Australian Motorkhana Championship’s rich Queensland history

Friday 09 September, 2022
The 2006 Motorsport Australia Motorkhana Championship took place in Brisbane. (Photos: Brian Shanahan)

The first ever Australian Motorkhana Championship (AMC) was held 50 years ago in Young, New South Wales, while Queensland first hosted it two years later on the main straight of the Surfers Paradise Motor Racing Circuit on 8 September 1974.

The straight was very wide, the surface was bitumen based on shell grit and was very abrasive, so three tests were set up. The event was eventually won by New South Welshman Dennis Trigg in his four-wheel steering Renault Special.

Trigg’s car relied on the 4WS to turn around the markers, and not long after, Motorsport Australia (then the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) decided to ban the idea of four-wheel steering from 1975. 

Queensland’s next opportunity to host the AMC came eight years later in 1982 and it was the Ipswich West Moreton Auto Club who hosted the event at the Centenary Shopping Centre at Mount Ommaney.

With the Commonwealth Games taking place at the same time, organisers attempted to persuade a number of champions from fellow Commonwealth countries, however only Denis Williams from New Zealand made the trip.

Williams was unable to steer his borrowed BMC Mini to victory though, that honour going to South Australian Don Lemm in a front wheel drive mini powered Manta MS-2d. 

It was less of a gap until the AMC came back to the sunshine state, with the Gold Coast Tweed Motorsport Club organising the third Queensland run event in 1987.

Taking place at Elanora Shopping Centre, Current WA Motorkhana Championship title contender, Jim Newell, made the journey across the country and claimed the win in his Turben Mini special.

After another five years later, the Holden Sporting Car Club of Queensland (HSCCQ) was given the honour of hosting the 1992 event in September and held it at the old Airport near Eagle Farm on some disused runways. 

The 1996 Motorsport Australia Motorkhana Championships.

A record field of 82 cars competed in the event as another South Australian in David Beames took out top honours, the Delta S Mini Special driver a deserving outright winner.

The AMC wouldn’t return to Queensland until the turn of the next century as the HSCCQ made history again, becoming the first club in the state to run the event multiple times.

In August 2000, the nation’s best motorkhana drivers congregated at the newly built Queensland Raceway and while there wasn’t as many competitors as the previous edition in 1992, with 77 in the total, the event saw a Queenslander crowned champion for the first time - Wayne Skyring guiding his immaculate Mini Special to the outright win on home soil.

Six years later, Willowbank Raceway was the location of AMC and again it was HSCCQ hosting the event.

With 77 competitions entered in the event taking place in October 2006, it was a New South Welshman who again enjoyed top honours with Wayne Griffiths in his new Honda powered Terrier Special taking out the victory.

The last time the AMC was held in Queensland was 10 years ago with the HSCCQ again Willowbank Raceway again hosting the event in October 2012. 

Unfortunately, there was a drop of competitors with 67 entered, however it was a familiar name taking out the victory - –Scott Bennett from Western Australia won outright in a Mini powered Turben Special.

The HSCCQ then won the rights for the event for the 2020 edition, but unfortunately COVID-19 prevented the club from running the 49th edition in either 2020 or 2021.

However, with the world back to normal and the Motorsport Australia Speed and Auto Tests to resume this month, the HSCCQ will finally get a chance to run the Australian Motorkhana Championship for the first time in 10 years.

Entries for the event are still open and interested competitors can enter here.

The 2022 Motorsport Australia Motorkhana Championship will take place at Willowbank Raceway on 2 October 2022.

Click here for a more comprehensive record of the AMC events

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