JKL Newsletter Sept 28th 2009 Part 1
Dick Willis, HSRCA Group JKL Registrar.
PO Box 280, Coffs Harbour. NSW. 2450.
02 66522099, 0427 400158, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was recently reminded that I hadn't sent out a newsletter in a while but there really hasn't been much activity until recently so please forgive my tardiness and I hope the following will make up for lost time. There has really been a lot happening in the past few weeks in contrast to the mid winter period so read on !
July 25/26 saw us at Morgan Park, Warwick that delightful country circuit in southern Queensland where everything seems so much more relaxed than at some of the more intense southern meetings. Relaxed too was the JKL entry, thank heavens we have Dick Vermulen and Rod McMullin with their Ford V8 specials who shared the wins and provided great entertainment in a series of races lacking a great number of other JKL competitors. Although 9 were entered Mike Gosbell moved to the Formula Junior/Ford and M races with his T52 Cooper Junior, Peter Cohen with his invited Group M clubman withdrew being very fortunate to survive a bad turn while waiting in the marshalling area, Geoff Fry withdrew the Group M Vulcan Sports after qualifying with severe overheating and water in the oil, Grahame Vaughan withdrew the Lotus Eleven Replica with clutch problems after Friday practice and Jim Elphick who was using a much quicker motor in the Gazelle retired with terminal engine problems in the Sunday morning race.
This left Peter Yeomans with his silver Lotus Eleven who finished all four races coming second in the last race of the weekend, the handicap and David Bruce, a familiar face in an unfamiliar car, another Dick Vermulen built V8 special which ran very reliably but is obviously not in the same state of tune as the Vemulen/McMullin cars. In addition to JKL some 9 Vees were entered which also ran in these races so at least there was a reasonable field. So what has happened to all the Queensland JKL cars as there used to be great JKL fields at Queensland meetings.
I guess I am not much help either as I ran the Ausper in the Formula Junior/Ford/M races as Morgan Park is one of the few circuits which suit it with its low gearing and lack of power but at least it finished its 3 races which is a bit of a milestone for me and I really enjoyed driving it although it was well back in that mixed field.
Despite some initial doubts following the “retirement” of Roger Ealand who is now pursuing further Historic racing opportunities at the moment at the Goodwood Revival with the Gemini FJ and further on---who knows? Speed on Tweed took place on the weekend of September 5/6 being run in conjunction with the Australian round of the World Rally Championships. This year the event took something of a back seat to the WRC but with 180 entries and plenty of displays the usual huge crowd had plenty to occupy themselves with. Unfortunately the event became something of a crash fest as I reckon something like 15% of the 180 competitors made strong contact with the unforgiving barriers but most of these were tin tops as most of the open wheel drivers seem to be able to curb their over exuberance. With classes for Racing Cars, Sports Cars, Touring Cars and Invited Cars the organisers again seem to be unable to separate genuine cars from fakes which gives a very false impression to the punters when they see genuine cars being blown away by lately built hot rods. Just why they can't put such cars in the Invited class as indeed they do with some events really beats me. Imagine if you will, a Nissan engined 250F Replica, a V8 engined 1959 ! Milano GT, a bewinged 1947 Ford Popular with a modern engine to name a few, all running in the pre 1960 class and naturally doing very well which rather removes the incentive for those with proper cars to compete. At least at the Leyburn Sprints they are separated into log book cars and non log book cars, why can't this happen at Speed on Tweed ? And surely in 2009 it shouldn't be too much of an effort for the organisers to have a board in a convenient position on which are recorded competitors times as soon as they cross the finish lines. It is now three weeks after the event and I still have no idea of the times I did on the Sunday as even their website hasn't been updated, not good enough ! Anyway, enough of a grizzle, it is a great event which I wouldn't miss and some of the “proper” cars did very well such as Terry White all the way from Victoria who won his class with his TC Special but I am not in a position to tell you the other class winners but the reasons above. I ran the Gladiator very uneventfully to finish fifth in my class behind several “hot rods” but at least the car came away unscathed.
It was a long way to go for a motor race but as I had never been to Tasmania and the MG Club of Tasmania were holding their first ever Historic race meeting in conjunction with their 50th anniversary celebrations it seemed like a great opportunity to kill two birds with the one stone. Baskerville too was in on the 50th anniversary bit too having been opened in February 1958 making it the second oldest continuously operating circuit in Australia after Bathurst so it was possible to make some comparisons as to the times our cars do today compared with the times in their heyday. Unfortunately some truck racing a few years ago left the circuit with quite a few bumps. Set in a valley the 2.01 km circuit runs in an anti clockwise direction and has quite a few big elevation changes which coupled with some reasonably fast corners meant that in my car for instance, only 3rd and 4th gears were required. The outright record was set way back in 1982 at 50.16 secs by a Ralt RT4 in the hands of John Bowe who was on hand to see if it was in danger of being broken, he needn't have worried !
Total entries were 88 with 53 Regularity in 3 groups, 27 Group N 2 MGB V8 and our 6 Group L, a big feature were the Humpy Holdens, Tasmania must be the stronghold of them although a few came from the mainland. Some were in Group N trim, some sports sedans and some with various other mods but with 20 of them on the track at once it made for an impressive sight and they were swamped with crowds all the weekend, it reminded me of when I made my racing debut some 47 years ago in one of them.
Our Group L field consisted of yours truly in the Cooper, local Tasmanian Mick Arnold in the pretty Sharp Holden which was going very well, Tasmanian Wayne Clark having his first outing in the Crowfoot Holden, Victorians Adrian Brooks in the Bill Pile MG and the much traveled Terry White in his TC Special, these two were very closely matched all the weekend but Adrian always seemed to have a slight edge when it counted, and finally from NSW Warwick McBean in the Holden powered Lolus which looks quite like a Lotus Eleven. After qualifying we lined up in the above order but Saturday's race went to Mick Arnold after I waited in vain for a green light to appear and missed the start and then was troubled with coolant being blown out over the spark plugs. This race saw the finish of Warwick McBean's weekend when oil surge killed the Holden engine's bearings.
The first race on Sunday morning saw a driver change in the Sharp Holden with John Bowe behind the wheel for that race only but the Cooper, with the water leak fixed thanks to some help from the locals, came home comfortably in front of the Sharp with the others maintaining the qualifying order. With Mick back in the Sharp the remaining two races resulted in the same finishing order, ie. Willis, Arnold, Clark, Brooks and White. Wayne Clark had earlier had some trouble with the Crowfoot's engine being unwilling to rev out, it was eventually traced to the timing being drastically retarded, with that rectified in time for the last race it then broke something in the drive train causing his retirement.
John Bowe's one race in the Sharp Holden really caused some confusion for the timekeepers with various result sheets showing him driving it the Saturday race, also driving my car in two races and even having him coming both first AND second in the Sunday morning race so if you have been looking at the results on Natsoft please disregard them as the results as listed on the previous page are as they actually happened.
There was some speculation prior to qualifying as to what time a Cooper could do around Baskerville, Peter Turnbull reckoned someone with a Cooper had done a 61 way back in the sixties so when I could only lap in in 64 it had me wondering what I was doing wrong but then Peter admitted he had got it wrong and the Cooper in question had actually done a 64 which reassured me somewhat. In the Sunday morning race I had got down to 1.02.97 which was rather satisfying. Then later on the Sunday I met Jack Hobden who had bought John Youl's T51 2.2 Cooper and raced it mainly in Tasmania between 1963 and 1966 and he told me he had been around Baskerville in 59 in it. So this had me scratching my head until I got home and started looking through my old RCN's and found the following in the January 1967 issue ; “At the last meeting of the year at the Baskerville circuit on December 4 the lap record was broken twice in the one race. The old record of 1.06.0 held by John Youl ( the car Hobden bought ) was first broken by Lyn Archer in the Elfin ( a 1500 Catalina which did some demo laps with a now elderly Lyn at the wheel ) and recorded 1.05.0. Soon afterwards, John McCormack in his newly acquired Brabham ( a Tasman type BT4 Climax ) set a new record of 1.03.4. ) It would seem that Jack Hobden was either winding me up or his memory was failing as by the next meeting his Cooper was in the hands of a new owner so he couldn't have set the time after the end of 1966.
I am sure the organisers were well satisfied with the spectator attendance at the meeting as thousands rolled up to enjoy Tasmania's first Historic race meeting and were most appreciative of the cars competing, the hills around the circuit were literally covered in spectator cars. As it is intended that this will be an annual event future years it will undoubtedly be much better supported by the mainlanders. As newcomers to Tasmania the trip was something of an adventure for us with the ferry trip and discovering new roads and towns, making new acquaintances but all really worthwhile.
The downside of all this is that we missed what was, from all reports, a really great meeting at Wakefield Park on the same weekend, September 19/20. With 18 KL entries this was the best turnout we have had in NSW for some time and from all accounts the Saturday 10 lap scratch race was really exciting with several lead changes and close racing throughout. Percy Hunter has very kindly prepared a report which follows: To part 2:
JKL Newsletter Sept 228th Part 2
WAKEFIELD PARK 19TH/20TH SEPTEMBER, 2009.
Pre Practice, Paul Moxham retired with clutch problems
Practice, Percy Hunter retired with viabrations-diff
Paul Armstrong retired with slipping clutch
Race 5. 10 lap scratch race. Won by David Reid without 3rd gear
from David Gleen and Geoff Medley.
This was a great race with the lead changing three times ! Mal Reid in the Prad only made three laps after several offs with a sticking throttle. There were good dices all through the field, notable being Paul Armstrong who came 18th on the grid to 5th place behind Peter McKnight. John Payne finished a very creditable 8th and Bob Boast 10th.
Race 12. 10 lap scratch race. Saw Rick Marks in the Elva Courier win from Geoff Medley who drove a terrific race to finish in front of David Reid and Rod McMullin from Qld. Good that Rick Marks
was the only Sa car in the first 8 placings. Mal Reid's Prad shattered a uni joint on the starting line.
RACE 20. 8 lap handicap. This resulted in a well deserved win for Paul Kenny from Peter Statton in his first run in the Sabakat from Frank Cuttell in the Sulman Singer. Another good race although the field was somewhat reduced.
Race 28. 8 lap scratch race. By this race we had lost Paul Moxham (clutch), Percy Hunter (diff), Wes Dayton (diff), John Scott (oil line), and Paul Armstrong (harmonic balancer). This was won by Rick Marks from David Reid and Geoff Medley who had a very successful weekend. Rod McMullin was 4th, Henry Walker 5th, John Young (Sa) 6th, Bob Boast 7th, and Rod Moore 8th. There were no more finishers from the 13 that started. Mal Reid again retired on lap 1 with more throttle trouble. He really had miserable weekend compared to brother David who finished all four races but without 3rd gear.
Our thanks must go to our interstate visitors who all acquitted themselves very well indeed. They were ;
Qld. Rod McMullin- Ford V8 Indy Special Group K.
SA. John Payne- MG J2 Special Group K.
Vic. Peter Statton- 1957 Lotus 12 Sabakat Group Lb.
Vic. Bob Boast- 1958 MG TC Special S/c Group Lb.
Vic. Peter McKnight-Aarons Lotus Mk9 Group Lb.
It was wonderful to see Paul Moxham's Bobtail Cooper- just finished on Wednesday evening, and it was most unfortunate that it developed a clutch problem prior to practice. Bad luck Paul- we look forward to seeing it run next time. All in all, a great weekend.
Percy and Maureen Hunter.
As you would gathered by now the JKL attrition rate was very high, in addition to the above, David Gleen in the usually reliable Anderson Holden broke a rocker arm on Sunday putting him out and Mike Gosbell retired with a suspected broken crank in his T52 Cooper BMC Junior.
Following Wakefield our 2009 JKL pointscore with results of the Saturday scratch races counting for points now stands as follows ;
Group L Racing for the Dick Cobden Trophy ;
David Gleen- 39 points, Geoff Medley- 35 points, Wes Dayton- 23
Group L Sports for the Longford Trophy ;
Paul Armstrong- 28 points, John Scott- 17 points, John Murn and Peter McKnight both on 10 points for third.
Group JK for the Tom Sulman Trophy ;
Paul Kenny- 35 points, Rod McMullin- 30 points, John Payne- 19.
As you can see it pays to be consistent and keep turning up to score points, our final meeting for the year at Eastern Creek will finalise the scores and we will present the lucky winners on the Saturday evening at the conclusion of racing so don't hurry away until we have had the presentation.
Meanwhile over in the UK Goodwood was on the same weekend in all its glory and we had two Aussies there flying the flag, Roger Ealand in the Gemini FJ was in the Chistester Cup for front engined Formula Juniors qualifying 16th and finishing 20th in a classy field. Greg Snape had two Kiefts at his disposal, in the Richmond Trophy for front engined 50's type open wheelers he qualified tenth in the V8 Climax powered Kieft GP and finished 11th while in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy for 50's type sports cars he drove the Kieft DeSoto and qualified 13th and finished 15th. Best race lap times were 1.35.604 and 1.39.828 while Roger did a best lap of 1.40.712 in his race, well done guys ! Also enjoying himself on the other side of the world is Tasmanian Scotty Taylor with 3 Coopers to play with, T39, T45 and T53 he has been to all the famous circuits in the UK and on the continent with quite some success. Currently he is also getting a new engine built for the ex Dawson Damer Lotus 18 he bought post auction.
Coming up soon on October 3/4 is the Lobethal Grand Carnival which is attracting plenty of interest, one of the highlights is to be the appearance of 1939 Australian Grand Prix winner, Alan Tomlinson, now aged 92 and coming over from his current residence in the USA for the event. Imagine his surprise when he is reunited with his 1939 race winning MG TA Special, or a faithful recreation of it, the performance of Alan and the MG in this race are now recognised as one of Australian motor racing's greatest landmarks. I had often wondered when someone would restore or recreate the winning car which of course in its later days evolved into something quite different in the hands of Curly Brydon and later owners. Full credit to John Lackey and Rob Rowe for undertaking this project.
Another surprise entry for Lobethal according to their website is a P3 Tipo B Alfa, none other than the legendary 1935 German GP winning car, no 50005, now owned by Jon and Mary Shirley of Medina, WA. A brother of this car, the Jack Saywell P3 finished sixth in that 1939 AGP. Actually the entry list is really staggering with a mouth watering array of great early cars which obviously indicates that events such as Lobethal are what is needed to bring the great cars out of hiding.
Ian Tate of the VHRR is hopeful of attracting several P3's including some from the UK to Phillip Island next year at their annual race meeting to be held on March 19/21 so watch out for some more news on this as he is keen to have a big JKL entry.
While in Tasmania we visited 93 year old Jim Robson who many will remember as the owner of the Silverdale ( Western Sydney ) Hillclimb for many years. Jim was also one of Gordon Stewart's crew of Ecurie Cinque when they were running the Stewart MG so I was able to add to my knowledge of those days being one of only a few surviving members of Gordon's crew. Interestingly Jim was employed by the Riley Motor Coy in the UK as a technical writer writing workshop manuals, handbooks and brochures but when the Nuffield organisation took over Riley Jim thought that it wasn't such a happy place and accepted a position as a technical writer for Scientific Publications and came to Australia to work for them in 1951. We also had look at the Longford pub at which they have gone to a great deal of trouble to accurately commemorate that great decade of racing which brought such an array of stars to what must have been a very demanding venue both from a competitors and and an organisers point of view.
Coming up soon is Historic Sandown on November 7/8, for Queenslanders a one day meeting at Lakeside would you believe on October 18th and then the Noosa hillclimb on Nov 14/15. The final FOSC meeting for the year is at Wakefield on Oct 31/Nov 1, as I missed our HSRCA Wakefield meeting I'm going there with the Gladiator.
As mentioned earlier our final HSRCA event for the year is at Eastern Creek on November 28/29. In addition to the normal programme of races we are having a special JKL Regularity where those JKL competitors who wish to run in Regularity can do so without being “harassed” by drivers of later type vehicles. There will be no entry fee for this Regularity for drivers who have also entered in the JKL races.
Welcome to several more new readers to this newsletter, Dick.