By Bill Poulos
Vintage and classic motor vehicles – including a priceless 1911 Talbot from Narrabri – will be showcased at the Talmoi picnic races at Garah on Saturday 25 June.
Round three of bush racing’s Golden Triangle, celebrating 100 years of racing at Garah, will display a fleet of vehicles from yesteryear as well as run the Syngenta Centenary Train Ride that will transport punters from Moree to Garah on raceday morning and again the following day for a huge family fun day.
Club committeeman, Geoff Hunter, said vehicles from across the north-west will greet patrons as they enter the history-laden racetrack, about 60km north-west of Moree on the Carnarvon Highway.
“Probably the most interesting car that we will have on display is a 1911 Talbot that is being brought over from Narrabri by its owners, David and Helen Revell,” Hunter said. “It is ideal that we can display a vehicle that was manufactured in 1911 – after all, that’s the year Talmoi first raced,” he said.
David Revell said he purchased the vehicle from Tasmania after it was salvaged as a wreck and restored.
Below: David Revell from Narrabri with his treasured 1911 Talbot
“This particular model is a large car and was designed to be chauffeur-driven. It was sold to a lady in Tasmania who had a chauffeur to driver her around,” Revell said.
“It was driven around Tassie and like many old cars it became derelict and was left to rot in a paddock where it was found several years ago and restored. I bought it and since then I’ve done a little bit to it.”
Mr Revell, who also owns a 1906 Alldays and Onions motor vehicle once owned by RM Williams, said the Talbot was partly built in Francein 1911 by car company Clement and then taken to England, where the body was fitted by Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury.
“They were sold as Clement-Talbots and latterly they were just called Talbots,” Revell said.
He said the Talbot, which is powered by a 25-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with a 140mm stroke, took some mastering once he got behind the wheel.
“It has a brake horsepower of about 50 with a four-speed crash-box and cone clutch. It’s quite a difficult car to drive with a top speed about 80kph,” Revell said.
“We’ve driven it several thousand kilometres since I put a starter motor on it, because it can be a bit of a devil to start sometimes. We take part in a lot of veteran car rallies so we had to put a little bit of ease of operation into it,” he smiled.
Mr Hunter said Moree Car Club will display vehicles, including a 1969 Mercedes, 1960 Rover, 1974 Dodge Phoenix, 1914 T-Model Ford, Valiants and Holdens from 1964, a 1932 Hotrot and a 1956 Chevrolet.
“It’s going to be a great display and will really create a lot of interest on raceday,” Hunter said.
Talmoi Racecourse, once lined with cars like the Talbot when the gallops were on, is steeped in history.
The club held its first meeting 100 years ago on Meleebee, a grazing property about 12km south of Garah. However, as access to the track was at times impossible, meetings were transferred to the current site in 1919.
Barring the years during World War 2 and the odd washed-out raceday, meetings have been held at Garah ever since.
A special raceday train from Moree to Garah operated from 1919 until 1948 but as roads and transport improved, the rail trips were abandoned – until 2004 when the club won a prestigious Racing NSW award for excellence for the Great Heritage Train Ride.
The train, this year sponsored by global farming solutions company Syngenta, will again rattle the tracks when Lachlan Valley Railways hitches four carriages and a buffet car to its 1970's, 47-class locomotive and rolls out of Moree Railway Station on raceday morning.
Talmoi Picnic Race Club president, Andrew Crowe, a member of the Spot Racing Syndicate that races Talmoi Cup hope Tough Habit, said 2011 celebrations will outstrip any meeting held at the Talmoi track.
“This is going to be huge,” Crowe said. “Between the horses, the trains, the cars and the people, it will be the biggest weekend Garah has ever seen.”
*Contact Moree Tourism on (02) 6757 3350 or email@example.com for more information on the Talmoi Centenary Train Ride, ticket allocations and Moree accommodation, activities and attractions.