Sunday 2nd February 1969
Chris Amon drove his 2.4 liter Ferrari 246T V6 to victory in round 5 of the 1969 Tasman Cup series, the 34th running of the Australian Grand Prix, held on the undulating 1.5 mile Lakeside circuit. On the pole with a record lap, Amon got a good start and jumped into the lead as fellow front row starter Piers Courage, winner of the previous round at Teretonga, apparently had trouble selecting a gear on his Frank Williams “bi-plane” Brabham. By the time Courage got his gear problem sorted, he was 3rd behind Graham Hill’s Lotus entering turn 1. In 4 laps, Amon was already 4 seconds ahead of Hill and pulling away. When Courage tried to pass Hill on the outside just past a bend, the two cars touched, sending Courage running off road and down a bank into retirement. Courage stomped angrily (mostly at himself) back to the pits. Interestingly, Hill was using Courage’s spare Cosworth motor, his own having expired after day 1 practice. In recovering from the contact, Hill lost 2nd to Amon’s teammate Derek Bell, putting the Ferraris 1-2. By the 39th of the 65 laps, Amon was 20.5 seconds ahead of Bell with Hill still within striking distance for 2nd. On lap 51, Hill’s rear suspension mounted wing broke. Hill continued to hurtle the car along with the wing hanging on the left rear tire, giving the Lotus mechanics time to find a hacksaw. Pitting to have the wing removed, Hill lost 3rd to Leo Geoghegan. Amon went on to take his 3rd checkered flag of the ’69 series, crossing the line 23.9 seconds ahead of Bell with Geoghegan’s 2.5 liter Lotus 39-Repco V8 a lap down in 3rd. Amon’s 3 wins and 2 thirds gave him a 13 point lead over Courage with two rounds remaining.