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Castlereagh Memorial Reunion

Drag Racing and Hot Rodding go hand in hand and when it cam time for the New South Wales Hot Rod Association to have a 25 year memorial celebration of the closure of Sydney's Castlereagh International Dragway it was an easy decision to have the function at the Drag-Ens Hot Rod Club premises.

The Drag-Ens were one of the founding clubs that established the NSWHRA and were strong supporters of the establishment of Castlereagh Dragway from the old emergency Castlereagh Airstrip. Many early racers were Hot Rodders and a number of Drag-Ens members made their mark in the history of drag racing in Australia.

Ronnie Williams, Chuck May, Lee Fryer, Ian Frost, Terry O'Neill, Bob Honeybrook, Graeme Cowin, Al Fountain, Johnny Walker, Jim Greedy, Graham Moore, Ken Lucan, George Clark and Greg Siegal were all at some stage members of the Drag-Ens. They were all officials and or racers at Castlereagh.

The plan was to hold a laid back social evening on Saturday April 25 and to produce a memorial poster to recognise the contribution of eight racers to the sport. Chosen to be depicted on the poster were Morrie Carlton, Darren Blake, Angelo Palumbo, Jim Fife, Roger Hoare, John "Crazyman" Taylor, Denis Walford and Ronnie Williams.

The celebration commenced at 6:30 pm and continued through until 11:30 pm, Joseph Rodrigeuz supplied his audio / visual equipment and kept all entertained throughout the night with a great variety of drag racing DVDs. There were many personalities in attendance, some from the early days of hot rodding and drag racing and they all enjoyed themselves.

Included amongst the many racers and officials attending were John "Crazyman" Taylor, Morrie Carlton, the dynamic Moore brothers, Alan and Ron. Ben Gatt, Alan White, Ronnie Williams, Roy and Ann Thomas, Bob Shepherd, Ken Davies, Dennis Calkin, Charlie Falzon and family. Paul "Hombre" Foley, Ross and Max Preen, Darren and Liz Blake and family, Ian and Margaret Seckold, former Castlereagh starter Mel Roberts, Noel Eggins, Al Burgess and family. Brett White, John Cornish, the last meeting director of CID, Barry and Anna Thompson, Joe Taranto and daughter, Warren Arneil and sons, Bill Crealey, John and Sharon Ward, Barry Lord and the Castlereagh fir turck crew. Rob Madden, WSID co-founder David Cook, Steve Thomas, "Big Joe" Fitzpatrick, Warren and Sue Goodall, Graham Brown, Colin and Ann McDonald, Alan and Kaylee Chin and daughters, Terry O'Neaill, Lep and Jamie Robertson, Chad and Tracey Williams, Mark Pollard and Shifters Hot Rod Club foundation members Dave Mead and Bill Johnson.

The evening was a great success, the NSWHRA led by Ian Seckold were commended by many of the people who attended on the night. Many of the old timers were reunited with racing pals they they had not seen for over twenty five years, there were many warm greetings shared, phone numbers exchanged and emotional goodbyes at the end of the night.

The memoral banner that was created for the night was raffled off and the winner was long time Altered Racer and Modified Eliminator champion Alan White. There was also a good display of hot rods in the car park for all to feast their eyes on. The highlight of the night was the firing up of Ross Preen's restored front engined top fuel dragster running a dose of 80% nitro. The ex John Maher, ex Morrie Carlton, ex Jim Kerr machine sure looked a picture. The photographs that accompany this report show the good times that were had by all in attendance.

Bob Honeybrook

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