Tasmanian driver set pace for future racers

Posted on: April 20th, 2019 by
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Back in 1961 local race driver Gavin Youl was encouraged by World Champion Jack Brabham to go to England to race the new MRD (Motor Racing Developments) Formula Junior car which had been designed by Australian Ron Tauranac with input from Brabham.

Youl had followed in his older brother John’s footsteps racing an Austin Lancer with a twin cam MG motor in 1959 and a Porsche Super 90 with considerable success.

The opportunity to progress his career in England was too good to pass up.

It proved to be a very successful move.

Youl finishing second in both the heat and the final of the FJ race at Mallory Park which set the scene for some great performances over the following years.

The next meeting at Silverstone the car suffered a holed fuel tank and Youl was forced into the pits to top up.

He still finishedseventh in a car that had virtually no brakes.

At Aintree Youl was forced out of the final with a blown head gasket, but then at Goodwood Youl finished fourth in his heat and second in the final, despite numerous problems including a fire in the pits during practice.

It was now time to go home.

The avid pilot, who also held the class C Australasian altitude record of 26,000 feet, ferried a single engine Cessna back to Australia with friends Roger Tregaskis and Eoin Young.

He covered14,000 miles in 98 flying hours, making 30 stops in 18 countries

The MRD had been shipped back to Tasmania where Youl used it to good effect before venturing to Catalina Park in NSW.

There hewon a hard fought battle for the FJ title against Leo Geoghegan in the Lotus.

Youl then repeated the effort at Longford where the car, despite it’s 1097cc capacity, recorded over 200kph on the flying mile.

He then returned to England with the intention of racing an updated version of the car, now called a Brabham.

However,a crash at Brands Hatch during pre-season testing left him with a broken collarbone and out of action for some time.

The repaired car was returned to Australia but after competing at a couple of meetings on the mainland Youl decided to retire from the sport.

Subsequently, the car had a number of owners, but very little use until it was purchased recently by a Tasmanian collector who has a particular passion for Brabhams.

The beautifully-restored car is now on display at the National Automobile Museum in Cimitiere street.

This weekend will be good opportunity to view the car as the museum is open to the public, free of charge, on both Saturday and Sunday.

TASMANIAN TRIUMPH: Gavin Youl wearing his victory garland after winning the NSW Formula Junior Championship at Catalina circuit in Katoomba. He raced internationally with Jack Brabham’s MRD team.

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