Vintage Variety at Blue Ribbon

TEAM YELLOW: Ken Tollner and Mark Cowin's Heavy Hot Rods on display. PHOTO: M&L Speedway Photography
TEAM YELLOW: Ken Tollner and Mark Cowin’s Heavy Hot Rods on display. PHOTO: M&L Speedway Photography

With 21 cars attending the final run for the season it was certainly a trip down memory lane for some of the older speedway fans up in the crowd over the two days of demonstrations.

We had several older guys actually pay to enter the pits on the second day just so they could be up close and talk amongst the drivers about there days gone by. They all went away Sunday night with the thought of “if only I could find a car” ,and I’m sure today they are still talking and thinking about it.

Horsham threw the typical June long weekend weather at us with thick fog and 2° temperatures through till 11am then seeing the sun shine till 5pm before it started repeating the night before hands weather pattern. The track was soft, slimy and very wide as usual,but lots of fun none the less.

This was the first time we were to see Vintage Saloon Cars break away and form there own group and run there traditional way of anti clockwise, but also seeing the longer running saloon car drivers sticking with the rods as they didn’t have time to change setups. We were to see many first time drivers with there restored cars come out for there first shake down runs and they were all respectful of each other’s cars and effort that they had put in over the years of building and it was an absolute pleasure to see them run together again as a group.

We had EJ’s , Chargers, Customlines, Toranas , FJ’s and even a very early Escort come out for a run. Back in the remaining two fields running clockwise we split into two groups with one being the older style Stockcars with there side valves and early 4 and 6 cylinder engines and the other group being made up of Stock Rods and early Edmunds bodied Sportsmans and Super Rod type of vehicles with there later OHV engines.

The first run for the Saloon cars seen some interesting manoeuvres as all the cars were new to the track again after a good 30 year break including there drivers with a few drivers still running newer cars in today’s current classes.

No damage was caused with there remaining 5 runs for the weekend which seen them all drive onto there trailers damage free. The only real thing that was different at the end of there 6 runs was that there smiles were now permanent and not intermittent like the first morning we met.

The Stock Cars had some great runs all weekend and the Ron Schnieder owned early #17 Ford was driven by Graeme Gerlach on Saturday who also runs a current class as well as being a Horsham local.

Due to the change of program on Sunday Graeme was to run his race car in the very next heat so yours truly stepped in and drove the car for 3 runs on the day  with the only problem being the distance between ones belly and the steering wheel. The old girl breaks down after about 2500rpm but it was a great pleasure to actually sit in and drive such an old car with that old car feel.

BACK ON TRACK: John Cohglan from Koroit drives the Ford Customline. It was his first even run in that car and he hasn't raced for some 20 odd years. PHOTO: M&L Speedway Photography
BACK ON TRACK: John Cohglan from Koroit drives the Ford Customline. It was his first even run in that car and he hasn’t raced for some 20 odd years. PHOTO: M&L Speedway Photography

In the final run of the weekend Dennis “Baldy” Bald’s big outside over the roof bar worked 37 Ford with side valve V8 done one full lap but as he came to cross the line again for the second time it let out an almighty bang and it lunched itself only 5 metres before the flag man, and even though he was traveling about 50- 60kph it was well and truly stopped by the time it got to the flaggy. 5 litres of oil along with a bent conrod had to be picked up of the track with some brief track work done before the demonstration was completed. Let’s just hope some inside pieces are salvageable as it was a nice engine up till then.

The final group of the 3 was the Vintage Hotrods with myself finally getting on the track again after 15 months troubles with 3 engine failures and only getting 4 laps with each new engine. The joke around the pits was will you do more then 4 laps this time. “I only hoped so” The engine seemed fine now that I have a big fuel pump that actually works but on the 4th lap a nice big bang happened as I broke an axle. “The curse was still there”.

Two of the other cars in the group being the Newlan family cars both blew there diffs in the same corner on the same lap which would award them the hard luck trophy for the weekend as not only did the finish getting there cars ready at 5am the previous morning due to work commitments but were woken by a phone call to say the meeting starts at 3pm and not 5:30pm as usual ,so they were to arrive only 15 mins before drivers brief.

Before the second run (2 hour break)  All axles and diffs were repaired and the field went out again and had a ball. The wider tired cars seemed to handle the track better but there drivers said it was still horrible and slimy. Austin Corcoran had his little FJ sliding the high line beautifully as always but it seemed the pole line was the faster but less impressive line for the crowd.

The third run seen myself get alerted by my new fuel pressure light as my car not only had the best mechanical pump I could buy for a Cleveland ,but it seems that I must of been filling up everyone else as they went past as I was out of fuel. Safe to say the light works.

The final day was hassle free for the Hotrods with myself the only casualty due to a large clump of clay lodging in my wheel as I bounced sideways and then thinking I blew a tyre. “Weight of the clay clump was 11kg”. That’s a nice wheel weight for balancing.

HEY CHARGER: Roy Bellmans' Valiant was untouchable and led the precession of Vintage Saloon Cars. PHOTO: M&L Speedway Photography
HEY CHARGER: Roy Bellmans’ Valiant was untouchable and led the precession of Vintage Saloon Cars. PHOTO: M&L Speedway Photography

The Horsham club gives out 2 trophies every year and that being best presented car which was taken home by Roy Bellman for his immaculate Charger with full hand sign-written livery that he ran some 40 years ago and the most determined award going home with Austin Corcoran for trying the high line all weekend. Overall a great clean weekend of demonstrations and one that all drivers should be very proud of.