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'The Phantom Trumpeter' - Creek Corner at the Farm


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#1 Stinky

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 04:21

Hi Guys;
Last week I was talking to some young guys and told them how much fun was had when "Motor Sport Was Motor Sport." :up:
Told them about the Phantom Trumpeter on Creek Corner Hill at The Farm and how he used to entertain the troops between races.
My question is, Did anyone know who he was or anything about him?? During one VERY boozy evening years ago after a James Hardie 1000 there were a couple of names mentioned. :lol:
I would have thought that the ones mentioned were too young at the time.
He was obviously a talented musician and also had a superb sense of timing and humour.
Help!! All those that remember "The Good Old Days!! :lol:
Cheers.
Roger.

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#2 DanTra2858

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 06:56

Would that be the same guy that played at Craven A Corner at Catalina Park in the early to mid 1960's.


#3 Stinky

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 07:17

Hi Dan;
No, I don't think it was.
The bloke at Craven A from memory used to have a bugle.
Not a patch on Creek Corner.
It got to the stage where we used to draw straws to see who went to Creek on the fire trucks it was that popular!! :lol
This bloke could really play.
One of his classics was when Leo Geoghegan blew the Lotus to pieces on Hume Straight.
The car pulled up on the grass at Creek.
The ttrumpeter got up and played the Last Post.
Everybody on the hill stood with hats off and heads bowed.
Leo also removed the helmet and stood at attention until the trumpeter had finished.
Then gave everybody the well known signal.
NOT Mr. Churchills V for victory. :lol: :lol:
Memories.
Cheers.
Roger.

#4 eldougo

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 07:47

He could play the national anthem,s of some country,s like NZ,UK,& of course the Oz one. You could hear him from a long way away.

#5 GD66

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 08:02

A better effort than that prat at the cricket, then. Been away four years and has still got the same repertoire... :rolleyes:

#6 Prototype

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 05:53

I met and worked with a guy who claimed to be the Creek Corner Bugler, Warwick Finlay (brother of Peter Finlay who was a very good Formula Ford racer in the 1970s). Warwick was a sound recordist for ABC TV when I worked with him (about 2 years ago) and he presented a very convincing argument that he was the bugler...I have great memories of the bugler - lots of grog, hilarity, hi jinks and the Last Post et al.

#7 john medley

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:49

Prototype(and Superwoman)
Peter Finlay has insisted that it was his brother Warwick. One more vote and the trophy is Warwick's I'd say

#8 cooper997

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 10:08

I think one or other of Chevron Publishing's Australian Muscle Car or Motor Racing Australia magazines ran a story on the Trumpeter in more recent times. I just wish I had noted which.

Stephen

#9 Hank the Deuce

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:01

I think one or other of Chevron Publishing's Australian Muscle Car or Motor Racing Australia magazines ran a story on the Trumpeter in more recent times. I just wish I had noted which.

Stephen

I seem to recall that one of Chevron's hardcovers - it was either the one on the history of the ATCC, or the History of Ford in Oz motor racings - had a pic of the Creek Corner trumpeter... but sadly my copies of both of these books have been lost to the sands of time...


#10 David Shaw

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:51

I seem to recall that one of Chevron's hardcovers - it was either the one on the history of the ATCC, or the History of Ford in Oz motor racings - had a pic of the Creek Corner trumpeter... but sadly my copies of both of these books have been lost to the sands of time...


FORD - The Racing History p52.

#11 Ellis French

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 22:54

FORD - The Racing History p52.




He makes an appearance in one of Chevron's Muscle Car Series DVD's as a still shot. Probably the same pic.

#12 David Birchall

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:06

Hi Dan;
No, I don't think it was.
The bloke at Craven A from memory used to have a bugle.
Not a patch on Creek Corner.
It got to the stage where we used to draw straws to see who went to Creek on the fire trucks it was that popular!! :lol
This bloke could really play.
One of his classics was when Leo Geoghegan blew the Lotus to pieces on Hume Straight.
The car pulled up on the grass at Creek.
The ttrumpeter got up and played the Last Post.
Everybody on the hill stood with hats off and heads bowed.
Leo also removed the helmet and stood at attention until the trumpeter had finished.
Then gave everybody the well known signal.
NOT Mr. Churchills V for victory. :lol: :lol:
Memories.
Cheers.
Roger.


I just want to say what a great story that is! Only in Oz!

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 19:57

Originally posted by Hank the Deuce
I seem to recall that one of Chevron's hardcovers - it was either the one on the history of the ATCC, or the History of Ford in Oz motor racings - had a pic of the Creek Corner trumpeter... but sadly my copies of both of these books have been lost to the sands of time...


Better than that... Racer Magazine, when edited by Max Stahl, carried a story about the man himself...

Originally posted by Prototype
I met and worked with a guy who claimed to be the Creek Corner Bugler, Warwick Finlay (brother of Peter Finlay who was a very good Formula Ford racer in the 1970s). Warwick was a sound recordist for ABC TV when I worked with him (about 2 years ago) and he presented a very convincing argument that he was the bugler...I have great memories of the bugler - lots of grog, hilarity, hi jinks and the Last Post et al.


Typical Finlay stuff...

While Warwick may have taken a trumpet or bugle to Creek Corner and blasted away on it, he might have even played a good tune, he wasn't the bugler. And the original was known as a bugler, not a trumpeter.

I've actually posted photos taken by our man on this forum, but I've forgotten his name. He works at (or runs) a hardware store in the Newcastle suburb of Boolaroo and still has his bugle.

When I get home I'll dig out the details. But it's also true that he wasn't the only one, just the original.

Edited by Ray Bell, 20 December 2010 - 13:01.


#14 Ian G

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 21:50

Yeah,i thought i was going senile,it was a Bugle,you could hear him between races at the causeway. The last meeting we attended was shortly before the Farm closed(i think it was the meeting where Moffat was ringing all the Radio stations on the Sunday morning urging everyone to attend),last minute decision after our Golf was rained out at Lansvale.
It rained nearly all day,there was hardly anyone at 'Creek',no Bugler(or Trumpeter),and everyone complaining about admission costs,delay between races and the quality of the fields. Sad ending to a great motor racing venue.


#15 cooper997

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 00:49

After Ray's tip off, it's RACER mag's (newspaper really) April/May 07 issue that has 'The Phantom Bugler!' feature on p61. Some chap named Bell is credited with the story. So I'll let him re-tell it.

Stephen

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 12:55

Posted Image

Gentlemen, I give you Kerry Freer...

He made himself a legend just doing his own thing. Known to all, but not by name or anything other than playing his bugle or trumpet at Warwick Farm and Catalina Park.

Kerry Freer, it turns out, came from Newcastle. Today he runs a busy Thrifty Link Hardware store in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Boolaroo, which keeps him occupied six days a week. And, after 40 years of motor racing anonymity, that's where Max Stahl found him three years ago.

Back in the sixties, Kerry and his friends, principally Chris Green, Brian Russell, Anthony Hurt and John White, used to get up early on race mornings and drive down the old Pacific Highway to enjoy their motor racing.

When the Creek Corner enclosure was opened up for spectators (for the 1963 Australian Grand Prix), the setting was in place for the legend to arise.

"We would sometimes take our instruments with us," Kerry recalls, "we were musicians and we always had some kind of instruments with us."

The picture of these people turning up at the race meetings in Kerry's early model Vauxhall Viva (all 1057cc of raw power!) is unimaginable today. A very pedestrian car, absolutely basic, but with that stripe around the back of it like so many 'boy racers' of the day might have. And musical instruments in the boot.

Setting out to occupy themselves between races, the boys would often get out their instruments and play for the crowd. Warwick Farm often had some long waits - anything up to 40 minutes between races while CAMS Stewards conducted their endless inspections - so these interludes were appreciated by those present.

"One day a Mini rolled and someone down the front was trying to play The Last Post," says Kerry. "He had a piece of rubber hose and a funnel and it was very hard to get it to work properly like that. Then one of the guys told me to get my bugle out of the car."

The bugle was in the car, Kerry remembers, because it had been in use just a few days earlier when he played it at an Anzac Day service. So the Mini driver got a proper rendition of the famous tune and a tradition was born.

From that time on, anyone retiring at the corner or in the first part of the esses, would hear the bugle call. Soon, though, this genuine WW1 bugle was replaced with a more regular trumpet.

This made a huge impact on regular spectators, and on the commentators in the commentary box at Creek. Very soon there were imitators all around the circuit, and between races they would play the appropriate tunes of the day.

"It was the time of the Tijuana Brass, so we would play tunes that they played, like The Lonely Bull. You could hear it going right around the circuit between races!"

When Kerry went to Catalina Park he and his friends would be encamped at the popular Craven A Corner at the top of the circuit. There he once trumpeted the retirement of Max Stahl as he rolled his Holden.

And at Oran Park they'd be at Robin Orlando Corner, at the beginning of the spectator straight. But they never took the trumpet to Bathurst, "Bathurst was sacred!"

Today Kerry has a hard time reconciling to the fact that all of this took place forty and more years ago. We caught up with him at the Boolaroo store and found he was still full of enthusiasm for the times we remember so fondly, and he still follows the racing on TV today.

Anthony Hurt is no longer with us, Kerry's hair is all but gone, time has cast its shadow over all things.

But nothing so badly as Warwick Farm. "We should have fought to keep that place," he says. "It was fabulous, it was the best we had, it should never have been allowed to die."

Edited by Ray Bell, 20 December 2010 - 12:58.


#17 planeimages

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 02:00


Be that as it may Mr. Bell but I beg to differ. My brother was ]the original Catalina Park bugler. He also played it at Warwick Farm. We were at the first meetings held at both circuits. You may be something of a homespun historian but you entered motor sport well after me, pal.

I will also thank you to mind your manners when referring to me.


#18 GMACKIE

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 02:49

'Onya Peter, you tell 'im. :wave:

#19 D-Type

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:08

Be that as it may Mr. Bell but I beg to differ. My brother was ]the original Catalina Park bugler. He also played it at Warwick Farm. We were at the first meetings held at both circuits. You may be something of a homespun historian but you entered motor sport well after me, pal.

I will also thank you to mind your manners when referring to me.

As Ray said:

... Very soon there were imitators all around the circuit, and between races they would play the appropriate tunes of the day.


After 40 years, who can really say who was the very first with any degree of certainty?

Edited by D-Type, 23 June 2012 - 09:15.


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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 12:14

Well, as Peter so pointedly mentions, I was in fact a latecomer...

My first trip to Warwick Farm was in October 1962, to Catalina in May (or April?) 1963. I'm sure he was there prior to this. Was this about the first, or the most persistent, or the best? By Kerry Freer's story, he would certainly not have been the first if the first was prior to February 1963.

Maybe Peter can enlighten us as to when Warwick first played at each circuit?

#21 planeimages

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:52

As Ray said:


After 40 years, who can really say who was the very first with any degree of certainty?


Warwick and I, along with friends, attended every Catalina Park meeting in the first few years as spectators. We lived at Blaxland at the time so it had to be from the beginning until circa 1964. Later I drove the Nota Formula Vee at Catalina on several occasions in 1969 . We were certainly there at the very first meeting and it was either then or very soon afterwards that Warwick started playing his bugle. He was a bugler with the Trinity Grammar School Cadet band so he was at least competent. Of course, several of us played the instrument rather less well than Warwick and that might be why some may have memories of the bugle not being played very well. I can still render a fair range of military calls as well as a few phrases of "The waltzing bugler boy."

As for Warwick Farm, our group attended the first meeting in the rain (we sat in the stands) and also the following meeting when Stirling Moss ran away in the February heat.

It would have been at later meetings when we gathered at Creek Corner. I do not dispute that there was another player there and he may well have played his instrument before Warwick sounded his bugle there. Kerry Freer sure sounds like he had the qualifications.

Hi Greg. Thanks for your support.

#22 eldougo

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 01:54

Two Buglers are better than none to my way of thinking,they all sounded GREAT and provide a wonderful atmosphere to the crowd at both race track.I can still remember the time a Mini driver came down into creek corner changed down a few gears and blew the clutch right through the casing and it left pieces stuck in the tarmac and the flagies had to dig them out still HOT.
And of course the last post was played loud and clear. :wave:

#23 Dale Harvey

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:37

Does anyone have current contact details for Kerry Freer?

 

Thanks in Advance,

Dale.



#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:38

Has he gone from the Mitre 10?

 

That was at Boolooroo, wasn't it?



#25 Dale Harvey

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 20:21

I had a quick look yesterday and couldn't see any hardware store. The correct spelling is Boolaroo.

Dale.