Hardtop Anniversary 2015
Hardtop Anniversary 2015 marked the 40 th anniversary of the John Goss Special so it was
good manners to ask the man himself if he would be our special guest. John had been our
guest at HTA 2007 along with Murray Carter. When we approached John and asked the
question, he recalled his first visit and said he would be delighted to come again. Problem
was he was spending a lot of time in Europe and wasn’t sure if he would be in Australia when
we needed him.
We also invited two other mountain legends that hadn’t been to HTA before. Kevin Bartlett
and John French were added to the guest list along with club patron Murray Carter. Echuca
just wouldn’t be the same without Murray.
Registration took place at the rotunda opposite the Bridge Hotel in the port area. It was a
great setting and close to the pub. Good thinking guys.
Saturday morning saw the faithful assemble at Morley Ford as usual and departed for DECA
as in ’07 & ’09. In the morning, the skidpan was set up for Motorkhana only and the short
circuit operated also. Just prior to the lunch break, our three guests arrived after a visit to the
Shepparton motor museum. Colin Russell had come up from Melbourne to join them for a
couple of hours. After lunch, the three race replicas treated everyone to a few display hot
laps. The skidpan was converted to a “go to whoa” strip, which had some interesting
moments. One car suffered a diff failure and there was an interesting display of turbo V8
driving, which kept the officials on their toes.
A casual evening was organised at Radcliffes and John French, KB and Murray joined us at
Radcliffes along with their partners. The night involved quite a bit of crowd participation,
which was entertaining to say the least. “Celebrity head” had the room laughing, “Know your
coupe” got the boffins on their toes and “Gender warfare” brought out the competitive side of
the girls. As the evening was starting to warm up, a well known face entered the room
unexpectedly. It was Gossy of course and the room erupted. A couple of the boys had driven
express from Shepparton to Melbourne to pick John up from the airport and bring him to
Echuca. The set was complete.
After departing Morley Ford, the entrants drove to a car park in Nish Street. In 2013, we
filled the display area so we decided not to take any chances and looked for a bigger car park.
This one had more than enough space.
After lining up thirteen John Goss Specials (a record perhaps), the display was ready for the
public. We were fortunate to have Brock Mahoney and his beautiful red XC “In Envy”. The
car had been in his family since new and Brock has done a great job turning it into a Street
Machine of the Year contender. We hope he brings it to Bathurst in 2017.
We returned to the Moama Bowling Club for our Sunday night presentation dinner. This is a
great venue and worthy of our patronage.
There was a special tribute to the late Murray Brown. Murray had been a member of the
Coupe Club for a number of years and it was with great sadness that several members
attended his funeral in April 2014. Murray’s JGS had won trophies at all but one Hardtop
Anniversary. That was the year he bought his replica racecar to show off instead.
The evening went really well with our guests sharing some memories and a few stories we
hadn’t heard. After the guest speakers left the stage, John Goss did a solo, telling us the inside
story on the John Goss Special and how it came to be. John Spoke passionately about the car
named in his honour and left us with no doubts about how much it meant to him.
This was arguably the most successful HTA to date with 115 entries. Social media had been a
contributing factor but I think that the event has developed a reputation as a must do event for
any coupe enthusiast.
At the end of the night, we announced that HTA 2017 would be held in Bathurst to mark the
40 th anniversary of the 1-2. We have set ourselves a huge task but rest assured, HTA 2017
will be huge.