When two young apprentices decided to have a crack at an upcoming State Hillclimb Championship they couldn't have imagined it would be the start of a partnership that has spanned half a century.
But this weekend Tamworth’s Gundy Hunt and Trevor “Blue” Osborne will celebrate a 50 year racing partnership. They will do so in fitting style – at the Kempsey Hillclimb.
Hunt will be behind the wheel with Osborne trackside listening for any kinks that need to be ironed out.
Before they departed Hunt presented his long-time mechanic with a plaque thanking him for his ‘help, support and sponsorship over the past 50 years’ or as he put it “50 years of hard labour”.
“We started when we worked together as apprentices at McKnight Brothers,” Hunt recalled.
“They were revheads as well.
“Old Jim McKnight was one of the founding members of the Tamworth Sporting Car Club.”
After discussing the impending competition, which was being staged up the Oxley Lookout road, Osborne offered to lend Hunt a highly modified cyclinder head for his 1958 Series 1 Austin Lancer.
Once fitted they got their former boss and engine wizard Bob Kerr to tune it for them, starting an adventure that has taken the pair to Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and all over NSW.
Over that time they have competed in 335 events covering pretty much everything – hillclimbs, lapdashes, supersprints, circuit racing and even off road racing, and raced about a dozen to 15 cars.
A favourite amongst those is Hunt’s red Torana, which he raced from 1991 through to around 2007/2008.
“I had more than 120 starts in it,” Hunt said.
It is the quickest car he’s ever had and motored him to some of his biggest successes.
They won their class and were the fastest tin-top at 11 State Championships, and in 1998 won the Australian titles at Collingrove in South Australia.
That is a highlight along with breaking the record for the fastest sedan up Mount Cotton in Queensland.
He did that in 2005 at the Queensland Hillclimb Championships, with the time he set of 43.18secs still standing today.
These days more involved off the track, Osborne did a bit of racing himself.
“Back in the 70s I used to run a Datsun 1600,” he said.
“It was the only car I’ve brought new.”
This weekend Hunt will be driving his Westfield Clubman in the 1501 to 2000cc Sports Car Class, which he said Osborne has “in good order”.