Morgan Park B Series Rd 1 – May 2017

Story by Vyvyan Black, Photos by Gloria Wade & Vyvyan Black.

The day started at the wretched hour of 4.30am. What strange misadventure is this, I thought.

What kind of idiot gets up at this time? What I didn’t know was that all the sensible people leave late on Friday and stay overnight. Never mind. Off I go, into the blackness and the cold, and the fog. And what a fog it was!

The further from Brisbane, the thicker it got. So much so that at one point I’m zooming along at over 120kmh with just ten feet ahead visible – only the occasional reflector as my guide. It was almost dreamlike and I might have lost myself in it if it weren’t for the thought that a big red roo could jump in front at any moment. Where was I heading?

Just outside of Warwick there’s a track at a place called Morgan Park, that I’ve heard about but never actually seen. Being the webmaster of this glorious club I get to look at all the photos that have ever been taken at the various events members attend, and this event comes up a lot. Looks pretty serious I thought.

For those who don’t know, I’ve recently acquired my 1968 Plus 2 and have managed to have a go at a couple of hill climbs. These events marked the first time in my life I have ever raced a car. Well, apart from my foolish youth – and that was only on public roads where I always was a bit of a leadfoot! Still can’t stand slow drivers in front – sheesh!

So, I’m a complete novice. I have to say it’s pretty daunting when you turn up, having driven to the track, and you see the magnificent vehicles that you’ll be driving against. They all seem to have arrived via trailer, unregistered and built specially for track use. Slicks, and modifications everywhere, even sponsorship logos. What am I doing here?

But there’s a number of cars that also drove to the track, mostly have very few modifications and don’t have any sponsorship decals. These cars are of course the Elises. No chance against them either, but luckily everything’s roughly classed into like capacity.

So here’s my first real race situation. But I quickly felt at ease, and after a bit the Elise guys turned up. Here’s the club attendees and times:

Geoff Noble S2 (SC Honda) Silver 03:54:581
Garry Pitt S2 (NA Honda) Red 04:20:366
Martin O’Brien S3 (SC Toyota) Orange 04:20:627
Joe Arico S2 (NA Ford) Black 04:28:337
Jason Patulo S2 (NA Honda) Yellow 04:28:579
Clive Wade S1 (NA Honda) Green 04:34:474
Rob Stevens S2 (NA Rover) Blue 04:43:830
John Flynn S1 (NA Rover) Green 04:51:190
Vyvyan Black Elan Plus 2 (NA Lotus) Navy & Silver 05:33:068

It’s a very nice track. Recently resurfaced and lots of variety. On my first warm-up lap I was getting giggly. This will be a gas! In a way I felt like a lad again. Pity I don’t have the daredevil attitude and the stamina I used to. But what fun!

Some had hiccups – Geoff repaired a small suspension component and Clive was alarmed by a noise in his newly refurbished powerplant that actually turned out to be a window rattle. Over the course of the two day weekend I got slightly better each run, enjoyed some ding dong bouts with a couple of the others in my group and had a total ball. On the drive home I realised that I didn’t think (and the scrutineer didn’t ask) to remove my spare steel wheel, tools and wooden boot lining. Talk about just adding lightness!

I cannot understand why more members don’t do these events. There’s nothing like it for driving your car the way it was meant to be. It’s not even that expensive. And if a complete schmuck like me can do it, what’s stopping you?