LOOKING BACK ON HISTORIC WINTON  

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Club member Bill Sheehan wrote about the early days on the occasion of the 10th Historic Winton 

It all started at the beginning.........

With Historic Winton celebrating its 10th annual meeting, it was inevitable that many would ask how it all began. As I seem to be the one given the credit (or is it the blame?) for starting the whole thing, here are a few memories.

Firstly, as very little these days is original, I must confess to copying the idea from the Historic Amaroo meeting in Sydney. Prior to that I had competed in, or had attended, meetings where vintage and historic events were just part of a full race program. They, particularly those interstate, were most enjoyable - not only for the chance at competition motoring but for the camaraderie and social atmosphere of the "old car set".

 

But it was the all-historic car and motorcycle meeting at Amaroo that was the mind boggler. I saw an instant need to have similar meetings in every state, spread evenly over the year.

The choice of circuit was all important - one where the spectators could see all of the action and where close racing could be enjoyed without it being too easy to hit anything hard, or each other. Winton seemed the obvious choice, particularly as it was roughly mid-distant between our racing fraternity in Sydney and in Adelaide. There was another reason of course - as I had spent most of my schooldays in Benalla, could I perhaps be accused of a little bias? At least I had the background to know that slotting Historic Winton between the other meetings and running the event in winter was not necessarily a great risk. Benalla usually enjoys good weather at this time of year and so far hasn't often let us down.

When I took my "plans" to the Vintage Sports Car Club I struck them at a bad time - they were running so many events for members like myself that they weren't confident of coping with the workload. I then approached my favourite club, the Austin 7 Club, and persuaded the committee that it was feasible to outlay something like $9000 of the members' money and get most of it back! (Funny how enthusiasm tends to ignore the risks and pitfalls).

Meantime, Wes Brown and the Hartwell Motor Cycle Club had learnt of our plans and were eager to organise the motorcycle part of the program for us - thank the Lord! After a few preliminary meetings with Hartwell we were off and running, Barry Fisher and I then led the team to "get the show onto the track". We must record our thanks to Mick Ronke of the Benalla Auto Club for help and advice, because though the A7C had run many Six Hour Relay races we still had a lot to learn.

The success of the first meeting relied on good entries and good weather. The entries were more than the usual worry because of a postal strike, but proved good - and fortunately Old Sol and the attending crowd did the right thing by us.

As we didn't have much to spend on publicity, we relied mainly on local advertising. Because also we were short on time and workforce to organise sponsorships, we organised (mostly free) efforts to give us publicity. We made life harder for ourselves by running four extra "events" to gain attention. One was a parade of competitors and other (old) cars through the streets of Benalla. I'm not sure how successful this was as most vehicles seemed to set off (and disappear) at 100mph! I'm not confident that too many of the local shoppers saw much at all. Next was a Concours at the circuit which included trophies and a parade around the circuit, which seemed to go over well with all concerned. Another was the Saturday night dance, with a jazz band made up mainly from members of the Hartwell Motor Cycle club.

The piece-de-resistance was a marvellous display of stunt flying over the circuit by vintage aircraft (mostly from Drages' Air Museum at Wodonga), and to them I remain ever grateful for one of my most unforgettable moments. I suppose I'm grateful for another reason - it's easy to dream these ideas up, but they still have to work'

Not much mention is ever made of the effort required to put on a race meeting such as this - not only do we rely so heavily on support from club members but on those from other clubs. Remember, most support us voluntarily and those few who do receive expense money take only token compensation. It should be pointed out that the $9000 outlay originally required has risen in 10 years to over $20,000, so I hope that others are as appreciative as I am of the work, faith and risk that goes into making Historic Winton an actuality each year.

Long may it continue. And it of course did!!


Big crowd at the 26th 2002 Event

 

SOME PAST NOTES on HISTORIC WINTON

Historic Winton Race Report May 2012

Historic Winton in the Merry Month of May 2002

From Behind the Wheel at Historic Winton 2002

Have You Been to Historic Winton - 2004

Extracts From Letters and Articles 2002-2008

 

RECENT HISTORY of WINTON MOTOR RACEWAY 

 Historic Winton has always been run at Winton Motor Raceway, which for most of its life was controlled by the late Mick Ronke. We have lost his guiding hand but his memory lingers on.

In 2013,  Australian motor sport lost a great administrator with the death of Mick Ronke, the revered Chief Executive of Winton Motor Raceway.

 Mick was admired by the local motor racing fraternity for his absolute zeal and dedication to the development of all aspects of motor sport, from grassroots to the highest level.  A visionary who spent a lifetime in the continued development of his beloved Winton Motor Raceway, turning the picturesque country circuit into a top class venue for all forms of motor racing.

 His passion and dedication to continually upgrade and improve the Winton venue for all types of competition was well recognised.  Mick provided to motor sport participants a venue which was affordable, safe and enjoyable, including the 1997 extension of the track from 2.03km to 3km, turning the original short circuit into what could be described as the best regional motor race circuit in Australia.

 Mick was proud of WMR's long history and always strived to stay ahead of rapidly changing and challenging times. In 2013 there was a new 15,000 sqm display area on the old Winton oval - his last initiative before his untimely death.  


HISTORIC WINTON DATES

1st

1977

25th-26th June

13th

1989

27th-28th May

25th

2001

26th-27th May

2nd

1978

3rd-4th June

14th

1990

26th-27th May

26th

2002

25th-26th May

3rd

1979

2nd-3rd June

15th

1991

25th-26th May

27th

2003

*31st May-1st June

4th

1980

31st May-1st June

16th

1992

30th-31st May

28th

2004

29th-30th May

5th

1981

30th-31st May

17th

1993

29th-30th May

29th

2005

28th-29th May

6th

1982

29th-30th May

18th

1994

28th-29th May

30th

2006

27th-28th May

7th

1983

28th-29th May

19th

1995

27th-28th May

31st

2007

26th-27th May

8th

1984

26th-27th May

20th

1996

25th-26th May

32nd

2008

24th-25th May

9th

1985

25th-26th May

21st

1997

24th-25th May

33rd

2009

30th-31st May

10th

1986

24th-25th May

22nd

1998

30th-31st May

34th

2010

29th-30th May


1987

23rd-24th May

23rd

1999

29th-30th May

35th

2011

28th-29th May

12th

1988

21st-22nd May

24th

2000

27th-28th May

36th

2012

26th-27th May

 

 

 

 

 

 

37th

2013

25th-26th May

 

 

 

 

 

 

38th

2014

24th-25th May

 

 

 

 

 

 

39th

2015

30th-31st May

 

 

 

 

 

 

40th

2016

28th-29th May

41st

2017

27th-28h May