The Good Old Days

Our mad rambler, Mal Sinfield  tells us some tales we might just find interesting…!

Just to get started…

Its amazing how our love for rallying has evolved and changed over the years. When I was just a lad and a member of Sydney based Hills District Car Club, we used to compete at Hampton on the clubs property and we still do today, our cars rarely had roll bars or cages and it was the old Terry-towelling crash hats that we used for scone protection.

Are you from the ABC?

Are you from the ABC?

I can remember a University Car Club rally that started from Hampton and I was with my old time friend Ken Gardiner in our KE 10 Corolla and that was the first rally I used a crash helmet as we were getting quicker and quicker and that was about 1975.

Ken and I did an event in Canberra in about 76 or 77 and it was our first rally that we actually towed the car with a trailer –  there must have been about another 5 or 6 that did the same because in the old days we drove our car to the start of an event in Bathurst or Port Macquarie or Batemans Bay, some times up to 4 or 5 hours from Sydney, do the event  finishing as the sun was coming up then drive back home!

If you had a problem and could drive the car you would return later in the week with a trailer and tow it back home.

Intercoms –  I don’t know when I started using one of them, you just had to yell or use hand signals! Actually I still use hand signals today as some reckon I’m a dumb arse and they are probably right.

We rarely stayed overnight; we used to drive straight home after the rally.  I remember a Gundog Rally (based in Dungog up in the Hunter) and we booked 2 rooms in one of the pubs, probably had three maybe 4 beds in the 2 rooms but there were about 17 people sleeping in them and we had to return to the forest on the Sunday morning to collect cars!  I did an Ampol Bega Valley rally with Ken in about 77 and we stayed in the local caravan park there near the cheese factory it was in June –  so cold After we returned on the first night the van was freezing so we decided to leave the electric stove on in it when we returned the next morning….

As we returned to the van in the early hours, about 2 or 3am there was steam rising from the van, we went to open the door and all the aluminium was so hot you couldn’t touch it — luckily for us, we were ok, the bloody thing could have burnt down!

Once I got associated with the “Mob” from Deepwater Sporting Car Club in Gosford everything changed; we started sleeping in Motels It was the likes of Mike Bell, Warren Ridge, Mick Verrall, Jeff Pinckham, Geoff Vowles, and both the Hills, Ian and Colin that corrupted me, they would always book the room in someone else’s name, because a lot of the times the motel managers would say the next morning that we would not be “welcome” next time –  that’s the truth-Very loud and quite pissed!

We were at a Motel in Taree on the right as you head over the bridge, Colin Hill came in and said Pincko’s room is “unlocked”…, as it was opened Colin had the fire hose aimed and ready, and I think it was Ridgey who turned on the water; it certainly woke up Jeff and his lady friend….!

It reminded you of Jenolan Caves with all the water dripping from the ceiling, we were all in convulsions had tears streaming down our faces, it wasn’t a pretty sight!

At the end of year Christmas party at Warren Ridges place out at Warnervale all the blokes were well over the limit as you do, Mike Bell in his wifes Ford Escort Snoopy nosed RS 2000 started driving around Wazza’s property bit like a motorkana with the witches hats and then a few others did the same.

Geoff Pantlin got his 1600 Dato going very well, till it fell over on its head very battered and bruised was the car so after the event Warren Ridge repaired the car,  lots of filler had to be put back into the car and he then was given the nickname “BOGO” He even got new number plates

BOG 001.

When Mike Bell and myself went away to rallies it was us, as many many tyres that you could fit, some spares, a 44 of Avgas, an esky or two for after the rally, about half a dozen bean bags and 3 or 4 service crew in the rear of Mikes yellow Transit van!

His van was probably the quickest; even the Factory transits (Bruce Garlands mob) couldn’t catch him.

All the other crews mainly from Newcastle, Garry Burns and the Cottam’s built 351 V-8s in their vans, we used to have so much fun, we had the main service car plus another for in field intercepts.

I remember how close all the service crews were and able to help one another the camaraderie was really there;, all the Gosford crew went to Rally of New Zealand in the early 80’s. There were 26 of us in Campervans and we spent 2 weeks there, it was like one big happy family,

I don’t know if Dallas wants to tell the story about the Asian guys from Dunlop in Mikes Yellow Transit van or not so that’s all for now, hope everyone is enjoying Mals Ramblings – till next time Cheers.



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