John Sur­tees

on Sir Jack Brab­ham (ri­vals 1960-70)

F1 Racing - - THE FEATURES -

When I en­tered grand prix rac­ing in 1960, I im­me­di­ately came into con­tact with Jack, who was al­ready well es­tab­lished. What I re­spected about him was that he was a great com­peti­tor. He would never give up try­ing, whether he was at the front or the back, and he took this at­ti­tude into the driv­ing and build­ing of his own cars. He was some­one I al­ways ad­mired. He put to­gether his Aus­tralian team with Ron Tau­ranac and the Repco project. It was brave and it won him the world cham­pi­onship. He put a ba­sic mo­tor­car to­gether with a good char­ac­ter­is­tic power-curve en­gine and won it in 1966 when ev­ery­one else was stum­bling.

I have fond mem­o­ries of rac­ing him and you could al­ways rely on him to be com­pet­i­tive – but in the right way. Be­ing Aus­tralian he learnt his skills on many dif­fer­ent sur­faces and had su­perb car con­trol. You weren’t wor­ried he would ram you, but you were never quite sure how wide his cir­cuit was com­pared to yours and the only way to coun­ter­act that some­times would be to play him at his own game. If he went so far, you’d have to go that bit fur­ther.

Jack en­joyed a great longevity in the sport, and one of the ma­jor things that con­trib­uted to this was, de­spite com­ing through a very dan­ger­ous pe­riod in F1, he es­caped hav­ing any ma­jor me­chan­i­cal fail­ures that could have led to a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent. Be­cause he ran his own team, he was able to con­trol his cars’ build qual­ity him­self. It’s a great credit to his ca­reer that he achieved so much.

John Sur­tees leading Jack Brab­ham at Monaco in 1969

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