The rebirth of Formula 5000 took another major step in late March when the final round of the New Zealand F5000 Tasman Revival Cup was held as a support race to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne’s Albert Park.
A field of over 30 cars featured four British drivers, and it was Yorkshireman Mark Dwyer who scored a memorable victory in the first of two races to join Jenson Button as a British race winner that weekend.
Dwyer started his Lola T400 sixth on the grid as teenager Mick Lyons (Lola T400) set a scorching pace to take pole. But Lyons spun on the opening lap of race one and collected series champion Ken Smith (Lola T430), leaving Dwyer to sweep through to his maiden victory in the series. Dwyer led for three laps in the second race before retiring with driveshaft failure, leaving New Zealander Tony Richards to take his Lola T332 to a win.
“It was a very special event and the street circuits always feel a lot quicker,” said Dwyer. “The 5000 is a pretty wide car for a street circuit; Melbourne was like a grown-up Pau. With 32 unsilenced cars on the grid, it was quite a spectacle.”
For the four British racers, who also included Frank and Judy Lyons, the late confirmation of the race only just left them time to ship their cars from New Zealand, rather than sending them straight back to Britain as first intended. “If the races had been confirmed sooner, we could have had more cars from the UK,” said Lyons Sr.