Alfa Romeo - Veloce Racing Association
Club racers raising the bar, but keeping it level...
Alfa Romeo - Veloce Racing Association
The Veloce Racing Association (VRA) is a nationwide group of Alfa Romeo motor racing enthusiasts who have formed their own single-marque open racing series, blending old and new models together within set regulations. Last weekend they took to the track at Queensland Raceway for round 5.
Colin Connaughton (Category Manager) gives us the low-down of who they are, what happened, and how weekend warriors of amateur motorsport can be social and competitive whilst on a budget - and simply there to race...
Veloce Racing Association - East Coast Challenge
Words: Colin Connaughton Pics: Tony Harriott
In years past, sports car race meetings were run by car clubs who were happy to welcome entrants on a 'run what you've got' basis, with a minimum of rules and regulations. The resulting mix of competitive (and not so competitive) cars produced plenty of fun and lifelong friendships for drivers and spectators alike. Such a pity that today's motor sport, with its focus on sponsorship, publicity and artificial regulations saw an end to all that. Or did it?
Well, if it did, then someone forgot to tell the Veloce Racing Association, a 'one make' Alfa Romeo club, which continues to thrive. Using simple rules based on wheel/tyre sizes, VRA organises a series of events which allow Alfa Romeos both old and new to compete together. Ranging from Alfasuds and Giulia Sprints to the front wheel drive 147s, 156s and GTVs, there is something for everyone. Their programme of events is headed by the East Coast Challenge meeting, hosted in successive years by New South Wales, Queensland or Victorian members of the association.
This August, the Challenge event was held at Queensland Raceway at Ipswich, as part of the QRDC Race Series Round 5. Races were run on the shorter Sprint Circuit, which suits the Alfas well, encouraging close, competitive racing. With 31 entries, the VRA cars made up the largest grid at the meeting, and they put on a show that drew applause and support from spectators and other competitors alike.
Entries included 20 who made the trip from NSW (plus one visitor from New Zealand!) and the event is as much a social gathering as a competition, with everyone gathering for drinks and dinner at the end of each day. Not that competition gets overlooked – the cars range from Historic Group S and Group N stalwarts through to road going club cars, but everyone is there to race.
The variety of cars competing was interesting – the Giulia Sprint and Alfetta coupes from the 1960s and 70s are the most numerous, but growing interest in the front wheel drive moderns saw a 147 GTA and a 3.2-litre GTV among the front runners. Throw in some Berlina and Alfetta sedans and an Alfasud Sprint and you have an eclectic mix. Despite this diversity, lap times were encouragingly close, with the top 10 cars in Qualifying covered by less than two seconds, and another 10 cars less than two seconds behind them.
Attrition due to mechanical problems is always a concern with older cars and limited budgets, and the VRA cars are no exception. However, it helps when your competitors also volunteer to fix your car for you. Tools, parts, tyres and advice are offered as needed, and a joint team of NSW and Queensland competitors worked early and late to do an overnight gearbox replacement on Queenslander Andrew Wilson's pretty Giulia Sprint coupe. Andrew repaid their efforts by winning the individual pointscore trophy for the meeting!
At the end of the weekend, NSW took the overall pointscore for the East Coast Challenge Cup, but honours were evenly shared between NSW and Queensland drivers in the top 10. More important was that 90 percent of the cars were still racing at the end of the weekend, with plenty of smiles and stories to tell.
So, do you remember the 'good old days' of club racing? We do – they happen every time the VRA Alfa Romeos take to the track!
Veloce Racing Association
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