Jump to content


Photo

Speed Week - Canberra - 1970s?


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 03 June 2007 - 08:48

I was doing some prep for a trip away today with a mate. We were rabbiting on randomly (as you do) when we got onto racing cars on public roads. This was after we passed the seventeenth rally car coming out of the bush from stages in the Rally of Canberra.

In Canberra ACT Australia, there used to be a sanctioned speed event, a "road rally" for real racing cars. The course started on the North side and proceeded south to Hume about half way down Canberra's 30 kilometre length for a re-fueling stop (as most race cars don't have huge tanks). The cars proceeded south to Tuggeranong then did a loop back up past the Cotter Dam.

My mate has a picture of a F5000 parked outside the Cotter Pub (which was burnt down in the terrible bush fires of 2003). This little pub was way out in the bush near a popular camping and picnic spot.

Tales of startled motorists wondering what the strange sound was beside them at the traffic lights only to find a Formula Junior trying to idle away beside them.

I will try and get some photos from my friend (not an easy matter :) )....has anybody else got any memories or stories of these events??

Advertisement

#2 Paul Hamilton

Paul Hamilton
  • Member

  • 306 posts
  • Joined: February 04

Posted 03 June 2007 - 12:33

I don't know about anything back in the 70's but in November 1991 I ran my Elfin 600 F2 in an event called the Australian Capital Tour and Sprint over two days with a road tour out to the Cotter Dam and back for lunch on Saturday followed by a sprint along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin on Sunday.

The road tour was quite extensive and included a lap around the police driver training centre. My records show that the Elfin covered around 120k that day. Although we had a police escort most of the way, I have a vivid memory of getting separated from the group when held up at a red light and then, in company with Alan Bannister in his 2.5 lowline Cooper, doing a quick blast in and out of traffic down a divided carriage way to catch up. I did have some photos of the day which, unfortunately I cannot find at present but it was all something quite different. It was much longer and less regimented than the annual tours around Seaforth which Bruce Polain organised for several years back in the 80's which were also great fun and produced many memorable sights of single seaters blasting up the Spit hill.

The sprint event on Sunday was a fully competitive event run over a distance of around a quarter mile with a 90 degree corner soon after the start and a little chicane at the finish to slow us down a bit. It was won by John DD in his Lotus 79 in a time of 14.89 sec with my Elfin second in 14.97 and Spencer Martin third at 15.72 in a Ferrari F40. The finish was right alongside a major public building which may have been either the National Gallery or the High Court.

All in all it was quite a spectacular weekend!!

#3 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 03 June 2007 - 21:30

I recall perhaps the same year mentioned by Paul that I was heading north along the Tuggeranong Parkway among the Falcons and Holdens on shopping trips. My tacho suggested 100 mph but I was being polite to the Saturday shoppers when I saw in the mirrors a red dot, a green dot and a yellow dot closing fast. Shortly afterwards Paul Hamilton's Elfin 600, Alan Bannister's Cooper Climax and Mike Ryves' Brabham Climax shot by MUCH FASTER

Another year, heading out to Tharwa, we arrived at a new roundabout being buit, over the top of which a chap in a bigbanger banked oval sedan(maybe the name was George Elliott?) spun at high speed

The best one among the Saturday shoppers, though , was Stuart Saunders in the Edwardian MAB with aero engine pulling up at the lights somwhere or other and thunk thunking away in grand style, open mouthed small children agog at every car window

#4 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,485 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 03 June 2007 - 22:06

I wonder how all of this escaped me?

In the seventies, of course, there was the motorcycle racing in the suburb of Macarthur... streets that were constructed well ahead of the planned homes.

There was nothing of this sort happening there in the eighties when I lived there. Not a thing. Best fun at that time was the annual competition for the longest man-powered flight anyone could achieve, all of which attempts resulting in a cool dunking in Lake Burley Griffin.

I'm surprised there's no mention here of the Eclipse Zephyr. Surely its patented Eldred Norman scream would have made it the perfect vehicle for this sort of event?

#5 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 04 June 2007 - 09:43

Originally posted by Paul Hamilton
I don't know about anything back in the 70's but in November 1991 I ran my Elfin 600 F2 in an event called the Australian Capital Tour and Sprint over two days with a road tour out to the Cotter Dam and back for lunch on Saturday followed by a sprint along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin on Sunday.

The road tour was quite extensive and included a lap around the police driver training centre. My records show that the Elfin covered around 120k that day. Although we had a police escort most of the way, I have a vivid memory of getting separated from the group when held up at a red light and then, in company with Alan Bannister in his 2.5 lowline Cooper, doing a quick blast in and out of traffic down a divided carriage way to catch up. I did have some photos of the day which, unfortunately I cannot find at present but it was all something quite different. It was much longer and less regimented than the annual tours around Seaforth which Bruce Polain organised for several years back in the 80's which were also great fun and produced many memorable sights of single seaters blasting up the Spit hill.

The sprint event on Sunday was a fully competitive event run over a distance of around a quarter mile with a 90 degree corner soon after the start and a little chicane at the finish to slow us down a bit. It was won by John DD in his Lotus 79 in a time of 14.89 sec with my Elfin second in 14.97 and Spencer Martin third at 15.72 in a Ferrari F40. The finish was right alongside a major public building which may have been either the National Gallery or the High Court.

All in all it was quite a spectacular weekend!!


It all sounds terrific....where the hell was I!! (maybe overseas :-( )

My memory challenged friend seems to think that the event he went on was before 1991 :rolleyes:

#6 GreenMachine

GreenMachine
  • Member

  • 803 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 04 June 2007 - 11:49

I remember these, but don't ask me when they were held... and 275, my memory is that there was little if any general publicity about them.

IIRC, the first I knew about the first I knew about (no I'm not Irish) was being overtaken by a Ferrari 500 (replica?) on the T'nong Parkway one Saturday or Sunday afternoon :stoned: :clap: ... and a couple of other cars I have now forgotten.

A year or so later I recall a collection of cars at the Sutton Rd DTC, which was apparently the base for the 'event'. One car I remember seeing there was a Matich, and also the local Sprite-Holden of Tom of trash-packs fame.

(thinks) now they are putting speed cameras on the Parkway, if they ever do it again the local rag would get a headline from those photos :rotfl:

#7 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 05 June 2007 - 03:32

Did the 500 pass you in the Mini GB??? :)

More from my friend....

I think it was earlier than 91 - but I do know it wasn't a one-off event.

We didn't go near The Tuggers P'way as the route went to Cotter via the Monaro H'way and Tharwa. I do remember that there was some sort of sprint down on the lake front. Didn't attend myself..

#8 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 05 June 2007 - 04:53

I was involved several times, at the time when it was organized by the?National Capital Motor Racing Circuit Group?

The general pattern that I seem to recall was start near Fairbairn Park(one time we went around the police training circuit), in to Civic then south to Tuggeranong, then Tharwa, then Cotter Dam for lunch, then back up the Tuggeranong Parkway back to the start. In some year(s) there were racing motor cycles as well as a huge cross section of cars, and in one year that sprint near the Art Gallery and the Mint. One year we stopped for morning tea near Hume Station(?). It was great fun to run all day, race fuel supplied gratis at each stop, the day broken into 4 or so chunks, and belting along in good company doing something that felt monstrously illegal among Canberra's normal traffic even if for the first section we were accompanied by police cars shooing us along like mother hens(then mysteriously disappearing for the rest of the day)

Special moments that I recall were running for a long time in close company with Geoff Boyd's very quick and clever Rilstone Clubman, beaut photos taken from other cars of my car in unique settings, the scramble up the hill from the Cotter Dam, Doug Partington removing my left ear drum as he gave the Sierra Cosworth Turbo Ford a big bootfull in the tunnel just south of Civic, and the desperate look on the face of one of the organizing group as he in his Mini Cooper tried to shepherd me straight up the Tuggeranong Parkway when all I wanted to do was cross straight over and drive around New Parliament House( he successfully rounded me up several times at speed, but ultimately in vain). That was quite apart from the celebrations and parties afterwards

I think those events in the 1990s fell apart when hopes for a circuit around the National Capital collapsed, and virtually so did the organization created to achieve it.

#9 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 05 June 2007 - 07:34

marvellous stuff John...I must get some photos scanned (if my mate can remember where he put them!).

"I think those events in the 1990s fell apart when hopes for a circuit around the National Capital collapsed, and virtually so did the organization created to achieve it"

.....this sounds like the group involving Ivan Mauger? Mike Atwell? they had more than just a round of the world speedway champs at the local show ground in mind.

#10 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 11 June 2007 - 08:09

F5000 at the Cotter Pub (sadly, the pub was destroyed in the Canberra bush fires)

Posted Image

Cobra

Posted Image

Is that a genuine Ferrari Tool Kit on the grass :rotfl:

Posted Image

#11 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,485 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:59

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
F5000 at the Cotter Pub

Posted Image


Quick, Allen Brown wants the make, model and chassis number!

#12 Catalina Park

Catalina Park
  • Member

  • 5,783 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:05

Replica Ferrari.
Replica Cobra
Replica F5000.

Congrats on getting the trifecta! :p

#13 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:40

What did it pay??!! :wave:

#14 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,485 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:50

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
What did it pay??!!


Not much!

After all, the 'F5000' was on replica FF wheels...

#15 Catalina Park

Catalina Park
  • Member

  • 5,783 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 12 June 2007 - 05:03

The Ferrari replica is quite a good car. I have raced against it and it made me work hard to keep up with it. It was one of my best drives in my Formula Vee. :cool:

#16 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:22

Originally posted by Catalina Park
The Ferrari replica is quite a good car. I have raced against it and it made me work hard to keep up with it. It was one of my best drives in my Formula Vee. :cool:


You obviously couldn't match him on the blast up the Tuggeranong Parkway......it must have been on the twisty bits down near Tharwa, Lanyon and the Cotter that you stamped your authority ;)

#17 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,485 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:23

Actually, I think that might have been in the twistier bits of Wakefield Park...

It is, indeed, a lovely Ferrari replica.

#18 eldougo

eldougo
  • Member

  • 6,352 posts
  • Joined: March 02

Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:57

That is Sam Johnson replica Ferrari it has been around for some years now Lovely Car. Last time i ran against it was at Guyra road course.

#19 Catalina Park

Catalina Park
  • Member

  • 5,783 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 12 June 2007 - 09:06

I ran against Sam and the Ferrari at Amaroo in the early 80's (was it really that long ago!) The Ferrari had only recently been completed and both Sam and I were doing our CAMS OLT (Observed Licence Test) We ended up having a great dice with the Ferrari having more power and the Vee having better cornering and braking. Happy days! :)

Advertisement

#20 fredeuce

fredeuce
  • Member

  • 355 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 13 June 2007 - 06:12

That F5000 is a bit of an unusual looking beast.

Apart from the wheels the motor sits very high and appears to have an odd induction setup on it.

Anybody have any clues as to what it is?

#21 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,485 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 13 June 2007 - 07:35

Although I'd swear I've never seen it before in that form, there is something about the body, especially the nose, that's familiar...

#22 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 13 June 2007 - 09:38

Le Chalutier, I think was the name given to it. No, I dont know why.

It ran at that Canberra thingo, including the Art Gallery sprint, also at Eastern Creek at least once

It was a strange and wondrous beast, allegedly built by a bloke in an isolated timber mill thinking that he'd like to build a racing car.... so he did( or so the story went)

If you think the body on the car looks somehow familiar, you should have seen the driver's girlfriend's tight pants at the Art Gallery sprint

#23 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,485 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 13 June 2007 - 09:59

What engine was it, John?

With wheels like that and an engine like that, it must surely have been a lot of fun to drive!

#24 fredeuce

fredeuce
  • Member

  • 355 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 13 June 2007 - 23:55

Given the shape of the rocker covers and the exhaust port spacings I would hazard a guess it is a small block Chevrolet.

#25 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 24 September 2011 - 04:48

Macarther and Fadden Pines was an area used for Motorsport in the late 1970s.

Posted Image

A memorial plaque (vandalised/stolen), is in the park behind the pre-school building (which is where the pits used to be).

Here's a pic of Stu (Avant) and someone at the dedication of the plaque.

http://sphotos.ak.fb...083_39307_n.jpg


For a few short years Macarthur was part of the ACT's motorsport activities. In 1978 a group of Canberra motorcycle racers approached the Department of the Interior for permission to use an unbuilt, yet developed, area in one of the unused suburbs in Tuggeranong for racing. The Department gave them permission provided they found a suitable suburb that was well away from built-up areas in the closest suburb, Kambah, and that they complied with noise restrictions of that time. Macarthur, which was being developed but not actively being built upon, was chosen and was thus called Macarthur Park.
Macarthur Park used Coyne Street, Jackie Howe Crescent, Merriman Crescent and Carson Street to form the circuit and the undulating nature of the course made it one of the most attractive road courses in south-east Australia. The Canberra Road Racing Club (formed while racing at Fairburn Park) organised its first race meeting in 1978. Between 1978 and 1982 many race meetings and championship races were run with some modifications to the circuit made to accept sidecars in the last two years of competition.

Now that the suburb has been developed the circuit no longer exists. The only signs are the miscoloured traffic island extension on Coyne Street, which was put back in after the island was shortened to allow sidecars to be raced on the circuit, and a sign in the nearby pines about 50 metres from a small off-street carpark that explains the short history of the circuit and the riders that rode it. Visitors to the area may notice the name of Wayne Gardener on the sign.


Posted Image

Great to read that the likes of Robbie Phillis, Stu Avant, Greg Hansford and Wayne Gardiner all raced there...previously (for some obscure reason) I thought that the events were some sort of lap dash format..

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 24 September 2011 - 04:52.


#26 cheapracer

cheapracer
  • Member

  • 10,388 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 24 September 2011 - 05:32

http://www.flickr.co...6168331/detail/



#27 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 24 September 2011 - 06:06

Great stuff cheapracer...maybe someone can get the sign a) replaced, and b) moved to the Pines!! :wave:

#28 cheapracer

cheapracer
  • Member

  • 10,388 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 24 September 2011 - 07:07

This is the sign I gather ...

Posted Image

From here http://theracingline...thur/index.html

#29 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 24 September 2011 - 10:15

Yep...cept the sign is gone, leaving only the steel frame and its sitting alone behind a derelict pre-school :|

#30 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 25 September 2011 - 08:22

Let me attempt to draw a number of strands together( even before I look at cheapracer's ( and others') contributions:
1. I recall seeing on TV long ago rally cars fanging around what later became Macarthur Park ( but at the time I knew nothing...). I particularly recall Colin Bond/ John Dawson Damer in (perhaps) red/gold Ford Escort, inside front wheel high in the air
2. I also recall seeing on TV Stu Avant & co on Serious M/bikes at the same place( but I didnt know that either at the time). I suspect that the TV ad for magnetized wound healing thingies showing Steve Trinder's huge m/cycle crash shows Macarthur Park
3. Those ex Murrumburrah boys and Sons of Ronnie Reid, Malcolm Reid and Graeme Hawker bought blocks of land and built houses there, one in Bracker Place and the other just down the slope at ???, Graeme later telling me about sitting on a big rock on his not-yet-built place spectating at both rally and bikes....
4. Admitting to nothing, Your Honour, I admit that I and others later tested the circuit, clearly demonstrating to ourselves that what the experts did was impossible. We also have had a death defying party or two at both those residences, on one occasion at least creating more fireworks than they ever did at Macarthur Park
5 The Sam Johnson Dino Ferrari replica was driven on those round Canberra things by Sam, but also exuberantly test driven( perhaps at Fairbairn Park?) by another of Ronnie Reid's sons, Bill
6. Bill Reid was one of those involved in the Capital City Race Circuit organizing thingie..
7.The Le Chalutier pictured above has just recently been bought by former Milano Zephyr opposite lock exponent and also MG person Stewart Schofield

#31 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 25 September 2011 - 08:41

Cheapracer and 275GTB
Thank you so much. I have now looked at all that..... just wonderful( including being reminded of the skills and talents and exuberance of the remarkable Graeme Crosby)....
and I saw Graeme Hawker's house!

#32 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 25 September 2011 - 10:49

Cheapracer and 275GTB
Thank you so much. I have now looked at all that..... just wonderful( including being reminded of the skills and talents and exuberance of the remarkable Graeme Crosby)....
and I saw Graeme Hawker's house!


Hi John...most welcome...fascinating chapter in Canberra motorsport....the Rally stages were for the Castrol international rally made famous in the film 40 Split Seconds which showed off the fabulous skills of the likes of Ari, Colin Bond, Peter Brock, JDD etc... hope you weren't at Wakefield today....

#33 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 25 September 2011 - 22:24

275
I WAS at Wakefield Park, parked in the swamp working lying under the car freezing/thawing/freezing,...

#34 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,245 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 26 September 2011 - 12:25

quote name='john medley' date='Sep 26 2011, 08:24' post='5305368']
275
I WAS at Wakefield Park, parked in the swamp working lying under the car freezing/thawing/freezing,...
[/quote]

you forgot getting damp...I must get around the traps more :)