It’s The Pits – JKL Newsletter August 2016

Mal Reid Sulman Singer

Image by Steve Duggan of sdpics.

Mal Reid’s latest 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!

The 40th anniversary of the first all historic Winton has been run by the Austin 7 club and as usual the organisers have put on a top quality meeting. As you might expect entries were up a little for this landmark meeting. 32 Lbs and 24 J & Ks lined up for practice on a sunny but cold Saturday morning.

The weather gods were looking out for us all weekend and after looking really miserable on Thursday the sun shone and the rain stayed away. First out were the Lbs and with the circuit freshly resurfaced all were expecting times to be a little quicker than they have been.

The big surprise on pole with a very quick 1.11.74 was David Hardman in the very pretty Stanguellini FJ pipping David Reid’s Faux Pas Holden Repco on a 1.12.47. The quick sports cars were next with Dick O’Keefe in the Photon Lotus 11 Replica 3rd, Shane Bowden’s immaculate Prad Holden Sports 4th and the Samantha Dymond’s beaut little Lola Mk 1 5th. A welcome return to Lb racing in the Lapin Holden Special was Mal Brewster who featured in the top 10.

The very hard driving David Hardman proved that his practice pole was no fluke by just holding out a fast finishing Faux Pas by only .6 of a sec. Dick O’Keefe was a further .6 back and Sam Dymond slipped into 4th ahead of Graeme Mark’s Mac Healey.  About 12 seconds separated the top 10, and down the line there were some good close racing which was great to watch.

Practice for the oldies (J & Ks not drivers) again proved that old adage that “there’s no substitute for cubes” with 4 Flat Head Ford V8s and 2 big straight 6s leading the way with one lone MG spoiling the big banger party. Big silver cars lead the way with the mighty George Reed Monoskate of Graham Raper continuing its dominance of the J & Ks with a quick pole time of 1.14.95 sec, leading the other very fast aluminium bodied car of Jim Russell on 1.16.38 sec.

The Fargo Special from S.A. driven by Christopher Frost sat next on row 2 with Peter Statton’s Ford V8 4th. Making a very welcome return on grid 5 was the super quick MG TB of Neill Murdock. This is the ex Brian Gerrard, Ross Hodgson, Paul Trevethan TB and it’s great to see it back in action after a period laying idle.

Next on 6th was Peter Wilson’s Ford V8, David Stewart Dodge Special and then Andrew Cannon in his Type 51 Bugatti (the first of 5 Bugattis entered!) The Mighty Sulman Singer driven this weekend by myself managed to sneak into the top 10 on 9th grid and Ian Motley the first of the Austin 7’s 10th.

Another notable addition to the grid was the Day Special. Sitting idle for several years following the passing of its then-owner Mal Biddlecombe in 2011, it was recently acquired by one of our Historic Racing founding fathers Rob Rowe, and will be seen on a very regular basis for years to come. It couldn’t have gone to a better home!

All 24 cars put in 6-7 plus laps in practice so a good-sized grid looked promising for the start of racing later that Saturday.

The Ls were first out and the seriously pretty Stanguellini showed that it was just not all looks by taking the win from the Faux Pas by only 2 hundredths of a second after 6 hectic laps. Dick O’Keeffe wasn’t far behind either and Samantha Dymond’s Lola and Graeme Marks’ Mac Healey both managed to put the Prad 5 back a few spots.

There was some pretty close racing all down the field. Bob Schapel MGTC, Mal Brewster Lapin Holden and the little blue Nota FJ of John Medley were all bunched together, just before the next tight group of Max Pegram Gemini FJ, Russel Budge Zephsca Ausca, Brian Simpson a little further back than normal in the Cooper JAP Mk 9 and Geoff Wright’s MG Regah Special. In all 27 finished from 28 and the large spectator crowd were treated to a bloody good race.

The JKs were the 3rd last race of the Saturday program in the Douglas Briese Trophy race over 6 laps, and Monoskate made short work of the opposition winning by nearly 10 seconds from Jim Russell’s Ford V8 and the Hardwick Fargo 3rd. Not a lot of changes down the field but Frank Cuttell was making his presence felt but jumping up a few spots. Frank’s development of the ERA look-a-like supercharged Armstrong Sidley has been constant and he hadn’t been able to quite get it on all 6 cylinders but things were about to change.

Good also to see another car that had been struggling for a while finally find some pace, that being the Bugatti type 35B of Richard Longes. Just back from an overseas meeting and it had been playing up something fierce with our old mate and chief mechanic Michael Vigneron (better known as Froggy) at his wits end trying to get the Bug running on all 6 but a change of Magneto at least had it lasting for 5 laps. It was enough to drive a man back to the smokes eh Froggy!

The only 2 non finishers were the big red Day Special, and Adam Berryman’s Bugatti type 37A. Good reliability and some super racing right through the field auguring well for the main event on Sunday.

Another cold morning but no frost to upset all those coastal dwellers, just bright blue skies. The Lbs were out early for their traditional 6 lap handicap Coad Memorial Trophy event with 30 starters lining up to face the National flag when it was their time to go. It’s always fun to watch the fast cars trying to find their way past the slower cars in these big fields and this race didn’t disappoint.

After 6 laps it was the Elford of Daniel McIndoe first across the line with Andrew Woodall’s Slotus Special less than a second behind and John Andersons Elfin Cooper Butler only .2 of a sec back in 3rd. Whilst there was a really tight finish up front,  there was only 5 seconds separating the next 9 cars! Craig Carlson MGTC, John Ashwell’s Buckle back after a no show in Saturday afternoons race was next followed by the big grunty Allard of Graham Smith, Pete McKnight’s Aarons Lotus Mk9 finally behaving itself and showing a fine turn of pace, Geoffrey Wright’s MG Regah, the mighty red Prefect Spec of Ian Tate and Terry White’s MGTC spec rounding out the top 10. The handicappers were pretty hard on the 2 scratch markers with the Faux Pas and Stanguellini well down the pack struggling to find their way through the tightly-packed field. Alan Morton’s little Alba Triumph air cool was the only DNF, not sure what happened but I bet it wasn’t overheating!

The JK’s Lou Molina Trophy 6 lap scratch was another Monoskate cake walk with Graeme Raper never troubled by Stumpy Russell’s Ford or Christopher Frost’s Fargo.  This race was pretty much a rerun of the Saturday one except that Frank Cuttell found even more grunt from the SAS Spec to grab a spot from me in the Sulman. But I have to say it was one of the best races I’ve had in years. Ian Motley in the really quick Austin 7 was right in there as well, and we 3 raced wheel to wheel for the whole race with places changing several times per lap. Great stuff!

Others to complete the full 6 laps were Robert Sales in the Marsel special, the type 35B Bug of Richard Longes (good work Froggy) and the Harris Spec of Brian Parkinson. Speaking of the Harris Spec it was great to catch up with our old mates from Bathurst, ex-Harris Spec owner Paul Kenny and son Paul who is currently rebuilding the big ex-Dave Reid Alta Ford V8. We look forward to seeing the Ford back on the track soon and Paul could be tempted to return if he can find a suitable mount. Is there anything suitable out there?

Sad to see Noel Cunningham’s Talbot Darracq expire along with the Day Spec still having a few problems and the type 37A Bug of Adam Berryman completing only 2 laps. Still, 21 from 23 shows that the “oldies” still have some pretty good reliability.

Just after lunch the Lbs rolled out for the big 8 lap feature Mark Dymond Trophy race. After a full weekend’s racing we still had 29 starters at flag fall and brother David in the Faux Pas got an early jump on Davis Hardman’s Stanguellini and was never headed. All in “Team R” thought that Dave was under performing this weekend so we made sure that he didn’t drink to many Rutherglen reds at the Pinsent Hotel on Saturday night and got him to bed early (well earlier than the previous 2 nights). It worked a treat with the now completely re-worked Faux Pas cutting a slashing 1.09.33 personal best lap and fastest time of the weekend for the old cars. Well done Dave (and Froggy on the spanners).

The Prad 5 sports of Shane Bowden found a bit more pace to claim 3rd from the always well driven and well prepared Mac Healey of Graeme Marks and the hard charging supercharged MGTC of Bob Schapel. The wily old veteran from the cherry hills of Young, Mal Brewster, showed that there’s still a bit of life in the old farts by coming home 6th, a great result as he hadn’t raced before.

Special mention goes to Charlie Mitchell our lone West Aussie making the big trip yet again, and manhandling the TS Special around the tight confines of Winton with his usual gusto. There was only 1 DNF, with the little Solar Midget of Ray Sprague lasting only 1 lap. All in all, this was a great effort from the L sports and racing lady and gents. The Lbs were wonderfully reliable and produced some good hard racing for the entire weekend.

Congratulations to the hard driving David Hardman on his driver of the meeting award. The beautiful little Stanguellini looked sensational 4 wheel drifting onto the pit straight at full song and David fully deserved his award.

J & Ks 8 lap Col. Arthur Waite Trophy handicap was the last race of the day for the oldies and we had 22 cars still running. The handicappers couldn’t quite get the scratch marker over the line first with Stumpy Russel managing to find his way through the traffic and to the finishing line first, beating Monoskate by a second and a bit, and spoiling what would have been a 3 from 3 weekend for Graeme Raper. Still 2 wins and a second is a top weekend for this winning combo.

John Lackey in the MGTA Tomlinson replica snared a fine 3rd and then the NSW Mackays Stirling and Rees both in Riley 9/14’s 4th and 5th. The next bunch saw the Dodge Spec of David Stewart just in front of Peter Statton’s Ford V8, the Gerard Miller Plymouth Spec, the Frost Fargo and Peter Wilson 10th in another Ford V8.

Rob Rowe final sorted out the wonderful Day Spec to pip both the Sulman Singer and the SAS Spec of Frank Cuttell, and Ian Motley drove the wheels of the little Austin 7 all weekend a sec or so next. Stuart Steinfort in the MGPA was sandwiched between a type 51 (Andrew Cannon) and type 37A (Adam Berryman) Bugatti, which was a great effort from young Steiny. Steen Pedersen’s Sampson GP managed to hold out the remaining Bugatti, the type 37/35B of Alan Telfer all the way from Qld, and Robert Sales at the tail of the field the last man standing in the Marsel Spec.

The running of the 40th Historic Winton was a tremendous success. Great to see a few driver/car combinations who ran at the first meeting held on 25-26th June 1977 and backing up yet again for another crack at this beaut little circuit.

Russel Budge in the Zephaca Ausca, Shane Bowden in the Prad sports Mk 5 and John Medley in the Nota FJ all ran the first and last meetings in the same cars. Well done lads. Graeme Marks and Steen Pedersen both ran similar cars in ’77 but have since changed mounts and a special mention to Patrick Ryan who ran a MG in ’77 and was entered in 2016 but DNS.

I didn’t run (but pit crewed for “Racing” Ronnie Reid) at the 77 meeting but have run at most meetings since 78. The Sulman Singer was there with Ronnie at the wheel for the first meeting and it was an absolute privilege to run it on this special weekend in Ronnie’s memory. I was stoked that it ran so well all through the weekend, being fastest 4 cyl behind all the big bangers.

Well done and thanks to all at the Austin 7 club for your efforts over the last 40 years. I and many other have experienced some wonderful racing, enjoyed great camaraderie, and made lifelong friendship over the last 40 Winton Historics. See you all next year for the 41st!!

I wasn’t able to make the winter Morgan Park Qld meeting held on the 2-3rd July and by all accounts entries for JKLs were a bit thin. Even so all who attended had a good time and many thanks to David Bruce for his report.

JKL REPORT – 39TH ANNUAL HISTORIC QLD. MORGAN PARK.

The race meeting was held under glorious winter sunshine. Due to the generosity of HRCC member Craig Carlson the JKL group had free use of carports for the weekend. Our group of thirteen JKL cars were joined by four group M racing cars. We lost Nick Daunt Cooper Bobtail to gremlins during Friday private practice.

Practice Saturday and fastest of our group was Les Wright in the Dalro Jaguar at 1:33.86. Warwick McBean ran out of fuel just as he returned to the pits, Dick Willis had a crack in the exhaust of the Nota Major.

First race for our group was event 2 – a six lapper. First home was Dick Willis in the Nota Major followed by Pete Trapnell and Max Pegram in the lovely Gemini Ford FJ. The Dalro had fuel problems and did not start. Warwick McBean had a clutch failure in the Lolus which put him out for the weekend.

The second race for the JKL group event 11 was another 6 lapper and saw Dick Willis’ Nota Major get an excellent start and beat Don Thallon MRC 22 into the first corner. The results for the JKL group were Dick Willis first followed by Max Pegram Gemini and Pete Trapnell V8 special in third place. Terry White MGTC Special developed a crack in the inlet manifold and was down on power and Les Wright had a spin somewhere down in the Gum Trees part of the circuit.

On Sunday morning the feature race for the JKL cars was an 8-lap scratch, event 20. Again Dick Willis was first home followed by Les Wright and Max Pegram in third.

Last race for JKL was event 29, another 6 lap race. The results were taken from the Mylaps web site as I had left for home. This time Les Wright brought the field home then Max Pegram and Barry Bates.

The HRCC and the JKL Qld group would like to thank the southern competitors who made the long drive to Morgan Park. Lisa Tobin-Smith V8 Special, David Gleen Anderson Holden, Max Pegram Gemini FJ from Victoria, Warwick McBean Lolus, Les Wright Dalro Jaguar, James Elphick Gazelle Ford, Barry Bates Thompson Special, Dick Willis Nota Major, Percy Hunter MG Special, Terry White MG all the way from Victoria.

On the social side the HRCC supplied a nice range of hot savouries at the Warwick RSL on Friday night and again on Saturday at the circuit after the days racing plus wine and beer to which all competitors, crew and officials were invited.

Ladies from the HRCC provided morning tea both Saturday and Sunday on the top floor of the control Tower for wives/partners of competitors and crew. Thank you for this effort.

A big thank you to John Tupicoff, the Race Committee, and all the helpers who made this race meeting such a great success.

David Bruce.

I like many from the south have been trying to get up north for years now so next year I’ll make a big effort to get away from the -6 deg frost and head north for some warmth.

Next meeting for all JKL’s is the 40th Anniversary of our very first all Historic meeting held at Amaroo Park in 1976. This meeting to be held over the 17-18th September is being organised and run jointly by Wakefield Park Raceway and organizers Rob Rowe, John Lackey and John Medley. Entries are now open and if you haven’t received your entry pack please contact John Lackey at [email protected] .

The weekend after (24th and 25th) this meeting is the regular Spring HSRCA meeting at Wakefield Park. For those JKL competitors who may wish to run both events Wakefield Park has said that cars and trailers can be left at Wakefield Park for the week at little or no cost and a discounted entry (HSRCA event) is being talked about for those that might want to run both meetings. I’ll keep you posted.

Also the VHRR are running a Winton Festival of Speed meeting and entries are open athttp://vhrr.com/forms/WFOS-Entry-form-Regs-Garage-form.pdf

All is very quiet on the gossip front but if you have a little news please let me know at [email protected] and I can share it with the troops.

Hurry and get those entries in and I’ll see you in Goulburn in September.

Cheers and safe racing,
Mal Reid

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