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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Formula One arrow Arise, Sir Jack
Arise, Sir Jack PDF Print E-mail

Jack Brabham, or more correctly, Sir Jack Brabham, OBE, won the first of his three world drivers? titles fifty years ago.? Slightly deaf now, but still able, Jack has proudly watched his three sons succeed in motor racing in a variety of categories.? David won here in Macau in 1989 and won the Le Mans 24-Hours in 2009 with Peugeot; Geoff, a four-time sportscar champion in the U.S., and a Le Mans winner, took part in the Mazda Race of Champions in Macau that same year; and Gary, who finished sixth in the ?89 Macau Grand Prix, won the inaugural British F3000 championship in 1989.? In 1997, Geoff and David teamed up to win the Bathurst 1000 in a BMW. We look back at Jack Brabham?s lengthy career:

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Jack Brabham took his first world title in 1959, driving a Cooper-Climax T51/T45.? He had won his first ever Grand Prix in Monaco that year, when the differential of Stirling Moss? Cooper failed.? Brabham went on to take the championship despite a huge shunt in Portugal.

Jack Brabham started racing midgets aged 20, before going on to finish fourth in the 1954 New Zealand Grand Prix.? This success made him head to Europe where he teamed up with John Cooper, making his debut in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree, an event famously won by Stirling Moss, although to this day, Moss is unsure whether his team mate Juan Manuel Fangio ?let him through?.

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Brabham would go on to drive sports cars and in Formula Two for Cooper for the next two seasons, but in 1958 he finished fourth in the Monaco Grand Prix, having started from the front row, to take his first ever championship points.

In 1959, the Cooper-Climax F1 cars were front runners, with Brabham himself, Moss, Maurice Trintignant and Bruce McLaren all behind the wheel of the British machines.? The Monaco win by Brabham set up another at Aintree in the British Grand Prix later that year; he had finished in second place in Holland, third in Italy and France, before Aintree, finishing his title charge at Sebring when he pushed his Cooper over the start-finish line ? a distance of some 800 metres - to fourth place after running out of fuel on the last lap.? The U.S. Grand Prix was won by team mate Bruce McLaren.

Consecutive Titles

The following year, Brabham was favourite to retain the drivers? title, but McLaren was not going to be easy to beat.? The Kiwi won the first round in Argentina, with Brabham not scoring.? Moss took victory in Monaco, ahead of McLaren; Brabham had yet to score a point.

In Holland though, at the coastal circuit of Zandvoort, Brabham, starting from the front row, emerged the winner from Innes Ireland?s Lotus and Graham Hill in a BRM.? Moss was fourth.? Belgium saw Brabham score another maximum, as did France, Britain and Portugal. Unplaced in Italy, he clawed his way to another fourth place in USA, this time at California?s Riverside circuit.? Jack Brabham took his second consecutive World Drivers? Championship with 43 points; McLaren was second on 34 with Moss third.? In fact Bruce McLaren had scored 37 (points) but only the best six results counted.? The late Phil Hill, who won in Italy that year, went on to take the 1961 world title, following Wolfgang von Trips? fatal accident at Monza which killed the talented German along with 13 spectators.?

Making History

Jack Brabham is the only man in motor racing history to win the world championship in a car bearing his own name.? It was in 1966.? The engine regulations had changed, from 1.5 litres to 3-litres and pretty well all the teams were scratching around trying to find a suitable power unit.? Brabham did a deal with the Australian Repco engineering company and fitted a relatively low-powered ? but reliable ? three litre Repco V8 engine to his own Brabham chassis. With this simple but effective combination, Brabham won in France, Britain, Holland and Germany, amassing 42 points (45 if you counted all scores), to John Surtees? 28 and Jochen Rindt?s 22 (24).

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Jack Brabham had completed a hat-trick of drivers? titles and continued winning until his retirement in 1970, after 23 years as a driver.? The following year, 1967, it was Denny Hulme?s turn to win the championship, also in a Brabham with that Repco engine, and it was only the introduction of the potent Cosworth-Ford V8 that denied the pair ? Brabham and Hulme ? a great deal more victories in their nimble green machines.?? At the end of 1967, Hulme had 51 points to Brabham?s 46 (48), ahead of Jim Clark on 41 driving the Lotus-Ford.?

Retirement Beckons

Eventually, Brabham had to join the multitude of Cosworth V8 users and in 1969 a DFV was bolted into the back of the Brabham F1 machines of Jack and Jacky Ickx. The Belgian won at the Nurburgring in Germany and at Mosport, Canada, but Brabham, despite several front row starts, failed to take victory all season.? Jack finished tenth in the title standings with just 14 points.

In 1970, at the age of 44, Jack announced his retirement but it did not appear to slow him and he won in South Africa, while at Monaco he was leading Jochen Rindt, only to hit the wall on the last lap handing Rindt the win.? Rindt, who died at Monza that year as a result of an accident in qualifying, was to become the sport?s first and only posthumous world champion.

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Jack Brabham sold his share in the Brabham team to partner Ron Tauranac and returned to his native Australia at the end of the 1970 season, having finished equal fifth (with Stewart) in the world drivers? championship with 25 points.

 
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