The fourth Geelong Revival Motoring Festival was a resounding success with an estimated 50,000 fans packing the picturesque Eastern Beach foreshore for two days of quarter-mile racing.
Over 400 cars from home-built specials and classic sports and touring cars to open-wheelers, drag cars and V8 Supercars took on the famed Ritchie Boulevard course.
“We had everything this year,” event director Nick Heath smiled.
“We had crashes, mechanicals, medical emergencies, and bad weather that closed down the track build for two days. We had
everything thrown at us but we still got all our racing done and the drivers had a great day. And the punters I spoke to loved it, which is what it’s all about.”
Ritchie Boulevard is actually a curve, not a straight drag strip, and that constant bend and some misjudged braking brought a number of competitors unstuck over the weekend. After two incidents early on day one, organisers were forced to read the riot act and remind competitors that the Revival is a ‘fun event’ and no sheep stations were up for grabs. A few forgot that warning on day two but only pride and machinery was hurt.
The capacity entry was split in two with Contemporary Cars running on Saturday and Vintage and Classic Cars on Sunday. The quickest time on Saturday was set by Joshua Brisbane. Entered in the Production Sports Cars 4001cc & Over, he blasted his 6.0-litre Roaring Forties Ford GT40 replica down the quarter in 10.63 seconds. On Sunday, Leigh Conlan running a 6.0-litre VF Commodore in the Invited class, set a 10.74sec best for the quickest time of the day.
CHRIS GOLDSMITH 1962
WE LIKE playing with metal and I wanted to build something different from all the other clubmans. I bought a broken Lotus 7 then made another chassis around bits and pieces from it. I wanted a V8 so that’s why it’s a lot bigger than most clubmans; it’s six inches wider and four inches longer. I did everything on the car and I reckon it owes me about $14,000.
It’s got a 5.7-litre LS1 V8 running through a Tremec T5 ‘box to a VS Commodore independent rear-end with a 3.45:1 LSD. It’s just got normal VR/VS Commodore brakes. The engine came from a guy in Ballarat called Dave Curtis. He took me for a ride in his Commodore and I said, ‘I’ll have that motor, thank you’. It makes more than 300kW at the rear tyres, it’s got a bit… It’s very easy to drive, though, and hooks up really well, but it’s scary here at Geelong. It wheel spins in most gears. I’ve only raced it here and at the Maryborough sprints.
Normally I just drive it to ‘cars and coffee’ gatherings and that sort of thing.
ADRIAN MATTHEWS 1971
MY NEXT door neighbour had a 1600 when I was a kid and he used to take us around the back roads in it and I’ve loved them ever since, they are the perfect size. I’d been looking for a blue SR20 2.0-litre 1600 for two years when my son Denton found this car in Newcastle.
I flew up and drove it home to Geelong. It cost me $18,500 but the previous owner had put big money into the car. All I’ve done is fit the 13-inch retro hubcaps to the 16- inch Watanabe wheels. I made an adaptor plate and they’re held on with crutch tips that just push over the wheel nuts.
It’s got the turbocharged 1.8-litre Nissan CA18DET and five-speed gearbox out of a Nissan 180SX but the rest of the drivetrain is all 1600, which seems to be holding up to the power. It’s making about 165kW at the wheels. The brakes are R31 in the rear and Mazda on the front, but they’re not working well because you’re limited by the size of he booster you can run. I’ve really got to jump on them here.
What do I love about it? It handles like a dream and it goes like a train and it brings a smile to everyone, everyone loves them.
TREVOR WORTHING 1975
I DRIVE this car every day and I love how basic it is. There’s no power steering, there’s nothing fancy in it, you can roll it down a hill to start it if it’s got a flat battery. It’s customised a little bit. It originally had a 1.3-litre four, four-speed, and 4.11:1 diff and it didn’t like hills. Now it’s got an untouched stock 2.0-litre bottom end and a reconditioned head with twin 45 Dell’Orto side-draughts. It’s been dynoed at 145-150 rear wheel horsepower which is not bad in an 850kg car.
It has all MKII running gear because the MKI stuff just wasn’t available and MKII gear bolts straight in. The MKII diff has the standard 3.54:1 ratio and it’s got the 2.0-litre version of the four-speed, which is slightly stronger.
It has struts off a Twin Cam race car in the front end with ultra low springs, but it still has the four-leaf springs in the back with lowering blocks. It has RS2000 rear drums and MKII calipers with a spacer kit to fit Group 4 Escort rally spec vented discs. MKI vans are pretty rare now so I’m going to hang onto it.
Unique Cars had three cars entered. Journalist Dave Morley had fun in his Ford Escort RS2000, setting a 16.13sec on the last of his four passes. Craig Dean from Mustang Motorsport ran his 2015 Shelby Mustang in the Tarmac Rally category and logged a 12.96sec on his first pass, and fellow ring-in Glen Costello set a rapid 12.39sec in his Mercedes E55 AMG on his first run.
There was plenty to see for those less interested in horsepower, with music, vintage fashion parades, classic car, motorcycle, caravan and speedboat displays, and flyovers by vintage aircraft, and the Revival will continue to grow, Heath said. “We’ve had out best event ever and next year we want the Revival to be bigger and better.
We want to get a second circuit running, I want more aeroplanes and boats and the Formula One powerboat drivers want to race.
I think there’s plenty of scope for building the event.”
DAVID HENDER 2001
I HAD a Skyline with 400kW at the rear wheels but I wanted a race car, so I couldn’t be told off for going too fast or being too aggressive at track days. I imported two cars from the US and have been racing in the Stock Car Australia series for two years. It’s inexpensive and a lot of fun. These things are the ‘grey Fergie’ tractor of race cars, simple and strong.
The chassis is made by Howe Racing and runs a 5.7-litre LS1 V8 with 420 horsepower at the wheels, which is not overly powerful but it puts it all to the ground. The ‘box is a Texas T101 four-speed and it has a Tiger quick-change rear-end and Wilwood brakes; nothing else is really special. You can buy everything you want for this car brand new off-the-self from Howe, they still produce all the parts you need.
In the US these cars run in the GTA2 series and on road courses not ovals, so they are symmetrical and made for turning left and right. It is so different to my Nissan, which was a turbo car with a power band like a two-stroke motorbike and a bit erratic. This thing, you point it and it goes, and it sticks to the track like glue.