Bronze by the Lake at Lakeside Raceway

The Queensland Police Service puts the pedal to the metal at Lakeside Raceway to raise funds for police mental health and pay their respects to a fallen mate

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

The tragic death of Queensland police officer David Masters in the early hours of 26 June last year sent shockwaves through the Queensland Police Service QPS) and the wider community. The 53-year-old senior constable from Deception Bay Police Station was hit and killed by a stolen car while attempting to intercept it.

According to Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Green, David was always up for a laugh and loved his motorsport. “Dave loved cars and motor racing,” says Tony. “He did his trade as an automotive mechanic before joining the QPS, and volunteered as a marshal at events like the Gold Coast 600.

“His death hit many of us so hard,” Tony continues. “It was such a stark reminder of the genuinely life-threatening dangers police officers face on a daily basis. We just couldn’t have this terrible tragedy be for nothing.”

As a car enthusiast himself, Tony had already been toying with the idea of putting on an event for fellow QPS car lovers to come together and share their passion. “I spoke with Andrew Ayres from Blue Hope with the suggestion of organising a joint event; aligning with Blue Hope was a no-brainer, as it’s a tailor-made, not-for-profit organisation that provides mental health support to current and former police officers and their immediate families,” Tony explains. “Andrew and I approached Lakeside Raceway with the concept of having a show ’n’ shine, happy laps and a driving event, and with the support of Lakeside owner John Tetley, we were able to hold the fundraiser here. I wanted to give the event an identity, and came up with the name Bronze by the Lake. It is of course a reference to coppers being referred to as ‘The Bronze’ in the iconic Aussie movie Mad Max, so it’s pretty appropriate.”

Tony and Andrew decided the event would support Dave Masters’s family, too, and not only honour Dave’s contribution to the QPS and the community but also acknowledge his passion for cars. With that in mind, the Dave Masters Grand Champion perpetual trophy was created to be presented on the day.

With help from Blue Hope, Fat Nancy’s Car Club and Lakeside Park all buttoned down, Bronze by the Lake went ahead on 4 February this year, after the initial November 2021 date was rained out. The event was open to all QPS members, their families and friends – and their cars, for course.

What started as a low-key and small event quickly snowballed, with a final attendance of 120 cars and over 500 people. Businesses were keen to provide support, too, including Shannons Insurance, Bowden’s Own, MJ Mahon Transport, Caboolture Sports Club, Autoglass Caboolture, Dick Johnson Racing and Moreton Bay community radio station Classic Hits 101.5, the latter of which also provided great tunes on the day.

The mix of cars in attendance was diverse to say the least – the show ’n’ shine and hot lap sessions comprised mostly Aussie and US muscle cars and chrome-bumper cruisers, rubbing shoulders with stout V-series Commodores, pick-up trucks, Japanese sleeper builds and Euro hotties, along with the odd vintage car and even a gaggle of old-school Minis. The Ferrari Club Australia Queensland Division also put on a lunchtime display, with plenty of Italian stallions fanging around the track and offering joyrides.

Those keen to really test their mettle could hit the driver training track, where timed sprint laps were the order of the day. This saw a bunch track-appropriate – and highly inappropriate – cars smoking tyres and generally wreaking havoc.

Great food, old-school tunes and raffles aplenty helped keep spectators entertained, while trade displays and police support groups in attendance highlighted the sentiment and fundraising impetus behind the event.

“The day was an outstanding success,” Tony says. “It was great to see so many people with smiles on their faces, catching up with mates in a family-friendly atmosphere, enjoying their passion for cars and supporting a good cause. The assistance from Lakeside Park and many local businesses was outstanding and very much appreciated. I have to say a big thank you to my team for helping bring the day together. After the overwhelming positive feedback we received from entrants, patrons and supporters of the event, we are already planning for next year.”


Bronze by the Lake organiser Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Green is a long-time petrolhead. “I’ve been into cars since I was a young bloke and have owned my Torana hatch for 20 years now,” he said. “I’m an active member of the Fat Nancy’s Car Club, too, so we love our Mad Max, and a Max-themed event like this seemed like a perfect idea.”

Maryborough local Dave Guild brought along his Mandarin HJ Monaro for the day. “I bought it back in 1992 from the Trading Post; it cost me $2500 – can you believe it? It was a factory 253/Trimatic car, but I later fitted a John Cain ‘Saturday Night Special’ 350, Turbo 350 and nine-inch.” Dave and the HJ were rewarded with the Dave Masters Grand Champion perpetual trophy, chosen by the Masters family in conjunction with People’s Choice votes. “It was very humbling and an honour to be chosen,” Dave said. “Today is about the Masters family, with the cars being the glue that has brought us all together.”

Builds don’t come much more out-of-the-box than Shane Davis’s super-cool 1975 Toyota Crown wagon. Clean paint, a nice stance and period Hotwire rims make for a great look, while that subtle reverse-cowl scoop hides a Toyota 1UZ V8 conversion, further boosted by an M90 Eaton supercharger that Shane sourced from an L67 V6 Commodore. Shane has owned the car for 15 years and ably stretched it legs during the hot-lap sessions and on the sprint course at Lakeside.

The Sunshine Coast’s Jordan Willis brought along what looked to be a tidy XF Falcon wagon running a little lower than stock on a set of jellybeans – until he gave it the berries, that is. Jordan wailed on the XF pretty much all day, ensuring its turbocharged AU six-cylinder donk earned its keep. “It’s actually an ex-police car, which is highly appropriate for this event,” he said. “It’s my first car, too, which I bought back in 2009. There’s plenty of room inside so I can take everyone for a spin.”

Those of us of a certain vintage might recall the Operation Drag events held at the old Surfers Paradise drag strip during the 90s, and later at the Warwick eighth-mile. Police volunteers raced a number of cars during that era, including this VR Berlina dubbed ‘Cop This’. “It was donated by Holden as a near-new car and converted for strip use,” Senior Sergeant Warren Parker explained. “It then spent some time at Warwick TAFE before languishing in a shed for the next eight years.”

The VR was recently rediscovered and purchased by the Queensland Blue Light Association (which used to run the famous Blue Light Discos back in the 80s) to be used as a promotional tool for their displays and events. The car has been refurbished mechanically and scored a visual makeover in modern-day police livery. The alloy-headed small-block Chev was capable of running 10s back in its heyday, and still sounded very stout during a few exhibition laps as it romped around Lakeside.

Ipswich local Rob Profke and his partner Stacey Pearsall brought along their genuine Phase I XW GTHO, which is resplendent in Reef Green and still running its original 351 Windsor donk. “’Driven, not hidden’ is us to a T,” said Rob in between hot laps in the XW. “I was always more a Holden and Chev guy until I met Stacey; she’s a serious Ford girl, so the Blue Oval has rubbed off on me too.”

Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Mark Booth was working hard behind the wheel of his tough and tidy HK ute on the timed sprint track at Lakeside. Its healthy-sounding 308 and Trimatic combo made slippery work of the skinny rear whitewalls, with the ute clinging on for dear life under Mark’s heavy right foot.

A very special guest at Bronze by the Lake was racing legend Dick Johnson, pictured here chatting with Superintendent John Hallam, the QPS District Officer for the Moreton region. Dick and his DJR team were very generous with both their time and merchandise for the event, with Dick happily signing autographs, posing for photos and chatting with starstruck fanboys such as myself throughout the day.

This tidy ’92 Skyline is the pride and joy of Redcliffe local Josh Blanch, whose employer 99 Bikes was one of the event sponsors. “I thought I’d come down and fly the flag, so to speak,” Josh said. “I actually drift at QR, so coming here is a change of pace. The Skyline was to be my new drift build, but it is an original Nismo factory-enhanced model that is completely bone-stock and unmolested – even the ECU still has the Nismo anti-tamper tape fitted – so I just can’t bring myself to mess with it.”

Car of the day for me was Rob Ellery’s factory Blue Teal XA coupe, looking period-tough running low over big ’n’ little 15-inch Dragway Indys. “I started off with Capris as my first cars before buying this 30 years ago,” Rob said. “It cost me $10K back then, which was up there for any Falcon hardtop, and my family and mates thought I was mad. It’s a genuine, matching-numbers GT, so they’ve all changed their tune since prices have skyrocketed!” Rob drove it like he’d stole it through the timed sprint course, winding the Clevo out and rowing through the gears of the Top Loader as he pushed those big quarters through the corners.

Lon Argent surprised a few with the performance of his 1958 F100. “It is an ex-St George tow truck, and the paint and signwriting is completely original back to its working days,” he said. “Underneath is a bit of a different story though – it now runs a Jag XJ6 front end, the original nine-inch has been cut down and the brakes have been upgraded too.” The factory 272 Y-block remains but has been treated to plenty of go-fast gear inside and out, while the original truck gearbox has been replaced with an FMX automatic.

Tim Beard’s gorgeous ’55 F100 dropped jaws all day and fended off some stiff competition to win the Top Show ’n’ Shine gong. The LS2-powered Ford has been in the country for nearly a decade, but only made its way into Tim’s hands early last year.

Senior Sergeant Jason Higgs is the officer in charge of Deception Bay Police Station, where Senior Constable Masters was stationed. “We weren’t just work colleagues; we were great mates too, and Dave’s death came as a complete shock,” he said. “We bonded over a love of cars and motorsport, and I actually used to race here at Lakeside in the Gemini Series and with a Datsun 1600 Sports Sedan many moons ago.” Jason bought his Papaya LX Torana SS hatch back in 2013 and completed a full resto, retaining its original 253 and M21 driveline but adding some personal touches like the staggered-width GTS rims. “It even came with the factory hatch hutch, which is pretty cool,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic day here and a great way to honour Dave’s memory; he would be stoked.”

Bronze by the Lake was overwhelmingly supported by the Masters family, including (from left) Dave’s brother and sister-in-law, Al and Liz Wilcox; his wife Sharon Masters; nephew Max Wyatt; brother-in-law Rob Wyatt; nephew Nate Wyatt; and his son Jack Masters along with Jack’s partner Tess Romcke.

Andrew ‘Macka’ McDonald’s 418ci stroker VG hardtop (Mill of the Month, SM, Aug ’19) has gone from strength to strength since returning to street and track duties, and having recently run a street-trim 10.43@129mph, it made easy work of anyone keen to have a crack against it along Lakeside’s main straight. Macka was awarded ‘Speedster of the Day’ for going “way too fast in an old car”!