THE MINI MAG. Volume 2 No.10
  October 2000

Vol.2 Home Page | Index Page

Pit Stop.
Barrie Broomhall.
Another Legend Mini Racer.
This month our column pays tribute to Barrie Broomhall, a local automotive specialist who raced Minis successfully and had developed one of the fastest, being able to qualify alongside Manton at Lakeside.

Motor sport started as a hobby driving a Jaguar in sprints in Western Australia prior to running the Brisbane workshop at Windsor. Barrie Broomhall Motors had the first electric dyno in Queensland and one of the first in Australia. This was a measure of his business acumen and many noted engineers and companies hired his workshop to do development work on their projects. Among the more famous was Eldred Norman doing testing with supercharging and Amoco seeking results from fuel additives. At the time there was no facilities elsewhere to do this work locally. A sideline to the Broomhall business was the assembly of Lotus Cars for the Queensland agent and in some cases the Australian market. In those days the cars arrived in boxes and were then built and supplied to the dealers for sale, most were Elans and Europas as well as some racing versions. The downside was the quality of the material supplied and having to prove innocence in disputes by unhappy customers.

Having a good workshop is a requirement for building a racing car and when the 850s were released Barrie was one of the first to exploit the performance potential and his car was capable of overcoming FJs and could also nail the early Cooper versions, even with inadequate brakes! At the time he had raced an A40 Farina, a model also used by some people in the early stages of their racing careers, and this was to be successful for a while. To keep using the car competitively a Cortina motor was fitted and this caused much grumbling among the establishment. The vehicle was allowed to run with the touring cars as there was no class as yet for such modifications and the car could not be included in results. For purists the sight of a Farina holding out Lotus Cortinas was too much to come to terms with, the bad news was now they had to contend with Broomhall in a Cooper S!, a 1071 S which scored a trophy as Qld production car champ, the car was later upgraded to 1275 specs and became very competitive with the best Minis at the time.

A drawback for Barrie Broomhall and other casual racers was the lack of race time to keep their skills up and this made it difficult when the big guns came to town as they were racing almost every weekend and usually had good sponsorships as well. He had at times taken his car to the southern circuits and was always competitive. Barrie is now retired and rates Peter Manton as the best of the Mini racers and remembers Phil Barnes as having a very quick car as well. Peter Manton was known to share friendship very selectively and Barrie had become close to him during the racing years and considered staying with him and his mother an honor. A get well letter from Manton received in hospital following a nasty smash was also a valued momento until it was lost in the 74 floods which caused the business to relocate.

Our club recognises the efforts of Barrie Broomhall, who not only ran his own car successfully but also supported other Mini racers at the time. It is through these pages that we can show that we have not forgotten how his help contributed to make the Minis exploits at Lakeside legendary.