Leo Geoghegan

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Leo Geoghegan
Leo Geoghegan 2011.jpg
Leo Geoghegan in 2011
Nationality Australian
Born (1936-05-16)16 May 1936
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died 2 March 2015(2015-03-02) (aged 78)
Sydney, New South Wales
Retired 1974
Related to Tom Geoghegan (father)
Ian Geoghegan (brother)
Australian Drivers' Championship
Years active 1963–73
Teams Geoghegan's Sporty Cars
Total Team
Best finish 1st in 1970 Australian Drivers' Championship
Previous series
1960
1962–63
1965–71
1965
1973–74
Australian GT Championship
Australian Formula Junior Ch.
Tasman Series
Australian 1½ Litre Champ.
Australian Formula 2 Champ.
Championship titles
1960
1963
1970
1973
1974
Australian GT Championship
Australian Formula Junior Ch.
Australian Drivers' Champ.
Australian Formula 2 Champ.
Australian Formula 2 Champ.

Leo Geoghegan (16 May 1936 [1] - 2 March 2015) was a former Australian racing driver. He was the elder of two sons of former New South Wales car dealer Tom Geoghegan, both of whom become dominant names in Australian motor racing in the 1960s. While his younger brother Ian "Pete" Geoghegan had much of his success in touring car racing, winning five Australian Touring Car Championships, Leo spent most of his racing career in open wheel racing cars.

Career[edit]

Leo also drove Group E Series Production Cars and Group C touring cars at the annual Bathurst 500/1000 endurance race for the Ford Works Team, Chrysler Australia and the Holden Dealer Team. This gave him the distinction of being the only driver to race for all three Australian factory backed teams.

Leo and Ian Geoghegan drove their Ford Cortina Mk.I GT500 in the 1965 Armstrong 500 at Bathurst while wearing business suits as part of a sponsorship deal with a Sydney clothing store. After crossing the line in second place, the brothers were later disqualified for re-starting their Cortina during a pit stop. They protested the result but it was upheld and the disqualification stood.[2]

His best finish at Bathurst for the endurance race was second in 1967 driving a Ford XR Falcon GT with his brother Ian. The pair were flagged in first, but a protest by team mate Harry Firth saw the brothers relegated to second after a re-count of the lap charts. Unfortunately for Leo and Ian, just two hours after the start their Falcon ran out of petrol after it had passed the pits. Leo, who in the car at the time, was able to drive through the back gate into the pits to be refueled, which led the lap scorers to mistakenly credit the #53 Ford with a lap it did not complete. The race was then awarded to Firth and his co-driver Fred Gibson. Until his death in 2015, Leo Geoghegan believed that the lap scorers had it correct the first time and that he and his brother should be in the record books as Bathurst winners in 1967.

Leo & Ian won the 1962 Bathurst Six Hour Classic at Mount Panorama driving a Daimler SP250 sports car, (that year the 500 mile race for touring cars were held at Phillip Island)

Leo also finished 3rd outright in the 1973 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 (the year the race was extended from 500 miles to 1000 kilometres) co-driving with Colin Bond in a Holden Dealer Team LJ Torana GTR XU-1. Ironically, the HDT was then run by Harry Firth while Leo's older brother Ian won the race co-driving with Allan Moffat in a Ford Works Team XA Falcon GT Hardtop. Leo later stated that the Torana was one of his least favourite cars he drove at Bathurst.

Other career highlights included victories in the following:

Leo Geoghegan was the principal driver for Chrysler Australia during the period (1970–1972) when the company supported Valiant Pacer and Valiant Charger Series Production touring car teams. During this time, Leo and big brother Ian were involved in testing a ute fitted with a 5.6 litre, 340ci V8 engine and with the R/T Charger's wheelbase at the Mallala circuit in South Australia. The Geoghegan's reported that the extra weight of the V8 gave the car severe understeer and required earlier brake points. As a result, lap times were around 2–3 seconds slower than when the car was fitted with the Hemi six, though it was expected that the long straights and more open nature of the Mount Panorama Circuit would better suit the V8 engined car. The V8 Charger, which Chrysler Australia denied was to be used in Series Production racing, was eventually killed off in the Supercar scare in mid-1972 along with the V8 Holden Torana GTR XU-1 and the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV.

In addition to being a multi-Australian championship winning driver, Geoghegan has the rare distinction for an Australian of having won an international grand prix, specifically the inaugural JAF Grand Prix in 1969 held over 40 laps of the 6 km (3.728 mi) Fuji Speedway. Driving his ex-Jim Clark Lotus 39-Repco V8 in the race held for Formula Libre cars (which included Formula 2 and 1.6 litre cars) by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF), Geoghegan was part of a large Australian contingent including Alec Mildren Racing with their drivers Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart (Bartlett driving a 2.5L Mildren-Alfa Romeo V8, and Stewart driving a 1.6L Mildren-Waggott), Garrie Cooper in his own Elfin 600-Repco, and Glynn Scott driving a Bowin P3-Ford Cosworth. The Australian's all qualified at the front end of the grid, with Geoghegan third. He purposefully made a slow start so as not to strip the new gears in his Lotus and drove a steady race. As others fell out, he passed Stewart to take a lead he was not to lose. Geoghegan also set a new F2 lap record during the race with a 1:52.67 for an average of 119.7 mph.[3][4]

Death[edit]

Leo Geoghegan died on 2 March 2015 at the age of 78 after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was survived by his widow, Del; sister Marie-Louise; two sons, Steven and Shaun; and two daughters Roslyn Naomi; and cousin Warren Geoghegan.

Career results[edit]

Year Title/ Event Position Car Entrant
1960 Australian GT Championship 1st Lotus Elite Geoghegan Motors
1962 Australian Formula Junior Championship 3rd Lotus 22 Ford Cosworth Geoghegan Motors Liverpool
1963 Australian Drivers' Championship 13th Lotus 20B Ford Total Team
1963 Australian Formula Junior Championship 1st Lotus 22 Ford Total Team
1964 Australian Drivers' Championship 4th Lotus 32 Ford Total Team
1965 Tasman Series 14th Lotus 32 Ford Total Team
1965 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Lotus 32 Ford Total Team
1965 Australian 1½ Litre Championship 2nd Lotus 32 Ford Total Team
1966 Tasman Series 11th Lotus 32 Ford Total Team
1966 Australian Drivers' Championship 7th Lotus 39 Climax FPF Geoghegan Racing
1967 Tasman Series 7th Lotus 39 Climax FPF Geoghegan Racing
1967 Australian Drivers' Championship 5th Lotus 39 Repco Geoghegan Racing Division
1968 Tasman Series 11th Lotus 39 Repco Geoghegan Racing
1968 Australian Drivers' Championship 4th Lotus 39 Repco Geoghegan Racing Division
1969 Tasman Series 7th Lotus 39 Repco Geoghegan Racing
1969 Australian Drivers' Championship 2nd Lotus 39 Repco Geoghegan Racing Division
1970 Australian Drivers' Championship 1st Lotus 59B Waggott Geoghegan's Sporty Cars
1971 Tasman Series 15th Lotus 59B Waggott Geoghegan's Sporty Cars
1972 South Pacific Touring Series 8th [5] Chrysler VH Valiant Charger Austral Motors
1973 Australian Formula 2 Championship 1st Birrana 273 Ford Grace Bros – 5AD City State Racing Team
1973 Australian Drivers' Championship 4th Birrana 273 Ford Grace Bros – 5AD City State Racing Team
1973 Toby Lee Series 3rd Porsche 911S Grace Bros / Reg Mort [6]
1974 Australian Formula 2 Championship 1st Birrana 274 Ford Grace Bros. Levis Racing Team

Complete Tasman Series results[edit]

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rank Points
1964 Total Team Lotus 27 Ford LEV PUK WIG TER SAN
Ret
WAR
9
LAK LON NC 0
1965 Total Team Lotus 32 Ford PUK
6
LEV WIG TER WAR
8
SAN LON 14th 1
1966 Total Team Lotus 32 Ford PUK
5
LEV WIG TER WAR
7
LAK
Ret
SAN
Ret
LON 11th 2
1967 Geoghegan Racing Division Lotus 39 Coventry Climax PUK LEV WIG
5
TER LAK
Ret
WAR
5
SAN
2
LON
DNS
7th 8
1968 Geoghegan Racing Division Lotus 39 Repco PUK LEV WIG TER SUR
4
WAR
Ret
SAN
7
LON
DNS
11th 3
1969 Geoghegan Racing Division Lotus 39 Repco PUK
5
LEV
4
WIG
Ret
TER LAK
3
WAR
5
SAN
DNS
7th 11
1971 Geoghegans Sporty Cars Lotus 59B Waggott LEV PUK WIG
8
TER
6
WAR
Ret
SAN SUR 15th 1

Complete Phillip Island/Bathurst 500/1000 results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1960 Australia Bill Pitt Renault Dauphine B 151 NA 11th
1963 Australia Ford Australia Australia Ian Geoghegan Ford Cortina Mk.I GT C 105 NA DNF
1964 Australia Ford Motor Co Australia Ian Geoghegan Ford Cortina Mk.I GT C 127 5th 5th
1965 Australia Ford Motor Co Australia Ian Geoghegan Ford Cortina Mk.I GT500 D 130 DSQ DSQ
1967 Australia Ford Australia Australia Ian Geoghegan Ford XR Falcon GT D 130 2nd 2nd
1968 Australia Ford Motor Company of Australia Australia Ian Geoghegan Ford XT Falcon GT D 123 12th 7th
1969 Australia Ford Australia Australia Ian Geoghegan Ford XW Falcon GTHO D 128 5th 5th
1970 Australia Geoghegan's Sporty Cars Australia Nick Ledingham Chrysler VG Valiant Pacer 2 Barrell C 128 5th 3rd
1971 Australia Geoghegan's Sporty Cars Australia Peter Brown Chrysler VH Valiant Charger R/T E38 D 129 7th 2nd
1972 Australia Geoghegan's Sporty Cars Chrysler VH Valiant Charger R/T E49 D 127 4th 3rd
1973 Australia Holden Dealer Team Australia Colin Bond Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 D 163 3rd 3rd

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luke West, The Classicist, Australian Muscle Car, Issue 24, page 96
  2. ^ The Armstrong 500 (1965)
  3. ^ Results of the 1969 Grand Prix of Japan Retrieved from www.formula2.net on 2 September 2009
  4. ^ 1969 JAF Grand Prix
  5. ^ Max Stahl, Racing Car News Championship Yearbook No. 1, (1972), page 36
  6. ^ Sports Sedans, Oran Park Toby Lee Series, Australian Competition Yearbook, pages 144-154
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kevin Bartlett
Winner of the Australian Drivers' Championship
1970
Succeeded by
Max Stewart