the le mans start

Team Managers run across the track to assist riders, suited and standing next to vehicles, into their seats for the start of Round 1 of the 2005 Australian HPV Super Series at Adelaide’s Victoria Park.

When HPV racing included a Le Mans style start!

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. It is considered one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. For many years, when the start flag dropped, drivers had to run across the track to their cars which were parked on the other side, climb in, start the car, and drive away to begin the race.

Norwood Morialta riders Mathew Mackenzie (left) and Benjamin O’Connell (right) ready for the start of the 2006 event.

The Le Mans style start was incorporated into Round 1 of the AHPVSS  for two consecutive years, 2005 and 2006. Riders stood beside their car as Team Managers ran across the track to assist and secure them into their seats.

Vehicles were lined up in numerical order Category 4 [Open] along to Category 1 [Primary].

In those days Round 1 was two 3 hour races separated by a 1/2 hour break.

2005 was also the first year for single seat HPVs only, no hybrids nor commuters.

In readiness for the Le Mans style start of the 2005 AHPVSS season.

Despite producing quite the spectacle and adding an extra element of excitement, Rob Spurling, current Chief Scutineer, reflects on the demise of the concept; “I suspect that Gerry Geue was instrumental in this change. She had expressed concern about this style of start from a safety perspective while we were organizing the R1 and R2 Event Handbooks at the start of the year. She was Race Director for Murray Bridge in 2005 and then appointed as Event Administrator from 1 January 2006 and continued as Race Director for all Events.”

So in the end, the AHPVSS’ association with the great race was enthralling, but ultimately short lived.