Racers came, they revved and they conquered Noosa Hill
FOR motor sport enthusiasts, the Noosa Winter Hill Climb is the finest way to spend a sunny, winter weekend this side of England's Goodwood Revival.
Amid the early morning mist there was a heady mix of race fuel, vintage exhaust fumes, revving race V8s and turbo four-cylinders.
Open-wheel F3 cars, a replica 1968 F1 racer, wide-body racing Porsche 911, the latest all-wheel-drive performance Audis and a glut of Ford Escorts, Mustangs, Falcons, Holden Commodores and turbocharged Japanese rally legends, even a near 100-year old Austin 7 that chuffed and peeped its way up the hill.
This year's hill climb up Tewantin's 1.5km Gyndier Drive course was as spectacular as any in its 21 years of thrilling spectators.
One of the event's founders, Rob van Wegen, said it had become a hugely important race weekend, benefiting locals, holidaymakers and the charities it supports.
Still an impressively quick driver at the wheel of his race-prepared Renault Megane RS, the 70-something van Wegen said he never could have imagined the success the hill climb would become, not least with the quality of cars and drivers it attracts.
One such name was Luke Youlden, current Bathurst 1000 champion.
Youlden said he'd always wanted to try the famed (or infamous) Noosa climb, and duly arrived with a new $150,000 Audi RS4 Avant to raise awareness for the Drive Against Depression charity.
Watching Youlden fly up the course was a highlight for many, with dozens fortunate enough to pile into the performance Audi to enjoy a thrill ride from a master at work.
Youlden managed a 61-second climb time, ensuring he was nudging the top 10 fastest despite his road car being up against predominantly full race cars.
Perennial Noosa Hill Climb champion Michael von Rappard took fastest time of the weekend in his open-wheel Dallara Hayabusa, his best run of 51.05 seconds just shy of his overall track record of last year.
Quickest closed car was the evergreen Mark Trenoweth in his quite brutal 1979 Jaguar XJS racer, securing a time of 58.30.
Some 140 drivers lapped up the improving conditions across race weekend, which went from damp and ice rink slippery on Saturday morning to a dry track bathed in warm June sunshine throughout Sunday.
Personal bests kept falling, speeds and lap times were impressive, and the strong number of spectators were suitably entertained with near non-stop action.
A few bingles marred some racers' weekend, not least a beautiful 2016 Audi RS3 which dramatically under-steered into a tyre wall, spreading rubber across the track.