John Hurney Super Sprint and more….
John Hurney Super Sprint
If you were wondering why the next round has this title here is the answer.
The Speed Event Series started in 1998. One of the founders was John Hurney, who has continued to be an organiser and competitor. In recognition of his consistent contribution the event has been named in his honour.
Vicki Rowe has written a mini-biography of John and Rob Hagarty has supplied two photos from his early racing years and a current one which are featured below.
Steve Metlitsky has taken over as administrator of the SSES Facebook page.
We are still endeavouring to have the Meelup Hillclimb run as part of the SSES this year. There are a lot of “ducks” that need to be lined up before this can happen and some of these “ducks” are being difficult.
The Get Involved page has been restored to the Top Menu. It disappeared when an update was done to the website.
A ” How To Enter An Event” page has been added as a guide to competing in SSES events.
John Hurney OAM
A chat with John Hurney OAM
By Vicky Rowe
Heard of him? Well I’d be surprised if you haven’t. Even if you don’t know exactly who he is you’ve probably run into him at Barbagallo Raceway. He’s usually the one busily organising you, your car and all the officials and volunteers, inspecting the track, giving driving instruction and offering pearls of wisdom that only a lifetime of motorsport experience can afford.
I met John a couple of years back on one of my first visits to the track. New to Perth I had no idea of his standing in the motorsport community, but he made an instant impression, speaking with authority about the track, the cars and how to improve times. Subsequent encounters and I’m left with no doubt about Johns experience, passion, conviction, honesty and care in imparting all his knowledge. So I was very keen to sit down with John recently to understand where it all began.
The story starts the same as with many a young boy, reading motorsport magazines and admiring everything motoring. He was a regular at the Caversham race circuit throughout the 1960s, but his involvement with Barbagallo Raceway, or Wanneroo Park as it was known, goes back to the very beginning. In fact he literally built the track, volunteering for working bees preparing the track for opening in 1969. This spelled the beginning of John’s long and illustrious officiating career as he volunteered for every job available, working his way up from toilet cleaning to Chief Flaggie, Secretary of Meeting and Clerk of Course. John went on to join the WASCC management committee in 1973 serving for a total of 37 years, 15 of which were as President.
In John’s words; “this was the making of me”. Still a shy book nerd at 20 years of age John credits Max McCracken as one of the influential people in his life who encouraged him to get involved and take on responsibility.
These days John is quite outspoken on his views about the extent of responsibility and complexity volunteers are expected to take on and I think he makes a good point. Those of us who enjoy a burst around the track or go to spectate at the professional race meetings may not pay much attention to the plight of the officials who give up their time for not much more than a soggy lunch, yet required to understand a plethora of rules and regulations. Can the sport continue to attract people into these much needed roles?
Eventually John put some of those responsibilities aside long enough to start his driving career and has been lucky enough to experience lots of different cars, including: Clubman; Sports Sedans; Marque Sports; HQ; F2; and, Formula Ford. John talks fondly of his time driving a Ford Mustang GT (Ex-Dick Johnson Greens’-Tuf), speaking of it as a great handling car. Not so pleasurable were the long hours required to prepare the car though. Apparently it ate costly components as quickly as it consumed fuel.
That led to a discussion about what, in John’s view, were the critical ingredients of a great race car and his answer was surprisingly simple; “you need a reliable car that’s relatively easy to drive and somewhat competitive”. What a great reminder to all us amateurs just to get out there and enjoy the experience.
John’s current project is a Lola; a Formula Holden 1991 model 91/50 F3000, carbon fibre tub slick and wings single seater. Despite a serious investment it lost oil pressure during testing and work is on-going to find the cause. I could see the pain in John’s eyes as he spoke of that first track outing, but thankfully he anticipates it to be ready again soon. If we’re really lucky it will be ready in time for the Speed Event Series (SES) John Hurney Sprint on July 2; a tribute to John as the co-founder of the series.
That’s not the only recognition John has received. Back in 2005 John received an Order of Australia for his contribution to motorsport. That was over ten years ago, yet John is still very active in senior official roles with WASCC, CAMS and V8s. But it’s Johns role at Edith Cowan University (ECU), managing Motorsport Engagement and helping with vehicle testing, where I suspect he is most fulfilled. The students, who clearly look up to John, have at their disposal an inspirational leader, a veritable encyclopedia of motorsport knowledge and a passionate advocate of the ‘motoring enthusiast’ who’d like nothing more than to see all young people out of the pubs and into the workshops. According to John motorsport is a fabulous way to teach kids management skills and discipline, whilst enjoying the comradery of hanging out with like minded people. As he so aptly put it; “Winning or losing doesn’t matter. Being with friends and going home in one piece is what’s important”.