Gunnedah Motoring Enthusiasts celebrate 50 years of hillclimbing

Gunnedah Motoring Enthusiasts (GME) hosted a best ever hillclimb on Sunday, September 2 at Gunnedah's Mount Porcupine.

The 50th anniversary event saw four of the original 1968 contestants have a run up the challenging Apex Drive tourist road ascent to the summit to help make up a field of 51 entrants.

The most notable entrant being Dave Morrow who set the fastest time of The day in 1968 (40.42) in his Nota Mac. Fifty years later, with much more experience, registered a respectable time of 36.43 to win his class of Clubman Road.

As an event highlight, Morrow was flagged of the start line by Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey in a re-enactment of the 1968 ev ent when the then Mayor Frank O'Keefe did the same task.

GME club president Wayne Grosser said the 50th anniversary Apex Drive event was the best ever hillclimb the club has conducted at Mount Porcupine with a good mix of current and older vehicles.

On a golden, sunny day, the track record was given a crack by existing record holder Doug Barry of Mudgee in his Lola T8750 4.5 litre open wheeler.

Barry was within one second of his 2017 mark, with a scorching 26.31 seconds to take out fastest time of the day and the win in the Class Type 5 Open Wheeler Over 2 litre class.

Barry was pushed during the day by fast charging local, Rod Hope in his 1340cc, Open Wheeler Speeds/Hyabusa RM011, with a run in 27.72, which was a personal best and handed him first place in the Type 5 Under 2 litre class.

From the class of 1968, Dave Morrow, Gundy Hunt, Doug Hawkins (GTS Monaro), Bill Ainsworth (Clubman) and Bill Barry (Passenger) took part in the demonstration reopening of the course by Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey. 

Confederation of Australian Motorsport NSW Hillclimb Panel Member Phil Heafey, said he was still smiling two days after the event. 

The celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apex Drive as a Hillclimb Venue an outstanding success, a credit to grass roots motorsport clubs like GME and TSCC, together with Gunnedah Shire. 

A big effort to have event setup, practice and evening function on Saturday, Sunday with reopening ceremony, demonstration, sighting run and four competitive runs on a fantastic surface/layout that enables competitors to stretch their vehicles legs.

Heafey stated discussions of further improvements to facility and operations with organisers was a "work in progress' and that Gunnedah's Apex Drive is a destination tourism location. A NSW State Round Hillclimb is a distinct possibility in coming years.

The next Hillclimb is scheduled for March 23-24 next year.

CLASS RESULTS

Type 1 Under 2lt Road Registered: John Zmugg (45.14s)

Type 1 Over 2lt Road Registered: Cameron Jordan (41.43s)

Type 2 Under 2lt Road Registered modified: Bayley Lynch (35.82s)

Type 2 Over 2lt Road Registered modified: Paul Zibens (36.42s)

Type 3 Under 2lt: Laurie Pascoe (40.27)

Type 3 Over 2lt: Col Tomkins, (32.28s)

Type 4 Under 2lt: Wayne Toomey (33.64)

Type 4 Over 2lt: Phil Heafey (28.23s)

Type 5 Under 2lt Open Wheelers: Rod Hope (27.72s)

Type 5 Open Wheelers: Doug Barry (26.31s) 

Special Vehicle 2WD Over 2lt: Corey Grosser (31.83s) 

Special Vehicles 4WD Over 2lt: Reece McIntosh (28.63s) 

Clubman Road: Dave Morrow (35.82s)

Clubman Slicks: Alan "Gundy" Hunt (33.76Ss) 

Fastest Junior: Brock Casey (32.64s)

Fastest Female Competitor: Kate Slingsby (34.64s)

Encouragement Award: Ray Wilson