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Thousands to celebrate iconic model


In September 1979, legendary racer Peter Brock and co-driver Jim Richards broke the Bathurst lap record in a Holden Torana A9X on their way to dominant win from start to finish.

Almost four decades later, the Hunter Valley Torana Club – the oldest of its kind in Australia – is set to celebrate this iconic sporting moment, as well as its own 40th anniversary.

Toranafest, a bi-annual event hosted by the club, will take place in the Lower Hunter on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September.

It is primarily a car show to help raise money for local charities within the region.

This year, the major benefactors are Dog Rescue Newcastle and the Ronald McDonald House.

On Saturday, a convoy of more than 200 Toranas will depart at 11am and head through Morpeth, Hinton and Wallalong before stopping at Tocal College for a two-hour lunch.

The Toranafest Gala Dinner will then see racing identities talk about that famous race from 1979 in front of hundreds of Torana enthusiasts.

On Sunday, the Toranafest Show n’ Shine shifts into gear from 9am in the sporting fields at the back of Maitland Park.

Hunter Valley Torana Club president Pete Morris said it would be the biggest show on record.

“It’s quite a remarkable achievement considering [the Torana] is one model and we’ll have, to date, 445 cars coming,” he said.
“The total conservative value of cars on display would be around $30 million to $35 million and we’re expecting thousands of spectators to attend the day.”

Special guests at this year’s event will include Jim Richards, now a Supercars Hall of Fame inductee after eight Bathurst wins and five places from 35 starts, and Bev Brock, wife to the late Peter and an integral part of Holden through the years.

Joe Felice, the former manager of Holden Motorsport during the sixties and seventies, and John Sheppard, Holden Dealer Team’s manager in 1979, are also expected to be among the crowd.

Mr Morris said one guest was also flying all the way from Germany.

“This particular gentleman came to Australia some years ago for a bit of a holiday with some friends, saw a Torana, loved them, and decided to buy one,” Mr Morris said.
“He took it back to Germany and races it around the tracks there like Nürburgring.”

Entry into the event is free, but the club asks patrons to bring along a can of dog food to donate.

Visit toranafest.com.au for more information.

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