THE MINI MAG. Volume 2 No.6
  June 2000

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The Mini 2000.
The BIG Day at Lakeside Raceway
Sunday June 11

by Bob Ward

The convivial atmosphere of Valentine’s Restaurant at Browns Plains was chilled as I looked out the window and watched the rain bucket down. Our celebratory MINI 2000 dinner was in fine form thanks to the efforts of Tracey York, but I shuddered to think of the impact of this “perfect one day, horrible the next” cyclonic depression (in winter!)would have on all the hard work and efforts of our loyal team at the Mini Owners Club.

We sloshed our way to the boggy carpark and even half an hours sleep didn’t dull the sound of the steady rain on the roof. Making my way to the course in the Cooper S with the wipers going furiously all the way, I anticipated being the first person there to set up the tills and trade stalls. I was wrong!. Peter Bossie and Meg beat me by a country mile, closely followed by Matt and Vanessa Abbott. With enthusiasm and support such as this, I knew we were on a winner, regardless of the weather, as, after all, a Mini enthusiast is a Mini enthusiast who will support clubs and committees in rain, hail or shine.

They set about preparing the Motorkhana and Go to Whoa while I prepared the gate boys for the onslaught we hoped would follow. The only ones seeming to enjoy the drizzle and puddles were the local Lakeside ducks. Richard Drieu, son George and friend Craig, along with Des Shortiss did a great job setting the standard for gate duty from 6.15 am capably followed by Cliff Bourke, Ray Retchless, Graham Williams, Daryl Osborne, John Miller ( so dedicated that he almost got the \\$5 entry fee from our Guest of Honour Bob Holden ) and a host of others who rallied to the roster and the MC requests. My apologies to those who were hauled unceremoniously from their various leisure pursuits to man gate and parking duties.

The next few hours were a blur of rain, noise and people as everyone went about their duties of setting up stalls, barbeques, drink stands, sprint briefings, judging, parking ( thanks Bob York) – all the things necessary to make this a special day. My pilot fix seemed to pay off as mid morning approached, the rain cleared and we even got a hint of blue sky, where all around us I am reliably informed, was bucketing down with rain.

The show then got into overdrive with more spectators arriving, the MC ( Dave McGregor ) hitting his stride and extolling everyone to buy drinks and hamburgers, Club merchandise, enter the Show and Shine, support the sprints and track events, and get behind our sponsors in the trade stall area.

As the weather improved around lunchtime, save for a huge tropical downpour, it was great to see so many people enjoying the variety of events that only a Mini Club of this calibre could stage. Our southern friends were quite impressed and indicated more will attend the next event – we have to get Kathy Formosa’s approval first!

Clarke Tunstall and his team sloshed around in the mud on Hamburger Hill and kept our crowds warm with spicy hamburgers, hot sausages and a variety of chips and drinks. The Ladies on the Mount, Tracey York, Carol and Megan Gould, Pat and Cassie McQuilken and Jane Carmichael warmed the cockels of this Treasurer’s heart with their successful sale of club merchandise and the addition of 21 members to our group. They never once left their post during the entire day, with others ferrying food and drink to their tent. ( I couldn’t find any “cork” at the BBQ tent Pat, but I did find some “coke”. – Scotties!)

The raffles were well supported – how could you resist Ian Leis and his walking stick as he prodded you for more money, ably assisted by his good wife Glenyis. Trev Moy completed the team and I hope everyone benefited from the high quality prizes drawn at the raffle.

The MOCAFE stood out in that its curator, Rebecca Carmichael (10 yo) was always evident at the coffee urn and till, clucking over everybody who looked tired and wet to come into the Café and sit down and have a nice hot cup of tea while she relieved them of \$1.50.

Rebecca and her team didn’t leave the Café or turn off the urn until the last tea bag and sugar satchel had been used. Great effort. She will be a great Treasurer for the Club in the future if Dad (Brian) doesn’t make her Secretary first.

One of the highlights of the day was the incredible event staged by Glen Carpenter and his team – the Sprints and Motorkhana. Our Club prides itself in delivering what we think our members want – a satisfying combination of family day activities, Show and Shine and Motorsport events. The MINI 2000 was going to be used as a test vehicle for this perceived combination, and thanks to Glen and his helpers ( Brian Carmichael, Rob Watson, Scott Longton, Pete Bossie, Matt Abbott to name a few), this ideal was achieved and will set the benchmark for future large events.

The “Legends” came out in force and it was tremendous to see them and our own and interstate racing enthusiasts line up in the pits.

It was a spectacle not to be missed as the Lakeside pits reverberated to the noise and smells it made famous many years ago.

It must have taken our legends back many years to the Lakeside of the Sixties and Seventies, and I think this nostalgia made the event so worthwhile – if nothing else, to recognise these men who made the Mini the legend it is today.

Having said that, the biggest treat to me, was seeing history re-enacted with Bob Holden doing 3 laps of the famous Lakeside track in front of an admiring and cheering crowd, in the replica 13C Cooper S.

This was the car he co-drove to fame with BMC Works driver Rauno Aaltonen in the legendary Bathurst 500 in 1966 when the 1275 Cooper S's took out 9 of the 10 outright places.

He was asked if he would mind doing a few parade laps and his reply, "do you know what pressures are in the tyres"?

He certainly hasn’t lost his style 34 years on.

The Show and Shine attracted in the region of 90 entrants, with over 200 Minis attending the whole event, not a bad roll up for such inclement weather. Our enthusiasts got behind the gala display and there were more heads thrust into bonnets and engine bays than at a chook feed on Sunday morning. The judges are to be complimented on the way the event was conducted, headed up by Dave Perkins, and to the inclusion of computerised scoring for the first time, which gave a speedy and accurate result. There were some lovely cars exhibited, and of course the show stealers were our Pres’s Cooper S, the immaculate blue Mini Ute, Jeff Chang’s piece de resistance and Andrew William’s Deluxe. ( not to mention Dave Perkin’s S hiding in the M.R.Automotive stall )

A plethora of other Mini variants and immaculately restored vehicles was on display, I can only think this display not only gladdens the heart of the dedicated Mini enthusiast, but also our sponsors and trade exhibitors who support our club and this special little car through advertising and services, who see such a high standard of vehicle maintained, knowing in some way that some of this economic input will pass by their door. The generation of such an event as the MINI 2000 can only consolidate and improve the standing of the Mini in Australia, this Club and its members, our clients and supporters.

The trophy finale was spectacular, and even the drizzling rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm as the victors strode to the podium. A huge collection of high quality trophies was distributed and thanks go to John Heselwood for his preparation of so many. How he managed to pick up the clock trophy everyone else was after was beyond me – it even worked! The consensus of opinion during the trophy presentation was that every person who received a trophy deserved to win. The judging was impartial and of a very high standard and set the seal for this wonderful day.

Space doesn’t allow me room to acknowledge everyone, but I would like to thank Graham Williams for placing his truck at Club disposal for ferrying, pick up, drop off, storage of tents, hire equipment, supplies and other essentials over 4 days – also to son Andrew and Jeremy Moeser for helping. Of course to John and Tony and the Committee who made it happen. Let’s not forget Nairn whose neighbours are about to divorce him over all the screaming matches on his verandah during the MINI 2000 soirees.

The memories of the MINI 2000 that will stay with me for a long time are the sight of hundreds of dedicated Mini enthusiasts swarming over the Show and Shine area, the Legends lined up at the pits like the old days, Bob Holden doing his laps of honour in 13C, Fred Sayers with his crumpled umbrella hopping in to blitz the track, avid Club supporter John Stratton quietly waiting his turn in the pits with son Bradley, and of course, the Grand Parade where a lot of us had the privilege of tucking in behind Bob Holden and watching this great man drive.

Roll on March 23rd 2001 the 40th celebration of the Mini in Australia. I’ll get busy with a weather fix!!

Thanks to all who helped and turned up to enjoy the day.
Bob Ward.