Bowden Family Cobra day at Lakeside.

14 April 2011 

The Bowden family is a pretty tight knit outfit, we all share the passion for cars, especially the racing variety and love being a part of and attending events with different cars from our collection. This year marks the 50 year anniversary of Lakeside with a number of events being run to help celebrate this at the now reopened historic track. The first event was just held recently and was aptly called ?Tribute to the originals?. We had made no plans to attend this first event, but given the Sunday was such a beautiful day we thought it might be good to bring out one of the cars and go and enjoy the event as spectators for once. The whole family came along with David and Pauline, Chris and his two young boys, Osca and Chase with myself.  Dad made the choice of taking the 1964 AC Shelby Cobra, that was raced so successfully by Ron Thorp here in Australia. We moved a few cars about in the shed to get her out and set about giving her a quick clean (With Bowden?s Own car care of course) before we hit the road.

Dad chamoising down the Cobra, Chris giving him the hurry up from his car!



The Bowden clan enjoying a day at the track.

The Thorp Cobra has some history at Lakeside, albeit short and quite humorous when looking back on it now. Back in November 1965, Lakeside held the Australian Tourist Trophy race and Ron was one of the many entrants with his Cobra. Also of note in that race was the appearance of the Shelby American 427 race Cobra CSX3002 with Ken Miles at the wheel.  This was the first and only time two race Cobras were ever on an Australian track at the same time. Ron ran practise and then qualifying, but then the local scrutineers came up and told him the car was not eligible to run under the rules. Basically the front tyres were slightly proud of the body work, not to the letter of the rules as they read it. However they told Ron he could run the car if he taped some wooden coat hangers to the guards, making them wide enough to fit the rule. Ron had been racing all over Australia under the same rules with no issues before and could not believe what he was hearing. He nicely told them to go jump, packing the Cobra up and understandably never returning to the Qld track.



Lakeside, 1965, Ron taking the long way around the Sid Sakzewski 356 Carrera Porsche at Carasol. 


Our drive down there was to be the first time it had been back to Lakeside in just over 45 years! Dad and myself drove down, enjoying the openness of the car on such a beautiful day, those glorious lightly ?baffled? side pipes making it all the better.. With the amount of replicas about nowadays, the Cobra does not get too much attention, a good thing, even coming into the circuit, only those in the know (Mostly the members of the Mustang Club of Qld) knew the car. This means you can park it in the pits car park with the other club cars without too much fear of someone too close and damaging the alloy body work..



Someone needs a haircut.. Owning the Healey Sprite in the parade laps, hero!

Dan shows his retro hair bum part, while the Mustang breathes down the Cobras!


The race meeting itself was pretty good, well supported with a great turnout of cars, bikes and people. To the credit of the track operators, the circuit is looking fantastic, in fact I doubt the track has ever had such a good surface! But after having just come back from the Longford Revival Festival event in Tassie, all I believe is missing for this type of event is the retro style feel around the circuit. Would not be a hard one to do, so I hope the organiser?s can look at old images of a race meeting from the 60?s and gets some good ideas, as the track has everything there to make it happen.  


Exhaust flames, extreme noise and Dans crazy hair all  at work to keep the Mustangs at bay.


Close racing with another heavyweight, go the Microbus splitty! 

At lunch time I got to sneak in with the Mustang owners club and give the Cobra a few spirited laps for the ?parade? part of the day. It was a hell of a lot of fun, giving it a bit down the straight, with the 289 showing just what it can do. Just had to make sure I did not get my race head on, as you came into the kink, all carried away by the cars performance and then to realise you have no safety gear on and it was supposed to be a parade lap! Still, it did it easy and was a real pleasure to be out there amongst so many other enthusiasts in a variety of different machinery. The Cobra really enjoyed the chance to be back on a track once again, as the runs we do around the Buderim hills do not do her any justice. I say to many that it is my favourite car in the collection, just as it is such a perfect all round car, you can use it for racing, long tours through the hills, or just posing around town! It never suffers the normal Cobra drama of getting hot, is very manageable on the bendy stuff, quite rapid in a straight line and did I mention the sound!!! Another bonus that gets us going is she blows small flames out the exhaust on the overrun, super cool.


A quick shot before we put her away at the end of the day.

It was a great day for the Bowden family to enjoy with those there at the track, even better was to bring the Cobra down for the run. Looking forward to the next three events of this type planned at Lakeside, keep an eye on the events page of our website for the ones we shall be attending.


To see more images of the day at the track, see them on our Facebook page by clicking here.


Big thanks to Mark Pryor Photography for the images of the Cobra on track, see his gallery from the day here.

Love your car,