WASCC Newsletter – July

Committee Comment

It has certainly been an eventful six weeks with lock downs and continued restrictions and some of the continually wettest weather that most people can remember.

We experienced the unusual occurrence of stopping a race meeting due to inclement weather on 4th July. This meant that categories only completed one race and, significantly, the Excels were not able to undertake the Enduro aspect of the day. How that will affect championship points and any compensation to competitors will be advised directly to them.

Conducting the event on 4th July was particularly challenging as it was less than two days after the announcement of the close of lock downs and the detailing of the interim restrictions that would be in place. These had the potential to either create conditions under which the meeting could not be conducted or alter the ways in which aspects of the meeting were conducted especially as they related to gatherings. As such, the decision was made to conduct the meeting (a big raspberry to those that suggested, with the benefit of hindsight on the weather, that we shouldn’t have held the meeting).

Given the complexities surrounding the event, we were not able to follow up individually those competitors that had not completed the necessary declarations. Very regrettably, some entries were declined. The Club assures everyone that this is an action of last resort, when a judgement must be made that is in fairness to ALL competitors and ensures that the Club is not unreasonably exposed to risk.

On a different take, Committee will undertake a review of membership categories with data being gathered to underpin and inform any decision making. This due process is important as any significant changes would be subject to an Extraordinary General Meeting to consider a special resolution to amend any changes.

Notwithstanding what might be reported on other platforms, we are in constant communication with Supercars and the intention and overarching desire remains to hold the Perth round of Supercars 11th and 12th September. Naturally we are living in much less certain times than most of us can remember. The Club has committed itself to provide an agile and flexible solution to any calendar problems the Supercars may experience, given the chaos their scheduling and planning is thrown into by the recently imposed lockdowns in the Eastern States.

Capital Works & Facilities Sub-Committee

Only formed a couple of months ago, the committee comprises Brad Wheeler, John Hurney, Laurie D’Alessio, and is chaired by Tim Riley. The General Manager provides advice and secretarial support.

The committee’s purpose is to coordinate and track projects large and small for the betterment of our facility with a 20 year outlook.

We currently are evaluating and progressing about 15 projects.  Just because we start investigations does not necessarily imply final go-ahead.  At each stage from investigation, design, costing and tender – we learn more and re-evaluate.  Notwithstanding that caveat, here are 3 examples from the portfolio.

  1. Significant corrosion issues with the steel bridge to the infield.  The engineering report is complete and a Scope of Work document is being prepared prior to the tender process.  Assuming go ahead, this would require track closure.
  2. Re-location of current café / snack bar.  Conceptual drawings have been completed for a catering and undercover seating area for 100 people.  There is a possibility of a covered high level spectator area on the roof giving better views to T2, T3 & T4.   Once complete we will have a clean sheet of paper to design / upgrade the scrutineering / weighbridge area.
  3. Kerb review.  The kerb at exit T7 / entry to pit lane will be removed and replaced with a new design.  The existing kerb profile has contributed to some mishaps.  This work would be timed to coincide with any bridgeworks.  A review of other kerbs is underway.

WASCC Competition Driving School – 65 Years of Fast Learning!

So far as we can tell, the WASCC Driving School began at the Caversham Circuit in about 1955. Since those far off days it has changed and developed – not the least of which being the vehicles used – but the Club has run at least one School every year since then.

Today’s students would probably be horrified at the thought of spending a day skidding their nice cars around on the old gravel airstrip at Mooliabeenie near Gin Gin. And similarly, the cars of yesteryear would be mechanically challenged by the current Wanneroo Raceway turns, dips and heavy braking areas.

But the aim of the School remains the same. That is to give WASCC members a thorough grounding on safe, fast driving on a proper race circuit so that they may enjoy their Club’s wide variety of Motorsport Activities at whatever level suits them – from basic Tuning Days to full on racing.

A total of 4 schools have been run over the last 18 months, all have been oversubscribed, and the next School set for September 4th is already fully booked.

Each School currently consists of an evening lecture, usually in the Dept of Sport rooms adjacent to Leederville oval, and a full day’s instruction at the Raceway.

Students use their own vehicles and a high performance road or racing car is definitely not required. There is a strict ratio of 1 instructor to 2 students and all instructors are current racing competitors holding full circuit racing licences. Our instructor roster includes members with experience in all types of competition vehicles, all WASCC motorsport events and many of them have significant knowledge of vehicle mechanics and race car engineering.

The course detail includes correct braking and gear changing techniques, etiquette on circuit, basic cornering lines, emergency procedures and extreme car control. Both the short and long Raceway circuits are used along with the infield tarmac area.

Current Lead Instructor John Hurney shared some of his School experiences with the Newsletter.

“I got involved assisting the then Chief Instructor Max McCrackan in about 1972, it was a great learning experience for me working with Max and other top WA drivers I’d watched for many years like Rick Lisle, Brian Rhodes and Bill Downey, those blokes were legends in my mind.

I took over the Lead position in ’74 and have been there ever since, missing only a couple of Schools whilst overseas.

My early years there were pretty different to the way we run things now. One experience I’ll never forget is approaching Turn 6 (Kon’s Corner) in an Escort that was in the process of losing the left rear wheel. It kept trying to rollover for about 60 meters or so – really got my attention!

But really, the best memories are seeing how the students improve through the school and interacting with them and our Instructors, it’s an absolute privilege to be involved.

Club Veteran wins Albany Hillclimb – Again!

Members may recall that in 2020 evergreen WASCC Life Member Dick Ward won the challenging Mt Clarence Hillclimb in Albany and reset the outright course record in the process.

Well, this year Dick and his iconic Mazda rotary powered Fiat Abarth Sports Sedan once again made the trip to Albany, but faced really stern competition in the shape of John Webb’s Radical Sports Car.

So stern in fact that John beat Dick on the first 2 runs and reset the course record.

But preparing for the final run Dick picked out a particular point approaching the chicane where he thought the mighty Abarth could brake just a little later than previously. For those not familiar with Mt Clarence it is one of the more daunting ‘climb course in WA, definitely not to be trifled with.

Anyway, on that final run Dick did manage to slow for said chicane that bit later, aced the rest of the course, took back the record by a few hundredths of a second and won the event outright.

Fittingly, regular WASCC commentator Vaughan Brewer was on microphone duty and, after he told the crowd what had just happened, Dick and the Abarth received rousing applause from spectators and other competitors as they came back down the Hill.

Needless to say, Dick is planning a return to Albany for June 2022.

Lost WASCC Venues Come to Light

Whilst classifying and sorting older Club records some intriguing insights have come to light as to the challenges of running at these long-forgotten venues.

For example, during the 1950s & 60s the club ran a number of Hillclimbs on a public road on Lesmurdie. Reading the event Supp Regs reveals that special provision had to be made for the local bus service to transit the course – both up and down – several times during the course of the event.

Also, did you know that the WASCC ran 3 race meetings on the Busselton airport in 1955 – 1957?

Run on Australia Day, the course was a basic T shape marked out on the runways with haybales – common practice in those days despite their inflammable properties.

As was often the case, the event only happened with the enthusiastic assistance of a committee of keen locals. Scrutiny of the relevant correspondence shows that crowd numbers quickly diminished after the first year. And after much agonising between the Club and the Chairman of the local committee the income generated couldn’t sustain the event beyond 1957.

Vin Smith won the final Busselton Derby in the ultra-successful TS special (campaigned these days on the East Coast by Charlie Mitchell) reaching a very respectable 185kph on the short main straight.

We understand much of this particular site is now a suburb of Busselton.

The long and colourful history of racing on WA’s street circuits drew to a close on August 29th 1965 with the one and only meeting held on a Geraldton street course adjoining the Geraldton golf club.

A total of 67 cars entered and undoubtedly those members who drove their racing sedans and sports cars to Geraldton enjoyed a brisk run up and back on the unrestricted highways of the day.

Unfortunately, despite a reported crowd of 6,000, the gate takings were a miserable $485 thus ensuring the event’s demise.

Probably just as well, as the course was extremely fast resulting in an enormous high speed rollover for Henk Vaanholt from which Henk emerged intact – which was more than could be said for his Holden sedan.

Given that some extremely fast racing and sports cars – such as Don O’Sullivan’s Lola T 70 Can Am sports car – were soon to debut in WA such machines were best kept to the Caversham and then Wanneroo circuits.