Taking a look back to: 1996/1997

Darren Vine won the first of his 8 ACSA Australian Titles in the 1996/1997 racing season at Wagga Wagga. Vine was generous to share with us some details of his first Compact Speedcar Title win.

What was your car/motor combination?

This was the first car I drove (see picture.) I believe it was built on the Gold Coast by a Kiwi. We modified the frame to work better with the chain drive.  It was powered by a 2 valve Suzuki GS1000 (no turbo)

How did the race unfold?

I don’t remember where I started. The track was tricky with long straights and tight slick corners. We had a great car for the feature and was battling with Paul Raynes for the lead. Paul unfortunately broke his diff and pulled infield. At that point I knew, “I can win this,” and just kept up a good pace.

Do you remember your first thought after you had won the Title race?

The feeling was unbelievable. As this was my first meeting back after my big crash at Lismore 4 months earlier where I was put in an induced coma from getting head injuries. I had nerve damage to my left hand and was learning to walk again as my left leg would not move. Also, while I was in hospital, the title was being run in Bendigo, Victoria, and as the feature race was lining up for the green it rained and was called off as a non-event to be re-run at a later date and venue. I was given clearance to race from the neurosurgeon a week before Wagga was to host the re run title.

Are you still involved in Speedway? If so, what divisions?

I’m still racing Compacts but my focus is now more with racing midget speedcars.

What are some highlights from your Compact Career?

Highlights are the way it unfolded to win my first Aussie Title. Winning 8 Aussie Titles and every one of them had its own challenges to overcome. Knowing you can do it again and it was no fluke is a very satisfying feeling.

How many years have you been racing?

24 years racing. Not retired yet!

What advice would you give to those competing in this year’s ACSA Australian Title?

Do as many laps as possible. Never stop thinking of ways to improve your car and driving.

Any other comments?

To hold the record as most Australian title wins in the history of Compact Speedcar competition is very important to me and my family who have supported Compacts for many decades through my sister Julie, grandfather Don and my dad Mike.

The 2017/2018 ACSA Australian Title is sponsored by 1 Stop Property Services|Thomo’s Ca$h for Scrap and supported by Motosign.com.au|Meguiars Car Care Products|Pearce Performance Products|Street Appeal Detailing|Indy Race Parts|Max Dumesny Motorsport|American Tire & Racing Services| Wangaratta Central Motel

 

Taking a look back to: 1983/1984

Ron Hutchinson won the first of his 3 ACSA Australian Title races in the 1983/1984 season and was generous with his time to tell us about it.

Hutchinson had purchased an ex Alan Streader compact speedcar (after 16 years of karting at the top level) in the lead up to that title race which was run at Liverpool. It was powered by a 900cc injected Kawasaki.

Here is Hutchinson’s recollection of the race. “I settled into the sport quickly & won my first Australian Title 3 months later. On the morning of the race I took delivery of a new compound Dunlop slick inside rear, after the heats I knew I had a real chance of a win. I started at the rear, got a blinder of a start taking the lead after lap 1. I had an enormous lead till lap 12 where there was a stoppage & subsequently another 3 stoppages. Streader put it to me all the way. It was a great result as to beat the great man with his old car you knew you did a good job. After this race I was offered a drive in the USA by a visiting American but unfortunately had to decline. At least I had the offer I am grateful for.”

Hutchinson was honoured to be inducted into the Liverpool City Raceway Hall of Fame in 2013 and in 2015 Peter White’s Speedway World publication recognized Hutchinson as the only speedway driver to win 3 consecutive Australian Titles on 3 different track surfaces.

Hutchinson’s advice to those racing in the ACSA Compact Speedcar Title:
1) Races are won in the workshop. I recognized this while competing at the 7th Hong Hong Kart Prix in 1973.
2) Races can’t be won in the 1st corner… only lost there.
3) Safety is paramount. Do not leave your brains in your toolbox! It’s important to come home safely.
4) Enjoy the ride regardless if you win or loose.

Should you be around the Bathurst area you may wish to view Hutchinson’s restored 1st Compact from his first ACSA Australian Title at the Bathurst Motor Museum.

Hutchinson wishes everyone a safe journey and a great Australian Championship.

Photos attached are of Ron in his winning 1983 car, 1984/1985 Compact and his Australian Speedcar Grand Prix Car.

The 2017/2018 ACSA Australian Title is sponsored by 1 Stop Property Services|Thomo’s Ca$h for Scrap and supported by Motosign.com.au|Meguiars Car Care Products|Pearce Performance Products|Street Appeal Detailing|Indy Race Parts|Max Dumesny Motorsport|American Tire & Racing Services| Wangaratta Central Motel

Taking a look back to: 1978/1979

Max Kiddle was the inaugural winner of the ACSA Australian Title event held at Brooklyn Speedway. Kiddle was kind enough to share his story with us. In this particular event Kiddle was driving a homemade tubeless Chassis (which Kiddle built with Ken ‘Titch’ Radcliffe in the back shed.)

This chassis was one of (if not the first) electric welded as prior to this most compacts were brazed as far as Kiddle can recall. It was also one of the first compacts with 4 wheel brakes.

The power plant was a 1-litre Hillman IMP. Kiddle states Rootes Group built a copy of a Climax Motor with a single overhead camshaft, all aluminium producing 875cc. Kiddle was able to get Rootes Group in England to provide him with ‘go fast’ bits to build it up to 1 litre specifications. It turned out to be a very successful little engine!

How did the race go?

I remember it like it was last weekend! The track was good except for pit turn (turn 4) which had a bad rut. I started at the back with John McFarlane from QLD. In the early laps, McFarlane had an incident with a car in front that caused that car to spin around, causing a stoppage. Trying to brake and avoid other cars I managed to break an inside shock mount. I was able to restart but going through the rut would bounce the car about a car length up. Eventually I led McFarlane through traffic to the front with Streader 3rd but fading from memory. I felt comfortable in the lead with McFarlane really only troubling me in the pit turn. We got to the last lap and McFarlane made a wild dive underneath in the pit turn. We came on to the main straight even and raced to the line and I got him by half a length!

Was there a point in the race where you thought, ‘I’ve got a good chance of winning this?’

No! Not until I went across the line! Had I not had a broken shock perhaps I could have won by the length of the straight as McFarlane was able to close up in the pit turn but I was able to hold him off around the rest of the track.

Do you remember your first thought after you had won the Title race?

Not sure! I was pretty pleased. I thought I drove well with my brain in that race. Looking back on my career, I didn’t drive at a pace just fast enough to win. I’d get to the front and go fast and there was a few occasions where I made mistakes. Had I raced a bit smarter I may have got some better results at times.

Are you still involved in Speedway?

I still go occasionally! Went to the 50 lapper – what a race!

What other racing did you do?

I raced on the asphalt from 1975 – 1980. I started racing back in 1964 and raced 19 years straight. I won the title towards the end of my career. My son Bryan built a car and I had a few drives of that until I retired in 1983.

What might we find you doing on a Saturday night?

Up at the RSL Club enjoying a few schooners and the music!

What advice would you give to those competing in this year’s ACSA Australian Title?

Put your foot down! Obviously, a lot has changed in how the grids are drawn compared to when I raced.

The 2017/2018 ACSA Australian Title is sponsored by 1 Stop Property Services|Thomo’s Ca$h for Scrap and supported by Motosign.com.au|Meguiars Car Care Products|Pearce Performance Products|Street Appeal Detailing|Indy Race Parts|Max Dumesny Motorsport|American Tire & Racing Services| Wangaratta Central Motel

Taking a look back to: 2011/2012

Justin McMinn took out the ACSA Australian Title event at Redline Raceway in the 2011/2012 season. McMinn was driving a Suzuki Swift powered Pearce Chassis with some modifications. McMinn was happy to tell us about his title experience.

Tell us about your race.

I started out of position 3. I managed to get into 2nd at the start of the race. The track went away pretty early and I felt I was faster than Gary Hudson who had led for the first few laps. I managed to get by Gary on the bottom, settled into a rhythm and opened up a gap on the field. I’m not sure how many laps into the race it was but a caution came out bunching the field back up. This was the start of a run of restarts, so many that I can’t remember! I just remember thinking that I had to make sure I nailed the restarts to avoid one of motorbike engined cars getting by, which could typically restart much better. On one of the stoppages, the track curator came over to the car and said “hang in there mate, you’ve got this”, he was probably trying to calm me down but if anything it just made me more nervous! After many more restarts the white flag came out and I kept it together for 1 more lap.

Was there a point in the race where you thought, ‘I’ve got a good chance of winning this?’

I always thought that we had a good chance to win. I tried not to think about it and just keep focused on putting in good laps.

What was your first thought after winning the Title?

Just that we had done it! Many people had put effort into that car and to get the job done in the biggest race of the year was amazing.

What were some of your highlights racing in Compact Speedcars?

It was good fun, I made a lot of friends that I am still friends with today. I really loved the variety of cars and engines and different approaches to making a race winner.

What advice would you give to those competing in this year’s ACSA Australian Title?

These days I like to pride myself on preparing the best I possibly can before the race meeting, something I only got my head around at the end of my Compact Speedcar days. Make sure the car and you are 100% ready before you go the track.  Also focus on what you need to do, don’t concern yourself with what your competitors are doing.

McMinn is still competing in Speedway piloting the #V12 Speedcar. Check out how McMinn is going by visiting his Facebook Page

The 2017/2018 ACSA Australian Title is sponsored by 1 Stop Property Services|Thomo’s Ca$h for Scrap and supported by Motosign.com.au|Meguiars Car Care Products|Pearce Performance Products|Street Appeal Detailing|Indy Race Parts|Max Dumesny Motorsport|American Tire & Racing Services| Wangaratta Central Motel

  

Taking a look back to: 2003/2004

Travis ‘Squizzy’ Mills was crowned the ACSA Australian Champion in ‘03/04. The Title event was held at Speedway Wangaratta. Travis was driving an OTR Speedcar chassis that had been converted to Compact Speedcar specifications. Powering this pocket rocket was a Suzuki GSXR 1100. Travis kindly took some time to answer questions about his title triumph.

How did the race unfold for you?

I started in pole position next to former 2x Aus champ Ken Thomas. Got the lead into the first turn and led the entire race, winning by around 6 car lengths. The track was smooth and slick with the racing line pretty narrow, making it hard for passing. From memory, I was lucky to not have to pass lapped cars as there were a few yellow lights throughout the race which definitely helped.

Was there a point in the race where you thought, ‘I’ve got a good chance of winning this?’

Within the first few laps I was pretty confident, as having the lead on a narrow track was a big advantage. My car also felt really good in the early laps so knew I had a really good car setup.
Do you remember your first thought after you had won the Title race?

I can remember as I went over the finish line thinking to myself, “Holy crap, I’ve just won an Aussie title!” I don’t think it really sunk in properly until days later.

Are you still involved in Speedway?

Yes, still heavily involved in speedway. I ran Compacts for 1 more full season after this title. An opportunity to drive a Sprintcar followed in which I ran for 2 seasons, winning rookie of the year for the SRA Sprintcar Series. Since then I have been racing Speedcars for the past 8-9 years in which I have won 2x Victorian titles, 1x SA Title, 3x Southern Speedcar Tour series, 3x Avalon track championships and 5x Club championships. I am currently leading the points in the Speedcar Super Series.

What were your highlights during your time racing Compact Speedcars?

The Aus title was the definite highlight. Holding the Aus title, Vic title and Qld title simultaneously in the one season was also a huge highlight. Winning the Pearce and Curren Memorials were also great.

What advice would you give to those competing in this year’s ACSA Australian Title?

I am a big believer in, to be the best you need to race with the best. Travel as much as your budget allows, as racing against tough competition on different tracks will help take you to the next level.

You’ll catch Travis Mills competing in the Mills Motorsport team V10 Speedcar at the final round of the Speedcar Super Series this Saturday at Valvoline Raceway. Good luck Squizzy! For more info about the Mills Motorsports team visit Mills Motorsport Facebook page or their website https://www.millsmotorsport.com/

The 2017/2018 ACSA Australian Title is sponsored by 1 Stop Property Services|Thomo’s Ca$h for Scrap and supported by Motosign.com.au|Meguiars Car Care Products|Pearce Performance Products|Street Appeal Detailing|Indy Race Parts|Max Dumesny Motorsport|American Tire & Racing Services| Wangaratta Central Motel

VCSC

40th running of the Australian Compact Speedcar Association’s Australian Title

The Victorian Compact Speedcar Club (VCSC) are hosting the 40th running of the Australian Compact Speedcar Association’s Australian Title, to be held at Rushworth Speedway on Saturday 12th May.
In the lead up to the Title event we will be introducing you to the drivers competing, providing you with some interesting facts and be taking a look back at some of our previous Australian Compact Speedcar Association (ACSA) Australian Title winners.
This event would not be possible without the support of our major sponsors, 1 Stop Property Services and Thomo’s Ca$h for Scrap. Also supporting the event are Motosign.com.au, Meguiars Car Care Products, Pearce Performance Products, Street Appeal Detailing, Indy Race Parts, Max Dumesny Motorsport, American Tire & Racing Services and Wangaratta Central Motel.

Nominations for the 40th ACSA Australian Title race are:
V 2 Butch Hutchinson
NSW 2 Craig Hickey
NSW 4 Rod Francis
V 5 Andrew Lardner
V 6 Mark Hutchinson
NSW 6 Gaby Yammouni
V 7 Allan Pitcher
V2 7 Keith Astrella
V 8 Mathew Brown
V 9 Glen Wiles
V 11 Louis Rodriquez
V 12 Justin Paull
NSW 13 Jason Essai
NSW 14 Darren Margules
V 15 Tania Hallett
NSW 15 Rob Rawlings Snr
V 16 Scott Thomson
NSW 16 Brad Rawlings
V 18 Jason Crawford
V 23 Boofa Curren
V 24 Craig McKimmie
NSW 63 Bruce Adams
NSW 69 Ayden Elliott
NSW 86 Rob Rawlings Jnr

Francis is the Victorian Compact Speedcar Champion

Rod Francis has won the Victorian Compact Speedcar Title! In what was a very calculated drive, Rod managed to hold off hard charging Craig Hickey to take the win in a Title race which ran flag to flag.

The afternoon started out in sweltering conditions with racing set to be just as hot on a smooth slick track. Once lunch was over (thanks to Lynne Hutchinson and Carol Monckton for helping with BBQ) scrutineering was completed and racing was set to begin.

With six drivers from NSW making the trip down to take on the Victorian drivers, racing was certainly going to be exciting.

Heat 1 saw a great race with all drivers feeling their way on the new track surface. Rod Francis started his night off with a win over defending champion Justin Paull and David Hutchinson taking the final spot on the podium.

Heat 2 produced some tight racing, particularly into turn 1, with Louis Rodriquez showing his bid for a great result in the title race, coming from 7th position into 2nd. However, he wasn’t able to get past Rod Francis, who took his second win of the night. 3rd place went to Chris Curren.

Heat 3 did not end well for Rodriquez. He headed infield mid race with engine trouble which would see him sit out the rest of the night. However, the track was holding up well and producing some close racing, with drivers having to be smart about where and when they attempted to pass. David Hutchinson continued his strong run taking our the win from Ayden Elliot and Justin Paull

Craig Hickey was the winner of Heat 4, but things didn’t end well for Mark Hutchinson. He ended the race on his side and with damage to the chassis that put him out for the night. Also receiving damage was Justin Paull. He was unable to avoid the stricken Hutchinson and would make it out for the Title race with seconds to spare before the pit gate closed!

After all the Heats were run and won, the highest points scorer was Rod Francis. He won a drum of fuel sponsored by Kay Mainline Manufacturing.

The title race was off to a flying start with Hutchinson challenging for the lead right from the start, however, Francis held on and gained a few car lengths. In the meantime, defending champion Paull was not having any fun at all. He pulled infield with the car having very little throttle. Back on the track Hickey made his way into second place and was challenged by Curren, until he slowed and pulled infield with a misfire in his engine. Hutchinson was hanging onto 3rd place until Elliot managed to get through. Mark Heaton had his eyes set on Hutchinson and made the move with a few laps to go. The top 5 were Francis, Hickey, Elliot, Heaton and Hutchinson.

The VCSC would like to acknowledge the incredible support of event sponsors:

Associated Powdercoating
Compact Queens
Kay Mainline P/L
Meguiar’s Car Care Products
Guntner Australia
Max Dumesny Motorsports
Raceline Racewear
Ripper Sticker
Metal Works
Pro1 Race Parts
Due to our generous sponsors the highest placed rookie in the final received $250 thanks to Guntner Australia – congratulations to Robert Heaton.

Meguiar’s sponsored three car care buckets. They were awarded as follows:

  • Furthest Traveller – Mark Heaton
  • Good Sportsmanship -Rod Francis
  • Hard Charger – Mark Heaton

Raceline Racewear voucher for most driver profile likes on Facebook – Chris Curren

Max Dumesny Motorsports voucher – Craig Hickey

The VCSC would like to thank:

  • Craig and Louise from Random Panda Photography. To view more photos from the Victorian Title click here
  • Andrew Lardner, Phil Lardner, Dwayne Tournier and Stephan Harrison for their assistance throughout the night.
  • Joanne Heaton for her live-feed.
  • The team at Bairnsdale Speedway.
  • The Executive Committee – Butch Hutchinson, Justin Paull, Gin Turley and Mark Hutchinson.
  • The teams from NSW – it was wonderful working with you on the night. The comradery was superb!

VCSC

Victorian Compact Speedcar Title

This Saturday 27th January sees the running of the 2017/2018 Victorian Compact Speedcar Title at Bairnsdale Speedway.

As drivers and crews are no doubt busy in the shed doing those last few adjustments to their cars, Saturday’s racing looks set to be spectacular!

Bairnsdale Speedway have put mammoth hours of labour into the track surface since the Compact’s last outing and it looks like providing action packed, wheel to wheel racing!

Seven drivers from the New South Wales Compact Speedcar Club (Craig Hickey, Jason Essai, Mark Heaton, Robert Heaton, Rod Francis, Bruce Adams and Ayden Elliot) will be racing as hard as they can to try to steal the Title (and the $1000 first place prize money) from a Victorian driver! Eleven divers from the home state will be trying their best to stop them, including defending champion Justin Paull, fresh off a win at the last completed nights racing at Laang. The VCSC would like to give a warm ‘welcome back’ to Joe Lostich, who will be racing in the Curren owned V32.

Current Victorian Title Holder, Justin Paull, with his Victorian Title trophy

Title races like these only go ahead with significant support from sponsors. Major Sponsors for this event are ASSOCIATED POWDERCOATING P/L, RIPPER STICKERS, KAY MAINLINE MANUFACTURING, COMPACT QUEENS, GUNTNER AUSTRALIA AND MEGUIAR’S CAR CARE PRODUCTS. Additional sponsors include MAX DUMESNY MOTORSPORTS AND REDLINE RACEWEAR.

The action kicks off first thing Saturday morning with Louis Rodriguez and Mark Heaton placing their cars on display in the Main Street of Bairnsdale from 9.00 am – 11.30 am.

Scrutineering commences at the track from 12.00 pm with a BBQ lunch supplied to all drivers and crews from 12.30pm. All Compact Speedcar cars and drivers must be in the pits by 2.00pm.

2017/2018 Victorian Compact Speedcar Title at Bairnsdale Speedway Nominations:

V2.         Butch Hutchinson
NSW2.  Craig Hickey
NSW4    Rod Francis
V6.         Mark Hutchinson
V8.         Mathew Brown
V11.       Louis Rodriquez
V12.       Justin Paull
NSW13 Jason Essai
V15.       Tania Hallett
V16.       Scott Thomson
V23.       Boofa Curren
V24.       Craig McKimmie
NSW26 Mark Heaton
V27.       Keith Astrella
V32.       Joe Lostich
NSW62 Robert Heaton
NSW63 Bruce Adams
NSW69 Ayden Elliot

VCSC

(Photos thanks to Random Panda Photography)

Rodriguez wins at Rosedale

Rosedale Speedway was our first race for the season for the VCSC. The afternoon started off sunny, than by mid evening the weather started to change with rain causing delays. Once this cleared and the track was considered safe for the driver’s the cars were out for hot laps and then straight into Heat 1.

Keith Astrella, Justin Paull and Mathew Brown had issues with their cars, and Mark Cecil hitt the wall. Placings were Louis Rodriguez, Butch Hutchinson, Jason Crawford.

Heat 2 started of with Mark Hutchinson taking the lead, than Louis Rodriguez taking the lead to the end, Kyle Sharpe hitting the wall, placings were Louis Rodriguez, Mark Hutchinson and Jason Crawford.

Final race was 12 laps and taking out the winning flag was Louis Rodriguez then Butch Hutchinson, Chris Curren.

The best presented car went to Louis Rodriquez, winning the Meguiar’s Car Care Products gift box. A huge thankyou to Chris and Brett Curren Family for organising this for our club.

We would like to thank again Kyle Sharpe and his brother for coming down from Canberra, and joining us on the night, great guys you are, hope you both enjoyed racing with us and see you both again at one of our club shows. We would also like to thank all the Spectators for coming along, hope you all enjoyed the night as we did.