JKL Newsletter July
Dick Willis, HSRCA Group JKL Registrar.
PO Box 280, Coffs Harbour. NSW. 2450.
Ph. 02 66522099, 0427 400158, email@example.com
I don’t propose to again bore you about how great a meeting Historic Winton was except to say that at this year’s 33rd it was business as usual, so down to business. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of the JK races and the last L race on Sunday for reasons I will go into later so please bear with me if I get it slightly wrong.
In JK with an excellent field of 24 taking to the track for qualifying it was Graeme Raper in the silver Monoskate on pole and winner of the two scratch races always very closely followed by Stumpy Russell in his silver V8 special. Evergreen John Payne was third in Saturday’s race just ahead of Queenslander Rod McMullin’s V8 special while Rod improved to third in the Sunday morning race just ahead of Mark Woodberry’s Dodge Special with John Payne having a DNF. Much improved on previous Winton performances was SA’s Trevor Dunford’s Vauxhall Special with a sixth and a fifth. Making a rare appearance was Queenslander Rob Harcourt in the Lancia Meadows whose long trip came to naught with a DNF in race 1 after just one lap. The handicap reshuffled the pack somewhat when John Rowe from WA emerged as a comfortable winner in his recently acquired Alvis Speed 20 with Grant Cowie’s Austin Seven second and a “throw a blanket over them” finish for third with David Stewart from SA with his Dodge Special just edging out Tony Osborne’s Riley and Peter Wilson’s Ford V8.
Similarly Group L had great field with 30 cars lining up for qualifying and a familiar face at the head of the field with another “evergreen” Derry Greeneklee (what is it with these South Aussies ? Ian Brock too at age 85 ! )
Derry was untroubled to bring the little Cooper JAP home first in the two scratch races and his third place in the handicap was really masterful threading the little car through gaps which barely existed from his rear of the field start. Behind Derry though there was plenty of action, Samantha Dymond finishing a strong second in both scratch races in the Lola Sports, and for her efforts winning the “driver of the meeting” award followed very closely in the Saturday race by Ian McDonald’s Elva Courier showing a newly reinvigorated turn of speed, a mere half second further back was Tasmanian Mick Arnold in the Sharp Holden and then Mal Reid in PRAD 3 who were very closely matched all weekend despite the Sharp not having the luxury of the PRAD’s Repco head. Running very strongly behind all these powerhouses was Geoff Medley’s little Nota BMC FJ who cracked the 1.13 mark to finish with a pair of sixth places in the scratch races. In the Sunday afternoon 8 lapper Ian McDonald slipped back to 7th while David Reid in Faux Pas got up to fifth after starting from the rear of the grid because of gearbox problems on the Saturday and driving the race without third gear ( usually an essential at Winton ) and lapping almost as quickly as the winner. A great face off between the Reid brothers in their Repco powered cars was expected with some car swapping in Friday’s practice to check out the opposition but Faux Pas’ gearbox problems were its faux pas so we will have to wait until another day to determine the outcome of that one but I suspect the rear engined car may have the upper hand. It was very pleasing to see such a large assortment of “square rigger” type MG’s embroiled in mid field competition with local knowledge proving local man, Chris Farrell to have the edge on the others however Terry White and Bill Schapel from SA were also quick. We were again invaded by a contingent of West Aussies with Charlie Mitchell in the TS Special and Thomas Benson in the Holden powered BMH running in L and Lou Symes in the CWM Ford Special in Regularity, many will remember this car from the times when it was raced in the Eastern States by Tony Osborne.
The handicap was won by Richard Townley in the Patterson/Brydon TC Special who was also running the Regularity events immediately preceding the Group L races so he was well in tune to the track conditions. Second was Ian Tate making a welcome return with the Prefect Special and third the aforementioned Derry Greeneklee. There were lots of cars of interest to JKL people running in Regularity such as Frank Moore’s Tornado, Greg Snape’s lovely just completed Keift DeSoto ( pic further on in newsletter ), Bryan Sala’s finned Molina Monza, the Lago Talbot of Ron Townley, the Milthorpe Ford V8 Special, the Macdonberg Special of Keith Roberts (winner of the Terry Kelly Trophy for best Aussie Special ) to mention just a few and of course no Historic Winton would be complete without their usual horde of Austin Seven Specials.
My Winton was one to forget as the Stewart MG seemed to live up to its troublesome reputation qualifying a lowly 19th and finishing 20th in the Saturday race after a great dice with Thomas Benson in the BMH but plagued with various problems and then on the Sunday I couldn’t get it to run at all under load, it wouldn’t even drive up the hill to the marshalling area so that finished the weekend for me. Home again and back to the drawing board with pretty much a full strip down in preparation for Oran Park, how did it go there---------read on.
Would our Oran Park meeting on 27/28 June be the last time we would visit this great venue ? For some years now it has been rumoured that the end was nigh but this time the earthmoving machinery was very close by and no bookings are being accepted for next year so it seems that after 47 years it will be all over and with no new circuits proposed in the Sydney area it will be sadly missed.
With 29 starters our JKL etc events were, as usual something of a smorgasbord, 2 K's, 11 L's, 4 Na's, 9 Sa's and 3 invited M's. 2009 has seen the emergence of a new champ in these mixed events, at the Wakefield Park, Eastern Creek and now the Oran Park events we have held so far this year Laurie Sellers has been the man to beat, his 3 litre Healey goes very well indeed and is very capably driven and so it was at Oran Park from pole position winning both scratch races with our current Group L champ, David Gleen unable to match him. We really need some of our quick L drivers to step up to the task of restoring order and put an L car in front again ! Proceedings were delayed somewhat on Saturday when the booked fire truck failed to arrive and a substitute had to be located so qualifying was reduced to 8 minutes and our Saturday race reduced from 6 to 3 laps and then eventually rescheduled for first race on the Sunday. With David Gleen finishing third behind two Healeys, Geoff Medley in the Nota FJ was an outstanding fourth and the best of the remaining JKL cars was Garry Simkin in the little JBS 500 coming home an excellent eleventh.
We are eternally grateful to the HSRCA in putting on handicaps for us, the five lap handicap was easy meat for Percy Hunter in the blown TC Special from Bruce Smith in the Na Magnette and Henry Walker in the also blown invited M Nalla Holden. David Gleen lost ground with an excursion and Paul Kenny had to be towed in when the carbon coil contact fell out of the distributor cap but a change of diff ratio had made a great improvement to the Harris Special. Mike Gosbell had a narrow escape on the Saturday when he returned to the pits and found the pretty little Cooper Junior was on fire, a plastic hose had come in contact with the hot exhaust but it was quickly extinguished with no real damage. The final seven lapper again went to Laurie Sellers from David Gleen with Geoff Medley again fourth.
As for the Stewart MG, despite all the preparations the problems continued when after just a few laps of practice it lost power but did make it back to the pits only to discover the bottom sprocket of the blower drive had split in half and thrown the chain. Fortunately it has a huge undertray so all the evidence was lying there but in examining the sprocket it was obviously an old break with just a few fragments of metal holding it and despite all the testing at home it was just waiting to be away at a race meeting before it finally let go. However a highlight was meeting two of Gordon Stewart's daughters who were very happy to see their late father's car in action again, even if was only momentarily. They brought along a lot of old photos and notes of Gordon's, one of the notes for the AGP meeting at Bathurst in 1958 read “blower drive sprocket broken, ran without blower” they always carried a pair of SU's just in case, may be a message there !
I was really appreciative of the generosity offered by several of my fellow competitors who offered me their cars so that I wouldn't have to go home without having had a race, thanks guys it was much appreciated but knowing my luck of late I thought it would be tempting fate too much to risk inflicting it on your cars. However I really did enjoy watching your races so all was not lost. A thought that did occur to me on the way home though, now that the seed has been planted, was that at some future meeting we should arrange for me to drive a few of your cars during a Friday practice, perhaps it would make a good feature for a future Oily Rag.
Our JKL parking lot on the hill at Oran Park looked really spectacular with 8 of our cars lined up and the subject of many a pic. If you are at any of our future meetings please join in with us with your JKL car and enjoy our
camaraderie while we share our experiences. After Oran Park our annual pointscore, which is usually based on the results of the Saturday scratch race but this time for reasons previously outlined that race was run on Sunday, now reads as follows ; In L Racing David Gleen leads with a perfect score of 30 from the three meetings held so far, second is Geoff Medley on 27 so any hiccup from David at the two remaining meetings could see a change in this order. Third is Percy Hunter on 22 and Wes Dayton fourth on 19. L Sports hasn't been so well represented this year but Paul Armstrong is well in front on 19 while in JK Paul Kenny is well in front on 28.
The HSRCA are in the process of updating their website and have agreed to have us include some details of members JKL cars. This would comprise a brief history and a pic, preferably action. I already have details on many of the cars but if you want to have your car included it would be better if you could send me an updated story and pic within the next couple of weeks as they are keen to get the new website up and running soon. If for some reason you don't want your car included let me know asap and, in the absence of any advice to the contrary I will go ahead and submit the histories and photos I already have later in July, so you have been warned, don't blame me if I get it wrong !
HSRCA life member, John Cummins who recently celebrated his 80th birthday was the recipient of an OA in the Queens Birthday Honours for “services to motor sport, particularly Historic Racing” well done John.
You will recall me mentioning PRAD 2 in my last newsletter, some more information has come to hand : I had always thought that PRAD no. 2, the V860 powered, midget like single seater which was raced extensively by Clive Adams in the early fifties was dismantled and discarded in the mid fifties when the partners moved onto later PRADs. However an article in the English magazine, Classic and Sportscar in August 2002, has been brought to my attention and it seems that the PRAD did have another life being fitted with a Buchanan body and Ford Zephyr engine in the late fifties. It seems it was restored in the 1973/85 period in Sydney, later moved to Canberra and eventually to WA where it was eventually sold at auction, does anyone know where it is now ?
You may also recall me mentioning Milanos in my last newsletter ; the Milano GT 179 I built and ran in the mid sixties has changed hands and is now with Matthew Leitch and Clark Watson of Albury and was on display at Winton with all the Great Aussie Specials, you can see it on youtube under “Milano GT Mk1 at Winton Historics 2009”. This pair also have one of the ex Wally Mitchell Buchanan Holden GT's which they have been restoring for some time but the Milano will enable them to go racing much sooner as the Buchanan is something of a long term project. Also on the net from Winton is a great report from Motormarques, www.motormarques.com
titled “bright winter at Winton”
Coming up we have Morgan Park Historics on July 25/26 and then a winter break until Speed on Tweed on September 5/6, we are back to Wakefield Park on September 19/20 while I am off to Baskerville, Tasmania for their Historic meeting, my first ever trip to Tasmania. Preparations are well under way and entries open for the Bruce McLaren Festival in New Zealand in January 2010 with meetings on consecutive weekends at Pukekohe and the new circuits at Hampton Downs. Meanwhile we need to do some more preparations on the cars so a break in August will be very welcome although Qld GEAR are running some events at Lakeside now so I may well be tempted to revisit a circuit that I have lapped many times in the past.
I believe Kevin Shearer from SA has been a bit crook lately so all the best Kevin from your fellow JKL competitors.
A welcome too to many new people on our email list, hope you enjoy our JKL group, and don't forget, if you change your email address PLEASE let me know as you wouldn't believe how much time I spend chasing them up.