By Trevor Jackson
ALL eyes will be on McNamara Park this weekend as the Mount Gambier Motorcycle Club hosts the second SA Championships since it was resurrected after a 20-year hiatus.
The Laurie Fox Memorial SA State Sidecar Championships will be run in conjunction with the Classic Master of Mac Park Championships solo events to provide plenty of action and nostalgia across the meeting.
Around 30 sidecars from all over Australia will vie for the coveted state honours, which includes a team from Perth.
One particular team of interest to Limestone Coast fans will be the father/son pairing of David and Steven Jones.
The two have proved successful over the years but have now stepped up and built a new F2 sidecar, with its first run this weekend.
The 600cc machine has just been completed and the pair should provide plenty of interest – and going on past performances, a lot of pace.
Several divisions and engine sizes will all have a title to chase, ranging from the 1930s right up to the modern F2 category.
The weekend will also include a sidecar handicap race to honour Laurie Fox, the legend of sidecar handicaps.
Fox was always cagey about his style of handicapping prior to his passing and this weekend’s event should honour his legacy.
A unique thing about the meeting is the championship for every eligible division.
P3 sidecars are from the 1930s and 40s, will run their own championship, while P4s and 5s will run by themselves.
The modern era bikes, such as F2 and a few F1 sidecars will also run their own championship.
Apart from the sidecars, around 100 solo machines from all round Australia will contest the Classic Master of Mac Park Championships.
The machines range from the early 1930s up to the 1990s and again run in their own age groups and engine sizes.
McNamara Park committee member Andrew Vause said the popularity of the sidecar championships has surprised the club since its return last year.
“Everybody forgot about running the championship – it wasn’t a thing any more,” he said.
“Last year we got onto Motorcycling South Australia and they said no one was interested in taking on the title.
“Last year we incorporated it as the Laurie Fox Memorial Sidecar Championship and had nearly 40 entries.
“If it wasn’t for COVID-19 we would have had that again.
“We have 25 competitors in Melbourne who are unsure if they can come over.”
Vause said competitors from NSW had been working on a plan to bypass country Victoria if they state had stayed in lockdown, despite the extra time taken to travel.
“We weren’t sure if we could even run it,” Vause said.
“People from NSW were asking what would be the best way to come if they couldn’t come through Victoria.
“It is proof of how popular Mac Park is.
“There is a sidecar team coming from Perth – to come all that way shows they are pretty keen.”
The solo events have also attracted riders from around the country, including Dave Keenan from Queensland.
“Davie Keenan is coming to test the track for the Australian Championships in October,” Vause said.
“He is an Australian champion on historic bikes and is bringing some nice Yamaha race bikes down.”
Vause said with such a big field of sidecars, the Laurie Fox handicap event would provide a spectacle as usual, as the faster riders chase down the older machinery in their quest for victory.
Qualifying will kick off Saturday morning, with racing in the afternoon, culminating on Sunday.