VW Nationals 2022
2022 VW Nationals
Hi all, well after no show in 2020 due to covid, and a restricted return in 2021 with QR codes and sanitiser, it was great to attend the VW Nationals 2022 in relatively normal times.
The VW Nationals and the club itself could not exist without help from our club members and the club committee. We needed lots of help leading up to the Nationals, during the day and after a long day at the show packing up the venue, so a big thank you to you all. The show wouldn't have been a success without your help.
For the Saturday Track Day we again elected not to go to a regular CAMS motorsport venue such as the expensive and difficult-to-organise Eastern Creek. This time we stepped back and left the racers to book the spots themselves at the privately owned and run Luddenham Raceway. There weren't very many VW Group cars running, but at least the fastest car of the day was an Audi TT. See the results on page 24. My son and I couldn't run this year as I had a fall down some stairs just before the Nationals, so I was unable to prepare my sons car or my own after I broke an axle at the drags.
The beauty of running the event at Luddenham was that you only need a photo street license (CAMS licence not required), and we didn't have to provide flag marshals, scrutineers, fire truck, ambulance, insurance cover etc. Those who took part had a great day on an exciting new track, hopefully we can more cars running next year and the weather is kinder. The track's no-spectator rule meant that only a small amount of people attending and watching. This was due to Covid rules, according to the track, which at this stage of the pandemic seems to be out of step with the rest of the country. Hopefully they will drop that rule for next year.
After racing it was off to Fairfield on Saturday night to get the venue set up for Sunday's show n shine - putting up signs, setting the layout, putting up tables, hanging banners, organising the club office and shop and all the other work getting the venue ready.
Early Sunday it was very cold and wet with lots of cars and traders arriving before dawn. Almost all the traders were in place early. There is a big new under-cover area at the back that was used as a covid drive-thru testing unit last year, but this time we could put it to good use.
Thank you to all our sponsors for their continued support, especially those who set up trade stands on the day. The updated sponsor list appears on the back page of this magazine, and the long-term sponsors with their business card ads. Please support them, because they support us.
We had the EFTPOS payment system at the gate so that people could tap and go to pay and move on. Our volunteers moved up the line of cars to hand out and collect entry forms, grab the QR codes and take payment, so the delays at the gate were minimised as much as possible. At one stage the entry queue was all the way down the car park to Smithfield Road, but cars came through the gate quickly to have their photos taken and move on to their parking spots. There were a few minor stuff ups with the entrant numbering, some forms and some entry stickers going missing, but we worked around it. Almost all the cars were through the gate by 10am and it was only a few latecomers after that before the entry gates closed at 10:30.
The show classes and peer judging that have worked so well were the same as last year, with cars entering almost all of the 41 entry classes available. The grey skies and rain did affect entry numbers this year, but it was still a great turnout especially by the new generation VWs. In the end there were 177 cars entered in the show, just 15 less than last year.
This year Beetle '58-'67 Modified and Kombi T2 '68-'79 Standard were the most popular categories with 14 entries both, followed by Beetle '68-on Modified with 12 entries, Beetle '58-'67 Standard with 11 entries and Golf 6 with 10 entries (the most ever for this category).
Categories showing big growth on previous years were Beetle up-to'57 Modified with 8 entries (54% more than the average over the last 6 shows); T3 Transporter with 7 entries (27% more than usual); Factory Off-Road Air-Cooled (4 entries, twice as many as usual); Golf 4 (8 entries, 109% more than usual); and Golf 6 (10 entries, 93% more than usual).
Other categories are not as popular as before. There was just one entry for Beetle up-to '57 Standard, a drop of 70% from the average. Type 3 numbers continue to decline - Standards had just 3 entries (-45% on average) and Modifieds just 4 entries (-23%). There were just 5 Rat Class cars entered this year (down -50% on average; 13 were entered in 2019), and just 1 Golf 2 entered this year (-68% of the average).
In the end there were 52 Beetles entered across 6 categories (up by 4 on last year); 38 Kombis entered across 5 categories (down 9 on last year), and 40 Golfs entered across 7 categories (down 4 on last year).
A good way to win a medal is to be the only entry in your category! This year there was only one entry in Beetle Up-To '57 Standard, Aussie Kit Cars and Convertibles, Golf 2, VW Cabriolets and VW SUVs, so these owners won by default. There were also just a couple of entries in Karmann Ghia Standard, Non-Factory Off-Road, VW Sports Coupes, VW Sedans and VW Commercials.
There were several categories with no entries at all - VW Exotics (Puma etc); Best Engineered Race (Air AND Water); Porsche; SEAT and Skoda. In fact there have been no SEATs and Skodas entered the last two years. We'll try once more next year, but three strikes and you're out - we will remove these categories if none enter in 2023.
All entrants received peer judging sheets, allowing them to choose up to 20 different cars of their choice in a mixture of air and water. Altogether some 1,521 separate votes were cast on these (109 more than last year), and posted in the blue box at the Club stand before the close-off at 12:30 (although we accepted some from late-comers up to 12:45). There were also 424 People's Choice votes cast by members of the public coming through the gates (on the squares of cardboard), which made 1,945 votes altogether (and 177 entry forms) for Phil to enter into the computer. This took all morning and lunchtime (thank you to young Oscar Daines for being the form runner from the gate to the office) but the actual calculation of winners only a few minutes thanks to Phil's custom-designed Excel spreadsheet which counts the instances of a voted number appearing. All results were worked out by 1:30pm.
This year my son's friend Sam Law, a professional photographer was taking photos for the presentation slide show, which involves taking a photo of every car and its numbered windscreen sticker as it comes through the entry. My son David went through all the results with Phil, found the photos of each winning car and created the Powerpoint slide show that played during the presentation.
With Shirley and Bluey both retiring from trophy duties, Lee Woods stepped up this year and produced some brilliant Olympic-style medals for the winners - Gold for first; Silver for second and Bronze for third, depending on the category. Every category had a First; the more popular categories had a second, and sometimes a third for the most popular categories. The medals have the club logo on one side and the engraved results on the other, mounted on a VW-logo ribbon. They looked absolutely first class - thank you Lee for a great job.
The presentation went smoothly and efficiently at 3pm. A few medals weren't collected as people had already left; they will be available for collection at the next monthly meeting at the Strathfield Golf Club on Thurs 16th June.
Thank you to all the helpers on the main gate, and the traffic marshals. Raymond and Grace, and their girls Bettina and Kira who did their last club shop this year, Lee Woods will be taking over organising the club merchandise now. A very big thank you to Raymond and the girls for all your efforts over the years - I hope we'll see you again next year.
Christine did a great job with the raffle. Parramatta Rotary again did a great job with the BBQ lunch, and there were also a great variety of other food, drink and snack sellers throughout the show. Rotary ensured that all public tables and contact surfaces at the meal areas were cleaned regularly, as per the Covid requirements. Once again, thank you to all our members who helped out with the Nationals at Fairfield on Saturday night and Sunday. It made the setting up, running of the show and the packing up afterwards so much easier. We were all worn out at the end of the day. I think having two golf buggies again really saved our aging legs on the day.
And of course major thanks to our main organiser Dave Birchall, who put in many hours of work in the months leading up to the show despite having serious health issues and worked tirelessly on the day itself. We are open to all input and suggestions from our members, both at the Committee and Monthly Club meetings, on the Nationals this year. What you liked, what you didn't and how we can make it even better next year. Don't be shy, let us know what you think. So if you have some great ideas or would like to help out next year, please come along to committee or monthly meeting. Or drop us an email or leave a message on the Club website.
I've decided to step down as president at the next AGM (the July meeting). I think it's time to get some younger heads running the club.
See you with your VW soon.