A skilled engineer with the RAAF during WWII, Jack was bitten by the racing bug when he saw his first speedway event in Brisbane in 1946. So he did what any obsessed guy would do - he built his own car. At first he was just going to be the mechanic for his friend Jonny Schonberg, but he ended up driving himself and within 12 months was Australian midget-car speedway driving champion. He moved onto 'real' cars in 1953, and was soon winning Grand Prix events in Australia.
In 1955 Jack went to England for the season. He ended up staying, and sent for wife Betty and son Geoffrey to join him. He became the number one driver and team manager for Cooper cars, and he and the family rented a house just down the road from the Cooper factory.
|Jack Brabham wins the trophy race at Silverstone, UK, in a Cooper, 1959|
|Jack Brabham and wife Betty, 1959|
At the 1959 American Grand Prix in Florida, Jack ran out of fuel and pushed his car the last 200m or so. Although he lost the race to New Zealand's Brice McLaren, jack's point score of 31 earned him the World Title, putting Australia on top of the world championships for the first time.
|Jack Brabham, world champion, 1959|
The Brabhams lived in Surrey for most of the 1960s - hence why even I know of him - my Australian parents lived in Surrey when I was born in 1969.
|Betty Brabham with sons Geoff 14, David 1, and Gary 5 at home in Surrey 1966|
Sir Jack and Betty divorced in 1994 after 43 years of marriage, and he married Margaret in 1995. Betty died in September 2013.