View Full Version : The Bruce Wells Collection – Bathurst 1964

Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 06:18 AM

Every year, in October, it seems that a large portion of Australasian motorsport fans put all other distractions aside, and watch “The Great Race”, the Bathurst 1000. The build-up, and the race itself, lasts the best part of a full day, and the entire event, which spans several days, enjoys something of a carnival atmosphere, with race fans setting up camp on the edges of the track, and particularly at the top of the mountain, several days before the race itself. For those who can’t attend in person, the race is broadcast live on television, and parties are organised so people can enjoy the race over a couple of beers with their mates.

Modern day Australian V8 Supercars bare little resemblance to their road-going counterparts, but the race cars themselves have been cleverly manipulated through a set of strict regulations which makes the two different manufacturers, those of Ford (Falcon), and Holden (Commodore), virtually identical in performance. Brand loyalty is strong in Australia, hence the reason so much effort is made to create equality on the race track, and for the most part, fans are loyal to either of the two brands, but not both.

The legend of Bathurst has been something that has grown over time, and has come about as a combination of the importance placed on having a Bathurst win in the cv of any Australasian racing driver, and the efforts made by various car manufacturers, and in particular, Ford and Holden (and Chrysler Australia in the early 1970s), to use the event as a promotional tool for showcasing the performance assets of their products, this being particularly the case in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Bathurst, as we know it today, grew from a relatively low-key 500 mile endurance race for bog-standard touring cars that first took place at Phillip Island, in Victoria, in 1960. By 1962, the race had grown in popularity, but the track surface itself proved not able to cope with the pounding it received from 40 cars skidding around it for 167 laps, and it fell apart as the race wore on, leaving several areas without a surface, and huge pot holes for the drivers to negotiate. At the conclusion of the 1962 race, the organisers began looking for a new venue for 1963, eventually deciding upon the Mount Panorama circuit, just outside the sleepy little New South Wales town of Bathurst. This track, at just over 6km in length, with steep incline and descent, undulations and long straights, would prove the ultimate test for any vehicle, and it was the challenging nature of Bathurst that would help seal this as a legendary race.

Racing at Mount Panorama for single seaters and sports cars, and even motorbikes, had been held at the venue since 1938, but from 1963, the circuit would become known for its annual touring car endurance event. As at Phillip Island, the organisers chose to celebrate the winners from each class during the 1963 and ’64 races, rather than an outright winner, although Harry Firth and Bob Jane were first across the line in 1963, in a Ford Cortina, from Ralph Sach and Frank Morgan in a Holden EH.

1964, the race depicted in these stunning Bruce Wells photos, was won by Jane and George Reynolds, driving one of several Cortina GTs, which would dominate the overall results….. not that an overall victory was actually celebrated. It would be another 12 months before this happened. But the Jane/Reynolds Ford Australia backed Cortina was first across the line after 130 gruelling laps. The opening segment saw the Studebaker Larks of Warren Weldon/Bert Needham, and Fred Sutherland/Allan Mottram, stream ahead, before, predictably, they ran out of brakes, and the gaggle of Cortinas made their way forward. Brothers Pete and Leo Geoghegan were first to push through to the front, in another Ford Australia backed Cortina, before they were delayed when a generator bracket broke, and Jane/Reynolds moved into a lead they would not relinquish.

Of the other classes, Class A was won by Spencer Martin/Bill Brown in a Vauxhall Viva, Class B by Bruce Maher/Charlie Smith in a Morris Cooper, and Class D by the Stude of Weldon/Needham, who were 2 laps behind Jane/Reynolds at the finish.

With Bathurst being so celebrated, captioning the photos for this race is a lot easier than with some of the other events Bruce has photographed. So I’ll do my best to get this right. But feel free to jump in and post comments as you see fit.

Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 07:40 AM




Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 07:55 AM
The Weldon/Needham Stude leads the similar Sutherland/Mottram machine in the early laps.


Lionel Ayers/Dennis Geary Imp points the faster Ralph Sach/Max Brunninghausen Velox and Brian Foley/Bill Buckle Citroen past.


The Barry Seton/Herb Taylor Cortina chases the Tony Allen/Tony Reynolds Triumph 2000 hard up through The Cutting.


Bill Barnett/Don Johnston Humber Vogue leads one of the Renault R8s.


Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 08:09 AM
The lone Valliant SV1 of Bob Cook/Alwyn Rose.


Brian Wilton/David Walker Beetle was the first of four such models home in Class A, and first non-Viva.


Phil Ismay/Bob Skelton Holden EH leads the Geoghegan brothers Cortina GT through Forrests Elbow. There was talk prior to Bathurst 1964 that Holden was to release a special S22 EH model for this event, with several upgrades over the previous years S4, but this came to nothing, and Holden teams were left to struggle against the swarm of superior Cortinas. The Ismay/Skelton machine finished 7th in Group C behind six Cortinas, and was the last finisher in class.


Brian Reed/Lorraine Hill Imp shows some alarming wheel angles coming down the mountain. This pairing finished 13th in Class A.


Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 07:32 PM
Another shot of the Geoghegan brothers Cortina, here putting a lap on the Barnett/Johnston Humber.


The Harry Firth/John Reaburn Cortina GT was the third Ford Australia entry, and placed 3rd in Class C, and 3rd overall, not that overall results were awarded. The Foley/Buckle Citroen placed 10th overall.


The Weldon/Needham Lark swings onto Pit Straight. Note the section of Conrod Straight in the background. Look at the condition of the track, the way the edges are broken up, and note the trees lining the track. Bathurst could bite at any moment.


Another shot here of the Ismay/Skelton EH. The body roll on these cars is amazing. Imagine racing this machine at speed for 500 miles!


Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 07:48 PM
Another of the Cortina GTs, this the Bruce McPhee/Barry Mulholland car, leads the Seton/Taylor machine into Pit Straight. McPhee/Mulholland would go on to win the race in 1968, driving a Holden Monaro GTS327. McPhee was the guy with the money, and Mulholland was his partner of choice. The rules dictated that each car had to have at least two drivers, but didn't state a minimum number of laps for the second driver, so McPhee usually had Mulholland drive just one lap!


Sach/Brunninghausen Velox heads the Barnett/Johnston Humber. The Velox was the first car to retire from the race.


Another shot of the Citroen. Seems an unlikely choice for a race car, but it did fare pretty well, finishing 3rd in Class D, behind the Studebakers.


Very cool shot here of one of two Australian Motor Industries entered Triumph 2000s, this one driven by Bob Salter and single seater ace Max Stewart.


Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 10:47 PM
The Geoghegan/Geoghegan Cortina GT makes a pit stop. Judging by the fact the hood isn't up, I assume this was just a routine stop.


Pretty hard to make out the number on the Viva here, but I'm quite certain its the #56 Boyded entry of Tony Simmons/Mike Champion.


I'm struggling to read the number on the hood of this Viva, but I believe based on the darker coloured body this is the red and white (with blue and red roof stripes) Boyded entry driven by Spencer Martin/Bill Brown which won Class A, and 27th overall.


The second of the two Studebakers of Sutherland/Mottram, leads the Anthony Cooper/Joe Hills Cortina GT off Conrod Straight. The Cortina failed to make the distance.


Steve Holmes
12-11-2011, 10:03 PM
OK, time for a few more pics from this event.

Kicking off here with one of the Imps, 3-wheeling wildly! Its hard to read the race #, but I believe this is the Hill/Reed car.


One of the Vivas. Unfortunately I can't make out which one this is. Can anyone help?


The Weldon/Needham Studebaker again.


The Barnett/Johnston Humber chases the Class A winning Martin/Brown Viva.


Steve Holmes
12-11-2011, 10:22 PM
The Grant/Mitchell EH Holden heads eventual overall and Class C race winners Jane/Reynolds along pit straight.


A couple of oddballs. The Bryan Thomson/Bruce Wilson NSU Prinz leads the Alton Boddenberg/Digby Cooke Simca Aronde. Thomson would go on to race predominantly V8 based machinery over the coming decades, a world away from the tiny NSU.


Great shot here of the Ron Hodgson/John French Cortina GT, which finished 4th in Class C, and 5th overall. Hodgson would go on to become the main backer for Bob Morris during the 70s, which produced a Bathurst win in 1976, and ATCC title in '79.


Battle of the babies. The Tony Simmons/Mike Champion Viva dives inside the Midge Bosworth/Peter Williamson Imp. Williamson would go on to enjoy plenty of class success over the next couple of decades. As for Tony Simmons, I believe this is the same Tony Simmons who started the successful Simmons wheel company, who produce lightweight competition and road wheels. Can anyone confirm this for me?


nigel watts
12-12-2011, 05:03 AM
fantastic photos

Steve Holmes
12-12-2011, 09:04 PM
OK, this is the final part in this chapter on Bathurst, 1964. Kicking off here, is the Don Holland/Laurie Stewart Mini Cooper, experiencing a bit of lurid understeer. The pairing finished 2nd in Class B, 14th overall.


Another shot of the Buckle/Foley Citroen.


The Lyndon McLeod/Lionel Williams Holden EH swings off Conrod Straight, ahead of the Cook/Rose Valliant.


Last shot in this amazing collection, has the Class C and overall race winning Jane/Reynolds dropping down off the mountain behind the Les Park/John Roxburgh Renault.


Special thanks again to Bruce Wells for sharing these stunning photos.

Steve Holmes
10-05-2015, 10:49 PM
Just thought I'd bump this thread back to the top, given Bathurst is this weekend. This is what the place looked like 51 years ago, in 1964.

Ray Bell
10-06-2015, 01:27 PM
This car...


...returned the following year with a 221 V8 in it to be part of the spectator fleet, Hoddo gave it heaps driving across the mountains too.

Steve Holmes
10-07-2015, 03:12 AM
Thanks Ray, wow! Must have been a weapon.

Roger Dowding
10-07-2015, 10:58 AM
The battles would be between these two huge Manufacturers, against a few Foreigners..


Ray Bell
10-07-2015, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by Steve Holmes
Thanks Ray, wow! Must have been a weapon.

I returned from Bathurst that year in Barry Fogwell's nice and sedate 1952 Plymouth...

At one point there's a longish steepish downhill run on the Bell's Line of Road where a very minor wiggle in the middle makes it a memorable downhill stretch. Hoddo came up behind us and ripped out to pass, foot flat and pulling top gear as he went by!

For the day it was a serious enough weapon. He was a bit of a cowboy in those times. He owned the Dan Gurney Chev Impala for a while, with it he towed the Mini Cooper he was racing, the Chev carried his other numberplate, RH-218.

One day he lined it up alongside Bill Buckle in an E-type for an impromptu drag race up the lane beside Ron Hodgson Motors at Lidcombe, as he got it sideways off the line it swung across and scored some E-type paint and shape in a rear quarter.

The Chev then became Greg Cusack's tow car, it was pretty impressive in that task according to the regular driver, Bruce Burr. But when they had to pick up Mrs Cusack as well as Greg from the airport when racing interstate it was inconvenient for Dorothy to have to climb in the back... it was a 2-door, after all.

Greg replaced it with a '63 Dodge Phoenix.

Roger Dowding
10-08-2015, 06:50 AM
Well it is on, Practice and there are spectators firmly encamped on the Hill, including a guy interviewed on Channel 7 in Australia [ who used to have the TV rights to the Great Race - now with Channel 10 and Foxtel - pay TV ], sitting with his mates and saying he has been going there for 51 years,
The first all-girl crew are there in a Falcon, a European racer with an Aussie girl, first time in 17 years.
Fortunately Bathurst is one the events that gets Free to Air coverage for the next 3 days, guess that is what I am doing this weekend.. Roll on the Top 10 shootout Saturday afternoon and the Race on Sunday..

Ray Bell
10-08-2015, 10:35 PM
Funny, isn't it?

I would never have missed it. I only ever watched on TV once up until the end of the eighties.

Yesterday I drove through Bathurst and simply kept on going...