Brian Shead's championship-winning Cheetah Mk 6 in 1979.  Image from Brian Shead's photo album and kindly provided by Michael Borland 2021.  Used with permission.

Australian Formula 2 1979

The 1979 championship started with a battle between John Bowe in the new VW Golf-powered works Elfin 792 and the well-developed Cheetah Mk 6 with Toyota Celica engine in the hands of Brian Shead. The VW Golf had a bit too much power for the Cheetah, but the Celica had good torque and could keep up, the two drivers sharing a new class record lap around Calder before Bowe took a narrow win. Meanwhile John Smith's Ralt RT1, the only car on the grid not built in Australia, broke an engine in practice so he had to cobble something together for the race, flying through the field from the back of the grid to finish third.

The second race was held in pouring rain at Winton. Smith took pole position by a distance and led in the early stages, followed by Shead and Brian Sampson in the twin Cheetah-Celicas but the Ralt skated off into the bank on lap 9. Bowe crashed out of third place when he tangled wth a slower car, and when Shead stopped for tyres and Sampson spun, the race was won by Graham Engels, whose gamble to start on wet tyres paid off.

Ian Richards took pole at the third and final race in the Tudor-Golf, but the first heat turned into another battle between Bowe and Shead, Bowe again winning. With heavy rain started falling between the heats, but the second started with Bowe again narrowly ahead of Shead, but only for five laps, as the Golf started to misfire and Shead was able to pull past, carrying on to win the race and the championship.

The races

05 Aug 1979 > Calder

19 Aug 1979 > Winton

11 Nov 1979 > Symmons Plains

1979 Australian Formula 2 Championship table

1Brian SheadCheetah Mk6 - Toyota Celica18 pts1 win
2John BoweElfin 792 - Volkswagen Golf15 pts1 win
3Graham EngelCheetah Mk6 - Ford10 pts1 win
4Ron TrimRennmax BN7 -Ford6 pts 
5=John SmithRalt RT1 - Ford4 pts 
5=Tom CrozierCheetah Mk6 - Volkswagen Golf4 pts 
5=Bob PrendergastCheetah Mk6 - Volkswagen Golf4 pts 
5=Ian RichardsTudor - Volkswagen Golf4 pts 
9Brian SampsonCheetah Mk6 - Toyota Celica3 pts 
10=Peter MacrowCheetah Mk6 - Toyota Celica2 pts 
10=Ian CarrigCRD - Ford2 pts 
10=Geoff ForsythCheetah - Toyota Celica2 pts 
10=Gregg TaylorElfin 600B - Ford1 pt