Idle Torque: There s nothing like Northam
This year marks the 15th consecutive year of running the Northam Flying 50. Picture: Barry Bryant

_THE _last time I competed in the Northam Flying 50, my Volvo 1800S was overtaken by heavily modified MGBs and Triumph TRs - and I didn't care one bit.

The fun factor overtook everything, which was good because my car didn't actually overtake anything.

Unlike motorsport on dedicated racetracks, the tightness of Northam's closed-off streets changes everything.

The narrow road circuit, lined with concrete barriers instead of expansive run-off areas, tends to change the way you think about hot brakes.

Especially when the complex curves of my car's body and the less delicate curves of my own are both in play.

Of course, the events on the street circuit at the Northam Flying 50 are regularity events and not all-out racing, but untrained eyes wouldn't know the difference.

You, dear gentle reader, no doubt know your stuff given you've made it this far into the column.

So you'd know that the Northam Flying 50 is a re-enactment of the round-the-houses events of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, when they were indeed actual races.

Then, the closest they came to having barriers around the track were light posts at regular intervals, which is one aspect of round-the-houses racing that's not replicated these days.

So, what brought on all these reminiscences? Well, I was reminded that this year's Northam Flying 50, set to take place on April 6-7, will be the 15th consecutive time it's been run.

The Vintage Sports Car Club, which runs the event, said that as in previous years, the 2013 event would comprise a hillclimb and autokhana on Saturday followed by a full day of round-the-houses action on Sunday.

Watch this column for further details closer to the event.


The Jaguar D-Type that was bought new by four-time Australian Drivers' Champion Bib Stillwell is set to return to Australian motor racing after a 50-year absence.

Although a stronger name on the east coast, Stillwell did leave his mark on WA motorsport, having competed in the 1962 Australian Grand Prix at Caversham. Stillwell finished third in his Cooper Climax behind John Youl and Bruce McLaren, also in Cooper Climaxes.

According to the Victorian Historic Racing Register, the ex-Stillwell D-Type was recently bought by Brisbane-based collector Peter Harburg.

The VHRR said Harburg was set to bring the car to the Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport on March 8-10.

The West Australian

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