Phillip Island GP Circuit, Victoria, Australia 5th to 8th March 2020

It was the 60th anniversary of Marcos cars, and the word went out for as many owners as possible to attend…and that included the Taylorspeed Jems…as they are closely related. It was the first ever national gathering of the Marcos marque in Australia, part of the Festival of Speed weekend hosted by the Victorian Historic Racing Register.

As I related at the last Sprite Club general meeting, I’d only got my Jem running properly literally days before I left for the Island….I had plug leads 2 and 3 reversed…and it makes a great deal of difference!! With all new ignition parts, properly timed and a nice new set of tires, she was performing like a dream. I’d finally finished the removable door windows
(Sprite guys call them side curtains) which I had started several years ago…you can’t rush these things eh! Phil Huxtable and I trailered our Jems from Adelaide, and I must make special thanks to Miles Jackson who very kindly lent me his Sprite trailer, which I towed behind a hired diesel tray-top, making the trip much easier. As I was travelling alone, I decided to avoid the crazy Melbourne freeway traffic and went via Geelong and caught the ferry across from Queenscliff
to Sorrento – definitely worth the money.

Ten cars in all were present over the weekend which was pretty good going, considering that we came from all over the country and were given relatively short notice. The VHRR had organised a Friday evening display space for us on the Cowes main street. On Saturday and Sunday we were given a location in the car park near the entrance but with a
good view of the circuit. We spent a lot of time explaining what people were looking at – most had never heard of a Marcos….some vaguely remembered the Taylorspeed Jems from their childhood! I was staying with Phil Smethurst, the organiser of the reunion, who had rented a house on the Island 15Km from the circuit….so a brisk trip down country back-roads early each morning was a good way to start the day.
We were lucky that the weekend was just as the Covid19 alarm bells were going off….but just before the lock-downs.

Phil Smethurst’s garage was an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of all things Marcos and we spent the obligatory hour or two looking under bonnets with beer in hand! He has a Mini Marcos and a plywood chassis Marcos GT (1800 Volvo) restoration project.

The Friday evening gathering the main street of Cowes saw 6 of us lined up…with the HDT supporters on the other side, showing signs of disappointment at the end of their marque…but they put on a brave face and just drank more beer!

The VHRR included us in the early morning track laps, which were behind a pace car and understandably…slow! – but it was good to experience the GP track from behind the windscreen…even if I didn’t get out of third gear…!! I’ll just add photos – they’ll tell the story.

A fellow Mini Marcos and Jem Owners Club member on holidays
from the UK dropped in for a chat and a look at our locally-grown
Taylorspeed Jems….it’s a small world….he only just got out of
Australia before the lock-down!

The VHRR also organised for the Marcoz2020 attendees to have professional photos taken on the start line and while on the track…great mementoes of the weekend.

…oh, by the way…there were other things going on at the circuit as well….

…not a bad way to spend your last weekend of freedom before self isolation ….

Cheers Paul Mitchell

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