The warmth of a small town welcome helped ease the chill of a Darling Downs highland morning at Morgan Park as competitors in the 2016 National Historic broke the ice off windscreens in preparation for the first race of the morning. The two-day event saw blue skies and a diverse entry list with racers travelling from all eastern states as well as from New Zealand to the circuit near Warwick in Queensland for a competitive event with fantastic camaraderie.
Brisbane-based Craig Allan took the Jack Lacey Trophy in the feature race of the weekend in his 1972 Torana GTR XU-1 with Bill Attard in a 1972 Mazda RX-2 second and Kevin Heffernan bringing his battered 1969 Holden Monaro
GTS 350 home in third. The regularity trials proved to be popular, with 50 entrants keen to test themselves and their cars in a category designed to offer maximum fun on track for a minimal outlay with a diverse grid spanning more than 60 years of metal from 1930s Austin to 1990s Nissans all on track together. In the Mini Celebration Trophy, Graham Russell lifted the title in his 1968 Morris Cooper S from Adam Duce in a Leyland Clubman GT and Chris Collett in his Cooper S. In the QLD Tourist Trophy, Kiwi Peter Boel in his 1968 Flintstone-Lotus 23B had the locals measure with Ron Hay in his 1980 Lola T590 Sports 2000 and Stan Adler in a 1975 Porsche 911 standing on the lower steps.
The HRCCís own trophy race was taken by David Kent piloting a 1975 Chevron B29 followed by Robert Foster in a 1975 March 75B and Barry Wise in his Reynard FF2000.
Bill Norman took the Chas Whatmore Trophy home in his 1962 Lynx Formula Junior from Noel Bryenís 1963 Rennmax BN1 F/J and Don Thallon in his MRC 22 Ford F/J.
ďIN AUSTRALIA there are only three of these racing and we have them all here today. I saw this particular car racing at Warwick farm when I was a kid back in 1967 or Ď68 and I loved it. After going through a full circle of owners I was lucky enough to be offered it and now Iím caretaker until I pass it on to someone else. The car always impressed me; Ford Cortina GT running gear, fibreglass body, Lotus gearbox and torsion bar rear end which make it handle superbly. I do about 30 events a year in it all over Australia, so it gets used. Itís Turner by name and turner by nature, it goes through corners like you wouldnít believe.
John French was the first contracted driver in 1962 and he was reunited with the car and drove it at the Leyburn Sprints in 2014, at 84 years old and drove it very well.Ē
ďIíVE OWNED IT for about three years; I purchased it as an unrestored car that had been painted and Iíve given it a full mechanical restoration and built it into a race car. Basically everything needed doing, the engine was tired and the gearbox was noisy. On top it looks like a street car but underneath itís a full-blown racer. I run it in regularities and sprints, itís pretty reliable I donít need to do much to it, just tune it and do the brakes. It has the two-litre Pinto engine, standard Escort fourspeed gearbox and limited slip diff, standard front brakes with uprated pads and mark two rear brakes. I got into historic racing when a friend of mine said come out and drive his Ford Anglia. I got bitten by the bug and then looked around for a year or so before I bought this one. Itís my first race car.Ē
ďI BUILT THE car from scratch with my sons Michael and Daniel, it was a great father-son project to keep them focused when they were going through their teenage years.
It took about three years but we like these old girls and we spend a lot of time on them which we couldnít have done without the amazing support of my lovely wife Leanne. But the car, itís a side-plate grey motor with a three-speed and drums, but if you drive it smoothly and within its limits youíll do okay. For a 1953 model car with the technology itís got I think it does exceptionally well. Iím basically the custodian for the car because when Iíve got it right, and itís just about right now, itíll be Michaelís and a black road car at home will be Danielís car. But this one, itís part of the family, we love it.Ē
ďTHIS WAS built by Dick Vermeulen and we bought it in 2011, I walked up to the owner and said ĎItís sold, how much do you want for ití. It has a small-block flathead V-8 and Mercury 3-speed gearbox. Itís been a lot of fun but itís a little bit on the diabolical side handling-wise. The adage is Ďan apex being something to aim forí but in my case an apex is something you see but just canít get to. Weíve done a lot of work on the front-end with braking etc. itís been a constant work in progress but itís a family car, my father drives it, I drive it, family friends have driven it.
Basically corners are sideways which is a lot of fun, and thereís a lot of driving by the seat of the pants but itís just a hell of a lot of fun.Ē