Sir Jackie Stewart
on Sir Jack Brabham (rivals 1965-70)
Jack was the quiet man of motor racing. Very reserved, quite shy – but he was always prepared to stand up and make himself heard when it counted. I remember when the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association met – on the day of the memorial service for Piers Courage – to discuss whether or not we should race at the Nürburgring for the 1970 German Grand Prix. The organisers hadn’t complied with our requests to improve safety facilities. It was hard for some of the drivers to support a boycott because they were under pressure from their teams to race. But Jack – who wasn’t a great one for speaking in public – stood up and said, “I don’t think we should race, because if we back down, no circuits will ever listen to us again.” It was Jack who tipped the balance and we all owe him thanks for that. On the track, though, he was a very tough competitor. Hard but fair – usually. If you were chasing him, he’d sometimes cut a corner a little bit to give you a bit of a gravel shower – you’d have to duck down inside the cockpit to avoid it! In Formula 2 it was even harder because he had quite powerful Honda engines and it would often turn into a slipstreaming race where you never quite knew what to expect from him at the end of the straight.
Jack was very supportive towards me early in my career and we remained great friends. I was very pleased to see him at the Australian Grand Prix this year. I think he knew it was his time and I’m glad he passed away peacefully. It was a privilege to count him as a friend.
Jackie Stewart leading Jack Brabham at Kyalami in 1969