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JACK THE RELUCTANT RIPPER
Kenneth Rudeen
October 31, 1960
Jack Brabham is the world's leading driver for the second straight year, but he remains a bafflingly normal man: he likes to make haste slowly
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October 31, 1960

Jack The Reluctant Ripper

Jack Brabham is the world's leading driver for the second straight year, but he remains a bafflingly normal man: he likes to make haste slowly

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"He is not," says Moss, "what I would call a passionate driver. This makes him a very formidable competitor. He is always on form. He is always fast. He is a calculating driver. He is an intelligent and misleading driver. He will run a race as fast as necessary and no faster.

"He is not temperamental and he is not highly strung. That's surprising, when you come to think of it, in this business. I'm temperamental and I know it. Not when I'm racing, mind you, but away from the circuit things can upset me. Nothing upsets Jack."

Moss is smallish and quick-moving. He radiates energy. He is an eloquent apologist for auto racing, a keen and articulate analyst of the sport and an outspoken commentator on its controversial issues.

He is also an unabashed defender of his own driving style.

"When my car will move," he says, "I will try to win. I like a fight. Sometimes this may not be the right approach, but there it is. I like to race. I like a go."

There is a further, and critical, difference between the two men. Brabham is a superb mechanic, as was Fangio; Moss is not mechanically inclined. Brabham can go like the wind, make no mistake about it, but his racing tactics are always tailored to the health of his car. Understanding perfectly what goes on inside it, he is supersensitive to the slightest danger signal.

John Arthur Brabham has been a mover and tinkerer since earliest childhood. Reared in Hurstville, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, he was excited by cars and planes almost from the moment he first saw them.

At 3 he was hugely delighted by a joyride in an open-cockpit plane. At 5, when his mother removed the handlebars from his tricycle as punishment for roaming from home on it, he triumphantly told Mum he "could do more things" without them. When he was 10 he was permitted to cruise the family Willys around his backyard. Work in his father's greengrocery bored young Jack, so he was pleased to help out around the garage of a man named Harry Ferguson.

"There were a thousand and one things that we used to do," Ferguson recalls. "That's how Jack got his grounding. There was a wartime shortage of parts, but we had to keep cars on the road. We had to improvise and make things work.

"Jack was a good boy, not brilliant, but a good boy. One thing about him, he never gave me any lip."

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