Alex Davison visits Longford in Tasmania

Alex Davison visits Longford in Tasmania
Jun 19, 2009, 7:56 PM

ALEX DAVISON VISITS LEGENDARY MOTOR SPORTS SITE IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison has joined his brother and fellow V8 Supercar racer, Will, on a visit to one of Australia's most significant motor racing sites -- Longford in Tasmania. Ahead of the ...


IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison has joined his brother and fellow V8 Supercar racer, Will, on a visit to one of Australia's most significant motor racing sites -- Longford in Tasmania.

Ahead of the fourth weekend of this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Davison brothers visited the Country Club Hotel in Longford and in particular the Lex Davison Bar.

Named after their late grandfather and four-time(1954, '57, '58 & '61) Australian Grand Prix winner Lex, the bar gained its name after Lex Davison crashed into the outside of the building during a practice session in March 1962. He famously dusted himself off and took a seat at the bar. Lex Davison ordered a brandy before joining patrons in watching the racing action!

The brake disc from Lex Davison's Cooper is displayed in the bar area of the hotel.

A surprise for the Davison brothers was film from the 1964 race weekend which included a commentated lap of the Longford Circuit by their late grandfather.

Not only does Alex Nicholas Davison have the same full name as his late grandfather, his IRWIN Racing Ford Falcon carries the number #4. Lex Davison carried #4 to the vast majority of his motor sports successes.

Alex and Will took a look around the hotel which features a wide range of memorabilia from what was a golden period for Tasmanian motor racing.

Measuring over 7-kilometres in length, the Longford Motor Racing track was a closed public road circuit which hosted motorcycle and then car racing between 1953 and 1969. It was Australia's fastest race track with New Zealand Formula One driver Chris Amon setting a new lap record with an average speed of 196km/h in 1968!

Names such as Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Jim Clarke, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Phil Hill and John Surtees all raced Formula One cars at Longford during the Tasman Series between 1964 and '68. It also hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1959 (Stan Jones winning) and 1965 (Bruce McLaren the victor).

"For any motor sports enthusiast a visit to Longford while in Tasmania is a must," said Alex Davison.

"For our family it certainly has a closer connection and the fact that our grandfather came into the bar after crashing out is something legends are made of!

"To see the colour film of the 1964 race was just amazing. I was only very young when I last saw it. To actually see footage of our late grandfather and hear him speak was the highlight.

"I really enjoy hearing about the old days of car racing. Looking around the old Longford circuit really shows how brave all the drivers were.

"It almost seems unimaginable by today's standards that the very best drivers in the world would come down to Australia and New Zealand to race people like my grandfather in the off-season in another motor sports championship!

"One thing is for sure, racing certainly requires plenty of passion and dedication. That will be evident this weekend at Symmons Plains when we climb aboard the IRWIN Racing Ford for the next races in the V8 Supercar Championship Series."

Just 20-minutes away is the 2.4-kilomtres Symmons Plains Raceway. Unlike the old Longford layout, Symmons Plains is a permanent circuit with all the safety facilities of a modern race track.

Lex Davison's account of the accident at Longford in 1962 - courtesy of the book Lex Davison - Larger Than Life

"I was managing to lap at 110 to 112 MPH, some three seconds faster than the Brabham lap record of the year before, when I became airborne over a hump some 200 yards prior to a 90-degree corner in the middle of town. A gust of wind caught me and I landed in a drain beside the road. I motored along this at some 140 mph causing some uneasiness to the police, radio announcers, officials, television cameramen and various others cluttering up the entrance to the escape road. I regained the road again but the heavy rear-engined end slid in the gravel and I shot down the road sideways. I hit a tree with the nose, which plucked everything forward of the soles of my feet off the car and spun the car around in the process. It then shot along a hotel wall at window height, demolishing the floral display, pot plants, etc, then a 360 degree spin around the entrance porch of the hotel and back up the wall again. The car then fell off the hotel wall and back into the road and shot across the road backwards into a grain mill. I shook what was left from me and went back into the pub and ordered a brandy. They even made me pay for it, which was the cruellest blow of all."

-credit: irwin

Next article
Symmons Plains: TeamVodafone preview

Previous article

Symmons Plains: TeamVodafone preview

Next article

Symmons Plains: IRWIN Racing Friday report

Symmons Plains: IRWIN Racing Friday report
Load comments