When it comes to celebrating their motor racing past, Tasmanian enthusiasts gravitate to a sleepy little town, south of Launceston, called Longford. As outlined in our Sacred Sites series in #75, Longford had a lifespan of only 15 years with racing ceasing in 1968. But what a glorious 15 years they were; with two Australian Grands Prix and five Tasman Series meetings that drew a host of Formula 1 World Champions to the ultra-fast road circuit.
Former Targa Tasmania promoter Octagon staged two revivals in 2011 and 2012 at the ‘Flying Mile’ site. Despite high-profile guests, the revival wasn’t held in 2013 and 2014 and there were fears that the Longford Revival had run its course. Enter former Octagon marketing manager Clint Pease and local enthusiast Greg Garwood. The pair bought the rights from Octagon and ushered in a host of changes, including a new location and fresh events.
“The time was right to bring the festival into the town centre,” Pease explained. “It’s what the residents and local council wanted to see happen.”
The 2015 Longford Revival Festival was centred on the Village Green, where competitor cars were displayed in ‘parc-ferme’. There were other invited classic cars plus trade and food stalls and a giant screen to watch the competition, which consisted of three timed events. Saturday saw the traditional Flying Mile and a round-the-houses sprint that started near the famous Longford pub and proceeded in a horseshoe, passing the Village Green. Both events were televised live on the big screen. On Sunday there was a Quarter Mile sprint on the Tannery Road.
The star attractions were Will and Alex Davison and an Erebus Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. The Davison brothers were there to honour the memory of their grandfather Lex who competed in open-wheelers in the 1950s and 1960s. Lex Davison, killed at Sandown 50 years ago this year, famously crashed into the aforementioned Country Club Hotel in a Cooper in 1962 and then wandered into the bar where the locals bought him a stiff drink!
“Whenever I come down to race in Tasmania I always make a point of coming out to Longford to check out the memorabilia at the pub,” Alex