|THE MINI MAG. Volume 2 No.2|
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Many of us old enough to remember the golden days of Mini dominance in motor sport may recall Phillip Jackson, a young man whose achievements in speedway saloon racing were legendary.
Phillip was born in Ipswich on January 26, 1950 and had a keen interest in things mechanical during his early years. At sixteen years of age he was attracted to karts and went on to win three successive Australian championships prior to moving on to speedway.
An FJ Holden was the first dirt track car used to begin a career that would soon lead to the building of a Mini.
In 1970, with the car painted in yellow, Phil broke the Surfers Paradise speedway track record at his first meeting with the new car. This was the beginning of an era which paralleled other forms of motor racing in which Minis drew crowds by the ability to humble the established marques.
In the years of 1970/71 Jacko was almost unbeatable, on the occasions of a loss the opposition always knew they were in a race. During 1971 the local success led to an invitation to race in Sydney at Liverpool speedway to do battle with the big guns. Unfortunately the first meeting resulted in the Mini being almost cut in half by a Monaro of one of the big names and the car had to be taken home for repairs.
Phil Jackson’s famous No.95 Mini.
On the following weekend, Phil and the car returned to Liverpool and, in an incredible performance, cut to ribbons the reputations of drivers regarded as the country’s best, winning every event plus the 20 lap feature race from the rear of the grid. The promoter of Liverpool claimed that when Jacko appeared he drew an extra 2000 patrons through the gate.
This situation was repeated continually at speedways everywhere up and down the country.
Phillip was regarded as a hard but fair driver with a temperament not allowing any enemies to develop either on or off the track. A notable feature of his cars was that they weren’t regarded as hot, but reliability and handling were a trademark.
His racing record was one of the finest in saloon cars in his time, having held track records at every speedway entered except Sydney Showgrounds simultaneously.
All the cars carried number 95 with the second team car being number 195. During his career he built a total of five Coopers and Clubman saloons and became one of the top three earners on the saloon car scene.
Phillip Jackson passed away in October 1973 following a serious medical emergency.
Phil Jackson – a real champion!