Ballarat Festival of Motoring

Ballarat Airfield – 2 September

A brisk early morning start for Father’s Day, the action day for the Ballarat Festival of Motoring.

70 highly desirable motor cars took part in the Sprints and Regularity events of the day, which kicked-off at 9:30am.

Paul Schilling has now taken the band-aids off the Buchanan Cobra, fitted the new Ian Tate engine, and was told to “take it easy & don’t over-rev it” by the aforementioned builder. Fortunately, Paul adhered to most of this, did stretch the boundary a little, but managed o put the car on the trailer at the end for the drive home.

The early morning sunshine was well received, but soon the wind factor, a well-known one for those who have ventured to the Aerodrome in the past, unleashed itself on the paddock area, and remained all day, under brilliant sunshine though, so no complaints there!

Graham Smith was first to take to the track in his March Formula 5000 for test purposes. This may have given him the advantage in the sprints, as he took out Outright First later on.

On behalf of Repco, Nigel Tait brought out the 1966 Repco-Brabham BT19, which for the past few years has had pride of place at the National Sports Museum at the MCG. This provided half of the biggest news story out of the event, the first time that Australia’s two Formula One World Championship winning cars have being seen together. Paul Faulkner brought out the 1979 Williams FW07, in which Alan Jones piloted himself to the 1980 title.

Unfortunately, though the Brabham was on static display only as having only recently left the Museum, the car needs a good amount of preparation before its custodian, Nigel Tait can commence demonstrations again.

Faulkner, though brought Cosworth DFV noise to the Aerodrome throughout the day, slipping & sliding with low grip off the start & on the corners. The spectators got their monies worth.

Other great cars to take place in the event included John Gillett’s MG K3 (which took part in the 1947 event), George Hetrel’s Bugatti T35C, Ken Bedgood – BMW 328, Ian McDonald – Repco Holden, and Graham Smith’s other entry, the ex. Stan Jones Allard J2. Not to mention of course, my father Simon, who I handed over the keys to the MGB GT for his Father’s Day present.

The organisers spent many long months dealing with authorities over getting a track licence to run the full circuit that was used in the 1947-1961 period. This occurred, but due to barricade infrastructure move in & out times, the speed was dropped to 20km/h through one section. The timing system devised to cope with this Regularity event, and the Sprints were in its infancy & as such, some delays occurred during the day.

No doubt these will be rectified before the next event in 2013.

The entire Festival though, was a resounding success with the tour on the last weekend in August taking over (entirely) the Buninyong township, the motor show at the Ballarat Mining Exchange housed record numbers, and the dinners, the Show n Shine on Saturday 1 September saw the Aerodrome’s hanger area completely full of cars from around the region, & cocktail parties were completely booked out.

Saturday night – Reunion dinner – Ballarat Club

Saturday night was a good affair at the once highly exclusive Ballarat Club, a fine Victorian building. We sat in a vaulted ceiling room of 80 enthusiasts, which once housed the Club’s two full-size billiard tables.

The evening went off with a bang with some great, most likely tall stories told by many attendees. Brian Reed was MC, and introduced Event Co-Director John Emery to the floor. John’s legendary wit prevailed as he and Brique revealed, after much speculation, that Bill Prowse would be the event’s Guest of Honour.

This honour was bestowed for Bill’s continued involvement in motor sport for more than 60 years. A Ballarat boy, Bill, now 88, competed in the first meeting at the Ballarat Aerodrome in 1947 in his Riley.

A print of Bill competing in that first event was auctioned off with about 8 bidders taking part. The item was sold for $800.


Mining Exchange Motor Show – 25 August to 1 September

A great collection of racing & sports cars, motorcycles & model cars were on display at the Ballarat Mining Exchance building on Lydiard Street for this period.

A visit by HRA on Saturday 1 September built enthusiasm on the following days events at the Ballarat Air Strip, as the majority of vehicles on display are to parttake in the on-track festivities. The collection included the appearance of two World F1 Championship winning racing cars, the 1966 Repco Brabham BT19 & the 1979 Williams FW07.

A Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing looked a bit too modern, particularly with 1927 Bugatti T35C & 1933 MG K3 in the background, and a Holden 48/215 nearby. This car (pictured below) will re-live the Kangaroo Stables entry in the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally in which the three young Australian racing drivers; Tony Gaze, Lex Davison & Stan Jones took part. This careful re-build will take part in the 2013 Historic Monte Carlo Rally, some 60 years on from the ’53 event.


Entries for this year’s Ballarat Festival of Motoring – Motor Sport events on September 2 will close this Friday.

A number of cars that have already entered and are creating a great deal of interest include: the cars driven by Australia’s two F1 World Champions and believed to have never been seen together before – Sir Jack Brabham’s 1967 World Championship winning Repco Brabham BT19 and Alan Jones’ 1979 World Championship winning Williams FW07; a recent import into Australia – a 2012 McLAREN MP4-12C Super Car; and a number of great Australian Monoposto Specials including John Hickford’s 1929 Lancia Lambda Special, Keith Roberts’ 1932 Macdonberg Special; James McDonald’s 1958 Riley Special, Peter Whaley’s 1937 Standard Special and Ian McDonald’s 1957 Repco-Holden Special. We are currently in the final stages of negotiating for the participation of another significant car that is being prepared as a national series contender, which we hope will be completed in time for an appearance at our event.

Attached please find copies of the current Information Brochure, Entry Forms and Supplementary Regulations. Feel free to circulate them amongst interested parties.

Please complete your Entry Forms if you haven’t already done so and return them by the weekend so that we can include you in time for this year’s Souvenir Program.

Be part of history while you can – don’t miss out on this year’s event including the chance to compete on 3 Kilometers of Australia’s most historically significant WW2 airfield runway based motor racing circuit in the company of fellow enthusiasts and some of Australia’s greatest sports and racing cars

Preview and report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia

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