After some years racing MGs in his native Australia, Bill Patterson travelled to England in 1951 with family friend Tom Hawkes, who bought a new Cooper Mk V JAP which Patterson raced in England and Europe. Given the competitiveness of the British scene, and the dominance of the Manx Norton engine, Patterson achieved some creditable results including a second on the Commander Yorke Trophy in August to Alan Brown and ahead of Curly Dryden's JBS. In September, he took a trip to Grenzlandring in Germany for a third, to the Ecurie Richmond cars of Brown and Brandon, which earned high praise from Iota and managed a second and a fourth in the heats at Brands but failed in the final, later in the month.
Bill continued to race and hillclimb the Cooper to great effect after he and Hawkes returned to Australia. In 1954 it was converted to run a 996cc JAP twin, and Patterson won that year’s Australian hillclimb championship at Collingrove from Murray Trenberthl. The Cooper JAP was followed by a succession of Climax-powered Coopers, in which his sheer speed was indisputable. He won the 1961 Gold Star with a 2.5 litre T51 Cooper, and was unlucky not to also win the 1961 AGP. In 1957 he did in fact share an AGP victory, driving Lex Davison’s Ferrari for almost a quarter of race distance at Caversham while Davison recovered from dehydration in the extreme heat. Widely considered to have been the fastest Australian driver of his time, Bill Patterson died in January, aged 86.
Our thanks to Graham Howard and Loose Fillings for the profile. Please get in touch if you can tell us more of his life.