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Journeys : June July 2009
Life on the move new car? Buy with Looking for a confidence at Pickles Auctions Ex-Tasmanian Government vehicles, most about two years old with 40,000km RACT Roadworthy Inspection with each vehicle (includes pre-registration certificate) Confessions Tasmania you will have heard of Geoff Smedley. One of the first professional race engineers in Australia, builder of his own race cars, former dealer in Morgan and TVR cars, engine tuner, car restorer extraordinaire Philip Blake I and founder of the National Motor Museum in Launceston, Geoff lives in retirement with wife Sylvia in Launceston. But his retirement is not the slippers and pipe type. On various visits to his house I have met up with a V8 MGB, a Lancia Beta rally car (both belonging to one of his sons), a Nissan Silvia, a Morgan and various exquisite hand-made model cars and boats. My own Fiat tarmac rally car has dashed in there a few times for first aid as well! Viewings and fixed price on Saturdays from 9am-2pm or Mondays from 8am Auctions every Tuesday at 11am 56 Sunderland Street, Derwent Park “My first car was a 1934 Triumph 7 hp two-seat tourer (with dickey seat) purchased in 1948,” Geoff says. “But in 1950 motoring took on a new meaning with the purchase of a 1936 Morgan 4/4 which could turn in speeds of 70 plus mph in short spells on a good day when everything was hanging together; but perhaps my most indelible memory is the day I took delivery of my brand new Triumph TR2 in 1954, a genuine 100 mph car that was a fast and rare vehicle 55 years ago and was instrumental in my attraction to motorsport. The TR2 gave Geoff the opportunity to compete in real speed events of that time, such as Longford, Quorn Hall then later Baskerville and Symmons Plains, and eventually led him into a full-time involvement with the sport. Before Geoff became a professional race mechanic he built a number of ‘specials’ – a popular pastime in 1950s Australia. www.ract.com.au 24 June / July 09 The one he describes as the ‘worst and most frightening’ of these was the KenleyVincent, a tiny single-seater based on pictures Geoff had seen of the Formula 500 cars then being produced by Cooper in Britain. It had what Geoff suspects was f you know anything about motorsport in Today’s Pacemaker Geoff Smedley the first fibreglass body in Australia, draped over a spaceframe chassis that held a massive 998cc Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle engine behind the driver’s head. This was the most powerful production motorcycle engine in the world at the time, and the 1950 bike was capable of 200 km/h. Geoff then supercharged it with a blower from a Spitfire fighter plane. Not surprisingly it was a terrifying device – ‘a horrific challenge to life and limb,’ says Geoff. He has very fond memories of the Formula One circus of the 1960s, when international names like Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Chris Amon and Jackie Stewart used to travel to Australia and New Zealand for the Tasman Series at circuits like our own 6428
April May 2009
August September 2009