This month, Pryce on the limit, destroyed Lotus 72s, Jim Clark smiling beatifically, and airborne Standards…
What an ambition — to photograph every car and every driver at all levels of the sport. That was John Robertson’s aim during the 1950s and ’60s, when he “lived, breathed (and hardly slept for) motor racing, to the detriment of my banking career.” By the 1970s he began to find racing “a bit of a bore, with fences all round the circuits and all-enveloping helmets. Cars were designed not to hang their tails out and ‘sport’ went out of motorsport.” The legacy is a collection of thousands of negatives, “and I have not got around to printing even one percent of them.” Robertson particularly remembers Jim Clark at British GP practice in 1967. “He stopped and chatted to me for five or six minutes and then, seeing the camera in my hand, asked if I wanted a photo. What a smile! His mother got to see this photo, and after his death wrote asking for copies. I was thrilled and honoured.”
Charles Rice was predominantly a motorcycle racing photographer, says his friend Jim Scaysbrook from that motorsport Mecca, Bathurst, who sent us these contributions from Rice’s albums. “He captured some of he finest two- and three-wheeled sport in Australia in the late 1950s, but also attended meetings where both bikes and cars raced.” Hence most of these shots are from the scenic Longford circuit in Tasmania, famous for its river and railway bridges — and a level crossing. The occasion was the 1959 Australian Grand Prix for cars, in which Stan Jones (father of Alan) scored the event’s last victory for a front-engined car, and the Australian TT for motorcycles, which saw Eric Hinton’s Norton, with home-made streamlining, beat the works machine of future world champion Tom Phillis. The other shots were taken at Fishermans’s Bend, Melbourne, a former airfield and these days a Holden factory. Rice is now a spritely 80 years old.