Retrospeed Wilby Park Sprints

Period racers battled the clock on the Wilby circuit

Photographers: Luke Hunter

A PLETHORA of pre-1978 period-style cars copped a thrashing at this 2021’s Retrospeed Wilby Park Sprints, held in Wilby, north-eastern Victoria on 20 March.

This was the fourth staging of the event, which consists of a timed single flying lap of the Wilby Park Raceway circuit, and it attracted a ton of tin, from custom-built specials to purpose-built track day cars to street cruisers.

Here’s a selection of some of the cool machines that hit the track throughout the weekend.

Photos: Luke Hunter

Event organiser Stewart Perry towed his period-style caravan up to the event behind his original XB GT that he’s owned since he was 19. “We’re really happy with the mix of cars and variety of ages of everyone that participated,” Ross told us. “Our goal is to put on an event that feels like you’re at a track day back in the 70s”

With a new alloy headed 253 combo under the bonnet, Shannon Heraud’s Torana came home with first place for the third year in a row. “There’s nothing quite like beating 911 Porsches with a thongslapper-powered Torana,” Shannon laughed. “It’s a good laidback grassroots event where everyone is out there to help each other and have fun. It’s great for people who just want to have a crack at putting their car on a racetrack without much risk of damage”

One of the absolute standout cars over the weekend was Noel Wilcox’s 1929 De Havilland Gipsy special; running a 6.0-litre four-cylinder Aero engine from a Tiger Moth biplane. “It’s been built for a bit of fun,” said 76-year-old Noel, who hails from Gisborne, Victoria.

“The car has been built for over 30 years from bits and pieces on a Standard Flying Nine chassis. It’s the only Aero engine-powered car still campaigning in historic racing in the country”

Simon Trewella runs a turbo Barra engine in his ’68 VE Valiant Wayfarer ute and had the beast out for it’s first shakedown run, having only recently completed the build with good mate and co-driver Steven Dobson

Bryce Michelmore and his son Hudson brought their ’74 VJ Charger up from Melbourne to compete for the first time and had a ball putting the 265 Hemi-powered Charger through its paces. “This is the first time I’ve ever been to Wilby; I never even knew this track existed,” said Bryce. “We will definitely come back again, there’s a great vibe to the event”

James Perkins is the proud owner/builder of this rather unique home-built 1961 Renault Gordini. “I like left-of-centre cars and this fitted the bill perfectly,” said James. “I built it up as a replica ‘1093’ race homologation special from a bare shell I bought just for a bit of fun back in 2018. This is the first time I’ve had it out on a track. It goes better than I expected and is hitting 65mph down the straight”

Nathan Elder’s GT Cortina replica has been built for hillclimbs, circuit work and street duties on historic rego. “I like the track as it suits this car; it doesn’t run out of legs coming down the straight like it does at places like Sandown Park,” Nathan explained

Mark Schwarze from Knox in Melbourne has owned this genuine LJ GTR Torana for just over 23 years now. “This is my first time here; it’s a good fun tight little circuit and there’s a good mix of vehicles here to look at today,” he said

Seventy-four-year-old “Gricey” from Wodonga is a diehard racer and was having a ball out on the track in his 1968 Isuzu Bellett sedan. “I paid $50 for the car and just built it up for a bit of fun,” said Gricey. “It’s had a 1600cc GT motor with twin carbies and extractor fitted. I like the format of this event as you don’t have to worry about other cars being out on the track with you”

Saturday night’s spectacular sunset was a fitting end to a fun day of cool cars and relaxed competition