Contributed by Gary Turner, president BMC-Leyland Car Club Inc.
ON a cool and foggy morning, the BMC-Leyland Car Club Inc, Shepparton and Surrounds Chapter, set off to meet fellow club members from various suburbs in Melbourne to meet us in Benalla.
We all drove in convoy, which must have looked quite special to the passing public, to the 45th Historic Winton Motor Raceway. Like in past years, our club received complimentary tickets from the Austin 7 Car Club, and they do not get wasted with many members keen to get their hands on one.
The Austin 7 Car Club, who this year are celebrating their one hundred years of Austin 7s, 50 years of Austin 7 Club events, and 45 years of Historic Winton, was a special year to mark.
Our club cars consisted of XJ6 Jaguar, Austin Healey Sprite, Austin A70, MGB, Austin A30, Morris Minor Sedan, Mini Cooper, MG Magnette and a Triumph TR6. They were directed to park in Shannon’s Special Car Park while a member, who had come up from Tasmania with his Austin 7, parked his car in the Corporate Centre with many other Austin 7 vehicles.
After taking our seats on turn one of the tracks, our members settled in for a great weekend of racing, not just by cars, but motorbikes and side cars that were especially exciting.
With over 48 events over the weekend, there was action-a-plenty where we saw a few spin outs on the corner. Thankfully no drivers or riders were harmed.
There were remarkably interesting racing cars on the track competing in many distinct categories that made the racing as fair as it was entertaining.
Cars racing included Elfin, Austin Lancer, Mini Cooper, Ford Special, MG TC, MGB, Austin 7, Marmot, Morgan, MG Midget, Lolita Mk1, Jaguar, Singer, Lotus, Brabham, Vauxhall, Dodge, Wolseley, Alfa Romano plus many more.
Motorcycles on the track included BSA, Douglas, AJS, Enfield, Indian, Ariel, Easton, Norton, Triton, to name a few, plus some of the sidecars consisted of BSA, Triumph Thunderbird, Triariel, Triton 650 and a Norton Atlas. History was unlimited, like a moving museum of motor vehicles.
Apart from many of the pre-war sports and racing cars, there were also pre-war touring cars who engaged in a healthy rivalry between the drivers and their vehicles at each meeting.
One of the special highlights of the day was Shannon’s display cars, who did a parade lap. The Austin 7’s led the way followed by many of the display cars, buses and trucks. In fact, the display laps by the vehicles covered the whole track from the start/finish line and back again. This gave the public a fantastic look at the diversity of cars on display, seeing them travel around and not parked in a static display.