The passing of Bob Jane has seen the three giants of Australian touring car racing of the 1960s reduced to one.
Following the passing of Ian (Pete) Geoghegan some years ago, Norm Beechey is the sole survivor.
The legendary battle of the three Ford Mustangs around circuits such as Warwick Farm, Catalina Park and Oran Park remain etched in my mind.
A particular battle at the Katoomba circuit saw Jane lose a wheel and somersault over a fence, writing off the Mustang.
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Bob Jane’s business and family problems are well documented, though I think the magnitude of his racing achievements have been to a large degree forgotten.
So let’s look at his impressive career:
In 1961, Jane and co-driver Harry Firth won the Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island, Victoria, driving a Mercedes-Benz 220SE.
Jane and Firth won the race again the following year, the last before the event moved to Mount Panorama at Bathurst.
Retaining the Armstrong 500 name Jane, driving for the Ford works team, won a further two Armstrong 500s at the new venue in Ford GT Cortinas, the first with Firth in 1963 and the second in 1964 with George Reynolds as co-driver.
Despite the change of venue, Jane is officially credited with winning Australia's most famous endurance race four times in a row, something no other driver has ever done.
Jane won the Australian Touring Car Championship, now known as the V8 Supercars Championship, in 1962, 1963, 1971 and 1972.
His 1971 ATCC win was in a Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 with a 427 cubic inch engine.
Jane was forced by a rule change to replace the 427 engine with a 350 cubic inch engine for the 1972 championship but the Camaro still managed to beat the opposition, which included Allan Moffat's Ford Boss 302 Mustang, Ian "Pete" Geoghegan's Super Falcon, and Norm Beechey's Holden HT Monaro GTS350.
Of the 38 races he started in the ATCC, he finished on the podium 21 times.
Jane also won the 1963 Australian GT Championship at the wheel of a Jaguar E-type, and the Marlboro Sports Sedan Series, in both 1974 and 1975, at his own Calder Park Raceway, driving a Holden Monaro GTS 350.
Bob Jane was a true great of Australian motorsport.
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