Fourteen torturous corners
By Dick Reynolds
The word went out about 2 months ago. ‘The Hill’ awaits in July – 25th and 26th to be exact. Fourteen torturous corners winding their way up Gyandier Drive just out of Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast.
This place is legendary for providing exciting drives and eating cars. We never seem to get many takers for the event from Lotus – ‘pussies’ I suspect. Well, not Jon Young and yours truly – because we love it, and so does Jason McGarry when he’s available. This year we were joined by Pat Richards (Lotus Elise Type R) from Mackay and a couple of his mates, Peter Quinn (Austin Healey Sprite) and Rob Manning (Mini). I should also mention the rowdy turbo rabble from the Sunshine Coast Motorsport Club were there in abundance.
Put up the tents, checked the car over, did all the paperwork, got ‘scruted’, listened to the drivers’ briefing – no mention of the latest CPR or fire emergency practices – walked back to the cars and waited for our call.
Jon was Number 12 and I was 17. So we both wheeled down to the start together to line up. Get a green light, nudge nudge, wink wink from the starter and it’s clutch out, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd before the first right hander – about 90km/h – then left at 2, right at 3, left at 4 and mass panic for 5. Six is flat so about 120 and a bit, then the worst corner – 7. Tightens, off camber exit, and presents concrete blocks, a tree and a few all too tiny tyres just out of the exit. Left and right full throttle through 8 and 9 and on to the hairpin 10 to thrill the crowd with a bit of opposite lock or whatever takes your fancy.
11, 12 and 13 are almost full throttle esses, encased, enfolded or threatened by umpteen concrete blocks, followed by 14, which significantly has the finish line half way ‘round it. Significantly ‘cos that’s where you’ll come off second best – usually! Problem is if you come in too fast, you kiss the barriers and if you realise you are too fast and back off, you kiss the barriers. I’m talking crash, not pash type kissing! Think we had 3 or four hit the wall on Sunday.
Having driven all that; you get the biggest thrill in Queensland motorsport – in my opinion, of course. Back off, ‘U-turn’ in behind the other competitors waiting up the top and breathe that sigh of relief, feel the tingly fingers and cross yourself – safe at the top once again!
We did 8 runs for the weekend, with Jon sorting the car on Saturday, and punting it Sunday for a 71.56 – top 100 placing at number 99. I had the car sorted, so got straight into it, battling Antoinette Redhead for most of the weekend in her lovely MGB, and came out 28th with a 64.30.
The others mentioned earlier: Elise 52nd, with 67.16, Austin Healey 125th with 77.35 and the Mini 106th with a 72.87.
Just for the record, Michael von Rappard (I hope his mum knows he’s out) cleaned up with a 52.44 in the Dallara F392. Michael Heerings of DTC fame 13th with a 61.66, and Glen Hooper with the AWD Riot (seen lurking at the DTC) 7th with a 59.96.
All told, a great weekend of motorsport, with Jon taking 3rd place in Sports Cars 0 to 1600cc, Pat taking 3rd place in Sports Cars 1601 to 2000cc and myself bagging 1st in the same class.
Packed the cars, collected our trophies, filled up with fuel and convoyed back to Brisbane.