Round Five: SURFER'S PARADISE
Surfers Paradise International
Date: 8th February 1970
50 Laps of 3.218kms (160.9kms)
New Zealand's Graham McRae climbed farther up the Tasman points ladder after his win in round five of the series at Surfers Paradise. McRae recovered from a spin earlier in the race and was handed victory when race leaders Frank Matich and Niel Allen ran out of petrol.
In practice Matich, in the McLaren M10A, put down a sizzling lap of 1m 7.7s unofficially to smash the lap record of 1m 11.1s set last year by Chris Amon in the V6 Ferrari. Hot on Matich's heels were Niel Allen and Graham McRae, both in McLarens, with times of 1m 8.1s and 1m 8.8s respectively. Next fastest was the Australian champion Kevin Bartlett driving the 2-litre Mildren-Waggott with a 1m 9.0s, followed by Ron Grable, Graeme Lawrence, Mike Goth, Max Stewart, Ulf Norinder, Bill Simpson and Leo Geoghegan in the aged Lotus 39 2.5 Repco. Behind them was a host of lower-powered local cars.
When the starter dropped the flag, Frank Matich made a perfect start and jumped into the lead in front of Niel Allen and Graham McRae. On the first lap round it was Matich, McRae, Allen, Goth and Bartlett, with Ron Grable doing some gardening on the infield.
The order continued with Matich, McRae and Allen running away from the rest of the field which was headed by Goth, Bartlett and Stewart. On the fifth lap McRae overdid things at the back of the circuit and Bartlett began to challenge Goth for third place.
This challenge continued for another 16 laps before both Bartlett and Stewart slipped under Goth in the Esses. Meanwhile Matich and Allen had opened up a 21 sec lead over the rest of the field. But Graham McRae was moving up through the field again, as was Graeme Lawrence in the V6 Ferrari.
By lap 32 McRae had split Bartlett and Stewart for fourth place and Lawrence was snapping at Stewart's heels. Two laps later McRae charged past Bartlett through the sweeper at the end of the main straight and another lap later Lawrence did the same with Max Stewart. At this stage McRae was 28 secs down on Allen and was closing at the rate of a second a lap.
The race was settling into a pattern but with only nine laps to go the big surprise came when Series, and then race leader, Frank Matich charged into the pits to take on more fuel. He came back on the track in fourth place. This put Niel Allen in the lead and with only eight laps to go it looked as if victory was his. But just as Allen's pit crew moved out on to the apron to cheer their boss home and the black and white chequered flag was unfurled, Graham McRae flashed over the line. Niel Allen had stopped half a lap from the finish with a broken fuel pump belt.
So McRae notched up his second win in as many races to put him within striking distance of Series leader Frank Matich, who finished fourth. Kevin Bartlett in the 2-litre Mildren-Waggott finished second and Graeme Lawrence, Ferrari V6, came home third. With only two rounds to go, the series became a three-car dice between Matich, McRae and Lawrence.
Points standing after five rounds were:- Matich 25, Lawrence 20, McRae 18, Grable 17, Bartlett and Stewart 10, Goth 9, Bell 6, Norinder and Simpson 3, Marwood 2, Campbell and Williams 1 each.
|1||Graham McRae||NZ||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4948cc V8||50||59m 13.2s|
|2||Kevin Bartlett||Aust||Mildren / Waggott 1992cc 4cyl||50||59m 18.2s|
|3||Graeme Lawrence||NZ||Ferrari 246T / Ferrari 2417cc V6||50||59m 20.5s|
|4||Frank Matich||Aust||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||50||59m 59.1s|
|5||Ron Grable||USA||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||50||60m 12.5s|
|6||Ulf Norinder||Swed||Lola T190 / Chevrolet 4991cc V8||50||60m 13.4s|
|Ret||Niel Allen||Aust||McLaren M10B / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||49||Fuel Pump|
|7||Leo Geoghegan||Aust||Lotus 39 / Repco 2493cc V8||49|
|8||Mike Goth||USA||Surtees TS5 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||48|
|9||Max Stewart||Aust||Mildren / Waggott 1992cc 4cyl||48|
|10||Derrick Williams||UK||Lola T142 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||48|
|Ret||Bill Simpson||USA||Eagle 51 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8|
|Ret||Len Goodwin||Aust||McLaren M4A / Cosworth 1598cc 4cyl|
|Ret||Bob Muir||Aust||Rennmax / Climax 2495cc 4cyl|
|Ret||Col Green||Aust||Brabham BT23 / Repco 2493cc V8|
|Ret||Glyn Scott||Aust||Bowin P3 / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
|Ret||Ken Goodwin||Aust||Rennmax / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
|Ret||Mike Campbell||USA||Forsgrini 14 / Ford 4998cc V8|
Round Six: WARWICK FARM
Date: 15th February 1970
45 Laps of 3.620kms (160.9kms)
The sixth round of the series was scheduled for Warwick Farm, where the smaller cars would have a decided advantage. The tight 2.25 mile circuit is virtually Kevin Bartlett's home. The predictions of the expert's were that Bartlett, Stewart and Lawrence would fill the first three places, and for once they were right. They came home in that order.
The competitors had three official practice sessions on the Saturday and as usual the competition was keen for the coveted pole position. Near the end of the last session, Frank Matich put down a sizzling lap of 1m 25.0s to lop nearly two seconds off his own outright lap record set in the SR4. This was a surprise as Bartlett had been tipped for the pole spot. Both he and Max Stewart had identical times of 1m 25.5s in their Mildren 2-litre Waggotts. But the big surprise came when Graeme Lawrence flashed over the line just as the session was ending and recorded a 1m 24.9s to snatch pole position from Matich.
The American drivers could not settle down on the tough circuit and the best Mike Goth could manage was 1m 27.1s while Simpson and Grable were lapping in the 29s.
Not long before the race was due to start on the Sunday, light rain started to fall. This with the greasy surface of the track from earlier races, made conditions tricky. The rain was not heavy enough to necessitate the use of wet weather tyres, but just enough to slow down the bigger cars. And until the track dried out they were in big trouble.
Lawrence muffed the start and by the time the field had reached Paddock Bend he was back to fourth place. Matich charged to the lead followed by Bartlett and Stewart off the second row. From the word go Bartlett was looking for an opening around the big McLaren and was trying everything to go under Matich. As the field approached the Causeway for the first time, Bartlett had the inside running and was out-braking Matich when the pair touched wheels. Matich spun, taking Bartlett, Stewart and Lawrence with him. None of the cars was severely damaged and all were able to continue. But when the melee was sorted out it was young John Harvey who had the lead.
Matich rejoined the race in 12th place behind Ulf Norinder while Bartlett, Stewart and Lawrence restarted a little quicker and were off after Harvey. By lap four the trio had caught Harvey and again Bartlett was looking for a way through, each time signaling his intentions to teammate Max Stewart.
The smaller cars handled the conditions better and were running away from the rest of the field. There was a seven second gap back to Niel Allen, who was leading the rest of the bunch. By lap five this gap had increased to 10 seconds.
As the leaders approached the Causeway again, Bartlett with a brilliant piece of driving ducked under Harvey and passed him and, much to Harvey's disbelief, Max Stewart went with him.
Niel Allen was finding the McLaren a handful and dropped back two places, first to Grable and then to Matich. Matich was working hard and carving his way back up through the field. He took Grable down the pit straight and set off after Lawrence, who was running fourth behind Harvey. Lawrence seemed content to sit behind Harvey and take things easily and there was none of the inspired driving he had shown in practice.
On lap 12 Matich slid up behind Lawrence, took him in the Esses and then put paid to Harvey in the Pit Straight to jump into third spot, but still 18 secs behind the leader. Bartlett and Stewart were driving a brilliant team's race, virtually nose-to-tail driving all the way. For the whole journey they were never more than two seconds apart.
In three successive , Norinder, McRae and Goth all had loses on the approach to the Causeway. And try as he did, Matich couldn't close the gap on the leaders, in fact they were still going away to the tune of two seconds a lap. On lap 27, McRae was missing. He had spun off the circuit at Polo and damaged the gearbox casing. Three laps later Matich also parked on the side of the circuit. He had overdone it out of the Causeway, spun and damaged the rear suspension.
Meanwhile the track was drying out and Niel Allen was planting the big foot. Ron Grable handed him a place when he retired with battery trouble and Allen closed on Harvey. Two laps later he went under Harvey in Polo and was looking for Lawrence. But there were not enough laps left for him to close the distance and Allen had to be content with a new outright lap record of 1m 25.7s and fourth place.
It was a runaway win for the Mildren team cars of Bartlett and Stewart with Lawrence coming home third. Any one of five drivers, Matich, Lawrence, McRae, Grable or Bartlett, could win on points as the final round came up for Sandown the following week.
Points standing after six rounds were:- Matich 25, Lawrence 24, Bartlett 19, McRae 18, Grable 17, Stewart 16, Goth 10, Bell 6, Allen, Norinder and Simpson 3, Marwood and Harvey 2, Campbell and Williams 1 each.
|1||Kevin Bartlett||Aust||Mildren / Waggott 1992cc 4cyl||45||66m 46.7s|
|2||Max Stewart||Aust||Mildren / Waggott 1992cc 4cyl||45||66m 47.9s|
|3||Graeme Lawrence||NZ||Ferrari 246T / Ferrari 2417cc V6||45||67m 19.1s|
|4||Niel Allen||Aust||McLaren M10B / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||45||67m 39.3s|
|5||John Harvey||Aust||Brabham BT23 / Repco 2493cc V8||45||68m 02.8s|
|6||Mike Goth||USA||Surtees TS5 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||44|
|7||Leo Geoghegan||Aust||Lotus 39 / Repco 2493cc V8||43|
|8||Ulf Norinder||Swed||Lola T190 / Chevrolet 4991cc V8||41|
|9||Glyn Scott||Aust||Bowin P3 / Ford 1598cc 4cyl||40|
|10||Mike Campbell||USA||Forsgrini 14 / Ford 4998cc V8||40|
|Ret||Ron Grable||USA||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||Battery|
|Ret||Frank Matich||Aust||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||30||Suspension|
|Ret||Graham McRae||NZ||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4948cc V8||27||Gearbox|
|Ret||Bill Simpson||USA||Eagle 51 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||Accident|
|Alfredo Costanzo||Aust||McLaren M4A / Cosworth 1598cc 4cyl|
|Len Goodwin||Aust||McLaren M4A / Cosworth 1598cc 4cyl|
|Bob Muir||Aust||Rennmax / Climax 2495cc 4cyl|
|Derrick Williams||UK||Lola T142 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8|
|Ken Goodwin||Aust||Rennmax / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
|Clive Millis||Aust||Rennmax / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
Round Seven: SANDOWN
Date: 22nd February 1970
56 Laps of 3.102kms (173.712kms)
The air was electric as the drivers lined up on the grid for the final round of the series. Five drivers knew they had a chance of taking off the series and the crowd sensed the drama. Unlike Warwick Farm, Sandown favours the big-engined cars with two very long straights where they can out-gun the smaller engines.
In practice, both Niel Allen and Frank Matich recorded identical times in their McLarens of 1m 4.1s. This put them on the front row of the grid and was 0.3s better than the outright record set last year by Chris Amon in the V6 Ferrari. For comparison, could only manage a 1m 6.1s lap in the same car.
Mike Goth was third fastest with a 1m 5.3s and Ron Grable put down a 1m 5.8s. Leo Geoghegan just pipped Graham McRae by .01s with a lap of 1m 6.4s. Ulf Norinder recorded 1m 6.6s and Kevin Bartlett a 1m 6.7s. Bill Simpson was a non-starter, having wrecked his car against a fence in the Esses at the farm a week before.
Practice was held over three sessions with an Indy-style qualifying lap dash for grid positions. The drivers had other ideas about this and after an approach to the stewards it was decided to take the best times from any practice session for grid positions. Graham McRae breathed a sigh of relief. He had blown an engine in the third practice session and was not able to start in the Indy qualifying. This would have meant on race day he would have been at the back of the grid.
The weather on race day was fine and warm and the big crowd was on the edge of its seats as the cars came to the line. On the first warm-up lap, Matich ducked into the pits to have the fuel mixture richened and Niel Allen was not taking any chances, he did one slow lap and idled up to the line.
It was a perfect start. Allen and Matich left together but Matich, on pole position, he recorded the best time first in practice, had the line through Shell and claimed the lead. But Allen was not giving him an inch. As they came around for the first time, Matich and Allen were neck and neck down the main straight, with Allen then slipping past and taking the lead. Graeme Lawrence was running third followed by Grable, Goth, Harvey and Bartlett. Ulf Norinder spun in Shell Corner.
From the first lap it was obvious it was going to be Niel Allen's race as the blue McLaren ran away from the rest of the field. On lap two both Grable and Goth slipped past Matich and it was obvious he was having trouble with his car.
As the leader went over the line for the eighth time, he had an eight second lead over Grable, and Matich had had slipped back to fifth place after being passed by McRae. Two laps later Goth and Grable swapped places on the back straight. A lap later, Grable was back to second as Goth had a lose.
Then engines, which had had a hard life over the seven race series, started to cry enough. Grable broke a rocker and retired and Matich went into the pits with a miss. He came out again a lap down, but was to retire soon after with a jammed throttle.
Kevin Bartlett's engine just stopped, John Harvey lost all of the oil out of the Repco, Leo Geoghegan retired with a blown engine, Graham McRae broke a throttle cable, while lying second, and Ulf Norinder had yet another spin, this time in Harvey's oil in the Esses.
The race was instantly robbed of much of the excitement and competition as one by one the contenders for top honours dropped out. Niel Allen received the slow-down sign from the pits but still carried on. Graeme Lawrence automatically took over second place, with Max Stewart third and Ulf Norinder a lap down fourth.
With only 10 laps to go, Max Stewart stopped on the back straight with jammed selectors. He got out of the car and put the boot in to free them up. He was to repeat this track-side repair twice more before the race was over and hand over third to Ulf Norinder.
Niel Allen went on to the flag to win his first-ever major open wheeler race, but it was Graeme Lawrence who won the Series. His reliable Ferrari Dino earned him points in every race in the series, except Wigram, where the car picked up a piece of paper over the nose and overheated.
While the Series was billed as the year of the F5000s, there were only two cars that showed out, both driven by local Australian drivers, Frank Matich and Niel Allen. The overseas drivers didn't have the machinery or the ability to handle the conditions.
Final points in the series were:- Lawrence 30, Matich 25, Bartlett and Stewart 19, McRae 18, Grable 17, Allen 12, Goth 10, Norinder 7, Bell 6, Simpson 3, Marwood, Harvey and Costanzo 2, Campbell, Williams and Tony Stewart 1 each.
|1||Niel Allen||Aust||McLaren M10B / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||56||64m 06.4s|
|2||Graeme Lawrence||NZ||Ferrari 246T / Ferrari 2417cc V6||56||65m 07.5s|
|3||Ulf Norinder||Swed||Lola T190 / Chevrolet 4991cc V8||54|
|4||Max Stewart||Aust||Mildren / Waggott 1992cc 4cyl||53|
|5||Alfredo Costanzo||Aust||McLaren M4A / Cosworth 1598cc 4cyl||52|
|6||Tony Stewart||Aust||Elfin 600B / Ford 1598cc 4cyl||49|
|7||John Roxburgh||Aust||Lotus 32B / Climax 2495cc 4cyl||48|
|8||Johnnie Walker||Aust||Elfin 600B / Ford 1598cc 4cyl||48|
|9||D Eubergang||Aust||Elfin 600B / Ford 1598cc 4cyl||47|
|10||Len Goodwin||Aust||McLaren M4A / Cosworth 1598cc 4cyl||46|
|Ret||Mike Campbell||USA||Forsgrini 14 / Ford 4998cc V8||50||Overheating|
|Ret||Frank Matich||Aust||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||42||Throttle Cable|
|Ret||Derrick Williams||UK||Lola T142 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||38||Cylinder Head|
|Ret||John Harvey||Aust||Brabham BT23 / Repco 2493cc V8||32||Engine|
|Ret||Mike Goth||USA||Surtees TS5 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||29||Engine|
|Ret||Graham McRae||NZ||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4948cc V8||21||Throttle Cable|
|Ret||Leo Geoghegan||Aust||Lotus 39 / Repco 2493cc V8||20||Engine|
|Ret||Kevin Bartlett||Aust||Mildren / Waggott 1992cc 4cyl||18||Ignition|
|Ret||Ron Grable||USA||McLaren M10A / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||11||Engine|
|DNS||Glyn Scott||Aust||Bowin P3 / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
|DNS||M Quincey||Aust||Elfin 600B / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
|DNS||Bob Minogue||Aust||Elfin 11B Mono / Ford 1598cc 4cyl|
|DNA||Bill Simpson||USA||Eagle 51 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8|
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