Racing legends in colourful parade

By CHRISTIAN STANGER

SOME of the most famous drivers in Australian motor racing history led the way as a colourful street parade kicked off the annual Speed on Tweed festival through Murwillumbah yesterday.

While the crowd were rapt drivers such as V8 Supercar star John Bowe, former Le Mans winner Vern Shuppan and sixties champion Spencer Martin were equally excited.

"Some of the cars here are things my father used to talk about. They are very much a part of Australian motor-racing history," Mr Bowe said. "I think the historic racing movement in England has always been really strong and in Australia it's been growing like crazy.

Australian driving legend, Spencer Martin who won the Australian Gold Star Championships in 1966 and 1967 was reunited with the car that he used to race in, the Brabham-Climax from 1966.

It wasn't the car that he drove in those epic races but an exact replica and it was good enough to get Mr Martin's emotions stirring again as he sat in the mean-looking speed machine.

"It's very emotional to be involved in a car like this," Mr Martin said. "I think it's an incredible occasion for those who are involved in motor-sport to get together, it's a fantastic collection of really historic cars."

Another former Australian champion, Le Mans 1983 winner Vern Shuppan was honoured to be invited to such an event and said it was kind of a reunion with all his friends who he hasn't seen for years.

"These cars certainly bring back a few memories, some of the cars are owned by Ron Dennis and I drove a car for Ron Dennis when he had a team many years ago at Brands Hatch," he said.

Another Australian motoring legend in Murwillumbah, was son of automotive legend, John Brabham, Geoff Brabham.

Geoff, who won Le Mans and Bathurst and also raced in the NASCAR in the US, was also given the chance to take a tour of the streets of Murwillumbah during the parade in a Brabham car.

"Throughout my career I'd hardly ever driven a Brabham so when the fellow who owns the two cars suggest I come down and go for a drive, I thought it would be fun so I'm down to have a bit of fun really," he said.



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