Australia’s largest motor race ever, the 24 Hours of LeMons, with 100 cars and 600 drivers, will get under way on October 28 at the Wakefield Park racetrack in NSW.
No, that’s not a typo.
This is not the 24 Hours of Le Mans held each June near the 16th-century town where million-dollar racers from Porsche, Ferrari, Audi and Bentley fight for supremacy at up to 400km/h.
Le Mans has the 1000-year-old St Julian’s Cathedral where King Henry II was baptised and Richard the Lionheart’s wife, Berengaria, is buried.
No, this is the 24 Hours of LeMons where $999 rejects from Mazda, Honda, Suzuki and Leyland will race very slowly near the 19th-century town of Goulburn.
Goulburn has the 30-year-old, 97-tonne Big Merino, where you can enter the rear and look through Rambo’s eyes at the local area. Speaking from his office in Emeryville, California, LeMons founder Jay Lamm says he came up with the idea after “way too much beer and Chinese food”. From one race in 2006, the schedule now includes 19 races and the three Concours d’LeMons across the US and the first international LeMons, at Wakefield Park.
Lamm hadn’t gone global before this year because “running LeMons needs someone who is very organised and a complete whack job”.
“I’ve never found anyone like that til I met Sean Herbert.”
Herbert is a helicopter entrepreneur, a bike and motor racer, and a rally driver who moved to Yass in country NSW after 18 years in Sydney.
He and his business partner Craig Claridge hope to take the LeMons series to Queensland, Victoria, New Zealand and even Asia.
“The best part is, no one takes the race seriously. We hand out penalties often decided by the Wheel of Misfortune, including the Marcel Marceau Memorial Mime Your Crime penalty,” Herbert says.
Race entry is $1 for the car, $880 for drivers and $75 for non-driving team members. Some of the profits will go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.