Wondai is a good 3 hours drive from Brisbane (capital city, State of Queensland) and I decided to take the slightly inland western route over Mount Glorious. I won't be doing that again. My little Hilux ute (tow vehicle for the Mazda) found the haul up to the top of Mt Glorious a little too much. I stopped for a coffee at the cafe popular with bikers to let everything cool off. Down the otherside was equally slow - I was not confident that my brakes would handle slowing from any real pace, so I crawled down to the bottom in second gear. The rest of the way was quite a nice drive.
I arrived to Wondai early afternoon to find a good sized tent city already set up in a large mowed grassed field.
I set up camp and then headed to the scrutineers - no issues - and was issued with the stickers and competition numbers to apply.
I then wandered off to have a look at the competition in my class which consisted of this Skelta G-Force driven by Ray Vandersee (Ray won the event outright in this car):
Note the gentlemen in the background with the Red ND - he's 77 and spent Friday night in a 1 man tent to be at the event.
This M3 (29th outright):
And this twin turbo V8 powered Rx7 which finished 9th outright:
I thought I'd have no hope of beating the Skelta, as it weighs very little, has loads of aero, and extracts a lot more power from it's Honda powerplant, than does my Mx-5 (Miata). The BMW and the Mazda would be my competition.
About this point, I realised that I'd forgotten some useful camping equipment which included both a bed and a towel, so I wandered into town to see what I could find. At the supermarket, I asked the lady running the checkout if she knew anywhere in town one might buy a towel, other than Vinnies, which had already closed. She didn't know and asked her other customer who confirmed that towels could not be bought in Wondai - 'we used to have them'. I wandered down to the bottle shop to collect beer, and the same lady customer who'd been in the supermarket, followed me into the bottle shop and gave me a towel. This is how you know you're in a real country town:
I wandered back to the campsite and made a bed out of a cargo net and a spare sleeping bag. I will not be forgetting a bed next time.
With all my domestic crisis sorted (mostly) I went for a track walk. Lot's of men were still out positioning concrete barriers, tires and huge hay bales until after dark. Fixed objects were all protected with hay bales and tires. The hay bales were larger than some of the cars entered:
The following morning was 3 or 4 degrees (c) at sunrise. The temps were no deterrent at the drivers briefing and sign on:
And then the first runs began. The aero on the open-wheelers that ran at first, pulled impressive plumes of dust off the track. I did not catch the best one - this is also a lot of smoke...
And then the lap times began rolling in, fast and slow
By the end of day 1, my best time was a 63.78. Ray in the Skelta had already pulled out an unassailable 59.02. The M3 and the Rx7 on the other hand were in the high 60's. About this point, I thought I'd get second in class, and I realised that I was 4th or 5th outright and so I decided to focus on trying to maintain overall position. It's worth mentioning that Saturday was warm and still, and blue sky all day.
That night there was a band. They were pretty good. Someone said the next morning that they had played on until 11pm. I think I went to sleep somewhere in the middle of 'Sweet home Alabama'...
Sunday morning was cool and overcast, and it stayed that way all day. Cold track, cold tyres and the remains of a heavy dew made for some fairly cautious first runs, before the times started to fall. My times for the Sunday:
Run 6: 66.75
Run 7: 64.86
Run 8: 62.93
Run 9: 62.20
Run 10: 62.09
After my last run, I was already taking my helmet off in the pits, when they called me and two others back for a re-run due to a timing gear issue. Yes!! A re-run on hot tires - the best chance of a fastest time of the weekend. Here is that run:
For comparison, here's some in-car from Ray's Skelta:
In the end, my last run at 62.09 put me on 5th place outright. 4th was taken by Chris Ching in his EVO6 with a 62.03, followed by Darren Duffield and Vickie Paxton in their open wheelers, with Ray Vandersee in 1st place in his Skelta G-Force.
Trophy time! Presentations were assisted by two fellows from Downer and Stanwell Power Station who were major sponsors of the event
Some other notable cars:
John Provan's Red NB which he has competed and finished the Targa Tasmania for 5 consecutive years, took out 1st place in the Modern Sports 1501-2000c
John Goodwin's Red 1989 NA, which he'd literally just bought, put tires and a roll bar on/in and then ran it in the event.
This car, which is all Miata underneath:
And the oldest car in the event, Peter Trapnell's 1935 Ford V8 Special which had only just had it's engine reassembled the night before:
It was a great event, well-run, and a fun track on a very good surface. Definitely worth putting an entry in for next year! Will Hagen was the commentator for the event, and his last comment of the weekend was (not an exact quote because I didn't think to write it down!):
"This event is everything modern motorsport isn't".