He arrived in Europe with a big reputation, shone briefly and then headed home to Australia to clean up in the Bathurst 1000.
Perkins’s first full season of racing was in Formula Vee in 1970. Two years later he won the national F2 series, then headed for Europe. After decent showings in F3 he became embroiled in Chris Amon’s eponymous F1 squad, failing to qualify at the ‘Ring in ’74. A year later he rebuilt his reputation by taking the Euro F3 title with the works Ralt RT1 before unravelling all the good work with the Boro in F1 a year on. His big break occurred when he replaced Carlos Reutemann at Brabham for the final three races of ’76, but he failed to sparkle.
A few outings with Stanley-BRM and Surtees a year on didn’t improve his fortunes and he returned home to win the ’79 F5000 title. Two years earlier he’d made his first Bathurst start, finishing third. The ‘Cowangie Kid’ would net a hat-trick of victories in the 1000 from 1982 to ’84 and a further three in the ’90s. Nowadays he spends his time running his race team and restoring tractors. RH