Punter Pics

Sharpe fam­ily col­lec­tion

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

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.

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