Racing Legend Dick Ward wins Albany Hillclimb

by John Hurney

Most WA Motorsport fans and WASCC members will have been pleased to see Dick racing his awesome Go Gear Abarth Historic Sports Sedan at the Raceway 50th meeting in March.

The next Abarth outing was the recent VSCC events in Albany where Dick and the Abarth were entered in both the Mt Clarence Hillclimb and the Albany Classic Regularity day.

Whilst Dick and the Abarth have previously been successful in the Hillclimb, their last attempt was thwarted by mechanical failure. Basically, the combination of low ambient temperature and thick race oil was too much for the oil pump drive in the Mazda rotary engine on start up. Result, a premature end to Dick’s weekend from oil pump failure.

With cool temperatures forecast again this year, Dick needed a solution to avoid another costly failure.

And it came in the form of an electric blanket from the supermarket! Dick drained the engine oil into a suitable container, wrapped it in the electric blanket and left it turned on all night. Next morning the oil went to the Mt Clarence pits still in the blanket, was poured into the motor just prior to practice commencing and the wailing Mazda ran reliably all day.

Result – another outright win for the Ward/Abarth combination on this daunting course, pulling a 2 second margin from the Porsche 911 in second place. And the next day the combination enjoyed a reliable run in the 4 Regularity events as well.