Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : November 23, 2016 Contents THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2016 - PAGE 17
60 YEARS of RACING at PHILLIP ISLAND
ISLAND Magic comes to the Phillip Island
Grand Prix circuit this weekend (November 26
and 27) celebrating 60 years of racing at the
world famous track, with cars from the past to
cars of the future on and off track, and two days
of thrilling racing.
Named appropriately the "Grand Opening
Meeting," the first race on the Phillip Island cir-
cuit was staged on December 15, 1956.
This weekend's Island Magic honours the past
six decades with nine categories of cars racing,
and special appearances from the 500 cc Cooper
of Graeme Noonan and Chris Lambden's car of
the future, the FT 5000, to be driver by competi-
tor of the year, Tim Macrow.
The two iconic cars will bookend race day and
be on display outside the café during the week-
Big fields of production cars, historic touring
cars, sports cars and open wheelers fill the agen-
da with 300 race machines entered and 27 races
Tickets are available at the gate for $30 for a
weekend pass; $25 for a Sunday only pass, and
kids under 16 free.
Gates open at 8am both days, with Saturday
featuring qualifying and racing and Sunday back
to back racing.
"This is an historic weekend for the circuit, for
PIARC and the island," said Fergus Cameron,
Managing Director of the Phillip Island Grand
"As we all know the property has changed
hands three times over 60 years, but PIARC has
always been there since the very first meeting
here in 1956.
"PIARC has been integral to the success of this
track. It is an amazing club of 700 volunteers
bound together by a love of motorsport and great
"It is quite incredible to think of the competi-
tors they have produced, the officials they have
trained, and how the role they have played in Aus-
tralian and Phillip Island motorsport has played
such an important role in life on the island."
The history of the Phillip Island Grand Prix
circuit began with a group of local motorsport
enthusiasts who would meet at a local café.
It was 1952 and the mates decided to stop
talking about their dreams and start to seri-
ously pursue their vision to bring motor rac-
ing back to the island after nearly a 20 year
Together they formed the Phillip Island Auto
Racing Club (PIARC), and the organisation is
still at the beating heart of every major race
meeting held at the circuit today -- whether
car or motorcycle.
The PIARC pioneers purchased a site for a
circuit from local landowner, P.D. Whitlock,
and within four years had designed and fi-
nanced the building of the racetrack.
Despite endless challenges with finance,
weather, design and construction they some -
how achieved the impossible and launched
the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit with
their first event, the Grand Opening Meeting
-- a joint car/motorcycle affair-a one day meet
held on December 15, 1956.
Event 1 was for "Under 1500 cc Racing
Cars: and incorporated the "Formula 111
Scratch race" (for cars up to 500cc).
It was a race within a race, so technically
the first car and driver to take the chequered
flag was Murray Rainey in his Cooper in the
nine mile Formula 111 dash.
Lex Davison, grandfather of current driv-
ers Will and Alex Davison, in a supercharged
Cooper Vincent, was the ultimate winner of
Event One, taking the full length eight lap/24
Sir Jack Brabham, who went onto become
1966 World Champion, was victorious in the
feature event of the day, the "Bill Thompson
Memorial Trophy race, " in a Cooper Climax.
Sir Jack and the joint winners of the first
event, Murray Rainey and Lex Davison have
passed away, but many drivers who competed
in 1956 are still alive and some still racing in
historic vehicle categories today.
Motorcycle racing also featured in the
Grand Opening Meet with Frank Spiller vic-
torious in the premier bike event and the side
car event won by Bob Mitchell.
Many famous motorcycling names of the
era competed including Australia's first world
motorcycling champion in 1957, Keith Camp-
For further information on Island Magic
2016 this weekend, an event celebrating 60
years of racing at the island December 1956-
2016 go to www.piarc.com.au
60 years of racing celebrated this weekend
The Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit was launched with a first event, the Grand Open-
ing Meeting -- a joint car/motorcycle affair -on December 15, 1956. Jack Brabham in the
Cooper-Climax, winner of the feature event, is pictured following A.N (Lex) Davison in his
Ferrari. Lex Davison is the grandfather of current drivers Will and Alex Davison, and Jack
Brabham went onto become 1966 World Champion.
Lex Davison in the Phil Irving prepared s/c Cooper Vincent, joint winner of the first event,
is pictured leading Ern Tadgell in his Porsche-engined single-seater, sixty years ago at the
circyuit's event in 1956.
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