The national spotlight was on Mount Gambier’s McNamara Park last weekend when hundreds of beautifully presented historic bikes came from far and wide in pursuit of an Australian title.
It was years in the making, but the Australian Historic Road Race Championship finally arrived at the Blue Lake city and it was worth the wait, with a big crowd on hand to soak up all the high-octane action.
There were all things from Nortons, Irving Vincents, Hondas, Yamahas to Harley Davidsons on display to satisfy the taste of every two-wheel lover with 15 classes racing around the sweeping 2.4km circuit.
The opening event was the 350cc and Period 4 bikes which set the tone for the weekend with some classic racing from a bumper field.
A total of 23 bikes greeted the starter for the feature races and they produced a stunning fight for the lead.
After sharing the opening two legs, it all came down to the final two races of the weekend between Tim Kingston and Anthony Logan.
The pair swapped the lead on numerous occasions before Kingston edged out his rival in the closing stages to win the third race by just a tenth of a second and the fourth by two seconds.
Doug Churcher and Peter O’Neill also had a great battle in Period 3 with the former prevailing after winning the final tour despite the pair scoring 90 points each across the weekend.
No one could get close to Western Australian Joshua Mathers in the Formula 1300cc series as he led every lap on board a Yamaha 1029.
With Mathers close to three seconds a lap faster than the rest, it was a battle for second which went to the consistent Brad Phelan.
There were many Yamaha 350’s on the 350cc grid, but none could match Victorian Lachlan Hill, while South Australians Andy Pitman and Brett Metcalf were forced to scrap for the other podium places.
Local rider Darren Trotter gave the fans something to cheer about after prevailing in the Period 3 Unlimited class.
After spitting the first two legs with Brendan Roberts, Trotter stole the trophy with a fine ride in the final and deciding race beating his rival by a mere two tenths of a second.
New South Wales duo Beau Beaton and Corey Forde scrapped for the Period 4 win which eventually went to the former on his Irving Vincent.
The 250cc Production class went to Ben Shaw, who managed to overcome Christian Carlson after a tight battle, while Tait Coghill had no dramas flying to the 125cc victory.
Ducati rider Jamie Banks was never headed on his way to taking the chequered flag in the Period 3 Formula 1 700cc class, while Yamaha pilot Lachlan Hill led every lap for Ron Angel Classic Racing in Period 6 250cc.
Team Africa scored success through Christian Carlson, who prevailed in the battle of the Suzuki 500’s for the Period 4 500cc trophy, while the Period 5 Unlimited was dominated by Beaton.
Riding on a Irving Vincent 1300, Beaton was on fire breaking the lap record by breaking into the 1:13.9 second range.
Adam Donavan pulled off a huge comeback to take home the Period 3 500cc national title.
Local Darren Trotter appeared home and hosed after smashing the first three events, but mechanical issues meant the dream dashed as Donavan held off Brendan Roberts in a classic finish in the final race to compile enough points to steak the crown.
At the same time the Period 4 250cc race was being run and Ben Liebig had no such issues rewriting the lap record books to win all four races.
Tom Braimch and his Paton machine were in complete control of the Period 5 500cc title, while South Australian David Short scored a state win riding a Morbidelli 125 in a loaded Period 5 and Unlimited field ahead of Queenslander Grant Jordan.
The pair raced hard to the chequered flag with less than a second the difference at the end of the fourth leg.
But across the other five classes, Philip Price, Ross Bolding, Trevor Henderson, Fred Schaffer and Jordan collected the top prize.
Another rider who enjoyed racing in his home state was Brett Metcalf, who represented Team Atujara with pride winning the Period 5 250cc event after holding off David Hall.
Lachlan Hill may had taken the chequered flag first to win the Period 6 500c event, but the heat was on behind him for the Formula 750cc trophy which occurred within the same race.
Local David Trotter found himself in an intense battle with a pair of Phillips in Burke and Bevan, plus Corey Forde.
Although Forde collected the most wins, Burke was awarded for consistency collected the overall win by taking out the fourth and final leg.
Sidecars were also on hand to enhance the show with passengers jumping on board who were not afraid to push the boundaries in search of the perfect lap.
Despite not enjoying the most consistent weekend, Steven Scott and Brendan Darcy were able to win Period 3 after some barnstorming rides.
Garth Francis and Paul Kenny showed some resistance and won the final leg, but Scott and Darcy were rewarded for their performances earlier in the weekend.
Beaton took out his second national title when he teamed up with Noel Beare to crush the opposition in the Period 5 Sidecars.
The duo were in such a rich vain of form they won by over a lap became the first riders in the class to break dip under the 79-second mark around Mac Park by setting a new race lap record time of 1:18.994.
The Period 4 Sidecars race was harder fought with Patrick and Chrissie Clancy out-gunning Tim Campbell and Wayne Wilksch.
With so many classic bikes flying around Mac Park across three huge days, it will be a weekend that will be talked about in the local motorbike fraternity for a long time.