Not many drivers start their racing in a Morris Minor, especially ones who end up winning national titles in touring cars and single seaters, racing against some of the world’s legendary grand prix drivers.
Kevin Bartlett, born in Coffs Harbour in 1940, was, theoretically, too tall and solid to drive single seaters but, whatever car he was in, you knew that car couldn’t go any faster, being driven by a guy with determination, enthusiasm and enormous natural talent.
Within only a couple of years of that Morris Minor drive, Bartlett was offered a drive in a single seater run by a former Australian champion, Alec Mildren.
By 1967 at Bathurst – 50 years ago at the traditional Easter meeting and driving a three year old Repco Brabham climax – KB became the first driver to average 100mph for a lap around what was then a narrow, heavily cambered public road with almost no run off areas.
Wire fences and trees were the main features at the track edges.
At the same meeting, he drove Mildren’s 2 litre Alfa against Bob Jane’s V8 Ford Mustang. It ran out of brakes, Bartlett won in a 2 litre car and lowered the class lap record by nine seconds!
He’s been judged to have been in the top 20 of Australia’s greatest race drivers.