Wet and Wild
The Albany race weekend rewarded the brave this year, without exception all the events started out in the wet and with the exception of the Albany Classic on Sunday they remained wet. The Saturday hill climbs which run up Mt Clarence from the Forts to the 10th Light Horse memorial claimed many, with roll over’s, excursions into the scrub and trees and one competitor whom made a valiant attempt at removing a boulder about the size of Dog Rock.
The Sunday event was no less a spectacle with some 120 cars ranging from group J vintage cars to late model open wheelers complete with aero kits competing on a wet track around the streets. The course runs from the start in York Street outside the town hall, right into Grey St. then takes a left into Collie Street for a run down hill to a left turn at Peels Terrace across York St at a chicane then onto a left at Aberdeen St for the run up the long back straight where speeds in excess of 100mph are possible, at the end is a narrow corner left into Serpentine Rd which takes you back to the main St for another run down hill to the start finish line.
I tried my best to frighten myself by spinning the new car entering Collie Street in practice, but having the luck of the Irish I managed to keep it of the concrete and restart practice without any problems and I thank all those whom offered a change of underwear when I returned to the pits after practice.
The first event started late due to several stoppages after accidents, one very serious one involving an open wheel Austin special that collided heavily with a lamp post at the same place where I spun out in Collie St. In the wet the first event was relatively uneventful and I managed a third place. The second event was much more fun as the track dried and we started to achieve times close to our nominated handicap. It’s a bit different up the front of the field than what im used to whilst driving the good old Chevy. They play for real sheep stations up the front, but still, we had a great deal of fun running at the pointy end of the field with our humble 138 cid Holden verses 300 cube Offenhouser enhanced V8s and supercharged European exotica, I got another 3rd place and am awaiting results of the third event which should have been good as it was the driest the track was all day and we didn’t have any stoppages.
I hasten to tell all that I wasn’t the only spinner on the day either, my good old sparing partner from the Motor Museum managed it outside the Town Hall and was unluckily left stranded when the starter refused to fire up the big Chrysler. Fortunately he spun where the camera can’t see but muggins here managed it in front of the assembled mass on the hill so it was a bit hard to deny it was me, there were several videos running and many of the professional photographers’ were standing on the corner all of whom got at least 10 frames of the spin each including the flag Marshall who dropped the flag and bolted as I went by on my wild ride down the slope.
The final event of the weekend was on Monday being a 1.8km sprint along the new road to the Wind Farm off Frenchmen’s Bay Rd. In the pouring rain 112 very silly boys and some girls too, went out to see who could achieve the fasted run down the road, some competitors were travelling over 200kms per hour at the finish which is just over a blind crest in the road, Real heart in the mouth stuff, you are actually on the wrong side of the road and several competitors were airborne over the drop. I was ecstatic to get to 90 odd mph and will be looking forward to a dry run at the hill climb next year which could see us at the magic 100 mph.
The car ran beautifully all weekend and the sound it makes coming down York St at full noise is absolutely fantastic, you would drive the event no matter what the risk to hear it reverberate of the walls at 5500 rpm. We go to Barbagello next event where we hope to run some good times around 1 min 20 sec and then onto the new race complex in Collie which I can’t wait for as it’s a magnificent 1 mile track and no concrete to answer you back if you make a mistake.