Bank of Queensland Noosa Hillclimb snippets

-A few of the cars, people, and happenings of note "Mike Gehde's 1959 MG Buchanan didn't have the best of weekends, after crashing out early in its first run on Saturday morning, when a component possibly broke on the car sending it into the point ...

Bank of Queensland Noosa Hillclimb snippets

-A few of the cars, people, and happenings of note

"Mike Gehde's 1959 MG Buchanan didn't have the best of weekends, after crashing out early in its first run on Saturday morning, when a component possibly broke on the car sending it into the point three wall. The impact sent one of the concrete blocks about three metres down the hill, which took some time to retrieve. Fortunately the driver survived intact. Mike actually holds the lap record for his class at Queensland Raceway's `Sprint Circuit', but the car has a much longer racing heritage than that. It was raced extensively from the time it was built through the 1960's by Ian Michells at circuits such as Lowood, Strathpine and Lakeside, and was once declared the fastest MG in Australia.

"David Bruce not only raced his WRM up the mountain to win the Historic Lb class in 76.52sec, but also got behind the event through providing the sponsorship for `Autobarn Bend'. His car was built in Brisbane in 1959, and raced at Lowood and the first ever Lakeside meeting.

"Des Donnan drove his Frazer Nash Boulogne II to third in the Pre 1960 Sports/Racing class with a time of 79.51sec for the 1.5km course. The car was originally built in 1931, and brought into Australia in 1948. The car has driven by Barry Garner, Jumbo Goddard and Neville Webb. An interesting thing about the car is that it is chain driven.

"A car of note was Terry Hanly's Nedelko Special. It was built in 1954 by a 17 year old apprentice motor mechanic, it was raced for four years, and then lost to the world. The car was rediscovered in 1990 after a workshop fire in Newcastle, and Hanly set about rebuilding the car- a process that took four years. Hanly started racing in New Zealand, but gave away motor racing when family duties called. He started competing agian seven years ago, and with the combined age of car and driver now 107 years, Hanly's ambition is to race on for another 20 years!

"Another special that had the crowd's attention was New South Welshman Peter Rae's 1932 Morris Austin. Rae powered on to be fourth fastest in class behind Les Donnan with a time of 81.37sec. The car was built as a hillclimb special, and ran at early Silverdale. Rae has raced over the years at circuits such as Warwick Farm, Hume Weir, Sandown, Phillip Island GP circuit, Lakeside, Amaroo, Oran Park, Bathurst, Catalina, and Leyburn.

"John Evans, a strong motorsport figure in the Toowoomba area, raced his Mann Power Holden Special to second position in the Pre 1960 Sports/Racing class with a time of 78.10sec. In 1966 Barry Mann constructed the car with the purpose of hillclimbing at Toowoomba's Echo Valley circuit (Evans actually ran the complex in the 1970s). Bob Power then purchased the car, and thus the `Mann Power' name came into existence.

"Rod Hiley's MGTC was one of the first six such cars that were brought into Sydney, and was promptly fitted with a Marshall Supercharger. The car was then sold to David McKay, who raced it extensively. It was later bought by Bob Burnett in Brisbane, and then by Hiley in the early `60s. Hiley restored the car 10 years ago, and plans to refit the supercharger in the future.

"Peter Quayle set a new record for Historic M type vehicles when in his fifth and final run he posted a time of 64.82sec. His Jolus Minx was originally built for Barry and Carmene McGuire, and it was the last of three Jolus Formula Junior racing cars that were built in 1961 by Bob Joass. The Jolus Minx was an upgrade of their Cooper 500/Minx, and the car still contains the original Hillman engine from the Cooper, and it also retains other items such as original paint, 1958 VW gearbox, and 1953 Vanguard brakes. Quayle has driven the car since 1969; it has never been crashed or rebuilt in that time. Over the years, drivers such as Peter Wherrett, Barry Collerson, Barry Lake and Peter Cohen have also driven the car, with many successes.

· Peter Boel returned with his Flintstone Ford, and won Historic Group O, however was unable to break his class record set last year. The Flintstone Ford started out life as a Lotus 23B, but after an accident, it was re-bodied into its current shape. It raced in UK in Group 6 Sports Cars, before a German driver purchased the car in the 1980s. Boel brought the car into the country in 1995 and restored it. Boel is an avid motorsport historian, and in 2000 was the fastest Historic car in the Noosa Hillclimb, however, in 2001 he lost his title to the Peter Quayle.

· Chris Lake held the outright lap record for the Noosa Hillclimb coming into the 2001 event, and hoped to lower that mark through the weekend. Fred Axtell originally built the Axtell Suzuki in 1984, before its current owner purchased it in 1995. Chris Lake has been an active participant in motorsport since the 1950s, but his son Simon has only been competing since 1995. Simon finished this year's event in second position outright with a time of 57.23sec. Chris set the fourth quickest outright time in his first run, before the team's weekend finished on his second run. After dropping a great deal of oil up the mountain, he spun and tapped the earth embankment nearing the finishing esse bend. There is always next year...

* Zach McAfee flew his tiny Lamco Formula Vee up the hill in a very respectable 68.03sec. The car was built in 1967, and it is the third of five ever built. This actual car sat on pole position at the 1968 National Championships that were held at Oran Park.

* New South Welshman Dick Willis claimed third outright in his Cheetah Mk 6 with a time of 59.89sec. Willis's career dates back to 1961, and since then has driven many different cars. Starting in hillclimbs and sprints, in 1969 he raced a Mini in the Bathurst 500 to third in class. In the mid-1970s he moved into speedway saloons, then into rallying and circuit racing. The car he used at Noosa was built by Brian Shead in 1977, and delivered to Graham Engel, originally configured as an AF3 car powered by a Corolla engine. For 1979 it was converted to AF2 specifications with a Ford 1600 crossflow motor. The car changed hands, through Steve Swain and Brian Keegan, who converted it into a hillclimber by fitting a supercharged Ford Cortina 2-litre overhead cam engine. The car was later sold to Neville Trainor and then to Willis. In 1999 Willis replaced the supercharged engine with an unblown Ford Sierra Cosworth unit, although providing about 150hp less, it has proven to be quicker and easier to drive.

* Nota fans rejoice and be glad! Circuit racing regular David Whitehouse took out the Sc division in his Nota Fang in a record 67.46sec.

* Rob Switzer finished third in Historic Sc in his Datsun 240Z with a bottom to top time of 71.80sec. Switzer purchased the car when a New Zealander decided to `go home to mother'. This guy sold him the contents of his garage for $1000, which included tools, a battery charger, a Creedence Clearwater tape and the remains of the 240Z!

* Alan Don took his Triumph Spitfire 1500 to the top of the hill in 79.47sec late on Saturday afternoon. The 1500 was the last model of the Spitfire, and was built between 1974 and 1980, but never sold in Australia. Don's car was sold new in England in 1976, and brought to Australia in 1992 with its 11th owner. The external mirror of the car has done a 100mp/h lap of Lakeside- it is from Don Sorrensen's Formula Atlantic car- the rest of the car has only done an 110km/h lap.

* Roy Reeve brought his replica of Peter Brock's Austin A30 to Noosa for the first time, after it debuted earlier this year at Leyburn. In Reeve's spare time, it took 10 months to construct from a copy of a photo of the original.

* Luke Spark was the fastest Mini of the weekend up the hill through the speed trap. The car is a rebuilt replica of father Keith's Mini; expect to see another Mini next year for Luke's younger brother Daniel.

* Jill Nelson was the fastest Mini up the hill for the weekend, knocking Darren Borg off the top spot on the final run (69.36sec), a time that also bettered husband Ken's track record set last year! The Nelson's car started out life in Singapore in 1967, and was shipped out to Australia in 1968. Ken and Jill raced the car until 1970, when they sold it. In 1997 Ken repurchased the car and restored it to the condition as it raced in the late 60's for Historic competition. Jill started competing in 1962, in Minis ranging from motorkhanas to rally cross up until 1974, when she gave it away until 1999.

* Claude Ciccotelli suffered the worst incident of the weekend when his immaculate EH Holden struck a tree head on early in his first run on Saturday. Luckily, Ciccotelli was able to walk to the Ambulance, and was released from hospital overnight. Ciccotelli is a former Australian, Queensland and New South Wales champion in Superkarts, and owned the EH for the last 25 years. The car actually started out life as a Black and White cab, but had recently been upgraded for Group N competition.

* A feature on Sunday was the shoot out between Dick Johnson, Steven Johnson, and Denis Brown. Steven held out Dick to win with a time of 68.60sec, only 0.32sec quicker than his old man. Darryl Bray owns the car, and its historical link is that it was Spencer Martin's wife's shopping car!

* Mike Lightfoot had a very scary moment near the top of the mountain on his second run on Saturday, when he slipped off the road on the oil dropped by the Axtell Suzuki. Fortunately, the car pulled up before going down a steep incline, and damage was light. He recorded the fourth fastest time in his class (70.71sec) earlier in the day. Lightfoot's Mustang started out life as being reported as being involved in a USA moonshine operation, and the car was impounded after a 4 state car chase, hence the name of the car, `Bootlegger'. While the car was sitting in the impound yard, the interior was eaten away by rats that were attracted by the odour of the moonshine.... The car was bought at auction and imported to Australia.

* The `Best Start-line Burnout Award' has to go to Keith Bout, although, it was hardly unexpected. Bout was involved with Drag Racing and Speedway for 30 years before taking up racing his Ford Falcon XY GT on the lefts and rights. Another factor is that renowned drag racer Mick Atholwood built his engine.

-Mark Walker


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