Sir Jack Brabham began his remarkable career 61 years ago at the first race meeting on a little-known circuit in Orange NSW.
That racetrack, the unusually named Gnoo Blas circuit (which took its name from the Aboriginal word for the nearby Mt Canobolas), opened on Australia Day 1953.
On that day, the 27-year-old Jack arrived to compete in a Vincent-engined Cooper 1100. His first outing however was not covered in glory.
Brabham's Cooper, and the similar Cooper 1100 of his mate Dick Cobden, struggled off the line with fouling plugs.
Once going, history records that Sir Jack clawed his way through the field to get to ninth before the Vincent engine let go in a cloud of blue smoke.
Not easily deterred (a now widely recognised attribute of the young Jack’s character), he was back again in Easter that year in the same car.
He came back yet again in October – this time in a new Cooper Bristol – and won.
That win was at the first staging of the NSW Grand Prix.
He returned regularly in the years following, winning the South Pacific Championship several times and also holding the lap record for several years.
Of course, the great achievements of Sir Jack Brabham’s life have become the stuff of history and of the legend surrounding the man.
In honour of his career, and in putting Australian engineering and capability onto the toughest world stage of all, the Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club has joined Orange City Council in holding a tribute to Sir Jack on the circuit on Saturday June 14, at 2.30pm.
Sir Jack’s engineer, Ron Tauranac, who with Brabham designed and built the race cars that Brabham took to F1 success, will be attending as special guest.
Organisers are hoping for a big crowd to honour and recognise Sir Jack and Ron Tauranac and their astonishing achievements.
It’s fitting the tribute will be held on the track where Sir Jack started his road racing career and what is now known as Sir Jack Brabham Park.
Gnoo Blas Racetrack
(Sir Jack Brabham Park)
When: Saturday June 14, 2:30pm