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The Gippsland Car Club

Peter Holinger - Repco Brabham The Gippsland Car Club was formed in the early 1960?s by a group of local motor sporting enthusiasts. The Club has conducted hillclimb events for many years, as well as organising other types of events, including rallies, treasure hunts, motorkhanas and sprint meetings. The Club also conducts social activities.

The Club is proud to be one of the few motoring organisations that can boast its own clubrooms and its own track. Most hillclimbs are held on closed public roads, and are only available for a few days each year. Gippsland Park is used on approximately 30 weekends each year, making it one of the most used hillclimb tracks in Australia.

Any person is eligible to be a member of the Club, and thus compete in motoring events, including hillclimbs. All that is needed to compete in most events is a roadworthy car, a crash helmet, a fire extinguisher and a racing licence, which is available from CAMS or from the Club Secretary. A monthly newsletter (Valve Bounce) is published to keep members informed of happenings within the Club. The Club conducts a number of championships each year, including a Club Championship, a Hillclimb Championship, a Sprint Championship and a Motorkhana/Khanacross Championship. Club Championship events are held at Gippsland Park, and at circuits such as East Sale RAAF, Sandown, Calder, Winton and Phillip Island.

The conduct of the hillclimb circuit in Latrobe Road, Morwell is the main motor sporting activity of the Club. Both hillclimbs and motorkhanas/khanacrosses are conducted on the track and its surrounds. Members compete in sprint meetings organised by other Clubs in Victoria.

A hillclimb is defined as a speed event along a track or course of more than 200 metres in length, which usually comprises a variety of gradients and corners. The winner of the event is the driver who can complete the course in the lowest time.

A motorkhana/khanacross is a competition designed to test acceleration, braking and general manoeuvrability of vehicles and the skill and judgement of the crew members.

A sprint can be either single or multi car (super sprint), and is usually conducted on a permanent circuit. The winner is the person who records the lowest lap time, which is not necessarily the person who reaches the end of the lap first.

The Three Phases of Gippsland Park

Les Palmer - FJ Holden Prior to 1972, the Club held hillclimb events on a sand/gravel track on a stretch of road that was originally Latrobe Road. The straightening of Latrobe Road left a nice, windy section of road that was ideal for hillclimbing. This section of road still forms part of the track, but it is now asphalt.

The majority of the present track was completed in 1972, and was used in this format until 1986. The hillclimbing fraternity in Victoria immediately welcomed the track, as it gave them a much-needed new venue on which to compete. The asphalt surface was a far cry from the gravel of the original track, and it meant that the Club was able to conduct both State and National Championship hillclimb events. Rounds of the Victorian Hillclimb Championship have been held at the track every year since 1972. The major highlight for the Club during this period was the holding of the Australian Hillclimb Championship in 1977 (won by Ian Judd of Camperdown in his Cheetah Oldsmobile), in which well over 100 competitors from all states of Australia participated.

Charles Milner The realignment of Latrobe Road during 1986 meant that the infamous Morwell Hump became extremely dangerous ? the Hump had to go, which it did in early 1987. The ?new? track has been in use since that time, with a complete resurface taking place in 1989. The Australian Hillclimb Championship has been held three times using the current track, in 1989 (won by Alan Hamilton in his Lola T87/50), 1999 (won bu Peter Gumley in the SCV in the record time of 29.27 seconds)and 2004 (won by Gary West of Bunbury WA in the same car as used by Alan Hamilton in 1989). The Club also acquired additional land from APM Forests during the mid 1980s, and extended the pit and spectator areas to allow a significant increase in both competitor and spectator parking.

The addition of a crossover near the Loop enabled the track to be used in a number of configurations, which had the effect of adding to the number of hillclimb tracks available to competitors.

Many thousands of people competed in their first motor sporting event at Gippsland Park, and many of them have gone on to bigger and better things in the motorsport world.

What Type of Cars Compete in Hillclimbs and Sprints?
Hillclimb and sprint events cater for all types of vehicles, from the humble family sedan to sophisticated open wheel racing cars. Classes are designed in such a way that people compete against other drivers in cars that are similar to their own. The types of cars that compete can be grouped as Racing Cars (Formula Vee, Formula Ford and Formula Libre), Sports Cars (Production and Open/Closed), Sports Sedans, Touring Cars, Improved Production (Club) Cars, HQ Holdens and Historic Cars.
The Future

Peter Gumley - SCV The current track will cease operating following the April 6, 2008 hillclimb, and will be resumed by Yallourn Energy for coal production purposes. The new track at Haunted Hills is fast nearing completion, with the first event scheduled for July 6, 2008. Whilst it will be sad to see the current track close, the establishment of a new track will give the Club an opportunity to develop the best and most modern hillclimb track in Australia.

The future for the Club is exciting.

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© 2008 - Gippsland Car Club Incorporated
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