Sharpe family collection
The family of the late Geoff Sharpe – a Ford works team mechanic during the factory squad’s golden era – share pics from their stunning archive.
This edition we’ve aimed to personalise the shutdown of Ford Australia’s manufacturing operations and that focus extends here to Punter Pics. The images on these pages were taken by or depict the late Geoff Sharpe, one of the Ford works team mechanics during the factory squad’s golden era. The pics were sent to us by his son Aaron.
“My Dad, Geoff Sharpe, was part of Allan Moffat’s pit crew in the early ’70s,” Aaron wrote when he made contact with AMC. “I have recently discovered some old slides and thought you might like to have a look.”
Would we ever!
“It would be good to see some recognition for the Lot 6 people including my father, who passed away when I was seven,” Aaron continued. “Mum tells me that Dad’s first boss at the race team was Al Turner, followed by Howard Marsden. Dad joined the team in January 1971 and worked there through 1973.”
Geoff Sharpe was redeployed elsewhere within the Ford Motor Company when the Blue Oval announced in January 1974 it was pulling the plug on its factory circuit racing involvement.
“Dad later worked at the Customer Service Office at Campbellfield and in early 1980 he switched to Ford Asia Pacific as a dealer auditor, until 1985,” Aaron explained after asking his Mum to fill in some gaps.
The FoMoCo was obviously central to Jan and Geoff Sharpe’s lives, as the loaned twin XW GTHO wedding cars (shown overleaf) prove.
When we flashed the pics under the nose of our columnist Fred Gibson, the former Ford works driver commented: “I remember Geoff well and my overriding memory of him is that he was a real gentleman.”
Lot 6 engine builder, Bill Santuccione, remembers Geoff as “a really diligent worker. Race teams didn’t have the same degree of specialisation as they do today and we were all across different aspects of the car to a degree. Geoff, as one of the general mechanics recommended to the team from elsewhere within the company, could always be relied upon to get
the job done. He had an incredible work ethic and was the first to put up his hand if you needed help with something outside of regular work hours. We did ridiculous hours, which is par for the course for any racing team, especially in those days.”
Bill said the race engines, when time allowed, were installed in an orange Falcon Ute to run them in. That included trips to the You Yangs proving ground to turn laps on the high-speed bowl, slowly building up to speed. That’s the same orange Ute shown here by the roadside and back at Lot 6 after being crashed by one G. Sharpe. Thankfully the incident didn’t cost Geoff his job... or worse.
AMC is especially taken by the snaps of the works Falcons en route to and from various race meetings.
“I have fond memories of the trips to race meetings,” Bill Santuccione continued. “There was always a mad scramble to get everything ready in the workshop, so once you were on the road it was a relief. We all wanted to drive the trucks and you could say that Geoff missed his calling as a long-haul truck driver, as he really enjoyed getting behind the wheel of those specially-built open transporters.”
Our undisputed favourite image shows Geoff with the victory wreath on Monday, October 1 1973, the day after Allan Moffat and Ian Geoghegan won the first Hardie-Ferodo held over 1000 kilometres in #9. Geoff, understandably, looks a little green around the gills after a big night celebrating the win.
It’s a pleasure to spotlight one of the unsung heroes of Ford’s halcyon days that netted three Bathurst victories in four attempts – 1970, ’71 and ’73. A big thank you to the Sharpe family for sharing their very special images and memories.
Geoff passed away in 1985 aged just 39.