A pristine Can-Am McLaren M8E and a Chevron B16 made their Queensland debut among the hundreds of historic race cars at the National ‘Historic Queensland’ Race Meeting at Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick, Queensland this weekend.
Held by the Historic Racing Car Club (HRCC) of Queensland, the “Historic Queensland” Motor Race meeting for 2012 brought together well over 200 entries for a weekend of exciting races and regularity trials. The event has run for over thirty years, attracting competitors from all over the country and providing an opportunity for motorsport enthusiasts to showcase their wares and shake off the winter blues with some good old fashioned racing.
Historic cars are those from between roughly the 1920’s to the 1980’s. The classes at this event ranged from historic Formula Ford vehicles to production sports cars and everything historic in between. Star attractions at this year’s competition included the 1971 Can-Am McLaren M8E, the 1983 Chevron B16, 1957 Lotus Eleven and the 1977 Osella PA5; all beautiful pieces of machinery that didn’t fail to excite the enthusiastic crowds gathered on the windy Warwick grandstands.
As with all the cars, the McLaren came with unique history; it finished 9th in the Can-Am series in 1971. With an aluminium 496 Chevy 780 Horsepower engine, one can understand how it easily outshone the competitors in its class! The Chevron B16, not to be outdone, won the Nurburgring 500km in 1969. The history and stories of each of the cars at the race meet made for an extremely interesting and enriching environment and the owners were more than happy to share their stories.
Happy to share stories the owners and drivers may have been, but that didn’t mean they didn’t want to win races! Some very quick drivers made their way around the track, including young names such as Dylan Higgins, a 16 year old Formula Ford driver and young Jimmy Vernon, a 15 year old from New South Wales. Dylan had a fantastic weekend of wins and is definitely one to look out for. Other young drivers included the third year apprentice Ashley Heffernan, 17 year old Matt Campbell and mechanical engineering student Ash Willoughby in a 1977 Formula Ford.
The young ones weren’t the only ones gunning for good drives; fierce overtaking and on-track action was seen throughout the weekend. In the Historic Sport Car’s group, the Tiga Sports 2000 met an unfortunate early end to its race weekend: fishtailing, spinning out and colliding with the barriers on the last lap. Fortunately the driver was fine, but unfortunately, the Tiga will definitely need some major TLC before it finds its way back on the track.
Pleasantly though, the on-track drama was the only drama to be found. The event was a true joy to attend, not only because of the spectacle but also due to the sense of community; it truly felt like an event that was all about the cars.
Helen Voysey, one of the senior officials at the event put it elegantly, “I love it, I really do. I have grown up with a lot of these cars and I can relate to the 5000’s and the CanAms. There is no politics here though, this event is all about when motor racing was fun. It is all for the love of the sport.”
For the love of the sport indeed! Many drivers, owners and officials though expressed their desire to see more young people involved. Peter Mohr, the President of the HRCC encouraged young people to jump right in.
“Come to meetings, come to our next event, bring your friends: we are always looking for new members!”
So, why not? I look forward to attending the next HRCC event and learning more about the cars of yesteryear. I recommend you all check out the nearest HRCC event in your state and see if you can get involved as well! This – the sense of community, knowledge transfer and sharing, carburettors and self funded owner-drivers – this to me, epitomises the essence of motorsport.
How about you? Have you been involved in your local HRCC? How do you feel about “Historics”?