The Island Classic is certainly no mystery event, but a few people have said to me since I attended last weekend that they weren’t even aware it was on or that the event even existed at all. To be honest I myself forgot about it entirely until the Thursday before, but maybe that’s just because a lot of the attendees are older people, who have it marked on their calendars and don’t necessarily have a need to post it all over social media in the weeks and days leading up to it, and that’s kind of refreshing. Set at the one of the most picturesque circuits in the country; Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. The Circuit sits on a high flat, central on the southern side of the island, views are filled with rolling fields of bovine to the north, and the open blue expanse of Bass Straight to the south, but being right on the coast also leaves the circuit exposed to the weather rolling in from the sea. When I arrived, I spent most of the morning with a large rain jacket on, the northerly breeze sharp with an icy chill, the sun hidden behind a blanket of dull grey cloud cover. It wasn’t long however before the rays forced themselves through the clouds and the temperature rose, enough for me to walk back to the car to remove aforementioned jacket.
Walking across the track bridge, which is how you enter the paddocks and pit area from the carpark is certainly an experience when you have open piped v8’s and v12’s screaming below you along the straight towards the first bend. The paddocks as expected are awash with people chatting and talking about their last run, others scrambling to get cars prepped for the next session, checking plugs, changing oil, adjusting tyre pressures, amongst other things. Race suits hung on the frames of the temporary workshop tents, blow in the breeze like stiff shadows, the scent of race fuel hangs in the air long after the next group rumble past making their way to the gates. You know when the green flag is given regardless of where you are within the circuit, as ignitions are fired and varying levels of exhaust notes fill the air, throttles are pushed flat and the rumble of the idle becomes a roar of many thousands rpm. Several laps down, another flag is waved and cars re-enter the paddocks, the rumbling idle returns whilst they make their way back to their stalls respectively for tweaks and adjustments once again before the next run.
The Phillip Island Classic isn’t so much a race against others, but a race against times, against your personal best. Of course many take it seriously, others are just out for a bit of fun but whatever your reasoning, where else can you spend a day, or days amongst some of the finest classic machinery, which isn’t just on show in someone’s living room, or the window space of a dealership come cafe, but out on a track, being battered, being bruised, and being used to it’s fullest potential.
thanks for looking