By Iain Curry
Fifty Sunshine Coast drivers battled some of Australia’s finest racers at the 2017 Summer Noosa Hill Climb, enduring a mix of sunny and then treacherously wet conditions at the event’s 20th anniversary edition.
Over 150 racing, classic and modern sports cars raced up the challenging 1.5-kilometre Gyndier Drive climb in Tewantin, with about a third of the field living on the Sunshine Coast.
Fastest of all through the 14 corners of State Forest was perennial champion Michael von Rappard of Airlie Beach in his open-wheel 1992 Dallara Hayabusa, who narrowly missed out on lowering his own track record at Noosa with a time of 50.43-seconds.
Only seven drivers managed to get under the 60-second mark, with Doonan local Grant Elliott being the fastest Sunshine Coaster with a time of 58.14-seconds in his 2006 Elfin Streamliner MS8.
A huge variety of competing cars offered everything from a 1925 Austin Sports Special to a replica of the 1967 F1 World Championship-winning Brabham Grand Prix car, right through to moderns such as Lotus Exiges and Toyota 86s.
This year’s event celebrated 20 years since the inaugural running of the Noosa Hill Climb, with four drivers taking part who had participated in that first event – Rob van Wegen, Philip Redhead, Peter Walsh and Allan Conway.
The latter three are still using the same race cars too – a 1960 MGA, 1969 Jaguar E-Type and 1960 Lotus Seven respectively.
Event chairman Bruce Anderson said the event’s success was in part down to many drivers continuing to come back to Noosa for its unique racing challenge.
“To have four drivers and three cars that were at that first event is exceptional, and there are a whole heap of other drivers who’ve attended the event over many years. The drivers always say it’s a lot of fun, it’s great grassroots motorsport and fantastic social engagement.”
“We’re always trying to improve things for spectators too, and the feedback we get is they love seeing all these incredible cars that they don’t get to see on the road anymore.”