If it’s January it must be Tasman Time – with a little bit of SCG as well, of course. There was no motor racing on TV back then, so names like “Pukekohe”, “Levin”, “Wigram”, “Teretonga”, “Lakeside”, Sandown Park” and “Longford” represented just romantic slices of my imagination. Through a crackly radio, if I was lucky, I’d hear the exhilarating words: “And this afternoon’s race, run in torrid, sweltering conditions, was won by The Flying Scotsman, Jim Clark….” Warwick Farm, near Sydney, as you probably know, was my home race. Naturally I always thought of it as the jewel in the Tasman crown – and I don’t think I was wrong, as it happened, given the layout of the circuit and the silky-smooth organization of the AARC. I’d almost die with excitement as the Farm’s Tasman week approached. Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Jack Brabham…all in my home town!
Those days are gone now – as are most of the circuits. Full marks to Toyota New Zealand, then, for sustaining a little piece of their side of the Tasman with a single-seater series currently taking place. Their schedule even includes a race at Teretonga.
Here are some pages from my Tasman scrapbook – and a video featuring that polished and always eloquent Tasman regular, Frank Gardner, and the formidble Longford circuit in Tasmania. It was motor racing as I love it best.