Legends of the Mountain to recapture Holden’s glory days

By David Chapman

Next week's Legends of the Mountain event which celebrates the rivalry between Holden and Ford now has added significance given recent events.

General Motors on Monday announced it would axe the Holden badge by 2021, ending an Australian brand that has existed for more than 160 years.

About 350 to 400 cars of all makes and models are expected to gather at the Kyabram showgrounds for one of the biggest annual motoring events in the region.

However, it will be a bittersweet moment for co-organiser Chris Hatch as it comes on the back of the news of Holden's deathknell.

“It's terrible,” Chris said of the end of the Holden era.

“It was probably inevitable looking back over the last 10 years - what should have happened or not happened and bad governance and bad decisions.

“"The writing was on the wall but it still came as a shock.”

Chris is a Holden fan from way back, particularly Toranas. His first car was a little yellow Torana G-Pak and in recent years he has bought and restored a red 1974 SL LH sedan and a purple 1976 SL LX hatchback.

He and his wife Sheryl are members of the Aussie Torana Legends group and it was through that connection that the Legends of the Mountain event was born.

Now in its third year, the event has grown substantially and next week's event is sure to see a lot of motoring fans come out in droves to soak up the nostalgia of the Holden-Ford rivalry that peaks on Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 race.

On show will be motor racing legend Peter Brock's 05 Commodore, which is rarely seen out of a museum, along with the Winfield VP Commodore of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife.

One of the original A9X Toranas driven by Gary Rogers will also be there, along with the HK Monaro that won at Bathurst in 1968.

“There will also be a lot of mock-ups and specialty cars, too,” Chris said.

“There's an SS Torana which harks back to the days of Larry Perkins which is a really nice car.

“There will be a lot of old-school Holdens and cars that show what Holden really stood for.

“But while it's a tribute to the Holdens and Fords from back in the day of Australia's premier race, other cars are invited too.”

The event kicks off Saturday morning with visitors from Melbourne and interstate driving from Kyabram to Echuca and displaying their cars in the port area.

On Saturday night is a sportsman's night at the Kyabram Bocce Bowls Club featuring four V8 Supercar legends.

“We've got Brad Jones from Albury coming and we're really rapt to have him,” Chris said of the Supercar racing team owner.

“We hope he'll stay on for the Sunday show ‘n’ shine but it all depends on what happens in Adelaide (race) the week before.

“We've also got (racing team owner) Garry Rogers, really looking forward to hearing him, and Jeff Grech, who has been very gracious with his time and is an interesting speaker.

“Our star will be (Australian Touring Car Championship winner) Glenn Seton, who is flying down from Queensland.”

Tickets for the sportsman's night are still available, with those attending receiving a souvenir bag, access to the drivers and supper for $85.

Sunday's show ‘n’ shine will have the racing celebrities talking to the crowd.

There will be live music and a jumping castle for children, as well as judging of the classic vehicles on display.

“Last year we had Dick Johnson walking around looking at cars and talking to their owners,” Chris said.

“There was this young kid who had done up his father's V8 XB wagon and Dick took a shine to it, looking under the bonnet and asking the kid all these questions about it.

“The kid was just in awe that Dick would be asking him questions about his car.

“Another lady was in tears at meeting Dick. Having seen him on TV all these years she was quite emotional to actually meet him.

“And that's the good thing about these drivers. At the end of the day, they're car people just like everyone else.”

Chris said while it had been a lot of hard work to organise the event, it was definitely rewarding.

“We have big plans for this event and we hope to make it bigger and better,” Chris said.

“A lot of thanks needs to go to the Kyabram Lions Club. With their support and manpower it's become a Lions club event and we're fine with that.

“Money raised goes to the club for disbursement back into the local community and that's what's really driving this event.”

For tickets and information regarding Legends of the Mountain, phone Chris or Sheryl on 0408 381 028.