Caversham – Black Jack Goes West

It goes without saying that you accept the role of Master of Ceremonies’ for a cocktail party come meet and greet for an 83 year old living legend with some trepidation, but to mine and I think many others surprise, we were given a most interesting and insightful look at Sir Jack Brabham the man, his fantastic career in our chosen sport and his good nature.

Anyone who has even the remotest interest in the sport knows of Black Jacks reputation and of his medical difficulties. None of these had any influence on the night and I doubt they are even true if I was asked to judge the man on what I saw on Saturday night. We were able to speak with Sir Jack, question him in open forum and be delighted by his sharp wit, humor and well wishes. He must have signed hundreds of autographs, spoke with nearly everyone in the VSCC Clubrooms on a myriad of subjects. The prospect of having the area surrounding Caversham Motor Raceway named after him seems to have struck a chord with Sir Jack and he joined in the spirit of the event, even withstanding some baiting over the “Arnold Glass “incident back in 1962.

So what did we get from the function? Well we now know that after many years Sir Jack and Arnold made their peace, even an acknowledgement that after many years it had become a light hearted conversation piece. We got to learn the background of how the piece of the first Brabham ever seen on Australian soil came to be hanging on a nail in the shed of a club member in Caversham and that it is now the property of the VSCC and will stay on display at the club for perpetuity, bearing his autograph suitably noting the date of his visit. For this we must thank Rob Stewart for his magnanimous offer.

Reliving the memories of his greatest feats and depressing lows just leaves you with the impression of Sir Jack which borders on surreal, he has survived horrific crashes, mastered The Nurburgring , out driven the world’s best (including Moss) out engineered the world best racing engineers, supported his sons and now his grandson, the list seems to go on and on of the fantastic achievements that bring him to be acknowledged as a true living legend and fiercely proud Australian.

If you weren’t at Caversham on Saturday I am afraid that you missed a great opportunity to meet and speak to a genuinely nice guy and obviously a person a thousand times more talented than most, not that we didn’t already know that, I mean how many Australians do you know that have ever won a F1 Grand Prix – let alone a world drivers’ championship of which Sir Jack has three and the only person to have ever won the constructers championship in a car of his own manufacture and bearing his name.

Many of the guests from the Caversham era were in attendance and were off to bed early to make sure that they were all fresh for Sunday but not before they shared some of the old times with friends.

My opinion – well I have to admit – I was nervous about how it would go but in the end it was a breeze and a really fun thing to do! Sir Jack is welcome anytime and if you need an MC just call.

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