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Ashby & Reed, Ford farewell

Australian Muscle Car - - Front Page -

It would have been easy to dis­miss the plain-Jane VK Com­modore that ap­peared for Ama­roo Park’s 1986 Aus­tralian En­durance Cham­pi­onship’s opener on Au­gust 3. For here was a car al­most de­void of spon­sor­ship and pi­loted by an un­known Group A debu­tant named ‘Ashby Reed’. Sig­nage was lim­ited to his name on the wind­screen strip and all-up­per­case text pro­mot­ing one of Syd­ney’s many smash re­pair busi­nesses.

If any­thing was writ­ten over this Ashby Reed char­ac­ter’s ef­fort it was ‘here to­day, gone to­mor­row’. Tour­ing car rac­ing blow-ins came and went with mo­not­o­nous reg­u­lar­ity in that era. Most wannabes were only one bin­gle or en­gine de­t­o­na­tion away from dis­ap­pear­ing off the scene just as quickly as they ar­rived.

Sure enough, the non­de­script VK grid­ded up at the rear among, to bor­row a Bill Tuckey phrase, the rats and mice. The car lasted longer in the 155-lap Bet­ter Brakes 300 than seemed likely, be­fore en­gine mal­adies ended its run and con­firmed many cyn­i­cal ob­servers’ sus­pi­cions.

Fast for­ward two months and the Lansvale Smash Re­pairs VK was back for an­other hit-out – in no less an event than the 1986 James Hardie 1000. The en­try list re­vealed that ‘Ashby Reed’ was ac­tu­ally two peo­ple – Trevor Ashby and Steve Reed. The old school­mates and busi­ness part­ners had only been to Mount Panorama be­fore as spec­ta­tors, so few ex­pected the rookie pair to trou­ble the lap­scor­ers, let alone reach the fin­ish.

Yet, come the first Sun­day in Oc­to­ber 1986, that same non­de­script yel­low VK was, in­cred­i­bly, knock­ing on the door of the hal­lowed top 10 an hour into the race!

After qual­i­fy­ing a sen­sa­tional 16th in a field of 59, the #34 Com­modore was run­ning 11th – and sec­ond of the all-pri­va­teer crews – as the first round of pit­stops be­gan. The late Tuckey, in the Great Race 1986 book, wrote that the pair had been the “sen­sa­tions of race week”. He cap­tured the spirit of Lansvale Smash Re­pairs’ first Bathurst as­sault in de­scrib­ing the team’s lap 41 pit­stop.

“It was the first sched­uled stop for Steve Reed, to change to Trevor Ashby. This con­tin­ued the fairy­tale, for it was a to­tally pro­fes­sional stop, one that would have done the MHDT proud, with no arm-wav­ing and shout­ing. The crew’s fam­i­lies, stand­ing around the rear of the pits, ap­plauded as Ashby roared away.”

Alas, a few laps later their Com­modore was back in to re­place the gear­box, be­fore the squad strug­gled on, com­plet­ing 111 laps but fail­ing to fin­ish the race.

It didn’t take long for any ‘here to­day, gone to­mor­row’ predictions to fly out the win­dow. Ashby and Reed paired up again the fol­low­ing year... and for 14 sub­se­quent Bathurst as­saults. Their 16 con­sec­u­tive cam­paigns to­gether means they will al­most cer­tainly hold the record for ever more as the event’s most­capped pair­ing.

When they hung up their hel­mets after the 2001 event, the fa­mil­iar yel­low, red and blue #3 Com­modore con­tin­ued to race full-time in the hands of hired guns. Even after the duo closed the team and sold its V8 Su­per­car li­cence for sea­son 2004, they’ve main­tained a reg­u­lar pres­ence at race meet­ings, as we will dis­cover.

The names Reed and Ashby long ago be­came syn­ony­mous with each other and the glory days of the pri­va­teer. They rep­re­sented the last of the breed, when a cou­ple of mates with an au­to­mo­tive busi­ness and a ‘can-do’ at­ti­tude could rock up to Mount Panorama and nip at the heels of the pros in the big­gest race on the cal­en­dar.

Their unique part­ner­ship cap­tured the rac­ing pub­lic’s imag­i­na­tion. It was built on hav­ing a crack, hav­ing fun and do­ing what was best for the busi­ness, that en­abled them to race in the big league.

It was also de­void of ego. Their ap­proach was just so un­like many others in­volved in mo­tor rac­ing, whose ag­gres­sive ap­proach in busi­ness showed through in the spats they in­evitably had with their rac­ing as­so­ciates.

“Trevor and I never had an is­sue with how we shared it ... nei­ther of us was jeal­ous. If one went re­ally quick it would just be a ‘con­grat­u­la­tions’. And that’s the way the busi­ness worked as well,” says Reed.

The pri­va­teer pair­ing’s longevity, suc­cess and ap­proach­a­bil­ity has made them a much-missed Bathurst in­sti­tu­tion.

Let­ting it rip

The

Trevor Ashby/Steve Reed ‘joint ven­ture’ dates back to their school days, in south-west Syd­ney’s Bankstown district. Born a month apart in late 1950, they at­tended the same pri­mary school, be­fore go­ing on to be­come firm friends at high school.

Reed was a car fa­natic as a kid, Ashby less so. Yet it was the lat­ter who made the first move into the smash re­pair in­dus­try when he left school to be­come an ap­pren­tice pan­el­beater. Six months later Reed did like­wise, after be­ing un­able to pick up an ap­pren­tice­ship as a mo­tor me­chanic, his first pick of the au­to­mo­tive trades.

They went to tech to­gether and started fix­ing cars in Ashby’s par­ents’ back­yard on week­ends – a com­mon and ac­cept­able prac­tice four or five decades ago.

“We started busi­ness in Jan­u­ary 1974 after work­ing for quite a while in the back­yard,” says Ashby, 65, the younger by five weeks. “It went back to when I wrecked my own car and had to fix it my­self at home be­cause I had no money. Neigh­bours would look over the fence and soon I was fix­ing their cars, and in the end I was booked out three months ahead. Steve was do­ing the same thing at his house, but not as many.”

Yet it was one of Steve’s back­yard jobs – a big project – that saw him en­list Trevor’s help. They soon de­cided they needed to get a fac­tory some­where and set up shop to­gether. That some­where was Lansvale, a mix of sub­ur­bia and light in­dus­trial es­tates, a stone’s throw from the War­wick Farm cir­cuit which had just closed.

As Lansvale Smash Re­pairs ex­panded so did its own­ers’ in­volve­ment in mo­tor­sport. Mo­torkhanas lead to other com­pet­i­tive car club ac­tiv­i­ties like lap dashes and, ul­ti­mately, rac­ing at re­stricted meet­ings in a Es­cort and a Capri.

“Then we built a Sports Sedan and we raced that for a while in the early 1980s, be­fore we went to Bathurst to watch in 1984,” Ashby says. “Til then we had barbeques on Bathurst race­day where our rac­ing mates would come around. Then seven or eight of us went up to Bathurst and that’s when we thought we should have a crack the next year.”

It didn’t hap­pen for 1985, but they snapped up the ex-Ken Mathews VK Com­modore in ’86. This brings us to the afore­men­tioned Bet­ter Brakes 300, the Lansvale Rac­ing Team’s first race on the Group A stage.

“Although we were 35, our mind­set was the same as when we were 22,” Ashby ex­plains. “We’d al­ways been gung-ho when we de­cided to do some­thing.”

Reed: “We only re­ally knew the Syd­ney tracks and to get the ap­pro­pri­ate li­cences to get a start at Bathurst in Oc­to­ber we had to do a race at Surfers soon after Ama­roo. And that was quite hard, too.”

Twelfth in the BP Plus 300 added to the ex­pe­ri­ence bank, but didn’t pre­pare them for the eye-opener that was open­ing prac­tice for the 1986 James Hardie 1000 race, as Trevor Ashby de­scribes. “We went to Bathurst and thought, ‘what’s could be so hard about the place.’

“I hadn’t even walked the track be­fore the first ses­sion. I just thought it would be like an­other track that you learn. It wasn’t. I de­scribed it as a snake’s back. Ev­ery time you went around the top of the moun­tain [when you’re first learn­ing the track] the corners seemed dif­fer­ent.

“Then Ron Gil­lard took me for a walk around the track to point a few things out, as he did for Steve the day be­fore. Then in the next ses­sion I went four sec­onds a lap faster – that walk re­ally helped me get my head around it.”

Ashby qual­i­fied an amaz­ing 16th – fourth of the part-time teams and ahead of 27 cars also com­pet­ing in the out­right class. That in­cluded the sec­ond of the works Volvo 240s and a fleet of sea­soned Com­modore pri­va­teers.

“JB was in the lead Volvo that year and I re­mem­ber him vis­it­ing us in the pits after qual­i­fy­ing and say­ing, ‘Where did you bas­tards come from?!’

Bowe was not alone in not­ing the press-on style of the new­com­ers.

“Once we got our head around it we had no fear and just let it rip. And that was our prob­lem in the first year or so: we just it rip ev­ery­where!”

(Group) A for ef­fort

Ashby and Reed’s first full sea­son in the big league could hardly have been more of a roller­coaster ride. It started in fine fash­ion with vic­tory in Oran Park’s 25th an­niver­sary meet­ing’s fea­ture event, the $25,000 Cas­trol Clash for Cash, in Fe­bru­ary 1987. Although the pro­fes­sional teams were thin on the ground, Reed slowly reeled in and over­hauled Colin Bond (Alfa 75) in a rain-af­fected af­fair to take the win.

That set the tone for the year in terms of com­pet­i­tive­ness, with Ashby qual­i­fy­ing on the front row for the AMSCAR se­ries opener, split­ting the JPS BMW M3s in the process. He re­calls storm­ing through the field late race on a dry­ing track thanks to a canny tyre choice from team man­ager Wally Storey.

By this stage Ashby and Reed had worked out that their best chance of suc­cess at Syd­ney sprint meet­ings was spe­cial­is­ing at Ama­roo (Ashby) and Oran Park (Reed) re­spec­tively.

“We had our own tracks and be­cause we had to work and worked had to pay for it, we couldn’t do ev­ery­thing or pay for two cars. We had some spon­sors that were very good to us and Lansvale Smash Re­pairs was our main spon­sor. While one of us was away rac­ing, the other would be at work. Even when we raced, who­ever was rac­ing would flash home Sun­day night and be at work Mon­day morn­ing like noth­ing hap­pened.” The ic­ing on the cake was a top 10 fin­ish (10th) in Bathurst’s sole World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship round.

On the other side of the ledger was a se­ries of crashes that year. The ex-Mathews VK was de­stroyed at Ama­roo and its re­place­ment, a VL, didn’t fare much bet­ter ini­tially.

“From mem­ory it was Wed­nes­day prac­tice and the left-front wheel came loose. The car came back to the pits and it was re­ally bad; it was all but de­stroyed. There were a cou­ple of late nights to re­build it, as we brought guys up from Syd­ney from our work­shop to re­pair it. There were kinks in the tun­nel through the floor of the car; so much of the shell was man­gled. To turn that around and fin­ish 10th with just one bloke who was be­ing paid to be there was a re­flec­tion of the sort of help we had that year and most years.

“We started at the back of the grid in a car that was hurt, de­cided we would only drive at eight­tenths all day and came through the field.”

It was one of the few times in the early days when they took it easy. Still, when you own prob­a­bly the largest smash re­pair busi­ness in Syd­ney, you can be ex­cused for push­ing on a bit.

“En­gine blow-ups were al­ways more of a set­back to us,” Ashby ex­plains. “We never wor­ried about the panel dam­age, but the me­chan­i­cals were an­other mat­ter. I used to hate rip­ping a wheel off, but slap­ping the side of the car was no big deal for us.”

In 1988 Reed scored the duo’s first points in the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship, with eighth at Lake­side. Both say they en­joyed the Group A era the most from a driver’s per­spec­tive.

“We were very com­pet­i­tive for the bud­get that we had,” Reed says. “Hav­ing Wally Storey’s wis­dom was a big plus. We didn’t lack for pace chas­sis-wise, but we suf­fered, just through a lack of bud­get, in en­gine de­vel­op­ment. And that showed at the longer cir­cuits, whereas we were more com­pet­i­tive on tracks that re­warded a car that han­dled well.”

Through­out, their weapon of choice was the pri­va­teer favourite: the Holden Com­modore, the pair work­ing their way through the VK, VL, VL Walkin­shaw and VN mod­els over their seven sea­sons in Group A com­pe­ti­tion.

V8 era smash hit

The Syd­neysiders kept their win­ning for­mula go­ing as the in­ter­na­tional Group A cat­e­gory gave way to the 5.0-litre V8 tour­ing car class for the 1993 sea­son, that soon be­came the V8 Su­per­cars era.

As their com­mit­ment and in­vest­ment in rac­ing grew, the struc­ture and lo­ca­tion of their team set-up evolved. At var­i­ous times the race team’s work­shop was based at their own busi­ness at En­field, at Ron Gil­lards’ work­shop at Ballina on the NSW North Coast, at Wayne Gard­ner Rac­ing’s work­shop, then their own ded­i­cated race work­shop in Lid­combe – what­ever was the best fit at the time.

Be­yond the an­nual trip to Bathurst, ini­tial spo­radic out­ings at favoured race­tracks be­came a full sched­ule and oc­ca­sional gi­antkilling re­sults, such as fifth at Lake­side in 1997. That year saw them post their best re­sult on the Moun­tain, eighth.

Through their first decade they re­mained the bench­mark of part-timers’ ranks. This was ce­mented by win­ning the Pri­va­teers Team Cup in 1998.

This was the last hur­rah for the pri­va­teer in the tra­di­tional sense.

The sport moved to a fran­chise sys­tem in the late 1990s un­der AVESCO and its high-pro­file chair­man Tony Cochrane. Long-term team own­ers like the Lansvale boys ac­quired a stake in the grow­ing busi­ness and Reed was in­stru­men­tal as a team’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in this new pro­fes­sional ap­proach get­ting off the ground.

By 2000, when fel­low pri­va­teer Terry Fin­ni­gan (see AMC #50) pulled up stumps, they found them­selves as the only full-time Syd­ney op­er­a­tion. This was the year the team di­verted from its modus operandi of the pre­vi­ous 14 sea­sons and, sur­pris­ingly, en­tered two cars – one for each owner – in each of the 13 Shell Cham­pi­onship Se­ries events. It was one last full-sea­son cam­paign for the duo as driv­ers, with both turn­ing 50 ahead of that year’s Bathurst 1000. They paired for their 15th con­sec­u­tive Great Race in a VS wear­ing their tra­di­tional #3, while Ge­off Full and Phillip Sci­fleet drove #23. Sadly, the team’s first two-car Bathurst cam­paign saw both yel­low/red/ blue ma­chines re­tire be­fore the 100-lap mark.

The evo­lu­tion con­tin­ued in 2001 with the hir­ing of the squad’s first full-time pro­fes­sional, Cameron McConville, in the #3 VX. Mean­time, Reed and Ashby shared the #23 VS for the bulk of the se­ries, their last be­fore hang­ing up their hel­mets.

“We had Op­tus all over the cars that year and we threw ev­ery­thing we had at Cameron’s car. There were a lot of up­dates to that lead car that sea­son, but we didn’t worry about the lat­est gear for our (sec­ond) car that Steve and I shared. It was all about giv­ing Cameron the best pos­si­ble chance of suc­cess and we had some good re­sults.”

These were the last days of what could be termed the ‘open era’, be­fore AVESCO re­stricted events to its trav­el­ling cir­cus of ma­jor team fran­chise hold­ers. An era when 35 to 40 cars would rock up to cir­cuits li­censed to run 32, with pre-qual­i­fy­ing some­times com­ing into play. McConville hov­ered around the top 10 at most events, although be­ing in the thick of the ac­tion led to plenty of skir­mishes, in­clud­ing a mon­ster rollover at Sandown.

The 2001 Bathurst clas­sic would be the last for the most-capped duo in Great Race his­tory. They went out in fine style with a com­pet­i­tive run to 11th place, one spot be­hind the lead Com­modore of McConville and Rick Bates. Fit­tingly, Ashby and Reed were the first pair of part-timers and ’fiftysome­things’ across the line.

“To get two cars home in 10th and 11th, with the bud­get that we had, was a huge ef­fort by the guys,” Ashby com­ments.

Reed: “To­wards the end, the en­durance races were re­ally our forte. I def­i­nitely en­joyed those longer races more than the sprint races at that stage. You could re­ally get­ting my teeth stuck into those and con­cen­trate on bang­ing out con­sis­tent lap times all days.”

Last hur­rah

By 2002 the boys had pulled the pin on their driv­ing ca­reers. Around this time the team em­braced the ‘Lansvale Rac­ing Team’ moniker, with sig­nage declar­ing it ‘Syd­ney’s own V8 Su­per­car team’.

“Putting it bluntIy, this was our ‘burn down’ pe­riod,” Ashby ex­plains. “We knew we had to stop rac­ing com­pletely. We got Cameron in [to drive for 2001] and looked at how long we would keep go­ing. The costs were ris­ing year on year. So when we stopped driv­ing we knew it was just a mat­ter of time be­fore we would exit the sport com­pletely.”

When McConville moved to Garry Rogers Mo­tor­sport for 2003, Ja­son Richards was drafted in as re­place­ment.

“They were both great guys to have on­board; both fan­tas­tic blokes,” says Reed, his voice trail­ing off in an un­spo­ken mark of re­spect for the late Ja­son Richards, who suc­cumbed to a rare strain of can­cer in late 2011.

The team’s V8 li­cence was sold to Tas­man Mo­tor­sport for 2004, with the deal in­clud­ing sig­nage for Lansvale Smash Re­pairs for a few more sea­sons. A num­ber of team spon­sors also car­ried over.

When the ar­range­ment with Tas­man ended the Lan­vsale busi­ness’s logo ap­peared on Brad Jones Rac­ing’s Com­modores – and has stayed there ever since. The 2016 Bathurst 1000 marks the 30th an­niver­sary of the LSR brand’s first Great Race cam­paign, with an un­bro­ken run of en­ter­ing or spon­sor­ing cars over the en­su­ing years.

The thriv­ing Lansvale Smash Re­pairs busi­ness is still Trevor Ashby’s baby to­day and he con­tin­ues to work full-time in it.

“The busi­ness has been fleet-fo­cused for a long-time and that stands at 97 per cent of our work now. It’s all set up so that if I dropped off the perch to­mor­row, in the­ory, it would all con­tinue op­er­at­ing,” says Ashby, high­light­ing that, at 65, he’s able to work at his own pace.

“I have six grand­kids all un­der the age of five liv­ing within six kays! I love it. And I go to work ev­ery day and I en­joy that too. There’s 35 staff all up.”

Steve Reed ex­ited Lansvale Smash Re­pairs back in 2011, sell­ing his share in it to Ashby. Big Bird, also 65, is now in the big bird busi­ness, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of an­other well-known NSW pri­va­teer, Graeme Bai­ley.

“I had a bot­tle shop for a while and set up a cafe off the side of that. These days I have poul­try farms in South Aus­tralia and that’s enough for me, with some trav­el­ling and other things I have go­ing on. It was just time for me to move on from the smash re­pairs game,” says Reed of his ca­reer change. “I started los­ing a bit of pas­sion for it, started to lose a bit of want for it.”

Both con­tinue to fre­quent Su­per­car events to­day. Ashby hosts Lansvale Smash Re­pair’s fleet cus­tomers and guests at half a dozen events each year. Sur­prise, sur­prise, it’s Reed, who is re­tained by Brad Jones Rac­ing, who of­ten con­ducts those pit tours for the Al­bury-based team, the only NSW squad in the sport’s top tier.

“I do a lot of Brad and Kim’s pit tours and stuff like that. I go to the events I want to go to. The ex­cite­ment on peo­ple’s faces when they see in­side these cars now, it’s fan­tas­tic. They are just like a space­ship. It’s a dead-set sil­hou­ette for­mula now and a whole dif­fer­ent ball­game to when we were rac­ing. It’s an­other world and a step up. The de­vel­op­ment over the last 15 years since we stopped driv­ing them is in­cred­i­ble.”

Q&A

AMC: What was the se­cret to your long part­ner­ship?

Steve Reed: Be­ing in­volved in rac­ing had to be fun. We had a lot of vol­un­teers and fam­ily pitch­ing in and help­ing us, so it had to be en­joy­able for all. It evolved into a busi­ness, but it re­mained fun... al­beit it be­came more ex­pen­sive fun!

Also, who­ever was in the car was in the car. What­ever they did they did. By that I mean we were only ever sup­port­ive of each other. If I was in the car and I bent it, we just got on with it fix­ing it. IfTrevor bent it, we got on with fix­ing it. IfTrevor was faster than me, no one was hap­pier than I was. And vice versa.

We also had the five-minute rule: if we had a dis­agree­ment, you’d say your piece and you had five min­utes be­fore you had to move on.There were a few times we needed to be re­minded of that rule, but our ap­proach must have had some­thing go­ing for it.

AMC: There were plenty of long-time Bathurst com­peti­tors who had a dif­fer­ent co-driver ev­ery year...

Trevor Ashby: Ab­so­lutely right! Maybe they didn’t have the five-minute rule! Things go wrong; you’re not try­ing to hit the fence, you’re not try­ing to break the gear­box...

Usu­ally the way we did it at Bathurst was that who­ever qual­i­fied, the other got the start the race. Although the first year at Bathurst we tossed a coin to see who would start!

AMC: Who was quick­est? SR: Trevor was nor­mally the quicker of the two of us on new tyres and over one lap, but I may have been a bit faster in the wet.

AMC: What do you con­sider your great­est on-track achieve­ments?

SR: Bathurst in 1987, when ev­ery­body put in to re­pair the car after the prac­tice crash and to be re­warded with a top 10 re­sult. In a car that was hurt­ing, that was pretty spe­cial.

TA: That was spe­cial. For me, the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence was great. I could not wait to get to each meet­ing.

AMC: Most driv­ers with long his­to­ries at Bathurst can re­mem­ber what hap­pened dur­ing each cam­paign. I get the im­pres­sion that for you they all blend to­gether to an ex­tent.

TA: I know I speak for both of us in say­ing that most of the sea­sons and most of the races all blend to­gether. ( Reed nods)

AMC: How would you like to be re­mem­bered? TA: As the Scotty Tay­lor and Kevin Kennedy of our time. When we first got in­volved we’d get to Bathurst and look to see if they had turned up! It would be nice to be re­mem­bered for al­ways be­ing there. [ED: Tay­lor/Kennedy, see AMC #44, were the pre­vi­ous hold­ers of the long­est Bathurst part­ner­ship record with 10 con­sec­u­tive starts to­gether, 1977 to 1986].

AMC: We think it’s a pity to­day that a pair of 35-year-old mates, with an au­to­mo­tive busi­ness, couldn’t dive in to­day and have a go in the pre­mier divi­sion, as you did in 1986.

SR: It would be very dif­fi­cult. It’s doable, al­beit the cost would be much greater, given the high­tech na­ture of the cars to­day and the spe­cial­ity equip­ment re­quired. So you would need to run off the back of the pro teams.

AMC: How do you see V8 Su­per­cars, sorry Su­per­cars, go­ing in the medium to longer term?

TA: I think it is go­ing to sur­vive fine.The fact that crowds are still rock­ing up, teams still want to com­pete and Fox is happy all au­gurs well.

SR: The sport has to en­sure it’s not re­liant on man­u­fac­turer fund­ing. Holden, and to a lesser ex­tent Ford, have been stal­warts of Aus­tralian mo­tor rac­ing, but the others have come and gone when it suits. It only takes a change of man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and a man­u­fac­turer’s sup­port can dis­ap­pear. What do we need from man­u­fac­tur­ers to­day apart from money? Prob­a­bly noth­ing, re­ally. The busi­ness model will change a bit and it will all kick on.

AMC: Rac­ing at the top end of the sport must have been worth­while for Lansvale Smash Re­pairs given your longevity?

SR: It opened a lot of doors for us. It gave us a pro­file where peo­ple we dealt with al­ways wanted to talk first about rac­ing cars rather than busi­ness. Our rac­ing was al­ways a good con­ver­sa­tion starter in a work sense. It was def­i­nitely a pos­i­tive thing for the busi­ness.

AMC: Can you see your­selves get­ting in­volved in His­toric rac­ing?

SR: No. I have other things I’d like to do. If I got in­volved I wouldn’t be able to stop my­self from do­ing it boots and all, which I don’t want to do.

TA: Of course it would be good fun. But I feel I’ve been there and done that. I used to race cars in my last life. Once I stopped driv­ing 15 years ago I let my CAMS li­cence lapse and never got it back.

Above: The Lansvale Smash Re­pairs name still adorns V8 Com­modores 30 years after the team’s 1986 de­but. Left: LSR’s sole prin­ci­pal to­day, Trevor Ashby (pic­tured, right), rocked up to our catch-up with he and for­mer busi­ness part­ner Steve Reed in a ute with well-worn LRT333 num­ber­plates.

Top: From Capri to an Es­cort to... Left: ...be­ing asked at Bathurst ’86 by Volvo’s Bowe: “Where did you bas­tards come from?” Be­low: Be­hind the works teams, pro driv­ers and a cou­ple of long-time pri­va­teers was a pair of debu­tants in a yel­low VK.

Main and in­set: The pair caused the most grief to the pros in the late 1980s. Bot­tom left: Uh-oh! When Reed went in dur­ing prac­tice at Grif­fin’s Bend in ’87, so be­gan a mas­sive re­pair ef­fort that was re­warded come Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Main: Bathurst 1997 brought their high­est fin­ish in the Great Race, eighth. Cen­tre: No, you’re not see­ing dou­ble. There are two Lansvale cars in this pic. Left: McConky’s Sandown 2001 rollover.

Top: The evo­lu­tion of the pop­u­lar Syd­ney team be­gan with a hired gun. Above: For 2004, LRT mor­phed into Tas­man Mo­tor­sport with Ja­son Richards as driver. Be­low: To­day, the LSR logo can be found on the Brad Jones Rac­ing VFs, sig­nalling three decades of con­tin­u­ous tin-top in­volve­ment.

Above: Reed, like any good smash re­pair as­ses­sor, was quick to ad­vise what parts were needed after the ’87 Grif­fin’s Bend hit. Be­low: Two nicer blokes you could not meet for a cuppa and a chat about their 30-year in­volve­ment in topline rac­ing.

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