Wondai Sprints 2018

Story and photos by Eddie Huffam.

Our new life here in Toowoomba has been made a lot more exciting, what with the street sprints expanding from Leyburn to other outlying towns like Oakey, Pittsworth and for the third year, the Wondai Sprints. Like Leyburn, it is becoming more popular with 125 cars entered this year.

My preparation was delayed due to work commitments at the recent Commonwealth Games so we (the wife, and my father) arrived at around 12.00 am to the sounds of a snoring camp/pit area, rolled out the swag beside the ute and promptly got rained upon.

Day One morning was broken by the sounds of Wankels revving and the smell of bacon cooking. Looking around that morning, the competition was quite diverse from what appeared to be Barracuda off-road buggyies with race tyres fitted, to Vicky Paxton’s V8 Lexus powered Delara.

LCQ was well represented by three Elises: Pat Richards, Peter Quinn, Michael Ciccolelli, and myself in the only S2 Europa. I was up against stiff competition in the Pre 1979 Sports Cars 1501cc to 2000cc. These being an AH Sprite with two drivers and an X19. Now to those who scoff at the notion of being up against a Sprite, this was no ordinary Sprite, in fact, about the only thing Sprite about this car was the taillights, the rest being a widened body fitted on to a Mazda MX5 with the 1800cc engine.

My first lap was a sound out of the circuit with the time of 1:10 only to be bettered by the “Sprite” by a soul shattering second. My second lap 1:06:34 was to keep me in the lead for the rest of the timed trials, but only just, with the “Sprite” at 1:06:35, until it suffered a coolant leakage problem and was withdrawn from the competition. I went on to complete my best lap at 1:05 and maintained the lead for my division.

Meanwhile Michael, Pat and Peter were holding their own against a field of nine cars in the Modern Sports Cars 1501-2000 class, including MX5, S2000s and MR2. Michael was placed second behind a very quick MX5 and was chasing a sub 1:00 when disaster struck and the Elise hit the wall. Michael was taken to hospital but thankfully released with no injuries. Pat and Peter had a great weekend and finished in 4th and 7th positions.