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It’s The Pits – JKL Newsletter November 2016

Monday, November 14th, 2016

JKL Its the Pits November

Mal Reid’s November JKL newsletter has gone out to fans of pre-1930s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s historic racing and sports cars, and is now available for you to peruse on the Club website. Read on, and enjoy!

Well, the JKL fraternity sure have had a busy few months with events every month and in September two in a row at Wakefield Park.

This year’s Historic Winton was the 40th running of that event but it was the VSCCA in conjunction with the management of Wakefield Park who would put together the 40th Anniversary meeting of our very first all historic meeting held at Amaroo Park on 25th January 1976.

Three of the original organisers of that meeting were still on the job to put on a seriously great gathering of cars on September 17-18th to celebrate this wonderful milestone. A big round of applause for John’s Lackey and Medley, and Rob Rowe. It was these guys’ perseverance and dedication that enabled us to gather for some wonderful racing in the same vain as that very hot and historic day in 1976.

And what a turnout we had. 49 pre 1961 sports and racing cars fronted up for practice in the racing categories which were split into 3 divisions and the 37 regularity cars were split into 2 divisions.

As was the format 40 years ago, there would also be several fields of motor bikes and sidecars racing. 70 or so entries made for some very interesting racing over the 2 days.

As usual you can never really know or predict what the weather will be doing out on the edge of the Breadalbane Plains at Goulburn but one think we knew, it was not going to be 40 degree’s like it use to be at Amaroo Park. A few showers and cold winds for most of the weekend were forecast and this was after many weeks of rain. The trick for the weekend was not to go off the track as the outfield was seriously boggy and slippery.

Group C were the first cars out and conditions were a bit tricky with water flowing over the track in several spots, with a big flow just at the exit to turn 2 heading up the hill from the main straight and another in the middle of the fish hooks opposite the pits.

Jim Elphick’s Gazelle Ford was quickest from Matt Snape in the Amilcar Willys and Peter Lubrano MG TC Spl. Bruce Wells managed to man handle the big Hudson Terraplane around to be next from Brian Parkinson Lea Francis 5th and Ian Motley in the little Austin 7 next 6th, Trevor Dunford 1934 Vauxhall 7th Robert Sales Marsel Spl and Rees Mackay 9th. Rees was one of the original competitors in 76 when he competed in an MCTC so it was great to see him still going strong this time in his trusty Riley 9/14. Rounding out the top 10 was Andrew Halliday in the first of the air-cools running his Mk 5 Cooper. The rest of this group was made up of John Murn Decca Major, Steen Pederson Samson Spl, our illustrious organiser John Lackey in the Tomlinson MG replica, Stirling Mackay Riley and Geoff Hood all the way from Vic in the 1923 Alvis 12/50.

By the time Group B hit the track things were drying out a little and times started to come down. 20 started practiced and 20 finished including 1 wring in from Group A. I was so excited to finally get the Prad Mk 3 back on the track after a long and painful motor rebuild that I jumped the gun and went out in the wrong group. No damage done and at the end of the session it was the David Medley/Hamilton on pole from Peter McKnight (a regular Vic visitor to our Wakefield Park meetings) Aarons Spl and Greg Snape/Donnington Riley 3rd, and Ross Hodgson in the amazingly quick black MGTC filing out the first 2 rows.

Great to see Ross blowing the cob webs out of the MG and his TC was just ahead of the Ian Edgar example only a few 10ths behind. Another car we haven’t seen for a while is the Cooper BMW of Graham Snape. Graham and the super quick little Cooper are a seriously quick combination and I and many others were looking forward to seeing them moving up the order as I think Grahams practice times didn’t reflect the true potential of the little flat twin BMW.

Bernie Mylon and Graham Hawker in the Morris Spl and Kam MG Holden were next and rounding out the top 10 was Colin Sullivan / Elfin Streamliner. The next 5-6 cars were only a second or so apart but I have to make special mention of the return of the magnificent Day Ford Spl now in the hands of meeting organiser Rob Rowe.

Brought recently from the estate of the late Mal Biddlecombe it is wonderful to have it back on the track and in the hands of one of the founding fathers of Historics and an absolute stalwart of our old car racing in Robbie Rowe. Well done on your purchase and thanks from us all for your efforts in the organising of the meeting with your other 2 amigos John Lackey and John Medley.

Group A cars hit the track and the track was now in pretty good shape just a little slippery at the end of the straight. This special meeting has brought out all the big guns in the pre 60 cars and it was good to see Dick Willis having a run in the Mildren Climax. I think the thought or some serious competion from the Dalro Jag/Les Wright, the Dave Reid Faux Pas Repco and the mighty Zephyr Spl of Graham Snape was too much to pass up.

And after practice it was revealed that the Mildren was still top of the charts but not by much and it was looking likely that there would be some pretty serious races over the 2 days of completion. Dick sat on pole only .5 sec in from of the Dalro and on the second row was the Faux Pas and Prad Holden Repco’s of the Brothers Reid with the Snape Zephyr and Greg Mackie (giving the beaut little Cooper Porsche a run in open company) on row 3. The Cooper Porsche is a sister chassis to the Faux Pas and is terrific to have it back in its “Whitehead Spl” form and going extremely quick. By the way the third Len Lukey chassis has been found so all 3 will be on the track in the near future which is good news for JKL’s. Graeme Snape is another of the “Originals” having run his BB Arial in the 76 event, well done Graeme.

Rounding out the top 10 was the Sharp Holden back from a major engine rebuild in Grant Craft’s hands, Paul Armstrong in the Nalla, Mal Brewster’s HDL Spl and the Prad Holden Sports of Shane Bowden. This is one of 2 car/driver combinations to have survived the 40 years of Historics. Shane along with John Medley and his Nota FJ were both at the original meeting in 76 in the same cars which is an amazing feat. Well done lads.

Two fields of regularities were made up of pre and post WWII cars with about 20 cars in each. Notable drivers running in regularity that “raced at the first meeting” were David Holyoake in the Ford Spl (MGTC in 76), Rob Phillips The Tomlinson MG Spl (Cooper Vincent in 76), and Bob King (Anzani Bugatti in 76) works driving the Sulman Singer which was there in 76 with Racing Ronnie Reid at the wheel. There were a number of cars entered but failed to show including Graeme Steinfort’s Austin 7 (Graeme ran the Russel Morris in 76) so it was disappointing that he couldn’t compete over the weekend.

Race 1 for Group C saw James Elphick in the pretty green Gazelle Ford a clear winner from a tight pack of Bruce Wells/Hudson Terraplane, Matt Snape/Amilcar Willys and Peter Lubrano/MG. There was some good close racing down the pack with Steen Pederson/GP Salmson and event organiser John Lackey/The Tomlinson Spl on a few hundredths/sec apart.

Group B had 17 faced the starter for the 5 lapper and it was Simon Pymble first home in the David Medley Hamilton BMC from the MGTC’s of Ross Hodgson and Ian Edgar. Bernie Mylon /Morris Spl and Graeme Snape/Cooper BMW were next with son Greg Snape hot on dad’s exhaust in the Donnington Riley and Graham Hawkers Kam MG Holden showing a good turn of speed to be 7th. Terry White/MGTC, Alan Morton (builder of the Kam) next in the Alba Triumph and Rob Rowe in his first race in the Day Ford V8 Spl 10th.

The Group A big guns were next and Dick Willis showed that the 2 litre Mildren Climax was still the Lb car to beat finishing some 5 seconds in front of the Repco Holden engined Faux Pas of Dave Reid. David must have been having a bit of a go as he managed to set fastest time with a 1.11.44 sec lap. Les Wrights big Dalro Jag is a bit of a handful around the tight confines of Wakefield Park and he managed 3rd ahead of the super quick Sharp Holden of Grant Craft. Also impressing was Greg Mackie in the Cooper Porsche also into the hi 1.12 sec bracket and only 2 10ths behind the Sharp.

Paul Armstrong/Nalla had a bit of a lonely race 6th but the Prad Sports/Shane Bowden and 3 litre Healey of Colin Goldsmith had a great tussle to finish 1 10th apart at the chequered flag. John Medley/Nota FJ and David Armstrong/ Cicada BMC rounded out the top 10.

The second race on Saturday afternoon for all groups didn’t see any change in the placing at the front of the field, but it was noted that as the weekend moved on the lap times were slowly coming down. Simon Pymble/ Hamilton BMC snuck into the 15’s in Group B and Dave Reid/Faux Pas really closed the gap on the Mildren finishing only 2 10ths behind Dick and again setting fastest lap with a very respectable 1.10.55 sec lapin Group A. The highlight of the race for me was finishing the race in Prad Mk3, the first such occurrence for several years. Much relief following a major engine rebuild and many DNF’s.

Sunday was again cold but no rain (yet) and 3 runs for each group were scheduled. In the Group C race Peter Lubrano/MGTC managed to jump a few spots to grab 2nd just behind Jim Elphick/Gazelle who had netted a hat trick of wins for the weekend. Rees Mackay also moved up finishing 4th behind Bruce Wells/Hudson and John Murn finally got the Decca Major cracking to finish just behind Matt Snape/Amilcar Willys.

The skies were looking bleak and a light sprinkle of rain saw times for the next Group B race slow, but Simon Pymble continued on his winning way from Ross Hodgson’s black TC which was unusually slow this weekend. By the time the group A cars rolled out the track was a little damp but not soaking. This was to upset the order of things as the 2 quick rear engined “Aussie Coopers” lost their edge and the other Cooper copy, the front engined one, (Prad Mk3) managed to not only finish another race but register its first win in several years after a great battle with the Les Wright Dalro and Whitehead Porsche of Greg Mackie. Thanks to our master spanner man “Froggy” Vigneron for his efforts in getting the Repco Holden really flying. John Medley was another to take advantage of the slippery condition to finish behind the Faux Pas in 6th.

From here the weather conditions went from bad to worse, and by the time the handicaps were run and won the track conditions could only be described as “extremely wet”. Group C handicap was won by Rees Mackay from Ian Motley. Group B was an MG affair with Ian Edgar and Terry Whites TC’s 1st and 2nd from the Kam MG Holden of Graham Hawker a very well deserved 3rd and Rob Rowe in the big Ford V8 Day Spl 4th. Group A saw Jim ”Stumpy” Russel take home the gold from the MG of Tim Wright and Shane Bowden’s Prad 5 3rd, a fitting result for car and driver who are still very active competitors even after 40 years.

The seriously wet weather turned many off and cars were put on their trailers as most had had enough for the weekend. The last scheduled 3 races were combined and even then only 6 faced the starter. It was most fitting that one of the 2 original car driver combination here this weekend that raced at that first meeting in 1976 should win. Well done to Shane Bowden and his beautifully prepared and driven Prad 5 in taking out the last event of the weekend in drenching rain.

To John Lackey, John Medley and Robert Rowe I would like to convey my and all the other competitors hearty thanks for your combined efforts in getting this wonderful meeting together. You guys along with Matt Baragwanath of Wakefield Park Raceway deserve a big pat on the back and maybe a beer or 6 for your efforts in getting together such a wonderful array of pre 61 cars and bikes together for this 40th Anniversary meeting.

I didn’t race at the Amaroo Park meeting on the 25th January 1976 but I was lucky enough to be there pit crewing for father Ron and the Sulman Singer. There have been many a race meeting since then and I have been privileged to be part of our Historic racing fraternity as a competitor since 1978, and race meeting like this one are why we love our old cars so much. The friendships and great times we’ve all made and had over the last 40 years are proof in the pudding that you don’t have to have the latest greatest or fastest race car out there to have a bucket of fun, just an old time race car and plenty of enthusiasm. Thanks again to all concerned for a splendid weekend of motor sports.

We love our old cars and racing them so much that many of us decided to do it all over again the following weekend again at Wakefield Park for the HSRCA’s spring race meeting. Thanks to Wakefield Park those that wanted to were able to leave their cars in the lock up garages secure till the next weekend. Team R did just that leaving the Prad and Faux Pas for the next meeting but sadly the poor old Sulman Singer would be a non starter.

Paul Trevethan had been pencilled in to drive the Sully at the 40th Anniversary meeting but a crook back put him out for the weekend so we enlisted Bob King to drive for the meeting. Bob managed to do only a few laps before our $300 motor blew up in spectacular fashion. You’d recon that a $300 motor would last more than 6-7 years wouldn’t you? The Sulman will be back quicker than ever in the New Year so look out all you Austin 7’s and MG’s!

Because many had decided to run only one meeting entries for the Spring HSRCA event were down to only 13 starters which was disappointing but not unexpected. Nick McDonald made the trip up from Melbourne with father Ian’s very rapid Elva Courier and Dick “I’ll race everywhere” Willis was back this time with the Nota Major. Others to back up were Les Wright/Dalro, Paul Armstrong/Nalla, Peter Stratton/Ford V8 Spl, Bernie Mylon/Morris Spl and Ian Motley/Austin 7 so well done to these guys.

Qualifying results had the McDonald Elva on pole from me in the Prad Repco Mk3, and Dick in the Nota 3rd with the Dalro alongside him in 4th to complete row 2. Row 3 was an all Holden affair with the Repco headed Faux Pas 5th and the non cross-flow headed but supercharged Nalla 6th. Connor Ryan from Vic was coming to grips well in the Elgaram Jag 7th and the big Ford V8 of Peter Stratton beside him in 8th. Barry Bates/Thompson Spl, Bernie Mylon/ Morris Spl rounded out the top 10 with Steve Byrnes/MGTC, Ian Motley/Austin 7 and David McKenzie/ Elfin Streamliner filling the last 2 rows.

Race 1 and Nick McDonald continued on his winning ways to finish 2 seconds ahead of the big Dalro Jag and the Faux Pas 3rd after a slow start and having a somewhat lonely race. Things would change somewhat for the Saturday afternoon race. The drivers of the 2 team R Holden Repco’s finally got the sleep out of their eyes and managed to end the McDonald/ Elva Courier dominance with a terrific battle over 9 laps to finish 1-2, the rear engined Faux Pas 1st, and the front engined Prad 2nd , comfortably ahead of the Elva 3rd and Dick Willis 4th in the Nota Major.

Sunday morning and the weather was still clear but cool and at the end of 10 laps the front engined Prad finally had a win over brother David’s Faux Pas. The previous days racing had taken its toll on the big Dalro which was retired for the weekend and it was Nick/Elva and Dick/ Nota Major for the minor placings.

The punishing pace of the race also took its toll on the Prad which had been going the best it’s ever gone this weekend and as it crossed to line the oil light came on and I coasted to a halt after the chequered flag fell. This, as well as 5 broken spokes in the back LH wheel put an end to my weekend but after a win over the Faux Pas I didn’t mind!

Race 25 had the field down to 8 cars as the 2 weekends back to back started to take its toll. The Faux pas and Elva comfortably headed the field from Peter Stratton/Ford V8 and the pretty Elfin Streamliner/John Evans 4th. Mylon/Morris, Byrnes/MGTC, Goulding/Nota Sportsman and Motley/Austin 7 rounded out the field.

All but 3 hearty drivers had called it enough by the end of the day. At the end of 7 laps it was John Evans Elfin home 1st from Steven Byrnes MGTC 2nd and Ian Motley Austin & 3rd. It was always going to be a hard task to get the big numbers like we have been getting to this Spring meeting at WP but those that turned up had another good weekend of fun, at times fast and most of the time furious racing.

The HSRCA Sydney Motor Sport Park meeting will have been run and won by the time you all read this. The numbers of JKL’s are reported to be very low and this issue will be the subject of debate in the coming months. In the mean time I will take this opportunity to you wish all a very Happy Christmas and safe merry and prosperous New Year and may you all race hard and safe in 2017.

Cheers,
Mal Reid

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