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Motor sporting things to do and see in Sydney and Cairns


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#1 bradbury west

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:51

Following Ted Walker's thread about New York, I am due to be in Sydney, and inevitably Cairns, before long for a few days. Other than the usual tourist stuff, what is there related to cars/motor sporting things, good bookshops etc to visit? What else is there that I should/should not see, visit, eat, drink, buy etc and where?

Roger Lund.

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#2 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 21:47

Fred has a sale on at Auto Book World, 207 Clarence Street, Sydney. Fantastic collection of books, preview at http://www.autobookworld.com/index.asp

Edit & Add, Tasman Revival at Eastern Creek, first three days of December if that fits in.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 22:26

In Cairns you should visit Bob Levett... he'll talk racing with you pretty well, he'll even share some of your recollections of recent Goodwoods...

Bob, with me generally, went to a stack of Tasman events (including two Longfords, many Sandowns, a few at Surfers and some at Lakeside, as well as all the Warwick Farm ones) and other Australian races of the sixties and seventies. He does have a small photo collection, not much there. But memories, if you want someone to spend nattering about racing to one arvo over a beer, give him a call.

#4 Gary Davies

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 04:41

Both motoring and as sporting as you care to make it .... drive down from the tablelands to the coast on the Gordonvale-Atherton Road. It's better coming down... better views. Plenty of places in Cairns hiring MX5's, for example.

Better still do the big loop from Cairns up the coast road to Port Douglas, have lunch or morning tea at the Combined Club overlooking the inlet then climb up onto the tablelands on the Mossman-Mt.Molloy Road, through Mount Molloy and Mareeba and onto Atherton before heading back down off the ranges.

A wonderful day's drive on largely quiet and well maintained fast roads.

#5 mctshirt

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:48

Lakeside International Raceway is set to open again in early 2007 with a new name-Lakeside Park.

Pine Rivers Shire Council press release here: http://www.pineriver...&pid=1159320011

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:56

Problem is, like most things, it's a long way from Cairns...

And Sydney, though it has some things to offer, isn't as bright as it used to be any more.

Nice to know something is going to happen at Lakeside, though.

#7 seldo

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 02:44

If he is going to be in Sydney, it's definitely worth the drive to have a look at Mt Panorama (Bathurst) and drive around the circuit. I reckon it's far scarier at legal speeds than in competition - but it will give you a bit of an idea why this is arguably the best track in the world. Sure sorts out the men from the boys. As an example:
Slightly OT, but, I do recall when I was driving for Ron Hodgson/Channel 7 that one of the team's cars was to be driven by the US aces Johhny Rutherford and Janet xxxxxx (can't remember) ..Guthrie maybe? . After the first practise Rutherford kept complaining about all sorts of things wrong with the car as justification for his woeful lap-times, and Janet was worse. They checked and re-checked everything but no-matter what, Rutherford could not get within about 5 seconds of Bob Morris in the sister car. So Hoddo said to Bobby - get in that car and see what it's like. Morris did an out lap, a timed lap and in again - result : 5 seconds faster than Rutherford and within a tenth of his own car.
In the race I'm sure they crashed the car early on purpose to avoid further embarrassment...
But, point is - it is one of the world's great tracks and worth a look.

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 03:20

And slip in and have a look at Catalina on the way through?

#9 seldo

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 04:26

Originally posted by Ray Bell
And slip in and have a look at Catalina on the way through?

Absolutely! Funnily enough my young bloke was up there recently for a look and said that it is falling apart rapidly - in fact he tells me he even souveniered a piece of the broken track for me as a keep-sake.

#10 humphries

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 10:26

May I jump in here. With friends I am taking a long holiday in Australia and New Zealand, with stops for a few days in Hong Kong going out and Singapore coming back. Macau and Old Thompson Road are on my list of visits although my wife and friends do not know this!

In Oz we will be based around Melbourne and then Sydney, with a few days in the Blue Mountains, besides the usual touristy flights to Ayres Rock and a stay in the Great Barrier Reef area (but not Cairns!!). Bathurst ( the one visit that has been sanctioned by the Obergruppenfuhrer ) is a definite and I shall be free to wander around Albert Park. How far is it, timewise from Melbourne, to see the rare, oh-so-rare penguins on Phillip Island?

In NZ my wife and I will be driving down (ten days) from Auckland, (better known in NZ as Pukekohe and Muriwai) to Christchurch (especially Wigram where, amazingly, kiwis are known to fly). What would be the best (clears throat) route between the two?

Fortunately said wife and friends do not frequent this forum.

John

#11 seldo

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 11:00

If you are staying in the Blue Mountains you must have a look at the old Catalina Park race-track - one of the all time greats. It is situated literally only 5 mins walk from the the main street of Katoomba, and Bathurst is only 2 hrs drive from there too.
It's been a long time since I last went (like 30 yrs) but I would think that Phillip Is is only 1.5 - 2 hrs SE of Melbourne.

#12 sandy

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 00:32

[QUOTE]Originally posted by humphries

In Oz based around Sydney and Melbourne...
The penguins are about one and a half hours out.
If you like motor racing you must like mechanical things so I suggest you visit the narrow gauge Puffing Billy railway, about an hour out of Melbourne, using the suburban transist sysytem if you wish. It is absolutely first class, trains run continually every day, hauled by a fleet of Baldwin 2-6-2T locomotives and a Garratt . The scenery is great, the staff are friendly and there is a holiday atmosphere about the place.
A good day's trip is to go to Echuca about 3 hours drive max from Melbourne (travelling through Bendigo on the way) as here the town is very much as it was when it was a great inland port servicing the steam paddle boats and their cargoes on the Murray River. There are plenty of restored paddle steamers that you can go on for a trip - for an hour or so or longer.
If you spend a couple of days by car you can return from Echuca via Bendigo, Castlemaine, Daylesford, Marborough and Ballarat which is known as the Goldfields Trail. These towns are all very grandiose due to having been built at the time of the Gold Rush. You could actually see the lot in one day if you push hard, leaving early and returning late. Each has tourist attractions.
Sydney is OK for a day (harbour etc), Blue Mountains a pleasant one days drive but that's about it. I suggest that you consider the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Only a half days drive from Adelaide and is what you imagine the outback is like with out having to actually go through all the grief of having to get out there. It is stunningly beautiful. A couple of days would do it, returning via the Barossa Valley, one of the great wine producing regions of the world.

#13 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 03:56

Originally posted by seldo
......but I would think that Phillip Is is only 1.5 - 2 hrs SE of Melbourne.


Very easy drive, but first,
Go into the BMW dealers in Melbourne, you really need to buy one of those M6 thingies, but must test drive it it first at one of their Phillip Island test days. Hey presto, have a happy day test driving on one of Australias greatest circuits and with luck, Geoff Brabham doing the instructing.

... penguins come later ;)

#14 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 04:04

What about Sandown too? Isn't that the worlds oldest race track still in use? -or was someone winding me up?

#15 cosworth bdg

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 04:34

Originally posted by Andrew Fellowes
What about Sandown too? Isn't that the worlds oldest race track still in use? -or was someone winding me up?

Andrew, sounds like windup to me ! regards PN.

#16 seldo

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 05:35

Originally posted by Andrew Fellowes
What about Sandown too? Isn't that the worlds oldest race track still in use? -or was someone winding me up?

Meh...! Sorry, but it is nothing very special....just a race track. It wouldn't rank in the top 500 in the world...imho.. I suppose it all depends how many of these things he needs to just tick off the list...been there - yep/

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 05:52

Originally posted by Andrew Fellowes
What about Sandown too? Isn't that the worlds oldest race track still in use? -or was someone winding me up?


Not really, but there was a race held there about 1902 or something...

I know very little about it, but it was probably a car race held on a horse track. The existing Sandown circuit is fashioned out of bits of what was created in 1961 (first meeting 1962?) in the eighties. But I believe it is the same site.

There's also the old Grand Prix course at Phillip Island, and if you do go through Ballarat you can go out to the airport and have a look at the site where Dan Gurney won his only BRM victory the day after his car got pinched.

Calder and the Thunderdome... if you haven't seen a NASCAR track this might be close enough for you.

#18 humphries

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 07:43

Thanks everyone. Now the tricky bit - suggesting a trip here and there without prompting the accusing question "Are you sure there isn't some old racing track there? THE TRUTH!!"


John

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 08:07

Well... you go to Ballarat to see Sovreign Hill, of course... and the Eureka Stockade historical sites... birthplace of Australian nationhood...

You're going to the Blue Mountains anyway, so you'll 'trip over' Catalina Park. Just to look down on it from the old Shell servo on the top of the hill is all good.

Bathurst... gold rush town... such a good view from the top of Mount Panorama (not kidding!)... look at the pics that show the distant background!

Phillip Island is a major sightseeing centre anyway, that's why the races have always been held there.

What more do you need? Oh, right... no excuses whatever for going to Calder, other than that you go right past it on the way to Ballarat.

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#20 bradbury west

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 08:48

Originally posted by humphries


In NZ my wife and I will be driving down (ten days) from Auckland, (better known in NZ as Pukekohe and Muriwai) to Christchurch (especially Wigram where, amazingly, kiwis are known to fly). What would be the best (clears throat) route between the two?

Fortunately said wife and friends do not frequent this forum.

John


John, All the roads in NZ are brilliant, with excellent driving opportunities everywhere, like having your own roads.

Remember you can see penguins in NZ at the nature reserve on the Orago peninsula, see them in their burrows and hides from camouflaged observation posts. Also you have the albatrosses on Otago, and a v good restaurant before you go out on the winding cosat road, called the 19/11 or 19/21 or something

RL

#21 Catalina Park

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 09:32

Originally posted by Ray Bell
You're going to the Blue Mountains anyway, so you'll 'trip over' Catalina Park. Just to look down on it from the old Shell servo on the top of the hill is all good.

The old Shell service station is long gone, it is now a fruit shop owned by some of my old school mates (yes, I do have mates) But you can stil look over the track from there.

There is a wildlife park at the top of Mt Panorama so you can use that as an excuse to see a kangaroo up close.

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 09:34

Should we have a minute's silence for Katoomba Auto Chef then?

Where the Cusack cars lived when at Catalina, where Bruce Carr worked on the Lola and where we all got close up to Norm and Peter and Jim?

I have piccies here somewhere...

#23 seldo

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 13:41

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Should we have a minute's silence for Katoomba Auto Chef then?

Where the Cusack cars lived when at Catalina, where Bruce Carr worked on the Lola and where we all got close up to Norm and Peter and Jim?

I have piccies here somewhere...

Hehe...Ahhh...Katoomba...where we used to phone up to book accomodation...
*ring, ring..*."Hellooo - Echo Point Motel....Yes...you want accomodation for the weekend of 26th January..?? We're very full I think...You're coming up for the motor racing are you.............????...."
"Motor racing..???? Who..Us?....No., No....we're coming up for the golf..............."
"Ohhhhh weellllllll......In that case.....Yes we can fit you in....4 double rooms was it...?"
"Yes...thanks so much....We'll see you on the evening of the 25th then....." Click.
"Woohoo guys!!!! We're in!!
You should have seen the look on the face of the manager when we rolled up with race cars on trailers....hehehe :confused: :confused: :mad:

#24 275 GTB-4

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 01:01

Originally posted by bradbury west


Straight down the middle brad....pick up the desert road below Wairou or thereabouts...you need to book a RoRo Ferry (about $160 I think, if you want to take the car across from Wellington to Picton (terrific thing to do)....then make sure you check out the Brewery Tour in Blenheim (nice A/C name) and the good wineries in the area....then on down the Kaikura coast the Fun City.

#25 Catalina Park

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 08:13

Originally posted by seldo

Hehe...Ahhh...Katoomba...where we used to phone up to book accomodation...
*ring, ring..*."Hellooo - Echo Point Motel....Yes...you want accomodation for the weekend of 26th January..?? We're very full I think...You're coming up for the motor racing are you.............????...."
"Motor racing..???? Who..Us?....No., No....we're coming up for the golf..............."
"Ohhhhh weellllllll......In that case.....Yes we can fit you in....4 double rooms was it...?"
"Yes...thanks so much....We'll see you on the evening of the 25th then....." Click.
"Woohoo guys!!!! We're in!!
You should have seen the look on the face of the manager when we rolled up with race cars on trailers....hehehe :confused: :confused: :mad:

Woo Hoo! Well done! :p
(I grew up right next to Catalina, we could see half the track from our back window)

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 08:42

Originally posted by seldo
....."Woohoo guys!!!! We're in!!
You should have seen the look on the face of the manager when we rolled up with race cars on trailers....hehehe


I daresay Forsyth was in on this little sham?

#27 seldo

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 14:00

Originally posted by Ray Bell


I daresay Forsyth was in on this little sham?

Billy? No. he always did his own thing..
Also, since ...as you would know...pit passes were always more scarce than rocking-horse poo, we would always try to sneek a few more in without them. Because Catalina was so close to the accomodation and meant only a short trip of discomfort for the ""stowaways" we would sneek a few extras hidden in the race car on the truck - our record was 13......Tut, tut! Disgraceful behaviour ...I know.

#28 bradbury west

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 22:24

Just a note to say that we had a brilliant time in the Antipodes. Thanks to the generosity of a certain Ray Bell, who made his time available to meet us to go to Warwick Farm with his friend, we had a very interesting tour of where the old circuit was. I can recommend the DVD of the 68 Tasman race there.

When we were in Cairns we dropped back down from the tablelands down a long winding road, rockface on the inside, steep tree-lined drop on the outside, for several kms. It makes a fantastic climb on the way up, and must be one of the great potential hillclimb venues to rival those in the old European Mountain Climb series of yesteryear.

Slightly off thread, but being of the Bill Boddy school supporting companies which sponsor motor sport, I enjoyed the delights of Toohey's Old Dark beer. A worthy Bathurst sponsor IMHO. Ray reminded me it was the stuff which his father drank.......................

I also discovered the joy of King Island double cream in a soft meringue dessert. Sheer bliss.

RL

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 23:01

Just want you to know, Roger, that Bob was very happy that he met up with you in Cairns...

Malcolm Smith, our chauffer to Warwick Farm, has always been another of those helpful people. He's had a number of circuit cars over the years, but never raced. A shame that time was short, or you could have discussed his trip from Sydney to the 1956 Australian Grand Prix with him.

#30 seldo

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 23:31

Since it's at least 100 years since I was last there, what remains of The Farm these days? Anything?

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 01:56

David, there's very little left, as they have extened the horse tracks down over the esses, used earth from all over the place for fill, and simply duplicated some of the horse training tracks by putting down sand tracks and those ugly barriers all over the bit round the pits.

There are photos on Bernd's Tasman site that show much of it, but it's worse now.

#32 seldo

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:30

Hmmm....thanks for that link Ray....very sad.... :( Another one bites the dust...

#33 cosworth bdg

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:53

Originally posted by seldo
Hmmm....thanks for that link Ray....very sad.... :( Another one bites the dust...

With the price of land and housing rising , there will be many more tracks to go yet. The ultimate price of so-called development..................... :smoking:

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:28

That had absolutely nothing to do with Warwick Farm closing...

Nor with Amaroo Park or Catalina Park.

#35 seldo

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:29

Originally posted by Ray Bell
That had absolutely nothing to do with Warwick Farm closing...

Nor with Amaroo Park or Catalina Park.

Like many of these things, the locals who bought next door to these long-established race circuits, then complained about the noise and had them shut down...NIMBYs ! :rolleyes:

#36 Catalina Park

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:48

I can't recall a circuit being closed due to noise. I know it didn't help a few but it was never the final reason for closure.

#37 seldo

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 07:09

AFAIK Warwick Farm was one, Amaroo another, I believe Oran Park will be another any day ...I think Catalina Park was due to the cost of upgrading from railway-sleeper fences to armco and other safety issues. Sandown and Warwick Farm only remain out of the developers' clutches due to the strength and broad appeal of the horse-racing fraternity.

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 07:33

Warwick Farm went, ultimately, because the motor racing didn't provide enough return...

The crowds of the early days had shrunk, the TAB had been created and filled the AJC's cashflow breach and when there was a few wet meetings that were ill-attended and a bit of complaint about the noise (that could have been overcome) and additional expenditure of some significant proportion required by the CAMS, the AJC didn't want to play on.

They owned a 90% share.

Amaroo went because the ARDC got into financial strife with Eastern Creek. They bit off way more than they could chew and had to sell all the property they owned so the could go on honouring the terms of the lease there. The pits at Bathurst, Amaroo, everything!

Catalina died because the ARDC had Amaroo, which was more convenient, had potential for more spectators and they didn't have to work with another Club to do it.

#39 seldo

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:38

That's not the way I remember it, although part has some merit. But, as usual, I'll bow to your irrefutable bank of reference material, since all I have to rely upon is my considerably depleted and addled neuron bank...

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 13:02

With Warwick Farm, I spent a lot of time with Geoff over the years and he was quite open about how things operated there...

He had been saying for some long time that the AJC weren't very interested after they started getting the influx of (lots of) cash from the TAB. That was about 1965 or 1966... remember when they put those huge roofs over the grandstands?

Their recalcitrance about the crossings was another indicator of their lack of interest.

In 1970, the CAMS swept through the place and put on some demands, which were partially met, partially forestalled. Remember about this time there was talk of a circuit that took in Hume Straight, the esses and then linked up back towards the homestead? The idea being that some meetings could be run without the huge expense of having the ground staff there on overtime to pull up and put down the horse track and fences over the crossings.

By 1973, the CAMS weren't keen on being put off any more. So there were pending expenses, there were some complaints of noise from Chipping Norton, and there was a general lack of interest by 90% of the ownership.

Catalina... it was reopened as a rallycross track without any difficulty. No noise or encroachment issues there, just a lack of will to continue. And some lack of viability, I guess.

Amaroo has all happened long after you split the scene...