Hot Laps at “The Bend”

The Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge participated in a run to “The Bend” Raceway at Tailem Bend on Monday 19th November.
94 Club members and friends travelled in 45 vehicles ranging from Trevor Wehrman’s 1925 Chevrolet to the latest model Kia Stinger owned by Milton Hall.
There was a wide array of vehicles including Valiant Chargers, Ford Mustangs, Ferraris, Jaguar, Chev Corvette, a 1967 GT Falcon, Mercedes Benz, V.W, Holdens of various models and even a 1929 Graham Paige.
We were greeted by a friendly, well-organised staff in the reception area of The Bend Complex, which was thankfully, fully air conditioned, as the outside temperature was 38 degrees.
Everyone enjoyed a few refreshments while admiring a very impressive collection of race, prestige and exotic cars which were displayed in the foyer.
Then it was “Hot Laps” on the tracks-there are two-one is 7.7kms and the other is 4.9kms long.
We experienced not only the length of each circuit, but were amazed at the width of the track itself, the number of corners-each of varying angles and cambers-it is certainly not a flat track compared to the Mallala raceway.
Most senior driver on the day was Joe Porker, accompanied by his wife Audrey-both aged 91 years young- in their 1958 Chev.
The youngest person attending was Zayd Wehrman, aged 14 months.
Hard luck story of the day was Ted Julian in his Austin-who drove from Tailem Bend to the line-up area but the Austin “refused” to enter the track.
After our “Hot Laps” we all enjoyed a great lunch served in “The Bend” restaurant on the second floor of the complex, overlooking the track.
A raffle was drawn with 5 lucky members winning the opportunity to return to “The Bend” for some “Fast Laps”.
It was a hot, but great day, with good company and an enjoyable experience.
The facilities and the track at “The Bend” are top class and with further development of the landscaping, road extensions and additional accommodation, it will become a credit to the Shahin family, who have made their dream become a reality.
For anyone who hasn’t visited “The Bend” it is definitely worth the drive. Even if you are not interested in motorsport, the transformation of what was once a rough mallee scrub block into one of the best motorsport facilities in Australia, certainly warrants a visit.

Report by Claude and Liz Minge

Photos courtesy of John Courtney