Last Saturday we left your correspondent just about to get into the mighty Weekend Australian Racing Team MX-5 for warm-up and qualifying for the Wakefield 300, not surprisingly a 300km race, which is not surprisingly held at Wakefield Park race track, which is surprisingly at the Paris end of Goulburn, about 195km southwest of Sydney, 90km northeast of Canberra and 7km as the jailbird flies, from the Goulburn Government Hilton, or what the locals call the SuperMax for males.
A recent report for the owner, Ms G Berejiklian of Macquarie Street, Sydney, by the TripAdvisor of hoosegows, the NSW Ombudsperson, did say “no doubt … that the SuperMax does not provide a therapeutic environment for these inmates”. Not to say that the SuperMax is so super or so max that there have been no escapes. No, our guide to the demi monde of the southern districts, WART co-driver and race coach Phil Alexander, tells us that in 2018, former jockey turned celebrity clairvoyant Kit Fielding did the old rope-of-sheets exit. Next the day the local paper carried the headline: SuperMax Séance Specialist Scarpers: A Small Medium at Large.
Anyway, before I bore you to death or worse with our weekend of motor racing glory, a few answers to this week’s critical questions:
1. A 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV (highly recommended if you’re not a golfer travelling downhill at some speed north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road Rancho Palos Verdes, and only $90k in Australia).
2. Large hips were the problem Dan Ricciardo had fitting into the seat in his new MCL35M race car.
3. $250k was what a fan of Phil Hill, the only American-born driver to win the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship, paid for one of his helmets and some other punter paid $125k for his Rolex “Zenith” Daytona Watch at Gooding’s Treasures from the Hill Garage sale last week.
4. Twice at Bathurst, which is 33km from Curly Dick Road at Meadow Flat, is how many times Supercars will race on the Mount Panorama track because they couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. F1 has a deeper problem with two races in Italy and one at TBC, which must be a new track.
5. Last Friday was when Arturo Di Modica died. Art was most famous for his 3200kg bronze charging bull sculpture at the start of Wall Street. Now why do we care? Because despite making a big bronze of the intact adult male of the species Bos Taurus, which is the symbol of Lamborghini, Art owned and often towed his bronze bulls and horses biting their tails, behind his Fezzer 328 GTS (expect to pay $300k-plus for a good one).
6. A bit under a mill for Peter Briggs’ Maserati 3500 GT Spyder by Vignale AXA Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance next Saturday. (Full disclosure: Briggsy is a friend but not the one friend who reads this column.) Many experts who haven’t seen a black Holden SSV ute regard the 3500 GT Vignale Spyder as the most beautiful car ever made. One of only 242 made, with this car’s history and provenance, the price guide is probably relatively close to the mark.
OK back to the Paris end of etc. First things first. Holding the community level of motorsport together are lots of volunteers and a few underpaid, overworked racetrack staff. At Wakefield Park there’s Robyn Ryan. Robyn started 15 years ago as a cleaner. Today she is in the office and the face of the track. So, it is only right that the new perpetual supermax cup (it is very, very big) for the 300 has been named the Robyn Ryan Memorial Trophy. Memorial is an unfortunate title because when I was at the presentation Robyn was very much alive. Despite me sneaking a selfie of the two of us, my info is that she still is. Best of all Robyn is a Roosters (a team that plays proper football) tragic like your correspondent.
Our story opens last Saturday at 6am as the black SSV ute pulls into the Pheasant’s Nest servo for a fill of Vortex Premium 98 unleaded, a ham, cheese and tomato toastie and the $2 all-you-can-drink coffee. The driver narrates the scene: “There were no toasties at the servo where I am such a regular, Beth the manager of the toastie department calls me John (because that’s my name)”.
“Hullo John no toasties yet … the bastards from Caltex haven’t delivered them … things have gone to shit since they took over … but there’s some sandwiches from yesterday in the fridge … why don’t I heat one up for you while you get the $2 all-you-can-drink coffee?” “Beauty Deb.”
So, I’m back on my way down the world’s most boring highway (the 840km Hume) while eating my day-old ham cheese and tomato toastie and spilling, boiling hot, all-you-can-drink coffee on my lap where it penetrated down to what’s left of my private parts causing the kind of language usually only heard in the toughest sections of the GGH (Goulburn Government Hilton. The pain was eased by the vista before me as I rolled into beautiful Goulburn, where the Big Merino looks over the old city in the manner of the statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro … both are made of concrete, but the Merino has life-sized private parts. In a super start on the track, I did the first practice on old tyres and only spun three times and reorded a super time of 4 minutes (real amateurs do it in 1:50). Soon after that we all stood around and watched the engine catch fire.
The race got off to a rolling start, the 38 cars, 76 drivers, 380 pit crew and three spectators all going off like a frog in a sock. It only took 1½ laps to work out that the Lewis Hamilton of Australian enduro racing, Todd Herring (and co-driver Verne Johnson), were going to win (again) in their MX-5, Benny Tran’s Honda was second with Jason Herring third. I know you’re not interested but Phil and I took third in our division.