With the sudden passing of Ray Dean, HGNA Club President, embedded in our hearts and minds, a large contingent of New South Wales Group N competitors undertook the long trek to Morgan Park Raceway in Queensland for July’s HRCC Historic Queensland race meeting. A bitterly cold wind buffeted enthusiastic drivers and spectators over the weekend, but failed to spoil a great occasion.
The on-track activities provided close and hard competition with only minor incidents reported. A record nineteen NSW members attended the popular event, and are to be commended for accepting the logistical and financial challenge of travelling north to the Morgan Park Circuit.
Bill Attard Mazda RX2
Darren Burnes Mini Cooper S
Graham Russell Mini Cooper S
Geoff Pike Mini Cooper S
Santo Di Carlo Mini Cooper S
John Battersby Mini Cooper S
Paul Battersby Mini Cooper S
Alexander Bland Ford Capri
Harry Bargwanna Ford Mustang
Luke Broadhead Mini Cooper S
Paul Tierney Torana Xu1
Stephen Pitman EH Holden
Alex D’Onofrio Mini Cooper S
Chris Collett Mini Cooper S
Steve Land Ford Capri
David Roberts Mini Cooper S
Mark Lenstra Ford Escort
Francis Meier Mini Cooper S
Not all efforts went to plan, unfortunately, with several competitors experiencing mechanical issues that excluded them from participating. This included myself, with the engine in the EH Holden expiring during the Friday practice session, which was very disappointing.
A few Mini Cooper S competitors also faced frustration. Francis Meier struggled with an ongoing oil leak, which eventually put an end to his time on the track. Luke Broadhead split an oil cooler, while the Mini of Paul Battersby broke a CV joint. Paul Tierney had a rear suspension bracket failure in the Torana, but recorded some very successful track time despite that.
Putting the negative behind us, we all enjoyed the after-hours activities, including the meet and greet at the Warwick RSL on the Saturday night, which featured an on-stage performance by Kevin Bartlett that recapped the highlights of his career. Afterwards we were treated to a tour of the impressive Russell Engineering Workshop hosted by Graham Russell’s brother Bob.
Festivities continued on Sunday night, with a large group of combined NSW and Queensland Group N competitors, partners and friends enjoying a meal at the local Warwick Chinese restaurant.
Back on the track, impressive performances were recorded by Graham Russell, Mark Lenstra, Alex D’Onofrio and Paul Tierney. Race records were set by Alex D’Onorfrio, Mini Cooper S, Claude Ciccatelli, EH Holden, Craig Allen, Holden Torana, Graeme Wakefield, Ford Mustang Coupe, and Ian Mewett in the Ford Mustang.
These added to the positive experience that only Morgan Park can offer. This venue has an attraction that seems to act like a magnet to large grids of historic categories, including Group S sports cars, Formula Ford and Heritage Touring Cars to mention a few. Regularity was also strongly represented, with two large grids of fine examples of cars representing the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
The Group U Historic Sports Sedans category continues to grow, with increased numbers of vehicles competing as they were raced in their heyday, and representing their history well.
All competitors greatly appreciate the efforts of the event organisers and the support of volunteers who give up their time to stage an event that proves to be so enjoyable for so many.
HGNA competitors would also like to acknowledge the support of family and friends who travelled to Morgan Park to assist and provide morale support. We’d like to send a special thanks to Elizabeth Wilks, Jenny Tierney, Bruce Whitford, Trish Battersby and especially Paul and Jenny’s grandson Ryan who provided photography for the club.
Again, the Morgan Park Historics turned out to be a very successful event with a record number of entrants travelling from all over the country to compete at this prestigious event.