One of the true pioneers of Australian motor sport, Hope Bartlett, was the first inductee announced at the fourth Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame dinner, presented by Famous Insurance at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight.
The late Bartlett, the uncle of fellow Hall of Fame recipient Frank Gardner, made a name for himself on the famous Maroubra Speedway in the 1920s.
The Maroubra venue which was a 1.4km concrete oval that allowed Bartlett to run his Sunbeam at speeds of 160km/h without any outside safety barriers on the 37-degree banking.
A decade earlier, Bartlett got his taste for speed as a teenager when he became one of the first works riders in the country for Zenith on a belt-driven bike.
Bartlett ran a successful bus company out of Katoomba in the late 1920s before moving the operation to the South Coast of New South Wales.
He was a champion golfer and tennis player and had success on two and four wheels as well as on water in his famous hydroplanes.
Hope actually took young Frank under his wing when he ran away from an orphanage at the age of nine and put him to work in the bus business.
In the 1930s, Bartlett was twice a winner of the then-coveted New Zealand Cup in a Vauxhall and a Bugatti.
Bartlett’s career lasted 40 years before he won his final ever race in an XK Jaguar at Bathurst in 1951.
Bartlett’s medal was accepted by fellow Hall of Famer, Jim Richards, who worked with Gardner for many years.
“There is no doubt that Hope Bartlett was one of the great pioneers of Australian motorsport and from an era where competitors were more than brave,” said Richards.
“He was also a fantastic multitasker in business and sport.
“Hope was actually the uncle of fellow Hall of Fame inductee Frank Gardner, who I worked with for many years and the reason I have been given the honour of accepting this award tonight.
“He obviously also instilled plenty of his own work ethic into young Frank who picked up many of his business and sporting talents.
“I know Frank looked to Hope as a father figure and he would have been as proud to see this induction as Hope would have been to receive it.”