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It was not a good two days to be racing around at Wakefield Park, NSW, for the 24 Hours of LeMons if you were one for illicit substances at some stage of your life.

For instance I (no admissions here) had just come out of turn 10 on to the straight when I saw a World War II Panzerkampfwagen (tank) closing fast with the gun barrel pointed directly at my head. “I shouldn’t have had that last shot of grappa last night,” I thought, and focused on getting the Weekend Australian Motoring Team’s 1993 BMW 3 series (with no sponsorship from any German car company) ready for turn one.

Then a Mercedes cleverly disguised as one of Adolf’s finest (a tank, not a VW) came up alongside with the theme from Hogan’s Heroes belting out. But wait there’s more. The tank was followed by the Winefuelled Nissan Skyline with a barrel of red wine on the roof. Now it did look surprisingly like the 450kW Winfield Skyline R32 Gt-R Mark Skaife and Jim Richards crushed Holden and Ford with at Bathurst before being banned for un-Australian behaviour by winning too much. I don’t remember Skaifey having a wine barrel on the roof though. Despite my earlier writings, both cars were put on the line for less than $1000.

The 24 Hours of LeMons is like the Shitbox Rally on steroids. Our team decided to take a no-theme approach for our $250 machine. Apart from a few lame stickers promoting this newspaper, including its very good online offering, Dean How’s parts and service business on the Mornington Peninsula and Michael McMichael’s Adelaide workshop, we left the Beemer to speak for itself. Which it did very slowly.

Before we began the second day of the 24 Heures de Citron I was trying to extract a starter motor from the local Goulburn wreckers. The wreckers have been in business since 1921 and have every car since that date sitting on snake-infested grass. Working with an employee lying on aforesaid grass under a very old and rusty BMW proved an education. After two fruitless hours trying to get one bolt off, I rang the team saying let’s go back to push starts.

Day two saw a few challenges. We lost two drivers: Tom Connolly had too much fun and used the lame “I have to study” excuse; and Dean How started, did 45 minutes and realised this was no place for a very experienced BMW racer. That left a diverse and scary team of four under the direction of pit crew manager Grant (we can’t give you his last name, it’s top secret).

After my 15th spin it became clear I wasn’t the hope of the team. Michael McMichael (so good they named him etc etc) cruised around effortlessly … of course once he got on the track things were different. Phil King, a true journalist, burst out of pit lane and then drove off the track and parked under a tree for 30 minutes enjoying a smoke and a local craft beer.

So it was left to our diversity member, Evelyn, to take the race up to the leaders. Don’t quote me on this but I think Evelyn was the only diverse person in the race if you don’t count the guys dressed as cows.


Read the rest of the story of our 16th place finish at The Australian.

You can see all the action from LeMons 2015 in Paul Marshall’s mega report on the Seven Network’s Sunrise.



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