Photo Gallery: Speed on Tweed 2010
Driving a self-built car on old tyres, Brisbane’s Alan McConnell blasted to outright victory in the ninth annual South Coast Automotive Speed on Tweed at Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales at the weekend.
McConnell’s time of 39.48 seconds on the one-kilometre temporary street course, set in his 1987 Van Diemen with a Suzuki motorcycle engine, was fastest by just 0.4 seconds.
Neil Farr was second in a 1976 Bowin, with 2009 winner Bill Norman a further 0.04 sec. behind in third place in his G.E.K. sports car.
More than 180 cars ranging in vintage from pre-1930 to 2010 contested the time trials in perfect spring weather.
Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham was among several thousand spectators who lined the track, based in the showgrounds of the picturesque Tweed River town.
A delighted McConnell said he had not expected to win, but the result made up for disappointment in 2009 when on his first visit he had been unable to start the Van Diemen’s engine at the last moment.
“Last year I had to switch to my old Skyline road car, so I was looking forward to this year. When I saw the entry list, I expected I’d be third,” said McConnell, a six-time Australian Motorkhana Champion and hillclimb champion.
“My Dad and I took 10 years to build the car and I’ve been racing it for seven years. I run on a very small budget and the tyres I used this weekend were two years old – it was scary out there (on the track).
“I set my best time on Saturday morning on only my second run of seven, then had to sweat it out and keep trying all weekend in the hope I wouldn’t be beaten.
“I love this event. I’ve sacrificed my local event so I could do Speed on Tweed. It’s a fantastic setting and a great atmosphere in town.”
The Festival of Speed on Tweed started with a lunchtime street parade of more than 80 cars on Friday, followed by a nighttime street party and the Murwillumbah Services Club Fireworks Spectacular over the river.
Organising Chairman Bill Larkin said innovations this year including a free open-air public concert and a Saturday night dinner for drivers had helped make the event another success.
“The theme for this year was Australian Specials and spectators saw some of our best-known Australian-built historic racing cars in action, from the Maybach 2 grand prix machine to the Whatmore Jaguar, Centaur Waggott and several Elfins. They were magnificent cars in a magnificent setting,” Mr Larkin said.
“It’s all gone without a hitch and we’ve been very happy with the crowds. We’ve also had a wonderful crew of more than 300 volunteers, without whom the Festival simply would not have been possible.
“Next year will be the 10th anniversary and we’ll be looking at ways to make it even more special.”
Speed on Tweed is staged by the Rotary Club of Murwillumbah and Rally Australia. A not-for-profit event, proceeds from this year will be used to benefit Life Education Australia and local community organisations.
Full results available here
All images copyright Jaime Dormer©
For more images visit: www.jdphotographics.com