Tony Alcock, designer /constructor of Birrana racing cars, died on November 30, 1975
, in a private plane crash that also claimed the lives of two time World Champion Graham Hill
and rising English Formula One star Tony Brise.
Tony Alcock was born in Salisbury, South Australia, and his big break in motorsport happened at the age of 34 when he started work for Graham Hill's Embassy Racing Formula One team after completing a season running the Bob & Marj Brown Thermax Birranas, with driver Bob Muir, in Formula Atlantic.
A dedicated designer/constructor, Tony first went to England in the mid sixties and worked for both the McLaren and Brabham Formula One teams. He returned to Australia some years later, worked at Elfin and there designed and built the brutish Elfin ME 5 Chev sports car for Xiel Allen, and joined Allen's privateer racing team upon completion of the car.
Tony stayed with the Allen team until 1970
before setting up shop by himself to design and build the Birrana Formula Ford car. David Mingay raced it with limited success but the Birrana F/F gained real honors in the hands of Andrew Miedecke who in 1974
was runner-up in the TAA Driver to Europe series behind Terry Perkins.
Birrana Formula Three
After some financially disastrous times trying to set up a racing car construction outfit on his own, Alcock formed a partnership with Adelaide driver Malcolm Ramsay to put the business on a better financial footing. Moving shop to Adelaide he set about building the Birrana Formula Three and Two cars which were instantly successful against all other local and imported makes.
Australian Formula Two Victory
Birrana chalked up its first Australian Formula Two victory and since then has won this title three more times, making it the most successful marque in Australian Formula Two racing. Costs beat the Birrana builders in the end — Alcock unwilling to sacrifice quality in order to build his cars to a price.
Late in 1974
TonyAlcock announced that there would be no more Birranas but that he, wife Kath. Bob and Judith Muir, would join Bob & Marj Brown in England to run a 1973
model Birrana in Formula Atlantic there. But following the tragic airplane accident this all come to an end. For his wife Kath it was the second major tragedy in three years and for Australian motor sport the loss of Tony Alcock was an irreplaceable blow. Hill's car designer Andy Smailman plus mechanic Terry Richards and engineer Ray Brimble were also killed in the crash.
Also see: Graham Hill