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Sir Jack Brabham

I was fortunate enough to meet and interview Sir Jack on many occasions, and I well remember he was always willing to stop and chat, even in his later years when his profound deafness made question and answer sometimes confusing!!

A triple World champion in 59, 60 and 66, he was a larger than life character, as many Aussies are. He could be a tough adversary, his robust driving in his early dirt track days in Australia earning him the epithet Black Jack.

Arriving in the UK with little money or experience, but loads of determination, Jack teamed up with John Cooper and his father. He soon started to win races against those such as Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks in the little Cooper F3 cars with their rear mounted motor cycle engines, and the Coopers and Jack soon got into F1 with what was then a revolutionary layout. The ultra lightweight rear-engined cars were nimble and soon started winning races, Sir Jack even pushing his car over the finish line to win his second World Championship without petrol!!

Sir Jack was also a very talented intuitive engineer, and his 3rd World Championship came in his own designed car, the only man to win a World Championship in a car with his own name on.

‘Brabham’ the car went on to be one of the great names but Jack retired just after winning his last race in 1970.

Slowed by poor health in recent years as he got into his late 80s, I remember his great enthusiasm for the Goodwood Revival in the 90s and early 00s where he raced against old friends and rivals with the same vigour as ever. Sir Jack was one of the great figures of a classic age of motor racing in the 50s and 60s, an age when the racing was as ferocious as the partying afterwards. A great character.

Graham Benge

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