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Dennis leads Brabham tributes

Monday 19-May-2014 06:50

Ron Dennis has paid tribute to Sir Jack Brabham, saying it is "entirely justified" to refer to the triple World Champion as a legend.

Brabham died on Monday morning with his family announcing that he passed away peacefully at his home on the Gold Coast.

The Australian will forever be remembered for his three F1 World Championship titles, the last of which he won in 1966 racing a Brabham F1 car that he manufactured.

"The word 'legend' is often used to describe successful sportsmen, but often it exaggerates their status. In the case of Sir Jack Brabham, however, it's entirely justified," said Dennis.

"A three-time Formula 1 world champion, he remains the only driver to win a Formula 1 world championship driving a car bearing his own name - a unique achievement that will surely never be matched.

"When I started out in Formula 1 in the late 1960s, I worked first for Cooper and then for Brabham. Even as a callow youth, I could recognise greatness when I saw it, and I'll always regard it as an honour and a privilege to have worked for Sir Jack. I learned a lot from him too.

"So, on behalf of all at McLaren, I'd like to pay tribute to one of the most illustrious names in motor racing history, and above all to extend heartfelt condolences to Sir Jack's widow Margaret and his three sons Geoff, David and Gary.

"Sir Jack Brabham, legend, RIP."

The organisers of the Australian GP, Ron Walker and Andrew Westacott, hailed the 88-year-old, releasing a statement that read: "The contributions that Sir Jack made to the sport as well as the Australian Grand Prix will never be forgotten and his legacy will continue to resonate amongst drivers and fans alike."

Meanwhile, his compatriot Alan Jones says Brabham was an inspiration to many Australian racers.

"I think he was inspirational for any young bloke that wanted to go across overseas and race cars. He was the man they looked up to and he was the man they wanted to emulate," he told reporters.

Sir Stirling Moss, who raced against Brabham, hailed the Australian as a "real sportsman".

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "My career would have been considerably less without him.

"Every race - and I'm talking 50-odd times a year - we would fight against each other.

"I remember in New Zealand in the early 50s, we were contending the New Zealand grand prix or something like that, and I had a problem with my back axle.

"The first person that came up was Jack and he said 'take it off my spare car', knowing very well that there was a good chance I might beat him.

"That sums him up to me - a real sportsman and a good Aussie."

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