On the passing of Jack Brabham today, 19/5/'14, I post an updated prose-poem I wrote about his life some years ago. -Ron Price, Tasmania
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And his formula......
I was never that interested in car racing, racing teams, Formula One world championship driving and drivers; indeed, sports in general after my teens took a distant place in my interest inventory. In addition, I have always had a low mechanical interest and aptitude. I never did well in basic woodwork and metalwork, what we used to call “shop” in high school, and I had little interest in cars and mechanics, in motorcycles and, indeed, anything, any gadget or appliance with a lot of parts. If any of these things needed fixing it was off to the repair man. In my second marriage, my wife had a high mechanical aptitude and interest. She took care of all the stuff that needed fixing. I did not marry my wife for her skills in this area, but marriage to my second wife, a Tasmanian, has proved useful on many fronts, fronts I knew little about when we married some 40 years ago.
So it was that a person like Jack Brabham was an unlikely candidate for my poetic pieces in this the evening of my literary life. One evening, though, some five years ago, I watched with interest a brief life-story of Jack Brabham.(1) I'll post a few highlights from his life, highlights that had some relevance to my own life-narrative, and perhaps some relevance to others who happen to read this prose-poem, although when writers talk about relevance and readers in the same breath, they can make no guarantees that readers will find their words laden with meaning--any meaning.
Brabham enlisted in the RAAF the year I was born, 1944. He was then 18. In 1959, the year I joined the Bahá'í Faith, Brabham won the World Championship in car racing, after winning the Monaco Grand Prix. Fifty-five years ago, as I update this original comment I made on Brabham some 5 years ago, this racing legend cemented his name in motor-sport history. He did this by becoming the first Australian to be crowned a Formula One world champion. In 1962, the first year of my own travelling-pioneering away from my home town in Ontario, Brabham drove for his own team, the Brabham Racing Organization. I'm still travelling but, now, it's mostly in my head as I watch and observe, recall and comment on all that comes into my sensory emporium and catches my fancy. Brabham stopped any of his travelling on this mortal coil today. He passed away as autumn in Australia was about to enter its last month.
The 1966 Jack earned a further place in motor-sport history by becoming the first, and so far the only, driver to secure the F1 championship in a car of his own creation. It was a feat unlikely to be repeated. I graduated from McMaster University in the lunch-pail city of Hamilton Ontario that year in May. I had a BA degree in sociology. For the next ten weeks, after graduation, that summer I sold ice-cream for the Good Humour Company at 80+ hours per week. On average, new employees with the then famous ice-cream company lasted only two to three weeks because of the long hours. Good Humor became unprofitable beginning in 1968 and, by then, I was teaching primary school among the Inuit on Baffin Island.
-Ron Price with thanks to (1)ABC1, “Australian Story,” 8:00-8:30 p.m., 17 August 2009.
You were only a name on
the very periphery of my
life back then the 1960s,
Jack, along with Stirling
Moss & the many Grand
Prix racing-men around
the world. I had my hands
full just getting through my
days: my studies, my psycho-
emotional life, the embryo of
my career, & my new religion.(1)
I was simply too busy, Jack,
to include you in the many
constellations of interests.
You’ve become an Aussie hero,
Jack, and in a global civilization
of 7.3 billion there just may be
many millions who will have
their emotions stirred when
they hear of your passing today.
Goodonyer, Jack, goodonyer!
May your continue with the loves
you had in this life as you race into
another world with its own Formula
One.....Perhaps there will be several
new formula for you to get into???
Who knows, eh Jack, who knows?
(1) The Baha'i Faith
17/9/'09 to 19/5/'14.