TASMAN TALES: Stewart’s Tasman Title
FOR THE second year in a row a Scotsman won the Tasman Series. The previous year it was taken out by Jim Clark, whereas the 1966 version went to Jackie Stewart and his BRM P261 for which he was awarded the Tasman Cup.
Stewart’s new BRM P261 teammate Graham Hill finished second overall, and third place went to Clark in his Lotus 39-Climax. Best of the residents was New Zealander Jim Palmer (Lotus 32-Climax) while Frank Gardner (Brabham BT11A-Climax) was fifth and first of the Australians.
Previous year-by-year Tasman Series reports
Hill scored his second NZ Grand Prix win at Pukekohe with Stewart 1.5 seconds behind. Palmer and Dennis Marwood (Cooper-Climax) finished two laps down in third and fourth, and a lap up on Aussies Leo Geoghegan (Lotus 32) and Ken Sager (Brabham BT9).
Clark stripped first gear at the start, and while avoiding him, Gardner tangled with Andy Buchanan’s Brabham. Clark made it to the pits but retired later. Spencer Martin (Brabham BT11A) won the start and led until he hit an embankment before the opening lap expired.
Round two was the Levin Gold Leaf International Trophy which Gardner had in his keeping until transmission failure two laps from the end. The United Kingdom’s Richard Attwood (RPM) picked up the win ahead of Clark.
Martin was third in front of Roly Levis (Brabham), Palmer and Red Dawson (Brabham). Stewart was second and challenged Gardner until he spun off and then retired after nine laps with gearbox selection problems.
The BRMs were first and second in the Lady Wigram Trophy at Wigram with Stewart well ahead of Attwood. Palmer placed third clear of Martin. The expectant challenge to the BRMs was over after four laps when the brakeless Gardner Brabham struck the rear of Clark’s Lotus.
Victory at the Teretonga International for Stewart gave the two litre BRMs a clean sweep in New Zealand over their 2.5 litre engined rivals. Stewart finished 18.8 seconds in front of Gardner while Palmer, Marwood and Levis were two laps behind, albeit third through to fifth.
There was a melee at the Loop on the first occasion where Martin slid sideways, Dawson hit him, and Attwood sailed over both. Meanwhile Clark led until the Lotus hit a big oil slick on lap four and spun out.
Tragically Auckland’s Bill Caldwell had the throttle jam and the Brabham careered off track, launched into the air, and came down hard against a sheep truck that was used for spectator viewing. He along with two young spectators were killed.
At Warwick Farm for round five Clark led through to the chequered flag as Hill maintained second throughout. Stewart was third on the opening lap before he clipped the fence at the Causeway on lap two, damaged the right rear wheel and dropped to ninth.
Gardner finished third ahead of Stewart who took eight laps to get by Martin and Palmer. A lap down was Geoghegan with 1.5 litre rival John Harvey (Brabham-Ford) a further lap behind.
For just over a third of the 66 laps of the AGP at Lakeside, Hill shadowed race leader Stewart, Clark held off Gardner, and Palmer had Greg Cusack (Brabham BT10/Ford) and Geoghegan in close company. Then Stewart pitted with blown gearbox, and Geoghegan clipped Cusack which put both out. Hill won by 17 seconds as Gardner eventually passed Clark for second. Palmer was fourth a lap ahead of Kevin Bartlett (Brabham-Ford).
Jack Brabham made his first appearance at Sandown and debuted his Brabham BT19 with the Repco 2.5 litre V8. After he set a new lap record in a heat, Brabham went straight to the lead, only to surrender it to Stewart on lap two. Shortly after Brabham stopped with an oil pump failure.
Stewart won comfortably while Clark eventually passed Hill to secure second. Hill finished third with Palmer next and Gardner fifth. Many of the 1.5 litre cars had issues which allowed Les Howard (Lotus-Ford) to finish sixth.
The final round was at Longford where Stewart won easily as Hill and Clark grappled over second until the latter pitted to re-attach a loose plug lead. Brabham picked up third from Palmer and Martin after Gardner made a quick stop to remove a loose panel.
1966 TASMAN SERIES
- Jackie Stewart (BRM P261) 42
- Graham Hill (BRM P261) 30
- Jim Clark (Lotus 39) 25
- Jim Palmer (Lotus 32B) 21
- Frank Gardner (Repco Brabham BT11A) 18
- Richard Attwood (BRM P261) 15
- Spencer Martin (Repco Brabham BT11A) 11
- Dennis Marwood (Cooper T66) 7
- Roly Levis (Brabham BT6) 5
- Jack Brabham (Repco Brabham BT19) 4