John Harvey in the Bowin P8 at Warwick Farm in 1972.  Copyright oldracephotos.com/Peter Schell.  Used with permission.

Australian Gold Star 1972

The top runners in Australia in 1972 were Frank Matich in his exciting new Matich A50 powered by Repco's Holden V8 Formula 5000 engine; fellow veteran Kevin Bartlett who started the season in a well-used McLaren M10B before upgrading to a new Lola T300; and Bob Muir, who bought a Lola T300 that Niel Allen had wrecked in a testing accident. Bartlett spent much of the year in North America, where he had a second T300, and Muir also took his T300 to the Americas. In its absence, Muir used Ken Goodwin's Formula 2 Rennmax BN3 at two of the Repco Birthday Series races. Matich focused on Australian racing, and cleaned up, with seven wins from eight starts in major domestic races, and easily won the Gold Star title.

As well as the Gold Star, the 1972 season saw a series of races at Calder celebrating Repco's 50th birthday. The otherwise dominant Matich only turned up for three of the five races, and failed to start one, so only won two rounds. Bob Muir won the opener in his Lola T300, but when that car was shipped to the US, Bartlett ran out the winner at the August and October rounds, and a third place behind Matich at the final race was enough to clinch the title.

Australia was now well stocked with F5000 cars. As well as Frank Matich's own A50, there was a sister car for Johnnie Walker, plus four more Australian-built cars in the Elfin MR5s of Garrie Cooper, Max Stewart and John McCormack, and the Bowin-built Jane-Holden which proved a struggle for John Harvey. Three Lola T300s were present, for Bartlett, Muir and Gary Campbell; Don O'Sullivan had a McLaren M18/M22; Warwick Brown was very quick in Pat Burke's McLaren M10B, Colin Hyams had one race in his Lola T192 before shipping it off to the US, and Kiwi Frank Radisich made a couple of appearances in the heavily-developed ex-Matich McLaren "M10C". However, the 2-litre cars were disappearing: Bob Jane's Waggott-engined Brabham only making a couple of appearances in John Harvey's hands before Jane's F5000 car was ready.

The races

19 Mar 1972 > Repco Birthday Series at Calder

16 Apr 1972 > Victoria Trophy at Sandown Park

14 May 1972 > Repco Birthday Series at Calder

25 Jun 1972 > Belle Magazine Trophy at Oran Park

13 Aug 1972 > Repco Birthday Series at Calder

27 Aug 1972 > Glyn Scott Memorial Trophy at Surfers Paradise

03 Sep 1972 > Motor Show Trophy at Warwick Farm

24 Sep 1972 > Symmons Plains

08 Oct 1972 > Channel 7 Trophy at Adelaide International Raceway

15 Oct 1972 > Repco Birthday Series at Calder

05 Nov 1972 > Sam Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm

03 Dec 1972 > Repco Birthday Series at Calder

Australian Gold Star events shown in bold

1972 Australian Gold Star table

1Frank MatichMatich A50 - Repco Holden V836 pts4 wins
2Kevin BartlettLola T300 - Chevrolet V824 pts1 win
3John McCormackElfin MR5 - Repco Holden V820 pts1 win
4=Johnnie WalkerElfin MR5 - Repco Holden V8
Matich A50 - Repco Holden V8
14 pts 
4=Warwick BrownMcLaren M10B - Chevrolet V814 pts 
6Max StewartElfin MR5 - Repco Holden V88 pts 
7Stan KeenElfin MR5 - Ford V87 pts 
8Bob MuirLola T300 - Chevrolet V86 pts 
9=Garrie CooperElfin MR5 - Repco Holden V85 pts 
9=Gary CampbellLola T300 - Chevrolet V85 pts 

All cars are 5-litre ANF1 (Formula 5000) cars.

1972 Repco Birthday Series table

1Kevin Bartlett(F5000) McLaren M10B - Chevrolet V8
(F5000) Lola T300 - Chevrolet V8
54 pts2 wins
2=Bob Muir(F5000) Lola T300 - Chevrolet V8
(ANF2) Rennmax BN3 - Ford twin cam
45 pts1 win
2=Frank Matich(F5000) Matich A50 - Repco Holden V845 pts2 wins
4Johnnie Walker(F5000) Elfin MR5 - Repco Holden V8
(F5000) Matich A50 - Repco Holden V8
33 pts 
5John McCormack(F5000) Elfin MR5 - Repco Holden V827 pts 
6Warwick Brown(F5000) McLaren M10B - Chevrolet V820 pts 

Previous: the 1971 season

Next: the 1973 season

The Repco Birthday Series awarded points on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis for each class (F5000 and ANF2), but also points for outright positions on a 6-4-3-2-1 basis. No final table was published, so Glenn Moulds has reconstructed the table based on results.

See also the 1972 Australian Formula 2 season.