The last time I visited Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway was for the first-ever Aussie leg of the fledgling A1 Grand Prix competition. It was scorchingly hot, the crowd was massive and you were very limited in where you could venture around the circuit (even the grandstand cost extra!).
Today, I returned - in the company of CM, AM, Mr M and a picnic lunch courtesy of Mrs M - for the 1960s Tasman Revival (that decade supposedly being the golden age of Aussie racing). It was overcast and cool, the crowd was modest and you could wander almost anywhere - including the pits.
Arriving a bit after 11am and staying until the end, we saw the following races:
* Formula Vee (X2 - both demonstration only. So named for the cars' Volkswagen engines)
* Vintage and PVT (X2 - a handicap event plus a scratch race later in the day)
* Tasman Cup (The main event)
* Touring cars
* Sports racing cars
* Racing cars division 2
* Formula One (Demonstration. The field of six included four real beauties, but I liked the striking black'n'gold John Player Special Lotus best), AND
* Marque sports cars.
For those who've never experienced live motorsport, it's much louder than you expect and you really can smell the melting tyres and fuming exhausts as the cars zoom past. Those aren't just commentator cliches.
I'm not the person to explain the differences between the above categories, but they all featured beautifully restored/maintained vehicles driven by enthusiasts - some who'd travelled here from the US and UK.
The highlights of the day for me were the Tasman Cup and the touring cars as they were the most closely contested groups. Every race had its tussles, though.
Thankfully, there were no serious accidents, but we did see plenty of racers spin off the track, stall or conk out completely.
Where the A1 GP pits were off-limits to spectators, at the Tasman Revival they were open for inspection and most "teams" had gone to the trouble of creating a display about their car and its history.
Nobody minded you taking photos with their auto pride'n'joys and the car park was full of classics. CM snapped my picture next to an immaculate burgundy Jaguar Mk II like the one from "Inspector Morse". Drool.
Finally, a bit of trivia. Anyone remember 80s reality TV show "Sylvania Waters", about the Donaher family? Mick was there today, racing a Chevy Camaro (he finished third). I'm pretty sure I spotted Laurie and Noeline, too.