Speed on Tweed

Tweed.jpg15 to 17 September 2006, Murwillunbah, NSW (Event photos to follow)

The 2006 Festival of Speed on Tweed featured a celebration of Australia’s “Great Race” – Bathurst. It sadly became a celebration of the life of nine-time Bathurst winner Peter Brock who was to be the draw card to this year’s festival, but was tragically killed in a rally accident a week earlier in Western Australia.

Some 200 rare and desirable cars were selected from a large subscription to take to the 1.4km hilly street circuit, which commences from the Murwillumbah Showgrounds to its finish at the top of Main St in the northern rivers region of New South Wales.

The festival raises funds for local charities through the Rotary Club of Murwillumbah. Since the events’ inception in 2001, Speed on Tweed has raised over $100,000 for the local community.

The event Patron for 2006 was 1983 Le Mans 24-hour winner, Australian Vern Schuppan. There were so many Bathurst legends taking part with Vern in the festivities including, Harry Firth, Fred Gibson, Kevin Bartlett, Bob Holden, John Goss, Jim Richards and John Bowe. They were joined by a huge number of other Australian motor racing legends – Ron Touranac, Bob Brittain, Denis Gehry and Murray Carter.

As a tribute to Peter Brock the organisers (lead by Roger Ealand, Cath Donaldson & Noela Miller) organised a large gathering of Brocky’s racing and rally cars to converge on the Tweed. Brock was to drive the Austin A30 (a replica of the one he built many years ago), which was there. Bathurst winning Torana GTR XU-1, Torana A9X, three Commodores, two ‘Godzilla’ Skyline’s and the Bathurst 24-hour winning 7-litre Monaro. GM Holden Marketing department not only allowed the 1979 Repco Round Australia Rally winner out of the garage (including the dirt and dust collected during the rally), but for the first time allowed it to be driven in the lunch time parades on Saturday and Sunday.

Track action commenced on Saturday morning with varying weather conditions throughout. Competing cars ranged from 1920’s Amilcar C5 & Delage Hispano Suiza to a brace of Mini Cooper S’ & Ford Mustangs. Current V8 Supercar driver and former open-wheeler and sports-racing car driver John Bowe competed for the second year in Andrew Fellowes Rondel Brabham BT36 (ex Tim Schenken) and also showed what the faster ever Australian-built sports-racing car, the Matich SR4 is capable of. The Matich was one of two at the event (the other, Keith Berryman’s SR3) and houses an incredibly powerful 5 litre Repco V8 engine, which sits at the rear of a light-weight chassis.

Social festivities were held on both Friday and Saturday nights in Main Street Murwillumbah. “Symphony under the Stars” was the Saturday night fine dining theme. Speed on Tweed is unique in a number of ways, including the 100 odd local primary school children who sang in the choir, the Symphony Orchestra and a Pipe Band all performing to a large crowd under clear skies. Many restaurants provided the fine dining experience with tables set up on the road, and delivering dinner “under the stars”!

A Robert Toodanai commissioned oil painting of Peter Brock was raffled on the weekend with proceeds benefiting the Peter Brock Foundation and many local charities. The raffle was drawn by Peter Champion and Sandy Williams, both representing the Brock family at the event.

A staggering time of 41.78 seconds achieved Outright Fastest time of the weekend by Ty Hanger driving his March 73B F. Atlantic, a time which was nearly two seconds faster then John Bowe in the Brabham!

Not as quick, but certainly eye catching (if you blink you wouldn’t miss it!) was Phil Ross of Shannons Queensland driving the company’s Goggomobile Dart. With recent upgrades & increased pedal power Phil recorded a spectacular time of 74.75 seconds – Wow!

The Jon Chppindall Memorial Trophy, presented to the driver who best captures the spirit of historic racing, was awarded to Alec Lowe and Lance Collins who regularly compete at the event in their Citroen Light 15. During Saturday’s damp condition Alec spun the Citroen and backed it into the wall at turn one (right in front of our commentary point), but managed to gather it up and finish the run. They repaired the minor damage and continued to run for the remainder of the event, and took out the Historic Sedans 1941-1960 class.

The 2007 Festival will be held on 7-9 September.

Report by: Charles Rogers

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