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Standard Rhyl Feature


"What are you doing, Geoff?" I asked innocently, "Nothing!" he replied. Well after much coaxing he revealed the secret . He’d entered the 1914 Standard "Rhyl" in the "Shannon’s Show and Shine "at the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix.

Little did I realize that a few weeks later a letter would arrive notifing us that we had been accepted..This was 3 weeks before the Grand Prix and we had to arrange accomodation, get the car ready, etc etc…!!!!!!!! Battle Stations!!!!But after chasing our tails around we eventually were ready ,and left the security of Woody Point on Sunday Morning Feb 25 at about 5 am, car and trailer in tow.

We drove without incident taking it in turns every 200k . Considering this was the first time I had towed a trailer …I certainly overcame my fears very quickly.We travelled via the New England which is very pretty but I never realized before, very hilly, especially when it was my turn to drive. I got Ben Lomond , the Moonbi and every other hill on the way. Going up is easy but coming down was frightening!!!!!! So I just closed my eyes!!( only joking) .. This was also the only spot on the run we struck rain….When I was driving !!!! (Someone up there has a sense of humour!) When we stopped in Musswellbrook that night we had driven 630 k…All hills I’m sure.

Monday : Geoff drove through Sydney, I was glad , I just closed my eyes!!!! We stayed in Goulburn and pushed on to Wangaratta, mainly because I talk to people from there on the net and we planned to meet. This was really nice, "The Wang" the locals call it is very pretty.

Wednesday : We arrived in Melbourne, we had booked at Melb Caravan Park at Coburg and pulled in. While we waited for our cabin, we cleaned the cars and the trailer etc and polished the brass …. The park was full of course ,with people going to the Grand Prix.

After studying the maps we were ready to take the car to Albert Park the next morning at 6am. We left Coburg at 5am because even though it is only 9k as the crow flies, the crow doesn’t have to fly over the tramlines , behind the trams, in and out of the pot holes and through the city!!!!!!!Some of the pot holes in the main roads are so big we almost disappeared.

However ,even without a UBD we made it to Albert Park, incident free.

Just a short note on Melb Traffic Rules, they have some odd ones there…apart from pulling to the left , to hook turn right, there are ones like ,

    A. DON’T indicate UNTIL you change lanes , otherwise the person behind you will know what you       are going to do,

    B. The CENTRE LINE is a guide only… it doesn’t really count …unless you get hit!!!

    C . STREET SIGNS are not necessarily the same as what is written on the maps just be              creative.

However we survived!!!

Albert Park itself is the most beautiful spot, the lakes , the trees, the whole area is so picturesque. We unloaded the " Little Rhyl" in its place for the next 4 days and set off to explore the F1 precinct. The track is 5.8 km and to get from one side to the other we had to cross the lake via a pontoon bridge, that is after crossing the track via the highest scaffold bridge I’ve ever climbed . Then you have to cross the track again.. via another scaffold bridge, I certainly did enough step exercises for the next year.

It must be said that the security was unreal, everywhere you went there were security people checking your tag, which must hang around your neck, and your wristband .

The Thursday was an ideal day to see the other displays on offer while the crowds were minimal..only about 60.000! The displays were excellent. There was a Historic Garage with about 28 racing Bugattis and a few others including and old 1932 Alfa 1750 (Geoff’s pick of the bunch) and and Amil Car .These were out on the track everyday, the noise of their engines was unbelievable and those drivers were not fooling around…Sir .Stirling Moss was driving a HWM and the atmosphere was electric. There was a Formula One display with cars and other exhibits , really fascinating. There were boats on the lake, tents full of merchandise, food outlets and the V8 supercars. You could go into the pits there ,but not in the F1s. There was so much to do..You could jump on a blow up castle, just walk for miles looking at displays, or sit and watch a full day’s programme on the track.

The Shannons display was on the golfcourse next to the entertainment ,(loud uninterpretable noise) ,, and was very popular. The l"Lttle Rhyl" was the oldest car there and the only real veteran. It was also the only car from Qld ( Mad owner!!!!!!!) There was a selection of great cars, Vintage Packhards, Chevs, a 1926 Racing Bentley and a racing 6 cyl Minerva. There were Specials and Minis and Austin Healys and Austin 7s and Holdens it was a great display…about 100 cars and really worth going to the GP just to see these cars.

The Standard was a real attraction , especially when Geoff cranked it up!!! It was photographed non stop. Bill Hunter also photographed it , He’s from and he does an Australian section. So if you have the net it might be worth a look next month.

We had to eat at the track and found the food edible and reasonably priced.About $5.50 was the price of everything, hamburgers, hotdogs, pita rolls and fresh fruit , not too bad really.

The Thursday was a great day finding out where everything was and looking at the displays because the F1s didn’t practice until Friday. By the time we got home at night, remembering they have daylight saving and it isn’t dark until 9pm, it was very late and all we could do was fall into bed!!!!!

Friday was the start of the F1 practice sessions and the crowd increased. We were able to park near Toorak Rd.. only about 30min walk from the track. ( Another net friend of mine gave me a permit for the area for the 4 days) It was a great walk through Melb’s beautiful parks and gardens. We arrived early so as to get the car ready for the crowds. We looked around more today and spent more time watching events on the track, The historic Bugattis and the V8s and the F1s it was really fascinating. We were on turn 9 near a big pit of Kitty Litter and we were also near these mad!!!!!and I mean mad!!motocross riders going up a ramp and flying through the air. It just dumbfounded me. We also went to the V8 pits and walked around the track…..almost!!!!!! Albert Park is certainly a picture.

Today Schumacher, flipped over during practice and was back on track for the next session ,these drivers are amazing!!!!!

Saturday: today the action began, F1 qualifying and practice, the hill near us filled up quickly, I wondered why everyone ran from the entrances at 7.30am ….Then I saw the hill. The crowds were certainly bigger…Geoff got a good spot right on the fence in turn nine and we were talking to another couple from Melb. We soon worked it out that this was the place to be on Sunday. So , Because we were in earlier than the public each day we decided to sit here for the big race. I learned a valuable lesson on Saturday , The Roman interpretation of Sunday entertainment has not disappeared..Although no one actually said " Throw them to the Lions!!!!" I can only wonder. There were loud cheers when a V8 skidded into the Kitty Litter and great roars at the F1s sliding through the corners. Lucky today ,that the Christians outnumber the Lions. Saturday was amazing but very hot in the sun!!!!!

Sunday: well the anticipation was great, we set out early to get into the grounds, our tow vehicle had to go in as well so we could get the little "Rhyl" out by 5pm. We were held up at the gate until 7am because of security but eventually parked the car. I left Geoff and headed off with blankets, esky, sunscreen, folding stools, hats etc …to get a good spot. At 7.20 am I was in place near the fence, minding places for the other couple from Melb and already I was not alone… The gates open at 7.30am and they ran…pushed and shoved…and by7.45am you could not move on the hill for people. This was no joke ,there must have been a couple of thousand people just on this one little turn.. I imagine all the other turns were the same….I sat there in fear and trepidation waitng for Geoff and the other couple, who eventually made it at 8am and had to crawl over the multitudes to reach us. Here are some basic survival tips for anyone wanting to go to the F1

1.Take everything with you.

2. Take a large folding chair, then you have less feet underneath you

3.Go to the toilet before you get to the hill…( At one stage through the day I had to make my way over the multitude to the conveniences It was very difficult.! Trying to find a path through legs and bodies was hard and soon I was cornered , So I had to climb under a Columbian Flag, literally, to get through.

4.Take a BIG hat and ear plugs.

5. Never Stand Up during a race

6.Carry a Mobile phone , so that when you friends try to find you , you can give them a running commentary of how many more bodies they need to climb over…..

7.Wear comfortable clothes, this includes red-painted faces, orange faces, Ferrari shirts, Bikinis with coloumbian flags placed strategically, funny hats, wigs, and anything else lef t over from Christmas, Santa even put in an appearance, (carrying a Ferrari flag)

Fortunately today was cloudy and cooler , so being stuck against the fence was bearable. This was a big day for the Romans and the Lions and the races were great. The drivers paraded in Vintage Cars…Big Packhards, and Bentleys etc and the crowd roared. I think the greatest roar was for Murray Walker the race caller of F1 fame…The atmosphere was unbelievable…

We saw the tragic accident from the big TV screen right above us but we too ,were not told of the tragedy until the end. It certainly was sobering for the crowds when it happened.

After the race we then had to load the car on the trailer to remove it from the grounds. 128000 others also had to leave the grounds, so we worked slowly. As we finally pulled the little car out of the grounds we felt a touch of sadness as the excitement was over. It certainly was an amazing experience…we travelled 3905km and experienced the amazing spectacle of the Melbourne Grand Prix. We travelled home via the Newell, certainly the way to travel with a trailer..It was faster and incident free and NO HILLS!!!!!!!!

As I sit here to write this I am watching Geoff fill out a form, from inside the GP Program…."What are you doing ?" I ask.. "Nothing " he replies so I look over his shoulder, It’s a competition to win a trip to the Italian Grand Prix.!!!!!!!!! YES…..!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Donna Davis

I am aware that there are other cars and information that could be added to this site to make it more comprehensive, so if you have material and photographs, please let me know.  Please send me, Phil Homer, a message at: Phil Homer