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Tasman Series: Longford 1964

Submitted by on February 1, 2010

1964 was the first season of the famous Tasman Series for 2.5 litre Formula One Cars.

The trip to the super fast 4.5 mile Longford circuit in Tasmania hosted an impressive entry list of cars and stars.

The Aussie attack was naturally spearheaded by Jack Brabham with support from Frank Matich and Bib Stillwell, all driving Repco Brabhams. Frank Gardner, Bill Patterson, John Youl and Lex Davison were all entered in Coopers.

The ever popular 1962 World Champion, Graham Hill was in attendance, no doubt being his witty and charming self. Hill was an early favourite,  running a Repco -Brabham BT4.

The Kiwi contingent included Bruce McLaren in a low slung Cooper T70, Tony Shelley in a Lola T4 and Jim Palmer in a Cooper T53.

The meeting got of to a somber start when US driver Timmy Mayer crashed heavily during second practice and died instantly. He was just 25.

Of course the show must go on and when the race began Jack Brabham hit the front with Hill and Matich in hot pursuit.

By lap 9 Jack was still in the lead and pushing hard, hitting an impressive 164 mph (263km/h) on the “flying mile”. McLaren was up to third after Matich’s machine developed a non terminal misfire.

With just 4 laps remaining, Hill had closed to within two seconds of Brabham, with McLaren a further ten seconds behind. Then on the next lap having survived the pressure from Hill, Jack’s crown and pinion let go and he was out on the spot.

That left Graham Hill through for the win, with McLaren second having set the fastest lap at an average of 113 mph (181km/h). A battle was still raging between Stillwell and Matich over third place which Frank took by a mere one tenth of a second.

Glorious days.

Images: tasman-series.com, sergent.com.au/motor/tasman

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