All His­toric Ama­roo Park – 25 Jan­uary, 1976 The day our world changed

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT - Story Rob Rowe

That one-day race meet­ing for mo­tor­cy­cles and cars forty years ago was the be­gin­ning of the His­toric Rac­ing phe­nom­e­non that we take for granted to­day. Ev­ery road race cir­cuit in Aus­tralia now holds reg­u­lar, His­toric only, race meet­ings for bikes or cars and oc­ca­sion­ally com­bined, as was the orig­i­nal Ama­roo Park event. For years, old bikes would get one race in the an­nual Easter Mt Panorama mod­ern meet­ing and Barry Ryan spon­sored an an­nual race at Oran Park, a few club days mixed in with mod­ern bikes and that was about it, if you had an His­toric race bike. His­toric cars faced a sim­i­lar dilemma, one race per year at each cir­cuit as a fea­ture race in a pro­gram of mod­ern rac­ing. But in 1973 War­wick Farm closed down and Oran Park did not have an his­toric car race that year. The Aus­tralian Rac­ing Driv­ers Club was not in­ter­ested in pro­vid­ing race time at Mt Panorama or Ama­roo Park in their mod­ern events. A chance meet­ing be­tween Rob Rowe and Jack Ras­mussen re­vealed that this prob­lem was be­ing faced by his­toric race bikes and his­toric race cars – nei­ther could get a chance to race in events of sim­i­lar ma­chines. Sep­a­rately the bikes or the cars did not have enough ma­chines to put on a stand-alone event, but com­bined there just might be enough! A com­mit­tee was formed! Rob Rowe and John Cum­mins went to the ACU to get rid­ers’ names and ad­dresses, while John Med­ley res­ur­rected the His­toric Rac­ing Reg­is­ter News­let­ter to con­tact the car blokes. John Cum­mins chose the date, the Aus­tralia Day long week­end – “We could race on the Sun­day – in­ter­staters could travel on the Satur­day and home again on the Mon­day”. The cir­cuit was booked; we told the ARDC it was just a club event. The ACU and CAMS did not want to know! There is no in­sur­ance to cover bikes and cars at the same meet­ing! The flag sig­nals are dif­fer­ent! There will have to be two sets of of­fi­cials! Safety pad­ding will have to be put over the Armco fenc­ing and re­moved be­fore the cars go out! Cars drop oil! Bikes are too noisy! The bike blokes won’t get along with the car blokes! It just won’t work!!!

Frank Cut­tell said “I will or­gan­ise a party af­ter­wards!” Peter Jones stood up for the bike blokes and said “we will be there!” Alan Puckett de­signed the car and bike logo. John Lackey did all the pa­per work. Eigh­teen blokes put in $50 each (a lot of money in 1976) and hoped it would be a suc­cess and get their money back. Peter Hitchin con­tacted all the of­fi­cials. David Med­ley counted the money. The Vin­tage Sports Car Club would get the nec­es­sary per­mits in their club’s name! There was go­ing to be a race meet­ing – an ALL His­toric Race Meet­ing! Two prac­tice “race demon­stra­tions’ were con­ducted on the 25th Oc­to­ber 1975, dur­ing an AARC Ama­roo Park Club race meet­ing, to make sure that the fence pad crew and other of­fi­cials could cope with a com­bined event. For the first All His­toric Race Meet­ing at Ama­roo Park on Jan­uary 25th 1976, sixty four bikes and one hun­dred and eleven cars en­tered, ev­ery com­peti­tor got ex­actly the same num­ber of laps, one prac­tice and two races. By one pm on that Sun­day af­ter­noon peo­ple were al­ready talk­ing about NEXT year’s event! All His­toric rac­ing had ar­rived! The 1977 All His­toric Ama­roo was a two-day meet­ing with Mike Hail­wood rac­ing a Nor­ton and a Lotus. All His­toric Win­ton fol­lowed in May 1977 and All His­toric Lake­side in 1978. His­toric cars and bikes seemed to ap­pear from ev­ery­where. So many ma­chines were re­turned to rac­ing that soon sep­a­rate His­toric bike and car events be­came vi­able. Car com­peti­tors re­sisted many at­tempts to hold an­nual His­toric Cham­pi­onships; Mo­tor­cy­cling gave in to the pres­sure and “For­mula His­toric” evolved.

The 40th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of that first All His­toric Ama­roo Park Race Meet­ing will be held at Wake­field Park on the 17th and 18th Septem­ber 2016. Why Septem­ber? Well, there are now so many His­toric race meet­ings held around Aus­tralia each year, this is about the only avail­able date. In Septem­ber 2016 events will be held for Pe­riod 1, 2 and 3 So­los and Side­cars. El­i­gi­ble cars will be pre-1961 Rac­ing and Sports cars. Any com­peti­tors from the 1976 meet­ing will be fea­tured in a spe­cial pa­rade event. AASA, CAMS and MA li­cences will be ac­cepted by the Vin­tage Sports Car Club, who will again or­gan­ise the event. One event li­cences will be ac­cepted. En­try fee will be kept as low as pos­si­ble (hope­fully, of the or­der of $250 per com­peti­tor). A bonus may be paid back to com­peti­tors if en­tries ex­ceed 300 bikes and cars. There will be free en­try for spectators, but there may be a small charge for spectators to gain ac­cess to the pits.

All com­peti­tors will have equal track time, con­sist­ing of one prac­tice ses­sion and three races. Some of the races will be hand­i­caps. A 40th An­niver­sary Cel­e­bra­tion Din­ner will be a fea­ture of the week­end.

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