A few weekends ago Roger & Lorna Chapman with MGB, Dave and Paula Anderson with MGB, and Pam and myself with Alfetta GTV 2000, headed to Tasmania’s Baskerville Historic races for a big adventure. This is our story.
Day 1: Devonport overnight on the Spirit of Tasmania
With the boat due to leave at 7:30pm, this should be a doddle. However, Roger and Dave have to trailer their race cars to the ship, unload in the car park and drop their trailers in a yard on the other side of the Westgate Bridge, about 40 minutes return trip (remember that 40 minutes). We arrive after driving our race car and 4WD tow car separately. Then we wait and queue for a long time before getting on the ship. Pam is very nervous particularly driving down ramps where she can’t see the front of the 4WD let alone the ramp. Ship and cabin are very comfortable and Bass Strait is flat and pleasant.
Day 2: Devonport to Baskerville raceway (near Hobart)
We are off the ship early and are met by a number of local MG? car club guys, who are lending their car trailers to us for our time in Tassie. Nice blokes. We drive via the main highway and arrive at the race track without incident after a couple of stops and about 4 hours. The track setting is spectacular, with surrounding hills it is set in the bottom of a large valley (remember this setting). The organisers have given us a free carport for all the “mainlanders”, approximately 18 race cars from outside Tassie. The track is very tight, which means all tow cars have to be parked outside the pits. We arrive too late for Thursday practice.
Day 3: Friday Practice
It started to rain overnight. It had rained in recent days and weeks. And it continued to rain heavily. Remember the valley. This was now a fantastic rain catchment and the track was at the bottom of it. So with a river running over the track, past the pit tower and across the track on the other side, it was a bit wet for practice. It continued to rain. Now the pits are filling up with water from the wall put up to protect the pits that had become a brilliant dam. Cars and tents are going under water, Dave and others help to pull out drowned race cars and gear. Finally the Dam burst, with some help from the organisers with shovels. We retreated to Richmond and Hobart.
Days 4 and 5: Racing, Racing, Racing
One of the best race tracks in the country with 2 kilometres of twisting, roller coaster hills and sweeping corners. They had squeezed 3 days racing into 2, and for the most part the weather was dry. Huge fun was had by all, Roger was on fire, Lorna struggled to keep to her regularity times, Dave’s car kept blowing head gaskets, and the Alfa got faster and faster. The organisers did a great job, even towing out idiot 4WDs bogged up to our axles in the trailer park (now a quagmire), Dave and Roger won trophies, we all had a ball. (Paula and Pam visited art galleries and gardens)
Days 6 and 7: The trip home
Remember the rain. Well there was lots of wind with it as well. And lots of wind means Bass Strait was now nasty. Rumours have it that only Paula and Glenn survived retch free, but sleep was difficult, they say, due to all the noise coming from their partners in their respective cabin’s bathroom! And what about the pickup of trailers on the Melbourne side? It now took 2 hours return because of course it was morning peak traffic on the Westgate!
As for next year’s Baskerville Historics, certain partners have been adamant in their negative view of journeying via the sea, so we are investigating the cost of transporting the race cars via truck transport and flying in.
Glenn Campbell (Photos by Glenn Campbell and David Anderson)