Monday March 2, 2015 was indeed a sad day for Australian historic motor sport enthusiasts when Leo Geoghegan (78), one of its icons succumbed after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Geoghegan started his racing career in 1956 behind the wheel of an early model Holden sedan and spent his formative years driving similar vehicles. Leo later switched to a Lotus Elite and in 1960 won the Australian GT Championship. However, the early 1960s saw Geoghegan find his niche in openwheelers with success as Australian Formula Junior champion in 1963.
Looking at the results during the 2 ½ liter Tasman Series era, Leo Geoghegan’s name was always near the front with the likes of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Piers Courage, Chris Amon, Jack Brabham and Frank Gardner. Later, in 1969, driving the ex-Clark Lotus 39 with a Repco V8, Geoghegan won the inaugural JAF Grand Prix at the Fuji circuit in Japan. He would go on to be Australian Drivers Champion in 1970 and the national Formula 2 champion in 1972 and 1973.
While Geoghegan would focus predominately on open-wheelers he still found time to partner his brother Ian in a Ford Falcon GT at Bathurst, in a Ford Cortina and later Ford Falcon. Later, he would be the public face for Chrysler Australia on the release of the sporting Valiant Charger and would spearhead the Works team.
Following his retirement from active participation, Leo Geoghegan was a familiar face at historic race events across Australia providing advice and encouragement to everyone. He was a warm personality who welcomed the opportunity to talk about his racing days and how his admirers were faring.