THE RACES in New Zealand and Australia first came into prominence in Europe when drivers such as Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaye, who operated from England in the summer months, went “down under” for the winter and took European racing cars with them. Later on visiting Australasians like Brabham and McLaren used to return home in the European “off season” and naturally joined in with the local racing, and began to build special cars for the Tasman series.
These “off season” trips were seized upon by the professionals of the 1960s and the Tasman races developed almost into an extension of the European Grand Prix season, all of which meant that the local lads had little chance of success for the professionals dominated the scene, so much so that there were suggestions of races being “rigged” by the visiting circus in order to share the New Zealand and Australian spoils.
Finally the organisers reached their limit for the cost of the professional teams and the 1970 Tasman series entry list was lacking any professional or works-backed Europeans, the “foreign” entry being limited to one 2 1/2-litre Cosworth V8-powered Brabham, driven by Bell, and numerous amateur drivers with Formula 5000 cars. This meant that at long last some of the good drivers from New Zealand and Australia were able to win some of their own races, and while the results do not contain household Grand Prix names, the races were good nevertheless.-D. S. J.