Previous VW Nationals
Here is an archive of reports of previous VW Nationals, taken from the pages of our club magazine Zeitschrift. The first VW Nationals was held in 1988 (as part of the Australian bicentennial). The most recent Nationals report here is from 2006, the last year we produced our magazine on a photocopier.
Just click below on the year you are interested in. Each year’s report also includes the unique VW Nationals artwork for that year – these are much copied and have become collectors’ items. Just click on the pictures to enlarge.
For more recent Nationals reports – from 2007 to the present day – please consult the Zeitschrift archive and download the relevant issue as a full colour PDF. Note that the most recent issues are for Club Veedub members only.
By Natalie Driscoll
If you went to the VW Nationals ’88, held at Hawkesbury Agricultural College over the Easter weekend, and someone happened to ask you what it was like, the first thing that probably sprang to mind was a nasty little four-letter word – RAIN.
And rain it did, dampening everything except for the enthusiasm, with people travelling from all states and territories of Australia, even from Tasmania. We also had patrons from around the world, including Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. Not bad for a little ‘ol Aussie VW show!
Many events had been organised to keep the VW nuts entertained. With raffles, food stalls, brightly coloured sponsor and club stalls, the college was miraculously transformed into a circus-like atmosphere. Well, sort-of. Those in the organising committee were less than excited about the weather conditions as they watched 20 months of planning sort of bobbing around unpredictably in the mud puddles. But what could we do but grin and bear it? Despite the rain, all but a handful of people (and maybe the committee) thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The Nationals got its fair share of media coverage, with 2WS advertising before the event and news releases in various newspapers. But the real bonus was having representatives from ‘Hot VWs’, ‘VW Trends’ and ‘VW Motoring’ down here to cover the show. On the local scene, we had ‘OZVW’, ‘Fast Fours and Rotaries’ and ‘Open Road’ magazines out for a report.
Saturday dawned a fine drizzle, nothing you couldn’t put up with. However, it must have put off quite a few people who would otherwise have had their wares on display or swap or sell. In the dealer display area, on the other hand, it was standing room only.
The Bush Dance on Saturday night was a real fun time, and must have been an education for our overseas guests. When five huge VW cakes were brought out, there was much oohing and ahhing and then the devourment started. Probably the most dramatic episode of the whole weekend was when three teenage would-be car thieves were caught in the act by the security guard who we had hired. The miscreants (or substitute your own more descriptive names) had chosen a Golf on which to perform their dirty deed. On being caught they were dragged over to the crowd in Karmann Square, where they were surrounded by what could have passed for a lynch mob until the police arrived. Serves them right!
Both the plans for the show and judging and the Wet Weather Plan A were becoming obsolete as we watched the rain bucketing down. Wet Weather Plan B involved the crew having to shack up in an old hay shed – but no one complained. At least it was dry!
Once judging was underway, the rain didn’t seem to stop people from entering their cars in the show, though they were a little less inclined to constantly jumping out and wiping off the splashes of mud. Mud or no mud, the cars looked great, even from under the edge of a dripping fringe or umbrella. The best thing about it all was all the new and interesting cars whose owners made the effort to come out.
The car show was very well attended, even by American standards. Rod Montoya from VW Trends commented that there were more cars than at a typical well-attended Californian event, but that over there they wouldn’t have showed up at all if it had rained!
After asking around our overseas visitors for comparisons between the cars that showed up to our events and to theirs, it seemed a unanimous decision – the standard of our cars equalled or bettered those you would see at overseas VW shows. For example, Rod Farrell’s immaculate blue split-window Beetle earned plenty of attention. On the other hand, none of the international visitors were particularly impressed by the Australian version of the ‘chop-top convertible.’
Of the fun events organised, the Bug Balance, the Pit Stop and the Engine Pull were the only ones cancelled due to the rain. Saturday stayed relatively dry, and such events as the Go-Slow race and the Bug Push generated quite a crowd, with many willing entrants giving it a go.
The Engine Blow was perhaps the most popular event, with people queuing up to pay for guesses. The guesses ranged from thirty seconds to an hour and a half! Most of us had no idea, but guessed anyway. The old clapped-out 40-hp resisted its fate to the end, taking a long time to spring to life but even longer to die. It lasted a surprising 16 minutes. The trophy presentation and raffle draws were held afterwards, with hundreds of patient, expectant people waiting in the rain. The 160 or so trophies looked extremely impressive, and many people commented on the display. The winner of the reconditioned Cal-look Beetle is certain to be the subject of much envy.
After many months (approaching years) of planning for VW Nationals ’88, the organising committee was more than exhausted and ready to finish before the weekend even began. Most people have no idea of the amount of organisation needed to pull off such an event, and unfortunately the committee was grossly understaffed, with members doubling and tripling up on jobs in an effort to get things done. Committee members were disappointed in the fact that they never got to see much of the show for themselves, as they were always occupied in doing things for others. Some never even had time to go and get lunch for themselves, like Rod Young who sat in a little room in front of a computer all day!
One good thing that came from all this is the cooperation started and friends made between the clubs. That probably counts for more than any money made during the weekend.
Will there be a VW Nationals next year? Don’t even mention the subject near any of the committee at the moment, if you value your safety, but there may be another event some time in the future, on a smaller scale. Right at the moment though, the committee is being reunited with family, friends, lovers and car projects.
If you were there, thanks for helping to make it a great weekend. If you weren’t, you missed a big one!
By Craig Smith
Sunday, 5th February 1989. The chosen day for the VW Nationals '89, held at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury. If you call it an ‘Ag College’, you now run the risk of offending someone!
Once again this proved an excellent venue, with all the facilities one could reasonably ask for. The only thing the organisers asked for and didn't get was a fine day. However, reflecting from last year’s VW Nationals weather, the day was fine indeed.
The morning’s rain was kind enough to disperse a dry afternoon made for a pleasant day. The cloud held back the fierce summer sun.
The more adventurous people stayed at the University on Saturday night, to enjoy some quiet socialising on the Saturday evening. Some consumed many a liquid refreshment, while others enjoyed the hospitality and nice meals that the University has to offer. The footballers who inhabited the bar provided some great entertainment.
The VW Nationals was well publicised across the land, and Radio 2WS was kind enough to donate airtime for advertising the VW Nationals.
The rain made Sunday morning disappointing. The disappointment turned to enthusiasm when all the VWs started to converge into the University grounds.
They came from every state in Oz, as well as a handful of overseas people.
One overseas visitor was Romon Bont who travelled in his VW-powered ‘Mini-Mack’. I'm not sure if it was wearing a chrome-plated bulldog or a Wolfsburg crest, as I never had a close look at it. (As much as I would have like to). Romon won the Longest Distance Travelled award.
The Volkswagen factory representatives brought with them a Golf GTI and a Tristar (which is a twin cab utility Syncro) and highlighted the day. The Tristar is being prepared for the Australian Market. I'd give 3 Hiluxes for this beauty!
All afternoon, the factory rep was taking people for rides in the Tristar. The wet weather had made excellent conditions for proving the Tristar. By late afternoon, part of the test track (a drainage ditch) was so well mushed that the Tristar got stuck. Fair dinkum! The only other vehicle that could possibly go through that muck would be a Schwimmwagen - with propeller engaged!
Muller and Muller VW had on display the latest Volkswagen Transporter, Caravelle and Syncro models, including one with a Camper Conversion.
Rotary did an excellent job of the catering, especially as they were overwhelmed by the demand. They deserve many thanks, because they don't financially profit from their efforts.
The many dealers’ stands were well stocked with an amazing variety of parts and accessories for your VW. Everything from body restoration, parts to high performance engine and suspension parts could be had, with everything in between. The swap meet had lots of goodies, with Type 3 parts in abundance.
The Go Slow race was a popular spectator sport, and many had a go to see if they could make the clock run the longest. Fastest time of the day went to Paul Muller, but of course he didn't win. The women drivers were very competitive, and difficult to beat! The winner was Dean Goodpaster with a time of 31.30 seconds. Runner up was David McGinniss, with a time of 30.88 seconds.
Channel 9 Sydney dropped in with their helicopter to film a segment for their Sunday night news. I think it's great to have that much recognition.
The Engine Blow was once again very popular. Beetle Wreckers donated the engine and Figgis Motors organised it all. The knocking noise from the 40 HP motor just kept getting louder and louder. At 1 minute 29.13 seconds it stopped. A rod and the case became but one part. First place in the guessing competition went to Jason Oliveri, second went to Philip Berry, and third went to Rod Hinds.
First prize in the raffle was won by L Harrison of Ryde. That lucky person won a seven night holiday for two to Vanuatu, courtesy of Air Caledonie and Le Lagon Resort. Bitipeon won second prize of $500 for a TV from Greenacre. Bob Whitson won the car care hamper.
The meat tray, donated by Jim and Peter Rea’s Quality Meats of Longueville Road Lane Cove was won by J Smedley from Wentworthville.
By Michael Rochfort
There at the Agricultural College entrance was a sight to behold. A group of approximately 50 impatient Volkswagens and occupants, jostling for their position in the convoy that eventually left for the battle that lay ahead at Oran Park Dragstrip.
The battle was well underway when we arrived and those that wanted to take part burst through the gates, eagerly awaiting their chance to rush into a headlong clash with the ‘others’ ... while the rest of us just stood back and watched from a safe but not-so-dry distance.
The weather was not kind to us, as all spectators without wet-weather gear would agree. And with no real spectator-friendly cover, we could do nought but grin and bear it.
And grin and cheer we did as we watched our heroes slowly vanquish the opposition. The battle did not stop despite the rainy patches, and after a gruelling six hours an end was called and trophies were handed out to the most valiant and best (though not necessarily the quickest) competitors.
David Birchall in his ’56 oval surprised everyone by taking out the bracket award. Consistency is the key.
Easter Sunday, the Nationals Show day, dawned mild and sunny, if a little damp underfoot. With the sun shining on Club VW's big event for the first time since its inception in 1988, VW enthusiasts from Sydney, N.S.W., interstate and overseas made this year's Nationals the most successful ever.
The fine but soggy conditions saw around 900 VWs (and an uncounted number of other makes) come through the front gate, carrying an estimated 3 - 4000 people. Interstate visitors arrived from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and even one person from Western Australia, while overseas travellers included some from New Zealand, Great Britain, Indonesia and the United States.
Heavy rain during the preceding weeks rendered the college soccer oval unusable, so the Car Show and judging activities were moved to the area surrounding the hay barn, which also contained the dealers' stands, and its adjacent car park. This proved more than satisfactory as a stopgap solution.
The list of dealers present would read as a ‘who’s who’ of the local VW industry, and all reported brisk trading. Volkswagen distributors, Ateco Industries, and dealers Miiller and Muller and Northshore Volkswagen displayed the new Transporter range, along with current Audi models and the soon-to-be-released Golf GTI and Cabriolet.
The Car Show attracted just over 100 entries of a very high standard. The ‘Car of the Day’ trophy went to Ed ‘NOS’ Garcia for his magnificently restored 1954 Beetle. This car is so beautiful it is almost beyond belief! New superlatives will have to be invented to describe it, and it will surely be the standard by which all others are judged. Chief judges Steve and Eileen Carter deserve a pat on the back for a fair and efficiently run show.
The afternoon saw the running of the Go-Slow event in an orange Type 181 with very peculiar carburettor progression problems. The event was held, again due to the change away from the main oval, on a main thoroughfare beside the hay barn and Show car park. This was somewhat like running the event in Pitt St. at peak hour, but some very brave and very slow drivers nevertheless provided some real entertainment. A ‘best’ time of 42.1 seconds was put in by John Weninger, with Jeremy Britten of Melbourne running just a tad faster. Most parents would be more than pleased to have a teenager capable of driving this slowly!
The Engine Blow display was run just prior to the trophy presentation. The caged 40-horse, courtesy of Blacktown Mechanical Repairs, proved to be almost too good/bad to be true, coughing into life after three attempts for a throbbing 5-second run, before a rod was quite audibly heard to attack the inside of the case.
In the opinion of the visiting Americans, Ro Montoya, Jim Cleary and Chris Morley, the Nationals is better organised and more professionally run than what they are used to in California, with the cars being of a equivalent standard. There is no accommodation on site in the U.S. either - local motels have to be relied on for that. Keep your eyes open in ‘VW Trends’, for which Rod Montoya writes, for a report on the Nationals.
When an event like the Nationals has to be largely reorganised at short notice due to the inclement weather which preceded it, and is still the most successful so far, a debt of gratitude is owed by all Club VW members to our Nationals committee and organisers, Rod Young, Caro and Ivy Martin, David Birchall, Bill Moore and especially to Steve Muller. As president of the club, Steve is very often in receipt of the negative vibes and is very quick to praise the efforts of others, yet very rarely is he thanked for his time and efforts on behalf of this club.
By Dave Long
We had our VW/Audi Nationals on the Easter-weekend, and it went off like magic. Rain on the Saturday looked like dampening our parade, as in previous years, but not this time. All went so well in fact, that it was almost an anti-climax, and the resulting events of the Sunday were extremely good.
Numbers were up, problems were at a minimum, and few complained, while the majority enjoyed.
The new venue at Valentine Sports Park, Parklea, is so superior to previous facilities, that it could easily have looked bland, but for slick organisation and smooth action. It was far more suitable, and should continue to meet the Club’s future need while conditions remain as they were for the latest outing.
A close estimate was an attendance of 1,000 to 1,200 VWs and Audis within the confines of Valentine Park, and another 200 or so along the fences. Approximately 140 vehicles were directly involved in competition for trophies, which is a 20 or 30 percent greater number than last year at Richmond.
The faithful came from interstate locations -South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT and Queensland. Though I failed to catch sight of any from further north-west or west, I have no doubt they were there somewhere.
Cars submitted for judging were static, parked in ranks, the centre two-deep, with two avenues separating the outer rows. Judging went on unobtrusively from the Club Veedub stand, under the able control of Steve Carter and Michael Rochfort, and data processed by Rod Young in the ‘nerve centre’.
Stressing the obvious, there were some magnificent examples of VW-ness; lots of Beetles starting with occasional Splits, through heaps of Ovals, predominantly Cal-Look and outstanding, accessorised 36 and 40hp models, some sunroofs, various Karmann cabriolets, revised 1500s and Superbugs.
Also a few Type 3s with a couple of nice ones evident, Type 1 Karmann Ghias of a high standard, and at least three quite magnificent Ghia cabriolets, especially the bright red late one with the NSW ‘SA’ plates.
Someone from Canberra had a fairly late series-2 Passat, looking very smart in a metallic grey/blue and with factory alloys. Not a lot of Audis were entered, although TKM and dealerships had a good range of the latest models, comparable with the recent Motor Show (Darling Harbour) cars.
Variants of the new Kombi could be found set up about the arena; also Golfs, both Cabrio and GTI. A Kombi Transporter Syncro was laid on to give demo rides, and one of the captains was Dallas Tidyman, who is a NSW Police driver-training instructor at Goulburn when he is not on Club Veedub business.
The large hall at the disposal of dealers was put to good use. Most employed trestle tables, though Boris and Co. from Vintage VW Supplies are rather more flash with their glazed showcases. Brett Scott the upholsterer was handling quite a few enquiries, including my own, and he looks like getting my business soon. Lots of amateurs set themselves up on grass beside the hall to demonstrate accessories and spare parts - not all of them rare, but serviceable.
In consideration of Club Veedub’s use of the facilities at Parklea, the Soccer Federation required support for its accommodation facilities, and most of the stalwart of our members pitched in. Accommodation was quite adequate without being flash, like the meals that were wholesome and fairly plentiful.
The Saturday night, which was a diversion for these members/workers more than anything else, was a load of fun. Angie and her group The Ovals served up an energetic mix of Credence, The Shadows, Chuck Berry and lots of other favourites, all of them up-tempo. It took time for the level to adjust to the comfort of the audience, but considering they haven't played together previously and only had minimal practice, they were a big hit. Club members Michael Rochfort and Phil Matthews on lead and rhythm guitar were supported by drums and bass - both musicians drawn from outside the VW scene, I think. Angie, the vocalist, is Adrian Muller’s girlfriend. They played again on Sunday night after the Nationals dispersed, although more listened to the performance than danced.
A novel turn within the Nationals proceedings involved Steve Mulier's 52 Beetle Cabrio, on which someone had placed a notice stating that an ethnic lady aged 82 had driven this vehicle under its own steam from Melbourne. The car is in fairly used if generally original condition, and remarkably intact for its age. It was once left hand drive. Though as far as driving it from Melbourne, it had difficulty climbing back on its trailer. One remarkable fact (it is remarkable to me, anyway) is that another Muller - Fred Muller, father of Club Veedub Sydney member Haydn Muller, brought the display to my attention. Like scores of others, Fred swallowed it too!
We had two distinct 'engine blow' demonstrations, neither surviving more than a few minutes, in particular the second engine, which had modifications including twin Webers, and was run at a rather indecent 4500/5000 revs - indecent that is, for a mechanical cripple. The latter was the work of St Marys Beetle Centre, while the former was courtesy of Blacktown Mechanical Repairs.
St Marys Beetle Centre went to a lot of trouble with its contribution, down to details such as an oil pressure gauge and tachometer for an engine that was effectively doomed to last less than 4 minutes. Our enthusiastic friends even did a post-mortem to determine the fatal spasm. I think it was a rod which had strayed through the side of the case.
These two sponsors were among a big list of trade organisations who supported this year’s Nationals. Proceeds of VW-Audi Nationals were in favour of the Children’s Ward at Hawkesbury Hospital.
Some other events were the Go Slow race, Spear The Spud, a Pie-Eating contest (although I did not see it with my own eyes, and have to assume it went ahead against all the usual restrictions of good taste.) There was also a Treasure Hunt for the children and Reverse to the Pole - a backing test with optical illusions.
The raffle for the holiday for two at Le Lagon Pacific Resort provided by Air Caledonie was won by Lyn Challis, ex-Club VW member and now of the VW Historical Society. Lyn, who launched the ‘Hysterical Society’ with husband Alan, may now have reason to think we are OK again.
At trophy presentation time, Keith Coulston of TKM had some nice things to say about our 4th Nationals. He said TKM remained very happy to be associated with our activities and that it was an impressive event.
By Anderer Bleistift
With expenses incurred in visiting the Royal Easter Show currently at an all-time high, Sydney’s VW fans chose instead to spend their Easter at Australia’s biggest Volkswagen and Audi show.
This is the fifth time the Nationals has been on, and the second year at the current venue, the salubrious Valentine Sports Park, Parklea, home of the NSW Soccer Federation. And it was an outstanding success. More than 1,200 cars came through the gate, several hundred more lined the road outside, and 127 vehicles competed for trophies. The crowd numbered more than 3,000 eager VW fans.
Easter has long been renowned as a period of cold, grey, wet weather. The inaugural show in 1988 was almost washed into the Hawkesbury River by torrential downpour, with similar atmospheric conditions prevailing at the 1989 and 1990 shows. Rain was also experienced last year over the preceding day and evening, albeit fine on show day.
This year finally saw the sequence broken, as I shall reveal later - but first, here is the story of a tremendous event.
Easter Friday 17 April saw the hardworking committee setting everything up. The judging tents were erected after considerable effort, as were the many banners, signposts and bunting lines. Saleable items like T-shirts, caps, mugs etc were assembled, together with over 1,000 copies of last month’s magazine. The video machine provided entertainment into the evening for the early arrivals.
Saturday 18 April was the Oran Park VW Drag Day. The weather was cool and cloudy, but the sun did shine through gaps in the overcast. VWs headed out to Oran Park for the exciting race day, while some committee members remained behind to help latecomers and overnighters.
85 cars headed out to the eighth-mile (201.2 m) strip at Oran Park Raceway where, once past scrutineering by the NSWHRA, the cars lined up at the start line for the first of 3 practice rounds. Unfortunately, due to some delays with setting up the equipment the start was delayed 50 minutes, but all competitors managed to complete their three runs.
Dave Butler’s supercharged, methanol-burning VW made the crowd stand to attention with a 100 mph pass with an ET of 7.272 seconds. Dave travelled all the way from sunny Queensland and is a keen competitor at Willowbank Raceway in his super drag VW, which was previously owned by Peter Keegan.
However, Dave was upstaged by the ever-persisting Dr Henry Spicak, whose Manx Buggy passed the traps at a speed of 98.36 mph but in a lower ET of 7.228 seconds.
Mark Calus’ highly modified Karmann Ghia turned the lights at 7.546 seconds. Mark’s Ghia took the trophy for best-presented VW at the Drags. Mark and Henry raced heads up against each other with Henry winning on both occasions.
The Gene Berg trophy for the fastest Street Registered Volkswagen was awarded to Richard Holzl, for an 8.68 second pass at 83 mph. Winner of the VW-only bracket was Stan Pobjoy, with the runner-up being Brett O’Harre.
Fastest Other 4 Cylinder or Rotary was Larry Lloyd in a 4 cylinder motorbike-engined dragster with a 6.52 second pass, which was also the fastest car of the day.
Dave Becker from Bomaderry reacted with a lowest time of 0.003 seconds, but then Minos Rigoli reacted in an even faster 0.001 (that’s one thousandth of a second). He also won the ‘Others’ bracket and the $50 beer raffle, so completing a successful day for him.
One disturbing fact was that only 7 Club Veedub Sydney members actually competed in the racing. Does this mean that our members are not interested in this form of competition? Or is it just the recession biting into people’s wallets? I hope it's the latter. Overall the day was a great success and will definitely be on again next year.
Back at the Soccer grounds, I was disappointed to learn that there would be no rock n roll show by Angie and the Ovals this year. Apparently with Angela’s marriage in February, rehearsal was impossible this year. However, after speaking with her, together with guitarists Michael and Phil (both judges this year), a reunion next year is quite possible.
At last Sunday 19 April dawned. Members anxiously scanned the dawn skies as they hurried to breakfast, but all signs looked good. The official forecast was for a fine and mild day with lengthy sunny periods, light SE winds and a maximum of 23°C. Perfect!
Thus the show got under way. Off-duty police from St Marys manned the entrance gates, welcoming the incoming stream of VWs, collecting fees, handing out programs and directing traffic. The majority moved forward to park either on the nearside or far parking areas, but the dedicated turned right and entered the car show. Here a form was distributed and the extra fee collected at Keith McNeil’s Kombi. The show cars lined up and were directed into three streams, depending on class.
The three lines of show cars finally arrived at the judging tent, where nine eagle-eyed judges and three runners energetically processed the gleaming VWs. Data was transported directly to Rod Young in the computer room. I carefully examined the process, and was most pleased with the system devised by the coordinator, Steve Carter. Last year the judges were required to find each car parked on the asphalt, a most aggravating, inefficient and ulcer-producing way of doing it.
This year was much, much better, as three judges could descend on one car at one time. Owners could watch their car being judged, and point out details or ask questions as appropriate. Only a slight bottleneck at the entrance marred the proceedings, but this cleared as the cars moved through, three at a time. Judging was completed just before lunch - well done, everyone!
Once judged, the showcars moved back onto the asphalt show area at the heart of the grounds. Cars of similar type were grouped together wherever possible, and presented a wonderful sight for both the spectator and photographer.
Tony Anstee from Type VW Club Melbourne lent his expertise to the microphone, and did a superb job with his dulcet tones on the PA for announcements, commentary and factual information. In fact, I enjoyed Tony's voice more than that of 2WS, our radio sponsor that broadcast in the background and mentioned our show not once.
Many enthusiastic VW parts suppliers and workshops again set up their trade stands in the basketball hall. Every time I visited the displays, the crowd was three or four deep at the counter and everyone was discussing parts, collectables and VWs in general with great enthusiasm and enjoyment. I thank the dealers for their contribution to the show!
Another area of interest was up on the grassy area adjacent to the judging tent, where some keen sellers had many interesting bits for sale in the swap meet. Banter between buyers and seller is always entertaining. No doubt many bargains were secured, and perhaps a rare spare or two traded hands.
An added attraction this year was the khanacross, organised by our friends in the VW Club of NSW. Making use of the extensive rough areas at the back of the grounds, they set up a competitive event that proved extremely popular with competitors and spectators alike. Many thanks to the small group from VWCNSW who lobbied to hold this event in conjunction with the Nationals - a smashing success, with both clubs benefiting enormously.
St Marys Beetle Centre then took centre stage with their engine blow demonstration. In no way reflecting their normal work practice, they had prepared a standard 1600cc Beetle engine from junk parts specifically to destroy it. Set up on the ground on an oil tray and with a 5-metre clear area around, it was connected to power and fuel, started and the throttle fixed wide open. It sat happily at 7600 rpm for several minutes before throwing a fan belt. Within 30 seconds it overheated and began belching great quantities of smoke. The revs started to drop, a big miss set in but it roared on. Suddenly the oil caught fire underneath, but just as someone stepped forward with an extinguisher the motor seized with a jerk. The time was 3 minutes and 48 seconds.
Carefully the crowd moved closer. The dead motor sat there smoking, and it smelt very hot. A lesson for Beetle owners to check the condition of their fanbelts. We were told that next year will see a double header - a Beetle engine and some Japanese four cylinder. Both will be built from junk and they will be started and run together to see which one explodes first.
Throughout the day the Club Veedub provided information and goodies for sale to the thronging crowds. Many T-shirts were sold, not only the latest design but also many from last year's show. Even the very last ‘lamingtonwagen’ shirt from many years ago was snapped up by some lucky collector. Many thanks to the ladies who manned the stand and kept smiling all day.
It was great to observe Dallas Tidyman and John O’Donnell from the Goulburn Police Driver Training School again in attendance. They had arranged for the top secret Police Pursuit Beetle to make its public debut at the show, and they impressed everyone with their display featuring the darker side of foolish road use.
The kids were not forgotten, either. What was originally planned as a jumping castle or donkey turned out to be a large tusked elephant, and the littlies took great joy in bounding about within the confines of its inflated walls and floor. Otherwise, the artistic kids competed in the colouring competition with a choice of multi hued crayons.
And so it came to the trophy presentation. Steve Muller took the microphone and stood on the back platform of the Muller & Muller Kombi pickup. Prizewinners from the car show and motorkhana received trophies.
We are grateful to the many VW clubs who took part in the Nationals and shared in its success. The VW Club of NSW deserves much praise for its khanacross, and Club VW Canberra and Club VW Illawarra also for their sponsorship support and enthusiastic attendance. Of course, no VW show is complete without the guys from Flat Four showing their commitment arid enthusiasm for the VW cause in their unique and enjoyable style.
TKM representatives Chris Locantro and Graham Miller were on hand to present the trophies to the lucky winners and offer their best wishes. After awarding the Rocky Marov perpetual trophy to John Suleyman, Chris Locantro then offered a few words of praise on the show and to the happy crowds who participated. He reinforced TKM's commitment to the VW-Audi marques in Australia and promised some new models to come, which will be something to look forward to.
As the tired, sunburned but happy VW drivers headed home, the cleanup job began. I know the many people who worked over the weekend for the success of the show look forward to a rest away from the VW scene for a little while before considering next year’s show.
By Philip Lord
The sixth VW Nationals were held over the Easter weekend at the Soccer Federation grounds at Parklea. This year saw the event combined with the Bug-In, hosted by the Volkswagen Club of N.S.W. Despite fewer people coming along this year, the rich variety of events and plenty of new cars not seen at the Nationals before still made it a satiating weekend for the VW gourmand.
Good Friday evening was marked by the first interstate guests arriving at the Parklea site, settling in for a VW-mad three days. The Club Vee-Dub videos were played for those wanting to put their feet up and unwind from their trip, while others were having a quiet few beers catching up with fellow VW friends. A spit roast dinner capped off the evening.
Saturday's events started off with an observation run organised by the Volkswagen Club of N.S.W. In the afternoon cars began to arrive by the dozen, and the accommodation compound was soon overflowing with VWs. Many were being given a last spit and polish before the Sunday show and shine. In fact a spit and polish is rather an understatement some of those cars were being cleaned beyond the call of duty! Some ever conscientious, diligent and hard-working Club members went out to set up the parking and direction signs with the work ethic of the best road crews - one working and the others studiously observing. The Harbour Cruise was held in the evening, with a coach and minibus full of people heading off to the harbour to enjoy themselves, without having to fear the ubiquitous breathalyser.
The most popular day of past VW Nationals has been the Sunday show day. This year it got off to a good start by having clear sunny skies to grace what is very much an outdoor event. Show car judging started off shortly after 8 am using the judging format trialled last year. That is, the cars to be judged are queued up in three lanes and are thus scrutinised three at a time by three crews of judges, each one assigned a particular area on which to focus (for example, paintwork and glass). The cars' owners are present to open up the doors, boot and bonnet so the judges can inspect every nook and cranny. This method is said to be far more successful than that used in the pre-'92 Nationals, where the cars were judged where they were parked in the show area, often with the owner nowhere in sight and the car locked up.
While the judging was proceeding under the auspices of Steve Carter, there were other things to see and do. Down on the other side of the basketball hall the swap meet was well underway with a variety of (mostly air-cooled) parts being offered for sale. VW models, original sales brochures and other VW nick-knacks were also for sale. In the basketball hall itself the trade stalls were set up and ready to do business. A couple had videos to show - VW documentaries at the Genuine Trade Imports stand, and competition Beetles in action at the Vintage Vee-Dub Supplies stand. Outside again, one could get the circulation moving with an energetic bounce around on the Magic Elephant Castle, or for the seriously active, there was a gyroscope-thing device, in which one paid to be spun mercilessly. Not recommended for the weak at heart or for those just having indulged in a repast.
The engine blow took place mid afternoon in the grassed area between playing fields. The Magic Elephant Castle acted as a magnificent backdrop, with a few red-faced adults scuffling off the Castle, their secret of Castle-bouncing shattered. For the uninitiated, an engine blow is achieved by removing the engine oil, then running the motor at high rpm until it seizes. The air-cooled VW engine was a bit sick even before trying to blow it up, having first difficulty with starting (perhaps due to a discharged battery), and then with a new battery it ran a short 32 seconds before petering out. Those hoping for a spectacular, fiery grenade-like explosion to end the engine's life were disappointed, while those confident in the VW’s humble, self-effacing nature were satisfied that the engine was not going to indulge in some cheap, extroverted and conclusive showmanship.
Next on the agenda was the car show presentation. The trophy winners for the car show (which had attracted 144 entries) were duly announced at about 3 o'clock. TKM Automotive's representative at the Nationals, Chris Locantro, presented the trophies to the respective winners. Club Vee-Dub's President Steve Carter and Vice-president Dave Birchall assisted in the presentation.
In the evening the Volkswagen Club of N.S.W had their presentation dinner, and the drags slated for the morning were still to come. As the evening drew to its inevitable conclusion, I reflected how weary I'd become just by snooping around taking photos and talking to people. My exertion was nothing compared to that of the Club Vee-Dub and Volkswagen Club of N.S.W Committees, who have put in a large amount of their time and effort to make the Nats a happening thing. Without them, the biggest VW show in Australia would cease to exist. So thanks guys and gals, your efforts are very much appreciated!
The next day, Easter Monday April 12th, Oran Park Raceway south of Sydney resounded to the roar of some of Sydney's slowest and fastest VWs. Also invited to run were the ‘others’, as we classify them. These vehicles included all the Japanese marques, as well as some Fiats and specially built drag racing cars.
The morning began just slightly behind schedule, at 10:10 am. The morning's events consisted of practice for all competitors, with some of the newcomers getting their bearings about when to start and when to put the foot to the floor. Most racers ran 4 or 5 practice runs, which was enough to sort out their cars and determine their own capabilities for the afternoon's racing.
The first bracket to run was the powder puff event, which was contested by 3 ladies, each in VWs, and 3 ‘others’, running through the 850-foot strip (a bit more than one-sixth of a mile). After only one practice run, they all tested the starter. After three rounds, Ruth Pobjoy in the 1916-powered '69 Beetle lined up against Penny Brown, in her boyfriend’s Mazda RX-4 13B. Ruth crossed the line first, with an elapsed time of 11.60 sec, and Penny followed up with a time of 12.57 sec. I am sure Ruth will spread the word that bracket racing is great fun, and can be enjoyed by the ladies as well as the men. So ladies, twist your other half's arm and borrow the family car for next year.
Bracket number two followed the powder puff, with 24 Volkswagens facing the starter. After five rounds of racing, and some heavy psyching out of the other competitors by Boris Orazem and me, we met up in the final. With the bracket handicap of 5.5 sec, I left the line like a scalded cat. Did anyone see my wheels spin - after all there are thirty-six horses in the back. By the time I was 1/3 the way down the track, I saw Boris leave the line. I could hear the beast fast approaching. . .there we were on the finish line, neck and neck. A quick check in the rear-view mirror for the win light in my lane - I could not see it, but a little further down the strip the other lane light could be seen. Boris had won, and after a check of the computer run sheets it turned out to be a very close win, by only 0.079 sec, and that's how it's supposed to be in bracket racing - close.
Bracket 4, super E.T. for vehicles under 10.0 seconds, proved an interesting final. Stan Pobjoy in the VW Special, powered by one of Stan's 2.0 litre engines, met up against Rocco Tambu in the full drag racing Datsun 2.6 litre. Stan ended up coming in second, with once again a close result.
Bracket 5, King of the Hill, resulted in the slowest car of the day winning. Greg Bendl borrowed a Type 3 Notchback from Jeff Unwin. The car happened to be Jeff's paper delivery vehicle, and somewhere along the line, lost the automatic kickdown switch.
Greg missed out in the all-VWs bracket, as for a change he faced up to me, with a slower car than mine. Therefore I had to chase him and only just caught him on the finish line, knocking him out of the race. Back in the King of the Hill, Greg beat all comers and lined up against a 10 second car. His opponent, Steve McGurr in a Mazda RX-3 had to wait 8.72 sec on the start line before he could even leave. At the finish Greg proved too good and won the final. Greg also took out the fastest reaction time for VWs with 0.001 sec reaction.
Lowest Elapsed Time for VWs was won by Stan Pobjoy in the open wheeler, with a time of 9.051 sec for the 850-ft track. Also winning in the Pobjoy family was Ruth, who took out the Fastest Female of the Day with a time of 10.31 sec in car 1127, the red oval-window drag car.
The Gene Berg perpetual trophy for the fastest street-registered VW went to James McKinnon from Nowra in his daily driver 2.1 litre 1976 Beetle. Remember, if you would like to have some fun, come along and join the bracket racing. You might enjoy yourself.
By Philip Lord
The seventh VW Nationals provided yet another feast of Vee Dubs for the VW-pledged at Easter. Held for the fourth time at the evergreen Valentine Sports Park at Parklea, the Nationals was again a resounding success for Club Veedub Sydney.
The Drags at Oran Park were the pinnacle event for Saturday. This year the Drags suffered a lesser turnout than usual, thanks to the rain in the morning. The threat of cancellation of the Drags was unfounded; by the time it was scheduled to start, the track was perfectly dry. Dave Butler got the lowest ET of the day, just 7.11 seconds, and Keith Haeusler won the Gene Berg Trophy for fastest street VW, 8.762 seconds.
Back at Parklea in the late afternoon it was a hive of activity; interstate visitors had arrived with some trick VW machinery that many were readying for the show day. Saturday evening was the Country and Western night, with some members getting into a C&W theme. One committee member in particular looked resplendent in his ten-gallon hat, cowboy boots and spurs – all he needed was the horse.
No horses but plenty of VW horsepower could be heard thundering its way to Valentine Sports Park on a fresh crystal clear Easter Sunday. Although a little down on cars in the show this year, there were amongst the pristine regulars some new cars fresh to the show.
Among these was John Waldron's '61 Karmann Ghia, which featured a minimalist approach to modifications to maximum effect. Its beauty was its simplicity; not a stocker but retaining the classic lines of the original theme. Its pale blue paint set it off as a pure specimen of subtle modification. Amid the water-cooled cars there were a few new interesting machines. One was a Japanese car. Yes Volkswagen made cars in Japan - or rather commissioned Nissan to make them. The Volkswagen Santana was built by Nissan from about 1984 until 1988, and a firm in Brisbane (Auto One) imports these cars and sells them with full compliance. The example at the Nats was a five cylinder five speed with about 60,000 km on it. It looked new - even its metallic green paint (I assume original) had a good lustre. I suppose it doesn't get hot enough in Japan for cars to deteriorate like they do here. Some parts on the car, such as window glass and external mirror shrouds were stamped 'Nissan Japan' where you'd expect VW/Audi stamped. Its owner told me that they sell for about $12,000 in Brisbane - among the Commodores in the general car park (what VW enthusiast would own a Commodore? Really!) and its owner was persuaded to put it with the display cars. It had just arrived as a personal import from the UK, still on a temporary NSW rego permit and sporting UK rego plates.
The swap meet was large compared to previous years, with sellers offering everything from NOS brake parts (!) to as new cross-plies to pottery Kombis. The engine blow provided some blood-sport (or should that be oil-sport) entertainment for the crowd with an air-cooled engine sans oil lasting 2 min 20 sec before ripping itself apart in a smoky haze. A kind-of mechanical hari-kari. The traders in the Basketball hall had a variety of their goods on display, mostly for the air-cooled enthusiast, including some VW sales literature from the 1950s and 1960s and some hip VW-theme T-shirts.
The TKM Car of the Day this year was awarded to a Type 3 Notchback.
By Paul Tagg
Yet another great Nationals weekend is now history, with next year’s now closer than it was in March. 1995 turned out to be a very successful year with all Nationals events proving very popular.
The highlight of Easter this year was the appearance of Gene and Dee Berg and their son Gary. The Bergs, although unable to provide a display on the drag strip at Oran Park, made their mark, especially with the seminar on Saturday evening.
Starting from the beginning, Friday was the usual setting up and booking in of accommodation, with a casual drink in the evening to wind down after a hard day. Discussion of the happenings of the next few days and mechanical experiences of the previous months was common conversation.
After some sleep and a great breakfast/ time came to make the trip to the Oran Park 1/8th-mile drag strip for a days entertainment track side. Unfortunately, the more serious competitors were unable to run due to wet weather, however even less powerful cars put on quite a display wheel spinning down the track. Amidst the showers there was some good competition although times were not as they should have been because of severe traction problems. The street classes were VW-powered, 4-cylinder and other, and Powder Puff. The racing was fast with some hairy moments, with some competitors getting sideways down the strip due to the rain.
The winner of the VW-powered class final was Chris Fraser in his turbo-charged Kombi, while Jan Cook won the Powder Puff. David Birchall won the King of the Hill, and the fastest time of the day was Boris Orazem, with 8.369 sec. Keith Haeusler won the Gene Berg Trophy for the fastest street-registered VW.
At the end of the day, most entrants unable to run gave an unauthorized demonstration down the strip just to show the crowd what they would have been capable of.
Back to Valentine Park and it was time for some quick detailing work on cars ready for the show, and then another meal. After dinner and presentation of thank you gifts to those who gave special efforts, it was time for the part of the weekend everyone was looking forward to - the Gene Berg seminar.
As always the seminar drew a great crowd and kept the audience enthralled for several hours. At the conclusion, most reverted to the usual Nationals night-time activity of a few drinks, and more talk about cars and the next day’s events.
Sunday turned out to be a full of activity with a quick breakfast, and then straight into the detailing work. Competition for hoses was fierce in the car park, but I managed to secure a good piece of equipment well suited to the job at hand. Tar collected from the previous day's trip to Oran Park called for extra effort to restore my car to a presentable condition. A quick vacuum inside and the usual other dress up tricks left my car ready for inspection by Steve Carter's army of judges, and so it was moved to the main car park.
After positioning my vehicle for display it was time to lend a helping hand wherever required and sneak a few peaks at the field.
The rest of Easter Sunday was hectic and fun-filled as I wandered around the show display, and also the visited the back car park and children's events, appreciating the fruits of many hours of preparation by the committee to ensure this was a truly memorable weekend.
Presentation of the trophies, although slightly delayed, was an important conclusion to another show and shine day at Valentine Park. Trophies were awarded in 45 categories, the most ever.
Easter Monday saw a new addition, the VW Supersprint at Amaroo Park Raceway. Racing is against the clock, not against other cars, and each VW got one warm-up lap and three timed laps. 42 vehicles competed, many of them for their first taste of ‘roundy racing’. The fastest VW Beetles were those of Paul Zanello, Jo Smith and Jeff Unwin, but the fastest car was Stan Pobjoy’s VW open-wheel special.
Thanks must go to all who made the Nationals what it is these days and especially to all who helped out on the day and in the preceding months. Can't wait for next year.
A month after the Nationals had finished, the club received this letter from Gene and Dee Berg:
Dear Richard & Boris at Vintage Vee Dub Supplies,
Thank you for all your hospitality and everything you have done for us. I would guess that your Australian magazine will be doing an article on the Nationals, so if at all possible to let them know that I am just fine and that I can assure them that I would much rather have been at the show and road race, rather than waiting for the attending doctor to come back from holiday to let me out of the hospital. And to thank all the people that came to the Nationals to see Dee, Gary, myself and our race car. It was an honour to meet the people we know again as well as meeting many new friends. The people down under are very special to us and their warmth and friendship is felt each day.
Gene and Dee
By Lex Cowley
There's no doubt the VW-Audi Nationals is a VW event that will please everyone. Many enthusiasts from all around Australia converge to Sydney over the Easter long weekend for flat four fever. Now in its ninth year, the organisers, Club Veedub Sydney, ensure that everyone attending the event has a great time.
A small and enthusiastic crowd gathered on the hill and grandstand at Oran Park on Saturday to watch the Volksies, rotaries and four cylinders take it to the 1/8-mile drag strip. This year Sydney turned on premium weather for the VW-Audi Nats drag day, which drew many small car enthusiasts to test their skill against the clock in the bracket drag racing programme. The final in the VW class came down between Fabion Corio's 2040cc-powered Beetle, and the 2179cc Beetle of Adam Hamilton, with Adam taking the win. The Super ET bracket (times under 8.99) was won by Shane Van Borstel over Rodney Penrose. There was a dual of two Karens in the Powder Puffs, with Karen Johnson taking the win with Karen Mallard the runner up. Rod Penrose got the lowest ET of the day, with 7.145 sec, as well as the lowest reaction time, an amazing 0.006 sec!
Paul Muller won the Gene Berg Trophy for the fastest road-registered VW, with a time of 9.913.
A highlight off the track was the transportation vehicle from the Australian VW Performance centre in Melbourne. It could carry a fully equipped race car, sleep six or more adults and was like a mini home. Cost to buy something like this would be more than we would like to speculate. But boy, is that travelling in style.
Valentine Sports Park was the venue for Sunday's VW and Audi Show'n'Shine. The early morning silence for those staying at Valentine Park was broken by the all too familiar flat 4 sound, with entrants turning up early and using plenty of polish and elbow grease to get their cars just right for the judging. It was also peak hour in the swap meet area, which was located up behind the show area, for those V W part hunters with many sellers trading their wares.
The large crowd in attendance were treated to plenty of activities to while away the time. Blacktown Mechanical Repairs again provided the much watched engine blow. The old flat four revved its horizontally opposed rings off for 4 minutes and 4 seconds. At the end of the day, the trophies for the 46 classes were awarded, with the Highest Point scoring vehicle going to the custom ’57 Beetle, ‘Sherbrook’, belonging to George Zobec and Theresa Pilavic, and Andrew Dodd’s Type 3 Karmann Ghia taking TKM Car of the Day.
All in all, the ninth VW-Audi Nats was a truly memorable event, and we look forward to its 10-year gala celebration next year. We’ll see you there in 1997.
By Steve Carter
A fine Saturday dawned with much anticipation for the day’s drag racing at Oran Park. After the inevitable delayed start due to equipment malfunctions, the racing commenced.
Some quick times followed from Greg Bendall in the Hell Buggy, and Adam in his Beetle with its newly acquired 48 IDA Webers. Rod Penrose seemed to be getting his Turbo Beetle race car well sorted and nearly got Fastest Time of the Day, but was beaten by Peter Brown in his motor cycle-engined rail. Mike Kristen’s ‘55 Oval turned in some impressive times and it looked as if it was going to be a tussle between the black ‘55 Oval turbo and Keith Hausler's ‘56 Oval turbo for the Gene Berg Trophy.
Sadly however, the much-anticipated appearance of Keith's Oval was cut short by a stripped crown wheel on his very first pass. Col Mayman and the girls from Tamworth had a heap of fun swapping cars and revving engines further than the owners would normally allow. This was the first year that we allowed V8s and sixes to run at the drags, as previously we only allowed Four Cylinder and Rotary powered cars. Many VWs blew away the sixes and V8s which must have severely embarrassed them.
Julie (Jamo from Hellbug's lady friend) went on to win the powder puff race in Jamo's 1.8-litre Golf, proving that you don't need a really fast car to be competitive in Bracket Racing. Dave Birchall, the past winner of 5 out of 7 VW bracket trophies, succumbed to the eventual Gene Berg trophy-winning car in the final round, losing by just 0.005 of a second.
Show day Sunday greeted us with wet cars after an overnight shower. The show entrants and attendees must have really mucked up their clock resetting after daylight savings finished that night, because at 8.30 am we were beginning to wonder if anyone was going to attend the show. After 9:00 am the entries started to pour in, and Abby and I were taking entries at furious rate. We found that as usual some really nice cars tried to slip into the car park. With a bit of encouragement we were able persuade them to enter the show.
What must have been the biggest gathering of beach buggies ever seen outside the US assembled at the Nationals to honour Bruce Manx of Manx Buggies fame. Bruce came to our shores with his wife, and I believe he has been busy talking buggies ever since he arrived and judging by the interest shown, it seems that beach buggies have a new lease of life in Australia.
A first-ever VW Golf engine blow took place in the morning, followed in the afternoon by the traditional aircooled engine blow. The Golf motor was a bit of dark horse and no one new what to expect, but it proved to very spectacular with lots of noise and smoke.
A brief shower around lunch time had many people looking at the dealer displays in the gymnasium, but then the sun reappeared and everyone went on to enjoy the day. The swap meet was well attended all day with many happy swappers making their way back through the car park with their booty. The merry-go-round and jumping castle kept the kids amused, while Mums and Dads looked at some of the finest VWs in Australia on display.
About 4 p.m. Nick Goddard from Flora Foods, our major sponsor, carried out the trophy presentation. Nick also inspected all the cars on display and selected the Flora Foods car of the day. This was won by Geoff Cross from Victoria with his Red Beetle Cabrio ,who travelled up to Sydney to take part in the show.
Club VeeDub Sydney would like to thank the following people and organisations. Our major sponsor Flora Foods, and our other sponsors in particular those that have been with us for ten years. Club members and committee members who helped leading up to and during the Nationals. Club members Tom and Abby who are on a working holiday from the UK were a great help with the judging and car show entries, and also the Club VeeDub woman's auxiliary who man (should that be person or woman the stand. Who cares? I'm certainly not PC) the club stand and persuade people to buy heaps of T-shirts, coffee mugs and hats. Members of a new club Paul and Peter Klaack from Dak Pak helped Bob Hickman with collation of entry and judging forms. And last but not least the car show judging team from the Association of VW clubs. Thanks everyone, now we can start planning for the VW Nationals 1998.
By James McRory
These days there is no shortage of Volkswagen shows and events around the country for the avid enthusiast to get along to. Some are bigger than others and all have their merits, but the big one for residents of NSW is the annual running of the VW Nationals.
Every Easter, Club Veedub Sydney fires up for two days of motor racing competition, a showing of the very best vehicles in NSW and surrounds, and a host of trade stands, celebrity guests and swap opportunities. This year marked the eleventh running of the Nationals and, more so than ever, it was a hell of a way to spend Easter.
As always, the VW importers Inchcape Automotive were a major sponsor of the event and went along to see what was on offer for fans of the German marque. Although Sydney's weather was less than co-operative at times, it didn't manage to dampen the spirits of the thousands who turned out to see yet another outstanding line-up of vehicles covering everything from immaculately restored original Bugs to radical kit cars, Manxes, Buses and Karmann Ghias.
On the race track, the competition continued to break records and push the envelope as Oran Park thundered to the sound of road cars and full-belt race vehicles killing the eighth mile. The turnout was amongst the biggest in the Nationals' eleven years, so a good spectator base was on hand to get a look at the on-track action.
On the Sunday, Fairfield Showground was the new venue for the massive 'show and shine'. Used for the first time, Fairfield Showground proved the ideal venue with enough room undercover for more than 200 cars, and expansive room for food stands, a swap area and a huge variety of trade stands from the show's many sponsors. There was much more room than the previous venue at Valentine Soccer Park, and all of it under cover. Whether it rained or not – it didn’t matter.
There was no such thing as a bad car on show but, at the top end of the scale, the competition was fierce for the most outstanding example in each category, making the judging process more difficult than ever before. All of the cars looked good under cover, with plenty of natural light as well as the overhead fluorescents.
Another benefit of the new venue was that the trader stands were central to the action, rather than in a separate building as before. Boris, Vic, Adrian, Lex and others set up their stands near the entrance and had crowds of interested people all day.
As always, the emphasis was on a family day, with entertainment for the kids and something to satisfy any Volkswagen fan. The girls on the Club Veedub stand did a fantastic job as always, so too all the volunteers and helpers behind the scenes. The show could not happen without their help.
The Nationals was a resounding success and all who attended went away more impressed than in previous years. Our thanks to the organisers and all of the other sponsors for making the 1998 Volkswagen Nationals the biggest and best yet. See you all again next year!
By Steve Carter
The VW Nationals has come and gone again, and planning has already started for the 2000 VW Nationals. Many of our sponsors have already indicated that they will be back again next year.
We once again had the 1/8-mile drag racing at Oran Park on the Saturday. After a late start racing got underway with 86 competitors. We were very lucky with the weather, as the rain was only spitting a few times and having no effect on the racing.
There were quite a few timing problems on the day, with some competitors getting red lights without moving. Despite these problems most competitors had great fun. The atmosphere was really good, with the usual undesirable hoons that sometimes attend street meets staying right away. After a few years of making a loss on the drags we actually made a small profit.
After the drags finished all the workers assembled at Fairfield Showground to get it ready for the show day on Sunday. After all the signs were put out, the trade stands marked out and allocated, we all had a few beers and pizzas.
A few hardy souls stayed overnight at the showgrounds to keep an eye on things. I went home to see if my family remembered me. They did but then I disappeared downstairs to finish some last minute printing on the club computer. No wonder my wife doesn't look forward to Easter.
I got up really early and washed my Beetle to get all the dust and muck of from the drags, but I shouldn't have bothered. After carefully dodging damp bits on the road going over to Fairfield, I struck torrential rain at the Meccano traffic lights.
When I turned up things were really jumping at the show. After conning Hans' son Damian to chamois my car I started to help getting thing setup.
The day started of a bit slow but people started to really roll in later in the morning. The undercover venue proved it's worth, keeping all the show cars, people and swappers undercover.
I may be wrong but I believe that it was the first time that two New Beetles were together in Australia. The yellow one belonged to the VW importers Inchcape Australia and has been doing the car show and dealer circuit for some time, while the red one owned by Harding European from Queensland. Remember that the New Beetle is not on sale in Australia yet and is not scheduled for release until next January, so this was quite a novelty.
Despite the weather, and thanks to the undercover venue, the day was a huge success. Thanks to all of those who helped, particularly the judges, all of our sponsors and all who attended.
By Hans Bleeker
Well, it is over for another year. What, you might ask? The VW Nationals, what else.
The whole weekend went off without a hitch. The Drags at Oran Park was a huge success, and we even made a profit on the day, which in itself was quite an achievement as we normally just break even or incur a slight loss. This year we did something a bit different. We invited other car clubs to our event and it paid off. We had that many cars lined up for the drags that we had to cancel one of our races, The Powder Puff Derby. Sorry ladies, we will have to organize it a little better next year.
Who was the fastest street registered VW there? None other than our own Treasurer Leigh Harris, with quite a respectable time of 8.6 sec. Not bad, but he said next year he is going to turn the boost up, that I would like to see :-)
Late Saturday afternoon and everyone turned up at Fairfield Show Grounds to help set up. What a good roll up it was too, with that many people turning up it was finished in no time (thanks everyone for your help on the night) I hope you enjoyed the pizzas after, as well as the beers.
Sunday morning was upon us and the big day was finally here. What we had hoped for had come true, clear sky, good cars and big crowds. This was to be the first show we had at Fairfield that it had not rained. So we were expecting a bumper crowd and they did not disappoint us.
We had the usual things - the Show and Shine, Swap Meet, Traders Stands, Face Painting, painting and rides for the kids, a band, plenty to eat and drink. It was everything that people had come to expect from the show, but we want more. This is where you, the members come in, if there is anything that you would like to see at our next Nationals anything at all no matter what, please let a member of the committee know. After all it is your Nationals so please get involved and make the next one bigger and better than the last.
For everyone that went, I do not have to tell you what a great day it was for the people that could not make it there is a whole new lot of photos on our web page, go in and check it out. All up, the day was a great success and many thanks to all the people who helped to make it that way. I would like to thank all our sponsors for their help, and a special thank you to all the people that put so much hard work into our Nationals every year.
Well that's it from me see you all at the next club meeting. Keep the legend alive!
By Steve Carter
Well another VW Nationals has come and gone, and it's time to start planning for the next one. I think most would agree that the 2001 Nationals were one of the most successful ever.
It was really great to see two new race Beetles at the Drags. One was built by almost veteran drag racer Rod Penrose, and another new car built by Dave & Lorraine Stocker. Dave & Lorraine have owned some state-of-the-art street VWs in the past, and this new car is quite a change and hopefully is fulfilling Dave's passion for making things. Rod’s new car ran straight and true all day with a few teething problems. Dave's car also had a few teething problems, which is always to be expected; however both these cars promise to be hard runners in the future.
A few complaints were received at the Saturday Drag Meeting about the lack of VWs running. We had 48 VWs compete on the day. It costs the club around $7,500 to run the meeting plus trophies and advertising. As a club, our dilemma is that if not enough people enter on the day, the club has to make up any short fall. This year, we managed to make a modest profit. In the past, it has actually cost the club a few thousand dollars to run the event, and this is why we invite other makes of cars to compete. Ideal? No, but it's better than running at a loss.
On the day we had 100 entries and sadly had to turn some competitors away. Next year if we are able, we plan to have pre-entries to try to get as many VWs running as possible.
Leigh Harris again won the Gene Berg trophy for fastest street registered Volkswagen. He recorded a blistering 8.556 @ 170.13 km/h on the 1/8 mile - that's over 105 mph in just 201.168 metres ! Many performance cars are thought of as quick if they are able to do 100 km/h, not 100 mph in less than 10 seconds. This car has a full interior, stereo etc and was running street tyres - Falken Zeits. It’s no trailer queen, and it was driven to and from the event.
Show day at Fairfield and we were blessed with sensational weather after some doubtful weather leading up to the weekend. Car show entries were slightly down by about 4 or 5 cars this year, but the standard of the entries and lots of new cars more than made up for this minor shortfall.
We welcomed a very strong contingent from interstate who made their way to the event. Some even from South Australia, where the Bug-in was held this year. Great to see you guys, we appreciate your effort.
I have put a few photos in this issue from the Nationals however they lose much of their appeal in black and white. You can view these photos along with many others, on the club’s website clubvw.solweb.com.au in their full-coloured splendour. Thanks to all our happy snappers for getting their photos to me so quickly. The first event photos hit the club website on the Tuesday night after the show.
My thanks go to Peter Copeland, Andrew Frood, CT Hanson, Gregory Nomchong, Jian Nomchong and Brian Walker for their photos. Thanks boys.
On the show day we had the age-old problem. Some of the cars in the car park were thought, by some, to be better than some of the cars on show. If you have any ideas on how to remedy this problem we would like to hear it. In the past we have had club officials ambushing people in the car park to try and convince them to enter their car; this mostly failed as the owners in question often don't want to stay until the end of the show, or in their opinion, the car is not clean enough or up to standard.
The $10.00 per category entry could be thought of as a cheap parking fee, which CT Hanson's dad wished he had taken up after his new Passat was keyed in the car park. I'm sure it couldn't have been a VW owner that did such a horrible thing.
It was also great to see many of our newer club members getting in and lending a hand; it was very much appreciated, as was the continuing support from the older hands in the club.
By Steve Carter
The 15th annual VW Nationals was held over its traditional Easter long weekend. The VW Nationals is a club run event held by the members of Club Vee Dub Sydney Inc. It is for the benefit of its club members and designed to promote the Volkswagen scene to the general public and Volkswagen enthusiasts throughout Sydney and Australia. But what has also become something of a tradition is the rain that comes with it.
The event program kicked off on Saturday with some eighth-mile drag racing at Oran Park. In order to increase the number of entries, the event was open this year to all types and makes of cars of any engine size, etc. including sixes and V8s, as well as bikes.
Things weren't looking too promising on Easter Friday with rain pouring down, but in the evening the rain stopped and the wind picked up, drying out the track. Early Saturday morning the track looked dry, and on conferring with the NSWHRA officials it was decided to continue setting up with equipment and inspect the track early after 9.30 am, which was to be the start of racing. ANDRA officials inspected the surface and it was decided to postpone the start until the track had properly dried, obviously for safety reasons.
A decision to race was given at around 11 am, and we were soon under way with 95 racers lining up to have a go at qualifying. Unfortunately due to the late start we were only able to allow two qualifying runs before we had to get down to the bracket racing. The first bracket was the Powder Puff for the ladies, with six women competing.
Next brackets were VW, Others, Bikes and Super 8 ET. These progressed through several rounds until, unfortunately, we had an oil down in one lane closing racing in that lane for the rest of the day. The final few rounds for the brackets had to run against the clock with single passes for each vehicle, eliminating one car per pair by removing the car furthest away from its dial-in. Using this method we managed to have a winner and runner-up for each of the brackets.
It was fantastic see three dedicated drag Beetles racing. The former ¼-mile world record holding Beetle owned by Rod Penrose was a sight to see. Rod and other racers are hampered by the lack of ¼-mile drag racing facilities near to Sydney, since the closure of Castlereagh in 1984. For Rod to have a chance of reclaiming the ¼-mile record he set in Victoria, he must either travel back down to Victoria or up to Queensland to find a ¼-mile track. It’s true that the new ¼-mile WSID will open next year, but it remains to be seen how expensive it will be to run there.
Dave & Lorraine Stacker's LMS Engineering car had a bit of an expensive cough, just when the car was starting to run sweetly. Dave's motor is almost repaired again, as is his characteristic smile and s?#t-stirring nature. A new car built by Custom Bugs & Buses debuted at the Nationals, driven straight of the trailer by Mike Kristen. It managed a very impressive 6.88 @ 166 km/h with his Methanol injected and supercharged 1776 cc Type 1 VW powered Bug, so it was all smiles in the Custom Bugs & Buses camp.
A few complaints were received at last year’s Nationals Drag Meeting about the lack of VWs running. Leigh Harris went to a great deal of trouble organizing pre-entries for the event. We had 52 VWs compete on the day and nearly 100 cars in total, so if you want to see more VWs running at future drag events, extract your digit from where you have it and get a pre-entry in early and race next year.
Leigh Harris again won the Gene Berg trophy for fastest street registered Volkswagen, and also a trophy for the Best Appearing VW.
Our event can be claimed as the last ever drag racing event at Oran Park. Next year's event will be held at the new Western Sydney International Dragway. Bring on the bulldozers!
Show day at Fairfield on Sunday had doubtful weather leading up to the weekend and Sunday was very gloomy and overcast, but in the end the sun came out and the VWs shined. Car show entries were up this year as was the standard of the entries, and lots of new cars made a feast of VWs for all to enjoy. We welcomed a very strong contingent from interstate that made their way to the event. Many came from Victoria, where the Bug-in was held this year.
Club VeeDub has had criticism in past about the VW Nationals clashing with the Bug-in. Speaking as an individual and not as part of the organising committee, regarding the two events clashing, if we didn't have the Nationals in Sydney, I'm guessing maybe about 100 - 200 people would have gone down to Melbourne for the Bug-in, that would have left many thousands of VW people in Sydney with no VW event to attend. We live in a big country and I think the country was able to handle 2 events on the same weekend. Hopefully next year the 2003 Sydney Bug in organising committee will join us in combining the 2 events.
You can view many more photos from the VW Nationals on the clubs website clubvw.solweb.com.au Thanks to all our happy snappers for getting their photos to me so quickly. The first photos from the event were uploaded on the Easter weekend. My thanks to Anthony Wardell, Jak Rizzo, Dave Birchall and Gregory Nomchong for their photos.
On the show day we had the usual problem. Some of the cars in the car park were thought by some, to be better than some of the cars on show. If you have any ideas on how to remedy this problem we would like to hear it.
The Pepsi challenge team were in attendance and were big hit with young and old, and thanks again to the Toutounji clan for the face painting. It was also great to see many of our newer club members getting in and lending a hand; it was very much appreciated, as was the continuing support from the older hands in the club.
By Steve Carter
Well the VW Nationals is over again for another year. I have heard from many independent sources that this year’s Nationals was one of the best ever.
As luck would have it we were unable to have the traditional drag racing on Easter Saturday, as it would have most likely been washed out. The new Western Sydney International Raceway (WSID) ¼-mile track was not finished in time, and our old 1/8-mile venue at Oran Park is no longer able to host drag racing. The Western Sydney International Raceway (WSID) should be operational later this year, so for the first time next year the VW Nationals will include ¼-mile drag racing.
Sydney experienced some very wet weather leading up to and during the Easter Weekend. We can't complain too much as we really needed the rain, it's just a pity it wasn't received in our dam catchment areas and in rural drought affected areas. The wet weather really demonstrated the value of our undercover area for the show and shine and swap meet.
Car show entries were up this year as was the standard of the entries, and lots of new cars made a smorgasbord of VWs for all to enjoy. We welcomed a very strong contingent from interstate that made their way to the event. Some came for the Bug-in, which was held this year in Western Sydney over the Easter weekend. There were many first timers to the VW Nationals and many have vowed to return next year. Congratulations to all the trophy winners and thanks to all entrants for making the effort to attend our show.
Included in this issue is a A3 poster with just a few photos of the many that I received after the VW Nationals. At the bottom is of the page is a handy list of VW Nationals sponsors; they support your club, so please support them. You can view many more photos from the VW Nationals on the clubs website, clubvw.solweb.com.au. The first photos from the event were uploaded on the Easter Sunday evening. I was so tired after the an early start that morning that I fell asleep at the keyboard while I was uploading the photos to the club website! The rest were uploaded the next day. My thanks to Luis Guarch and Gregory Nomchong for their photos.
On the show day we had the usual problem. Some of the cars in the car park were thought, by some, to be better than some of the cars on show. With the new parking arrangements the inside VW only parking area was very close to the show area so the two areas merged.
Thanks to the Tutungi family dancers for keeping us entertained during the day and for the excellent face painting.
It's heartening to see many of our newer club members getting in and lending a hand; it was very much appreciated, as was the continuing support from the older hands in the club.
By Leigh Harris
This year’s VW Nationals started on Saturday morning at the new WSID (Western Sydney International Drag Strip) with over 30 Volkswagens lining up for our own category of racing, which this year was over the full quarter-mile (just over 400 metres). The sun was up high in the sky with not a cloud to be seen. The turnout of cars was impressive with a few interstaters turning up also.
We had a wide variety of types; from purpose-built tube chassis VW race cars to 1300cc daily drivers, which proved to show off the difference in performance and reliability over the days event. This year we had a higher than normal mortality rate which meant when the afternoon had come around our field was somewhat reduced. We had a few spectacular gearbox failures, broken axles, CVs and one competitor managed to ventilate his crankcase, which unfortunately for most spelt an end to racing for the day.
The day was full of exciting racing and proved eventful as car after car retired as we moved into the evening. The evening’s racing was when the finals were held with lower air temperatures meaning those cars left were running faster and faster as the evening wore on. I was happy enough to run consistent 12 seconds all day in my street car, but failed to bow to peer-group pressure and let those tyres down to below 30psi in fear of joining the never ending list of retires due to a breakage.
At the end of the night Dave Becker was lucky enough to take the win in ‘King of the Hill’, and I managed to win the Berg Trophy again. This is the perpetual trophy donated by Gene Berg of the USA, and is awarded to the fastest street-registered Volkswagen. I won it for the fourth time in a row. Rod Penrose picked up fastest Volkswagen, Dave Becker again won lowest reaction time and Belinda Godfrey picked up best appearing Volkswagen.
Sunday's show ran without a hitch thanks to the support of those who helped. It ran like absolute clockwork. Car after car lined up through the gates for the car show. Spectators were kept happy all day with a very high standard of cars on display. Our judges had their work cut out for them with a record entry of cars in the show. Our swap meet seemed to be busting at the seams at one point in time with a few of us wondering where to park swappers next. Our traders once again brought out their best in products and supplies, which kept many scratching their heads wondering what to buy next. This year we managed to keep the kids entertained once again with new plaster moulds to paint and our face painter did a wonderful job keeping the kids amused whilst parents were able to browse the car show area.
Once again our engine blow was held in the outside pavilion with the motor lasting a total of 41 seconds before seizing with a clunk and a cloud of blue smoke.
Our club shop was kept busy all day with spectators able to buy a wide variety of Vee Dub related merchandise. Our raffle was a big hit with some lucky person walking away with a colour television or DVD player.
Those who were looking weary come the afternoon were treated with a usual selection of venders selling ice creams, drinks and that coffee that has become legendary from one of our supporting venders on the day.
The soccer club were once again there to fulfil everyone's needs for hot food, for breakfast and lunch. I haven't asked how much of each they sold on the day, but I was once again told they were completely sold out of food come afternoon.
Our car show judges were looking weary come 3pm in the afternoon after opening closing every door, bonnet and engine lid with the show area. One judge suffered a bad back after looking under each and every car. Thanks to those volunteers from each club who volunteered. It is indeed a thankless job, which you carry on with quietly behind the scenes.
Finally I would like to thank everyone who took the time out to attend the racing and car show over the weekend and trust you all had a great time at our event. We continue to do it year after year but only with your support, the support of our sponsors who provide us with the financial backing we require to make this day what it is. Thanks to those within the club who made an effort over the weekend and chipped in to help. It is becoming easier with time but even easier with more volunteers. It is those of us behind the scenes that put in a large amount of time just to ensure that the enthusiasm for Volkswagens continues on.
By David Birchall
Well it was another great year, and I am glad about that. Thanks to everyone who lent a hand during the show, especially new members who came along and asked what they could do to help out on the day.
Thanks to all our sponsors on the day, without whom there would be no show. We had a major disappointment with the Drags this year, but we now have a date set to run the event on May 22nd. Look for details in this issue, and come along and have a great day racing or looking. If you would like to have a run, please come out to WSID, it’s only $55 to race.
The show gets bigger every year, with a record number of Kombis entered. The car show standard is always increasing. Special thanks to our car show judges, their job is thankless, but it’s a great way to see every car in the show, and thanks to the Clubs who supplied these people.
The extra under-cover area allowed all of the swappers to be out of the weather (not that you needed cover as it was a beautiful sunny day). Our raffle was well patronised this year, with heaps of great prizes.
Once again thanks to all members who helped on the night before and during the show day. It’s great to see so many helpers.
Don’t forget to support out show sponsors this year. They’re all listed on the back page of each month’s magazine. These people help us out, so if you’re looking for something for your car go along and see them.
Our next meeting at the Greyhound Club will be a bit of a post-mortem, where we will discuss what worked well and what we can do better next year. If you have any suggestions on what we can do to make VW Nationals 2006 even better, please come along.
By Steve Carter
Unfortunately it was not possible to organise Drag Racing at WSID this year, due to the venue being already booked over Easter, not to mention the exorbitant costs. Hopefully we will be able to organise racing for next year.
Instead, Easter Saturday we had a navigation run around southwestern Sydney. Starting at the Greyhound Social Club at car park at Yagoona we went down to Canterbury Road, then out to Liverpool, from there we went along Heathcote Road to Engadine, then we went to Hurstville via the Princes Highway and Captain Cook Bridge, then from Hurstville we wound a our way over to Vintage Vee Dub Supplies at Campsie for an enjoyable BBQ lunch, beautifully cooked by Leigh. The theme for the navigation run was to drive past the old VW dealers in the area, but sadly they have all gone.
Megan Davis in her Type 3 Notch shared first place in the navigation run with Wayne in his beautiful early Beetle. Wayne had his three daughters navigating for him; the oldest would have been around 12 years old.
Saturday night was setup night at Fairfield Showgrounds. We had near record number of helpers, even some from our Canberra chapter, well done everyone. On Saturday night we also ran a Herbie movie on the big screen, using the club’s projector and PA system. A number of families turned up for the movie and came very well prepared with nibblies and drinks.
Show day Sunday we had a bright sunny day and about the usual number of car show entries, but a much larger attendance of around 1,500 more people through the gate. There were many new cars this year, which only goes to show you that our hobby is not dying.
As usual there were many show quality cars left in the car park, I don't know what the solution is to this problem, if you have any ideas let the committee know.
In an effort to make the show less boring (myself and other committee member never get a chance to be bored), some club members organised some novelty events. Norm organised a wheel changing competition and it attracted heaps of entries and spectators. Heather and Chris Pascoe organised the hubcap toss which attracted competitors all day long, most of which only wanted a chance to talk to the young ladies from Nulon who helped run the activity.
It always amazes me when you stand up the top of the show area during the day, and look down between the car rows to see all the people checking things out. The food was excellent this year, with the people from Parramatta Rotary Club, doing a great job of pushing the meals through and keeping the line down to a minimum. The car show standard is always increasing. Special thanks to our car show judges, their job is thankless, but it's a great way to see every car in the show, and thanks to the Clubs who supplied these people. The swap area appeared to be bigger than last year, with some great bargains to be had. Our raffle was well patronised this year, with heaps of great prises, with the Coffee table auction raising some $200.00 for the Club. Many thanks to all those supporters and winners.
Thanks to everyone who lent a hand during and before the show, especially new members who came along and ask what they could do to help out on the day. Thanks to everyone that attended, the car show entrants, the sponsors and the club members who helped make the VW Nationals a success again. Once again Volkswagen Group Australia supported our show.
Don't forget to support our show sponsors this year, there all listed on the back page of each months magazine. These people help us out, so if your looking for something for your car go along and see them.
For reports on the VW Nationals from 2007 to the present, please download the full-colour magazine PDFs from the Zeitschrift archive.