time Gardner was wearing down Brabham.
On lap 23 Geoghegan hit Martin side-on when the Gold Star Champion tried to shut the gate on him for the fifth time into Paddock, and the moment Geoghegan got through he got away at over 2 seconds a lap. Two laps later Hill's transmission broke in the Esses and his race was over. At this stage Geoghegan was only 2.6 seconds behind Hulme and on lap 29, the New Zealander left the way open for him into Creek.
Geoghegan was driving the race of his life, but so was Gardner, who after four laps right on Brabham's tail passed him on lap 34 going into Polo, the World Champion moving over to make room for him. This put Geoghegan in the way to pass Brabham as well, but on lap 35 he got wide going into the Esses and spun, letting Hulme and Martin through. He actually let Irwin through as well, going down to eighth place, but on lap 38 Irwin reported to headquarters with metering unit problems and finally retired on lap 39.
At stake for Geoghegan was the Langridge Trophy, inaugurated this year for the first resident home, but he had little hope of catching Martin. But on lap 41 Hulme pulled up at Creek with a burst radiator hose and then on lap 43, two laps from the end, Martin spun in the same place as had Geoghegan, but this time he smashed hard into the Armco, damaging the car front and rear.
So Stewart sailed home to a serene win 16.7 seconds ahead of Clark, with a new lap record at 1:31.4 secs. Gardner was a great third, then Brabham, Geoghegan, Bartlett two laps adrift, Scott and Champion. Bartlett had broken the top of his gear lever as well as the front anti-roll bar, and had done marvelously to keep the car going at all. Stewart had spun the BRM once, on Polo, but lost only 5 seconds, and Brabham had clipped the fence around Homestead without any ill-effects.