The Noosa Winter Hill Climb proudly celebrated 25 years of local motorsport last weekend with 145 drivers racing against the clock in the hill challenge up Gyndier Drive, Tewantin.
The heroes of the hill clocked the challenging ride in just under a minute with the fine, sunny weather delivering a dry track which was good news for drivers and spectators who came in droves to fill the grandstands and roam through the pit area.
In this 25th anniversary winter round with only seconds between them, first place went to Scott Bingham of Noosa Beach Classic Car Club in a Minetti SS-V1 sports car in a time of 58.68 seconds. Second was professional race car driver Fabian Coulthard in a time of 59.02 seconds in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Third place went to Adam McLeod in a time of 59.26 seconds in a Mitsubishi Ralliart.
There were TV cameras onsite and Noosa Community Radio FM 101.3 also captured the event with interviews of competition drivers including Adrian Reed, Fabian Coulthard, Paul Morris , Roland Dane, Iain Curry, Max Parnell and Zayn De Ferdinando.
Many drivers return to the hill, year in year out, to compete in each event, enjoy the competition and car racing experience, have a yarn and, hopefully, take home a trophy.
Among them this year was Dave Millington in only his second run on the hill in a Formula V.
“It’s not fast but it handles,“ Dave said of the car which is a joint interest of his and dad Mick, a race official, who is the mechanic behind the machine.
Driver Wayne Aherne started coming to the hill a few years ago with a mate and now races in his 1968 Mustang. Since then Wayne has continued to make improvements to the car at never-ending expense.
“It evolves from there,“ he said.
“Not one nut or bolt is the same.“
Brothers Paul and Philip Cuthbert have been coming to the hill climb for the past five years. This year they brought along an Austin Healey Sprite 1959 with Paul driving and Philip providing the mechanics.
“It’s good fun. We’re with like-minded people and it keeps you in touch with people you’ve known for a long time,“ Paul said.
Robert van Wegen retired from racing after a bad crash at Targa Tasmania in which he and his son hit a tree at 150km/hr, both lucky to survive though both broke a leg and the car was written off.
But this year he brought with him a Bristol 400, the first entry in the first hill climb, to display, and spoke to Noosa Today about the event’s beginnings.
“In 1998 we had a real slump. There was a pilot strike. I had a bakery in Hastings Street. I’d been part of the Hastings Street Association. People knew I had nice cars,“ he said.
Robert said the idea was born to have a car show to bring people to the area.
A parade was held down Hastings Street with street walkers who had been at the Brisbane Expo and 17 classic cars gathered in Lions Park.
“It was so popular we kept going,“ he said.
Soon after he was driving to visit his wife in hospital when he took a detour up Gyndier Drive and thought, “this has got to be a hill climb“.
What ensued was a lot of lobbying of Council and work by car club members and Parks and Wildlife to transform the site to its current state and make it one of the country’s most successful hill climbs, he said.
The Noosa Beach Classic Car Club plays host to the vibrant motorsport festival with the support of sponsors including major sponsor Reed & Co Estate agents as well as ABlack Towing , Eureka Landscapes and many local businesses.
Hill Climb director Jonathan Carroll described it as a motorsport lovers’ event not to be missed.
“It’s most likely the most challenging and exciting Motorsport Hill Climb in Australia with 14 corners over the 1.5km track with great spectator viewing,“ he said.
The next Noosa Hill Climb will take place in October.
To find out more, visit noosahillclimb.com. au