For a humble little 2.4-kilometre (1.5-mile) race track built by volunteers with borrowed machinery back in 1961, Lakeside Park, as itís now known, has blooded more than its fair share of legendary race drivers and been the stage for some iconic races during its time as a fixture in the calendar of many top-line motorsport series, most notably the golden era (Group A and C) of the Australian Touring Car Championship.
With its closure in 2001 it seemed the track would be demolished and its legacy forgotten. Such would have been its fate, too, were it not for a group of enthusiasts dedicated to preventing the local council and adjoining golf club having their way and bulldozing the site to make way for a housing development.
Since racing resumed in 2008, the popularity of Lakeside for various classes of state-level racing, as well as for off street cruises and car shows, has boomed.
Itís no surprise then to see such a great turnout for the 55th anniversary of this petite track with the Queensland Touring Car
Championship, Group N Historic, Production and Touring classes and the thundering Trans-Am Series making for a pretty special birthday party.
In the Trans Am Series local legend Charlie OíBrien made a clean sweep of the weekend winning all four races to cement his lead in the series with Brett Curran in his 1967 Mustang second and John English in a Pontiac Firebird third.
In the QTCC Neville Haines in a VT Commodore took the weekend ahead of Gary Anger in his VH Commodore with Andrew Knight nipping at their heels in his Datsun 1600 SSS. In Group N Simon Phillips in an XU1 Torana dominated by winning all four races with Bruce Dummett in another Torana XU1 second and Brad Harrisí Ford Mustang third.
1990 E30 BMW 325 ďTHIS IS my first foray into racing, Iíve done Time Attack days in the past and when my Time Attack car met a sad end I was looking for another. A mate of mine races in this (Queensland Touring Car Championship) and heís been talking about it so I thought Iíd give it a go and Iíve always liked the BMWs and I knew this was for sale so I bought it and Iím having a great time so far.
ďThe engine is pretty much a standard 2.8-litre (M52B28) and Iím surprised how easy it is to drive but youíve got to learn to drive this thing a bit differently to my old WRX, it doesnít have the top end speed so the guys will blow you away down the straights but youíll generally find youíre back on them again coming out of the corners. Itís a terrific little car.Ē
1964 EH HOLDEN ďIíVE HAD this for 25 years now, it was a road car for a while then we converted it to a race car around 20 years ago but I started racing back in 1972 in Superkarts, I was a young man when I started! In this class, Nb Historic, weíre allowed to run 179 (cubic inch) engines but the blocks are getting a bit scarce so in this car we run a 173 bored out a little.
Itís got a roller cam, triple 45mm Webers, extractors, modified oiling system and sump and all the other gear you need to race.
ďSuspension-wise itís all just upgraded original stuff but with bigger sway-bars and springs, more camber and caster so it can go through corners, but weíve still gotta run drum brakes for our class requirements and a three-speed gearbox, Ďthree on the treeí for class requirements so basically itís almost as they were back in 1964.Ē
1985 VK HOLDEN COMMODORE ďITíS AN ex-Beaurepaires Group A race car, I donít know much of the history of it but I ran it with Mobil colours in Group A spec but I was getting left behind, everyone was putting on bigger rubber and so on, so I decided to go down the Group C route. Itís now running 18x11-inch rims, 305mm wide on the back and they really fill the guards out, it was running a 6.2-litre LS, six-speed with a 10-bolt Salisbury but after about the fifth Salisbury that blew up we decided to go Ford nine-inch.
ďItís gone through a couple of T56 Ďboxes and now itís on its third LS2 engine. Went to the Bathurst 12- Hour running in the combined Sport Sedans and doing 267km/h she chucked a conrod out through the block going down Conrod, scary as shit, had flames shooting underneath it. So Iíve just had it rebuilt and this is our first meeting back.Ē
1969 ALFA ROMEO 1750 GTV ďIíVE ALWAYS been into Alfas and Fiats and all that all my life but always raced Fiats; I used to race a 124 Abarth Spider, but this is my first Alfa race car. I bought this as a race car about three years ago but Iíve remade it the way I wanted it. It has twin 45mm Webers, different cams, rods, pistons, a close-ratio gearbox, all that sort of thing and itís just such fun to drive.
ďI race in the Group Nc class up to 2-litre in the Historics and the car has been running lap times around the 63sec. mark, so Iím pretty pleased with that. Lakeside is a fantastic circuit and even though theyíre limited here to a grid of 20-something cars itís still great to be here enjoying the day with other drivers and getting to race around an iconic race track.Ē
ANDREW KNIGHT 1970 DATSUN 1600 SSS 1970 DATSUN 1600 SSS ďIT WAS a rally car in Adelaide during the 1990s then I bought it in 2009 and raced in regularity sprints and wanted to go racing but it wasnít eligible for any class. Queensland V8s then became Queensland Touring Cars so the category fitted the car. It was road-registered and I used to race it then drive it home but I wanted to take some weight out of it and put on eight-inch wheels and flares; it went a bit crazy so I started trailering it to the track.
ďItís got an L20B engine in it with 48mm Webers and a Z22 crank with oversize bores so itís about 2350cc but the camshaft is relatively mild, itís not super powerful but itís very reliable. Itís hard work driving this against the V8s but it still goes really well, itís lightweight, small, goes round corners and puts it up the big guys.Ē